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Its Me

Why do we cross over boys in March?

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Its Me asked, "Are there troops out there (cue echo machine) that cross in September to better align with the school calendar?"

 

I haven't read the entire thread but a lot of comments have been focused on what may make sense for an individual boy instead of what's best for a den of boys crossing over.

 

I can't think of a single good reason to synchronize rank advancement with the school calendar. Especially given that unlike Cub Scouts, the boys set their own pace for rank advancement in Boy Scouts. Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops run their own programs. Ideally, a pack and troop will work together to transition boys from Webelos to Boy Scouts as soon as possible after the boys meet the Boy Scout joining requirements and at a time that makes sense for their programs.

 

Graduation from Webelos to Boys Scouts is supposed to be a big deal and the B&G banquet (which traditionally celebrates the birthday of scouting) tends to be one of the highlights of the program year for a Cub Scout pack. It also comes along during the program year about the right time where 2nd year Webelos would have had enough opportunities to complete all of the Boy Scout joining requirements. So naturally most packs tend combine crossover with their banquet.

 

I personally, think February and March are good months for crossover so the New Scout patrol can get acclimated to the Boy Scout troop before joining the troop on one of the highlights of their program--Summer Camp. The troop will have three to five months to teach the NSP how things work in Boys Scouts, have them get familiar with their Troop Guide, and work on some T-2-1 requirements before Summer Camp. I think good goals for the boys in the NSP would be to finish Tenderfoot before Summer Camp and finish Second Class at Summer Camp along with a couple merit badges. Trying to do more at Summer Camp is not fun and the most important feature of Summer Camp should be how fun it is (that'll keep them in the unit, not merit badges). These goals should have the boys well on their way to earning First Class in one year (and stats show that 85% of boys who earn First in their first year in a troop stay in the program).

 

If you wait until May and June for crossover, I think theres a chance that Summer Camp (especially a patrol method camp) will overwhelm an NSP and scare off boys before they start sixth grade. This is especially true for units that might take a break from regularly scheduled activities between Summer Camp and the beginning of the school year.

 

If you wait until September for crossover, you're just boring 2nd year Webelos to death by holding them back when they're likely to be ready for more exciting age appropriate adventures that can be provided by a Boy Scout troop.(This message has been edited by MarkS)

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anarchist - While your are correct in stating that SPLs and ASPLs are not in a patrol I believe you are in error stating the same for Troop Guides. A troop guide is a member of a patrol, just not a member of the patrol he is guiding.

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By the book... "The Troop Guide is not a member of a patrol, but may participate in the high-adventure activities of the Venture patrol."

 

If you think about it, it makes sense. How can the TG be an effective mentor of the NSP, helping them out, teaching skills, evaluating progress, supervising their efficiency, et al, if he's busy fulfilling duty roster chores for his own patrol? He can't observe the NSP's patrol meeting and provide guidance while participating in his own.

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This is why I don't have any troop level officers in patrols. Conflict of interest, leadership competition, and focus does a lot to distract these boys in the functioning of their duties. The only officers in the patrols are the PL and APL. No other officers are involved in the operation of the patrol and shouldn't be hanging around unless needed/requested.

 

A QM may in fact play favorites and get the best gear to his patrol, the TG would have the problem addressed by MarkS.

 

What has developed in my troop is the troop level officers form a "virtual" patrol and hang together away from the other patrols. The SPL and ASPL would be the officers of this "patrol", after all they are responsible for supporting the functioning of the troop officers anyway.

 

Most troops are small enough that 8 troop officers (SPL, ASPL, TG, Inst, Chap, QM, Scribe, DC) is a good size "patrol" of it's own.

 

This setup also emphasize the fact that these troop officers are responsible to all the patrols, not just one of their own.

 

Stosh

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I have not read the entire thread, but our district traditionally held merit badge weekend at the end of March (that changed last year), and we crossed over Webelos in early-mid March so that they could attend. Webelos are now allowed to attend the Feb. MBW if they have committed to a troop and go with that troop. Our troop does not ramp back the campouts for the new guys. The first one we do after crossover has been a sporting clays campout; the older boys arrive early to do the shooting, and the new scouts come later in the afternoon for the remainder of the activities.

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A boy may become a Boy Scout at age 11, Grade 5 Completion, or earned the Arrow of Light. Almost all cubs earn the AoL by February and most of them are ready to join at that point.

 

My own Webelos den completed all 20 pins in October and spent the time until February visiting Troops, going on campouts and completing all of the AoL requirements. They were all excited and ready to bridge when the time came.

 

These boys could certainly have completed the AoL requirements during the summer and bridged in September. There is nothing wrong with this approach, however, the boys would not have completed all 20 pins; they would have missed the Blue and Gold Banquet; and they would have had a reduced opportunity to visit and camp with different Troops.

 

Most outings for Troops in my area tend to be more advanced in the summer, which restricts Webelos participation. These same Troops have many fall activities designed specifically for Webelos. I took advantage of these opportunities to show the boys how different Troops function, how the Patrol method works, and to become familiar with Boy Scout procedures. The months my den spent with Boy Scouts helped them to grow tremendously, and I am not certain that they would have been truly ready for Boy Scouts in September. Because they had spent the time with the Troops, the three boys from my den who joined my Troop had no problem going to winter camp as their second official Boy Scout outing.

 

Joining a Troop between April and August makes it near to impossible for a Scout to go to summer camp. This is because many camps (not all) require numbers and deposits by March. The drop out rate of scouts missing the first year of summer camp is extremely high, and my Troop encourages sign up by February to ensure attendance at summer camp.

 

In summary, the boys can certainly bridge in September if they meet the requirements, but I believe that gives the boys less time to learn from different Troops and find one to bond with. If you have feeder packs where bridging into your Troop is automatic, then this isnt an issue for you. Bridging after March can, but not necessarily, limit summer camp opportunities.

 

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