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Why do we cross over boys in March?

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Pardon me for not being clear. I meant the Scouts can focus 100% on earning merit badges in Summer Camp and not to spend time on other early rank requirements like the 5 miles hike. Some Scouts can knock down 6 or 7 merit badges in one Summer Camp. Then they can start working on the advancement above First Class, which requires merit badges.


Hope this clarifies. =)

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I am new here and I have found this forum very helpful. I want to be your friend and the last thing I want is to get off with the wrong foot.


Therefore, I don't want to get into any argument with anyone. I am merely stating the facts in our Troop. =)

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Not looking to argue Substring. I'm looking to understand what you are suggesting for It's Me to do since it doesn't seem to be in sync with the advancement policies of the BSA.


Much of the thread seems to be based on misunderstandings of the Scouting program such as; when Webelos cross over into Boy Scouts, when Troops do annual planning, and how advancement in the Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs work. As well as the earning of merit badges, and the purpose of summer camp.


Comments like "we would be less dependent on summer camp to obtain all our Tenderfoot to First Class requirements" raises real questions about basic troop leadership knowledge. The program does not make summer camps responsible for teaching and testing ALL of the Tenderfoot to 1st Class requirements. In fact the program does not even make summercamp responsible for teaching ANY of the requirememnts. The responsibility is for the troop program to do that durimg meetings and outings.


It would seem that there is a general gap in the knowledge of information covered in basic training for these two programs.


I honestly think that a better understanding of the basic program information would answer many of It's Me questions and quite possible help you in your commissioning responsibilities.







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My question would be is there a particular reason why boys that are not already First Class by Summer Camp also can't work solely on Merit Badges at Summer Camp and not work on any rank advancement skills?


I mean no offense (and welcome to the forum!) but it sounds, at first blush, that the way your Troop is doing T to FC is pretty much the way I mentioned some Troops doing the First Class/First Year emphasis - running a New Scout Patrol more like a Webelos Den than a Boy Scout Patrol. While I won't say that this is absolutely wrong (there are many variations on how Troops run their programmatical elements), I will humbly suggest that it short changes the boys as the emphasis is on advancement on a schedule rather than advancement at one's own pace. Like Bobwhite did, I also picked up on the "Our Goal" statement. Has there been given any thought to what the Boy's Goals are?


Bobwhite has suggested training - it wasn't meant as a snarky comment - many of us suggest folks get training quite often within the forum - because it provides a foundation from which to work. Many of us have come from exactly where you are now - transitioning from the Cub Scout program to the Boy Scout program - training really does help highlight the differences between the philosophies of the two programs. And quite a few of us have come up from the ranks from Bobcat (and Tiger for some) to Adult Leader and have experienced the program from lad to leader, and still remember those experiences from when we were lads oh so many years ago. For instance, I'm in my 40's and remember that I crossed over from Webelos to Boy Scouts in November (this was back in the days when Webelos was a one year program) and my first Boy Scout meetings were spent lashing together pine tree sleds for the Klondike Derby). So please, don't take offense if we make the suggestion. We do so out of experience.



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Thank you Bob White and Calico for the detailed explanation and advices. Don't worry, no offense is taken. =) That's the reason why I signed up for this forum.... to learn from each others.


There is a lot of things that I don't know. That's why every time when I go to a training class, even on those that I have already taken before, I learn something new. It is a never-ending learning process. =)


I understand that there is no requirement from BSA for a Scout to be in First Class in the first year. But many Troops, like ours, have adopted such advancement schedule. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it is advantageous for the boys to work on something together as a team (in this case, a Patrol). Based on my past experience, it is part of the motivation factor. It is not like we are forcing the boys to do something they don't want to do. But boys will be boys and there is always a slacker demon in each of them. If they have a choice to procrastinate, they WILL procrastinate. It is usually not a good thing if a boy is falling behind and he sees his friends in the same Patrol are working on different requirements for a higher rank.


The hardest part is that we are competing with sports, homeworks, marching band, and many other activities. The older the boy is, the harder it is for Scouting to compete. It is very sad for me to see some Scouts who remain as Life on their 18th birthday, not because they don't want to be Eagle Scouts but because they did not spend their time wisely or being coached accordingly.


But of course, if they can't, they can't. We have one Scout who has never attended any Summer Camp. It is because his family sends him back to Italy every summer. He just have to work hard to catch up with his friends. And we, the adult volunteers, are there to help him. He will succeed one way or another. And it is all good. =)


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My experience with Webelos was very similar to that of Substrings. I took Webelos I and by the time they started Webelos II they had already earned their Arrow of Light. Doing all the pins in a year takes planning, weekly meetings, but is no big deal. Offering every pin twice during that time is also possible for any of the boys that might have fallen behind. We then spent that second spring/summer having fun and working on T-foot requirements. When they finally did cross over at the 2nd Blue/Gold they came over as T-foot scouts. Yes, at that time one could be a T-foot scout and not yet be 11 years old. From that Feb until summer camp we did nothing but orientation, fun campouts, getting the new boys acclimated to Boy Scouts, a few 2nd/1st class requirements we knew the camp wouldn't offer and when they went to summer camp they did the first year scouting stuff and supplemented it with First Aid MB and Swimming MB. By the end of summer they were FC with 2 MB's to their credit and ready for anything the Scouts had to offer and yet they had been in Boy Scouts for only 6 months. All this was accomplished by coordinating the transition between Webelos and Scouting, organizing the program, coordinating activities and taking one's time because one really didn't have to be in any hurry to do it and still have it done correctly. Nobody was pushed, nobody was rushed and the boys had a great time.


And before anyone get's their shorts twisted, they were crossed over when the program still allowed the boys to cross into T-foot if they were AOL and had fulfilled the requirements. Working that last 6 months with the SM of the troop they were going into coordinated this rather smoothly and lessened the impact of a "whole new world" feeling when they crossed over, they had already established a relationship with the troop they would be joining after Cubbing.



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Substring, learning is a good thing, especially in your role as a unit commissioner you want to be sure that you are supporting the actual BSA program.


Having a program plan is a good thing in Boy Scouts, having a program plan that teaches and applies the skills of scouting is an excellent thing. Having an Advancement Schedule is a very BAD thing and is not supported in any training or resource of the BSA.


There is no need for any adult to feel badly about a scout who leaves the program at any age as a First Class, Star, of Life Scout. All those ranks teach valuable skills and characteristics that a scout will be able to draw on throughout his life.


NOWHERE does the BSA state that the goal of Scouting is to attain the Eagle Rank. If that were the goal than we have done very badly for the the last 98 years since over the years less than 5% of scouts reach that rank.


Personal growth and ethical decision making are the goals of scouting. The advancement program is one way we measure and reward that growth, IT IS NOT THE GOAL ITSELF.


By having an advancement schedule you are not using the Methods of Scouting correctly, and as a commissioner it is important that you understand that.



At no time has receiving the Arrow of Light fulfilled the requirements for the Tenderfoot Rank. At best the AoL fulfilled nearly all the requirements for the Scout Badge. But the Scout Badge is not a rank.


Anyone who gave a Scout his Tenderfoot based on having the Arrow of Light did so in error. That has never been a part of the Boy Scout advancement program.



(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I'm still confused by the rush to get merit badges and the race for advancement.


From what I've observed, the summer camp merit badge model goes against the basic premise of merit badges. The boys races through the material in a class room setting guided by counselors who have minimal experience. The result is that boys get a merit badge but have no enrichment.


For example, one year at Summer Camp, "Sports" was offered as an evening merit badge. Since I used to umpire and am a Sport MB counselor, I headed over to the pavillion to see what was happening. It was over before I got there. All the counselor did was say, "Who played sports?" If you put your hand up, you got signed off. Our SM KNEW for a fact that some of our boys had never played an organized sport in their life so they never got those badges (that's another thread).


Music was done similarily. Do you play an instrument? Have you performed in public? Okay. Fine. You got the badge.


Leather working isn't much better. Pound your initials into a piece of leather, stain it and stitch it up and you got the badge. No need to do it well. No need to even understand what you're doing. Just get it done in two days so you can jump over to wood carving where you knock the edges off of a block of wood, call it a slide and you got the badges. Has anything been learned? Not really. Has any proficiency been gained? Nope. Any enrichment? Just a badge.


End of rant.

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There are some 300 Boy Scout summer camps held each year. Some will have good merit badge programs and some will have bad one. Some camps will have on any given weeks good counseors or bad counselors. It all comes down to the same thing; selecting the right people, training them well, and good leadership.


Do the counselors in you council go through trainng before camp begins? Are they observed teaching? are they evaluated by their camp leaders? Are they given insight into what they are doing right or need to change or imprive.


If the camp leadership isn't doing that then the unit leaders at camp have a responsibility to say something to someone in the camp leadership who has the authority to correct things.


There is nothing wrong with a scout having enthusiasm for learning or advanceing. The problem statrts when the adult leaders substitute their enthusiam for advanceing in place of the scout's, as an example units with an 'advancement schedule'.


There are only a few things that a MB Counselor must do toi follow the BSA procedures.


>The must make sure the scout does the requirement as specified in the BSA requirement. For instance, if the requirement is to play and instrument in a school band, and the scout does, then the scout has passed that requirement and the counselor is correct in approving it.


>The counselor must test all scouts individually. He cannot ask a question in a first aid class andhave one scout in the group anser for everyone. That would be the same as havng one person in archery shoot a bulls eye and giving everyone ther credit for it. You must test individually.


> The person who teaches the skill does not have to be a registered counselor. But the person that tests and approves the requirement must be.


Any Scout camp should be able to follow these simple steps, but sometimes they lack the manpower to be able to monitor eveery MB class. So be helpful, and friendly and visit the classes yourself from time to time and let the camp leadership know what they are doing good at and what needs their attention.


For many scouts pounding their intials into leather and stitching it into a key chain will be the first step into enjoying a life long hobby or erhaps even a career. And that is what Merit badges are all about. I'm not saying the scout does not have top do ALL the requirements iin order to earn the badge, I'm just saying remember what the purpose of the MB program is, and it is not about making the scout an expert on the topic.












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Well Bob, I haven't been to all 300 camps. I've been to three different ones and I've chatted with many Scouters who have been to other camps. The story is always the same. In fact, some Scouters look for camps where their Scouts can "earn" more merit badges.


Group testing? That seems to be the norm at camp and the merit badge universities.


Expert? Nah. Competent. Not really. Put some effort into it? Sure.


Maybe if competent help can't be found, the summer camp as merit badge factory needs to be rethought.

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Never say never!


Sorry Bob, one can't be correct on everything. Back in the mid 1990's it was possible for a while to transition Webelos boys who had AOL into Boy Scouting at the rank of T-foot with the permission of the SM. That was allowed for only a short period of time because of the abuse of the practice that resulted. It was allowed in my circumstance because I kept records of the boy's pin advancement as it pertained to the T-foot requirements and could document their work as it applied to the T-foot requirements. Those requirements that were not fully covered by the pin work were done separately in preparation to the cross-over.


Even the current Webelos work covers far more than just the Scout rank. For example, a Webelos must be able to recite the Oath and Promise to receive AOL. This is a T-foot requirement, not a Scout requirement. Readyman pin discussion of the Buddy system is not a Scout requirement, but a T-foot requirement, etc. If one were to lay the two down side-by-side there are a lot of parallels in the area of scout lore, first aid physical fitness, but those areas that were not covered by AOL were filled in and the boys had in fact done all the requirements for T-foot. This was validated with the SM of the troop we crossed into, as well as verified by the Council office who checked with National. Sometimes, all it takes is a little inquiry and some diligent research to make things happen. This is why I never say never.


Of course to give an indication of whether or not this is a good idea to be doing it this way, 4 of the 6 boys in that Webelos den went on and Eagled. Maybe we ought to just stick with the way we have always done it because that way we can be sure that 2 out of 100 will Eagle. But when all is said and done the game of Scouting doesn't worry about the score as much as how the game is played.





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What an interesting thread, though discussion seems to have veered considerably wide of Its Me's original question.


Crossing boys over in Feb/March...well on the good side you've got those few months of camping and troop meetings before shipping a kid off to summer camp, as has been mentioned by others. I remember as well that by the time Feb rolled around, our Webelos II guys were so very "done" with cub scouts and itching for something more involved to keep them excited about scouting. Waiting any longer would have been painful and we'd likely have lost some of them.


Also on the good side, most school districts seem to have moved to a middle school structure where 6th grade is the first year of middle school, rather than the last year of elementary school. Joining a troop late in 5th grade means a boy will probably get to know some other middle school boys through the troop, which might make for an easier transition (I know this is the case in our troop, which also meets at one of the town's middle schools. I've heard anxious 5th graders being reassured by slightly older boys on several occasions - very sweet, really.)


Crossing them over later leads to other issues, not least of which is that a lot of webelos II leaders are conditioned to expect to be "done" at that point and the prospect of another 3-5 months of webelos might drive them off screaming.


So perhaps we could go back to making webelos a one-year program instead and cross boys into a troop in Aug/Sept. of their 5th grade year. That would resolve the somewhat nonsensical business about crossing over in mid-winter and mid-school year, without drawing out the over-stretched W II program even further.


Of course it raises other issues. At the age of 10-11, 6 months is a long time. For a 10 year old, 6 months is 1/20th of his entire life to date. Looking at it from a maturity and emotional readiness standpoint, I would expect there would be more boys unready for boy scouting in the fall of their 5th grade year, than toward the end of 5th grade. And since many troop leaders already struggle to incorporate rising 6th graders into the troop, adding early 5th graders to the mix would be tricky.


There is also the summer loss issue. My experience with scouting is that a lot of units (packs in particular) lose boys over the summer months. The other major time we see a large loss of boys is at cross-over when parents are re-evaluating their and their children's commitments. Couple the two (summer/early fall crossover) and you might see a spike in the number of drop outs. At least now (here's the cynical membership perspective) if a boy crosses in Feb/March and then drops out over the summer after 5th grade, he's still "on the books" for a full year more than if we did crossovers in early fall at the start of 5th grade and he dropped in the summer prior to 5th grade.


Actually the more I think about this, the more I like the older notion of linking cross-overs to a boy's birthday (you turn 11 and you become a boy scout). That would have the added benefit of solving the problem of troops struggling under the burden of a whole bunch of brand new scouts in the middle of the program year. But then, what did they used to do with boys who turned 11 over the summer when their pack wasn't active? Or what did they do with boys who were far off the norm in terms of age/grade (either being held back, perhaps more than once, or else skipping grades)?



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"Back in the mid 1990's it was possible for a while to transition Webelos boys who had AOL into Boy Scouting at the rank of T-foot with the permission of the SM."


I invite you to produce any BSA resource that supports that statement. You will not find it. There is nothing in the Webeols Handbook, Boy Scout Handbook, Scoutmaster Handbook, or Scoutmaster traiing materials from any decade in the BSA that says that.


You (are someone you got this idea from) are confusing the requirements of Tenderfoot with those of the Scout Badge.



Webelos use to progess into Boy Scouts on their Birthday, just as boys used to become Cub Scouts on the Pack meeting closest to their 8th Birthday. However the joining requirememts are different now, and you will have lttle success getting a boy today to saty in cub Scouts until he is 11.


But It's me makes several incorrect assumptions based on either exposure lack of training or a belief that the things done in the unit he serves are common practices done by all units ior supported by the BSA program, and they are not.


>ItsMe is free to take in Webelos in whatever month he chooses provided the boy is eligible.


>The troop Its Me serves can do their annual planning in whatever month they want .


>If a scout joins the troop and does not have the skill or training for an upcoming activity, then they should not participate in that activity "this time". That does not mean the scout will never get to do that activity. it just means that there is a level of skill and knowledge needed to do the activity safely and the scout is not yet ready. There is nothing wrong with saying that.


This is why the BSA supports a three level troop program. So that the scout takes part in training and activity tahtare appropriate for their age abd stage of development. Scouting is not designed to have a single troop plan for every age scout.


Gold Winger's discussion on summer camp should be (and has been) in a different thread(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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