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Why do we cross over boys in March?

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Bob is certainly right that it is easy to suppose that however things are done locally is how they are done everywhere. As an example, every pack in my district (except the LDS packs) does their cross-over ceremony in February or early March. I had thought this was the case throughout the council, but it turns out the district just south of us has much more variety, with cross-overs taking place anywhere from January to May, depending on the pack. However, there has been a push from council to get more packs on board with a Feb/March crossover timeline. And no packs (again, excepting the LDS packs, which are both few and small in our area) do cross overs in the summer or fall around here. District and council training, themes for RT discussion, and many other matters are predicated on having the overwhelming majority of units operating on the same general calendar.


So there's what is, and there's what can be. Packs and troops can certainly go in different directions as Bob mentions. It might even be a better idea to do that. However, if the vast majority of units in one area all choose the same schedule, and if council is pushing for more conformity in the matter, it can be difficult or even counter-productive to go off in a different direction. It might be easier in a situation where a pack and troop have a strong and fairly happy "feeder" relationship, to do things differently. However, for troops that recruit from a bunch of packs, this may be more of a challenge.


Bob - back when cross-over was based on birthdates, were there explicit exceptions for boys who were considerably out of phase in terms of age/grade?



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"Bob - back when cross-over was based on birthdates, were there explicit exceptions for boys who were considerably out of phase in terms of age/grade?


Grade was not even a factor, it was strictly by age. You joined Boy Scouts at 11 years old.


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Quote from substring:

"In our case, my son's Webelos Patrol had completed all basic requirements when they were Webelos I. Therefore, we concentrated on visits and campouts with Boy Scout Troops in the Fall. By December, they all had earned the Arrow of Light and crossovered to Boy Scout.


Our entire Webelos Patrol joined the same Boy Scout Troop because it is well-organized. In just about 2 months, all of our boys have almost completed all the Tenderfoot requirements and some of the Second Class requirements. Our goal is to get them to First Class by Summer Camp this June..."


I appreciate this view and I applaud that the Pack and Troop are well-organized and working well together. As noted below, I don't agree with this approach for the Packs and Troops I've encountered; However, I know nothing of substring's Pack and Troop, so I presume they are better able to get through a large volume of learning and hands-on application much more rapidly than we are able to do. I am glad they are able to do this. I think they are performing well above the "typical" boys and troops.


However, my own approach is for my son (and the other boys in our Troop) to teach and lead each other and to become knowledgeable First Class Scouts in the time it takes to fully master the requirements. I fundamentally disagree with pushing to get through to First Class Scout very quickly.


I'd like all First class Scouts to be able to demonstrate solid knowledge and repeated hands-on practice of outdoors skills and in the skills needed to be able to take care of themselves and others in emergency situations. I wanted my son to take his time and truly master the fundamentals in Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class.


I view the journey along the ranks to be important - not just to arrive there as soon as possible. Rushing through the journey short-changes the boys, in my opinion.


Again, no disrespect intended - I just don't think think setting a goal to get boys to First Class Scout within six months is a good goal for the "typical" boy and troop. Just my $0.02.

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Back in the day...

When I was CM.

As a Pack, we kinda sorta tried to advance Cub Scouts from rank to rank sometime in May.

What did tend to happen was that one Lad in a Den would meet the requirements a little early and soon there after it seemed that most of the requirements that were needed were somehow met by all the other Scouts in the Den.

The Scouts who did earn or receive the Patch (A Wolf became a Bear), remained in the Den until the Den graduated in May.

Most of the Dens did close up shop for the Summer.

But the Pack did have a summertime program of sorts.

We participated in the District and Council events offered (Day Camp, Resident Camps, Parent / Son Camps, Cub Scout Olympics) Had some sort of a big Pack Outing and the Pack Picnic.

Over the Summer the Adults met and planned the calender for the following year, with Dens restarting regular meetings when the School year started.

To be very honest I thought and still think that the Scouts who had been Webelos Scouts One and returned in September as Webelos Scouts Two, were in many ways just killing time.

The Pack B&G Banquet was in February and it was then that we crossed over the outing Webelos Scouts.

We did it at that time because it had always been done that way and it seemed that everyone else did it that way.

In fact it wasn't until I read it this forum that I heard about some Packs not doing it that way.

The program for the Second Year Webelos Scouts was good for September and October, we spent a lot of time outdoors working on the outdoor Activity pins, but come the holidays we did slow down a lot and depending on how much snow we had got January was spent just finishing left over Pins and getting ready for the B&G.


As a Cub-scouter, I really didn't care what happened in the Troops that the Scouts who crossed over did!!

They and their parents had made their choice as to what Troop they joined and I had no say in what went on once they gone.

The reason I always heard for crossing these Scouts over in Feb. Was so they would have time to pay for Summer Camp!!

We did pass on the money that each Scout had in their account to the Troop they were joining, so this as a rule was more than enough to help them on their way.

I'm very much aware of how big a woozy I am when it comes to cold weather camping.

Here in SW -PA it can remain cold until mid or late April.

Most of the Webelos who did cross over did not have the equipment needed for winter camping, and they didn't have the training or skills needed to participate in this sort of event.

I have been amazed at how some Troops allow these little fellows go to our District Winter Camporee. (Held in early March)

I have seen young Scouts wearing tennis shoes.

Some Troops don't provide tents, so the parents have made the trip to K-Mart and bought the tent that sells for less than $20.00 and packed their kid off with his Power Ranger sleeping bag.

Maybe, just maybe? If the Cub Scouting program ended at the end of First Year Webelos, Scouts who joined the Troop in September could receive winter camp training at this time?

But there again the Cub Scouts in Hawaii might not need it and I'm only thinking locally?


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The February/March thing came in when the BSA changed to New Scout Patrols. It was kind of forced because the big idea was to get the Webelos to crossover in herds instead of by birthday. The intent was that a shy scout would come with his buddies when he wouldnt come by himself. Not a bad idea really. Im not sure National saw the changes it would force through the whole program.


February/March are standard crossover months for several small reasons. If the Webs waited until the end of the school year, they would likely not be ready for summer camp and troops might loose them. If they waited until September, then the troops might again loose new scouts who just decided during the summer to not come back. February works well because that is Blue and Gold and when most Webelos were done with AOL. And most Webelos leaders will agree that their maturity is ready.


So while National didnt push February, it became the most logical.


To answer one other question, back when scouts crossed over by birthdays, there was consideration for those few unusual scouts whose birthday didnt fit with friends. Just like now, National didnt want to loose scouts back then either.


Oh one other thing, the discussion keeps talking about annual planning. Bob is right that there is no uniform set time for annual planning. But it is still different now for troops. That is another thing the New Scout Patrol changed. Before when scouts joined on birthdays all year long, the program didnt really have a repeated annual program because it had to stay a bit mixed for advancing new scouts through the year. Now most troops follow a kind of First Year First Class program that starts in February or March. There is no official national annual planning of course, but the addition of the NSP and/or FYFC has kind of forced one to some degree.




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Wow, a lot of history and some great responses.


My take,

We do an annual planning conference in December for the upcoming year, it is also the soonest we can pseudo-reliably have a calendar for Schools, Churches, Universities, even our own Council that impact when and where and what we might want to do.


This year due to lots of weather challenges, new committee members, and other issues we didn't put the calendar to the printer until the 3rd week of February. Although we were operating off of it in the interim with item by item approval of the committee.


I'll take any prospective Scout, who meets the requirements to join, at any time. But, the past has shown in our area that a cadre approach results in boys who stick around and encourage each other until they either get their Eagle or age out. So we tend to get them Crossed-over coincidentally with the February Blue & Golds.


For us, I'd rather do simpler but fun (all included) spring and summer camp outs and be ready to take everyone to summer camp and (all included) more challenging fall and winter camps. Around here I'd much rather Backpack in the Fall or Spring than in the Summer and throwing a Scout or Tenderfoot into our Backpacking program with no prior experience would just be cruel due to terrain and the fact that we have gotten very, very, few new Scouts who have ever carried anything other than a bookbag. Those Spring and summer hikes make a world of difference in getting the new scouts ready.

Our High Adventure(HA) campout/trip program is not appropriate for Scouts who haven't mastered T-2-1 skills, and isn't the venue in which these skills should be learned. Although for scheduling purposes(for parental involvement/funding/and SM vacation time) the big HA trip does tend to most often fall in the summer.(and exclude all but 1st class and above or 14 and older Scouts)

And yes, it does tend to make things cyclic but so far we have avoided New Scout Patrols and doing all T-2-1 work at summer camp. But it also allows the older Scouts to know that they have easier times of the year to do merit badge work without being overburdened with our program and to participate in school activities, which rather than competing in an either/or fashion that we would probably lose allows them to do both in win-win fashion.


SO, it tends not to be not so much a throttling back for us but a natural cycle with more than one level of Scouting occurring concurrently.


If we got new Scouts in September, their first campouts might be cold weather campouts with no opportunity to learn little lessons that the things we tell them to bring they actually need and the things they thought were more important really weren't. I think it is easier the way it is.

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Thanks Barry for tying it together. But it makes sense, a National Policy to keep youths in as long as possible will emphasize first class first year. This creates a dependency on summer camps providing the FCFY program which in turn fills the coffers of the local councils with summer camp fees. But in order to get a scout to go to summer camp his first year of scouting he must cross early and experience the Troop environment (camping) to feel comfortable.


Now my issue is that here in the deep south of Florida, March - May is our prime camping time. You can write off July - October as hurrican season. The wilderness canoe trip, the backpacking trip will all be planned for these months.


I am sure this opinion will get me in trouble:

Not every campout can or should be so easy that a new Webelos can go on it right out of the Blue and Gold.







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It's me,

I think you can see from my post above that I agree that,

"Not every campout can or should be so easy that a new Webelos can go on it right out of the Blue and Gold."


I don't know why you would think that would get you in trouble.

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Actually ItsMe I think you are still missing what the BSA program is saying.

It's ok to have a campout that is easy enough for a NEW Scout to go on as soon as he joins (and you should). Just don't make the other scouts go on it too.


The older scouts should have higher skills, and they have done the easy campouts already. Let them go do things that they are ready for that the New Scouts are not yet prepared for.


The new scouts can go on the higher adventures trips later afeter they have grown and learned.


You need to have a tiered program so that the activity matches the individual skills and abilities of the three types of patrols.

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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As I said, they are off on an adventure more suited to their age and abilities. You cannot make scouts relive the same introductory skill level activities year after year after year and expect them to stay in Scouting (or to develop if they do stay). New scouts are only new for the first year, they will still have several years of Scouting ahead of them to mingle with and learn from the older scouts. Plus they still have their Troop Guide to learn from, so there is no need to worry that they will lose out on anything that first yeaqr of learning the basics.


I am surprised that you are unfamiliar with this as it is in the Scout leader training and the Scoutmasters Handbook. As well as other Boy Scout leader training and resources.


Putting new scouts into situations they are untrained for and not physical prepared for is irresponsible. Making older scouts miss out on adventure they should be prepared for and yearning for by making them stay at the same level of adventure year after year goes against every philosophy of the outdoor program of Scouting. The logical, and BSA supported solution is tiered programing as is shown in the BSA troop meeting plans, where you have different lessons and different adventures for patrols at different stages of development.


(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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The natural progression is that the older scouts enjoy a progressively more difficult leadership experience on the same campout. The just crossing over scout is experiencing setting up a tent with only his roomie for help and having to do dishes for maybe the first time in his life. The little bit older scout is the patrol's cook who has enjoyed the intricacies of purchasing food and preparing something that is hopefully edible. The patrol leader is attempting to get cooperation and esprit de corps from his patrol, The quartermaster is wondering where all the gear went and the SPL is too busy attempting to herd cats to make much sense whatsoever. And then after repeating seemingly endlessly it all jells and then half the troop moves back to wherever the moved from and you start over with a whole new cast. We do do the more "exciting" type of trips but those are restricted by rank and qualifications and in some cases age as rewards to the youth leadership who keep the whole thing together.

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So what you are saying is that there is a difference between what you teach and what the program recommends. That could very well be, not everyone follows the syllabus. Remember a portion on ages and stages?


Is the NSP a sort of advanced Webelos Den. As a matter of fact it is. It is a transitional phase from a Webelos Den to an experienced Patrol in a troop, It lasts only about a year, out of what should be a 7 1/2 year period in troop scouting , so there is no reason to be concerned about that. It is not as if that this the only example in scouting of teaching scouts through a series of program stages.


Aren't Wolf and Bear Dens a transition from Tiger to Webelos? Isn't Webelos part of the transition out of Cubbing. NSP is a transition INTO an Experiencesd Patrol and the Experienced Patrol is a transition into a Venture Patrol.


All of Scouting is a series of steps that are based on the changing ages and stages of a youth's development.


Certainly you teach the "Ages and Stages" portion of basic training? So you must be familiar with that?


In many years as a Roundtable Commissioner and a District Commissioner in three councils (As well as being a unit leader that used the NSP and three tiered program), it has been my experience that troops that follow the iered program levels not only recuit as many scouts as other troops but more importantly retain a higher number of scouts for longer periods than units that do not follow the program.


That is probably why it exists. Younger scouts want to be around older scouts and they will be, remember the New Scout Patrol is a temporary thing rarely lasting a year. But older scouts do not want to spend a year learning the basics and then 6 and a half years teaching them to younger kids.


An 11 year old and a 16 year old are not going to be ready for the same adventure unless you set the difficulty level for the 11 year old, and that is not going to hold the interest of the 16 year old scout.


Having older scouts occassionally work with the younger ones is a fine thing, but as a regular diet it's a very bad idea. You need to allow scouts to have a program of steadily increasing skills and adventure that match their skills and abilities as they transition through the ages and stages of development.



(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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