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The LDS Scouting program and BSA program

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GernBlansten, "The 11 year old program looks to me like a webelos 3 program more than a traditional 1st year scout program. But than is the beauty of the BSA program. COs can modify it to their needs."


That would be one way to look at it. However since the LDS CS program runs on an age program 8 yr = Wolves, 9yr = Bear, 10yr + Webelos. It would be more like a Webelos 2 program using the Boy Scout program instead of the Webelos program.

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Is there anything wrong with having the best of both worlds?


After all if it possible for a Webelos to obtain Arrow of Light in one year isn't the second year just a transition period to the BS program.


Why not have the same period of time to transition into the full troop program and be working on BS advancement at the same time.


After all most troops place their new scouts into the new scout patrol for at least a year with the same goal of advancing to first class within that year. The only big difference would the number of camping experiences. Everything else is the same.




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Yeah, I can acept that Gary. You might be limiting a new scout to only 3 camping trips a year, but in reality, I read posts all the time in this site about troops that are lucky to go camping once a year.


Sure, some may go twice a month....all year long. Others don't go but every couple of years.


So to say that your first years scouts need to polish up on a few things before camping more than some trops do in 4 years combined - well, I just don't see the harm.


And the kicker is, not every boy scout is the same. many of them just came from Webelos where they had helicopter parents, the adults ran every activity right down to when to take a bathroom break and such. :)

So 3 camping excursions a year without mom and dad, and without 1,000 adult rules.....that could be overwhelming.


Gary, if that policy works for you..I see no problem with it!

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Our unit utilizes the new scout patrols with older scouts as guides. We draw from 3 or 4 packs and they cross over anywhere from late Feb to early May. We can have up to three NSPs depending on the recruitment. All are 10-11 year olds, 5th graders.


Our troop camps at least once every month for two nights (Friday night/Saturday night). The primary focus on the NSP is to prepare the boys for camping and their first campout is mid-May. At that campout, they work primarily on Tenderfoot advancement and get used to being boy led and away from their parents. Summer camp is mid-June and most every NSP scout attends for the entire week. Our camp has a Trail to First Class program and most attend that and take a few extra merit badges. Coming out of summer camp, the new scout usually has 8 nights camping under his belt. After summer camp, the new scouts are integrated into the existing patrols. July we do a 4 day rafting, caving and biking trip (car camping at a commercial campground). August is a two night campout of backpacking/hiking. So by the end of summer, a typical 11 year old will have 13 nights camping. Sept is District Camporee. October is fishing/backpacking. November and December are various patrol campouts depending on weather and youth interest. January is the winter Camporee, Feb brings us a snow/ski trip (sometimes in a church, so we can't count that) and March is usually shooting camp at the council camp. April is a campout for the older scouts to prepare for the May NSP campout.

So from crossover, a new scout has the opportunity to camp 30 nights with the troop in his first year. His second year is about the same, although his role is different. The third year, the scout is old enough to take part in the high adventure trips that are going on every year independant of the troop calendar. Those require even more camping and prep trips in addition to the regular troop activities.

Amazingly, very few of our scouts reach 1st Class by the end of their first year. They certainly have the opportunity to do so, but some don't come to every campout, others just don't finish up the requirements. We don't push advancement, but make opportunities for them to advance.


My son was gung ho. He did the 30 nights the first year, made 1st class, elected to OA and did his Ordeal at summer camp his 2nd year. By his 4 year, he had over 100 nights camping. Tell you the truth, we quit recording after he earned his camping merit badge. He did three summer camps with the troop, NYLT as a participant and NYLT the next year as staff. 30 nights right there. He did 2 8 day NTiers treks, 1 12 day Philmont and 1 10 day Sea base. So that's 37 more just in high adventures. Participated in OKPIK twice and staffed it twice. In a survival situation, I'd put him up against Bear Grylls anyday ;)


From my frame of reference, our program is the epitome of what a BSA troop should be. I'm not saying our troop has a better program for first year scouts than the LDS does. All I'm saying is that they are worlds apart, the topic of this thread.

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Yah, I'm sympathetic to Gern's argument, eh? At the same time, in some ways waiting until age 12 is more developmentally appropriate for the lads. Leastways, yeh don't see the summer camp homesickness meltdowns yeh see with a fair percentage of da 11 year olds.


That havin' been said, it's hard not to conclude that the LDS programs must function as a heck of a badge mill program at da T-2-1 level. I'm highly skeptical of a troop where very many kids make First Class in a year, even with a very active outdoor program, eh? Yah, it might be *possible* for the lad who comes on everything and a troop that runs a great program and a lad who is more into advancement than most boys. Even lads like Gern's son who log 30 nights out usually don't whip off to First Class. So when yeh see a majority of boys making First Class in a year, yeh find on examination that their skills are almost always really weak. They might have done the requirements, but they definitely can't do them. So da program shorted them and milled a badge.


The notion that a majority of the boys can make First Class with only 3 outings (and 1-night outings at that) I think is just a bit preposterous, especially startin' without having had a Webelos 2 experience.


Which gets back to the safety problem I raised earlier, and that we've discussed here before. Inexperienced adults in the YM 12-13 program, plus "First Class" scouts who don't really have the skills, plus a high mountain environment is a recipe for da kind of accident rate that seems to be produced.


Why not just start Boy Scouting at age 12, and make da 12-13 program focus of First Class? That seems much more sane and reasonable, especially with less experienced adult leaders. Then da 14-15 year old Varsity youth can serve as PLs and mentors to the younger program in some way, and work toward a mor reasonable Eagle timeframe, leaving the 16-17 year old Venturers to pursue Quest, Ranger, Silver, etc.


Seems like that would be a better fit for both programs, eh?




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I think you nailed it Beavah. It isn't the 3 night limit for 11 year olds that gets me, heck you are right, some boys just aren't ready for 30 nights at 11, much less summer camp. Its how you can squeeze T-2-1 into the 3 nights under the stars.


We adopted the 1st Class/1 year initiative BSA promoted a few years ago. We decided it wasn't get your scouts to 1st class in one year, it was provide them with the opportunities to get it 1 year. I'd say 10-15% make it. No shame if you don't. The rest who stay with the program for another year and most have it by their 2nd anniversary.

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I will admit that much of the meeting time was used working on advancement. When I was the 11yr old leader in ward I used the pamplet called "My Scout Advancement Trail, Tenderfoot to First Class". This pamplet has the requirements for T-1st broken down into 10 areas, Citizenship, Troop and Patrol, Knot Tying, Camping, Hiking, Nature, Cooking, First Aid, Swimming, and Physical Fitness. Its designed to keep track on individual advancement and also has and leather immediate recognition totem with leather thong to wear on ones belt.


We patterned our meetings working one of the areas each month. The last meeting of the month I would test the boys on what was covered for the month. Some areas we would use two months as some of the other area don't require allot of time.


I also had a troop guide (for me it was my son who was about two older) from the older boys helping out as well this scout did much of the teaching.


The boys I worked with earned their advancement. I can guarantee that by the end of the month these boys know how to do the skill not just pass of the requirement. I would of put them up against many scouts older than them and they would have excelled.


Of course I'm sure that is not the case with all 11yr patrols.


My goal also was only to provide the opportunity to get 1st class in a year, many if not most still has something to do when they turned 12yr. Mostly a campout or some other activity that they missed.



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The lack of camping does concern me. and while Advancement is like a suntan, coming naturally when i the outdoors, even a 'hiking and camping troop" that goes out every single month won't have 100% First Class Scouts in a year. So that does concern me.


As others have mentioned, it does seem like Webelos III, especially the belt fobs ( saw them when I worked for national and they were not popular in my area, and I thought they discontinued them.)


That said, ti does seem the program you are describe is a lot more active than the one I've seen.

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When the goal is to churn out Eagle Scout-missionaries, I'm not suprised at all. We have 8 Methods, and I suspect that several Methods take a back seat to advancement.

When the Webelos/1st year Scout thing was mentioned by Gary as "why not the best of both worlds," nobody bothered to ask how the kids are registered. If they're Webelos, they can't advance in Boy Scouts, and if they're Boy Scouts, it's too late to work on Arrow of Light. So what are they? Simple answer: LDS.


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BDPT00,"....how the kids are registered. If they're Webelos, they can't advance in Boy Scouts, and if they're Boy Scouts, it's too late to work on Arrow of Light. So what are they? Simple answer: LDS."


The boys are registered as Webelos when they turn 10 yrs old. We run a one year Webelos program which is plenty of time to obtain A of L.


At 11 yrs old they cross over and are registered as Boy Scouts and join the 11-yr-old patrol. Where the focus is on obtaining 1st class before they turn 12. Although most of the boys don't make 1st class within this year.



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BDPT00, "Why should I not think this is double dipping (earning advancements in two programs at the same time)?"


Because if you had read the posts before that you would have seen where I explained that the LDS ran their CS on the age program, and that Webelos was 10-yr-olds. And how if it was possible to obtain AOL in a year that the second year Webelos, in a grade ran CS program, was mostly a transition period into the BS program. I assumed people were familiar with the two different CS program options.


We had also long before that established how the new scout patrol, 11-yr-olds, in the LDS program meet as a separate patrol away from the regular troop. So it was likened unto the second year Webelos program as a transition period into the regular troop program once the scout turned 12.


Nothing was ever said about earning advancement in two programs at the same time, that would not be possible with the CS/BS. Although it would be possible in the BS/VS/VC programs.


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Perhaps someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think everyone is overlooking a major difference between LDS scouting and "normal" troops.


Isn't it true that in the LDS church, all or virtually all boys enrolled in the Scouting program? If so, that's very different from most other scouting units. In most troops, the boys are there either because they have an interest in the program, or (perhaps more likely) their parents have an interest in scouting.


So it seems to me that the sample is rather skewed. Kids who are there because they have that interest, or even because their parents do, are probably going to excel somewhat at doing the activities, versus a kid who is there because he has to be there.


Now, there's nothing wrong with making kids do things that they don't really want to do. In fact, perhaps those kids are going to get more benefit out of the program.


But if you compare the two groups, the ones who are there because they want to be are probably going to have better skills than the kids who are there because they have to be.

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