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mikecummings157

"Cross-overs"

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I just found out to my delight that 4 Webelos from our "affiliated" pack are intending to cross over into our troop next weekend at the Blue-n-Gold. These boys haven't visited our troop at all, so I was pretty surprised.

 

I still haven't met with them (which I intend to do), but asked some of the other leaders in the Pack what was going on, as I haven't been able to get in touch with the Den leader. I was told that they are intending to cross-over into the troop, but may continue shopping for another troop or just not continue with scouting.

 

I've been doing this a long time, but never ran into such a casual attitude about picking a troop. Our Troop also invests into a neckerchief, slide, and shoulder loops for the new scout. This may be a waste of money, but I think the only option is to cross the boys over and sell our program to them and their parents.

 

Anyone else out there run into anything like this?

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Yup.

 

Based on that, I wouldn't count on them being around for very long. In fact it would not surprise me if some (or all) of them never show up for a single meeting after cross-over.

 

So your single best shot at selling them may very well be at the B&G. Have the scouts who attend from your troop talk up whatever cool/fun things you do, and go out of their way to include the new guys (encourage them not to just sit around talking to each other). You, meanwhile, will need to sound out their parents. But in my experience, an attitude as casual as this means the parents (at least - maybe also the boys) have more or less already made up their mind that boy scouts isn't going to be their thing.

 

Still, you have to give it a shot. Even if none of the boys actually joins your troop, consider the neckers, etc. and investment in your on-going relationship with the pack as a whole. And get to know the current Wolf/Bear/Webelos I den leaders while you're at the B&G!

 

 

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Yah, what Lisabob said, eh?

 

I'd add though that yeh almost never sell anyone on making a commitment with a one-night stand. :) So if yeh can get their contact information, I'd send 'em some cool stuff by mail or email, then try to get 'em out to some fun activity, then the B&G, then somethin' to follow-up shortly after that.

 

If yeh show some commitment to them, they might see it as a more attractive option.

 

Neckerchief, slide, and froot loops aren't that expensive, eh? Small advertising commitment for potentially seven years worth of gain. Wouldn't think twice about it.

 

Beavah

 

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Mike,

 

Does your troop have it's own Investiture Ceremony? My troop also gave new scouts their necker and slide, troop totem, and Scout patch, when they formally joined our troop. This was done in an Investiture Ceremony in which the PL presented the new scout to the SM and the troop.

 

What we would do when giving neckers became popular at Crossovers is give them the necker and slide, but take it back. They knew going in that the necker and woggle were for ceremonieal purposes only, and they wouldget everything when Invested.

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The last couple years, it's seemed more difficult for Webelos families to make a commitment. We've had a few last-minute cross-overs each year no matter how many time's I've asked for numbers. It's not a big deal though. I also try to locate the parents of Webelos not joining a troop while at their ceremony. I mention that giving their son a 4-month test run at Boy Scouts wouldn't be a big deal. It's worked to get a few to try it out.

 

Sliding off-track a bit, our troop's "gimmees" have evolved over the last few years.

At cross-over, the scouts replace the blue shoulder loops with green ones, remove the Webelos neckerchief, and tell the new guys that they will receive this really cool custom neckerchief, slide, troop numerals, and Scout patch when they complete the joining requirements. They also hand them a Scout Handbook "just to borrow" until they are officially Scouts when it will become their own, and show them the requirements.

This has cut our expense and gives the new guys specific tasks to work on right off the bat.

 

http://ScoutChallenge.com

 

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Quick update- 1 of the 4 who was reported to be crossing over to our troop by his Den Leader actually decided on a different troop and his mother invited them to the Blue-n-Gold directly. The CM and Pack Committee Chair, who were planning the Blue-n-Gold, didn't find out until a few days before that they had another troop attending.

 

Out of the remaining 3 that crossed over, only 1 showed up for the 1st Troop Meeting. Time to start making calls, but I'm not optimistic that we'll see the other 2.

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We do stuff like that all of the time and have a presentation set of stuff we loan at the Cross-over ceremony and that they reclaim with Troop provided joining swag when they complete and pay for Troop registration at their first meeting after Cross-over.

 

Some parents don't "get" what they are doing when they "fail" to pick a Troop and just go with the flow following one kid who wants to go somewhere for whatever reason he had to pick a Troop.

 

 

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Our standard kit of stuff -- hat, necker, shoulder tabs, name tag, a nameplate for the patrol wall, and troop activity shirt -- adds up to about $30. While I'll take a chance on a fairly safe bet, we can't afford to gamble on many long shots.

 

While the big deal is the Webelos campout back in the fall, ouR troop open house isn't until late January, about three weeks before crossover. We ask the Webelos den leaders to distribute Boy Scout applications to the parents a week or so prior and ask them to bring the apps AND a check for dues to the troop open house.

 

We're pretty forgiving of forgetful parent and other exceptions. But the process sets the expectation that we need a commitment. We're very upfront about the cost of the goodies and are clear that we need some level of commitment to the troop prior to crossover -- preferably in the form of a signed application and dues payment.

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SM had another C/O to do the same night, so he asked me to take care of C/O #2. Went with BSHBs, neckers and tabs. Knew I had 3 boys to welcome, in company with two other Troops. Initially, I had not met these boys or their parents. I had their names, that's all.

OA team did a nice job, made the evening very memorable. The CM said a few goodby words, introduced the Scouters from the three Troops, and the boys made their walk. I welcomed my Troops three boys, and then introduced myself to the parents and collected their names, phone numbers and emails and gave them mine and the SM's. SPoke with them at length about our meeting times, activities and such. Assured them their boys were in a good Troop and we looked forward to having them on the next hike (on such a date). All three are still with us, 2years later, very active, the dads are also very connected. I credit the active interest I gave them right then and there.

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"I credit the active interest I gave them right then and there."

 

Great job SSScout!

 

Same thing at our Cub Scout roundup.The DD gave a speach, each of us 4 CM's said a small bit about our pack and the other 3 sat down at a table waiting for parents to sign up.

 

I walked around taking to potential Cub Scouts and answered mom and dad's questions.

 

And I mean talking to the Cub Scouts, not talking over them.

 

I ended up with 23 new scouts and the other 3 ended up with 1, 2 and 1.

 

But back to the OP:

 

I am thinking here is that the Webelos scouts and parents may not be so much be slackers . I'd almost bet they are not ignoring you so much as they were never given much instruction, incentive or maybe any idea about what they should do.

 

Did the DL, CM, or ACM put any effort or emphasis on troop meetings other than what is needed for AOL/ rank?

 

Did the Webelos parents ever have the leadership explain how things work?

 

I mean, I can see one, maybe two boys and or their parents being slack...but all four of them?

 

Maybe they had a pretty bad Cub experience and don't want to continue or think they just show up and are automatically in the troop?

 

Maybe the pack leadership just didn't put any effort into advancing the boys to troops.

 

Possibly it's one of thosr cases where: If you go to troop "X", we'll hold your hand all the way!" But all other trops are left out in the cold? Know what I mean?

 

If you are not going to the troop that the DL's kid is moving up to ...then you are all alone, on your own and can hear crickets chirping?

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A couple of comments on the discussion:

1. After seeing numerous Webelos "crossover" and then disappear for whatever reason, the past two years, I have made sure I sat down with every Scout coming into the troop and at least one parent to tell them about the troop, what they can expect, and what we expected of them in return. This minimized the pre-conceived notions they may have had. As part of this, I asked them to make a six month commitment to the meetings and activities. Basically, to treat it like a sports station. I told the parents they if they were just going "try it for a couple meetings", it was the same as having their kid try a couple of baseball practices in late March when the weather is still cold. If they based the baseball season on that, they wouldn't stick with it. I also told them that signing up for the troop and paying to join for a couple of meetings was a waste of their time and money. Make a committment for six months. At the end of that time, if their son didn't like the Scouts, I would help them find another activity to which they felt they could better use their talents. In the past two years since I started doing this, we've had eighteen Webelos cross over to the troop. Sixteen of them are still with us.

 

2. In regards to giving a kit to the incoming Webelos, it is nice, but I think the incoming Scout and his family need to have some form of investment in this new activity. If they are given their handbook, neckerchief, et. al, instead of having to pay for it, they don't have much of a stake. They pay $100+ for soccer or baseball at the same time. When they come across a time conflict between the two, what do you think they are going to choose, the activity where everything was given to them, or the activity when they've invested their hard earned money. My troop gave the stuff away for a few years and we ran into that situation all the time. Now, the new Scout family pays for the items, but we put together the kit for them so they don't have to go shopping for it or worry about getting the wrong thing.

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