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83Eagle

The little league model

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"Scouting program's lack of competition lowers it importance in their minds"

 

AvidSM's statement got me thinking on a tangent to the thought above. I think that a lack of competition in scouting makes scouting less fun for the boys. Boys love competition. So think of ways to add more of it into troop meetings. Real patrol vs. patrol relay type races with scout skills; not ad hoc divide up whomever shows up. May the best patrol win.

 

Competition provides the incentive to learn those skills that might never otherwise get used on a campout (as was discussed in a recent thread). Competition fosters comraderie. Competition teaches teamwork. Competition fosters patrol members helping other patrol members.

 

 

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You know what, I for one am getting beyond tired of the condescending attitude Boy Scouters have towards Cubbing. From calling it arts and crafts with mommy to making fun of the equipment cub families use when camping, I have seen and heard it all. It's insulting and more than that, it is short sighted.

 

Where I live, Cub Scouting is huge. I just went to my district's website and counted over 30 packs. I do not have membership numbers on all of them, but ours hovers at around 90-100 cubs and I know for sure we are not the biggest pack in our district. I also know that our area is well known for its baseball...as in people move here so their sons can play in good leagues (news to me until recently, I don't like baseball much). So that's big competition around here.

 

The next is somewhat empirical evidence, but the I do know that the troops in my district recruit heavily from all areas: packs and schools and churches. The two troops I know, recruited ONE (yes ONE) boy each that hadn't been in cub scouts. They recruited about 20 to 30 scouts from packs. SO you do the math.

 

In this day and age, it is VERY difficult to "grab" a boy in middle school that has never experienced scouting. And it is doing a GREAT disservice to cub scouting to call it the joke of scouting. Because it is NOT true. The cubs I know camp, hike, and learn all kinds of scout skills. They DO NOT just do arts and crafts with mommy. And the cubs I know end up in boy scouts.

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Mom,

 

While I agree with you the attitude that Cub Scouts is not real Scouting is wide spread, incorrect, and that Cubs DO need the OUTING in ScOUTING and troops need to devekop a realtionship, there is a historical basis for the assumption.

 

When Cub Scouts was created, it's original intent was to keep them busy until they became Boy Scouts. There were lots of arts and crafts projects in advancement and meetings, and very little outing. I know that when I was a Cub in the early 80s, the only outdoor expereinces for Cubs were "Dad and Lad Weekends" and the obligatory campout with a troop to get AOL, and that was it. Packs were not encouraged to camp, and councils geared their camping activivities to Boy Scouts and Explorers. At least in the council I was in.

 

The changes occured, probably in the 1990s, that put more OUTING in ScOUTING for the Cubs. And that was great. But you still have long term Scouters, both Cub and Boy Scout leaders, who are not up with the changes. I see some packs that still do not camp. I see leaders who do no outdoor stuff with their dens. I see leaders who want to do "artsy fartsy" stuff at day camp instead of craft projects the kids are interested in. Let's face it what would you rather do, make a sand painting and do coloring sheets, or make a shield and crossbow?

 

Sad thing is these old timers know better. Kinda sad when a WBer says cubs don't need to camp, or a CSDC director doesn't want to buy crafts that the Cubs would be intersted in b/c they have all this colored sand for sand paintings, and other other art type crafts.

 

As for the complaints about what Cub Families bring on campouts, I've seen it, heard, and even made some comments about it myself in a negative light. It wasn't until I became a CS leader that I realized these things: 1) It is FAMILY camping, so more gear will be needed 2) for many it's the FIRST TIME camping, and they do not know what they are doing so they are 'being prepared" 3)While packs must have BALOO trained folks, it is sometimes difficult to bring people up to speed on camping, esp when you have trips planned during or right after Round ups, have constant leadership turnover, and other normal CS leadership challenges, and 4) Those complaining are A) not helping out with regards to training and solving the problem and B) not setting the example, i.e. driving around camps, parking in campsites, etc.

 

Ok enough ranting.

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Engineer61 says:

 

Can't make school break trips and summer camp because you have to travel to another parent? For get the POR's.

 

Not necessarily. Definitely not in "my" troop. Arrangements can always be made for unusual situations.

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Thank you Eagle for the history lesson on where that comes from. I have no way of knowing as I obviously was not involved in scouting in any way until 2006 when my oldest started his Tiger year. I don't know how it is in other districts, but it my district we have summer resident camps for Wolfs, Bears and Webelos, we have family camping twice a year, we have summer day camp that is exclusively outdoors, we hike at least twice a year as a pack, and our pack meetings are held outdoors except during the daylight savings time when it is cold and dark, and the webelos dens camp even more as a den, in webelos woods, and camporees and camporalls. So yes..we DO have OUTING in SCOUTING. No we don't camp monthly...but we can't expect families to cross out an entire weekend a month to take their sons camping.

 

However, be that as it may, it is an attitude that BSA National in a lot of ways cultivates as well. For example, no Cubs were invited to the many centennial celebrations last year, because (and I quote) it is BSA's centennial..Cub scouts did not start until....(whenever that was). So National isn't helping things any either.

 

And it's funny that you mention BALOO training. On a cold rainy day last Spring I took BALOO training along with two others in my pack. When the obligatory session on camping equipment started, the trainer started talking about sleeping bags. He holds up on of those puffy, used-for-basement-sleepovers sleeping bags that 99% of regular kids have and said "THIS is what I used for Cub family camping"..then he holds up one of those REI fits-in-the-palm-of-your-hand-and-weights-0.0000005 oz sleeping bags and says: "THIS is what I use now in boy scouts camping trips" And they ALL (yes ALL the trainers) laughed and guffawed. Only thing missing was the pointing the fingers at us and laughing at our amateur levels. And he did that with ALL the equipment: the tents, the stoves, the flashlights, etc. To say that I was livid is to put it mildly. What kind of attitude is that?? Where exactly do these people think that adult leadership for boy scouts is gonna come from? Is it gonna come from former cub scout leaders or is it gonna come from a parent of a 11 year old who has never been involved in scouting?

 

And that is a PRIME example of how cub scout leaders are treated. Shameful.

 

/end rant. My apologies for length.

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Don't feel bad about CS not being included in BSA's celebrations in your neck of the woods. Sea Scouts had only 1 float in the national parade, and the First Class Anchor wasn't even on the float with the BS, CS, VS, and Venturing emblems on it, and Sea Scouts is the second oldest program in Scouting, celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012.

 

In regards to the trainers, that is despicable. I admit I do show off some of the good gear that I have when I do BALOO, but I also talk abut cheap ways to get gear that works, i.e. using pots and pans from home, making sleeping bags out of blankets, etc.

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Mom, all I can say is that just because someone is a scouter dosen't mean they can't also be an ass. We prove that around here on a regular basis

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Eagle and OGE: I know what you mean, but the BALOO thing is just one example. Not by far the only experience I have had in dealing with condescending attitudes. However, I am not going to let that turn me off from scouting.

 

All I'm saying is that they are shooting themselves in the foot. I hear it around here all the time how hard it is to get leadership. Maybe we should take a good long hard look at ourselves and try to determine what we are doing wrong. Treating CS leaders like second class citizens might have something to do with why they don't want to have anything more to do with scouting at the district or council level. And it might have something to do with why once those boys cross over, they limit themselves to dropping off and picking up their kid.

 

Also, it might explain why our national recruiting numbers for boys is lower than it used to be. Maybe we need to work on making the CS program a more integral part of BSA as a whole and retaining those boys. I don't think new scouts are going to come at the middle school level without prior exposure.

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I did cubs for 6 years and now am in boy scouts for my 2nd. I noticed the same thing as Mom of cubs. A lot of snobbery toward cub scouts. While cubs has a heck of a lot less bureaucracy than scouts it sure seemed a LOT more work to run the meetings right.

 

Now I always try to be helpful to Cubbers.

 

In my experience of the 40 guys we have recruited over the last two years all but 4 were Webelos crossovers from 3 packs. Of the other 4, 1 was new to scouting (and one of our best new scouts), 1 was a transfer from a dying Troop, and the other two were transfers from parents moving into the state.

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A certain amount of snobbery towards Webelos comes from the scouts themselves, without prompting from adults. Adults need to set a more positive example.

 

I concur that trainers can be offensive. My involvment in BALOO as a trainer has been minimal so I have not witnessed that degree of snobbery in that training per se.

 

Coming back to the subject of little league, I would not want to emulate little league in scouting. I agree that minor competitions can and should be used as part of an ordinary scouting unit program, but they have to be managed.

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>>Competition provides the incentive to learn those skills that might never otherwise get used on a campout (as was discussed in a recent thread). Competition fosters comraderie. Competition teaches teamwork. Competition fosters patrol members helping other patrol members.

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Nobody is preventing us from adding competition. I do it all the time in my Troop, with a variety fo rewards:

 

Best meal - Scoutmaster does the dishes

Top popcorn sales - Pie in the face to the Scoutmaster

Best campsite - Troop provides steaks for dinner

100% Uniform - No cleanup duties after COH

 

etc.

 

Our Camporees are also still competitive. 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place ribbons for Patrols in each event, also for Crews. While the overall "excellence" patch has gotten too common (everyone seems to score an A overall), the competition between events is still very strong. Each event posts the top 3 scores at any time, so that others can see what they need to beat.

 

I don't blame the lack of competition on Scouting, I blame it on us in the field (yes, including myself. I can do a whole lot more). There is nothing keeping each one of us from developing some competition around Scout skills and making it part of the Troop culture.

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To add to Engs point LL is certainly not the only youth baseball game in town. Im not familiar with Pony, but I grew up playing in Hot Stove which has their own national tournies and is still very popular. My sons league was USSSA - which is becoming a national youth sports powerhouse along the lines of what AAU used to be (not sure if any AAU leagues exist anymore.) The non-LL leagues move the pitchers mound back a few feet at each age group so that you dont get a the equivalent of a 140mph fastball bearing down on you from an over aged kid. Much safer and better development for high school ball.

 

So make sure you are looking at youth baseball as a whole and not just one segment of LL. I would bet that LL numbers are shrinking because of it's rules.

 

We commonly lose boys for baseball season. Travel teams are killer for Scouts, except for those units that like to take the summers off. Rec soccer is in the fall in the north, unless they are playing travel/indoor/spring year round and youre probably going to lose that kid anyways.

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