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Yah, since a few folks were gettin' depressed (or depressing ;) ), it's time to share some success stories. Now, we all have our paycheck moments that involve individual boys makin' breakthroughs, and those are precious. We can share those in another thread if folks want.


In this thread, though, let's share programming success stories. You know, since we complain about national or council program choices sometimes, let's share da success stories of unit or district/council creative, exciting, or just well-run program that might give others some ideas. Ways of doin' things yeh found that worked for your kids, a great campout activity/plan that yeh think others might be interested in, etc.


Only request is that since we're asking for creative/new/interesting program ideas, no one slam or argue with someone that the details of what they posted aren't kosher. So if someone's unit has good thing to report about requiring Lifesaving MB for Eagle in their program, we listen and think without reigning hellfire and damnation on them and their children to the 10th generation. ;)




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Ok how about my old troop's Webelos Overniter idea.


Now remember this is in SE Lousiana/ SW MS area, so it can be warmer in February than other places.


What we would do is have a "wilderness survival" weekend. We would split the Webelos amongst the patrols and teach them some knots and lashings. Then most of the morning, and a bit of the afternoon, was spent building "survival" shelters for the entire patrol. That way A) everyone spent time working on a good shelter for all and no one had a poor shelter B) built up esprit de corps amongst the patrol members, C) got the Webelos and Scouts to know one another better D)In case it got cold, more people=more body heat to keep warm.


Once everyone had their shelters complete, we had some pioneering games like Chariot Races and Walker. Also did some games like Capture the Flag, Manhunt, etc.


Now we did some utensiless cooking, and some regular cooking.


Overall it was a fun weekend with both Webelos and Scouts having a blast, and it became an annual event. In fact I have a pic of one of the troop's Eagles, who was an ASM, in college and just back from Afghanistan at one of the weekends building his own shelter 15 years after starting these campouts. Everyone has fun.

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E92, I assure you even here in the "great white north" something of the sort would thrill the boys. Although it would take a special group of den parents to let it happen.


One of my sons favorite campouts was in a survival shelter as the snow started to fall.


Our crew has a standing rule that the kid who speaks up about wanting an activity runs point to make it happen. This is a little less formal than the "activity chair model", but it is basically a play stolen from the leadership manual. Depending on the maturity of the youth and the level of "must-do" the officers give the idea, I'll direct him/her to an adult who can help consult for it.


Anyway, because it's a spelled-out aspect of the Venturing program, I can direct an adult to it and shield myself from a lot of skepticism. I'm goin "by the book" and if the crew folds, they can just blame National, a program that's only a decade old, or the brainwashing I got at VLST.


What's really nice, then, is that if I behave the same way towards the older boys in the troop, folks just chalk it up to me "going all crew advisor" on them. Meanwhile the boys step up, and we get a little more "boy led" without using those two three-letter words.

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Even in NC, there are concerns about snow and survival shelters.


I know last year one troop that started out with survival shelters, moved to a permanent shelter, encased the sides in plastic and had stoves on to provide heat b/c the weather forecast was way off with a bunch of snow and lower than expected temps. that had over a foot of snow and got down to the teens. So I would not be concerned if this happened again with the troop, and they had Webelos with them, b/c I think they did the right thing. Some of the new scouts, and they had a bunch of them, didn't have the proper gear for as cold as it got.


But in talking to three moms, one of whom has a son in the troop already who was one of the news scouts, all said no way are the Webelos ready for survival camping in the cold. Oh well.


But yeah they enjoyed it, and did it again in the spring.

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Troop has grown from 3 boys to 18 active in two and a half years


Pack has grown from 9 boys to 82 active in two and a half years.



Sounds like we are giving them what they want.


Big change in the troop was an outdoor program. they camped twice a year prior to new SM.


Pack success was actual recruiting and retention.

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Last June, we put together a 50 miler on the Sacramento River above the City of Sacramento. Put in at Red Bluff. Biggest problem was identifying places to camp as most of the land is either farmland or off limits habitat. We were able to put eight people in four canoes, with an adult in each canoe. River was running very fast. On our last day we covered over 20 miles in about 4 1/2 hours, including breaks. Maximum speed obtained (per GPS) exceeded 10 mph on occasion.

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Our troop always feels that our Tenderfoot Weekend/Webelos Campout is a great success. Three and a half years ago, we started a Webelos Campout, the same weekend as our Tenderfoot Weekend in May. This year, we had 24 new Boy Scouts, over 25 older scouts that volunteer to help the younger scouts for the weekend, and 16 Webelos (with an adult partner), Each Webelos Den had one of our Life or Eagle scout work with them on Outdoorsman Activity Badge, cooking dinner, doing a skit for the campfire, etc. Committeee members come out on Saturday for Board of Reviews, and we invited family members to the campfire that night. We had about 130 people there!


In our troop, the older scouts, first class and above, do all the teaching and signing of books of the younger scouts. It is priceless to observe the parents of the Webelos (and the new scouts) come to the realization that the scouts are doing all the teaching!


Personally, my favorite scouting time each year is in August. I get to spend a week in the wilderness of Northern Ontario with some first year Boy Scouts. Next summer will be my 25 year of leading groups up there. I know where the best campsites are, great

waterfalls to play in, etc.,etc., etc. To me, this is God's Country, and I love introducing the new scouts to the wonders of the wilderness.

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Our Pack's CM developed a Geocashing event during Halloween a year ago. He set up cashes in the woods behind the church that sponsors our Pack and the boys divided up into teams and off they went. Each station had a Halloween theme with all types Scout acitivities mixed in....it was a really good time for the boys.

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The Troop did not have an outdoor program. the entire troop have been members less than 2 years.


We started a high adventure program....first backpacking trip camping under plastic sheeting....the last one we now own backpacking tents and received a number of backpacks thru fundraising and some donations from folks on this board. Thank you and you know who you are..... the troop camped twice a year prior to the new SM and I came on board and that included resident camp.....We now camp 11 months a year, of those we canoe, cave, hike, rapel and fish.....



The cubs......I am blessed with 5 fantastic den leaders and their 8 assistants. The den leaders do not transition with their scouts, I have a two year experienced wolf den leader, three year bear leader, new tiger leader with a 4 year experienced den leader as mentor, This is my 4th year as a webelos den leader. The pack went from never camping to the tigers wolves and bear three times a year and the webelos 6 times a year. I am going to say experienced leadership is making the difference. Plus our activity level is super high.....one of our dens are active most every weekend......we are hiking this saturday as a Pack at one of our metro parks. Looks like 40 or so total with all the families. Webelos the following weekend are going with the troop to an orienteering competition....we will cut the troop loose and the sm and I will work with the webs.


The key to a strong troop is a strong feeder pack......



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In 83's defense, he may be encountering the challenges I'm facing in my neck of the woods. In this area it's Cub Scouts and their leaders that are treated as second class members, not the Sea Scouts and Venturers. My personal favorite quote from someone who should know better since they are a WB21C 4 beader is that,"Cubs don't need to camp." But this is a positive thread on success stories, not a negative one. So I'll talk about what is going on in regards to Cubs in this area.


Despite several years of neglect, since a key CS volunteer passed away in 1999 (and she was encountering resistance with her programs I might add) the CS program was seriously neglected. That changed with a new SE who is program oriented. First thing he did was get a CS outdoor committee organized. next he got 2 council wide CS camp outs organized at 2 of the 6 council camps in October. This actually encouraged some of the districts with council camps in their territory to do their own CS family camp outs at the same time to A) save travel times, and B) avoid some of the crowds (one of the camps had serious crowd issues that are soon to be taken care of). These have become annual events now and people look forward to them.


Secondly for the BSA's Centennial, he got a "Cub World" going at the council camporee. While everyone was located at the same place, Cubs were in one area, Scouts and Venturers in another. Two separate program areas both groups, except the waterfront was open for all and the midway area.


Third one of the council camps is becoming "Cub Friendly (CF)." The council moved the rowboats fromm the main camp to the CF one b/c they were not being used during the year, and the CF camp is the only one that Cubs can go boating on. He also had the OA do do some serious repair and maintence work a the camp, which really benefits everyone.


Finally, and this has some controversy in my neck of the woods, he is doing some improvements to the CF camp. They are expanding the parking lot and roads and enlarging some of the campsites by taking down trees that need to be cut, i.e old and decaying ones. Most folks don't have a problem with it, but a few do. The big controversy is clear cutting a section of camp that is not being used and reforesting it.


I admit I have mixed emotions on it, but the campsites affected are overgrown and no one is able to use them currently as some of the areas you cannot tell are campsites with the brush. Talk is that they are planning to redo some of the campsites, and add waterlines out to that section of the camp. BSo with all the good stuff the SE has done so far, I have some faith in him, especially since the camp is the one he grew up at as a scout. So overall I am very hopeful.

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I've been trying to think of what was the greatest success. Oddly, the comment by 83Eagle and response by Basementdweller brought one to mind. I think my greatest success was back when I was CM. I took over the pack on its last legs and it seemed like no-one cared, not the CO, not the DE, no-one other than a few loyal families. Those were the cards I was dealt so I stopped wasting time with roundtables, stopped paying any attention to the DE or his 'plans' or deadlines and started working as if we were on our own. It worked. I pre-empted the 'normal' roundup with my own roundup at the schools. I 'advertised' by making our program very visible in the community. And I shamed the CO congregation by using scriptures to make my points. I wasn't popular in the establishment but hey, that was no different from where I had been placed anyway, everything was simply 'on the table' now.

So, we started having more ambitious pack events. We expanded PWD (we owned the track and began to use it at OUR convenience) to include weeks of preparation and numerous weekends of shared construction and 'tune-ups'. This helped the single-parent families immensely (word got out and we had more join). We expanded the family campouts and I convinced the troop that if they wanted to survive, they needed to get the interest of the boys in the pack.

So the troop started planning a campout the same weekend as ours and they would camp across the lake from the pack. The cubs were invited to visit the scouts over the weekend to see how they camped, what they did for activities, etc. On Saturday afternoon, I took all of them for a hike to the top of the mountain.

[side story: I always took snacks...salsa-flavored cheese crackers, etc. the scouts predictably would start bugging me to share and I would....at the top of the mountain. then they'd start asking if I had anything to drink. that would already be gone...heh, heh, I just love teaching them their own motto.]


In return for the invitation by the scouts, the cubs invited the scouts over for our campfire (we had the better location for it). The scouts came with skits and we came with 'smores. Everyone slept well that night. And thus was born a renewed appreciation for the importance of the pack to the future of the troop, as well as all the other things that come with that close sense of community. And everyone had great fun.


In a little more than a year I had helped the pack turn itself around and when I left for the scout troop it was thriving. The CO had realized their mistake and began to take greater interest. We still assume that we're on our own with regard to district and council. No matter.

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