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Should the BSA revise the age ranges

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Soory about the typo I was heading out the door. The statement should have read... But as voulunteer we are not charged with changing the program, our responsibility is to honor the promise we made when we joined, to deliver the BSA program and abide by the poilicies and methods that define it.



Bob W.

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The promise is printed on the inside front cover of the adult BSA application. It's more of an agreement than a promise. When someone signs the application, they are agreeing to the material printed inside the front cover. The print is a little on the small side, but it ain't "fine print."



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DS is right of course it is more of an agreement. Promise was my term. I injected a personal outlook into it. When I sign my name to something I look at it as pledging my word to uphold my part of the agreement, I promised.



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Hi Bob,

I have been considering taking more training but I have also been considering leaving the program all together. And it is because of the scout ways and their dogma. Your comments are a good example. I find things too defined around all things scouting and the thinking a little narrow. If I disagree with something it is explained away that I just don't understand the issue.


Consider this: The school system in this country, that has millions of children attending, hundreds of years of existence, and thousands of experts on child development. They promote children from grade to grade kind of like we do in scouts with ranks. Age is a consideration in the school system but not the only one. You don't get into the 7th grade just because you are 12 but because you are 12 and you are READY. You can be Eagle at 13 or 18 and it is OK if you did the work and you are ready to be Eagle.


Teachers spend years preparing to teach our children, in most cases spend more time during the day with these children than their own and they help the parent decide if their child is ready to promote to the next level. My children go to class with kids that are one or two years older than themselves. These are good kids that were not ready for any number of reasons to track with the average students their age and they do fine hanging with younger kids. Open your thinking up please.


About the 14 year old with a razor, the point was that not all boys start shaving at 14.


Thanks for your reply and your point is well taken about the training. I am not sure the trainer would like someone like me in the class. I don't buy in that easily, I like to challenge.

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"I find things too defined around all things scouting"


Here's where I am confused Padre. When you became involved in scouting did anyone explain that it was a program and not an activity? It is fun with a purpose. In order to achieve that purpose on a national basis it needs a structure, a roadmap.


it is not so rigid that it cannot adapt to individual needs. Your example of making Eagle when you have completed it and not by age is a good example, yet within that example lies the rule that you must be a Boy Scout and not a Cub to earn it.


It's like driving. Everyone has the same destintion, they can take whatever style vehicle they want but there are still rules and structure that must be obeyed in order to get everyone there safely. It you drive where ever you want, it is unlikely you will arrive at your destination.


Good driving requires an understanding of the rules, an ability to read the map, and practice.


So does good scouting.


Bob White

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In a convoluted sort of way Wallace makes an interesting point.


Children today are maturing more quickly. What used to be exciting and challenging for a 16 year old is now appropriate for a 14 year old, and so on down the age brackets. Todays children tend to be more independent than yesterdays children. Todays kids are without question more street wise than yesterdays.


The point is that in order to keep the boys interested we need to bring them activities that are exciting and challenging at all ages. Perhaps what BSA needs to do is rethink the age appropriate guidelines for all activities.


My personal tendency is to hold back on the good stuff so that the boys have something to look forward to as they get older. That may very well be flawed logic. What we may really have to do is give the boys better stuff now, and as they get older, push them to find more challenging activities. Ok so now someone is thinking Venturing. Thats good for the older kids, and remember its not Boy Scouts.


But what about the younger kids? Do CS Leaders have the ability to offer a more challenging program at the den level. I would have to say, no, not in a universal sense. Some could, but most could not. So now we go full circle and come back to the need for Councils or Districts to offer better CS activities.


Any thoughts???

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One question, and some historical perspective.


What do you see is the hurdle that keeps (or will keep) Dens and Packs from delivering a scouting program that is exciting an interesting to cubs at the various age breakouts? (Remebering that District and Councils are made up of the same volunteers that make up dens, packs, troops and crews.)


Historical perspective..Scouting has continually responded to the changing characteristics of youth. for the first 20 years there was no program for under 12 year olds. Then Cub scouting began at age 8 at went to 12. The next change was Boy Scouting starting at age 11. Then age 10 1/2, followed by cubbing reducing the entrance to age 7. and finally Venturing going to age 21.


In addition there have been numerous changes in the advancement requirements as the needs and characteristics of youth have changed over the generations. Currently every Merit Badge is going through a re-write to bring their information up to current technologies. Besides that, the methods of scout leadership have advanced over the years to take advantage of new techniques based on a variety of studies in the areas of group dynamics, management, psychology and more.


So when Wallace offers that we change the age requirements I say "fine, but based on what"?Let's do it based on sound studies and proven methodology, not just because someone else does it differently.


Bob White

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I tend to think that a quality leader will deliver a quality program.

If the Cub Scouting program is delivered to the boys with imagination and attention to remaining Home and Neighborhood based, the boys will get a lot out of the program.

While out of all the programs that I have been involved in with youth members, the Webelos Scout Den was by far the hardest, but at the same time a lot of fun for both the Webelos Scouts and myself. There just seemed so much to do and the activites were so varied I (not the Scouts !!)had a hard time keeping on top of things. Still I feel sure that the boys got a lot out of the program. Yes there were one or two who were not as far ahead as some of the others when it came to reading and writing things, that needed to be read or put down on paper. But that was part of my job as a leader to help each of them as individuals. Hopefully we do that with each and every boy /girl in our programs. While we don't break or even bend the rules or the requirements, we do find a way of making them work.

There are ways of ensuring that a Cub Scout or Boy Scout is in the program along with the boys that are in the same grade as he is in.

For example a parent may hold their son back a grade in school, that boy can then move along in our programs at that grade level.

A number of years back, English Cub Scouts started going to camp in a big way. This seemed to be a good idea. Camp sites were filled and money was spent improving the facilities.

As they operate as a Scout Group, the equipment was now being used a lot more and everything seemed to be going well.

But then we noticed that the boys were not staying in the troop.

We had lost the "Carrot"

The lure of going to camp was gone.

To make matters even worse, when the Cub Scouts went to camp with the pack, there was an entire army of adults who did all the work.

This wasn't so when they went with the troop or with their patrol.

Some of the troops started to "Beef Up" the activities, that they were doing by starting to do things that the Venture Scouts would normally be doing.

So while the Cub Packs were doing well, the other programs were feeling the pinch.

I hear a lot about the youth of today being so much more advanced then the youth of yesteryear.

Most of it is a bunch of twaddle.

Yes the youth of today is exposed to a lot of things that maybe we were not exposed to. Yes the toys are a lot more complex. But take a bunch of boys to camp, let them know that you really care for them and what they are doing. Challenge them to do something and these kids are no different then the bunch that BP, took to Brownsea Island.

At times I think that we are cheating the Scouts that I meet, because we adults are not doing as good a job passing on skills that help them get more out of the program, as we may have done in the past. However, the training that I have taken and I like to think that the training that I present does go a long way to help our leaders and me to understand how to work with the youth in the units. I am aware that I'm not an expert on youth or a teacher.

Still with almost 100 years of the program behind us, maybe we are doing something right.

Some of us have looked at change, and while I for one do not have problems with change. The idea of changing just because someone else has, just seems a little daffy.

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A comment on Bobs historical perspective. His comment is presented in the context of programmatic change, and I am sure that that is partially true. However, the other contributing factor was (and still is) the market. We want boys in scouting; we want organizations to charter BSA units. A great deal of what drove some of the changes mentioned was simply the competitive market for todays youth. As for merit badge updates, I put that into the survival category. Nothing could more quickly make BSA pass than outdated MB booklets. Adding MB booklets is a programmatic update, but maintenance on the existing ones is survival.



As Emmon points out, good leaders will continue to provide interesting and exciting meetings. But you both avoided the challenging part. Take a look at the age appropriate guidelines with special attention to the things that Cubs cant do. Here is a sampling, Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting. The hurdle Bob, and there are two of them, are that (1) the G2SS prevents dens and packs from engaging in many of the activities that boys of this age find challenging, and (2) many CS leaders dont have the skills or expertise to conduct these kinds of activities. So, why Council / District? Simple, because the G2SS allows for some these activities to be done at that level. But, other than in the camp environment, these kinds of activities are not available to dens or packs. Sure, we can do these things as family activities (yes Bob, we all know your thoughts on that one), but wouldnt it be nice to have these kinds of activities regularly scheduled through the Council/District. I pulled these items out of the aquatics group, but the same argument could well be made with many of the activities that are off limits to Cub Scouts.





(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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Why do you think the G@SS has program based restrictions?


What is keeping your district or council from running more events than it does now, presuming that they are not running enough to meet the needs of the local scouting community?


Our local District runs 3 week-long day camps, 3 resident camp weekends, An overnight winter-fest, an overnight at a zoo. Our council runs 2 family camp weekends, an overnight at a ball park following the game, an overnight at a hockey rink following the game. And those are just some of the cub activities there is the Pinewood derby, and other basic Cub activities run by the District. Now you add all the Boy Scout and Venture activities and your stretching your staffing resources pretty thin.


I am not denying that some Districts could do more. But that is a local situation, and will vary from District to District based on strength of the local program, enthusiasm and abilities of the volunteers, workforce resources, local physical resources. I don't see it as a national problem, and membership in Cubs certainly does not show there is a problem.


Bob White

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While I agree that the examples I gave were programitic changes, so are the suggestions to alter membership ages and program elements.

Anything that alters the program would be, wouldn't it?


Bob White

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