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Should the BSA revise the age ranges

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


Bob, I dont understand the question? Please rephrase.


This Council has developed a pretty full camp scheduled including Cub Resident, Parent/Cub Weekends, Family Camp, and a very complete Day Camp Schedule. Thats all great within the Summer Camp environment. As Packs, we do overnighters at different locations, District/ Council does run these activities, nor do they need to. But again those are not the kinds of challenging outdoor or athletic activities that we should be able to bring to the boys. Dont get me wrong, an overnighter at the Science Museum or on the Battleship is great, but its a different type of activity.


Cub Express has a greater appeal to one kid vs. another kid. In a similar way the outdoor activities have a greater appeal to one kid vs. another. I simply think that we need more opportunity to bring some of the outdoor activities to the kids. Some of the restricted activities can be safely accomplished at the den level. If not, at least at the district level. Our district does not offer any targeted and specific outdoors programs for CS. For instance, we do not have a District or Council Canoe Day for CS (1/2 day Cub/Parent, Council Supervision, BS Lifeguards in some canoes or a chase boat). Sure the kids that go to camp will get to go canoeing, but it wont be a pint sized challenge (adventure). Itll be a 60 min. activity sandwiched in between two other 60 minute activities.


Granted we dont have unlimited personnel to do all the great things we want to do, and probably what I see here is a local thing. But I cant help thinking that more of us would do these kinds of things with our kids if the restrictions were eased. BTW, this area did see a drop in membership over the last year.


Absolutly, changes in the membership ages would be a programmatic change. If by program elements you mean shifting Bear Achievments to Wolf Achievements I would agree they are also programmatic changes. But as far as what I suggested with respect to age appropriate acitivites, I don't think that this would be progammatic. These are not required acitivities. They enhance the scouting expierance, so I would call them enhancements. I know taht this is splitting hairs, but it would have no effect on membership, rank, or advancement. So I would not call it a programmatic change.


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I don't have a problem with the age appropriate activities.

I see nothing wrong with holding these back until such a time as the Scout is able to do them.

In fact I would much sooner see a boy be introduced to an activity that he can manage, rather then some "Watered Down Version" Of the activity.

When we look at Cub Scouting, we need to remember that this program is home and neighborhood based.

Cub Scouting is all about helping families do things as families. When we stop doing that, we are no longer Cub Scouting.

As for the District and Council involvement. I for one, tend to think that Districts and Councils can get in the way of the program. In fact we ought to have as little as possible to do with the program. This is the job of the unit.

If we look at the Training that we offer to Cub Scout Leaders, we see that there is no way that they are trained to take on some of these activities.

Webelos Scout Den Leaders are offered training in outdoor Skills and how to present them to boys of Webelos Scout age. These Scouts are not the same as the boys that are in our troops, they have very different needs.

Having "Lived Through" Being a Den Leader and Webelos Scout Den Leader, I was kept on my toes the entire time, in fact if anything there was just too much stuff that needed to be done, the boys were active and busy all the time. They never felt that they were missing out on anything, they were just enjoying the program as it was, because that is what it was.

I think it is also important to note that the Pack, does become an important part of the local community. Where I live it is a small town of a little less then 5000.

Our Cub Scouting program is reaching over 27% of the available boys in the school district.

With four packs. All four are chartered by different local churches. With so many boys in such a small area there are so many Aunts, Uncles, Grand-parents, who while not directly involved are still touched by what the Cub Scouts are doing.

I think the program and the activities that we now offer are fine, but wonder if the urge to "Do More" is coming from some of the Adults ?

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Im not sure that there is any thing like a Watered Down Activity. The kids do their best all the time. The only difference is that as they get older there best gets better and the activity becomes more challenging.


Just look at the bicycle analogy. tricycle, bike with training wheels, bicycle, bigger bicycle, mountain bike, motorcycle. The 3 year old got as much out of his tricycle experience as the adult does with his motorcycle experience.






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OOPS, darn shift key.



Why do you suppose the G2SS reistricts some activities depending on program level?




Which G2SS policies would need to be changed in order for your District or Council to do a Cub Canoe Day? If they can do the activity at a day camp couldn't they do it as a stand alone activity?(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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I don't think any revision would be needed to run this as a council activity. It is allowable as a Council activity. A change would need to occur for us to do some of these things as a den or pack activity.


Yes I imagine they could do it as a stand alone activity. I'm not familuar with Camp Policies.



Gotta go, I'm getting the evil eye. No rest for the weary, have to go to Boston. Meeting tonight with Paul Revere, something about a tea shippment.

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Id like to go back to this exercise for few minutes.



The G2SS restrictions exist for a number of reasons. Wed all hope that they were all based entirely on safety, and some assessment about age appropriateness. However in todays world its probably shortsighted to exclude the potential for litigation from the list of reasons for the restrictions. Additionally, I would think that there is some attempt to here to prevent CS Leaders from going too far with CS, and removing the lure of BS by over exposing the CS to certain activities. Regardless why the restrictions exist, I still thing that we need to raise the bar in some areas.


Ill use our local soccer program as a comparison. Traditionally we play only intramural (within our own league) soccer for our 7-8 year olds. Teams are established by a draft, each team gets one or two or 3 very good players. What weve found is that the very good players lose interest and dont want to continue into the 8-9 year old bracket because they are not challenged enough in the intramural games. So whats happened? The league is establishing 7-8, and 8-9 year old travel teams. Why?, to raise the bar, to enhance the challenge and add to the adventure. In a nut shell, to keep these boys in the program! Unfortunately the coaches and parents allow this to get out of hand and it becomes an all consuming win at all cost experience. I dont believe that the same thing would occur in scouting.


The point is that many of the young kids today need that extra challenge. If we cant give it to them they will lose interest and go elsewhere.





Im all for staying in the community, and I have said so in the past. We do all the nice community minded things that CS should do. That part of the program is a great learning experience for the boys and a great shared experience for the Parent/Cub. The purpose of the CS program is not so much to directly benefit the local community, but to indirectly support the community by helping to develop the youth of that community; we are here to benefit the boys that are enrolled in our program and by doing that we help our communities. We are not the local food pantry; we are not the local thrift shop. We support these activities, but the existence of these groups is not dependent on us. We teach the boys the importance of supporting these activities, but again they are not dependent on us. Our focus is not the local charitable establishments, and I will leave a deeper youth involvement in those areas to the local church youth groups. Additionally, as I implied earlier, these kinds of community based programs appeal to one kind of child but not all.


I dont believe that District/Council activities get in the way. They are a terrific opportunity of the boys to be a part of the larger scouting family. They have the potential to bring a higher level of activity to the boys and they provide the opportunity to add greater challenges to the CS program. They should not be the backbone of our CS programs, but they provide a much need function.









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So fotoscout,

If you have exhausted all the activities available to you through the cub scout handbook for a particular rank, and all the activities recommended by the program helps, and all the district and Council activities offered for your scouts, and you want to do your own cub activity; what would that activity be, for what age group, and what rule in G2SS do you feel keeps you from doing that activity, and why do you think that specific rule exists?


Perhaps if we had a specifc example of these things it would help us to understand what you think is missing.


Bob White

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Hi Bob,


Its not about having exhausted anything, although Im flattered that you think me capable of having accomplished so much with my boys. Its about challenge and interest.


Look at the matrix



Now go back to those few items I mentioned earlier. We can go swimming, but we cant go rowing. We can play ice hockey or go go-carting but we cant go canoeing. We can go rollerblading or Skiing but we cant go rafting. Hello, we are an outdoors program and we cant take 7-8 year olds, with their parent, out onto a flat calm lake in a rowboat. I posted my thoughts on why the rules exist. But the more I look at them the more I wonder just how they were put together. Any number of the items that I just mentioned have equal or greater risk than would a 2 hour flatwater rowboat outing.


Here is an example of what Im talking about. Summer time den activity, planned trip to Lake Stillwater. Planned activity to include picnic and 3 hour canoe rental for each cub & parent pairing. We will paddle from the dock to the ice cream shack and back. (big adventure the shack is around the bend, less than a mile but an achievable adventure for bunch of 7-8 year olds) This is a fictitious event, but it highlights my point. We could not do this as a den activity. CS cannot go canoeing.


So you might say, well Foto, since you cant go canoeing do something else. Set up a trip to the Skate Park and let the boys go rollerblading. Sure I could do that, each kid would come with a parent, the parents would all find a bench and the kids would go off and skate. Some time later the kids would come back and wed all go home. Have I introduced a family component to this outing? NO. Aside from that, if the kid doesnt rollerblade he wont come to this activity. But guess what happens when the kid knows that hes going to spent the whole afternoon on a canoe with dad? Ill bet my shoulder loops that everyone one of the kids would show up. Its about the adventure and the challenge; its not about just having an activity.




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But fotoscout,

Where do the program rules say you cannot take cub scouts rowing or canoeing?


The activity matrix is a suggested list of activities appropriate for those age groups. You are not restricted to those activities or from those activities.


The Guide to Safe Scouting is the governing tool as to what you can or cannot do within a program, and the Guide says that within specific safety considerations you can take Cubs canoeing and rowing.


I guess what Im trying to tell you is you are only limited by those activities prohibited by the BSA. Otherwise you are open to do any activity that the scouts are physically capable of, where adequate training has taken place, the proper safety equipment is used and sufficient adult leadership is provided.


But certainly you can understand why scouting, and for that matter any responsible parent, is not going to allow a unit to do anything they want with other peoples kids unless reasonable safety practices are observed.


So what activity is there you want to do that you think is appropriate for cubs that the BSA says you cannot do? (remembering that you can go rowing and canoeing)


Bob White


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Take my Lake Stillwater for example, how would I do this activity as a den acitivity? G2SS says that CS can only go canoeing as a "council/district outdoors programs only", same for rafting and rowing is out completely. As I mentioned earlier, our district doesn't do this stuff, except for some canoeing for camp goers.



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The reason boating is restricted to District/Council events is to insure that the required resources are available (lifeguards, lookouts, safety afloat trained supervisor, approved equipment, approved boating area) have you offered your activity idea to the District activity committee yet?


I'm not sure why you ruled out rowboats. They are allowed and only require that an adult swimmer be in the boat with a non-swimmer, where canoes and rafts require a certified lifeguard in each boat with a non-swimmer.


By the way have all of your cubs in the den passed the BSA 100yd swim test?


But this activity is not prohibited it is just controlled for the protection of the scouts. Not necessarily because the scout isn't capable of doing the activity but because of the responsible, experienced, and trained adult supervision required to do the activity safely.


Bob White

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Bingo! That's exactly my point Bob.


Look at all those requirements. Are we ignorant to think that the millions of American families who embark on a leisurely canoe trip this summer will satisfy all of those requirements? Do you think that all those parents are irresponsible? Now remember we are not talking about moving water or even whitewater. We are talking about a location specifically selected because of its appropriateness for young kids.


How many CS do you know that can pass a 100 yd swim test? Not many I suspect. I dont think that I know of any.


Bob, I understand the argument, from a national viewpoint and from the perspective of a CO, I understand the argument. Think of it for a minute, this is the perfect den activity. Sure it would be fun as district activity, but with 30 or 40 boats it would be a little less personal. Even as a district activity Id wonder if we would ever be able to put a lifeguard in every boat, then what would you do with the parent?



A half day canoe outing, with a parent, on a flat body of water is not a risky activity. I am quite certain that a trip to the skate park has much greater risk associated with it. My initial comment was that I though that we should do something to make this kind of outing more accessible to CS. The answer may be in a Hold Harmless document, or maybe in pre selected bodies of water approved by local Council.


I dont where the answers will ultimately lie, but I can tell you that when we tell our parents that we cannot do a canoe trip because we cant possible meet Scoutings requirements for the trip, they laugh at us. More precisely they laugh at the requirements. To make matters worse, this is a very common activity done under the guise of a Family outing for many packs in this area.


BTW, I haven't ruled out rowboats. But I think that kids will get less out rowboating than canoeing. It takes more strength to row and the kids could not possibly row the boat by himself with dad looking on. In a canoe the kids can paddle to their little hearts content from the bow and contribute to the adventure.

(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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And there is my point fotoscout.You say on one hand that your Den of cub scouts is ready for this activity and then you say they cannot swim 100 yards. What makes you think they are ready for this activity? The mere fact that they want to do it does not mean they are ready. The fact that you want to do it with them does ot make them ready.


The BSA has 92 years of experience with over 100 million youth members. They know where and how the major injuries are most likely to happen and have built safeguards around those areas. Water is the #1 safety hazard in scouting. Because of that it has the most safety requirements. Certainly expecting a boater to swim is not an outrageous one.


Ask any lawyer and I think you will find that the best use of a "hold harmless" agreement is as tinder in your fireplace. The BSA takes a different approach. If you take a non-swimming scout out without following the bold print in the G2SS the and some one gets hurt the BSA says "I told you so" and will separate themselves from the legal defense of any criminal or civil charges that arise from your actions.


So If you feel that strongly that the BSA rules are too stringent, ignore them. Place no value in their experience or studies. Be willing to sacrifice your personal income, and assets to defend yourself in court, pay damages and perhaps even face criminal charges in order to put a cub scout who can't swim in a canoe.


Do I think that there ar a lot of irresponsible leaders out there. Let me put it this way. There are 1.5 million adult volunteers in scouting. If 99% percent of them follow the rules then there are FIFTEEN THOUSAND leaders who don't. Yes, I think there are probably a lot of irresponsible leaders out there and the scouts need these safety guidelines established and supported in order to keep them safe.


I hope after giving this your consideration you will see that giving cubs controlled opportunities, until their training and capabilities have caught up to their enthusiasm, is a safer and better alternative to accept and endorse as a leader.


Bob White

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Cub Scouting is about families doing things / Activities, as families.

I don't know what happens in other parts of this great land.

But here in our corner of Southweastern Pennsylvannia, we hold a school Sign-up night.

On this night, the Cub Packs are in the schools recruiting both Cub Scouts and Adult Leaders.

Over half, if not more of these Adults are female, and most have no back ground in Scouting.

We spent a fair amount of time explaining that being a Tiger Cub Partner or becoming a Den Leader is not rocket science, we then as quickly as possible get the Den Leaders trained.

Most are very happy being a Den Leader, until they get to the Webelos Scout Den.

When they look at the names of some of the Activity Pins, there is a lot apprehension. Again we explain that we are dealing with young boys and history has shown that help is available.

Still we do lose some of these Den Leaders or at this time they decide "Now is the time for Dad to get involved"

They are not trained to take these young cub Scouts out on Canoe trips or other "High" Adventure activities.

IF they thought that was what they were to be doing, they never would have signed up in the first place.

I serve as the District Chair. For what many would think is a small district. We have 3 Crews.16 Boy Scout Troops and 26 Packs. All the Leaders we have do their best to serve the units that they are in. As far as possible I try not to get them involved in "The District".

Some of the troops are into Bike Trips, that is what they seem to do a lot of.

We have a couple of troops that seem happy to camp once a month at the same camp site. And we have a couple that do a fair amount of water activities. The rest are a mixed bag.

These units are busy serving the needs of the youth in their own unit. They don't have time to start providing Leadership for District Events.

Yes we do have a District Activities Committee.

This Committee plans and runs the District events.We hold a Mall Show. At this we run the District Pinewood Derby. Cub Scout parent and son cake decorating Competition. Cub Scout Poster Competition and the Boy Scout First Aid Competition.

They help coordinate the District Ski Day, Cub Scouts are invited to come and take a lesson. And they coordinate two District Camporees.

All the Scouts who attend our resident camps. Be they Cub Scouts Or Boy Scouts are offered the oppertunity to use our Boat Docks, where there are canoes and row boats and a trained and paid staff. The Staff know the rules and follow them and that is why they are there.

We as a district do not have the man power to start running this sort of thing.

As it is we are in danger of interfering with a Troops program for 4 months maybe 5 if you count Summer Camp. That is not why we are there.

We would make recruiting Adult Leadership a lot harder then it already is, if we started to "Beef Up" the cub Scout program.

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Hi Bob,


AS I sit here I hold in my hand a form entitled, Parental Informed Consent and Hold Harmless/Release Agreement. It is printed on the reverse side of a Class 3 Personal Health and Medical Record Form. The release is specifically written for C.O.P.E. or Climbing Program offered through our local Council and is part of the paper work required by our Council for participation in the Climbing Program at Cub Scout Day Camp / Resident Camp. With all due respect, I do not think that Council would waste postage stamps on tinder. At least I would hope not.


If you followed the thread about the BS who barely passed his Swimmer test and wanted to go on the Canoe trip with his troop, you know what my thoughts are about water safety. I spent the first 30 years of my life at times literally living on the water. Ive been certified as a Ocean Lifeguard, Water Safety Instructor, and WSI Trainer all Red Cross. With respect to the BS going with his troop, the restrictions are warranted. They may be miles from nowhere and high on teenage hormones, with limited adult supervision, on unknown waters, possibly dealing with unknown environmental elements. The situation I propose here is very different. We are on flatwater, in good weather, with a parent in charge of each boat, immediate cell phone access, and rescue personal only minutes away. Does that mean its a free for all, of course not! But it does mean that we need to be more realistic in our requirements. One size does not fit all. Calling for a 100 yard swim is simply an exclusionary clause. My educated guess is that 1 in 100.000 CS could do that. Simply an unrealistic requirement for this kind of outing. Calling for a certified Lifeguard in each boat is similarly incredulous. Quite honestly it conjures up thoughts about the competency of the individual who wrote that line. One of the things that we learn very quickly on the waterfront is that there are never enough lifeguards to go around. To expect that an adequate number of lifeguards could be conjured up for an outing like this is unreasonable. Even if it was done at a council facility.


Believe it or not Bob, a half-day, fair weather, flatwater outing in a canoe with mom or dad is an entry-level experience for young kids. The more I look at it, the more I want to believe that something other than safety was the guiding factor in assembling the restrictions that we see.


I certainly agree that there are irresponsible leaders out there, but making our safety guidelines excessive to protect against the relatively few irresponsible leaders is kind of like living our lives in fear of the terrorists.



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