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Webelos to Scout Transition – The Goal June 9, 2010

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Hello fellow Scouters,

This is the seventh and will be the last in a series I’ve written on  Webelos to Scout transition. This time we are going to look at what the goal of the Webelos to Scout process should be.

Too often I hear people say that the goal of the Webelos to Scout transition process should be getting a boy to join a troop. This can be A goal, but I feel this falls short of what we want from our Webelos Scout. We are not selling cars, where we want someone to sign the dotted line and then the deal is done. If we think of the goal as getting a boy to join a troop, we will design our recruiting tools for this. Instead, we should define the goal as getting the boy to find a troop that fits him and his family, where he will stay in and find success.

Each troop is unique. Some are fully boy-lead. Some have more adult involvement. Some are high-adventure oriented. Some might do more car camping. And some might be more community-service oriented, with a little less focus on the outdoors. And all of these are the correct way to run a troop. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of saying a troop should be this way, or a troop should be that way. If a troop has a stable or growing membership, and the boys are having fun while their character is being developed, then that troop is doing the right thing.

So when working towards our Webelos to Scout transition goal, we should look at which type of troop fits the boy and his family before he joins. The boy and his family should look for a troop that fits their family needs and their idea of what a troop should be. This is why visiting multiple troops as a Webelos is so vital. And I would charge all Webelos den leaders to let your parents know that the choice of a troop is a family decision. This is the time where your den might go their separate ways, and that’s OK. Although it’s great when boys go from a Webelos den to the same troop, sometimes it’s best in the long run for a Scout to go to a separate troop than some in his den.

We should want more from the Webelos to Scout transition process than getting a boy to join a troop. The Webelos to Scout transition process should be about getting the boy to join a troop that fits in with his and his family’s idea of what a troop should be and where he will get fully engaged in that troop. We want a boy to find the right troop for him and his family, so he will join and stay in and enjoy all that Boy Scouts has to offer.

Previous Webelos to Scout transition postings can be found by clicking the “Webelos to Scout” page above.

In Scouting,

- Scouter Jeff <><

Webelos Outdoorsman Campout August 17, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

Since the Webelos program allows you to camp as a den, why not Outdoorsmanconsider working on your Outdoorsman activity badge at your own den campout? When I was a den leader, I would only work on the Outdoorsman pin at an outing – I just couldn’t work on any of the requirements at a den meeting. Although just my opinion, the very name implies that you should be in the outdoors!

We worked on the Outdoorsman badge for the two dens I led at a Webelos-only campout (all the Webelos dens from the pack participated). We broke out many of the requirements into rotation stations, and spent two hours or so working on these requirements:

  • Leave no Trace discussion, for #5
  • Fire safety and fire starting, for #7
  • Whip and fuse the end or a rope, for #10
  • Set up a tent fly using knots, for #11 (#10 and 11 were combined into one station)

Then, in in the afternoon, we went on a 3 mile hike, to fulfill requirement #9. (This is just for an example – you should tailor the program requirements as you want).

Apart from the rotation stations and hikes, we worked on cooking with the boys (for #8). The boys helped pitch their tent (for #3), and had them present themselves to us and show us how they packed their bags (for #1). By the end of the weekend, not only did we have a great time outdoors, but the boys earned all of the Outdoorsman (and one or two requirement to spare).

Since you have the Scouts for the whole weekend, you can also add other activity pins. We did the Citizen flag requirements as part of the rotations, and for the evening campfire each Webelos den did a play for a Showman requirements (which also fulfilled Oudoorsman #2). We did allow plenty of free time, however, so the campout wasn’t only about Webelos requirements. Even with as much work as we did, though, all the boys had a great time at these campouts.

If you decide to hold a Webelos outdoorsman campout, I would recommend working with any other Webelos dens in your pack. This way you share the workload. And I would recommend doing this early in the program. This way if any Scouts are unable to attend, you have time before the Arrow of Light to work with the Scout on this required activity badge. And don’t be afraid to ask your parents for help – my den parents were more than willing to help and did a great job teaching the boys on some of these requirements. They just needed to be asked.

The Outdoorsman activity badge is a fun achievement to earn. And it is so much fun to work on in the outdoors. So as you plan this Scouting year’s schedule, take advantage of being able to camp as a den and consider scheduling your own Outdoorsman campout. Campouts are always fun and build great memories. And lest face it, by the time your boys are Webelos age, they often would rather do their own camping apart from the younger boys in the pack. So consider taking advantage of this and have your own campout.

Here’s to a great outdoor Webelos experience! Don’t forget to collect campfire ash!

In Scouting,

 – Scouter Jeff <><

Teaching Cubs to Cook June 23, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

This past weekend, I made a cake with my son, who’s CakeMixenjoying his first year in Boy Scouts. We got a delicious Dr. Pepper and cake mix recipe from Scoutmaster Cleary, and since it had several ingredients my son loved (including his favorite soda), it was easy to talk him into making it together. This was a dutch oven cake, but we made it at home in our oven, and while we made it we discussed how to make it in a dutch oven. It tasted so good!

But I had ulterior motives when I asked him to make it with me. Sure, I wanted a cake. I always want dessert! But more importantly I wanted to give him something that he could make on a troop campout.

As scout leaders, our boys will benefit if we teach them to cook. Each Cub rank has some kind of cooking requirement (Tiger electives 24 and 25; Wolf achievements 8c,d, and e; Bear achievement 9a-g; and Webelos Outdoorsman 8). We could easily dismiss that and say that “that could be done at home”, but we would miss teaching our boys an important campout and life skill – basic cooking.

There is an old cliche that Boy Scouts survive on ramen noodles and cereal on a campout. I don’t know if this is true or not. But a boy that knows some basic recipes, knows how to use a camp stove, and knows how to use a dutch oven is going to have a great campout.

And these lessons can begin at the Cub Scout level. Start with the cooking requirements in the Cub books. Or have a camping cooking meeting that doesn’t necessarily meet a Cub requirement. Or have a den picnic in a park, and make something easy and hot for lunch. And when you are Webelos, take the boys and their parents on a den campout, and pull the boys aside as their own patrol to make their meals. When these boys enter boy scouts they might not be cooking experts, but they will bring an important skill to their patrols on a campout.

Now my son has a new tool in his camping “tool kit”. He has a delicious, easy to make dutch oven cake. So when he and his patrol plans their next campout, and someone suggests bringing cookies for a dessert, he has something to up the ante and help make a memorable campout.

And don’t forget to click on the “Scouting Outdoors” page for some dutch oven helps and recipes:

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/scouting-outdoors/

In Scouting,
– Scouter Jeff <><

Webelos to Scout Transition – Part 6 May 16, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

This is part 6 in a series I’ve written about Webelos to Scout flagtransition. This time we will look at preparing for the costs you will incur when you transfer into the Boy Scout program, especially the first summer camp. Many don’t know what costs to expect, and this can result in “sticker shock” when you join a troop.

The good news is that it is only $1 to transfer from your pack to a new troop. And if you bought a large enough tan shirt for Webelos, you should be able to take off the Cub Scout patches and awards and wear this in Boy Scouts (but keep the Arrow of Light award and purple religious knot, as these two patches can be worn on your Boy Scout uniform).

So what do you need to save for? First, there are uniform accessories you will need to buy. Your new troop will let you know what you will need, and how much this will cost. Examples would include a Boy Scout hat and kerchief slide, a troop kerchief, a Boy Scout handbook, and a troop information binder notebook. You might not know the exact cost now, but you can price these out to get an estimate of what you will need to come up with when you bridge.

As with your pack, your new troop will have dues. Now that your son is growing up, it’s a good idea to have him start paying for his own dues, if he doesn’t already. I made some chores for my son to do so I could increase his allowance and he could pay for his dues (these were new chores on top of the tasks he already had to do). Now my son cleans our back patio furniture and blow off the patio each week. Since a Scout pays his own way, he is earning his dues and his way in the troop.

The biggest expense that you will have when you join a troop is the first summer camp. The main reason why so many Webelos dens bridge into Boy Scouts before the end of the fifth grade is to get the boys plugged into the troop in time for the first summer camp. (I will write a separate post on getting your son ready for his first summer camp, so we will only look at the cost here).

Hopefully your pack or troop has some mechanism for helping to pay for the first summer camp, as it can cost several hundred dollars. This is a lot of money to come up with! Often, troops will need a decision as soon as you join if your son will attend summer camp. Does your pack have “scout accounts” that will come over with your son? Does the troops you are looking at have a spring fundraiser to help pay for this? These are questions to ask as soon as possible.

As we want to teach responsibility, we can actually do a disservice to our son, in the absence of a mechanism to pay for the first summer camp, by writing a check and paying for it. It’s time that the soon-to-be-graduating Webelos Scout has more of a stake in fundraising, if he doesn’t already. If you have to pay for this first summer camp, then have your son start collecting cans and bottles. Have him to chores around the neighborhood or for relatives. Have him save a portion of any Christmas money received. He will get more out of the first summer camp if he has a financial stake in it.

Finally, to help get our boys to their first summer camp, I offer two challenges. First, a challenge to packs: Consider Scout accounts at the pack level, or consider letting the fall fundraiser for the second-year Webelos go towards Boy Scout expenses. And, a challenge to troops: If you don’t have this already, consider putting in place some mechanism so new scouts can pay for their first summer camp without going to First National Bank of Mom and Dad, or missing out entirely.

The last thing we want when going into Boy Scouts is “Sticker Shock”. But by planning ahead, we can prepare for these costs, and the impact won’t be so painful.

“A Scout is thrifty. He pays his own way”.

[More Webelos to Scout transition topics can be found by clicking on the Webelos to Scout transition page of this blog]

In Scouting,

 – Scouter Jeff <><

More Patrol Emblem Choices March 20, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

At the end of our Bear year, we chose a Boy Scout patrol emblem for our Webelos den name. In our pack, the Webelos change from a denjollyrogerpatrolpatch number to a den patrol name at the beginning of the Webelos program (I know some units do this at the beginning of their second Webelos year, and some don’t name their Webelos den at all). As a reminder, even though they have a patrol name and patch, Webelos are not patrols, but dens.

The Boy Scouts of America offers many great patrol patches to choose from. Here is a link to the different patrol emblems that BSA offers:

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/patrol-patch.asp

One thing I learned recently is that ClassB.com offers their own bulldogpatrolpatchpatrol emblems. I wish that I had known that there were other choices out there, as they offer some really great ones! Check with your unit leadership first, to make sure they allow these patrol emblems. If your unit allows them, here is the link for some great choices (ClassB.com is an official licensee of BSA merchandise, and you have no minimum order requirements for these):

http://store.classb.com/patches

Some pointers on choosing a patrol emblem for your Webelos den:

1) Let the boys choose. This can be their first chance of determining how dinopatrolpatchtheir den is run. It’s a good early lesson in the patrol method of Scouting. One option is to have them vote on the emblem, and choose the one with the most votes. Or you can take a more difficult approach. I my den, I gave the boys the list and told them to come back to me when they had one chosen. The first time they discussed this choice did not go well at all. After 20 minutes I had to stop it because they couldn’t agree on one, and there was some arguing. I thought it was a mistake to go this way, but I decided to give it one more chance.  At the next den meeting, after about 5 minutes they came back to me and told me they all agreed to the Cool Foxes as their name – and they didn’t even discuss the fox emblem the first time they met! I’m glad it worked this way because they had total ownership of the choice. It was a growing experience for them.

2) Don’t settle with the patrol patch name. Let them be creative. Don’t just be the “Sharks” or “Eagles”. Let them be the “Scary Sharks” or “Flying Eagles”, or something else fun. My first den became the Lightning Bolts, and my second den became the Cool Foxes.

3) If you have more than one Webelos den in your pack, as a courtesy you should discuss your decision with any other Webelos dens in your pack. There are so many choices that the chance that they choose the same one is probably small, but it’s still a good idea to talk it over with the other Webelos den leaders before finalizing the decision.

As we head towards the end of the Cub Scout year, now is a good time to pick your patrol name, so your den is ready to go when the new Scouting year starts.

Do you have another place that has great custom patrol emblems? Please feel free to add a comment to this post and share it with us.

In Scouting,

- Scouter Jeff <><

Webelos to Scout Transition Part 5 March 5, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

This is part 5 in a series I’ve written on Webelos to Scout transition. This time I’m going to look at the players involved. I’ve seen a lot of talk on the various discussion groups over who is ultimately in charge of getting Webelos to join Boy Scout troops. For me, the short answer is: everyone!

Here is a look at the players involved in this process.

The Webelos Den Leader – In my opinion, the Webelos Den flagLeader is the most important individual in this process. He/she has a vested interest in each boy’s success in the Scouting program. The Webelos leader is the one that knows every boy and parents and can directly ask the families if they are planning to go into Boy Scouts. The Webelos Den Leader can and should be the greatest recruiter for Boy Scouts.

The Scoutmaster – A Scoutmater should be recruiting – incoming recruits are the lifeblood of a Scouting program. They should be recruiting either to grow the troop or to replace attrition. They should need to be actively working with packs to get Webelos to come to events and meetings, even having someone in the troop specifically assigned to this. (I asked for this when I asked to be an Assistant Scoutmaster at my son’s new troop). And a Scoutmaster should sit down and explain to the Webelos parents during the Arrow of Light conference process why their boy should join Boy Scouts. I sat down in a Scoutmaster meeting with my parents, and the Assistant Scoutmaster explained everything about their particular troop to us parents. But they never told us what our sons will get out of Boy Scouts. They gave us good information about their troop but missed a great recruiting opportunity to tell us why our sons should continue in Boy Scouts.

The Cubmaster – The Cubmaster should have contact with several local troops, to help coordinate information exchange between the pack and the troop. There should be one person in a pack that all leaders can go to find Boy Scout troops, and per the official BSA job description, the Cubmaster is the one in the pack for this. And the Cubmaster’s connection with local troops can help get Den Chiefs from those troops to serve in the pack.

Den Chiefs - Den Chiefs are a great recruiting tool for Boy Scouts. The Webelos look up to a Den Chief. They get to see a Boy Scout in action, and that does more than any words we could say. I was so glad to have a Den Chief in my first Webelos den. He helped me and worked so well with the Webelos. He also really impressed the Webelos parents, as they saw a teenager with maturity and leadership skills. A Webelos leader, and even younger rank Cub Scout leaders, should try to get a Den Chief into their den.

The District Training Team – The district trainers should be informing all leaders that the Scout program does not end with the Arrow of Light – it ends when the boy turns 18 (or older in the Venturing program). The training team should also be “building up” the Boy Scout program to Cub Scout leaders. At Cub Scout training once, I actually heard a trainer say something along the lines of “all the fun stuff happens in Cub Scouts. We’ll let the Boy Scouts do all of the boring stuff”. Now I know this particular trainer believes in the Boy Scout program, and was trying to make the point that the Cub program is often about bringing fun and entertainment to Cubs. But the word choice was poor. We should remind those we train that if they think Cub Scouting is fun, wait until they see the fun of Boy Scouts!

The District Webelos to Scout Coordinator – Hopefully your district has someone that’s watching the graduating Webelos and making sure they get into a troop. It’s important to have this net to catch any that might slip under the radar when they leave the various packs.

The District and Council – Your district and council should be providing opportunities for Boy Scouts and Webelos to interact in the outdoors. It’s so much easier on the transition process if the Webelos have several opportunities to visit troop district or council-wide outdoor functions before graduation (such as Webelos Woods and Camporee campouts).

Parents - We can’t forget that none of this will happen if we don’t involve the parents. Every player in this process should be educating the parents about the Boy Scout program. As a former Webelos den leader (twice), I did my best to explain to the parents why they should join. I also asked them to commit for a year. And I let them know ahead of time what troop meetings can look like. It’s a boy-led program, and as a result doesn’t always function smoothly. Sometimes there’s a little chaos, and that’s not always bad. And as I mentioned previously, a Scoutmaster should talk to parents and tell them why their son should continue in Scouting.

Finally, the Bear Den Leader – the Bear Den Leader needs to understand that the Webelos program is a transition program, with the ultimate goal of getting boys to bridge to Boy Scouts. He/she should understand the patrol method and how to start teaching this to a Webelos den. Ideally the Bear Den Leader should understand this all before the first Webelos den meeting. So the players listed above should be talking to the Bear Den Leader and giving them the heads-up that the program is different, and they should get to training before the Bear year ends to find out how the Webelos program is a different program than the younger Cub Scout ranks.

Webelos to Scout transition is a group effort. Everyone involved in the process needs to have the mindset that we need to get the Webelos to join a Boy Scout troop. It’s possible to have good recruiting if all players are working together. But if any part of the process doesn’t work, we will loose boys.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

This is the fifth in a series I’ve written on Webelos to Scout Transition. Here are the first four entries:

Post #4 – Progressive Webelos Camping

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/webelos-to-scout-transition-part-4/

Post #3 -Introducing the Patrol Method to Webelos

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/webelos-to-scout-transition-part-3/

Post #2 – The Webelos Den Leader as a Recruiter for Boy Scouts

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/webelos-to-scout-transition-part-2/

Post #1 – Making the Transition from a Cub Scout Den Format

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/webelos-to-scout-transition/

My Work Is Done February 18, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

On September 23, 2004 we held our first den meeting as Tigers. This was the second den I’ve led in our pack, as I went through the finaldenmtg21program with my older son. Last night, we had our last den meeting. As part of our closing ceremony, we had our own flag retirement ceremony. We said the Pledge of Allegiance to our den’s US flag one last time. The scout who led our first flag ceremony back in ’04 led this last one. While still at attention, two scouts folded the flag and gave it to me. It is going into my personal Scout collection and will never be used again. It has a lot of history and means the world to me.

Next to a church youth program, I strongly believe that the Scout program is the finest youth program out there. It’s not the only one, as I feel it’s good for our boys to do sports, music, etc. But I feel it’s the best program outside of the church. And the Cub Scout program is extra special to me. When done right, it does something no other youth program does – it brings boys and their parents together.

It’s been a pleasure to lead both of my sons through this wonderful program, and now it’s time for me to move on. This Saturday, at our Blue and Gold, I will be bridging to Boy Scouts along with my son. I have asked for an Assistant Scoutmaster position with the troop my son is going into, and I’ve been given the “thumbs up”. I have outlined a position of being a Webelos to Scout coordinator, which the troop doesn’t have (which one day I will blog about). If you’ve read my blog you know my passion for this subject, so I am excited about doing this as my volunteer work. So this Saturday, I will be crossing the bridge with my Webelos. I plan on having my son take off my blue epaulets at the beginning of the bridge, since we’ve been in this together since the beginning.

For now, I still plan on blogging about Cub Scout topics, because that’s near and dear to my heart. My hope is that new leaders find this blog and get information to help them with their dens. When I train, I’m not as interested in the overall picture; I like to give the leaders tools to help them at their next den meeting. Don’t get me wrong, all of the material in the Cub Scout training syllabus is important, and I teach it all. But I throw in as many tips as possible, because I remember clearly what it’s like to be a new leader, with no clue as to how to lead a den. When you have eight boys staring at you, things like fundraising, districts, Chartered Organizations, and the like become less important.

-

Finally, here are the final stats for my den (sorry if this sounds like bragging – I couldn’t have done it without a great assistant leader and wonderful boys and parents).

 – Out of the original 10 Tiger scouts, 6 stayed in my den and earned their Arrow of Light.

 – Of the 4 Tigers that left the den, 3 moved out of the area. Only 1 left the program.

 – Our den was known as the most active den. We always had a lot of awards and had great attendance on the outings and campouts.

 – I had 9 Webelos at the end, and all of them received their Arrow of Light award.

 – All 9 of my Webelos are bridging into Boy Scouts.

-

My work is done.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

Webelos to Scout Transition – Part 4 January 16, 2009

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Hello fellow Scouters,

In this installment of Webelos to Scout Transition, I want to talk flagabout progressive Webelos camping. One thing that I’ve done with my two Webelos dens is introduce the boys to camping with Boy Scouts gradually. Thankfully, my council and district have given opportunities for this. The goal is that by the time they cross over into Boy Scouts, they will understand the patrol method of Scouting. Along with this, hopefully the first few campouts with the troop won’t be a scary thing. Here are the steps that I’ve used.

Den Campout – As soon as we became Webelos, we went camping to a local Scout camp. There, we worked on our Outdoorsman activity pin (I won’t work on the Outdoorsman pin in a den meeting – that’s just something I can’t do). Webelos is the first time you are allowed to take your Scouts out camping away from the pack (as a reminder, a parent needs to attend a Webelos den campout). This was also the first introduction to the patrol method while at a campout, as I had the boys develop their own meal plan and duty roster (the parents ate separately). This campout was the boys first camping away from younger Scouts. It was the first time they began to establish an identity apart from the pack.

Webelos Woods – Our council offers a Webelos Woods campout in the fall, and we went the fall of our Webelos 1 year. I’m not sure how other council does this, but our Webelos Woods is basically a show put on by Boy Scouts, with the Boy Scouts providing different activity and skills areas for the Webelos to visit. The Webelos do not camp in the same sites as Boy Scouts. The only interaction is going to the stations that the Boy Scouts are running, and this was my boys first introduction to Boy Scouting. We used the patrol method of camping at this campout, and again the boys ate and cleaned up separately from their parents. The skills they learned at our first den campout were refined here.

Camporee - our district holds their Camporee in spring, and thankfully invites Webelos to attend (from what I hear, not all Camporees allow Webelos). For a Webelos to go to Camporee, they need to be sponsored by a troop, and come as their guest. We camped in the same campsite as our sponsor troop, but we were separated (we grouped our own tents together and we ate as a den, not with the troop). We were not integrated with the troop at this campout, but we got close to the troop to observe how they camped. We also got to go to a troop meeting before this campout to plan, and this was our first visit to a troop meeting.

Troop Campouts – By the fall of your Webelos 2 year, you should be spending time camping with troops and attending troop meetings. In the fall of our Webelos 2 year, we were invited to two different troop campouts. At these campouts, the Webelos are fully integrated into the troops. They are mixed in with the patrols, and their tents are mixed in with the Boy Scouts (though the Webelos shared a tent with another Webelos, not a Boy Scout). The parents were in an adult patrol. By this time, the Webelos knew enough about the patrol method of camping that they could easily work along side of the Boy Scouts in meal preparation and clean up, without interaction by Webelos den leaders or parents.

The First Boy Scout Campout Weekend – Hopefully, by the time that my boys bridge into Boy Scouts and go on their first weekend campout, the boys from my den will be ready to go and have fun. By this campout, they should have learned enough of the patrol method and basic outdoor skills to be a good contributor to their assigned patrol. And hopefully by this time it won’t be a nervous experience. It worked with my last den and I hope it will work again with my current den.

_

Every council and district is different, so you won’t be able to replicate this fully with your den. But the idea is that you find a path of gradual introduction. Webelos is all about transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and one wants to progressively get the boys to operate apart from their parents and more towards a patrol.

I hope these help you, especially if you are a Webelos 1 or Bear den leader. If you have any methods you’ve used to help introduce Webelos to the Boy Scout outdoor experience, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

_

This is the fourth in a series I’ve written on Webelos to Scout Transition. Here are the first three entries:

Post #3 -Introducing the Patrol Method to Webelos

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/webelos-to-scout-transition-part-3/

Post #2 – The Webelos Den Leader as a Recruiter for Boy Scouts

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/webelos-to-scout-transition-part-2/

Post #1 – Making the Transition from a Cub Scout Den Format

http://thetrainerscorner.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/webelos-to-scout-transition/

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

Keep on Scouting December 16, 2008

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Hello fellow Scouters,

If you are a Webelos II leader like me, cross-over is approaching and you are beginning to wind down your Cub Scout experience. Or bridgemaybe you’re a Cubmaster or committee member and your son is about to graduate from the Cub Scout program. To all of you that have worked hard and led your dens faithfully throughout the years, I say “Good Job”! Thank you for your hard work, and know that you helped shape future men of character.

But as you begin to wrap up your time in Cub Scouts, that doesn’t mean you have to retire from being a leader in Scouting. As you know, the Scouting organization is a volunteer-led organization, and more volunteers are always needed to help keep it a quality organization. So instead of packing away the cotton-polyester uniform, I would ask all of you to consider serving the youth in the program by continuing your volunteering.

Here are some ways that you can continue to serve the Boy Scouts of America after your son and your son’s den moves on from Cub Scouts:

Your son’s troop – hopefully you’ve instilled the benefits of Boy Scouts to your Cub Scouts, and you will have plenty of cross-overs into Boy Scouts. Does the troop your son goes to need help? Does it have enough Assistant Scoutmasters? Are there enough committee members to share the load of the committee? (A good sign is if committee members are wearing many hats or the Scoutmaster is doing tasks that are more administrative in nature). You can help your son’s troop be a healthy one by lending a hand. But it doesn’t have to stop there.

District Training – I absolutely love being a district trainer. It’s so rewarding to get in front of new leaders and open their eyes to what Scouting has to offer. And I wonder if there are any districts in BSA that have enough trainers. You may be thinking “I’d rather die than get in front of a group of people and speak”. Well, I’m with you. I’m an extreme introvert, who doesn’t speak all that well. But my love for helping other leaders is greater than my fear of public speaking, and I have been able to overcome this and train. If you’ve led a successful den and you feel like you have knowledge to share, then consider being a district trainer.

Unit Commissioners- unit commissioners get a certain number of units that they oversee. They are a mentor and provide guidance to a unit. And there are not enough UC’s out there. Here’s what our good friend Commissioner Cleary says:

   “CO – to do with, as in not alone

   “MISSION – something that you set out to do with a positive outcome

   “ER – one who does it

“So there you have it, a COMMISSIONER is someone who helps you get a positive outcome out of your program.”

Roundtable Staff- a successful Roundtable can only happen if there are enough volunteers to run it. And a successful Roundtable helps build successful leaders. This would be a good area to serve if you enjoyed going to Roundtables and see the value they provide. (And if you don’t go to Roundtables, you are missing out on so much. It’s a great place to talk to other leaders and get ideas, help, and knowledge).

Pack Trainers – just because you are moving on from Cub Scouts, you don’t have to leave your pack. The Pack Trainer is a key position that is often vacant in many packs. You can use your experience to help guide and mentor the other leaders in your pack. I’ve been a Pack Trainer for two years, and the time commitment isn’t that bad. Helping your pack developed fully trained leaders is a great way to ensure its health for many years.

Campmaster or Rangemaster- maybe you could help out at your council camps. You could help the campmaster run the camp for a weekend of Boy Scout or Cub Scout fun. Or maybe you could take a Saturday and run a BB gun or archery range and help some little Tiger scouts earn their shooting belt loops. We’ve all had so many good memories at our council camps, and this would be a great way to give back.

There are just some ideas on how to keep serving the youth by continuing to volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America. Please share this with any one you know who would do well serving the youth of the Scouting program. And if you know of great ways to serve the BSA once a leader graduates from Cub Scouts, please leave it in the comments.

Thanks!

In Scouting,

- Scouter Jeff

Webelos to Scout Transition – Part 3 November 12, 2008

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Hello fellow Scouters,

This is part 3 in my take on Webelos to Scout transition, this time dealing with the patrol method of scouting. In Boy Scouts, the patrol method is used to teach the boys to work as a team, sharing responsibilities to help achieve success for the patrol. Webelos are not a patrol, they are still a den. But in looking to prepare my den for Boy Scouts, I have incorporated the following ideas from the patrol method.

Identity – at the end of our Bear year, the boys, not me, selected the fox1patrol name and patch they would use as Webelos. A leader in our unit a few years back that chose the name himself, and he missed a great opportunity to let the boys have a say in how the den is run. My den chose the fox patch. As with Boy Scouts, they get to be creative with their name in our pack, so they chose to call themselves the “Cool Foxes”. I even found a stuffed fox on-line that looks like the patrol patch fox! He’s our mascot. Here’s a link to the different patrol patches: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/patrol-patch.aspflag

Flag – for our flag, I made a flag that looks like the patrol patch they chose. Knowing someone that sews is such a great thing! In hindsight, this might have been a good project to have the boys do, maybe over the summer after we became Webelos.

Patrol Yell – I had the boys come up with a patrol yell, which they wrote at our first campout as Webelos. It’s not fancy but it’s something they created.

Leadership – if you are not using the denner / assistant denner by the time you are Webelos, you need to. It’s an outstanding way to start teaching leadership. Our denner is in charge of opening and closing ceremonies. Now that we are second year Webelos, I tell the boys that I shouldn’t be involved in the opening or closing ceremonies (I am there to help, though). The denner gets other tasks as well throughout his term.

Campout Planning – at the start of our second year as Webelos this past September, we had 4 campout opportunities in the fall: Two in October and two in November. Since I want to only have one a month, I could have chosen one each month and put it on the calendar. But this is a great opportunity to let the boys start choosing what they want to do, as the will be doing in Boy Scouts. So we sat down and voted on which campouts we would go to as a den. They chose one troop/den campout and last weekend’s council-wide Webelos Woods campout.

Cooking/Meal Planning – after becoming Webelos, whenever we have a campout (either den or pack campouts), we use the patrol method for handling meals. The den meeting before the campout the boys choose the menu and set up the duty roster, so all get an opportunity to cook and clean up (and learn the painful lesson that cooks eat last). For meals I pull the boys away from their parents and we cook, eat, and clean up as a group. They will be doing this as Boy Scouts, so hopefully this will get them ready for this aspect of camping.

Tent Sharing – with my older son’s den a few years back, I never had the boys leave their parent’s tent. When we had our first troop/Webelos campout, and the troop ask the boys to form patrols and share tents with another Webelos scout away from their parents, one of the boys in that den freaked out. He had never been away from his parents. It was a lesson to me, with my current den, to try to get the boys out of their parent’s tent, in preparation for Boy Scouts (with the parents permission). We started with our first year as Webelos. We had the Webelos share a tent with each other at a campout, with the parents tenting nearby. One boy couldn’t make it through the night and went to his dad’s tent, which was OK. We keep doing it so they can get over the fear of not being with their parent. I don’t want their first campout in Boy Scouts to have to deal with this.

[A couple of reminders are in order here. You cannot take your den camping until they become Webelos. Before that, you can only go to pack and council campouts. And Webelos camping is still parent-son camping, so a parent needs to attend. And a Webelos can never sleep in a tent of another parent - only his own parent or legal guardian].

These are some of the ways I’ve tried to introduce the patrol method of Boy Scouting to my Webelos den. The hope is that all this will ease their transition into Boy Scouting. If you have any ideas to bring the patrol method into a Webelos den, please post them in the comments. We’d love to hear what you’ve done to get your Webelos ready for Boy Scouts.

In Scouting,

-Scouter Jeff <><

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