Scott Dillard (scott.dillard@CHRYSALIS.ORG)
Tue, 10 May 1994 20:27:08 LCL
FR>Nathan, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Now we are starting to get
FR>pressure to have the bridge crossing from Webelos to Boy Scouts in
FR>February or March of the second Webelos year. This will mean potential
FR>eligibility even before turning 12 in some cases!
I try hard every year to get my associated Webelos dens to "crossover"
in March. I put crossover in quotes because we want the Webelos to
start participating fulltime in troop activities, though it's not
uncommon for their official ceremony to be a couple of months later.
For the ones that are still working Webelos advancement, they are in a
sense double-enrolled - participating in both troop and pack activities.
(And no, we haven't had any problems with burnout, etc.) As
Scoutmaster, some of our reasons for March "crossover" are:
They go on 2-3 troop campouts before summer camp. They have a chance to
get to know the older guys (and vice-versa), establish more peer
friendships between dens/packs, and otherwise get more comfortable with
their new environment before going for a full week of summer camp. This
makes a *big* difference on behavior, home-sickness, etc.
Going to summer camp is a critical factor in new Scout retention. We've
kept stats in the past (but I don't have them here at work with me) that
show the retention rate of new Scouts who go to that first summer camp
versus those who don't, and the difference is marked.
They get a chance to understand the difference between being a Cub and
being a Boy Scout. This is as much or more of a learning experience for
the parents as it is the boys. Not all come from dens with Den Chiefs
and the concept of boy leadership needs a chance to sink in.
They learn some skills they'll need for summer camp and for the fall.
The way the boys have planned the troop calendar the past several years,
we only have "regular" troop campouts in October thru May. In our
troop, June=summer camp, July=special troop trip, August=island campout,
September=family campout. The basic outdoor skills such as how/what to
pack, fire/cooking/KP, self-reliance (e.g. not "Dad! I forgot to
bring xxx. Will you..."), etc., won't get the heavy exposure until the
fall. It's good to have the new boys exposed to it for 2-3 campouts in
The boys get a chance to see that Boy Scouts is not just more Webelos
activities. I'm not trying to make a general statement nationwide, but
this does apply to the packs we're associated with. It makes me sad to
know that we've lost quite a few boys over the years because they got
tired of Webelos and never had an opportunity to find out that Boy
Scouts is rather different. Even with Den Chiefs, joint pack/troop
activities, etc., giving them some exposure to Boy Scouts, some boys
that probably would have enjoyed and learned from Boy Scouts drop out
before getting in the door. It's probably an old topic 'round SCOUTS-L,
but the feedback I get from the boys/adults in the packs we're
associated with is that the boys are tired of Webelos by the
Probably a lot more reasons if I took some more time to think, but the
bottom line is this: We have had a far better retention rate by getting
the Webelos to "crossover" in March as opposed to waiting until late
April or May. Retention rate in this case is measured as the number of
boys registered in the Den in the fall versus number of boys still
registered in the Troop the next fall. This is because we have better
rates of 1) number of boys who join a troop out of the den (as opposed
to dropping out) and 2) number of boys who stay with the troop for the
Scott Dillard (email@example.com)
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