Webelos Retention (Was: Cub Scout peer pressure)
Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Wed, 21 Aug 1996 13:10:36 -0700
Kevin S Woods <kswoods@CHRISTA.UNH.EDU> wrote:
>I am curious to find out if Packs are experiencing "peer
>pressure" on cub scouts as low as the 4th grade?
> We have been experiencing a significant drop out rate between the
>4th and 5th grades. Parents and den leaders say their boys are bored and
>experiencing peer pressure in school and sports that cub scouts is not
>the cool thing to do.
> As far as the "bored" goes, I wonder if bringing boys in at the
>first grade level as tigers has contributed to this? By the time they
>are 4 grade webelos they have been in scouting for 5 years. A long time
>for kids of that age.
> My hope this year is to accelerate the 4th grade program.
>Traditionally our 4th graders have not camped out until the spring of their
>4th grade year. I hope to be able to motivate the den leaders into doing
>a fall event and perhaps a sleep over type of thing during the winter.
>(snow makes such a wonderful entertainer!). I also hope to have more
>attend the district Yukon derby.
> But what do you think? Tigers is terrific for the 1st graders,
>but does anyone have thoughts (or specific figures) on how it affects
>then at the other end of cub scouting?
When I was with the Pack, we saw the same thing. While district was
complaining about low transition into troops, we were seeing a lot of
dropouts between first & second year Webelos. A lot of the problem
is that the Webelos Den Leaders don't understand what the Webelos
program is for, to prepare them to become Boy Scouts. So the Bear
Den Leader continues running the Webelos den in the same way he/she
ran the den the previous two years. I know, I did it myself. It
wasn't until after they had dropped out that I found out why: they
were tired of doing arts & crafts work.
The answer is TRAINING (surprise)! Webelos Leader Training! It is
a different program, just as the boys are growing, the program is
designed to grow with them. I also try to get Webelos Leaders to
take Boy Scout Leader training as well, so they know where the
program is headed.
My second time through as Webelos Den Leader, I did better. An
active outdoors program is part of it. Also, start treating the
boys differently. Start having them accept more responsibility
for the program. Kim Moye's suggestion of breaking up the activity
badge work sounds interesting. I would want to try to balance it
with allowing them to complete badges on a fairly regular basis, so
that they can receive recognition at the pack meetings.
If your Webelos traditionally bridge into Scouts in May or June, try
to move it up to February or March. I was recruiting one den one
year that had made it clear they were coming to our troop. But when
I suggested that they bridge early, the parents said, "No, no, they
want to finish up some more activity badges (already had Arrow of
Light), and they like being top dog at the pack meetings." Not
only did they not earn any more activity badges, they didn't meet
as a den any more. They were hanging out at our troop meetings.
The bottom line is, there are not a lot of badge requirements for
the Webelos Rank and the Arrow of Light. If you concentrate on
just the requirements and not try to do all 20, that leaves a lot
of extra time to get outside, to visit troops, to follow the boys'
If a boy is having fun being in Scouts, peer pressure is not going
to have the effect of pushing him out. He may not advertise it
any more, but he will still come. One of the neat things about
camporees are that the Scouts get to find out who else is in
Scouting, because they would never let on in school.
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Scoutmaster, Mt. Diablo Silverado Council Contingent Jamboree Troop #3
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City