Keeping kids excited about scouts (was Re: Weblos--2 years?)
Bob Knudson (rknudson@DU.EDU)
Wed, 14 May 1997 06:14:03 +0000
While I agree with the use of an active program for Webelos to keep them
interested and excited about scouting and that this program can go two
years, there are a few things to offer to Bob's message:
1) Boys can join Boy Scouts when they are 10, if they have earned the
arrow of light. This is the very normal practice in our area. (LDS units
seem to run on the age criteria, not the grade - Am I correct here?)
2) It is good (not required) for the boys to join a troop several months
before they go on a long term summer camp experience - they get a chance
to build skills, confidence, and relationships with other boys.
3) Our 1.7 year webelos program offers ample opportunity for the boys to
earn all twenty activity badges. This year, I had a boy join at the
beginning of his fifth grade year, and with hustle and encouragement, he
was able to earn the arrow of light by February.
4) We allow our boys to do the planning for the activity badges and to do
some experimentation with boy leadership - something transitional between
the Denner concept and a patrol leader.
5) We're adding two more camping outings - one for all pack families, and
one just for webelos families - to the usual cub scout adventure camp,
district camporee, and webelos weekend opportunities.
In our pack and community, with the competition with peer pressure and
sports (competitive sports start for six year olds around here, ugh!),
I'm sensing that our critical year for retention is in the Bear year.
Its really important to get these 3rd graders out and about with
compelling activities that they can brag about for their age group. Does
anyone else see this retention challenge for Bears to Webelos?
We are also moving beyond the basic concepts of solid program (which
should sell it itself) and active recruiting, to a few activities that
build unit cohesion. That is, giving boys the opportunity to be proud of
being members of the pack (e.g., allowing them to do a real "cool"
activity in front of their non-scouting peers at back-to-school nights
and school assemblies.) Any ideas here?
For reference, we are a pack of about 80 boys chartered by an elementary
school. We graduate about 10 boys per year to Boy Scouts - except that
we have a huge Wolf class (29) this year, so in a couple of years we may
graduate around twenty or more (so much for meeting the quality unit
membership criteria that year!). We just picked up 18 new boys (12 new
tigers) at our spring roundup.
YIS, Bob Knudson
CM, Pack 528 SA, Troop 476
Sierra Elementary School Zerger Elementary
Arvada, CO Westminster, CO
Gateway District, Denver Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City