Cub Scout Advancement
Bob Costello (bobc775@HOTMAIL.COM)
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 05:59:52 PDT
Amy Echlin wrote:
>As a leader, I believe that it is my responsibility to see that each
Great! That should be the goal of every Scouter...to see to it that
the advancement program is working.
>My son does not advance any faster than the others, especially
>because I do not want people to think he is sliding by.
I can understand that fear. I had it myself with my son. It is
something of a curse to be the kid of a dedicated scouter at times.
> My boys know that doing something at home is "practice" for the den
> meetings. They only >get/got extra activity pins for efforts beyond
> what was planned for den meetings. I make sure that if you attend
> den meetings, you advance. If you are interested in the program,
> you advance. I give parents info on how to make up what was
>covered at den meetings, and repeat activities that require den
Here is where we differ, and I think where you differ with the Cub
Scout program. When a boy is in Wolf and Bear (yes, I realize your
son is in Webelos and I'll adress that in a second), the advancement
is done at home. The purpose of the Den meetings should NOT be
to "do the book." It should be to have activities that are fun and
a part of the Scouting program that support the pack's theme
for the month. In other words, rather than working on achievement
number 2, instead work on a skit, song, display, story, or whatever
that supports the pack theme.
This notion is supported by the books. In the Wolf book, for instance,
each achievement has a sign-off for Akela (the promary Akela for any
boy is Mom and Dad or guardian), then another sign off for the Den
Leader to indicate it has been recorded.
As far as something done at home being "practice" for the Den meeting,
that should simply not be the case. When a young scout performs a
task that meets the requirements to the best of his ability, he should
get signed off by the appropriate Akela. While it is true that you
don't want people to think your son is sliding by, it is patently
unfair to your son to be penalized because he is your son.
Clearly, there are some activities that are best done in a Den, or
for which there is a requirement that the boy present things to his
den (collections, showmanship, etc.). These things must obviously
be done in the den environment.
As a boy enters Webelos the program does change to increase the roll
of the meeting and the Den in advancement. That is really a different
discussion. The original thread here was on Wolf scouts and Bears.
>I focus on a team approach. The boys know that I expect them to
Again, here, we differ. Scouting certainly promotes teamwork. In Boy
Scouts they learn to work in patrols. These patrols function as a
team for cooking, eating, sleeping, hiking, etc. However, advancement
is and always must be an INDIVIDUAL affair. That is also true in
Cub Scouts. A boy must be encouraged to Do His Best. This is not
accomplished or supported with group advancement. Group advancement
ultimately moves the entire Den to the middle. Some will be slowed
down, others will be accelerated. Boys must and should advance
individually. I can find no support for group advancement anywhere
in the Boy/Cub Scouting movement. You cannot expect them to advance
together, because the advancement must be an individual achievement.
> There's not too much you can
> do about the individual, but keep plugging group advancement. The >
den that advances together is learning real skills. It prepares them >
for Boy Scouts, where the emphasis is more on boys teaching what
> they know to other boys coming in.
You are right on with the notion that boys in Boy Scouts teach each
other. But then, that assumes that boys advance at different speeds.
It is not a requirement that a boy teaching a skill be older than
the boy learning it in Boy Scouts...only that the boy teaching it
be qualified to do so.
>Yes, they should get the badge when they earn it, but I would really
>work on the den leaders to try to get them to see the value of group
I would not do this. There is no "group advancement" in Cub Scouts
and it is contrary to the purpose and methods of the organization.
>The other disadvantage of rapid advancement like you described is >that
the kid will get bored with the program before too long.
And here you prove my point. If your Den program is based solely on
advancement, what you said is true. That is why we SHOULDN'T base
the Den program on advancement. Instead, base it on fun activities
that continue to build on and support the aims and methods of scouting
and the boys will not get bored. If you plod the boys along the
advancement program, page after page, achievement after achievement,
it will begin to look like school......and that will bore the boys!
Remember what BP said about how to keep boys interested. He told it
this way (I am paraphrasing)...If you go fishing and use bait that
men like to eat, you won't catch many fish. You have to use things
that the fish like to eat. So it is with boys. If you give them
what you like, you will lose them. You have to give them what they
Well, that's my 2cents as a Scouter and Trainer.....looking for feed-
Cubmaster - Pack 765 Charter Organization Rep. - Troop 775
Westland Michigan - Detroit Area Council
Certified Trainer - Huron Valley Girl Scout Council
Former District Training Chair for Cub Scouts
Staff member for Scoutmastership Fundamentals
I used to be a bobwhite....- C-4-96
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