Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: awarding bobcats
Re: awarding bobcats
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 13:35:54 EST
>...I do not agree with the flipping but I have a more constructive question.
What do you do to make the bobcat a meaningful ceremony?<
In my opinion the bobcat ceremony is the most important one in Cub Scouting -
even more than Arrow of Light - because many boys drop out before AoL, like I
did so long ago, yet still never forget that first award ceremony. Many
thousands of cubs, and their parents, will always fondly remember being
flipped at the bobcat ceremony but there are plenty of safe and interesting
alternatives. A successful one I've used is "The Test of a Zulu Boy"
contained in the scout publication "Staging Den and Pack Ceremonies". In this
ceremony the Cubmaster describes how Zulu boys, in order to become warriors,
were stripped of clothing, painted white all over and cast alone into the bush
to survive until the paint wore off - about one month's time. Anyone spotting
the boy still white would hunt and kill him. The compelling description of
the challenges those Zulu boys faced kept both parents and scouts riveted.
I added a comment at the end to the effect that today's boys face different
but equally frightening dangers such as drugs and violence and that by
choosing scouting they were taking a big step to prepare themselves. The
ceremony ends with placing a piece of white adhesive tape (or face paint) on
the new cub's forehead to remind him of those Zulu tests. Some of the boys
were so excited that they wanted to leave the tape on for the next day at
We also included the pinning of the upside down bobcat badge with the
requirement for performing a good turn. Although some argue that this is not
properly part of cubs, the parents love it, the kids don't mind and it
confirms the commitment the new scout has just made in his Cub Scout Promise
to "help other people". I consider it a tradition worth preserving.
Troop 14, Palo Alto, CA
Pacific Skyline Council