Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Webelos Woods (kinda long)
Webelos Woods (kinda long)
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 00:02:39 PDT
To the List -
The national syllabus for Webelos Woods says that it is an event put on by
Boy Scouts for Webelos Scouts who are almost ready to cross the bridge.
However, that's not the way it's always been done in our District. It's
always been an adult run event for all Webelos. At one time, it was THE
event for Webelos in this District and drew over 1,000 participants (youth
and adults.) After two years of mishaps with fire that were nearly
disastrous, the decision was made to limit attendance to those Webelos
closest to bridging. A lot of packs got upset over this policy, thinking
that if all Webelos could not attend, none would. Attendance dropped like a
rock. It has taken several years, and a change back to including ALL
Webelos to begin rebuilding participation.
Last year, a friend accepted the challenge of chairing this event and asked
me to plan program. We sat down and made plans without benefit of the
national syllabus. The next morning, he bought the national syllabus and,
lo and behold, we had just written the national program! However, things
did not go smoothly and, after months of roadblocks for various reasons, the
friend found it necessary to step down and I was left more or less holding
the bag. I had some good people on board and we pulled it off, but not
without some snags. The biggest problem was getting the Troops to "buy into
the program." We DID get a few troops to participate and some Scouts to
manage activities and basically felt that there was lots of room for
improvement, but we had made a good start.
This year, I co-chaired the event and we decided to offer two concurrent
programs--one for Boy Scouts and one for Webelos, hoping that this would
motivate the Troops to buy in. No deal! It's really difficult to make this
kind of change and they just plain didn't buy it! We had a killer program
outlined for Webelos--8 activity areas for Webelos I and 8 for Webelos II,
with one advancement related activity and one just for fun activity in each
area. Hoped to have one adult to oversee each activity and scouts to run
them--no luck. As time for the event neared, I had a really bad feeling
Friday evening came when it was time to go and get the event set up(Webelos
to arrive Sat am)--still no staff. I didn't want to go but knew I had to,
so we loaded the van and off I went. Arrived at site and unloaded supplies.
Scouts started showing up eager to do something, so I gave them cardboard
and markers and they made signs--boy did they make signs! By 9:00 pm I had
13 of the 16 areas staffed and instructions given. I was astounded!
The rest of the weekend was pretty much a breeze. I wound up staffing the
last area and had a ball. The event was about 95% boy run and the Scouts
had a good time and felt good about themselves. The Webelos arrived, were
kept busy during activity times and had fun. The evening campfire was
"their" event with packs providing skits and songs, Scouts doing the MC job,
and a Troop retiring a flag in a meaningful ceremony at the end. I even
recruited a group of Scouts on the spot to help with the religious service.
Got compliments on how well organized the event was--IF THEY ONLY
In retrospect, I have to feel that this event was definitely the cardboard
event. I happened upon about a dozen and a half very large, very heavy
corrugated cardboard boxes and confiscated them. EVERY Scout event should
have them! They were used for area signs, tunnels in the obstacle courses,
"tables" in the cooking and flag making areas, splints in 1st Aid, and
cardboard box races. After the activity areas closed, the staffers build
forts out of them. At the campfire, we used them for "bleachers". After
the campfire, we had a cardboard bonfire.
The cardboard box races were a big hit. We turned the boxes on the side,
the boy got inside and crawled to make the box move. The kids called them
tanks and I've never seen anyone crawl so fast--they were really hauling!
It was a real struggle to get this event off the ground, but it was a real
high seeing these boys take charge and make it happen--this is the way it's
supposed to work! It would just be a little easier on the old fogies like
me if we didn't have to "fly by the seat of the pants" to get there! It's
next to impossible to get boys this age to make a committment way ahead of
time, but once they get there, they really GO!
Still basking in the glow of THEIR success, not mine! BTW, 243 Webelos had
a great weekend!
Some days I just love this Scouting stuff, but many days I still have to
worry about it!
. . .and a good ole' Bobwhite, too. . .
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