Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Webelos Graduation (WAS Blue and Gold Continued)
Webelos Graduation (WAS Blue and Gold Continued)
Thu, 9 Sep 1999 09:18:39 -0700
James E. Zotta <ESDA2@AOL.COM> wrote (in part):
>My pack uses the Blue and Gold dinner to graduate 2nd year Webelos and the
>Tiger Cubs.. the problem with doing this is that since Blue and Gold is held
>in February, it makes for some very unsettled times as Scouts rush to
>complete requirements before February and then have a lull in activities for
>March thru May...
Let me answer this from two perspectives, as a former Webelos Den Leader
and as a Scoutmaster.
First, the last time I was a Webelos Den Leader, I noted that we had been
experiencing a loss of membership between the first year and second year
of the Webelos program. By age 10 or 11, the boys had become tired of
working on crafts projects and doing "Cub Scout stuff." Little League
and Soccer League were making serious inroads as an alternative. In
short, we were no longer challenging the boys and they were looking
elsewhere. I met first with the parents, then with the Webelos to explain
our goal for the second year: we would do the minimum number of activity
pins to earn the Arrow of Light by February. The rest of the time we
would spend in outdoor activities and visiting troops (meetings and
outdoor activities) so that everyone could pick the troop that appealed to
him the most. Instead of the usual 40-60% dropoff in Webelos and a 20-30%
bridging rate, we had 100% of the Webelos bridge into 4 different troops,
with no one dropping out before the end.
Now, as a Scoutmaster, there are two pivotal events on our calendar that
epitomize the Scouting experience: spring camporee and summer camp in
When a New Scout joins in May or June, he might not have any camping
experience with the troop (or without Mom or Dad) before a week of summer
camp. He may not know any of the older Scouts, and the adults may not
know him. Tough way to start, but doable. But we have lost some New
Scouts after summer camp.
If he were to join in April, he would arrive in time for camporee, but
wouldn't know what to do there. He has no experience working with the
other members of his patrol, and hasn't had a chance to master the skills
on which he is being tested. Do we say he can't come to camporee?
Absolutely not! He is a member of the troop and is eligible to go.
Does he have a good time? Sure, but if he knew the skills and showed
that he knew them to the event judges, he would have had a great time.
But at the very least, he has been able to camp with the troop for a
couple of months before summer camp, hone his own camping skills, and
get to know the other Scouts in the troop. (In fact, if we know a
Webelos Scout wants to join us in April, we encourage him to come to
our meetings for the two months prior to camporee and to come on the
practice camporee campout in March.)
But, if he joins in February, he has two months to learn the skills he
needs for camporee, and our experience has shown that a New Scout Patrol
with two months' training can compete very well at camporee, usually
placing about the middle of all of the patrols there. He has a taste
and wants more. That patrol will usually move up to a blue ribbon a
year later. And we keep him in Scouting for a long time after that,
even past summer camp!
So, my advice to your pack is yes, let your Webelos graduate at the
Blue and Gold. Have everyone there to send them off with their best
wishes. And invite them to come back as Den Chiefs in a year.
Alan R. Houser ** firstname.lastname@example.org
** Scoutmaster, Troop 24, Berkeley, California **
** Committee Member, Crew 24, Berkeley, California **
** Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Herms District **
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **