scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Opinion - CS/BS Program/Training Failure
Michael Bowman (mfbowman@USSCOUTS.ORG
Sat Nov 20 1999 - 21:28:02 CST
Linda asked "is there a clear and concise description out there somewhere
about how Cubbing differs from Boy Scouting that I can give to my Webelos
parents to help them understand this???"
There are many seasoned and experienced Scouters on this list who can tell
you about how the Patrol Method should work and more who can find help from
Scouting's huge collection of literature. I'll defer to our Scouting
brothers and sisters on that.
I think the key part of your question is what can help these parents
understand the difference between Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. We DO need
to tell the parents about how the Boy Scout program works and explain the
Patrol Method, but we also need to put in a context that maybe they can
---> Short parent's meeting speech
How many of you were excited when your son took his first tentative steps
and walked into your arms?
What did you do? You said come to me and held out your arms to let him know
that you would help him and that he would be safe.
And what did you do to encourage him more? You got back a little further
away from him and cooed and coaxed him to take a few more steps.
Immediately you probably made a big fuss over him too and showered him with
praise and your affection to encourage him more.
Before you knew it he was walking all over the place. Every once in awhile
he fell down and maybe even cried. So you picked him up and hugged him and
helped him get going again.
Later as he gained more confidence and skill, you chugged along with him to
get him to run and giggled when he giggled in delight at the first time he
Not so many months later and it seemed like you could sit back and watch him
just run around the house and yard all on his own.
Well Scouting and boys is pretty much the same thing as when we taught our
sons to walk and then to run.
In Tigers at first we hold our sons tight just like when they were babes.
Parents do all the activities with the boys.
Pretty soon they are off at a crawl going all over the place under the
watchful eye of a Den Leader with parents signing off on requirements and
helping the boys advance.
Next they are getting up on their own feet and holding on to the furniture
to try to walk. Their Webelos Den leader is helping them along now and
giving them encouragement and signing off the requirements.
As they begin to mature we are encouraging them to walk on their own and
when they take the first steps on their own, we begin to call them Boy
Scouts. Here we get back away further and further encouraging them to walk
more and more all on their own.
As they grow a little older and gain more skill, we encourage them to run
all on their own as Venturers only advising them of how to get more speed
and run their best.
Just like when we were helping these young fellows to walk the first time
and then run, Scouting is a program that has many developmental stages that
match what the boys can and should do on their own. We try to get a little
farther back to encourage them more. In Boy Scouts this means that instead
of adults doing all the leadership, we back away a little and then more to
encourage the boys to try these new skills. And just like when they were
taking their first steps the do fall down. We like parents, pick them up,
dust them off, and get them going again. Now when you have 30 boys all
doing this at the same time, it may look like utter chaos and be a little
different from the order of an adult lead Cub Scout meeting and it should
look and feel different. We are no longer holding a baby or watching the boy
crawl. We are helping him to take the first steps of his transition into
adulthood and before long we want him to really be running -- running his
own life in a way that will make us all proud.
Being a parent is a really tough job. Being a Scout leader is even harder.
A Scout leader has to understand how far along each boy is and help him at
his own pace so that he can go a little farther, and run a little faster as
he grows. To do this we use a number of Scouting methods that work when we
One of the first things we'll be doing is putting your son in a New Scout
Patrol where an Assistant Scoutmaster will be there to watch over
everything. But just like when you were holding out your arms, he will be
doing that, but he won't be walking for the Scout. He'll be there to help
each one take some first steps.
The other boys in the Troop are already walking and now they are practicing
to do it better and some are learning to run. And like when you were doing
that with your toddler, they are backing away from adult leadership and
giving these boys a chance to go farther with using their own leadership
skills. They may not be perfect and most likely will make a lot of
mistakes. But this is safe place to make those mistakes and learn. And
As a parent this will be just as hard for you as when you first realized
that your little one could go places on his own without you holding him.
But then you knew you had to let him go -- had to encourage him or he would
never walk. So it is in Scouting -- we have to let go a bit to encourage the
boys to take those first steps. If we don't, they will never learn how to be
in charge of their own lives and when they leave home what will happen? By
the time they start a job or go to college it is far too late to learn
things like honesty, leadership, and the like. That has to happen now.
So I would ask you to help the Scoutmaster and his/her assistants by letting
go just a bit more. At the same time I would admonish the Scoutmaster to be
just like the parent helping a toddler walk by encouraging his every step
and giving him room to go farther and do more on his own.
---> End speech
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.