scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Opinion - CS/BS Program/Training Failure (long)
Larry Tuck (LarryT@CURTCO.COM
Mon Nov 22 1999 - 14:01:52 CST
Mike Bowman makes some good points on Webelos to Boy Scout Transition and
the disconnect between adult-run in Cub Scouts and youth-run in Boy Scouts.
Our troop uses New Scout patrols to provide this transition. The New Scout
patrol starts being closely directed by an ASM in cooperation with the
(youth) Troop Guide. New Scout patrol meetings are scheduled by the ASM, for
example, and meeting agendas are worked out by the ASM and Troop Guide.
Menus for the first campout or two are suggested by the Troop Guide, and so
forth. Over time, the New Scouts take over more responsibility for their own
planning. After six months or so, they function pretty much as a regular
I have one reservation about making Webelos II more boy-run: Our New Scouts
learn boy-run largely by watching how the older Scouts function at troop
meetings and campouts. That would be missing in the context of a Webelos
Other ways to ease the transition:
In our district, at a couple of Roundtables each year we hold a joint
session for Scoutmasters and Webelos Den Leaders to discuss the differences
between Cub and Boy Scouts and what to look for in a troop. We provide a
handout with questions to ask, similar to lists posted on Scouts-L recently.
We also run an annual Webelos Woods program. The Webelos Scouts are
organized into patrols (not their regular dens). Experienced Boy Scouts
(First Class or higher) are assigned as Patrol Leaders and Assistant PLs.
The Webelos participate in a variety of Scout skill demonstrations and
competitions, led by these youth leaders. Their parents, meanwhile, spend
most of the day attending sessions conducted by Boy Scout leaders (mostly
Wood Badge trained Scoutmasters) about the differences between Cub Scouts
and Boy Scouts, how a boy run program works, what to expected in a troop
outdoor program, and so on. Done right, this can be an extremely effect
transition program. By the way, our District Exec told us this year that the
Webelos Woods program is no longer endorsed by national, and discouraged us
from running it, but the volunteers went ahead anyway and hosted some 85
Webelos and their parents a few weeks ago.
When Webelos visit our troop meetings, we have the boys sit in while the
parents watch from the back of the room. When we go to patrol corners mid
way through the meeting, the committee chair or an ASM will take the parents
in another room and discuss what they've just seen and answer questions.
Meanwhile, the troop guide takes the Webelos aside and answers their
A few weeks ago we had a Den visit. When we went to patrol corners to plan
menus for that month's campout, the ASM/New Scouts took the parents into the
lounge; the Troop Guide took the Webelos off somewhere to talk about
Patrol corners went badly. The Scouts were rowdier than usual, patrols were
not on task and we'd just elected new patrol leaders who couldn't seem to
get things under control. I was upset and gave the troop a much-too-stern
lecture on the fifth point of the Scout Law during my Scoutmaster's minute.
Fortunately, the ASM kept the parents talking in the back until things got
settled down and the meeting ended.
Afterward, a couple of Webelos parents came up to me looking for their sons.
It's now 9:10, the meeting is over, people are going home, and I'm thinking,
great, we've lost their kids for them. Last we'll see of this bunch.
I ran around for a couple of minutes, located the Troop Guide and his
charges in a side room and sent to parents down to fetch them.
The Den Leader called the next day to tell me how impressed the parents were
by our troop. I didn't get it until he explained: The last thing the ASM/New
Scouts told the parents before they ended their meeting was: "In this troop,
you won't see adults lecturing boys; you'll see older scouts sharing their
experience with younger scouts." And sure enough, they found their kids
listening enthralled while a polite, articulate, friendly Life Scout regaled
them with stories about summer camp and Philmont treks.
Follow the program, and more often than not this stuff works.
SM, Troop 761
Thousand Oaks, CA