Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Webelos Outdoor Wisdom (WOW)
Webelos Outdoor Wisdom (WOW)
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 10:26:01 -0600
>Probably the biggest problem in our district is not bridging all of the
>Webelos into boy scouting. And I'm sure that this is a major problem across
>the United States.
>What our district is going to try and do this spring is what we have called
>"Webelos Outdoor Wisdom (WOW)".
>What I am looking for is if any other district has done something similar to
>What works and what doesn't?
Great idea and it will make a difference. I was our district membership chairman
and spent a lot of time in our district on the same problem. We created a couple
similar type programs like yours and here is what we learned. Most of the 50%
that don't crossover come from Dens of struggling den leaders. For many reasons,
these leaders didn't put much time into the program and gave little or no
attention to exposing the Webelos to the Troop programs.
I learned you don't really need a district wide program to help increase the
crossover numbers. We found that weak and struggling Webelos Dens didn't
participate in our WOW programs because the leaders don't put out enough effort
to learn about outside programs, or they just couldn't give the time.
Our WOW type program was a great success with all the active Webelos Dens and
Troops. But completely missed the targeted group. Don't create more work for the
Units who don't need it. Target the struggling groups and attack their problems.
Design a method of identifying these struggling Dens. One idea is train the Unit
Commissioners to talk with the Den Leaders and CM to get a feel how their
Webelos program is doing. Once the struggling den is identified, then contact a
couple of SM who will take initiative to work with these den leaders. Get the
Troops Scouts to plan a couple of activity badges that will allow the Scouts to
see Boy Leaders in action. The Den leader likes it because it requires no work
on their part and the Scouts will get some activity badges. Parents like it
because their son's are having fun again.
I am not saying your WOW program will fail, it sounds great. I am just
explaining why ours didn't solve the problem that we were attacking in the first
place. Also, I want to say a word about your material in the WOW program. I get
the impression you think lack of camping experience is part of the crossover
number problem. I don't think this is the case. The problem is more about
Webelos stuck in a boring program and thinking the Troop experience is more of
the same. They need to get exposed to a FUN exciting boy run program.
So don't change your format, camping is exciting and fun. But Webelos need to
see Troop programs where are boys having fun leading and instructing other boys.
Encourage the Troops to get their Scouts to run the demonstrations. Not the
adults. Have SPL's walking around helping these guys and talking with the
Webelos. Tell the SPLs to show off being a SPL. Brag about last summers white
water rafting trip and next summers trip to Colorado. Webelos want to feel they
are growing up, so let them see the a Troop is a place with older boy activities
and older boy leadership responsibilities. That will sell your Troop programs.
I am impressed by your actions to solving a big problem. Selling this as a
problem to the District was my first obstacle. You and your District are making
a difference and more boys will grow to be citizens of character and leaders of
integrity just because you care. Please keep us informed on the results because
most districts need this kind of help. God bless you.