scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Re: Important Update (Why)
Mark Adkins (madkins007@HOME.COM
Thu Feb 10 2000 - 22:48:07 CST
I agree with you most of the time, and I mostly agree with you on this, but
there are a couple points I would like to make a comment on.
Drop-out in the Webelos years is indeed high- about 1/2 of the boys will
drop out during Webelos or shortly after joining the Boy Scouts, but I
disagree with blaming the Webelos Den Leaders for a problem that National
created all by themselves.
Let's look at this from a different point of view. In 1907, Baden-Powell
created the Boy Scouts. By 1910, he saw the need for a similar program for
younger boys and girls both. With the help of others, he created the Girl
Guides and the Wolf Cubs. By 1910, Boy Scouts was hitting the US heavily and
was incorporated 90 years ago Tuesday. England was already hard at work on
Wolf Cubs, but for a variety of reasons, the fledgling BSA put a program for
younger boys on hold for 20 years (it figures that it only took B-P 2-3
years to notice and act on the need, and the BSA 20 years!)
The BSA hired experts to develop the Cub Scouts- and in many ways it has
never worked right from day 1! (Again, compare to the Boy Scouts which is
based on B-P's visions and has worked pretty well since!) One of the early
decisions was to keep Boy Scouting out of the Cub Scouts- use it as a
'carrot' to attract the younger boys. Thus, Cubs do not camp, hike, cook or
practice much of any of the main Scout skills- or do so only in a limited
way. In their place, Cub Scouts do crafts, games, tours and visits, skits,
and so forth with a family/neighborhood/indoors focus. Nothing wrong with
any of this, but...
What we have done is to create a very successful program that DOES NOT
depend on Scout skills- that many boys find exciting and fun- AND THEN WE
GET MAD if they do not like the outdoors focus that begins in Webelos!
'Carrots' only work if the boy has tasted it, AND LIKES it! Too many of our
Cub Scouts do NOT like to hike, camp, or so forth- heck, a lot of our Boy
Scouts do not either!
Boys become successful in the Wolf and Bear programs, then we force them to
change gears rather suddenly as we change a lot of rules on them. Now they
are neither fish or fowl- not really Cubbies any longer, but definitely not
Boy Scouts either. Then, after only 18 months (in which time we make them
buy a new insignia, a neckerchief, AND a new book- yeesh!), they switch
Now- the Webelos Leader CAN make this work for everyone in their den, but it
is pretty hard when the deck is stacked against you by National. I find it
very odd that Canada, England, and Australia manage to have successful
programs based on B-P's original visions with much less drop-out at this
point, without forcing kids to buy so many books or neckerchiefs, without
the rather awkward bit about being a Wolf both before AND after earning the
Wolf Badge- and while getting kids involved in hiking, camping, etc.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Katherine Coates" <Tuwanda@AOL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 11:42 AM
Subject: Re: Important Update (Why)
> I think the problem here is Webelos den leaders are forgetting or are not
> aware of their #!1 basic responsibility to the boys: that is to keep
> interested and motivated in Scouting enough to get them into a troop.
> The Webelos drop out rate is staggering -- the worst in all of BSA.
> about den continuity or leader inconvenience or den pride seems a little
> selfish when faced with the risk of a boy losing interest -- or worse,
> deciding Scouting is not cool or hip -- and dropping out forever.
> For Heaven's sake, Webelos leaders, please, please do whatever you have to
> to keep the boys involved. Today's motivated Webelos is tomorrow's Eagle.
> Just MHO. Katherine Coates, ASM Troop 28, Santa Ana, CA