scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Re: Two Threads
Mark Adkins (madkins007@HOME.COM
Fri Feb 11 2000 - 22:07:33 CST
Why does everyone hit on training as the solution? The average Cub leader
has almost NO desire to be trained, and less free time to be trained in.
They plan to only be a leader for a 'short while' (many units are happy to
get 6 MONTH commitments from volunteers!)
Question: Why should it take so much training to make it work?
Answer: Because it is a rather complicated system that is used wrong bores
the kids away!
Question: How does it bore the kids?
Answer: By being repetitive (many actives are done each year of the program-
the proverbial 'annual birdhouse project' for example), lame (crafts with
little or no real value or purpose, just done to fill time for example),
confusing, unfair, or unevenly applied (does YOUR unit use the Sports and
Academics Program? Does one den use it and another not?)
Question: WHY was it designed this way?
Answer: We were SUPPOSED to build on skills, challenge the Scouts to do
better each year. In old WOLF books, the Scouts built crystal radios, table
hockey games, and catapults- then build from there! In real life- it don't
work that way- no one has the time or resources to take things to new
Question: Is there a better plan?
Answer: Certainly! Many other countries use 'activity badges' or other
'merit badge'-like awards, sometimes offered in different difficulties.
Replace the redundant Wolf, Bear and Webelos requirements with a
younger-Scout oriented version of merit badges to keep them exploring new
and fresh territories. Offer the badges in levels, like our old Skill Awards
and Merit Badges did for younger vs. older Scouts- and so on.
Question: How much time do these other countries spend on training?
Answer: About 1/2 the time we do, and their books are significantly thinner
as well- it is an easier program that leads NATURALLY into Boy Scouting.
By the way- I AM a district Cub training chair, and I daresay we have a
truly excellent team with a great track record (just taught a class of 48 a
couple weeks ago).