Is Scouting invisible?

When perfectly-engaged and enthusiastic Cub Scouts just don’t make the transition to Boy Scouts, opting for heavier involvement in sports or other activities instead, you have to wonder why.

Is it because of something they didn’t get out of Scouting? That’s probably not the case, because they stuck with Cub Scouts all the way through.

Do they lose interest? That may be part of it, because either they or their parents can’t see doing another six or seven years of field trips to the fire station or overnight sleepovers at the science center. Continue reading “Is Scouting invisible?”

Webelos den leaders: What’s your most important job?

Look in chapter 21 of the Cub Scout Leader Book and you’ll find a description of the Webelos program including an outline of the Webelos den leader’s responsibilities. It’s really brief: The Webelos den leader plans and carries out a year-round program of activities for the Webelos den.

Look just above this job description and you’ll find what is most likely the most important job of a Webelos leader:

One of the purposes of the Webelos den is to prepare boys for Boy Scouting and to graduate Webelos Scouts into a Boy Scout troop. (Emphasis added)

Of the ten purposes of Cub Scouting, the tenth – Preparation for Boy Scouts – is the most lasting, for it is in Boy Scouts where boys not only experience adventure but learn skills that will serve them their entire lives – leadership, cooperation, communication, responsibility – and the values of citizenship, character and fitness.

But the #1 reason that Webelos Scouts fail to cross over and become involved in Boy Scouts is often the Webelos den leader. Continue reading “Webelos den leaders: What’s your most important job?”

Look at yourself!

Taking a break from answering readers’ questions, a recent Ask Andy column, Troop Spotting instead gives advice to parents of Arrow of Light Scouts who are shopping for a troop. Much of the advice is stuff we know about: uniforming, youth leadership, the adult role. It’s thoughtful, comprehensive, and gives soon-to-be Boy Scouts and their parents some great information when looking for a troop.

Besides being useful to boys about to cross over, it’s also a great checklist to size up our own troop. Continue reading “Look at yourself!”

Book review: Beginning Boy Scouts

Every year, our troops usually pick up some new members as they cross over from Cub Scouting and set out on new adventures with us. At the same time, their parents, weary from several years of running everything from pack meetings and outings to fundraisers and banquets, make the decision of whether or not to become active in the troop. Part of that transition involves making what amounts to a 180-degree shift in the adult role, along with a completely new way of doing things for the boys as they go from being led by adults to by their peers. It can not only be extremely bewildering for the new parents, but difficult for those of us in the troop to try to explain it all to them. We try holding parent orientation sessions and writing parent handbooks or new member checklists, but invariably we miss a few things or don’t do a very good job of introducing our new families to Boy Scouts.

Enter a new book by the husband and wife Scouter team of Jeremy and Heather Reed titled Beginning Boy Scouts: An unofficial practical guide to Boy Scouting for parents and new leaders. Continue reading “Book review: Beginning Boy Scouts”