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Struggling to stay in Scouts


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#21 Hedgehog

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 07:19 AM

@Hedgehog, you're doing a little bit of apples-to-oranges. What was the youngest age (not grade) of your participants? I couldn't imagine throwing any of my kids into most those activities while they were 10 years old.

 

 

For the 50 miler, the youngest was 12 and a half.  His onlyprior  backpacking experience was camporee where we hiked in 4 miles.  He did as well as anyone else on the trip.   My son was a couple of weeks short of turning 13.  The summer between 5th and 6th grade, my son (who was just turning 11) did a 14 mile round trip bakpacking trek (7 miles out, one day of camping and then 7 miles back) with 1400 of assent each way with one of his buddies.  We've had recently crossed over Webelos do 6 mile hikes, two day canoe trips, sea kayaking and backpacking shakedown hikes.  It typically takes them about a year to do a three day backpacking trek or camp out in really cold weather.  For the less adventurous or experienced boys, we have other adventures.

 

I was trying to make two points.  The first is that there shouldn't be Troop imposed age restrictions on outings.  If a boy wants to go and thinks they can do it, the Troop should let them.  The second is that the outdoor program should be varied to allow for different skill levels and interests.  Servant leadership means the boy leaders design an outdoor program that is inclusive and that balances adventures.


Edited by Hedgehog, 04 September 2016 - 07:20 AM.

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#22 Beavah

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Posted 04 September 2016 - 07:01 PM

Yah, hmmmm...

 

Welcome, @Phrogger.

 

Simple fact is that at age 10 he isn't eligible to be a Boy Scout.  Too much too soon, eh?  It can be hard for 11-year-olds who are entering into 6th grade their first year.

 

I think there's nuthin' to be gained by pushing your son to stay in if he wants to quit so much that he's makin' himself sick before meetings.

 

I was in his place, once.  Was pushed by my parents into swim lessons.  I was actually OK in the water, so I ended up in a YMCA group with older kids.  I didn't know 'em, and older kids were scary.  I didn't really know the YMCA.  I used to "get sick" every Thursday in school so I wouldn't have to go. 

 

Fast forward a year or two and I'm in the advanced swim classes at summer camp way ahead of my peers and doin' fine.

 

Sometimes what is required is just tincture of time.     I'll tell yeh, I don't think there's anything that either my parents or da YMCA instructor could have done to help me.  I just needed some time growin' up to get comfortable.

 

I'd recommend yeh fall back to the Cub program yeh both enjoyed and run a real Webelos year as a family.  Have him invite a few friends from school, perhaps.  Let him be the Big Man of the Pack helpin' the other dens for a year.   I think that's a lot more likely to be successful than shoppin' and hoppin' around to another troop at this point.   Sometimes yeh just have to wait on biology.

 

In the mean time, work with him on fun fitness stuff, eh?  Not push-ups, but lots of activity!   It really helps first year Boy Scouts if they're fit enough to keep up.  Do some adventurous camping at his pace, where he can be successful and build confidence.  If he arrives at a troop next summer bein' strong and confident and able to care for himself on a bad-weather campout, there won't be anything stoppin' him.  

 

And yah, the lad should go to summer camp next year for sure.  It really is where new boys become part of the gang.

 

Beavah


Edited by Beavah, 04 September 2016 - 07:05 PM.

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#23 Zaphod

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 12:51 AM

Don't feel too bad that your boy did not attend summer camp. Mine did and we are still in the same boat as you. He enjoyed camp but here we are just a few short weeks later and already he wants to drop out of scouting. He just wasn't pulled into the troop like I was hoping. 

 

The older boys just don't care about him and have no reason to pull him in. They go through the motions... take him aside at meetings and ask if he needs anything signed, etc. I don't blame them.... It's just not working for my 11 year old. But honestly Cubs wasn't working anymore either. Those who are saying that 4th - 6th graders need their own thing are spot on. He really was tired of the chaos of Pack meetings that included lots of 1st and 2nd graders but is not enjoying the new and completely different type of chaos that comes from a boy led troop. He attended every last event since he crossed over until a week or so ago and gave it a real shot. So it's just time to let go. 


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#24 perdidochas

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:42 AM

Eagle94-A1 - Right on the money.  Excellent post.

 

Dale

I, too, agree with Eagle94-A1 on his above post.

 

Summer camp is the real key to the Webelos to Scout transition. Yes, mothers of new scouts think they are too young, but for the most part, they are not.  Summer camp begins their process of living on their own.  It also begins getting the boys truly used to one another.

 

The other thing is the BSA method works. It's not in theory, but it's a fact. It doesn't work for all, but does work for most. 

 

On rereading the OP, how old is this boy, (Age/grade)?  If less than 11/6th grade, it was too much of a push, and I honestly don't see why the Troop allowed them to crossover.  IMHO, the best time for crossover is February, just after Blue/Gold.  Gives plenty of time for the ASMs and older boys to know the scouts before going off on a week with them.  I still agree with Eagle 94-A1 for general scouting, but this boy might just have been too young--he needed a second half year of Webelos.


Edited by perdidochas, 06 September 2016 - 08:49 AM.

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#25 meyerc13

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:05 AM

1. We did not visit other troops. The den leader discouraged it and as a group we only visited the CO troop. We didn't camp with anybody.

 

This sums up the problem fairly well.  Reading your post, it seems clear to me that this Troop isn't a good fit for your son, as least not right now.  They are all about high adventure, and at this point he is not.  This is why a Webelos should always visit and camp with as many Troops as possible before deciding which one he wants to join.

 

The answer is to find another Troop.  Joining a Troop isn't a life long committment.  It's always nice when it turns out that way, but some Troops just aren't a good fit for some boys.  There is nothing wrong with changing to a different Troop.  You say that your son doesn't know anyone in the other Troops, and while that may be true, in my son's case as we visited Troops we ran into old friends from Cub Scout camp, friends from Church, friends from Karate... pretty much every Troop we visited (and we visited a lot!), he knew someone.

 

I'd encourage your son to take off his Troop uniform, throw on a Scouting T-Shirt, and start visiting as many Troops as possible.  I've met boys who drive 20-30 miles to Scout meetings because a particular Troop was the best fit for them.  While that may be a hassle for you right now, I'm sure the little extra time commuting to the meetings would be well worth having a happier son around the house (not just because we want our children to be happy, but because a grumpy kid can test the limits of any parent's patience).  If possible, camp with as many as possible as well.  My son picked his Troop because on a camp-out he found some other boys who were already in the Troop who were into the same games as he was.  That kind of personal interaction happens a lot during downtime at a campsite, but doesn't necessarily happen during a busy Scout meeting.

 

Over all, don't rush the decision... if it takes you a year to visit all of the Troops and camp with them, so be it.  He's still involved with Scouting, will have plenty of time to work on advancement later, and that year of time may help him to mature a bit.  Who knows, in the end he may decide to stay with the Troop he is in.

 

One other point, if he is really interested in STEM, there are many merit badges he can start working on.  Don't expect that to happen at Troop Meetings, he needs to seek those out on his own.  Some Troops may be more STEM friendly, but Boy Scouting is really an Outdoors and Leadership program, the hobby/career exploration portion is via merit badges and those are the responsibility of the Scout to pursue.


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Chris Meyer

 

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#26 meyerc13

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:24 AM

Wolf and Bear are a mom and scout program.  again, adults take the lead planning, leading and guiding the boys.

Webelos is more dad and scout.  Moms may be stil involved, but it is still an adult lplanned and led activity.

 

Sorry, but I have to say that this isn't the 1900's anymore.  While even my generation (I was a Cub Scout in the early to mid 1980's) this might have been true, I have met plenty of excellent female Webelos leaders and Cubmasters since coming back to Scouting 5 years ago.  The Cubmaster who preceeded me was much very much into Scouting and the outdoors, and made a great Cubmaster/Webelos leader.  At one point I asked why we almost never saw her husband at Scouting activities, and she told me it was because he just wasn't very into the outdoors.  Over the past 25-30 years we've made a lot of progress in moving beyond gender stereotypes when it comes to camping/hiking/etc.  If you don't want to take my word for it, go out to Philmont and observe how many female rangers are on staff, and doing as well or better than their male counterparts.  This line is something I'd expect to find in the 1940's Cub Scout handbooks, not on a forum in 2016.


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Chris Meyer

 

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#27 meyerc13

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:32 AM

Simple fact is that at age 10 he isn't eligible to be a Boy Scout.

 

Technically he is.  The joining requirements state that a 10 year old who has earned the Arrow of Light is eligible to join.  Since earning Arrow of Light no longer requires earning Webelos, only being active in the den for six months since completing the fourth grade or turning 10 years old... we are seeing a lot more of these shenanigans - turning the 1+ year Webelos and Arrow of Light program into a <1 year rush to get them out of Cub Scouts and into Boy Scouts before they are ready.

 

As the parent of a boy who skipped a grade in school and completed both Webelos and Arrow of Light in less than one year and then joined Boy Scouts in April of his fifth grade year, at the age of 10 years, 7 months... I can't recommend that approach except in the most extreme cases.  If my son hadn't been out of synch between his grade in school and his den in Scouts, I wouldn't have allowed him to do what he did.


Edited by meyerc13, 06 September 2016 - 09:35 AM.

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Yours in Scouting,

 

Chris Meyer

 

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#28 blw2

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:59 AM

Yep, my son also crossed over at 10.... but honestly I don't think it's the age or the number so much as personal level and interest.  
 

They have mixed age patrols, but he does have one friend from his cub den in his patrol. They haven't been specifically excluded per se, but I think most of the trips and activities have been skewed towards the older boys.

An inherent problem of the mixing of the ages.... based solely on age

 

@Hedgehog, you're doing a little bit of apples-to-oranges. What was the youngest age (not grade) of your participants? I couldn't imagine throwing any of my kids into most those activities while they were 10 years old.

 

I actually think Hedgehog's post nails it pretty much.  A 50 miler would probably be out of the range of interest bit only for a very few exceptional 10 year olds...... but a lot of the stuff he describes is the kind of adventure these boys are looking for!  To exclude them based on age is just sad.

And his point about servant leadership is spot on, mixed age patrols or not!

 

My son at a very young 11 now, is I would say someplace further along on the adventure scale than the OP's son, but he has some limitation re how much he's willing to do more based on laziness I'm sad to say.  Still, he is perfectly capable and even interested in some of that stuff.


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#29 desertrat77

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 12:37 PM

As others articulated so well earlier, that first summer camp is indeed the key.

 

Lots of fun, but mix in some unpleasant but necessary lessons. 

 

I treasure the memories of my first summer camp.  But I also recall how green I was...socially awkward, physically clumsy, etc.  I went from being a hot-shot Webelo denner to the greenest scout in the BSA.   There were times that week I was miserable.

 

But overall, it was worth it.   At the end, I realized the good far outweighed the bad and I had the notion in my young brain that "I can do this."   Next year, summer camp (same location as previous year) was so much better.   That extra year of "life" made quite a difference.

 

For the situation at hand, looking around for another troop may indeed be the key.  Given some time, the scout may arrive at the place one day where the high adventure theme is just the ticket.   If not, there are other troops where he'll be welcome and feel more at home.


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#30 JasonG172

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 01:57 PM

This is just my opinion and in no way is what I say meant to hurt any feelings.

 

I think not going to summer camp was a bad decision, they grow together and bond at summer camp.

 

My son crossed over last year and in that one year has matured some from last year in the troop, but he's got to be willing to get in there and mix it up with them as well.  If he gets out now with the intention of coming back when he matures then he'll never come back (statistically).  Stick it out, earn your ranks and move up!


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#31 cchoat

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 02:41 PM

Sorry, but I have to say that this isn't the 1900's anymore.  While even my generation (I was a Cub Scout in the early to mid 1980's) this might have been true, I have met plenty of excellent female Webelos leaders and Cubmasters since coming back to Scouting 5 years ago.  The Cubmaster who preceeded me was much very much into Scouting and the outdoors, and made a great Cubmaster/Webelos leader.  At one point I asked why we almost never saw her husband at Scouting activities, and she told me it was because he just wasn't very into the outdoors.  Over the past 25-30 years we've made a lot of progress in moving beyond gender stereotypes when it comes to camping/hiking/etc.  If you don't want to take my word for it, go out to Philmont and observe how many female rangers are on staff, and doing as well or better than their male counterparts.  This line is something I'd expect to find in the 1940's Cub Scout handbooks, not on a forum in 2016.

My apologies, I didn't mean to say that women couldn't serve as Webelos Den Leaders, and yes, even Scoutmasters for that fact. If you had read my post correctly ("Webelos is more dad and scout. Moms may be stil involved, but it is still an adult planned and led activity.") you may have noticed that I did not say that women could not serve as Webelos Den leaders.  I have been to Philmont.  I went through my Wood Badge course with two females, one a Cubmaster and the other a Troop Committee Chairperson, both life long friends and respected leaders.   So if my opinion is to you a bit "1940's"  (BTW, I wasn't around until 1962, but I digress)  it is my opinion, as this was what I went through in the late sixties, early seventies, as well as my experances as a Den Leader Coach and Cubmaster in the 1980s,  and I hold that it is an important transition point in a scouts trail.

 

So... To repeat myself, the main point I was making is that the Webelos program is suppose to be a transition program between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts\Adult planned and led to Youth planned and led. too many packs are trying to cram two years into a year and a half, and it looks as if his son's pack cut that even further.  It was quite obvious that by short changing this scout by rushing him from the pack to the troop, he wasn't allowed to make that transition smoothly. 


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#32 JasonG172

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 03:41 PM

So... To repeat myself, the main point I was making is that the Webelos program is suppose to be a transition program between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts\Adult planned and led to Youth planned and led. too many packs are trying to cram two years into a year and a half, and it looks as if his son's pack cut that even further.  It was quite obvious that by short changing this scout by rushing him from the pack to the troop, he wasn't allowed to make that transition smoothly. 

 

The Webelos Program is vital to a scouts success in the next step and I see that even in my own program.  I have Female Leader and I have mothers, and the mothers that "transition" into leaders never remove their "Mother" hat and really try to coddle the young men.  Again I work with many great female leaders that are stricter than I am but there are also many that shouldn't be leaders.


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#33 Phrogger

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 02:41 PM

Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.
 


Edited by Phrogger, 08 September 2016 - 02:42 PM.

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#34 perdidochas

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 04:15 PM

Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.
 

Webelos, done right, is that transition.  I agree that a one year program for most kids is too fast of a transition--the year and a half recommended is great.  BSA is the place where immature, quiet, non-athletic boys can excel.  Look for a troop that emphasizes younger scouts more. That, and you might be surprised at what your son is capable of, if he gives things a chance.


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#35 desertrat77

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:32 AM

Webelos, done right, is that transition. 

 

Right on the money!

 

In the past, Webelos was the place where, for 1 year, the kids left traditional cub scouting behind, and focused on "you are going to be a boy scout next year, and it's gonna be great!"   It was a safe place to begin the "big boy" theory and most kids really benefited from it.

 

Webelos used to be very distinct from the rest of the pack.  No more arts/crafts.  Add more field trips, more responsibility, begin camping, more freedom.

 

I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  


Edited by desertrat77, 09 September 2016 - 08:36 AM.

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#36 desertrat77

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:49 AM

By way of contrast, I offer up these small anecdotes from my Webs experience, circa '74, Panama Canal Zone:

 

- Overnight on an island.  Played in the jungle, jumped on big rocks on the beach with no adults present.   Meals:  C-rations, courtesy of Uncle Sam.   Adults started the fire for us, but opening the cans with the P-38 can opener, and heating the food, that was our responsibility.   Adult demonstrated once, and left.   Picky eaters found out quickly that they could go hungry or eat the c-rations.   Truthfully, those rations were pretty darn tasty.

 

- At the end of our Webs year, our den leader had a dance scheduled, and expected each of us Webs to invite a girl to attend.   But a scheduling conflict came up and it was cancelled.  But still--I was ten and working up the courage to invite Cheryl.... :)

 

- Each meeting, the denner led the games and stuff like that.   Not the adults.

 

I could go on and on, but I've already done that.  When I crossed over and attended my first real Boy Scout meeting, it seemed a little scary but completely natural, like I was "home." 


Edited by desertrat77, 09 September 2016 - 08:50 AM.

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#37 perdidochas

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 09:41 AM

Right on the money!

 

In the past, Webelos was the place where, for 1 year, the kids left traditional cub scouting behind, and focused on "you are going to be a boy scout next year, and it's gonna be great!"   It was a safe place to begin the "big boy" theory and most kids really benefited from it.

 

Webelos used to be very distinct from the rest of the pack.  No more arts/crafts.  Add more field trips, more responsibility, begin camping, more freedom.

 

I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  

 

Well, I know when I was a WDL (2 1/2 years, two different dens--1 1/2 years with the first den, then straight to a year with the second den), my goal was to make the boys into boy scouts over the year.  I got them outside as much as I could, and had them doing their own cooking as much as I could (had a few helicopter moms and dads). 


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#38 desertrat77

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 11:06 AM

Well, I know when I was a WDL (2 1/2 years, two different dens--1 1/2 years with the first den, then straight to a year with the second den), my goal was to make the boys into boy scouts over the year.  I got them outside as much as I could, and had them doing their own cooking as much as I could (had a few helicopter moms and dads). 

Perdidochas, I realize I was painting with an awfully big brush, and I apologize for my sweeping generalization.  


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#39 perdidochas

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 12:02 PM

Perdidochas, I realize I was painting with an awfully big brush, and I apologize for my sweeping generalization.  

 

I was actually just expanding on what you have said, with my personal example. I agree with you. 


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#40 blw2

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 01:13 PM

 

 

I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  

 

i think you are exactly right with this.  Based on my experience and what i've seen....The "typical" WEBELOS DL doesn't know the 1st thing about troop life and the patrol method.  It's only natural that they would continue marching on continuing the same old Cub program.  The training just isn't there.... and by then they certainly aren't reading the handbooks!

 

Even if they are former scouts, odds are really great that they don't have a good handle on this transition idea and many my not really even know or remember the patrol method, and they certainly aren't sitting around spending lots of time pondering these issues like we do here. 


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