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Goodbye Camporees, WFW's hello SAW's?

advancement weekend

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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 07:34 AM

Despite urging Council/District to return to patrol competition camporees, it seems hereabouts recruiting and advancement weekends are taking hold.

 

Council/District Webelos Family Weekends have been around for awhile but troop older scout attendance has been low. How to increase older scout attendance? Advancement, of course, is the answer. :blink:   Hello Scout Advancement Weekend!

 

Here's an upcoming example from Gulf Stream Council

 

Scouts get a hands on experience while earning merit badges. We offer over 60 merit badge classes. Scouts can take an all-day class or two half day classes. Choices include:

  • Aviation, taught by a pilot and includes a visit to the airport and flight time 
  • Engineering taught by an engineer from Sirius/XM radio
  • Environmental Science taught by an environmental science engineer specialist from Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • Fire Safety, First Aid, Medicine, Crime Prevention, Emergency Preparation taught by doctors, nurses and professionals in the police, fire and paramedic fields
  • Music taught by a music professor from PBSC
  • Citizenship classes taught by lawyers
  • Woodworking taught by a master woodworker
  • New classes added this year! Bugling, Collecting, Traffic Safety, Fishing, Backpacking & more….

The Merit Badge counselors for all the classes are either employed in their field or are hobbyist in the class they teach. They have spent many hours preparing for their classes. Class sizes range from 8 scouts up to 50 per session. SAW gives each scout the opportunity to learn from the best and perhaps think of a career choice in the future.

 

Webelos Cub Scouts also join the older Scouts for the weekend to get the Boy Scout experience. Webelos will earn two Adventure Pins during SAW..They are offered a selection of five of their own classes, including Engineering, Build it/Fix it, Art Explosion, Into the Wild and Earth Rocks. 

 

The Venturing Crews join us this year completing requirements for the Venturing Discovery Award.

 

Not to leave the adult leaders out, training classes will also be offered throughout the day. Choices could include Scoutmaster Specifics, Merit Badge Counselor Orientation, Introduction to COPE and core skill training such as campfire building, knot tying & more. Up to 15 classes run continuously, so Scouters can fit them into the day’s schedule.

Scouters can join us for the whole weekend or just for the day on Saturday. 
Scouts from all councils are welcome.

 

lg15_all%20about%20saw.jpg

https://www.gulfstre...il.org/SAW_2016

 

All in one weekend? Seems over-scheduled and about as much fun as high school but I'm told Advancement is King.

 

My $0.02


Edited by RememberSchiff, 18 October 2016 - 07:40 AM.

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#2 scoutldr

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 08:05 AM

Music or Bugling in one day?  Took me years of lessons.


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#3 fred johnson

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 08:54 AM

Ya know ... personally ... I think it's a great idea.  

 

I've seen district camporees with patrol competitions. It's fun for one or two years, but then scouts quickly learn the playing field is not level because troops prepare scouts to different levels and help their scouts different amounts.  Plus, it gets old quick. Only time I've seen it stay fun is when it's water volleyball tournaments or climbing races or other competitions that really is 100% scout.  Those I see go on for year after year.  No judging issues.  No adults helped one team more than another team sort of thing.  No subjective judging.  

 

I have yet to see a SAW event in our council, but I like it as advertised because ... "taught by".  That's a huge draw.  IMHO, scouts crave interactions with people who have strong skills and can quickly small out and ignore those who are just pretending.  One of the best I saw was an oceanography class taught by an officer on a submarine and a ocean research scientist.  Or metal work done at a workshop where the scouts bent, cut and shaped metal.  

 

I also like the "taught by" because I remember my son really pushing for a specific merit badge because he wanted to learn.  He's the one who pushed because the people did a strong sales job on that it would be a good merit badge session.  But then he got there and it was flat, dry and nothing new.  

 

.... of course ... "taught by a lawyer" .... hmmm ... 


Edited by fred johnson, 18 October 2016 - 08:54 AM.

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#4 DuctTape

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 08:54 AM

I am not a fan of using educational terminology for merit badges. The adults are counselors, not teachers. They counsel the boy in the badge, not teach a class. Some might say it is just semantics, but I disagree. Words matter. When one uses school language, it becomes school and the boy loses out on the individual counseling to experience and grow. I would bet good money the discuss/explain with your counselor ends up being a written test administered to a group instead of the boy engaging in a conversation with the counselor. The boys lose out. Sad.
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#5 qwazse

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:01 AM

.... of course ... "taught by a lawyer" .... hmmm ... 

Now, if they were detained by a police officer, arraigned by a grand jury, and defended by a lawyer ... that might make for an interesting weekend. Different scouts could be assigned as witnesses, bailiffs, assist the prosecution, the jury pool, etc ...

 

Mock trial camporee ... that could be fun.


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#6 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 09:49 AM

The "taught by" kind of rankles me as well.  For one thing, it kind of ignores the value of the MB pamphlet, and I agree with DuctTape, I don't think it accurately captures the role of the MB counselor.

 

I have the seen the Aviation MB done in one day, and done very well, as I accompanied my son and 4 or 5 other Scouts who attended a program at a regional airport.  But it took a LOT of work and planning by the organizer in getting a variety of speakers in the aviation field, and the kids were required to do some work on worksheets in advance... and it was a long, LONG Saturday at the airport.  The kids definitely earned that one.  (Unfortunately they did not get to go for a flight, which was an add-on to the MB program, due to heavy fog all day.)

 

I particularly dislike the "class" and "teaching" approach, whether at summer camp or at one of these "days", for the Citizenship MB's.   They are already too much like school, but I think there is some valuable information and experience that the Scout can gain from them if done through the "traditional" counseling approach.

 

My son did have one MB that was "taught by a lawyer", and that was in a class setting over a few evenings at summer camp:  Law MB.  I was somewhat surprised that he chose to spend several evenings at camp doing that, but I think he learned something.  And I can't deny feeling a little bit of pride, mixed with my surprise, when I picked him up on Saturday and found out about that badge.


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#7 fred johnson

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 10:08 AM

"Taught" / teach ... Everything we do in scouting is about teaching.  ... but ... I understand and agree with the comments.  We don't want sit down at a desk and fill out paperwork teaching.  We want live, hands on, active, doing things teaching.  It's more about mentorship or counseling or guiding.  But either way it's still a teaching role.  Just ideally not a sit down at a desk.

 

I must disagree about the merit badge book.  I see very few scouts using the merit badge books these days.  And, it's just not how scouts learn or want to learn.  

 

Now if you put those books online and told the scouts too look at a web site before the merit badge, I think you would have alot of takers.  And/or they'd open them during down time during the class.  IMHO, it's all about online these days.  


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#8 MattR

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 12:38 PM

As far as a way to get MBs signed off, I suppose this is fine. It's new and different.

 

But this is one more example of how one method of scouting (advancement) is turning into the aim of scouting. Unfortunately it's happening in my troop as well. Many parents get vocal about advancement and don't see anything else. Personally, I'm getting ready to step down as I don't feel like fighting that anymore.


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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 12:56 PM

Now if you put those books online and told the scouts too look at a web site before the merit badge, I think you would have alot of takers.  And/or they'd open them during down time during the class.  IMHO, it's all about online these days.  

 

Unfortunately, this being the BSA, the online books would probably be behind a "pay wall".


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 02:12 PM

Getting back to the original post:  I see the offerings include merit badges, Webelos adventure pins, a Venturing award and adult training - everything BUT what I regard as the "core" of Boy Scout advancement, the requirements for Scout (or Tenderfoot) through First Class. Is it assumed that those are handled sufficiently at troop/patrol meetings/camping trips etc.?  Even if it is, I do not like the overwhelming emphasis (both in this flyer and thitngs I see at my own council and summer camp) on merit badges.  It seems to me the kids come into a troop and are immediately made to feel (not necessarily by the troop but in general) that they need to start earning tons of merit badges right away.  Even at the first-year camper program at summer camp, the kids earn a portion of the T-2-1 requirements but they also finish the week with either 2 or 3 merit badges, depending on whether they are ready to go for Swimming.   In the second year and beyond it is all merit badges - regardless oif what rank a kid is.  There is no organized program at summer camp to get a second-year camper to First Class if he has not made it yet.

 

Personally I think "we" start beating the drums for merit badges too soon, when we should be prioritizing getting to First Class.  And of course the parents pick up on the encouragement of merit badges.


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#11 fred johnson

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 04:11 PM


Unfortunately, this being the BSA, the online books would probably be behind a "pay wall".

 
Yeah ... that's about as backwards as you can get.  At the time that information is widely available on the internet, BSA documents that could be a great marketing tool by BSA are pay only.   :(
 
It's just easier to find the information elsewhere ... and for free.


Personally I think "we" start beating the drums for merit badges too soon, when we should be prioritizing getting to First Class.  ...

 
MB or first class skills are two sides of the advancement coin.  IMHO, the number one priority is getting the scouts out camping and doing things.  Everything else stems from an active troop.

Edited by fred johnson, 18 October 2016 - 04:13 PM.

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#12 desertrat77

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 05:08 PM

Organized/led by adults.

 

Pay your money.  Get fed by the staff.  

 

No need for PLs or SPLs.   Just get in line.  Don't be late to class. Sit on a picnic bench.

 

I'm with @RememberSchiff, this event sounds like school.  


Edited by desertrat77, 18 October 2016 - 05:12 PM.

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#13 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 08:40 PM

Well my camporee was postpone by Matthew, so we'll find out what the scouts like and want in my neck of th4 woods shortly.


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#14 The Latin Scot

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 08:42 PM

I just feel bad that people look at school like it's a bad thing. I adored school as a child, and most of my boys like it as well. This would have been far more engaging for me than the endless, and pointless camp outs where we went out into the woods and did nothing. My mind felt like it was atrophying on those outings. If I had had the chance to go to something like this when I was a Scout, I would have been thrilled. 

 

Not all boys crave constant activity and high adventure; I never did. But I did love learning in controlled, comfortable environments. Today's boys are used to being indoors; in their information generation they succeed better at receiving information this way than we think. Should it replace camporees and patrol events? Goodness no; they need to get out and play too. Of course. But one or two of these a year can be a huge benefit to boys that don't always have the opportunity to earn badges that might interest them but that require resources or connections they don't have. 

 

Every Scout is different. Just as some thrive in the outdoors competing with other patrols and pioneering in the wild, others thrive in a classroom with information and interaction with professionals in various vocations. The key is balance. Scouting's ideals and purpose can remain the same as they always have while still leaving room for adaptation to new needs and goals amongst the young men of this generation. One or two events like these, supplemented by the natural, healthy stream of outdoor adventures and camporee-type experiences, only go towards producing better yields of well-balanced Scouts who can become better men AND advance through the ranks. Advancement can't be allowed to be perceived as bad, nor can school, nor can any of these things. They can all support and promote each other, if we will just let them. 


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The only proper singular of Webelos Scouts is ... WEBELOS SCOUT!  


#15 RememberSchiff

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 05:32 AM

The overwhelming dominance of one scouting method, Advancement, in the scouting program is what is bad. The resulting focus on Eagle instead of leadership and character development is wrong.

 

This is not just one or two events. Camporees have merit badges as their themes (I have seen weekend camporees offer 5 safety MBs!). Summer camp is all about MB count. Jamborees? Even the Klondike Derby which was the ultimate yearly patrol competition has been mucked - "Let's add Wilderness Survival MB to the weekend."

 

My $0.02

 

P.S.  Ask a scout which is more fun, school or scouting. If he doesn't immediately and energetically say Scouting, our bad.


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#16 desertrat77

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 06:01 AM

Nothing wrong with school. 

 

But kids still need outdoor adventure.  They need challenges--unstructured and semi-structured--that push them.   Getting away from technology, hovering parents and teachers, and learning to stand on their own two feet.

 

I was in the military for 30 years.  I saw first hand the results of too much structure and too much spoon feeding.   Even in the military, structured as it is, there are many instances, particularly in the field, where orders are unclear, resources are limited, and individual courage and initiative are essential  Even for the one-striper.   Some young folks are just dumbfounded.   They've always been told what to do, how to do it, where to be, what time to be there, what to wear.  Etc.  

 

They are better than that.  


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#17 qwazse

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 02:30 PM

...

But kids still need outdoor adventure.  They need challenges--unstructured and semi-structured--that push them.   Getting away from technology, hovering parents and teachers, and learning to stand on their own two feet.

...

 

They are better than that.  

Got flack from my oldest venturer coming on the next outing:  "Why can't we go on the shorter hike with the rest of the troop? And, why do you add an orienteering course to it?"

 

Not one of my better moments, said in surly, ill-tempered advisor voice ... "Because, you are in a Crew meeting. This is what we do."

 

I shouldn't get on his case too bad. The three youth who were really asking for this event can't attend. The other youth who was involved in the planning couldn't attend last night. So, I'm the "middle man" trying to pass along a certain vision. I could see where, in his case, one might balk between a choice of an hour orienteering course followed by six miles backpacking and 4 miles backpacking with the last part bushwhacking "up and over" a wooded ridge.

 

I'm sure we sound the same way as we cringe at MB universities, etc ... folks don't see their "process streamlining" as shooting for the lowest common denominator.


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#18 TAHAWK

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 09:09 PM

A terrible idea and contrary to the main thrust of BSA advancement policy as set out in the Guide to Advancement.

 

"It all begins with a Scout’s initial interest and effort in a merit badge subject, followed by a discussion with the unit leader or designated assistant, continues through meetings with a counselor, and culminates in advancement and recognition. It is an uncomplicated process that gives a Scout the confidence achieved through overcoming obstacles. Social skills improve. Self-reliance develops. Examples are set and followed. And fields of study and interest are explored beyond the limits of the school classroom.

 

Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead, it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation. 

 

The sort of hands-on interactive experience described here, with personal coaching and guidance, is hardly ever achieved in any setting except when one counselor works directly with one Scout and his buddy, or with a very small group. Thus, this small-scale approach is the recommended best practice for merit badge instruction and requirement fulfillment. Units, districts, and councils should focus on providing the most direct merit badge experiences possible. Large group and Web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive association with adults."


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#19 RememberSchiff

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 03:39 AM


The sort of hands-on interactive experience described here, with personal coaching and guidance, is hardly ever achieved in any setting except when one counselor works directly with one Scout and his buddy, or with a very small group. Thus, this small-scale approach is the recommended best practice for merit badge instruction and requirement fulfillment. Units, districts, and councils should focus on providing the most direct merit badge experiences possible. Large group and Web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive association with adults."

 

"Class sizes range from 8 scouts up to 50 per session."

 

8 scouts is larger than any MB class that I have held.


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#20 Lurking...

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 06:47 AM

How does one mentor 50 scouts at the same time?  When I do MB's I normally try to keep the numbers well below 8 boys at a time.  It's difficult to keep track of any more than that if one wishes to include the "personal touch" in the mentoring process.


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