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Ideas to Improve the Cub Scout Program


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#1 bbender

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 12:58 PM

With the announcement on 11/30/16 about Cub Scout Requirement alternatives, the BSA wants to make the Cub Scout program better.   So to build on that, I'm assembling a series of concepts to Improve the Cub Scout Program at http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3558.  

 

Many of these would help achieve the stated goals of the 11/30/16 alternative requirements but without just reducing the requirements and lowering the quality of program experience.  Some are fairly easy to implement.  Ideas include:

 

Restoring the camping requirements, but with some alternates for issues like weather.  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3564

 

Give Den Leaders plans to help earn Bobcat, currently missing from the Leader Guides.  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3405

 

Speaking of Den Leader Guides, put them all back online, for free.  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3556

 

If Camping is a hurdle, make safe camping more accessible by two slight adjustments to the Guide to Safe Scouting.  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3562

 

Not just a Cub Scout help, but something that could make life easier for any Chartered Organization with more than one unit:  move to a One Chartered Organization equals One Committee structure to help the different levels of Scouting help each other more.   See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3563 

 

And, yes, the 11/30/16 revised requirements have some significant opportunity to be revisited, certainly before any of those changes get baked into a new investment in Handbooks and Leader guides.  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3565 for comments, including Adventure by Adventure ideas.

 

What do you think about how to make Cub Scouting better?


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#2 David CO

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 02:14 AM

Is there anything in the rules that currently prevents a Chartered Organization from appointing the same people to both the Cub Scout committee and the Boy Scout committee?  If there is, would it be better and easier to just change those rules?

 

Would your proposal be more limiting to the Chartered Organization in that it takes away the choice to appoint one group of leaders or more than one group of leaders to run the units?

 

In my school, the PTO runs the Cub Scouts and the Athletic Department runs the Boy Scouts.  A "One Committee" structure could really mess things up.

 

Is this just another instance of council and district guys trying to find solutions to problems that don't really exist?


Edited by David CO, 19 December 2016 - 02:43 AM.

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#3 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 07:23 AM

@bbender

 

Ideas to improve Cub Scouts look good to me. One thing I would suggest is talking to units that did NOT have problems with the June 2015 - November 2016 requirements to see what they did to get things done.

 

However regarding this statement:

 

Not just a Cub Scout help, but something that could make life easier for any Chartered Organization with more than one unit:  move to a One Chartered Organization equals One Committee structure to help the different levels of Scouting help each other more.   See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3563 

 

I say it depends. I've seen where a CO had the same committee for both units work with minor changes. My troop had one committee, and the crew had almost the exact committee. Differences was the SM was the CC of the crew, and  advisor for the crew was the CC of the troop. And I have heard of a few COs that do it that way

 

But in my experience it doesn't work. One unit will be neglected, and sometimes both. The pack I'm with had a combined committee with the troop. The committee was a paper committee and really did not help either unit. While the paper members were still left on the charter, parents in both units joined the committee, and eventually assumed the chairmanship of the committee since the de facto chair was nonexistent. The defacto Chair seems to like it this way, and so does the IH.

 

The troop I'm with had a similar situation: one committee for its pack and troop. However the troop was getting all the attention, and the pack was suffering and suffering bad. Eventually parents in the pack stepped up and started doing the committee's job. Do not know if they are officially registered as MCs or not, but the CC and IH are happy.

 

One thing I do suggest is one person serve as a liaison between the pack and the troop. More later


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#4 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 07:57 AM

Back.

 

Again I strongly recommend there is one or two liaison people between a CO's pack, troop, and, if they have one, ship or crew. I know the pack I'm with had one back in the day when I joined. They had a very good Webelos to Boy Scout transition program as a result. Unfortunately a change in adult Scouters with the troop ended the transition program, as well as other things. The troop has not received any new Scouts from the pack since 2013. Thankfully the CM and SM are old friends, and the CM wants the troop saved. So he was able to push the troop into working with the pack when others were unable to. In 2 weeks they are getting 3 Webelos from the wife's den.

 

On the flip side, the troop I'm with has an active relationship with the pack. It's not perfect, but it is good. Just this past weekend we had their Webelos work on CASTAWAY with one of our Scouts while the Troop did Wilderness Survival. We will probably get 7 of their 14 Webelos in March. The other 7 will be going to their brothers' troop. Long story short, we had a pack fold a few years back, and everyone joined my Troop's affiliated pack. So that troop does get some of our Webelos. While some are not happy with that, most of the adult leaders are more concerned that they stay involved with Scouting.


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#5 bbender

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the feedback ... since the One CO/One Committee concept floated at http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3563 already had pros and cons like the comments above (like if everything is hunky dory and you've got liaisons, keep on keeping on like you're doing now), I've elaborated on the "cons" noted above in that page.  

 

That said, even if a Chartered Org has vibrant, functioning, cross-unit cooperating Committees, having the paperwork reduction of (1) avoiding new applications as youth members move from Pack to Troop (if the BSA went to this, I'm assuming we could designate 5th Grade recharters as "crossing over" into the Troop with a button push in the spring through Member Manager), and (2) avoiding new adult applications as Pack leaders move into Troop roles (and vice versa), would be a time saver (yes yes yes, there are workarounds for the paperwork hassle, like keep copies of applications to be re-signed later, find a paperwork person, etc., but gosh if it was a button click at recharter and/or crossover, how helpful would that be).  

 

How about the other issues ... like restoring the Cub Scout camping requirements, but with some alternates for issues like weather?  See http://www.southfult...g.com/node/3564


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#6 David CO

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 03:38 PM

No, it didn't already address the question I raised.

 

Wouldn't the "One Committee" concept place greater limits on the Chartered Organization's ability to organize the committee(s) the way it wants?

 

If the CO wants to have two separate committees, why shouldn't it be allowed to do so?


Edited by David CO, 20 December 2016 - 03:40 PM.

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#7 bbender

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 04:20 PM

Wouldn't the "One Committee" concept place greater limits on the Chartered Organization's ability to organize the committee(s) the way it wants?

 

Hi David CO:

 

In what I added earlier today, I added a note that the change can be "operationally" neutral to functioning committees, as they may choose to operate as separate subcommittees for Pack and Troop (and Crew), just cooperating on Charter matters -- effectively for them the impact would be the paperwork reduction of avoiding multiple recharter packages, new applications as youth members move from Pack to Troop, new adult applications as Pack leaders move into Troop roles (and vice versa).  So if a Troop Committee doesn't want committee coordination with any Pack operations (other than any designated liaison), then keep on with that approach: have your Committee keep separate Subcommittees for Pack and Troop (and Crew) that operate separately.

 

I think the earlier notes included the idea that for the really good Troops and Packs that have Committees that are separate and know when to work together ... they can continue to operate as they do now.  If the single Committee decides to have a Pack Subcommittee and Troop Subcommittee just like now, go for it.  Nothing in the Charter structure requires any given set of meeting schedules / attendance requirements / or other operating details.  All that is set locally.

 

So if there were a one overall committee structural change, intended to create an environment that might in some cases help Units of a Chartered Organization do a better job of planning, coordinating, recruiting and helping each other, and reduce paperwork, the separate committees would be under the overall BSA Unit Committee for that CO.

 

Magic bullet?  No.  Maybe help?  I think so.  Less Paperwork?  Yes!


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#8 blw2

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:23 AM

thread seems to have evolved into more of a discussion of combined units (troop and pack) and not cub program improvement exactly....

but I'll throw this out to the discussion...

Is recharter really that much of an issue that it needs to be streamlined?  Would this really help much of anything?

 

In my thinking recharter is only a pain in the neck if the roster is full of holes and unorganized.  If a person has kept up with the member applications, and they know who is in the troop and who is not, the biggest issue I see is getting everyone to pay their dues.  even that really isn't a big deal.....set a deadline and a person that isn't paid up is dropped.

The recharter paperwork isn't really a big deal and really doesn't take up all that much time for a person....and eliminating one contract means one or two less signatures for the IH to make.....but really, how much time does that save?

 

 

I do find the idea of combined committees interesting, but for a different reason.  Since it seems that it is often hard to find enough people that are really willing to show up and work, things could be a good bit more efficient with one committee as compared to two..... but then again the focus or method of the two different units, pack and troop, are really a good bit different.... they are doing different things and have different interests..... so it could cause more tripping up too.

 

My suggestions for a better pack

start later.... bear or WEBELOS year is soon enough to tap into the best part of the program and to avoid burn-out

Have a better or more clear SOP regarding volunteering, adult positions, term 'limits'

    I like the idea of say

   every parent is required to do something

   a parent from the 1st year webelos den is CM

  a parent form the Bear den is ACM ready to take over next year

   the old CM that is now from the 2nd year WEBELOS den is still around to offer help and advice.  Maybe they become the CC for that year....

  

and if you are determined to run with Tigers, a perpetual Tiger Leader, someone who is not a parent of a scout in that den should be the leader.  They facilitate parents from within the den to lead the meetings, grooming them to take over DL and other jobs next year...and forming the 1st level vetting for future roles

 

Oh and the big thing on the program side is to teach the boy lead patrol method to the adults early on.  That should be a big key part in the cub program.  Sadly, it's not


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#9 Fehler

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 10:51 AM

I would rather have recharter in the mid spring, rather then now when it's due mid November.  We've pushed it too close to the fall recruitment cycle, I can't chase down all the paperwork in that short timeframe (our council has a new form this year that needs t be completed for all new and returning scouts, in addition to the BSA Youth App for new scouts).


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#10 Stosh

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 11:01 AM

Timing of the rechartering is up to the council.  We recharter at the end of March.


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#11 blw2

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:59 PM

oh interesting, I thought it was a BSA thing, that we were all in it at the same time.  

Ours is technically up Jan 31, but they like to lead people to believe it's 'due' in December.

 

It has always seemed like weird timing to me.... we like a lot of units sort of role on the school year.  In a way ours is good because it gives plenty of time after the fall 'kick-off' for the roster to settle out and for all the dues money to be collected before we recharter.


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#12 minn

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:31 AM

Digital versions of the Den Leader Guides returned to the BSA's site months ago: https://cubscouts.org/learning-library/


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#13 bbender

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 07:26 AM

Digital versions of the Den Leader Guides returned to the BSA's site months ago: https://cubscouts.org/learning-library/

I think that they did post the actual Den Adventure activity plans from the Den Leader Guides over a year ago, and they didn't sometime around a year ago (except for a few ... see the notes below), but there is a "back door" to the plans (that may have been an oversight when most of the Den Adventure activity plans were taken down about a year ago).

 

When you go to that page linked in your message, and then follow the "Choose your Rank" choice, you get to a page like this:

 

https://cubscouts.or...r-cub-scouting/

 

Currently, when you click there, you get a left hand menu of "Den Meeting Basics" (which has intro parts of the leader guides), then "Getting Started" (which has three Den Adventure activity plans as they appear in the den leader guide), and then "Additional Required Adventures" and "Elective Adventures".  Each rank has three plans, including the family faith adventure.

 

But for the "Additional Required Adventures" and "Elective Adventures", the page you click to doesn't have the actual Den Adventure activity plans from the Den Leader Guides.  What it has are the intro parts from the Guide: the "rationale", the "takeaways" and the "requirements", plus any "notes" for den leaders.   For Meeting Plans, it says: "To get you started in delivering fun and engaging meetings, complete Den Meeting Plans are available here on the Learning Library for the Backyard Jungle and Games Tigers Play adventures. To obtain Den Meeting Plans for all other adventures, Den Leader Guides are available at your local Scout Shop, online at scoutstuff.org, or as an eBook through Amazon."  Again, that is a change:  at the outset of the 2015-16 program year, all Required and Elective Adventures also had the full Den Adventure activity plans when you clicked on the page for the Adventure.  

 

Now, it turns out that there is at this time a "back door" to the actual Den Adventure activity plans, because at the top of an adventure like that there are two buttons: "download this page" and "print this page".  

  • If you click "print this page", you get a print view of the page, including the "eBook through Amazon" note.  
  • But if you click "download this page", it actually doesn't download the page, it downloads the activity plan (or, technically, it downloads what used to be the page at the outset of the 2015-16 program year, those Adventures also had the full Den Adventure activity plans.  

I suspect this was an IT oversight, but I guess we'll see what the BSA does ... do they put the plans back (they are sitting there in "download this page", so it shouldn't be hard), or do they wipe out the plans from "download this page".

 

Minn:  if there is a different route to those plans from the learning library page, I'd be curious, so let us know!  

Minn:  if there is a different route to the plans, 


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