JUST ASK THE QUESTION


join-scoutsI follow a few forums about Scouting.  Recently a person asked how to keep a Scout from Webelos II to Boy Scouts.  I figured I knew the answer since being in Scouts for a while.  But, a response from another Scouter floored me.

“As district transition chair several years ago I asked my professional for a list of those youth that did not cross to Boy Scouts . After some extensive phone work I discovered the biggest stated reason they the boys did not join a troop was that they were not asked to join one. I called ( with help) and contacted approximately 500 families about 1/4 the total. I received responses from most of the contacted, the largest reason ( over 50%) of responders was no one asked the youth to join a troop or they did not know of a troop.
Boy Scout units have a vested interest in the success of Cub units, many of us are fortunate enough to have an associated pack , but many do not.You must cultivate a relationship with those local packs and help them succeed, good examples are the best work you can do to retain cubs. “

While I know that my Troop actively goes to the Webelos Den Leader and the Cubmaster to invite them and gets them to outings and Troop visits, which has dramatically increased the Scouts these past two years.  The Scoutmaster does make the ask and does have a SMC with the Webelos II.  I wonder about others and having them ask the Scout to join.  Can it be that simple?  Ask the Scout to join the Troop.  Ask the parents to join.

During my four years as Cubmaster, I reached out to many Troops.  Asking for help at Pack Meetings and seeing what meetings we could go to.  I knew that followed up with Scouts asking where they were going and what they were doing.

I remember Scoutmasters and others say, it would be great to have you in the Troop.  But, never shake their hand and ask them point-blank to join.

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Magical Firsts


T150-Fort_to_Sea Trip-YTP  This past weekend, Troop 150 took off to the Oregon Coast for an overnight and a hike.  This overnight was slated as Backpacking 101.  Basic hiking and camping skills along with how to work as a Crew.  It was geared toward the younger scouts as the older ones are headed off to Philmont.  Out of the 10 Scouts that went, 8 were Scout to Tenderfoot.  The SPL for the trip is aging out and just passed his Eagle Board of Review two nights before.  The ASPL is working on 1st Class.    Out of the 8, only four had gone to summer camp the year before since the others just joined or moved from another troop.  The only other overnight events recently were a Pre-Camporee weekend and Camporee weekend.  A pretty green crew of Scouts.

The weekend was planned loosely around the fact of hiking into Royce-Finel BSA Camp and learning how to set-up tents, cook food, who was responsible for this, that and the other.  The next day’s big event was hiking the Fort to Sea Trail.  All of this was accomplished and so much more.  Yes, requirements can and were signed off for many items.

Getting the Scouts out into the wilderness, camping and hiking really tests them.  It puts them in the environment using what worked on in the gym. IMG_1794 There were several things that shook out.  Eating meals when they needed to be eaten.  Bringing food that you liked.  How not to wash dishes for three hours.  Listening to your patrol mates.  And then, wearing the right shoes & socks.  What is needed in your pack. Don’t pack everything.  Have a pack that fits you.  First Aid and what to do when.  Blisters.  How to hike as a group.  Who is the Sipmaster!  What is a Sipmaster!

We also did two things that was just great.  We held a Rose, Bud & Thorn meeting close to the lake  but outside of our campsites.  It was great to hear the scouts think and explain themselves about the trip.  The Adults participated too.  It was great insight. On Sunday we held a Scout’s Own service.  It was in the same place as the Rose, Bud & Thorn meeting.  Again, very good to center ones self and reflect as one would in their own place of worship.

In the end, it was a vision that I had for the Scouts to get out to this camp and hike the Fort to Sea Trail.  It was also made possible by the Troop and Parents of the Troop via Friends of Scouting that got the reservation.  It was also the Adult Leaders and parents who helped get the Scout to the camp and hike.  Several of my local Scoutmaster friends have hiked this hike and stayed at Royce-Finel.  It was a great start to a tradition.  Backpacking 101 will happen again next year.  The Scouts have already said they want to do it again.

 

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Generations


Wb_course_firstC  Each year within Cascade Pacific Council like so many others, a course is held.  The W1-492-14 Course is as I write this, getting over their second weekend.  I was asked to be a guest presenter on Day 4 for the Generations section of the course.  Yipee!  I get to go back to Gilwell!

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you will know how fun Wood Badge is and how important it has been within my Scouting life.  Wood Badge training and information gained during the course is not just for Scouting, it is also for work and daily life.   Coming back as a Troop Guide in 2011 for the Bobwhite Patrol was an eye opener.  I had been asked in 2010, but could not due to work and life.

During the 2011 course, I releared and got refocused.  Yes, I knew what the goals of Wood Badge is supposed to do.  But, as I experienced it again as Staff, I learned more.

This time as a guest presenter I was removed from the hour to hour process and from the participants.  I was good with that.   I went to Staff Development that was held on site and overnight.  I got to know the new Troop Guides and reconnect with my fellow Critters.  We relived old times and I gained new ones.
DSCF2663
I went about presenting an abbreviated version of the Generations presentation and asked for feedback.   And here is the change that happens.   Apparently within the 2012/2013 course the Generations Skit was dropped from the National Syllabus.  There was not a skit of each Generation.  This threw me for a loop.  I was not completely lost, but I was going back to 2011 and 2009 to get my bearings.  After working with the ASM and a few others, I got my footing.  Off I went to research and make my presentation my own.

Fast forward now to this past Friday.  It was Day 4 for Wood Badge and actually the Participants were just getting back to Gilwell that day.  I was on after lunch.   My believe that I was ready.  I learned that while the Syllabus stops at 2000, there is another Generation in our midst.  Elliot was born in 2001 and is now in the Troop starting his 2nd year.  There is a whole crop of people in a new yet really unnamed Generation.  I have heard they are called the Z or No Name Generation.  Taking this info and also that I could change what I wanted to do. I started to.  Wait….another change…  I knew I needed to get in touch with the Course Scribe.  She rules all and I wanted to make sure that all the items I needed were taken care of.  She confirmed that they were and that I would be providing the “Faces” part…. Um…what?

Spoiler Alert: No.. I will not give it away since others who have not gone to Wood Badge may read this.  What, I will say is that instead of using the Faces, I used music of that era to convey and get people into that mood.

Suffice to say, the music aspect of the 2014 Generations presentation, I think went well.  It got their attention and kept it.  I did run long in several spots and let the audience run with their ideas.  It was a great conversation and I hopefully delivered what was asked of me.

But, here is the crux of this post.  Change happens even within Generations and also Wood Badge courses.  Each course has its own theme, flavor, jokes and Inner Momentum.  No two courses are the same.  I saw the change from 2009 to 2014.  The goal of Wood Badge is the same, but the delivery and vibe are vastly different.  I was jealous not to experience the entire course.    I also was very happy to meet several of the participants and got their perspective.   I too learned something even though I was at Gilwell for only four hours.  A change in the Generations happens.  Stop and look or you might miss it.

DSC_01772011 Course Troop Guide Project

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2014 Pioneer District Award of Merit


IMG_1457  Apparently, someone thought enough of me that they submitted my name and information to be considered for the District Award of Merit.  Of which, the selection committee also thought I did something good for Scouting.

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2014 Camporee


T150-2104-SpiritAward  During the first weekend of May, Pioneer District held their annual Camporee at Champeog State Park just outside of Newberg, OR.  This was my second Camporee.  Our first was with another Troop in 2013.   The Troop has gone to their annual Pre-Camporee a few weeks before to get ready.

Suffice to say that two patrols came away with high honors with Gumby edging out all the Patrols in the Camporee.  Overall, Troop 150 won the Spirit Award for the fourth time.  It is an award that travels between Troop to Troop over time.    Given the fact that there is a higher amount of newer Scouts than older ones, this is a great accomplishment!

IMG_1322During Camporee there is three hours of competition that cover: First Aid, Plant ID, Knots, Maps & Compass and finally Fire Building.  There is also the Campsite Inspection and the mystery Pioneering section.  We did host the Webelos II Den from Pack 221, of which with some help got their fire to burnt he string in 47 seconds.  The Gumby Patrol of T150 was second overall in 52 seconds.  Both the Webelos and Gumby earned the Burning Man Award!

IMG_1312The Pioneering event was very cool.  The object was to create a way to get the Troop over a 8ft wide spot in a river or over a canyon.  What ended up happening is the more than 8th foot bridge being built, but having it like a drawbridge that lowered to the other side.  All the other Troops made a bridge that had a stand on each side.  Impossible since we could not get to the other side until it was made.  The other great part is that the Webelos II Den did help out a bit.  Moving logs and rope around.  They all did get to walk across the bridge in the end.

Troop 150 did extend an invitation to the Pack 221 Webelos to attend Camporee.  At first, they were to spend the night.  It was the first time in a very long time apparently that the District did this.  It came to light later that via the BSA National rules that Webelos may not sleep over at a Camporee.  They may attend.  I had to look this up just to be sure.  Here is the info from Scouting.org:

The first is this: http://www.scouting.org/…/CubScoutOutdoorProgramGuideli… ”   The second link is from Guide to Safe Scouting: http://www.scouting.org/…/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss03.aspx IMG_1334

Suffice to say, if the Webelos did stay the night, they would have been incredibly wet and almost flooded out.  That is because it rained like it did for Noah’s Ark that night.  There were a lot of wet Scouts, but only two Scouts had to abandon their Tents before they floated away.

Overall, the entire weekend was a success.  A few minor First Aid treatments and questions about obtaining Hot Water for dishes happened.  The Troop also was invited to put on a special Flag Ceremony for the Champoeg State Park Weekend.  It was the 103rd Anniversary of the town Champoeg where Oregon became a State.

Troop 150 is looking forward to the 2015 Camporee!

 

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Glowstick Orienteering


glowstickIn an earlier posting about a Scout Campout, I talked about Glowstick Orienteering.  I got a few requests via Twitter for more details.

After a quick email to the Scoutmaster, he replied with this: “Basically there were 10 glowsticks that correspond to the 10 Essential items.  Bearings were provided and then a very approximate number of paces to each point.  The idea was to put the glowstick somewhere it can be seen from within 20 feet or so, or inside some fairly obvious structure (like inside a KYBO door).  They somehow attached the name of an essential to each glowstick or something so that each patrol could write that down as they went.  This way they made sure the guys completed the course in the right order. The patrols were started 15-20 minutes apart with the hope of tracking total time to complete the course and naming a winner, but the sabotaging of the course for the third group screwed that part up.
 
I would add that some of the difficulty getting the guys started was because none of our older guys had done this before either since the last time the Troop had done this was 2008.  If we get back to doing it at least once a year on a campout or at summer camp, then the older guys will already know the game and it can go smoother/faster.”

I think that this a great event for a Campout for a Troop and even a Cub Scout Pack if it was made easier.

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Understanding the Troop Flavor


IMG_1066It’s Sunday night and I am back from  a weekend of camping with the Troop.  It was the annual shakedown Campout for Camporee in a month.  This was also the first campout with the Troop for Elliot and myself.  I was pretty eager to go since I had not a clue on how Troop 150 operated outside of the gym.

Boy was it fun!  First, I had never been to Camp Lewis.  Super great place for a Weekend Campout.  School was out on Friday, so many people went up after 1pm.  As one Scout said, 5 hours of more fun!  The rest came later.

The several Scouts were working on the new Cooking Merit Badge.  It all went pretty well, until it was realized Saturday night that they didn’t plan for Sunday breakfast.   The Adult Patrol rescued them with sharing our eggs and toast.

The Scouts worked on Knots, Lashing, First Aid, Plant ID and Orienteering.   The Scoutmaster brought back a tradition that he went through when he was in the Troop.  A Night Glow-Stick Orienteering Course.  That was fun!

Earlier in the evening, we had invited a Troop from Thunderbird District to share a campfire, skits and songs.  It turned out that I knew the Scoutmaster!  He was a Bear on the 2010 Wood Badge Course.

I saw several things that really made me like this Troop a lot more.  I also got to understand what and how a Troop operates.  I am still learning on how the flavor of this Troop is, compared to all the others.

First, they are keenly aware of advancement.  A lot of Scoutmaster Conferences were had with those working towards Scout.  I think seven or eight got that SMC and Rank.  Tenderfoot requirements for Elliot and his buddy were realized and the two high-ranking Scouts were notified to work with them.  We actually were planning a couple of sessions over the weekend, but due to time that did not happen.

Second, the Patrol Method worked.  It was messy at times, but the Scouts worked with each other and the Adults interceded at times.  Usually when a Scout tried to enter the Adult  Kitchen area.  Our tent area was in another section and they never went there.

Thirdly, I had and listened to many great conversations about how the Troop should do this, that and/or the other.  Better than a Troop Committee Meeting, we got ideas out there.

Finally, when putting all of this together, I watched Elliot.  I stopped myself from interacting with him.  I did point out a few things to him and asked how he was doing.  But, I left it to the Patrol Leaders and other Adults to correct him as needed.  Boy that was hard.  But, I saw him grow.  Did I want him more engaged at times.  Yes.  But, I resisted.  He got into it in his own way.  He also ate.  He is normally very picky, but the good thing was a lot of the food he liked.  He did not starve.

This was a good camp outing.  I got to know the Troop more and Elliot got be with the Troop.  This is really his first overnight since Camporee 2013.  He even stated on the way back that it was better than the last Camporee.  Which, is a massive improvement and statement.  His vision of Scouting was greatly affected by that last overnight.  He has come full circle.

It was a good weekend.

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