Wood Badge song for Cub Scouts

•May 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I got a kick out of @ScouterAdam’s blog the other day where he had posted a version of the Gilwell song from Wood Badge that someone had modified to use for their Cub Scout pack. In fact, I loved it so much, I “borrowed” it for our pack graduation this evening. Since the Cubmaster was not able to attend and no one else really wanted the Master of Ceremonies role, I stepped up with this song and taught everyone the tune. Here is an excerpt from the lyrics:

I used to be a TIGER
An awesome TIGER, too
But now I’m through with TIGER-ing
And I know what to do!
I’ve finished my Achievements
So I’m going to be a WOLF Cub – yes I am!

I’m a Cub Scout, yes I am!
I’m going to do the very best I can!

I used to be a LEADER
An awesome LEADER, too
I’m not quite through with LEADER-ing
And I know what to do!
I’ll get myself to Wood Badge
And I’ll be the best-est LEADER that I can!

I’m a Cub Scout, yes I am!
I’m going to do the very best I can!

It was amazing to watch how quickly the boys (and parents) caught on to the tune. And they really showed a lot of enthusiasm when they got to shout “BUT I STILL WANT SOME MORE!!” I can’t say it was a complete hit, but it was a lot of fun. Plus, I got to get the ol’ Wood Badge jab in there at the leaders. Now if I could just get them to go …

I have been a song writing fool ever since Wood Badge. And I have no shame in getting up in front of a room fill of complete strangers and belting out some crazy rhyming Cub Scout songs. Maybe I should post the ones I’ve written for Day Camp …

I will spare you for now.




Scout Own: A day of rest

•May 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I really enjoy Sundays.  Not just because it is a day of reflection and worship.  But because it is a day of rest.  What better way to recharge our batteries and mentally prepare ourselves for the week to come?  For my wife, this Sunday was particularly restful as she was treated to a massage and peticure that she’s been waiting for since last April.  A well-deserved rest bit for a wonderful wife and mother.

I also like spending extra time with the family.  We recently installed a rope swing in the very large maple in our back yard and the boys can’t get enough of it!  I can tell they really appreciate the time I take when I stop all of the other less important things that I’m doing and devote 100% of my attention to them.  And it makes me feel refreshed as well.  Nothing is more important than this time we have together.

This will be a very busy Scouting week with a den meeting on Tuesday and Roundtable on Thursday.  Only twelve more days for pre-registration for Day Camp before the price goes up.  And only 45 more days until camp!  I really want to have a display at Roundtable, so I need to get a jump on that tomorrow.  But not today.

And since it is a day of rest, I will continue to do just that.  Enjoy your Sunday!



Face-to-face training – the end of an era?

•April 30, 2011 • 1 Comment

When I went though my initial training as a Tiger Den Leader, the only option I had for Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training was face-to-face.  On that same January day I also took Youth Protection training and Health and Safety training.  All of the classes were well-attended.  It was a very enjoyable day and I learned quite a bit.

Later that year I joined the Training Staff for the district.  Before I could teach a single class, National introduced “the new delivery method” (known previously as “Fast Tracks”) which focused on advancement.  Research has shown that Cubs that reach rank each year are more likely to continue.  This was good news and we learned the new material and prepared ourselves for teaching this new method.

During about the same time, National took a unprecedented stance and mandated that all leaders have Youth Protection Training (YTP) prior to registering with the BSA.  I had originally taken YPT online, so I knew that was a pretty easy way for individuals to meet this requirement.  As the training team, we considered how the mandate might impact us and we prepared to be quite busy.  But something interesting happened.  The number of individuals signing up to take YPT face-to-face actually dropped off significantly.  In fact, the numbers have diminished to the point where the training chair is considering not offering a YPT session.

For most of us on the team, this development really had little effect.  The chair is primarily the one who teaches YPT and Health & Safety.  Most of the rest of us teach Cub Scout Leader Position Specific sessions.  So we weren’t concerned about the numbers dropping off.  That is, until the introduction of online Cub Scout Leader Position Specific training.

Now we’ve seen all of our classes shrink.  Where we might have 40 individuals signed up, we now have four.  That was the case today.  I taught Wolf/Bear, Webelos and Pack Committee training to three individuals while my colleague taught Cubmaster to two.

So, the numbers have fallen off dramatically.  And it really is too bad.  I personally think you get a much richer experience in a face-to-face setting; you get to interact with other peers and you get to ask questions and have lively and relevant discussions.  But with the looming requirements that all youth-facing leaders be fully trained (coming to our council in 2013 and to National shortly thereafter), I don’t believe leaders will be compelled to take the face-to-face training if not for the simple fact that they won’t have the luxury of taking it when they want.  They will need to have all of their training completed prior to recharter.  One idea might be to have several training Pow Wows in January and February to offer an all-in-one training session.  I guess we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

There is some good news to report.  The Scoutmaster / Assistant Scoutmaster training continues to be quite popular.  Of course, it’s not yet available online.  I imagine whenever it is, those numbers will drop off as well.

Is it the end of an era?  Perhaps.  But I think the challenge will be to develop material that is relevant and perhaps supplemental to the required training.  The importance of being a trained leader is so that we can continue to grow and to offer the best experience for the Scouts we work with.  They are the reason for everything we do in Scouting.  And they deserve well-trained leaders.



Scouting 365: Summertime Pack Award

•April 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For those new to Scouting, especially Cub Scouts, there can sometimes be the misconception that Scouting is based around the school year. We do Join Nights in the fall and spring, and in the case of my pack, we pull most of our Cubs from two schools. So, as we make our way into summer, new leaders might not be thinking of how to keep the momentum going into the fall. Schedules get very busy with vacations and family activities. And unless school is year-round, or the boys live down the street, they are probably not seeing each other on a daily basis. So how do you keep them excited about Scouting during the best outdoor months of the year?

Enter the National Summertime Pack Award. This recognition is arguably one of the easiest to earn and encourages packs to provide year-round programming and foster the idea that Scouting is a 365-day-a-year activity. What makes this award particularly appealing, aside from its simplicity, is that fact that it has several different parts: a pack award, a den award and an individual award.

Pack recognition
For the pack to earn this award they need to plan three pack activities for the summer months, one in each. Doing this simple task earns the pack recognition as a group and a streamer for their pack flag. Our pack likes to incorporate our own activities along with district and council sponsored events. We also try to have two events a month so as to accommodate as many boys as possible. Even if we were to hand out activity dates a year in advance, there would still be scheduling conflicts. So the option of two activities in a month ensures more Cubs will have an opportunity to attend. This year we’re participating in a safety fair at a local church and attending Day Camp in June, having a family picnic and hosting a Raingutter Regatta in July and hiking in a local state park and attending a Back To School night in August.  Just by scheduling and holding these events our pack will earn this award.

Den recognition
Each den can be encouraged to earn this award as well. The requirements are that at least 50% from the den attend each monthly function. The recognition is a streamer to hang on their den flag. For us, this portion of the award is not stressed as much as the next part, the individual recognition. I’ll have to save the discussion of why for a separate post, but for now suffice it to say that the dens don’t have an identity other than their rank. But for packs that have well-defined dens that are perhaps a bit competitive, then this is a great recognition.

Individual recognition
Since the pack award is pretty automatic, this is the award we emphasize the most for the Cubs. This award can be earned by simply attending one event each month. They receive a pin to wear on their right pocket flap (overtop the Outdoor Activity Award patch if they have it) denoting, by color of the pin’s rim, the rank at which they earned it. And they can earn it every year. So it really encourages them to stay involved year in and year out. We only first implemented this last year and there were several boys that earned the award. This year there will no doubt be several more, and hopefully quite a few who earn a second one.  Part of the reason we hold two events a month is because we really want the boys to have a chance to earn this award.

So the National Summertime Pack Award is a great tool to keep your unit together and active throughout summer and to maintain a level of enthusiasm as you transition from one school year to the next.  If you haven’t looked at this yet this year, then now would be the time to quickly organize a few pack events.  It’s really easy and really fun.  And after all, summer is one of the best times to get the Cubs outside and “put the outing in Scouting!”



On to Cub Scout Day Camp!

•April 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This ia particularly busy time of year for me.  I suppose that it would be even if I wasn’t involved with Scouting.  Or perhaps it would seem a little less busy.  But between this being the first spring in the new house, school activities coming to a close and family coming to visit, it seems like there’s no time for anything else.  Add to all of this the fact that I’m the Cub Scout Day Camp Director for our district and you know this is going to be one full summer!

Tonight was the second to last council-wide Day Camp meeting before our Day Camp at the end of June.  And I was starting to feel like our team was a little behind the ball.  Of course, many of the other districts are just as far (if not further) behind.  Our registrations are pretty much in line with last year at this point (15 days left until a $10 late fee kicks in and only 10% of the attendees have registered). And we’re really not looking to outdo what we did last year.   Like I’ve said before, this is a transitional year and we just want to make sure we do as well as last year.   Next year is when we want to start expanding.   And we have a lot of ideas for that.  But tonight it was all about getting a bearing on where we are and what we need to do to make everything work.

In a previous post, I extolled the virtues of my Camp Program Director.  And while she is deserving of all the praise I gave her, I was completely blown out of the water when she walked into our meeting tonight with the complete camp program planned almost beat for beat!  And I’m not just talking about something like “we should play kick ball here and shoot archery here.”  I mean, she had everything:

  • a list of staffers required;
  • what equipment / materials will be needed;
  • what achievement and electives will be earned;
  • how much time is allotted;
  • how the activity is to be presented (using EDGE!);
  • what the Cub Scout core values are being demonstrated!

And it doesn’t stop there. She has enlisted an entire programming staff consisting of leaders and junior staff. And has also assembled a small army of “solicitors” to approach several businesses for materials and equipment to help minimize costs and maximize programming for the boys.

Incredible!  And what a relief!  Now I have to match her enthusiasm and get the rest of the administrative portion of the event in order.  It’s time to start dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

I really feel fortunate to have found this person and for them to have brought so much enthusiasm to the table. I think it really resonates how having just the right members in your pack leadership or on your committee can not only excite the group, but can also help energize us to be better leaders.

So, while everything isn’t exactly in the bag yet, we are beginning to get our stride and are making things happen.  And since we really won’t know how the event is going to go until it’s over, we know we still have a long road ahead of us.  But we are both very excited where that road is leading us.

On to Cub Scout Day Camp!!



Pack meeting: Ending the school year

•April 27, 2011 • 2 Comments

Tonight was the second to last pack meeting before summer.  Well, actually, school will already be out before our May pack meeting.  So there were a few items to touch upon before the year gets away from us.  We will be having Boy Talks and a Join Night in three weeks (the last week of school).  And then the final pack meeting will be the following week when all of the Cubs will “graduate” to their new dens.

A number of the boys attended either Day Camp or Magness Adventure Camp (our council’s 3-day resident family camp) this past year.  But only a couple had worked to complete their Outdoor Activity AwardThis award, for those not familiar, includes differing requirements depending upon rank, all stressing the outdoors.  The very first requirement for all ranks is that they attend a day or resident camp.  Then there are achievements or electives from their rank to complete.  And then a list of a dozen or so items to select from to complete the requirements, with the Tigers needing to complete 3, the Wolves 4 and so on.

As you can see, if they attended a camp and earned rank, they are well on their way.  And this is an award that can be earned again each year, garnering a Wolf Track device to wear on the patch.

The point of bringing this up at the pack meeting last night was to encourage the boys to look at other things that they could be working on now that they are finished with their rank requirements.  I was especially targeting those who attended camp this past year because they probably only need to look at what they’ve accomplished already to see if they’ve earned this award.

I’m a firm believer in recognizing boys for their achievements, no matter how big or small and that these types of awards are a great means to that end.  I don’t believe just throwing patches at them is very effective.  But by giving them goals and showing them how easily they can meet those goals is a very powerful tool.  And I also believe the ones that earn awards like this are the ones that ultimately stay involved, because they can see the rewards of their effort.

I’ll follow up with the Cubs I know are close and work with the den leaders to get them recognized.  Hopefully next month’s meeting will have a few more recipients.



Reveille every morning. Literally!

•April 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I found this great Android application for my smart phone entitled “US Army Bugle Calls” by FA53.  This is one of those free, simple apps that brings hours of enjoyment.  More importantly, it serves a purpose.  It turns out you can set any of the bugle calls to be a ringtone, notification or alarm.  Ooooh!  That’s the one for me!

One of my most vivid memories of Wood Badge is the sound of the bugle as it marked the start of each day, drew our attention as we raised and lowered the flag, and then reminded us that it was time to get some rest for the next morning.  It was so artfully sounded by one of our Quartermasters, Mike Gill.  He is a trumpet player by profession and used a 1928 official BSA issued bugle to call ReveilleTo the Colors and Taps.  Good stuff!  And just what I need to get me out of bed in the morning and remind me to work my ticket!

Surprisingly enough, my wife is a fan of it as well!

So everyday has an enthusiastic rise and a great start to another fantastic Scouting day!  Whether I need to be working on Day Camp, Wood Badge tickets, pack items, troop items, district training, Roundtable or anything else they want to throw at me, I’m all ready to go!

OK.  So maybe a little less coffee in the morning is in order as well.

BTW: As for my fitness update from yesterday, it’s going to be a long road.  I may tweet particular milestones, but I’m not sure I’ll be providing full disclosure.  Not to worry, though, as I am in good hands.