Tag Archives: Retention

Webelos Crossover Time


Webelos to Scout TransitionIt’s that time of year again folks – Webelos transition time!  This year, due to some changes in how our Council does re-chartering, things will be a little different (and in my opinion, better) for the Webelos who are planning on crossing over.

First of all, all Troops in our area only chartered for 11 months last year.  This makes us have to re-charter by the end of January.  All the Packs in our area re-chartered for 13 months, meaning they have until the end of March now before they have to re-charter.  What this means for Scouts who want to cross over at the end of February is they will only need to pay the $1 transfer fee to join the Troop until the end of the following January.  Not a bad deal, huh?  I hope that it makes it a bit of a no-brainer when it comes to any fiscal decision whether to join the Troop or not.  A great idea from one of our newer DE’s who ‘borrowed’ the idea from his former Council.

Of course, our Troop just recently held our annual ‘Transition Night’ meeting.  The Scouts plan for an outdoor activity for the Webelos (which I believe helps them earn one of the requirements for their Arrow of Light).  This year, the Scouts planned a campfire demo outside the church and then brought in s’mores and banana boats to make as well.  Scouts get to demo the proper way to light a fire using the EDGE method – and in the end all are rewarded with yummy goodness.  There was also question and answer time, but I’m not sure how many questions were actually asked.  Everyone had fun, to be sure!

While the Scouts and Webelos were outside – it was time for the potential new parents to get their time with the adult leadership of the Troop.   Our Committee Chair, one of our Committee Members, our ASM and myself briefly discussed the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to them.  They had lots of good questions, and we tried to make everyone comfortable with how we wind up doing things.  We passed out our Troop calendar, behavior contract, info for summer camp, and the transfer form to transfer to the Troop.  We of course talked about how important it was for them as parents to help the Troop by either serving on the Committee, or becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster – or just helping out when the can.  I’ll talk more on this soon.

Sadly, we’ve only had one Den Chief up to this point.  I’m hoping to get a few more this year, but I’ve found with such a small group of boys in the Troop at this point, it’s tough to find anyone wiling to do it.  I’ll keep trying, though as I know it’s an important link between the Pack and the Troop that we are missing at this point.

We have a potential of having 9 new Scouts in a month.  I’m very excited and hopeful that they will all cross over and become Boy Scouts.  I think we have a solid foundation laid for them, and some great Scouts to lead them!

What do you do for crossover time?  Do you have something like what our unit does, or something completely different?  I’d love to hear what you do!


Overcommitted


First off, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I apologize to those of you who visited here from time to time hoping I had something new to say.  I’ve been busy finding a new job, and just working on keeping myself and my family healthy and happy.  New job = happy Kyle = Scout musings….

We had a Troop meeting last night.  There were 6 boys who attended.  Only one was First Class or above.  I expected it, however.  See, most of the older boys had a football banquet to wrap up their season.  Not a big deal.  We were also supposed to have a PLC after the meeting, but since only one boy was there from the PLC, I made the call that we’d let the young Scouts who were there plan the next meeting.  It went very well, and I’m glad these boys had the opportunity to see how a PLC meeting runs.

After the meeting, it got me thinking.  And I realized something I think will help not only the Troop, but myself as well.

In this day and age it seems that the older boys are way too overcommitted.  School, sports, other activities….they all add up and as these boys are getting older it seems Scouting is taking a back seat to just about everything.  Some simply drop out – they get ‘the fumes’ as I call it – car fumes, perfumes, etc…  Some stick with it, but just don’t have the time to participate fully anymore.  This raises a question:  How am I supposed to judge ‘active’?  No, they’re not around much anymore.  No, they don’t hold a position of leadership anymore because they’re not around much.  Yes, they do participate fully when they are here, and they are great leaders when they are here.  I know Clarke Green just had a podcast about this….think I need to re-listen to that one and take some notes.

I guess what I’m getting at is this:  I can not assume that the older boys are going to be around enough to be considered reliable.  At least, not the ones that are currently in the Troop.  I won’t generalize, but as of right now, that is the case.  I’m going to have to go back to the days when we didn’t have older Scouts in the Troop – almost like starting the Troop over.  It’s not a bad thing.  I’ve been running under the assumption that some of these boys will want to make the Troop their priority – and sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case.  This has caused me quite a bit of frustration – and I think the Scouts that do participate can notice that as well.  So – away I go!

I think the first thing I’m going to do is sit down with the older boys and find out what other things they have going on that will interferre with Scouts.  What I mean is what extra activities do they particpate in that will keep them from regularly attending Troop meetings.  Outings are a totally different thing – at least where I’m coming from.  Once I know that, then I can move forward.  We have a Troop election coming up – and then ILST….

It’s sad that the boys are overcommitted.  Of course, I’m biased in saying that I feel Scouting will be with them for the rest of their life, and sports most likely will not.  That being said, it’s not always the boys that make the decisions as to what they do – I have seen many parents live vicariously through their son in regards to sports.  I always tell them the door is open to them if they ever want to come back, and I sure do miss some of them.


What is going on?


cancelledToday I had to cancel a Troop camping weekend due to a lack of adults.  This isn’t the first time this has happened to us this year.  Actually, we haven’t gone camping yet this year, and it’s the middle of June.  I don’t understand what’s going on.  I think one was due to expense, but the others – and here’s the kicker – have been due to a lack of adult help.  That’s right, it’s been just me willing to take the boys out and that just can’t happen under the BSA flag.  My wife is willing as well, but that is still a no-no for youth protection training.

So what’s going on?  I think part of it is that for the last 6 years, myself and one other registered adult went on everything.  There was never a worry about adult leadership at outings because her and I would always be there.  Well, now that’s changing.  I’m involved in baseball, and the other leader’s boys aren’t as active as they once were.  So now I’m seeing the results of having the ‘usual suspects’ take care of everything for so long.  And I have to say, I’m not impressed.

So now I have to think on how to fix this.  We have a mandatory Troop meeting on Monday to go over summer camp stuff, and I think since we’ll have everyone there it would be a good time to address this issue as well.  Question is, how do I address it without coming off like a jerk (I’m known to be more than a little rough around the edges and not worry too much about offending)?  Any suggestions you folks have would be appreciated.  I really am getting concerned that without more parental involvement, our unit might just fall apart due to a lack of outdoor programming – not because we don’t want to, but because we’re just unable to.

Chime in please, I could use some advice on how to handle this one.  Thanks all!

From the Northwoods of Minnesota, where the mosquitos can carry you away at dusk…

K


100 Days of Scouting – Day 10


Day 10 –

  • My wife decided to join all of us on the #100DaysofScouting journey!  We’re the first Scouting couple to do it, and it may prove really interesting!  You’ll also notice that we do have differing opinions on certain topics, but we generally work pretty well together in Scouting.  Her blog is here:  http://trishlove.wordpress.com.
  • Tonight, we’re giving our second FOS presentation to a local Cub Scout Pack.  We were invited already, and the we were asked to do this, so the whole family is coming tonight.  Good food, for sure!  I should have more bugs worked out of my presentation as well, so hopefully that translates into more donations.  – UPDATE – The FOS went really well!  Great job Pack 180 on your donations!
  • Got a call last night and found out that we will have one boy crossing over from the local Pack!  That’s one more than we anticipated, and he’ll be starting his Boy Scout journey by joining us at the Klondike Derby later this month.  Very excited and happy about that!

I”ll be away from technology this weekend as I will be with my Troop at Camp Newman for our annual ‘Arctic Blast’ extravaganza.  Fun in the snow, with a little teaching and training mixed in.  I will update either on Sunday or Monday.  Happy Scouting everyone!


100 Days of Scouting – Day 8


Den Chief HandbookDay 8:

  • Took Den Chief fast start training online, so I can see how it is before I have my newly appointed Den Chiefs take it.  It was pretty good!
  • Our District Executive called me and asked if my wife and I would be willing to do another FOS presentation on Thursday.  We agreed to do it since we were already invited and planning on attending.  This will be our second FOS presentation so far this year.
  • Researched options for sharing Troopmaster data.  We have an adult who volunteered to be our Advancement Chair, so I have to figure out how to get him all set up.  DotNet or Web option.  Anyone wanna chime in on that one?
  • Attended my youngest son’s Wolf Cub den meeting.  They finished up the final requirements for earning their Wolf badge before the Blue and Gold coming up.  Good job boys!

 


Happy 101st Birthday BSA/Technology -vs- Scouting


BSA Birthday CakeYesterday was the BSA’s birthday.  101 years old – wow!  Pretty amazing to think that this youth organization has been in existence for over 100 years now, and is still going strong.

One thing that is a major issue with my Troop is retention.  We’ve lost a lot of boys in the last year.  Some of it is to sports and other outside activities, and some of it – well, I just don’t really know.  Seems like parents these days either make the Scout choose between sports and Scouting – or they choose it for them.  Typically, Scouts loses that battle.

I think now more than ever we as Scouting leaders need to look outside of the box and find ways to retain and recruit new youth to our units.  I keep reading about technology versus Scouting – and I have to say that if we don’t (as adult leaders) change how we communicate and allow some technology into our program we’re bound to lose more and more boys.  I think that by letting technology into our units to some degree may help keep some of the boys who might not otherwise stick around.  There’s some good technology articles on Scouting over at Scoutmaster Steve’s blog:  http://www.melrosetroop68.org/blog/.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about campfire skits by the light of cellphones here, but there needs to be a time and a place for them to use these types of things in the Scouting program.  I know that at least one of our Council’s Troops at the National Jamboree this last year not only allowed cell phone use, but encouraged it so the leaders could keep tabs on where the boys were during the day.  I realize this doesn’t apply to most typical camp-outs, but I’m curious how Troops deal with this, if at all?  I already text-message my SPL on occasion, as it’s the quickest and easiest way to get in touch with him when I need to.

Please, let me know your thoughts on retention and if you feel the technology part of it has anything to do with it.