What is the Fundamental Unit of Scouting?

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As adults, we are involved in our units: packs, troops, and crews. We rarely stop to consider who is the most important part of the unit. As we talk to Council representatives, they talk about our units as packs, troops, and crews. This is for a good reason. Their job is to support the adults at those levels. Council’s (and, therefore, district’s) focus is on creating and maintaining a place for boys to do scouting.

This focus from council on units can easily confuse the adult leaders that those units are the primary units of scouting. If council focuses at that level it must be the most important, right?

Wrong. The most important is the den or patrol. Our focus is the boy and his enjoyment and growth. The den or patrol (which I simplify to patrol for reasons that will become more clear shortly) is where the boy experiences scouting. He wants to do scouting with his friends. He is more likely to continue scouting if his friends are physically nearby. The patrol is where this proximity can and should occur.

Clarke Green shares some very interesting literature from Canadian scouting about why and how this works. It is worth a read.

What should we learn from this? Do these lessons apply to Boy Scouts only or do they apply to dens and crews?

The stronger the identity and cohesiveness of the patrols, the stronger the pack, troop, or crew. The boys doing what they love as a patrol will never fail to seek more of the fun. They want to spend time with their friends their own age. If they get this, they will want to share the joy with younger scouts. It starts a healthy cycle of do, model, teach, and do again.

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Cub Scouts for kindergarteners?

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One of my son’s fellow Cub Scouts had a father a bit older than me. The father still had his Cub Scout shirt from the 1960’s with the Lion Cub Rank. This was the predecessor to the Arrow of Light and Webelos program. Webelos originally meant “Wolf, Bear, Lion: WBLs.”

In 1971, our current program started with the Tigers phased in the 1980’s.

Now BSA is pilot testing a reintroduction of the Lion rank. Instead of the highest rank, Lion would be a new rank for kindergarteners, similar to the Girl Scouts’ Daisies. Minnesota’s Northern Star Council was first. It has now expanded to the Garden State Council and Western Massachusetts Council.

Webelos to Scout Transition . . . For Adults

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We spend a long time and effort worrying about the boys transitioning from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Frankly that’s not the biggest problem.

The people who have the hardest time transitioning are the former cub leader-parents. Boy Scouts is often a culture shock.

Considering that a former cubmaster may be very accustomed to watching the boys progress from year-to-year in there nice, tidy, little den. Rarely is there a difference in age greater than 14 months. The den leader is an adult, who maintains order much like a teacher in a classroom does.

And then the transition the Boy Scouts.

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BREAKING NEWS: We have a district executive!

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This afternoon, Friday, May 22nd, Council Director of Field Services Rob Hemmelgarn announced the appointment of Cornellius “Con” Sullivan as the new North Star District Executive. Con will begin work with the Council and District immediately after Memorial Day.

Con met with District Chair Steve James and District Commissioner Jeff Heck this morning. Both gave Con glowing recommendations.

Con is an Eagle Scout from Pathfinder’s Troop 107. He served for four years as one of their youth leaders, including at least one term as SPL.

He is a graduate of Ball State and has a master’s degree in public administration.

He was the president of his college fraternity and instrumental as chapter president in helping the colony obtain its permanent charter with BSU. He has served as a political campaign chairman for a congressional candidate.

Con has done a lot in his few years on this earth.

Please let him know how excited we are to have him!

Article about Importance of Roundtable Attendance

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There are a handful of very valuable websites for adult scouters outside of the official BSA websites. One that should be a special focus for Unit Committee Members is Bobwhite Blather. This is recent written by a long-time Troop Committee Chair.

In a recent article, Bobwhite Blather talks about the important of Roundtable attendance and its effect on the unit.

I would recommend sharing the article with all of your adult leaders in your Pack, Troop, or Crew.

Why is scouting unique in its continual success in raising reliable men?

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Good men don’t automatically raise themselves. Think of the Lord of the Flies or other dystopian stories. You will see stories straying far from the Scout Law.

The internet tells us that Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” (As a historian, I have searched electronically all the Douglass primary sources I can to find that quote in context and to cite its true source. No luck. I fear this quote is as accurate as Ben Franklin’s old adage, “Everything on the Internet is true.”) From personal observation, many would agree with Douglass.

The famous researcher Abraham Maslow demonstrated that successful people meet their physical needs before meeting their psychological needs. Once physical and psychological needs are met, academic curiosities can be pursued. Once an intellectual self-assurance is reached, it is easier for a man to face deprivations of food, shelter, and water.   Read the rest of this entry »

Schedule Cub Leaders for Training

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This summer is going to be busy in preparation for our unified Back to School Night for Scouting on August 27, 2015. That means that the District will be stretched thin in August and September trying to serve all of our Cub Packs.

In preparation for an expected large influx of new Cub Scouts, District is emphasizing the need to train our Cub Leaders as early as possible to avoid the September rush of new leaders (which will also be required for Fall Rechartering).Cub Scout logo

Council is offering Cub Leader position specific training at the Golden Burke Scout Service Center on August 4th, August 12th, September 1st, September 8th, September 22nd, October 6th, and October 13th.

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Chair announces Committee agenda

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Steve and I are working on allowing him to post directly to this blog. However, WordPress is not acting as we would expect.

Steve has posted the agenda for Thursday’s meeting here.District Chairman

We hope to figure out this technical problem soon.

To make matters worse, in trying to fix the problem, I have broken the calendar and event links.  For the committee meeting to RSVP, you will hopefully temporarily have to click here.

Regional Training Chair hints at new Cub Training System

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From time to time our District subcommittee chairs receive emails providing updates on program changes within that subcommittee chair’s area of expertise. Here is an email sent out from Regional Training regarding changes to the Cub online training program:Cub Scout logo

Online Training for the New Cub Scouting Program

The online training for den leaders, Cubmasters, committee chairs and members, and chartered organization representatives [is being] updated with the help of volunteers from around the country. The new training will be divided into shorter, more targeted modules so leaders can get the training they need, in the order they want, any time they need it.

The new training is organized into time-based sections:

  1. the learning needed prior to the first meeting
  2. within the first 30 days, and
  3. training needed to be considered position-specific “trained.”

The new training will be implemented in conjunction with the BSA’s new learning management system. The anticipated timing for launching this new tool is June 30, 2015. Keep an eye on my.scouting.org for more information.

Philmont Training Sessions for Cub Scouting Program

Cub Scout leaders have a chance to visit Scouting paradise and learn more about “Leading the New Cub Scout Adventure.” Four sessions are offered by the volunteers who designed the program and wrote the new youth handbooks and leader training materials. Visit the Philmont Training Center site to learn more.

More information about the new Cub program is available at Scouting magazine. Remember the new advancement rules are effective June 1, 2015 for all but the newly classified Arrow of Light Year Webelos. They have some options of new versus old requirements.