Webelos Programs at Pringle, Spring 2015

Attention Webelos Scouts! Come join the Pringle Nature Center and earn your Forester, Geologist and Naturalist Activity Badges!

In this excellent program the staff at Pringle will work with your Webelos Den and present the material needed to complete these Activity Badges in a fun and exciting format. It’s really neat to learn from an expert, and everyone enjoys the activities from passing around Tree Cookies to exploring the nooks and crannies of the Nature Center. But you’d better hurry! These program book up fast and sell out – preregistration is required!

Click on the links above to find the registration sheets, or take a look at the handout pages for more information!

Posted in Cub Scouts Fox River District Local/Community Interest Program by Dan Gross. Comments Off

Cub Scout Winter Event Patches

Congratulation Cub Scouts, we have the top 5 entries from our Winter Event Patch Contest.

We thank all the participants for their entries. The winner was selection number 4. You made it tough for the committee to decide so we will be displaying all 5 in a unique fashion at this year’s event and the winner will be the patch available at the event.

Stay warm and we will see you in February as we “Defeat the Frozen Tundra”.

Posted in Cub Scouts Fox River District OhDaKoTa by Dan Gross. Comments Off

That famous Forest Witcraft quote first appeared in Scouting magazine

Recently, Bryan on Scouting published a blog post about Forest Whitcraft and his essay that is often misattributed to “Anonymous.” In reality, he was not anonymous at all, but a very active and dedicated Scouter.

Whitcraft was even the Managing Editor of Scouting Magazine from 1951 to 1958 – that in itself is pretty cool.

But as I dug around to find some more information about this man I found out that he was actually born here in Wisconsin, August 24th, 1894. I’m not sure how he got involved in Scouting – he would have probably been just a little bit too old to have been a Scout himself by the time the BSA was realizing its’ birth in 1910. But by the 1930s he was actively involved teaching National Camp School and Scoutmastership. He went on to become a Scout Executive in the 1940s, and of course Managing Editor of Scouting by the 1950s.

He passed away in 1967 – then known as Dr. Witcraft and having touched the lives of millions of children both through his work in Scouting, but also his dedication to teaching and theology.

Pretty cool for being “anonymous,” don’t you think?

Posted in National Program by Dan Gross. Comments Off

Merit Badge Updates December 2014

Attention Merit Badge Counselors and Unit Leaders:

The Boy Scouts of America announces a new information resource entitled “Counselor’s Compass.” This publication, to be issued as an e-newsletter, will support merit badge counselors in four ways:

  1. Things to do. What new counselors should do prior to counseling a merit badge, such as become familiar with Guide to Advancement and the educational presentation, Essentials of Merit Badge Counseling, available under “Advancement Educational Presentations” at www.scouting.org/advancement
  2. Steps for Success. Tips that can be helpful for both new and experienced counselors as they work with Scouts, such as the importance of using the latest pamphlet and requirements.
  3. Glad You Asked. Articles that address commonly asked questions sent to merit.badge@scouting.org.
  4. News You Can Use. Merit badge fun facts, and information on new badges.

Subscribing to Counselor’s Compass is similar to subscribing to Advancement News: Send a message to merit.badge@scouting.org, with “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line. Indicate your name, email address, and council in the message text.

Cooking Merit Badge: The Clock Is Ticking

Scouts beginning work on the Cooking merit badge on or after January 1, 2015 must use the new requirements introduced in late 2013. Any Scout who began work on the Cooking merit badge prior to January 1 using the old requirements may continue to use those requirements until he finishes the badge. For questions, see Guide to Advancement, topic 7.0.4.3, “What To Do When Requirements Change.”

Last Chance to Earn the Computers Merit Badge!

Time runs out at the end of December with the classic Computers Merit Badge, which is being replaced by several new variations on Digital Technologies. Earn it while you still have time!

Posted in Boy Scouts Program by Dan Gross. Comments Off

Parent Orientation and Education

One of the responsibilities of the unit advancement coordinator is to instruct parents, guardians, unit leadership, and committee members on appropriate methods to encourage advancement (Guide To Advancement, topic 3.0.0.3). An ideal time to accomplish this would be during one or more of the unit’s parent meetings that are required to meet the Journey to Excellence gold level. Since new Scout parents will be involved, the first of these meetings each year may need to be the most comprehensive, with those later used to “refresh” everyone’s understanding.

The topics for a first meeting might include the following—some of which are best covered by the unit leader and committee chair, and some by the advancement coordinator:

What Scouting is all about: After citing the aims of Scouting, it is a good idea to use terms that parents will understand. Remind them that their wild and wooly six- or eleven-year olds running around in the next room will be the fathers of their grandchildren in not too many years! Though our common goal is for these boys to become men who live their lives by the Scout Oath and Law, we all need to remember that from the boy’s point of view, Scouting has to be fun.

Who the leaders of the unit are: Parents want to know who is involved, so they know where to get help when they volunteer. At a minimum, the unit leader and committee chair should reintroduce themselves and quickly outline how they work together, particularly on advancement matters. At a troop’s parent meeting, the Scoutmaster should introduce the senior patrol leader and let him describe his role.

The language of Scouting: New parents may not be familiar with the terms, “pack,” “den,” “troop,” and “patrol,” much less the relationships between them. Parents need to understand how the pack is organized, or how the troop is boy-run. This is also the time to explain the uniform policy, pointing out how the different badges their sons will earn will reflect their accomplishments.

What is advancement? The unit advancement coordinator should explain the mechanics of advancement. Cub Scout parents should be informed about the key role they play in encouraging their boys, signing off certain requirements, and attending pack meetings to cheer their Cub Scouts on. Boy Scout parents should learn they now have a new role. They no longer sign off requirements, but their continued interest in their son’s progress is no less critical than it was in Cub Scouting. Finally, leaders and parents alike, should be reminded that advancement is a tool we use to make Scouting fun. It is not an end in itself and each boy should advance at his own pace.

Keeping parents informed invites them to become more involved in pack or troop management, which in turn, will keep boys in Scouting longer, giving us more chance to influence their character. Isn’t that what we’re all about?

This article appears on Page 5 of the BSA’s November/December 2014 issue of Advancement News.

Posted in Boy Scouts Cub Scouts Venturing by Dan Gross. Comments Off