As the former Webelos to Scout Transitions Chair in Voyageur District, I am getting a bit tired of hearing how the transition numbers are not up to par when a program was suggested that does retain scouts, promotes the next step within the scouting program, and gets parents to become more involved is more or less not tried or even promoted - at least here in the good ol' USA although it was adopted in the Australian socut program and is now mandated that all units use the program.
The end result in Australia is a waiting list for those youth that cannot get into a unit because of existing numbers and max. cap's. due to meeting hall size.
We know 3 things:
- Webelos need to move on into the boy scout program.
- Everything that the scouts do within the Cub Scout level lays the foundation for further study and exploration in the Boy Scout program.
- The longer a scout stays in the program, the more prepared he will be as an adult.
I sat and listened intently, looking for some magic bullet that would instantly cause Webelos to sign up for a troop.
The first thing the instructor said was, " in the 2nd year of Webelos.... you should start interacting with the boy scouts and begin to talk about the boy scout programming."
A red flag went up.
I had to interrupt and argue that if one waited for Webelos II then it was too late.
The transition program begins on the first day a boy joins the program.
Every great leader will talk with his scouts with the expectation that all will move up and onward on the path to Eagle Scout.
They eliminate the "IF" and change it to "When" thus removing the backdoor escape clause when the scout or his family realize that they don't need to stay with the program for whatever cheap reason they can muster up.
To do anything less, would seriously affect one's personal experiences within the scouting movement.
Arguements for staying in the program include:
- Scouts learn to multi task with school work, jobs, sports, and scouts.
- Are better prepared for life's challenges.
- Prove to be strong citizens.
- Learning opportunities that are often not found anywhere else in this world.
- IT'S FUN!
Which would you rather pay?
A. $10.00 in material fees
B. 1,000's of dollars in tuition, books, and materials to discover that your son didn't want to study Dentistry in college.
For me, I choose A.
I would much rather have my son experiment with his education without causing me to have bills that rival the National Debt.
I feel that the biggest reason that our Council won't promote the transition program is that it doesn't show an immediate return in revenue and that the old 'war horses" don't feel the need to hold an open house.
The bottom line is that without the encouragement of the cub scouts, the boy scout program would be a thing of the past.
I am done ranting now.