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CONTACT BALOO

Write to Baloo (Click Here) to offer contributions, suggest ideas, express appreciation, or let Commissioner Dave know how you are using the materials provided here. Your feedback is import. Thanks.

Baloo's Bugle

September 2006 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 13, Issue 2
October 2006 Theme

Theme: Cub Scout Shipbuilders
Webelos: Citizen & Showman
Tiger Cub
Activities

PACK ADMIN HELPS

I recently received a copy of a letter from the Director of the Cub Scout Division to all Scout Executives whose subject is “New Cub Scout Method – “Character Connevtions.”  National has elevated Character Connections to be the eighth official method of Cub Scouting -  The eight methods are 

The Ideals

The Den

Advancement

Family Involvement

Activities

Home and Neighborhood Centered

The Uniform

Character Connections

It shows you how important National feels Character Connections are to the success of Cub Scouting.  And now all those Aims and Methods training presentations will have to be rewritten. I hope the Wood Badge syllabus picks this up quickly

And since National is elevating the importance of Character Connections, I thought it appropriate to reprint Carol’s article on using them -

Character  Connections

Carol E. Little, CS RT Commissioner

American Elm District, Black Swamp Council

The Character Connection information on www.Cubroundtable.com , my website, and this article come from excerpts from friends interested in helping other Scouters get needed information about the new program. Jamie Dunn, Three Rivers District –Cub Training Chair Blaine/Coon Rapids, MN; Sean Scott, Council Vice President, Public Relations, California Inland Empire Council and Sean’s Philmont Report with one of the authors of the new Character Connections, Dr. Matt Davidson. Thanks, for the help.

Character Connections involves 12 core character values, but the program does not assume there are only 12 values, if we can succeed in creating a strong character foundation with our scouts they will learn other values later. Also, although each achievement emphasizes one particular CC it doesn't mean that it is the only character value that can be focused on in that activity.

When the first Character Connections achievements came out in the new Tiger books, leaders were not used to teaching character building. The old BSA Ethics in Action program which attempted to make character an optional element of the program did not succeed. Character  Connections, by being integrated into the books, achievements, materials, and so forth, we are building on a child's developmental ability.

CC also involves three dimensions that aren't separate or even separable-- to know, commit and practice. The boy needs to know the CC (head), commit to it (heart) and practice it in his daily life (hand).Character is both caught and taught. We see someone exhibiting character and follow their example in our community. We can also teach character by telling, discussion, experience and modeling. This is where the discussion points in the books come into play.

The end goal of CC is to establish a moral identity for our youth. Until a boy takes on Scouting's values as his or her own, it isn't a violation of a child's personal morals to break those values. Values are situational, too. In the context of a Scout meeting, a boy may quite comfortable reciting the pledge or discussing the importance of not littering. However, under pressure from his peers in a non-Scouting setting, the boy needs to have a sense of greater conviction to those same values to stand behind them as strongly when they may not be as popular for him or her to follow them.

CC can be integrated into achievements in the following manner:

1. Say you're working on a conservation project or hike. You're out in nature, and you come across a pile of rubbish left by some campers or hikers. One of your boys makes a comment about how rude or careless littering is. Ask the boys why they think it's rude to litter. This is the KNOW component. They've seen an example of littering, and now they realize that it's not nice to toss your trash in the woods. Ask them how they felt when they came across the pile of trash. Did it distract them from everything else that was around them? Did it make them forget that they were looking for animal tracks, or a certain type of plant?

2. This is the Commit phase, where these boys realize that they don't want to be thought of in the same way as they're thinking of whoever left the trash. Now that you've guided them to discover how they feel, they establish a personal set of values about littering. The important part here is that it is easy to break a rule we don't believe in or hold as a personal value. People speed because they don't think it's too wrong--they consider themselves good drivers and capable of handling a vehicle at a higher speed than the posted limit, or because the importance of being someplace sooner outweighs the importance of breaking the law. Speeding just doesn't violate most people's core values or beliefs. Most people, though, do have a value system that prevents them from shoplifting. Doing so would violate their personal values.

3. Cultivation of a sense of community and the impact that values have on the boy's place in that community. we've helped the boys establish *for themselves* that littering is wrong, guided them to understand how they feel about the person that left the trash, and realize that they don't want to be thought of in the same way. Now we apply the last

part of the program, Practice. where the values are broken into actual skills. Here it may help to script the steps toward the end goal so that difficult concepts can be better understood.. Help them make the decision to pick up the trash, and to not litter themselves. It's not until they have an opportunity to actually do/avoid something that the three parts come together and a character connection is made.

4. Cool down, where discussion of what went well, what could have gone better, and what might come next can be discussed.

How to do a Character Connection activity:

  1. Reserve judgment—let them give their ideas
  2. Open ended questions—require scouts to think and give personal ideas.
  3. Feeling questions—what did they felt about the experience—that makes it personal to the scouts.
  4. Judgment questions— about their feelings
  5. Ask guiding questions and stay on track.
  6. Closing thoughts—Bring discussion to an end.

This isn't a classroom type of program. Rather, it's a method by which we as leaders can have an informal discussion with our youth and allow them to discover how they feel about something. As in all Scouting activities, Make it simple, make it FUN! Examples found in the 2005 Character Connections Packet are collected from 2002 to present so that future Leaders will have the resources we had from the beginning.

To learn more check out   Character Connections

  • The Purposes of Cub Scouting and Character Connections
  • How Character Connections are used as part of the requirements.
  • Character Connections Chart #13-323A Chart explaining Character Connections
  • 2005 Character Connections Packet Examples of the different areas covered by Character Connections from past Program Helps (from 2002 to this year's 2005 - 2006), Roundtable Resource sheets, and the 2003 Cub Scout Books.
  • Character Connections Data Some history behind the program.
  • Character Connections Overview of all ranks on a chart.
  • Character Connections Outdoor Grid Ideas  for outdoor activities

Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.

Materials found at the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. Website 1997-2006 may be reproduced and used locally by Scouting volunteers for training purposes consistent with the programs of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) or other Scouting and Guiding Organizations. No material found here may be used or reproduced for electronic redistribution or for commercial or other non-Scouting purposes without the express permission of the U. S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP) or other copyright holders. USSSP is not affiliated with BSA and does not speak on behalf of BSA. Opinions expressed on these web pages are those of the web authors.