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Baloo's Bugle

November 2006 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 13, Issue 4
December 2006 Theme

Theme: Cub Scout Stars
Webelos: Craftsman & Scientist
Tiger Cub


Preparation for Boy Scouts
The 10th item in the Purposes of Cub Scouting.
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy

I’m going to assume that every Cub Scout leader and parent wants to prepare a boy for his joining a good Scout troop. But what is a good troop? Troops differ a great deal, yet here is what the BSA lists as the essential methods of Boy Scouting.

  • Ideals: Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Scout motto, and the Scout slogan. Do they follow these or just pay lip service?
  • Patrols: The patrol method. This is the preferred method of Boy Scouting.
  • Outdoor Programs: Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors.
  • Advancement: The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace.
  • Personal Growth: The Good Turn. Boy Scouts take an oath to help other people at all times.
  • Leadership Development: Learn and practice leadership skills..
  • Uniform: The Boy Scout identity in a world brotherhood of youth who believe in the same ideals

I would first like to suggest that each of you go to:


and read what it says about each of these methods.

The Patrol Method, in particular, is an important characteristic of every good Scout troop. In the patrol method, gangs of about 6-8 boys form patrols, go camping and play the game of Scouting. The act of camping – the Outdoor Program - provides all sorts of challenges for these boys. They must somehow face up to the incumbent problems of living away from home while adhering to a set of ethical standards: theIdeals - Scout Oath and the Scout Law. In essence, this is all there is to Boy Scouting. Everything else, the badges, uniforms, other activities, exist only to support this process.

A patrol is the integral unit of Scouting where the members must work together to succeed. A patrol is a true gang of boys. The leadership of the patrol emerges from the patrol itself. 

Boy Scout camping is not the same as Cub Scout or Webelos camping, In the pack or den, we have outdoor activities because it's more fun. We could, and often do, accomplish our purposes just as well indoors. It would just lack some luster. Outdoors and camping, however, are essential to Boy Scouting. This is the arena, where individuals and patrols must meet and overcome the challenges. The only reason for indoor Scout meetings is to prepare to go outdoors. That is where the problems await and that is where the Scouts must meet them and solve the problems.

The patrol method is the basic method of achieving the aims of Scouting. Outdoors is where patrols are isolated and become responsible for getting things done, where they are guided into looking within their own members to find the necessary resources. There is no Cub Scout equivalent to the patrol method. The family and parent participation provide some of the same benefits, but it works in different ways in Cub Scouting.

So, just how do we prepare our Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts for this experience? We don’t need to do any special Boy Scout stuff. Here are some examples of how we can do it within the Cub Scout program:

Scouting Ideals: The Cub Scout Promise, the Motto and the Law of the Pack. Nothing prepares a Cub Scout better for Boy Scouting than instilling within him the attitudes that are contained in those ideals a boy first learns as he earns the Bobcat Badge. Doing his best, helping other people, giving good will, doing his duty to God and country prepare him emotionally to be a good Scout.

Responsibility  The Boy Scout patrol method works by having each patrol member take on responsibilities to achieve the goals of the patrol (like eating on a camp out.) Pushing boys to be responsible shows up all through Scouting but it really pays off when a Scout patrol is filled with Scouts who take their responsibilities seriously. It make Scouting fun, and enables them to take on all sorts of exciting challenges.

Consider the following achievements:

  • Tiger Achievement 1F: Think of one chore you can do along with your adult partner.  Do it together.  Well, we hit him right off the bat with a challenge to be responsible. Do your share. Help.
  • Wolf Achievements 4 (Know Your Home and Your Community) and 12 (Making Choices) Again be responsible and help, but this time more personal.
  • .Bear Achievement 6 (Taking Care of Your Planet) and 13 (Saving Well, Spending Well)Even more personal responsibility.
  • Webelos Activity Badges Family Member and Handyman.

All these are designed to instill in a lad the values doing his share around home. These will come in handy to do his share and take on responsibilities with his patrol.

Meal Preparation and Cooking: Good meals on camp outs are essential to keeping a boy in the program. Boys Scouts, in a properly run troop, will be required to provide their own meals: make the menus, buy the food, carry it, store it safely, prepare the meals, serve it and clean up. They must do this in good or bad weather and always with the admonition that a Scout is cheerful and thrifty. If you want your Cub Scout to enjoy his Boy Scout experience, teach him to cook.

Cooking and meal preparation shows up in the following places:

  • Tiger -Elective 24. Help prepare the family meal, set the table and clean up afterwards.
  • Tiger Elective 25. Make a snack and share it with your family or den.
  • Wolf - Achievement 8 Cooking and Eating,
  • Bear - Achievement 9What's Cooking,
  • Webelos -  Family Member Activity Badge - Feeding the Family
  • Webelos - Outdoorsman A.B. - Cooking in Camp.

These achievements form a comprehensive learning opportunity .It's best for a boy to learn to cook in his kitchen before he tries it outdoors, over a fire. He should understand menus, shopping lists and recipes and know when to use each one. He should be acquainted with terms like, measure, mix, fry, bake, broil and simmer, and have tried a few of these before he has to do them on a Scout camp out.

Be Prepared.  The Boy Scout Motto is Be Prepared. He should be prepared for anything. In Cub Scouts, Bear Achievement 11: Be Ready mirrors the Boy Scout motto. We expect a Cub Scout to think ahead and be ready to act in case of fire, water or traffic accident. This is the essence of Scouting: being ready and able to act appropriately and make things happen. Webelos Readyman Activity Badge is even more focused and more Scout like with some real first aid thrown in.

Be a Leader. In a Boys Scouts, leadership of patrols and the troop comes from the boys. The adults are mostly observers, sometimes guides or coaches but mostly in the background. Leadership skills are learned skills that require lots of practice. In Cub Scouting we give boys opportunities like Wolf Achievement 2b (Lead a Flag Ceremony) and Bear Achievement 15c (Lead a Game.) I particularly like Bear Achievement 24 (Be A Leader.) Expect boys to be really challenged by these. Not only is it tough to have a bunch of 7 year olds line up properly and salute the flag correctly, but then he must withstand the reactions of his den mates who will be quick to critique any lapses that they notice.

Be a Swimmer. When one imagines Scouts camping, there is usually water in the picture. It may be swimming, a canoe pulled up to a lake shore camping spot or whitewater rafting. A boy should be ready to participate in all these, safely and confidently, as soon as he joins a troop. Cub Scouting has an age appropriate, graduated program of aquatics activities.

Challenge for Cub Scout Leaders: Pick some recent activities that your Cub Scouts or Webelos Scouts enjoyed.  Try to imagine how these may prepare them to become more successful Boy Scouts. It might have changed the boys’ attitudes or perhaps improved mental or physical skills. How will it make them better Scouts?

Extra Credit – Will it also prepare them to become better adults? – Better husbands? Better fathers? Better members of their communities?

Be sure to check out Bill’s “Unofficial Roundtable Site”


If you wish to contact him with a question or comment, go to http://wtsmith.com/rt/gnolmm.html

BSA On-Line learning Center

Have you been to National’s On-Line learning Center??  National has taken all the courses they offer online and put them all together in one spot –


OLC = On Line Learning Center

This site provides a variety of materials, from quick references to complete courses, all designed to help our members improve leadership skills and deliver a quality program.

At the OLC you can find the following E-Learning Courses -

  • Youth Protection Training
  • Cub Scout Leader Fast Start
  • Boy Scout Leader Fast Start
  • Venturing Advisor Fast Start
  • Safety Afloat
  • Safe Swim Defense

These courses can help adult leaders deliver quality Scouting experiences to youth. A log-in is required, however anyone may create a user account and view the courses. Registered members of the BSA may provide their member numbers (as part of the user profile) to receive credit.

They, also, have a multimedia course (They say “on-line exercises” for informational purposes.  It is

  • Venturing Crew Orientation

I am sure they plan to add more in the future

And a link to other helpful training information such as

  • Soccer and Scouting Basic Training
  • Courses at Philmont Training Center

So, get yourself organized and get your new leaders through Fast Start.  No more looking around to see where that old VCR tape or DVD went!!

Your new leaders can do these alone or your Pack Trainer can organize a group session and all watch the screen together and talk about it.

Check It Out!!


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