(Part 7 of 10 in a series about the new Cub Scout Adventure Program)
Note: The Transition Guide found on the program updates page was updated on March 2, 2015. The new guide is even shorter and has simpler instructions to help LDS packs make the transition from the old program to the new this summer.
I’m sure most of you have heard the following (I don’t know who said it first) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Planning ahead and being prepared for the the New Cub Scout Adventure Program next summer will make for a much smoother transition from the old program to the new. The information found online is a good start but… How can we best use this information? Making a “Transition Plan”, especially for leaders in an LDS sponsored pack where boys enter and leave on their birthdays, is an important step you can take right now. We don’t want to fail the boys in our pack. But if we don’t have a transition plan in place BEFORE the program changes next summer that very well could be what happens.
So, how does an LDS pack make a transition plan? This basic question was asked and answered by my new friend and PTC instructor Linda Vaughn. Note: This is her opinion/suggestion (not an official statement from BSA or the LDS Church) but I share it with you because I think it really makes a lot of sense.
“First, embrace the fact that there are many pathways through this Cub Scout transition and as leaders our goal is always to do what is best for the boy. The “keys for success” for transition and program implementation with LDS youth and their parents will be annual planning and communication.
So here’s what I (Linda) would do:
1. Right now, I would get a copy of the roster from the primary secretary (or ward clerk) and map out the birthdays of each 7-10 year old boy in my ward. Indicate when the boy is turning eight (coming into the program) and eleven (leaving the program.) Note: this is essential because many concerns are eliminated by this process.
2. Make an advancement plan for EACH youth: Where are they NOW in the program? Where can they be by June 1, 2015? Set up a schedule, using the CURRENT program, to complete rank advancement as much as possible by June 1, 2015. I have seen the Wolf rank completed in as little as 2 months with concentrated effort. The “winter” birthday boys and their parents can be given a schedule of den activities and date of expected rank completion. Please note that this requires advanced planning on the part of each den leader and it requires communication with parents. If a boy misses an activity the parents need to guide their son through the requirement. As a leader YOU will decide which old rank requirements “count” for completion of NEW adventures.
3. For the youth who begin their next rank in “spring”: YOU have to make an annual calendar for each rank that outlines which month your den will do which required adventure. Note, it isn’t wise to set up all the rank adventures in a row (June through December, for example – because boys with birthdays in January through May miss out on rank focus until June.) Be consistent with RANK ADVENTURES each year to ensure that all required adventures will be covered by the den sometime during the Cub Scout’s year in the rank program. (Read this post for more about planning)
4. COMMUNICATE!!! Tell the parents what you are doing and what you need them to do. The problems happen when parents and leaders are surprised by what isn’t done and time has run out.
I don’t know that it makes all that much difference to the boys which adventure you are doing when. The boys are coming to den meetings to have fun and be with their friends!! All that learning that takes place, just happens to be careful and deliberate planning of the leaders! KEEP IT SIMPLE, MAKE IT FUN! And remember, it’s about the boy. Do what is best for the boy.”
Contributor: Linda Vaughn – Great Salt Lake Council – PTC Staff Week 10 of 2015 and member of CAT (Cub Adventure Team) who helped write the new adventures. She is also the featured guest on the Nov 2014 CubCast.
Linda makes it seem pretty simple doesn’t she – get a list, make a transition plan for each boy, make an annual plan for each den and communicate with parents. 4 simple steps we can take now to make things easier for us next summer. I wish there was a magic formula that created a plan for each pack. But the fact is, every pack is a little different – just like every boy is unique. And every pack will need to make their own “Transition Plan” for their boys. I can’t even tell you how many times they repeated that last phrase while we were at Philmont this summer. “Do what is best for the Boy!” And so when I have leaders ask me questions like “What if a boy turns 8 in…? What if a boy is…?” I am trying to give that same advice.
When you are not sure how to handle a specific situation just follow the Cub Scout Motto and Do Your Best! Do your best to do what is best for the boys you serve. It’s your pack, your den, your boys. You know them best so as you make your own “transition plan”, whether you follow Linda’s advice or another way – remember, it’s about the boy. Do what is best for the boy!
From the Frequently Asked Questions document online that relates to Annual Planning:
Q: With seven adventures required for rank advancement in Cub Scouting, will boys still be able to earn their rank advancements by the time the blue and gold banquet is held?
A: Earning a rank advancement in time for the blue and gold banquet is not and has never been a program goal in Cub Scouting. It is a custom in many packs to encourage this, but it is not an expected outcome of the program. The Cub Scout program is a year-round, family-based program. There are plenty of adventures in the new Cub Scout program model to deliver Cub Scouting year-round.
Author: Annaleis Smith, Council Cub Scout Chair