1. Why are we doing this program?
Initially the experience of one pack which developed and used this program led us to believe it had merit. In a pilot study of 21 dens in Bay-Lakes Council using this program, the retention rate of Cub Scouts went from 64% to 85%. In packs where some of the dens were using the program and other dens were not, the retention increased significantly for those using the program and did not increase for those not using the program. Equally important, den leaders using the program were very happy with it and felt it made their job as a den leader much easier and more enjoyable.
2. How closely must we adhere to the outline for each program level?
The outline for each program level ensures the completion of each rank in a timely manner and assures that each boy will receive significant other advancement on a regular and frequent basis. This is what keeps boys in Cub Scouting. Substitutions for requirements may not be made, since that would not fulfill the requirement. For some achievements and electives, the boy is to choose among a few different options for completion of a requirement. The outline has made that choice for you. You may find that a different choice works better for your den than the choice in the outline. When that is the case, go ahead and use your choice. For example, in the Tiger Cub program, achievement 2: Where I Live, requirement 2G is to visit a police station or a fire station. In the outline, the visit is made to the police station. This choice was made because Wolf Cub Scouts are required to visit the fire station. If you wish, you may visit the fire station as Tigers and then again as Wolves. We felt it would be more interesting for the boys to participate in the choice we made.
3. Can this program help us to have better organized den and pack meetings?
That is one of the results of using this program. If a den leader follows the “preparation and materials needed” section of each den meeting, it is easy to organize a meeting. If boys are receiving badges and awards at every pack meeting, it makes for a better pack meeting, as well.
4. How many den meetings are expected to be held per month and per year?
The outlines are written to give you approximately 16 den meetings per year. Our observation has been that most dens hold two den meetings per month. You may begin in late August, early September, or mid-September. You may hold either one or two den meetings in the month of December, depending on the religious and family commitments of the members of your den. You may conclude in mid-May, late May, or early June. The outline is not dated, merely sequenced. With two den meetings, one pack meeting, and one other pack activity each month, each Cub Scout is having approximately four Scouting events per month.
5. If a parent and/or Scout want to complete some requirements at home which we will do later in a den meeting, what should we do?
Parents are always welcome and encouraged to work on advancement with their son. When we do it later in the den meeting, it may be done in a different way. It will certainly serve as reinforcement for the boy.
6. Must I follow the sequence of each outline?
The sequence was written with the primary goal of earning the rank at the appropriate time of the year. For Wolf, Bear, and Arrow of Light, this is in time for the Blue and Gold Dinner in February. The sequence was also determined by weather and seasonality for certain requirements and electives. The sequence of each den meeting was written with the goal of maximizing use of time at the den meeting and having a good mix of quiet activities and active time at each den meeting.
7. Can all requirements and electives be completed in a den setting?
No. The handbooks and outlines tell which must be completed at home or with a parent.
8. As I read the outlines from Tiger Cubs through Webelos II, some of the requirements and activities seem to be similar to those completed in earlier years. When I look at a Boy Scout Handbook, the same thing is true. Why?
You have discovered one of the beauties of the Boy Scouting program. From start to completion, it is a spiral of learning and fun that builds upon previous experience in the program. Basic skills and concepts learned at an early age are repeated and expanded upon to reinforce the knowledge. It is all age-appropriate.
9. What if a boy misses a den meeting and, therefore, does not complete the advancement?
Please contact the parent. The boy will be able to complete the missed activity with his family. Make certain the parents understand that the boy will be able to receive his badge or award only after the activity has been completed. Ask them to inform you when it has been completed.
10. Will a den leader have time during each den meeting to sign the handbooks, indicating requirements have been completed?
During den meetings, the den leader will be engaged in the activities of the meeting. It will be difficult to have time to sign books during a meeting. A better way of doing this may be for the leader to collect the books at the end of the meeting, bring them home, and sign them at a time when there are fewer distractions than there would be at a meeting. It is important to return the handbooks to the boys in a timely manner. It might be best for the books to be collected only periodically, perhaps every month or two.
11. Are den and pack activities planned for the summer?
Yes, but on a reduced scale. The outlines show how certain requirements and electives are best completed during the summer months. On the display table, I have samples of flyers representing summer activities.
12. Doesn’t it seem that Cub Scouts 2010 takes all the fun out of the Cub Scouts and makes a den meeting “more school”?
- Most dens already use an approach similar to Cub Scouts 2010 for their meetings. In a 2005, a Central Region analysis of randomly selected Cub Scout den found that 96.7 percent were completing at least half or more of each achievements in their den meetings. (2005: Central Region Recruitment & Retention Study)
- All of the activities developed for the Cub Scout program are designed to be fun and Cub Scouts 2010 uses the same involving activities as those used historically. Scouts and den leaders involved in Cub Scouts 2010 report high satisfaction with the program activities.
- The activities included in the achievements have been tested with boys (Scouts and non-Scouts) and boys indicate that they would like to participate in most of the activities. Only a few, such as the food pyramid and the escape plan, were considered to be too much like what they learned in school. (2006: Cub Scout Content Study)
13. Aren’t two den meetings per month, insufficient to provide the social interaction parents want from CS?
No, dens will actually meet up to 4 times a month : 2 den meetings where boys meet in the traditional setting and complete parts of the requirements. One field trip to go see something related to an achievement or just to go have fun as a group. And one Pack meeting where all the dens meet and celebrate the boys achievements.
14. Aren’t the pilot evaluation outcomes methodologically flawed? Weren’t all participating leaders trained and required to follow the program? Was there an untrained control?
- All den leaders who agreed to participate in the pilot were required to attend an orientation during which the piloted delivery method was communicated. And they were required to follow the program. No additional training was provided.
- Research Services conducted a robust evaluation to understand how pilot dens differed from non-pilot dens. The dens, which came from three regions, were matched or selected to have similar demographics and retention rates.
- Similarities: Membership trends, family/day camping attendance, participation in Friends of Scouting, working on achievements/electives in den meetings, satisfaction with pack meetings, etc.
- Pilot dens more positive on: Residence camp attendance, participation in council wide product sales, satisfaction with ease of preparing for den meetings and role as a den leader.
- Non-pilot dens higher on use of skits at pack meetings and use of Program Helps.
15. Why hasn’t the overall Cub Scout membership in the Central Region and Bay Lakes Council increased as a result of the Fast Tracks pilot?
There are two main reasons the overall number of Cub Scouts did not increase in the Bay Lakes Council or in the Central Region:
- The percentage of dens involved in the pilot in any one council, while sufficient for pilot purposes, was too small for the positive results to be reflected in overall membership for the councils.
Cub Scout TAY in the Bay Lakes Council and Central Region declined during the time period of the pilot study. However, from 2005 to 2007, Bay Lakes increased its Cub Scout density from 24.4 percent in 2005 to 25.5 percent in 2007.
- In 2005, the Bay Lakes pilot involved 20 dens, or approximately 1 percent of the dens in the council. By 2006, the pilot was expanded to 178 dens, or approximately 11 percent of the dens in the council.
- In 2007, 1,117 dens, or approximately 2 percent of the dens in councils in the Central Region, participated in the pilot.
16. Won’t the set lesson plans/den meeting guides allow insufficient flexibility for units without access to specified activities (zoos, museums, etc.)?
While the pilot had to be rigid in how the den meeting plans were used so that we could study the effect on retention, when the plan rolls out we will continue to leverage the flexibility and creativity of our leaders to use the resources in their community to provide for the field trip experience (similar to the way the Tiger Cub go see it is done today).
17. Won’t the den meeting plans need to be reworked for programs that are age-based versus gradebased (such as the LDS church’s where Scout’s beginning level is defined by his age, not grade) or for programs that meet year round?
- The lesson plans will work for age-based and year round programs if the same rotation is used each year.
- If a child’s birth date is in January and he enters the Bear program then, he will work with the group on the achievements in the January lesson plan.
- Before his next birthday he will have experienced all of the achievements that were worked on prior to January and will advance then.
- Additionally, den meeting plans will be developed as part of the rollout process which will provide den leaders direction for programs which meet year round.
- Finally, the den meeting plans will tied to existing summer time programs and include a guide for summer time meetings with the program.
18. Wouldn’t fewer den meetings per month cause some units which meet weekly to search out competing programming, potentially resulting in loss of membership.
- There are weekly meetings in this program: two den meetings, one activity trip and one pack meeting.
- Dens are welcome to meet more frequently, if they wish. Additional meeting plan are being developed to support those dens who meet more frequently.
19. Doesn’t Cub Scouts 2010 reduce or eliminate the role of the family in the Cub Scout program?
- Those who have used this program have found that family participation increases because so many of the achievements and electives in the handbooks call for family participation.
- Further, with this method, specific direction is provided to families as needed defining what the boy and his family need to be working on prior to the next meeting
- In addition, because each boy is receiving tangible recognition of his advancement at most every pack meeting, family attendance tends to increase. They all want to be there to see their child receive an award.
- Arrowpoints and belt loops can still be worked on with the family.
20. How does Cub Scouts 2010 work if a den meeting is missed or if a boy joins in the middle of the program year?
Just as is the case today, at that time the den leader works with the family to let them know what they missed, so that they can catch up with the rest of the boys
21. Doesn’t the more rigid den meeting plans and schedule go against the emerging call (from academics and others) for more unstructured time/play for youth?
- The Cub Scout program has never been an unstructured program. Each meeting is planned and has structure as the program is currently structured.
- Many of the actual activities to complete the achievement or elective are unstructured activities. Dens who use this model have lots of fun at den meetings.