Wild Webelos and Activities
- As a long-time Cubmaster, I have to put in my two cents on
Webelos and their behavior at Pack Meetings. The best way to promote
good behavior is to make sure the boys are involved in the meeting,
know what is coming, and know what is expected. Over the years, the
hardest lesson I had to learn was that people did not join Scouting
to watch me stand and read announcements.
Each Webelos Den should be expected to provide a skit or
demonstration at every Pack meeting. Nine and ten year olds are
absolute hams, and will happily act out "Buck-toothed Buzzards" or
the "Sesame Street Bus" any time you ask. Use that enthusiasm to let
them show off--and pass out a paper with all the announcements at the
end of the meeting as parents leave.
It is important for them to know what is coming and what is
expected, as well. Current television practice has conditioned us to
pay attention for 7-9 minutes--then take a break. That's what we're
used to. We know that, and control ourselves until the commercial.
If you make sure your Pack Meetings have a regular flow to them,
the boys will know that their turn is coming, and that whatever is
happening now is going to end and go to something else. That may
sound very simple, but to a young boy, 5 minutes of an adult standing
there talking is an eternity that seems to never have an end.
As Cubmaster, I have set up a game in the meetings--if I say the
word of the night during the meeting, the boys get to sing a silly
song that is kind of a "gotcha". The trick is, if someone else says
the word, and the boys sing--they "lose" the game. In addition, I
broke the awards for Webelos into several parts--hiking awards,
special patches, then activity pins---by pin--then badges. Again, the
boys paid attention because it was their turn next.
Sorry--I didn't mean to go so long on this. Make sure your Pack
Meetings are focused on celebrating boys and Dens, not adults and
announcements. It is more work, but it is much, much more fun.
Pueblo District Training Chair and UC
Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, AZ
"I used to be a whole lot of stuff and just keep doing more."
- Kelly, Bravo! Great message about how a Pack "Meeting" should work. I
really don't like the term "Meeting" -- it's really a show! A variety show,
with funny parts (jokes, run-ons), musical parts (songs), theatrical parts
(skits), rousing parts (cheers), dramatic parts (awards ceremonies) and even
serious parts (flag ceremonies, demonstration of a skill or accomplishment,
Cubmaster minute). Kelly has laid it out well -- short segments, keep it
moving, find a flow (don't immediately jump from funny to serious; time the
loudest, craziest part for about 2/3 of the way through). Please, please,
use dramatic ceremonies that tell a story -- don't stand up there and just
hand out envelopes with the boys' badges in them. Finally, have at least
one high-energy adult to be the clown, cheerleader, and person of many
costumes who has a grasp of the "fun meter" and is always ready to jump in
with a joke or silly song when needed. It doesn't have to be the Cubmaster
-- a "sidekick" will do just fine.
- You have some good suggestions. I just wish I could figure out why they're
better-behaved when they're younger and then when they hit Webelos age, seem
to think that it's ok to run around before pack meetings whooping and
hollering, that they should be able to sit in their seats and make random
annoying noises while I'm trying to do ceremonies, that they don't need to
look in all my stuff to see what ceremony I'm going to do and discover the
secret to the color-changing water ceremony, etc. I've been a Cubmaster for
4 years now and it's always the Webelos who suddenly become like this.
At this last pack meeting we had a mystery. We sent the boys out for a few
minutes and told the parents what we were doing, then we called the boys
back in and sent one of them to go get the guessing jar-and it was missing!
There were clues to be found on the items (hats, ties, books, and
newspapers) that we had given out to the parents and siblings. While I was
trying to give instruction to the group about how they needed to show their
badges and ask the "suspects" nicely to see the item to see if it was the
one they were searching for, I had to shush about 3 Webelos scouts, not
because they were talking, but because they were trying to be Bobby
McFerrin. I think they're feeding off each other.
We're working on getting the Webelos to actually have something to
demonstrate every month. I've been dealing in the past with a Webelos leader
who rarely communicated with us and often didn't even show up to pack
meetings, much less have his den prepare something to demonstrate. We got a
new Webelos leader to help the other one, and the new one's wife is my
assistant Cubmaster, so things are improving.
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