My oldest Scout joined late in Webelos and has primarily scouted during the quarantine. The online format wasn’t very productive for the den which only met a few times in total but we made the most of it as a family. Camped and hiked extensively, earned every adventure pin and a few of the awards, and did the religious emblem and a bunch of religious patches. I wish I had known to have done a few things differently to have really maximized what was available as I feel like I’m starting to understand the process of cub scouting just in time for crossing over, but I’m also really proud of what we accomplished.
We’ve watched and read a whole lot of scouting blogs about how the culture of Scouting should be, about the structure, the differences between Cub and Boy Scouting, and all of that and I’m not finding the guidance we need for that sort of “what you should know” culture for actually living all that out. I’m hoping you can point me to it or paint a picture for us.
My scout really wants leadership growth, mentorship, and fraternity (and still needs healthy support for being able to sustain those roles) and is highly motivated by achievements and awards. We like the blogs/descriptions for Eagle in 2 years not because we actually care about an Eagle in 2 years (though I also wouldn’t be opposed if it worked out that way and expect it could be done in 3-4ish pretty reasonably just because that sort of thing is personally important and fulfilling and instills a sense of responsibility and ownership in my scout) but because those Eagle in 2 year plans provide very easy-to-follow paths and expectations for time frames and investments on what to expect and when. The seemingly endless books, pamphlets, videos, blogs, websites, PDFs, etc are streamlined into a very simple A, B, C progression. We really need that, but in a way that isn’t just the text-based minimums but communicates the full picture in that same format.
What we’re hoping to find is an expanded “path” that includes more of the awards, camps, activities, milestones, etc for a well-rounded experience or if that doesn’t exist then to collect enough input to line that fuller concept up in our own heads. If it matters, my scout is social, kinesthetic, playful, a natural Tom Sawyer style leader, and likes cooking, camping, hiking, travel, and keeping things fresh and moving, which lends itself well to taking on any task or obstacle one at a time as they arise. Write a paragraph on how a ham radio works? It’ll take months. Fix this broken radio even though you have zero knowledge or experience? A few youtube videos and trying things out later and you’ll have a working radio and a verbal report all about how it works and why you should get a different one that works better in some way.
It is understandable that the usual request the internet of things answers is trying to check boxes for the least amount of work to get the title so the usual response is vague and extolling the importance of the community and growth, but we’re starting from a place where the community and growth is the whole reason we’re here, we’re disconnected from that because of Covid, and we just need the cultural facts to fill in the picture so we get moving in the right direction to keep my scout engaged.
One practical example of this is frequent online encouragements to sign up for any merit badge universities because they’re costly but get so much done. Our council announced some online for the days after crossing over. I had no idea what to sign up for and really didn’t have the money to put to it but also felt like I needed to consider it, especially the ones offered multiple times and already having sold-out sessions. They’re popular for a reason, right? But when I looked at what was offered, it looked like a couple days of online civics lessons, for example. We’ve been doing that for a year and could cover the same content easily for free. I made a spreadsheet with a page for each month and went through the handbook, selecting and grouping requirements upfront for the whole year, signing off with date and description as completed. Not having an idea of the bigger picture, I don’t have a clue if I’m missing something here–is that streamlining all the merit badge university is doing, too? But that’s just a tiny zoom-in on the big picture not being clear.
What I need to know is: what should we expect to have on our bucket list plan as opposed to a shortest-time-to-Eagle plan?