Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SCOUTStrong Challenge

Are you old enough, or young enough, to remember the President's Physical Fitness Challenge during your school days?  Gym classes tracked progress in categories such as sit-ups, push-ups, shuttle run, 12-minute walk/run, and pull-ups for boys and bent-arm hang for girls.

Kids today can still do that at school, but NEW this fall is a nationwide program for ALL ages, called the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award or PALA. 

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition is promoting a healthy lifestyle by encouraging us all to get more active. To earn the PALA, kids have to engage in 60 minutes of activity, five to six days a week, for six weeks. Adults need only 30 minutes a day for the same time frame.  The minutes do not have to be all at once.  Three 10-minute walks would qualify an adult for one day.

Boy Scouts of America is encouraging everyone associated to participate: Scouts, Venturers, Parents, Volunteers, Council Staff, Board Members, Friends of Scouting, and BSA Alumni.

Choose your state and your council, then create an account to track your progress as part of your council's team. (As of now, Hawkeye Area has only two on the team, and one of them is me.)

Over 90 activities are listed within the program, including canoeing, yoga, Nintento Wii, home repairs, unicycling, and juggling, among the more traditional activities.  Participants can also track pedometer steps each day.

Those without convenient Internet access can track their progress on paper, using the form found here:
Those looking for a greater challenge, or who already surpass these requirements are invted to try the President's Challenge program instead.

Patches and more for the PALA are available for purchase.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Cub Scout Leader How-To Book

Older cover - How-To Book
The Cub Scout Leader How-To Book is a wondrous resource for anyone working with Cub  Scouts.  It contains hundreds of ideas to use in den and pack meetings (especially when Plan B isn’t working either).  Den doodles, magic tricks, behavior incentives, fire building, the Cubmobile, skits, games, stories, crafts – it’s all in there!  Having this book handy can rescue a meeting gone awry and can help to plan meetings that Cubs will remember for years after.

For Scouters who like a paper book at hand, click here to order or stop by your local Scout Shop.

The current cover uses the 2010 design scheme, but Scout Stuff assures that the content is the same as the older How-To books.  Currently the price is $7.99, which is a bargain – my own copy has a price tag of $9.95.

For Scouters online, the book is available for free in Portable Document Format (.pdf) – all 288 pages.

Depending on your computer’s limitations, the document should be searchable, but the table of contents and the index are also available. 

The book is divided into seven main topics, with several sub-topics for each.

Table of Contents
1.    Accentuate the Positive
2.    Crafts
3.    Games
4.    Outdoors
5.    Razzle Dazzle
6.    Special Pack Activities
7.    Cub Scouts with Special Needs

Monday, September 5, 2011

Coming Attractions: October 2011

In October, our topics will include:

Mixer for Webelos Den Leaders and Scoutmasters - bring along a few business cards and your unit calendar during Red Cedar's first-ever event for Webelos Den Leaders and Scoutmasters to meet face-to-face.

Boy Scout Troop Trailer Round-Up - show and tell time as we head out to the parking lot and share ideas about gear storage, cleaning, and more

Planning Pack Meeting Demonstrations - letting dens shine

Strengthening Pack Communications - newsletters, phone trees, and more

Venturing - Youth Protection for mixed Male and Female groups

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cub Scout New Leader flyers

National BSA provides four-page flyers to help inform new parent volunteers realistically about the tasks included in the position, what is expected during den meetings, and a resource guide.  Print and use these when recruiting new adults.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Elements of a Good Pack Meeting

Good Pack Meetings keep everyone's interest and keep families eager to return next month.

Have a gathering activity that encourages cooperation, that can add more boys at any time, and that matches the level of excitement allowed by the meeting location (outdoors, cafeteria, auditorium).

The Cubmaster leads the show, and should be comfortable acting boldly.

Some packs have one den each month sponsor the meeting, providing set up, support, snacks.  Other packs have annual charts letting dens know each month if they are in charge of set up, flag ceremony, clean up, or tear down.

Encourage den participation with skits, songs, run-ons.  Include a game each month to use natural Boy Energy.

State clearly at the beginning of the year if parents are expected to stay, and at what level parents are expected to participate in your Pack Meetings.  Each Pack will base this on traditions and on behaviors of the Scouts and the parents.

Encourage awards to be presented every month.  Most Cubs thrive on Instant Recognition.

Have a plan.  Even when the evening doesn't go as planned, the act of making a plan makes each Pack Meeting run smoother.

School-Related Merit Badges

Some Merit Badges work well with activities Scouts may already be doing in their usual school routines.

Merit Badges to be discussed during the breakout include:

Journey to Excellence

Both Boy Scout and Cub Scout breakouts discussed the new Journey to Excellence program for evaluating units.  The new school year brings new leadership to many Packs and so this month's refresher was a good introduction for them.

Journey to Excellence evaluates a Scouting unit over a calendar year, currently January 2011 - December 2011 and is expected to be completed and turned in with the unit rechartering packet. 

Units earn points in eleven to thirteen categories.  Most categories have three levels of points to earn, based on commitment to those categories.  For example, Packs are encouraged to have multiple activities in the outdoors throughout the year.  Packs with three outdoor activities will earn 75 points, packs with four will earn 150 points, and packs with five will earn 300 points.

Packs must complete at least the minimum requirements in 10 of the 13 categories, troops must complete at least 11 of 13 catagories, and crews must complete 9 of their 11 categories.

When all the unit points are tallied, a minimum of 700 points earns the bronze level, 1000 points earned the silver level, and 1600 points earns the gold level. 

Units will be able to purchase Journey to Excellence patches for their earned level, for all registered Scouts and Scouters.

At the October Roundtable, recharter packets will include spreadsheets for each unit, with Council-known data already included, such as percentage of Scouts advancing.
Journey to Excellence

Roundtable Breakout Topics for 2011-12

This is our initial plan for Roundtable Breakout Topics this year.  As always, we may need to make changes due to availability of speakers, new information to share, or cancellations.  We will do our best to announce the changes prior to the meeting.  Click on the image to see it larger.

Welcome to Red Cedar Roundtable!

Welcome! As the current Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner for the Red Cedar District of the Hawkeye Area Council, I gather information each month pertaining to the discussion topics for the Roundtable meeting of local Boy Scout leaders.  With this blog, I intend to take my cue from my son's Tiger Motto: Search, Discover, Share.  I hope you find information here that enhances your own Scouting experience.

-- Scouter Heidi
Eager Beaver
Wood Badge C-10-09