Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Discussions about the 2012 Program Review
Angus Bickerton
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:19 pm

RakelaK:

I love that model for linking! This makes Swim Up/Advancement more of a "see you later" ceremony, than a welcoming ceremony by the next section up the line. It becomes a natural progression.

This definitely needs to be incorporated into the new programs, so that we have much more solid linking efforts in every group.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by bcbagheera » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:37 pm

I like the thinking too, but have thought of one problem. If, for example, as scout troop has spent the year planning and preparing for an uber adventure in late spring, how would you now include the new youth moving up from cubs? Do you then start them earlier in the year, so they can help plan and prepare themselves? If you start doing that, then pretty soon you have Scouts starting a year earlier. Do you exclude them from participating? Maybe crushing their excitement? Sure, they would be able to go next year, but 12+ months is a long time to wait.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:52 am

bcbagheera wrote:I like the thinking too, but have thought of one problem. If, for example, as scout troop has spent the year planning and preparing for an uber adventure in late spring, how would you now include the new youth moving up from cubs? Do you then start them earlier in the year, so they can help plan and prepare themselves? If you start doing that, then pretty soon you have Scouts starting a year earlier. Do you exclude them from participating? Maybe crushing their excitement? Sure, they would be able to go next year, but 12+ months is a long time to wait.
I don't really think that this is a valid concern if linking is done properly.

Firstly, I don't know about other leaders, but it is impossible for our Troop to have an "uber adventure" before July. The kids are in school, and that, as we tell them every Wednesday, must come first, so anything beyond a weekend camp (which we do about 1 a month), is out until school's over.

This is obviously only really a concern for Cubs headed to Scouts. I would have relatively little concern about a senior Scout (age 14 or about to be) advancing to Venturers, or a White Tail Beaver headed to Cubs, but a 10-year old scub might have difficulty with a more advanced Troop adventure. But that is the beauty of early linking, and the Patrol system. The older scouts help bring along the younger ones, so that there is not too much put on them at an early stage. Also, the Scub is prepared by the linking for the adventure. 12 months is a long time to wait, and dangling the candy and snatching it away would be cruel. Therefore, the linking must incorporate getting that Scub to the point where they can go, at least with the help of the leaders and the older Scouts.

It should be pointed out that troops should have senior scout adventures that the younger ones don't get to enjoy, simply as part of the senior scout's development. There is a huge age gap between a 1st year scout and a 3rd or 4th year.

I am confident that with youth coming up to the next level, being ready for a July trip will not be an issue, especially if linking has occurred throughout the year, and if you have them attending full time by April 1. Had we decided to go to CJ, we fully expected to take the scubs with us. However, we are not, instead opting for a 1 week flat water canoe trip, and the Scubs will be with us.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by RakelaK » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:35 am

Angus Bickerton wrote:RakelaK:

I love that model for linking! This makes Swim Up/Advancement more of a "see you later" ceremony, than a welcoming ceremony by the next section up the line. It becomes a natural progression.

This definitely needs to be incorporated into the new programs, so that we have much more solid linking efforts in every group.

Like I said... the 'hope' is that they all feel a part of the next section before moving to it. But for some... especially kids with special needs or behaviour diagnosis that we've ran an accommodated program for.... there is still some trepidation about leaving their "comfort zone" too early. Even though, especially with our Scouts.... their "accommodations" will still be maintained. It's nothing to do with the program they are getting.... just the way it's delivered to them. Some kids, like kids in the autism spectrum, have a basic needs for consistent structure, delivery, discipline level, communication... etc. So to maintain that strong retention... those kids really need to be assured that what they are getting for the current program will continue in the next. For them.... all the linking activities are not so much to introduce them to the program challenges of the next section.... but, more importantly... to the people delivering it. I keep a constant dialogue going between myself and the troop scouter so that she knows everything there is to know and understand about each Cub moving up. This year we will have 11 moving up.... so she has attended all our Cub Camps up to now... and will until the end of the year... and has made an effort to work specifically with these senior Cubs.... not just for our Camp Program activities... but just as much with social aspects during "together times" like meals, games and especially our over-the-top campfire programs. Those Cubs that require more leader assistance/mentoring will all know the troop scouter and her team very well long before they advance to Scouts.... which will make that transition a lot easier for them.

It is my belief that those kids get something from Scouting that would never get anywhere else. For some of them... the 2 hours spent with us at our meetings is the only positive time they will get during their entire week. So making sure that same positive experience continues when they get to the next section is extremely important to me.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Hawkeye3 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:30 pm

This year, we have 14 of 26 Beavers moving up to Cubs. So, we are doing a number of things to try to encourage linking and retention:

Lots of linking activities. So far, we have done three, we have at least two more planned;
We had a night focused on the Jungle Book (for White Tails) and Friends of the Forest (Blue and Brown tails);
Moving Beavers up at the end of March. They will be invested likely in May and will earn badges before the end of the year. They will also camp 3x without parents;
We are holding a big ceremony / event for swim up. I have invited a well known scientist and he has tentatively agreed to participate (name to come later). It’s going to be a big, active evening where we will get to experience various sciences that he has participated in;
Linking leaders. Our main Cub leader is an assistant Colony leader, I am the main Colony leader and an assistant Pack leader;
We are asking the Cubs what we can do to welcome the new Tenderpads.

To keep the Colony going, we are recruiting right now for half price February

To prepare the Cubs, I had an idea and want your opinion of it. I call it the “Big Grey Shirt”. A leader will wear a grey shirt to meetings and will act like some of the White Tails. We will then discuss and practice how the Cubs can react when the Big Grey Shirt does something right and wrong. The Cubs will try to react (hopefully) and then we can talk about what they did and what else they could have done. The Big Grey Shirt actions will be ‘caricatures’ of how some of our White Tails act (without naming names, etc.).

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by 2HC-OldChil » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:09 pm

How about inviting the White Tails to build Kub Kars and join in when the KK races at the Pack. Try and involve the Beaver Parents in the planning may also give a better buy in.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Hawkeye3 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:34 am

2HC-OldChil wrote:How about inviting the White Tails to build Kub Kars and join in when the KK races at the Pack. Try and involve the Beaver Parents in the planning may also give a better buy in.
We have considered that. Due to the cost of the kits and the sheer number of White Tails, we are going to do Beaver buggies with them. We make our own buggies with blocks of wood and wheels from Lee Valley. Parents assist with that (great parent recruiting opportunity).

Over the next few weeks, we will try the "Big Grey Shirt" idea. I will let you all know how it goes. The final report on it should come in mid April after the Beavers have moved up and spent a few weeks.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:45 am

How do people on this Board feel about making attendance at the next section's meetings a mandatory (if possible) part of the signature award for that section? This would make it necessary for the leaders to plan the linking into the program. Thus, White Tails could not get their "Bronze Beaver" Award, and Cubs could not get their "Gray Wolf" Award without meeting some basic linking requirements, making linking a fundamental part of the program.

The reason I offer this up is that not every Scouter is a great Scouter. For a lot of them, we need to spell things out very clearly, and make a top-notch program easier to deliver. Anyway, I would appreciate your feedback.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by sdfry » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:39 am

Assuming I read the question correctly, I believe that the leaders who currently encourage linking activities would continue to do it and the ones that don't would give out the badge anyway.

Linking is a little easier for us. Every section meets on the same night (kids are already committed to be somewhere). All the sections communicate with each other and generally agree on the best program to run.

So we make sure that if we send a couple of 3rd year Cubs to Scouts, that we (Cubs) are doing something they've done before and the Scouts are doing something a little more interesting than usual. (Pioneering is always a hit). Same for Beavers.

We have a Sledding night for all sections in Jan/Feb, we involve the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts in Beaver Buggy/Kub Kar/Scout Truck races together in one evening, the Ventures join us to deliver some Badge requirements once a month and in Spring we kick a youth to a higher level for an evening or so. We also started having a camp in June where we invite the 3rd year Cubs to go camping with Scouts and Venture's.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:37 pm

I am guessing Stan is right, those that do it well will continue, those who dont wont. and since there is no independant testing the top award could still be given out. its a good idea that I dont know how to execute or enforce.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Hawkeye3 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:31 pm

Sam Wallis wrote:I am guessing Stan is right, those that do it well will continue, those who dont wont. and since there is no independant testing the top award could still be given out. its a good idea that I dont know how to execute or enforce.
I disagree somewhat. There is testing. And we have all of the data on MyScouts. Retention and recruiting rates. If programs are getting the "Quality" awards or are handing out many awards but have low retention and recruiting rates, something is wrong.

I like the idea. "Make" the youth try the next level a few times to see what it's like, especially if you want to get your "senior" badge. As long as this requirement (like all the rest) is clearly explained to the parents, I like it.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:52 pm

maybe I am dense, but I dont get what your saying? the program quality award is based on what you can get your GC to say. now he cant say you have someone with WBII, other than that its all very basic.

how would SC know how many awards or stars my group hands out? Chief scout award maybe, but anything below that how would they know. one year I buy 100 ast stars, the next year none. in reality I might give out 30 per year, and just fill the box as needed. so I could say that timmy went to 5 scout meetings and give him the golden cub award. happens all the time for one thing or another. some leader will say timmy is a great kid but soccer/music/dance is on the night scouts is.....

the retention and recruitment rates I agree with, other than the ocasional cub who is in first calgary to go on monday then needs to go wednesday so signs up with 98th, and so on. thats not that common I wouldnt think. those rates realy need to be tied to the growth rate of the target population in the cachment area, but damned if I know how to do that. our group only grew by 2 cubs this year (hit our max that we could enroll based on number of leaders we could locate). compare that to population growth in the area and we are not good. retention, I would have to pull some stats, we should know a numeric goal for that.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:43 pm

Sam:

The awards I am talking about are on the drawing board in the Program Review. Scouts have the Chief Scout's Award, and Vents have the Queen's Venturer Award, but Beavers, Cubs and Rovers don't have anything like those. A "signature" achievement award is being proposed for each section, such as the Bronze Beaver for Colony, the Gray Wolf for Pack, the CSA for Scouts, the QVA for Vents, and whatever the Rovers come up with (I am avoiding any jokes on purpose!!!).

I am proposing that the youth be required to link with the next section up, if that is possible, in order to achieve that award. Thus, it puts it beyond program planning, and the youth become aware that they have to do something to get their Gray Wolf or their CSA.

I threw this idea out to get feedback. keep it coming!
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Sam Wallis » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:22 pm

I like the idea of a top cub award, dunno about beavers, but then I dunno about lots of things for Beavers. I supose I was pointing out the dificulty of mandatory linking, but then again, some groups award CSA to anyone with a pulse, wish there was something we could do to solve that, but..... I dont have an answer. mandatory linking is a good idea. might be hard for the CSA though, there would apear to be a lack of vent companies around. certainly for beavers and cubs it should not be too hard to do.

I missunderstood your statement of the quality award. my bad.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:27 am

Sam, in cases where a Scout really cannot link with a Vent company, their Area Commissioner could sign off on the requirement. While most Groups don't have a Vent company, most Troops are close enough to another Group's Company that they could do linking with them. It might be an effective way of growing the Company section.

As for awarding signature awards to anyone with a pulse, I know that is not the case with the Scouters who post here. To get around that, only one thing could work: outside testing, which used to be done for the old King/Queen Scout rank (back when it was a rank). It is simple accountability, and it would be the only way to prevent handing out CSAs like candy. I'll start another thread on that topic. I would not propose it for Colony or Pack, but it should be the case for the senior sections.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Sam Wallis » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:28 pm

I like the idea of outside testing for a few other things as well including language strip. maybe not at the beaver level, possibly at cubs and definatly at scouts. anything that is a qualification. language, swiming....
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by norma » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:53 pm

Angus Bickerton wrote:How do people on this Board feel about making attendance at the next section's meetings a mandatory (if possible) part of the signature award for that section? This would make it necessary for the leaders to plan the linking into the program. Thus, White Tails could not get their "Bronze Beaver" Award, and Cubs could not get their "Gray Wolf" Award without meeting some basic linking requirements, making linking a fundamental part of the program.

The reason I offer this up is that not every Scouter is a great Scouter. For a lot of them, we need to spell things out very clearly, and make a top-notch program easier to deliver. Anyway, I would appreciate your feedback.
I would prefer it if the 'linking' badge were the one that had the requirement of actually participating in the linking activites.

However, I have a feeling that even if you spelled it out there would be a large number of the groups that currently don't do the 'linking' that would continue to not do so and simply 'forget' about that badge.

The 'top award' in the section should be for 'completing' the section rather than for "completing the current section and testing the next".

There is already the link badges that are supposed to have this type of requirement (except at the Beaver level as the current scheme you cannot 'earn' at Beaver level so it was just 'given' if you were previously a Beaver and had swum up to Cubs, which would imply continuous registration from the Beaver program to the Cub program rather than actually 'testing' the Cub program while in Beavers)

Having a Swimming Beaver, Leaping Cub, Running Scout, Challenged Venturer type award that had requirements for actual 'link' activities would reduce the pressures on the lower leader to having to say "I can't give you your 'final' award as the older section leaders simply will not agree to give you the opportunity to visit with them, even though you have been a great (Beaver/Cub/etc) and have completed this level"

Its almost as there needs to be a new section defined that is the crossover age so that they are given the opportunity to have the transition from jan-dec. So the linking activities while in the younger section to the 'tenderpad' requirements of the older section.

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by Angus Bickerton » Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:05 pm

Some good ideas there, Norma.

I think we need to dispose of the idea of linking as "testing" the next section. The silo effect between sections needs to be utterly destroyed. Linking is not testing the next section, it should be part of the experience of the current section, i.e. to be fully exposed to what the next section has to offer (and not just a little taste, either).

My point is to make linking with the next section not just a program standard, as it is now, but an actual PART of the program, so that it gets done. Take Norma's idea and put specifics on the link badge, i.e. more than just attending the swim up, and award it AT the swim up, not at investiture. So, as a Cub Scout, you would have to earn your link badge by experiencing the Scout program as part of the Cub program, and also participate in linking activities as a form of service to Colony, in order to achieve the signature award for Cubs (which I guess you'd get at the advancement ceremony, so, not a bad venue). In order to deal with the overachiever who does everything else early, this requirement could be varied.

The fundamental flaw with the linking concept as it stands now is that "it is a good thing that every section should do, but doesn't always find the time for". THAT is what needs to change. By shifting some of the responsibility for linking from the leaders to the youth, and making it an actual requirement (and giving the link badge some teeth) you can place linking more squarely into the actual program, and all the youth will see that, not just leaders and planners. Right now, it's place is ineffective, and too many groups either totally ignore it, or give it only passing attention.

Therefore, specifically, what I propose is to borrow from Norma, and to make the Link Badge a lot more beefy, and to make the Link Badge a mandatory part of the signature award for each section (when they are done).

For the Colony Link Badge: Must attend at least 2 group all-section events, 2 Colony-Pack meetings (our group does this by taking the whole Colony to Cub meetings twice a year), 1 Cub event, 4 Pack meetings as a White Tail, and participate in the Swim Up (where they get their link badge and signature award).

For the Pack Link Badge: Must attend at least 4 group all-section events, 4 Colony-Pack meetings (or serve as Keeo), attend 4 Troop events, attend 6 Scout meetings as a Gray Wolf, and participate in the Advancement (where they get their link badge and signature award).

For the Troop Link Badge: must attend 6 group all-section events, 6 Pack-Troop meetings (or serve as Kim), attend 6 Company events, attend 8 Vent meetings as a senior Scout (3rd or 4th year), and participate in the Advancement (where they receive the link badge and their CSA).

For the Company Link Badge: I have no idea. Something concrete and definite, and tied to the QVA, but I don't know Vents and Rovers well enough to put out an idea.
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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by firedog_53 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:00 pm

Just one question.. if you did not attend a younger section, am I correct in assuming that you would not be able to obtain the top section award?
ie.. if a youth starts right into Scouts and missed cubs, would he not qualify for the Chief Scout Award?

FD

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Re: Linkage - Moving from Section to Section Best Practices

Post by norma » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:37 am

Angus Bickerton wrote:Some good ideas there, Norma.

I think we need to dispose of the idea of linking as "testing" the next section. The silo effect between sections needs to be utterly destroyed. Linking is not testing the next section, it should be part of the experience of the current section, i.e. to be fully exposed to what the next section has to offer (and not just a little taste, either).

My point is to make linking with the next section not just a program standard, as it is now, but an actual PART of the program, so that it gets done. Take Norma's idea and put specifics on the link badge, i.e. more than just attending the swim up, and award it AT the swim up, not at investiture. So, as a Cub Scout, you would have to earn your link badge by experiencing the Scout program as part of the Cub program, and also participate in linking activities as a form of service to Colony, in order to achieve the signature award for Cubs (which I guess you'd get at the advancement ceremony, so, not a bad venue). In order to deal with the overachiever who does everything else early, this requirement could be varied.

The fundamental flaw with the linking concept as it stands now is that "it is a good thing that every section should do, but doesn't always find the time for". THAT is what needs to change. By shifting some of the responsibility for linking from the leaders to the youth, and making it an actual requirement (and giving the link badge some teeth) you can place linking more squarely into the actual program, and all the youth will see that, not just leaders and planners. Right now, it's place is ineffective, and too many groups either totally ignore it, or give it only passing attention.

Therefore, specifically, what I propose is to borrow from Norma, and to make the Link Badge a lot more beefy, and to make the Link Badge a mandatory part of the signature award for each section (when they are done).

For the Colony Link Badge: Must attend at least 2 group all-section events, 2 Colony-Pack meetings (our group does this by taking the whole Colony to Cub meetings twice a year), 1 Cub event, 4 Pack meetings as a White Tail, and participate in the Swim Up (where they get their link badge and signature award).

For the Pack Link Badge: Must attend at least 4 group all-section events, 4 Colony-Pack meetings (or serve as Keeo), attend 4 Troop events, attend 6 Scout meetings as a Gray Wolf, and participate in the Advancement (where they get their link badge and signature award).

For the Troop Link Badge: must attend 6 group all-section events, 6 Pack-Troop meetings (or serve as Kim), attend 6 Company events, attend 8 Vent meetings as a senior Scout (3rd or 4th year), and participate in the Advancement (where they receive the link badge and their CSA).

For the Company Link Badge: I have no idea. Something concrete and definite, and tied to the QVA, but I don't know Vents and Rovers well enough to put out an idea.

So in your scheme the 'linking' occurs from day one and not limited solely to the 'final 6 months' type thing?

I like adding the linking requirements to the final award (the joining in group events and the younger/older section events throughout your time) but the link badge should be the 'preparation' award to show that you prepared yourself to move to the next section and have said goodbye to your current section.
Having the requirement that you need to get the link award be part of the final award would make sense, then that says you have 'completed' your journey and are ready to move on. But you should be able to say you are prepared to move on even if you haven't completed everything available at the current stage (for those that join in the second/third year of a section) that you have completed what is need to smoothly transition between the two sections.


firedog_53 wrote:Just one question.. if you did not attend a younger section, am I correct in assuming that you would not be able to obtain the top section award?
ie.. if a youth starts right into Scouts and missed cubs, would he not qualify for the Chief Scout Award?

FD
You should be able to get the top award for your section that you are currently in, no matter what your previous service has been. But as a Scout you should be linking 'down' to Cubs and 'up' to Venturers. Beavers and Rovers as the 'book end' sections only have one section to directly link to (Beavers to their 'next' section, and Rovers to bring those from the 'previous' to encourage them to join you) but Cubs, Scouts and Venturers should be linking both ways, encouraging those younger to come join you and being encouraged to continue with those older.

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