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The Patrol Leader conducts the individual patrol meetings with the assistance of an adult Assistant Scoutmaster. The Patrol Leader leads the patrol in planning for campouts, other activities, Scouting skills, games, advancement, etc.
As members of a patrol the boys work as a unit, and individually. As a unit they camp, work on patrol service projects, and carry out troop assignments together. As individuals they work on merit badges, rank advancement and self-improvement.
The Outdoor Adventure
The outdoor program is an integral part of the Webelos adventure. To many boys it is adventure. Without the outdoor experience your program cannot be a success. After all, what do most people think of when Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are mentioned? Camping, hiking, nature, forestry, etc. And what was one of the first questions your Webelos asked you? When can we go camping?
The outdoor program for Webelos is not just camping though. It is the end product of the program, and comes after gradual exposure of the boys to the outdoor environment through use of field trips, outdoor games, outdoor meetings, neighborhood hikes and day hikes. Yes, the boys are very anxious to go camping, and yes many Webelos leaders want to expose their dens to camping right away, but waiting until the den is late in it's first year is the right thing to do.
Although many new Webelos leaders seem reluctant to take the boys outdoors to do anything more adventuresome than a field trip, a few others, who at one time were Boy Scouts or who are seasoned campers, go to the other extreme. They want to take their boys camping Boy Scout style the first year. There are several reasons why this practice should be avoided. FIRST, many times the boys are not mature enough physically, socially or intellectually to fully grasp the concepts and skills more properly left to older boys. Such practices could jeopardize a young boy's safety. SECOND, by introducing these skills too early, the overzealous Webelos leader can spoil a younger boy's future Boy Scout program. Learning to work together as a patrol and depend on themselves is a cornerstone of the Boy Scout program. The most important method used to achieve this goal is learning to provide the basics of food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, and personal hygiene and safety in the outdoors away from the dependent environment of the home. If you expose the boys too early to some of these skills, they may get bored with them in Boy Scouting before they have learned the art of working together as a social unit and depending on one another for specific outcomes. Thus, you will be cheating them out of exploring the roles of leadership and committed followers which is one of the core benefits of the entire Boy Scout program.
Webelos camping is basically car camping. In general, it is an introduction to the fun and skills of camping. In Boy Scouting boys ideally master those skills and move out of car camp to the frontier of true wilderness travel. If they go on to Explorers, they may join a post where they will become expert outdoorsman and wilderness travelers capable of coping with any environment for which they have been trained on earth. Your Webelos outdoor program could be the beginning of one of your boy's long, long journey to eventually realize this exciting reality. Please realize that the process of getting there will take years. Skills must be learned gradually and safely. The pages that follow should help define the policies, scope, dos and don'ts of the Webelos program.
Outdoor Program Polices
As in the rest of the Cub Scout program, the Webelos program is centered around the home, neighborhood and family. This policy is very important in the outdoor program. In reference to the outdoor program parental involvement is mandatory. Parents must be involved not only to help provide proper transportation, but to also aid in control of the boys when your meeting is away from your home or the normal meeting place. The BSA national office has guidelines for parental involvement, transportation, field trips, and Webelos camping. A brief summary of BSA national regulations for Webelos outing are as follows:
¥ Tour permits should be filed at the local Scout office before your outing occurs if travel by motor vehicle is involved.
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