Jessica sent in this question:
I am a Committee Chair & a Den Leader and my husband is Cubmaster. We are a month away from our Blue and Gold Banquet. We have already planned into the ceremony for each rank of scouts to earn their rank badge. We do not have anyone earning arrow of light or crossing over because we have no Webelos II. We were really hoping all the scouts would earn their rank badge at the B&G so that March could be devoted to Scouting for Food and Electives, and April and May to outdoor events and service projects. Out of our dens, there are 6 out of 8 tigers who will definitely meet the requirements. Wolves, 12 out of 14, and of Bears 2 out of 4, and of Webelos I they will l all earn it. I am not sure what to do. I do not want these families to feel pressured, i want them to enjoy this whole experience of doing the at home activities with their son. The ones i am concerned about are pretty far behind, but not impossibly so. In addition to behind on home requirements, most of these families also missed at least one field trip, so they would have to do that on their own as well. My Den leaders are really trying to motivate the parents, but i told them to back off because we can also award these scouts their rank badge in March or April. However, my tiger leader raised a very good point that she would feel “like crap as a parent” if she were the parent of a child that did not get a badge when everyone else does. How do we avoid alienating these families? Should we as leaders call the parents and encourage them to find the time to do these activities and challenge their scout, or should we tell them don’t worry about it you have till April or May and we will award it individually but then they will feel awkward at the banquet?
This question comes up a lot. In many pack traditions, the Blue and Gold banquet is not just a celebration of Cub Scouting, but also a sort of awards banquet. But this can be a problem since it falls in February while there are still several months left in the program year. Inevitability, some of the Cub Scouts will not have completed their rank requirements in time for the banquet.
Hopefully the parents were warned well in advance that most of the Cub Scouts would be getting their rank emblems at B&G and were aware of their responsibilities in helping their sons finish up in time. Reassure these parents that their sons will be awarded their badges as soon as they complete the requirements. If they feel pressured to finish up within a shorter time frame, they might just get frustrated and give up.
I encourage you to have an appropriate recognition ceremony at the next pack meeting after they finish up. If a Cub Scout finishes his requirements in late February, he shouldn’t have to wait until April to have his badge presented to him in front of the pack. Awards and recognition are usually a part of every pack meeting. Make it special with a ceremony rather than just handing him the badge. BSA has a great set of pack meeting plans, and most include some sort of advancement ceremony.
Readers, what do you think? Add your ideas to the comments below.