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Why outdoor crossover ceremonies make great memories for Webelos Scouts.

DURING HIS NINE YEARS with Pack 1187 in Houston, Webelos den leader Kevin McLaughlin has watched gradu- ating Webelos Scouts cross all sorts of bridges. Among them: a rope monkey bridge, a permanent bridge over a duck pond, and even two picnic tables shoved together, their benches serving as a walkway. McLaughlin says each bridge had

different effects on the crossover cer- emony. The picnic tables boosted the boys up into the air, which made for good photos. The duck-pond bridge offered a powerful visual represen- tation of the Scouts’ passage from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. And the monkey bridge? “It was great in

theory but really bad in practice,” he says. “You invariably have the one kid who’s not coordinated enough to get across it, slips, and ends up straddling the rope, which tends to put a damper on the ceremony.” The common thread, though, in

all of the pack’s crossover ceremo- nies was that they were held outside, typically at Houston’s Bear Creek Pioneers Park. “We’ve always done it outdoors because we try to keep the Scouts outside. Scouting is outing,” McLaughlin says. Chuck Fetterman agrees. For more

than a decade, the Mount Diablo Silverado Council unit commissioner has led elaborate crossover ceremonies

at the five-acre farm he and his wife, Penny (another longtime Scouter), own in Knightsen, Calif. Several times each year, packs come to “Camp Fetterman” to participate. And like the ceremonies in McLaughlin’s pack, his also involve a bridge. Not just any bridge. It’s a special

creation that Fetterman designed himself. The bridge begins as two stan-

chions placed on a stage about 10 feet apart. One features the Cub Scout logo, the other the Boy Scout logo. After Fetterman points out the gap between the stanchions, three Boy Scouts begin to fill the space. The older boys connect the stanchions with beams emblazoned with three points of the Scout Oath: duty to God and country, duty to others, and duty to self. They then add planks repre- senting the 12 points of the Scout Law, creating a smooth walkway for the graduating Webelos Scouts to cross. “They remember it,” Fetterman

says. “I see some of them 12 years later, and they always remember Camp Fetterman and the bridging-over they did here.” Of course, Fetterman’s bridge

could be set up inside, but he wouldn’t dream of it. In the past he resorted to fake fires and dimmed lights in church fellowship halls, so he knows what a difference it makes to be outside. “I’d never think of going back inside a building. We haven’t done anything in a building in 12 years,” he says. You don’t have to go somewhere

like Camp Fetterman to have a great outdoor crossover ceremony, though.

20 S COUT ING ¿ MARCH•AP R I L 2 0 1 1


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