Are you wanting your kids to go outside more, but don’t know how to get them interested? Are you looking for something for them to do after homework besides electronics? Would you like an organization they can meet with as often time allows, from once a week to once a month? Look no further than Scouts! We recently interviewed a Cub Scout and parents with kids who participate in Scouts. These were their top reasons why your kids should get involved.
How does Scouting work?
First, a brief introduction to Scouts. Your child is a member of a Den that is also part of a larger Pack.
A den is made up of no more than eight children who are the same age and/or grade. The den meets two to three times a month. One of the den meetings each month is a “Go See It” or field trip. The den has a den leader, but the den leader shares the planning of the den meeting with the parents.
A pack consists of several dens and meets once a month. The Cubmaster leads the monthly pack meeting, but each den will have a part in the pack meeting. Some months, the pack meeting will have special themes such as Pinewood Derby®, Blue & Gold banquet, or guest speakers. Other months may be devoted to recognizing the Scouts for the projects they have completed by the presentation of beads, belt loops, activity pins or rank advancements.
Why We Love Scouts
Cub Scouts is a great activity where your son or daughter joins a group of children the same age where they can have fun, make friends, and see and do new things, while gaining a sense of personal achievement from the new skills learned. Cub Scouts is unique because it gives the entire family an opportunity to be together while being involved in your child’s development.
Meet New Friends in Scouts
Many Scout packs and troops meet at school. The smaller groups, called dens or patrols, consist of one grade level. Kids from outside the school can join, too. Dannielle, a mom of a Scout in his 7th year of Scouting, said Scouts has been a great place for her son to make friends. “They are a good group of kids who stay out of trouble and a good group to lean on for advice.”
Learn New Skills
Ryan, a Cub Scout, said, “Scouts is fun because I have learned how to make fire, tie a knot, and how to use a compass.” Beth, his mom, added that Scouts is a good activity to try out because you learn so many life skills in the process. Examples of badges or belt loops Scouts can earn include cooking, first aid, swimming, soil conservation, fire safety, and chemistry. Dannielle explained that her son has even earned a horsemanship badge. His troop helped give horse-riding lessons to children with special needs. In addition to badge skills learned, every month’s meeting has a different theme. Examples of themes include a Bike Rodeo, Rocket Launch, Recycled Rain Gutter Regatta, Canned Food Drive, and even a Job Fair. Beth stated, “There is something for everyone. You can pick and choose which events you attend.”
Experience Friendly Competition
The Scouts organization offers a competitive outlet for kids in something other than sports. One competitive activity many think of when they think of Scouts is the Pinewood Derby®. All Scouts get the same pieces and have rules they must follow to assemble them into cars. Then, there is a competition within the pack for the best design, etc. Chad has two sons in Cub Scouts and said he was amazed at the competitiveness at the first Pinewood Derby® he attended. “The laser timing was new to me. They even had a computer program to figure out the time.” The timing is used to find the winner of each heat, and ultimately the fastest car in the den. That car moves on to a district race.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Many dens and troops go hiking and camping often with Scouts. Some go on monthly hikes and family campouts in Fall and Spring, and others camp out monthly. There are even Summer Camps they can join. Beth’s family has traveled throughout the state, touring Scout events and new campgrounds. She said Scouts has provided a great way for her family to explore places they may never have visited.
Scouts Give Back
Giving back to the community is a large part of Scouts. Dannielle noted during campouts, Scouts usually pull weeds, pick up leaves, and do other tasks for the campground where they stay. Chad said his sons have cleaned up trash, pulled invasive plant species, and collected cans for St. Vincent DePaul as examples of just a few of their community service projects. Ryan’s pack holds a food drive each Spring. All Scouts work to make their communities better places for all to live.
Grow In Confidence
Beth has noticed in the two years her son has participated in Scouts, “He has grown in confidence and become a kind leader.” Dannielle said that once Scouts reach the level of Scouts BSA at 11 years old, they lead their own meetings. Adults are there to chaperone, but the Scouts are in charge. The Scouts also become mentors to the younger ones. Scouts give back to help others learn and the organization to grow. In turn, confidence grows in all involved.
Overall, Dannielle stated, “The Scouts program offers spiritual guidance and helps create responsible young adults who are conscious of the Earth. They are involved in nature, not a screen.” Chad advises you to get involved at your own pace. He said, “They don’t expect Scouts to jump in 100% the first time they show up. Make it easy and make it fun for your Scout.” Contact a pack or troop near you to learn more and try out Scouts.
Learn More About Scouts
Boy Scouts of America has been shaping the youth of America for over 100 years. Whether it’s building a Pinewood Derby® car or learning how to roast the perfect marshmallow at a family campout, your child will love being a Cub Scout. Learn more about Scouting in Indiana at www.crossroadsbsa.org.