Friday, April 20, 2012

Cub Scouts

I was in Girl Scouts as a girl, well, Brownies actually, for just one year.  I had fun, but I mostly remember wearing brown and doing a lot of crafts.  When we had our first son and my husband declared he would be a Cub Scout I had no idea what that entailed.  But since we had only been married a few years I dutifully said, "yes, dear".

When first grade rolled around it was time to find a pack.  I really was quite unsure how to do that.  I asked around church and the soccer fields.  I discovered that you usually join the pack affiliated with your school, but not all the schools in our area have packs assigned to them.  We were entirely unsure which pack to join, so ultimately we joined the pack where we had the most friends.  Our reasoning was that we would be spending the next 9 years with this pack (since we have 3 sons) and knowing someone who can help with carpool and enjoy all of the upcoming camping trips will make the whole experience worthwhile.

I was pretty naive our first year of scouts.  I was blindly following along and showing up for every event that our pack hosted.  We have a very large and very active pack, so it seemed every month we were hiking, picking up trash, etc.

We are on the tail-end of my eldest son's Wolf year and in the fall our second son will become a Tiger.  I have learned quite a bit about scouting.  Enough that next year I will be the Tiger Leader for our pack.

1. Search for a pack at the end of the Kindergarten year.  A lot of packs have activities over the summer. You don't want to miss out on all those fun activities, new friends and new patches.

2. Buy your Tiger book over the summer and get cranking.  I have found that we fulfill a lot of the scouting requirements just in our everyday lives.  But by familiarizing myself with the book over the summer I can better guide our activities to ensure all the requirements are met.

3.  Familiarize yourself with the available belt loops.  I am proud to say my son has 22 belt loops after 2 years of scouting.  Most of the belt loops are easily attained with a little planning.  The majority of his belt loops were earned with activities we normally would have done as a family.  The scouting program simply gives us a focus.

4.  Volunteer.  Your child will get out of scouting only what you put into it.  There are many positions with varying amounts of commitment required.  You can be the snack parent, in charge of finances, Awards, and a Den leader (which hopefully isn't as scary as it sounds). If a long time commitment is too burdensome you can volunteer to organize one of the monthly events or a single-game at one of the pack meetings.

To find a pack near you go to:  https://beascout.scouting.org/BeAScoutMap.aspx




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