10 things every LDS COR needs to know about Cub Scouting.
(NOT listed in any order of importance – that varies for each pack! COR = Charter Organization Representative)
1. Cub Scouting is the first level of the Scouting program, not a stand alone program that the Primary takes care of. Cub Scouting is a fun program for boys that allows them to explore new ideas, build character, make friends and prepare to become Boy Scouts.
2. Cub Scouts takes more resources (people, time, and money) than activity days for girls. It also needs more leaders than the Boy Scout program. Parental involvement is very important also.
3. Overburdening leaders leads to burn-out. When you don’t have enough leaders to run the program correctly, it is lots more work for the few, and it’s less likely to accomplish its purposes. Combined dens, pack meetings not held monthly, summers taken off… all lead to only part of a program. Boys deserve the whole Cub Scout program!
4. Den Leaders are critical to the success of the program. Den leaders are the one’s that work with the boys and have that personal contact every week. Cub Scouting needs good strong leaders just as much as the YM program does.
5. Registration, Training and Two-Deep Leadership are not optional! Every boy deserves well-trained leaders. This can make all the difference in your Cub Scout program. There is no calling in the church that offers such in-depth, hands on training for those called. Encourage and promote training. Trained leaders run a better program for the boys.
6. Roundtable can be a very valuable tool! Whether you believe in it personally or not, please encourage leaders to go and make up their own minds about Roundtable. When a COR tells a leader “Oh and there is this monthly meeting called roundtable, but you don’t have to go,” that is not sending the right message. Encourage them to use all the tools available to them to provide the best program for the boys.
7. Advanced Training such as Akela’s Council and Woodbadge can turn a good leader into a great leader! A leader with a “Testimony of Scouting” will be willing to do more than just the bare minimum. They will be more willing to do whatever they can to run a great program. Leaders are happier and more effective when they truly understand and believe in the power of scouting.
8. Den meetings are for working on advancement, not just goofing around so the parents can do the work at home. That said, very few boys advance without the support of their families. There are just some things that have to be done at home with their family! It’s the combined efforts of Den Leaders and parents that help a boy achieve and advance in Cub Scouting.
9. Cub Scouting requires time! Please don’t give the famous line “It’s only one hour a week”. Not only does it take more than one hour a week but it takes time to learn the lingo, time to learn the best way to do things, time to get the best training, time to get to know the boys abilities. Cub Scout leaders should not be switched out every 6 months. Leave them there long enough to really get to know and make a difference in the lives of the boys.
10. A well-functioning cub scout pack will lead to excited Boy Scouts (deacons) that are friends and love scouting. By strengthening the boys as Cub Scouts, you will be ahead when you receive them in the critical youth years.
*11. (Bonus Tip) ALL boys should be welcomed into your pack! Scouting Handbook Section 8.15 “Young men and boys of other faiths who agree to abide by Church standards should be welcomed and encouraged to participate in Scouting activities.” I had a friend some years ago that moved here from another state. She wanted her son to join Cub Scouts with the rest of the boys in their neighborhood but was told that he could not join because they were not LDS. He joined a “community” pack in another near by city and they had a great experience with that pack, but how sad that they had to go outside of the neighborhood to get that. That LDS sponsored pack that told them “No”, lost out on the opportunity to have a really great kid (and parents) in their pack.
Author: Annaleis Smith, Council Cub Scout Chair.