By Annaleis Smith
Aug 02, 2016

Lions coming to Utah Valley!

I previously reported that Tigers had been seen in the Utah National Parks Council—well here come the Lions! Lions and Tigers and Bears—Oh My! Lions and Bobcats and Tigers and Wolves and Bears and Webelos—Oh My!  That’s right; the BSA has a new addition to the lineup of Cub Scout dens. The Lion program was recently announced as being ready for a national pilot program roll out. (It has been piloted in a few councils for a number of years). You can read the official announcement on Scouting Wire or by Scouting Magazine.  And this was released the day after my article posted.

I’ll be honest, when I first read about the Lion program I assumed that the UNPC would probably not be participating in it. I based this assumption on the fact that the number of Tiger units in our council is so low compared to Wolf through Webelos packs.  However, I am happy to say that I recently found out I was wrong in my assumption. The Utah National Parks Council WILL be participating in the Lion program. Since this is such a new program and odds are most of you have never heard about it, or if you have you don’t know much about it… I want to help you learn more about it. And I’ll let you know how you can get involved (scroll past Basics and Advancement if you just want to know how to join).

Let’s start with a little Lion History

Original Lion Badge

Old Lion Badge

We already have Scouters in our council who have earned their Lion Badge. How could that be, you ask?  When Cub Scouting was first started in 1930, the ranks to be earned were Wolf, Bear, and Lion. A Webelos rank was added in 1941 for those who had earned the Lion rank and some of the Tenderfoot requirements in Boy Scouting. The Lion rank was dropped from Cub Scouting in 1967. So what started as the rank of the oldest boys in Cub Scouting will now be the rank for the youngest boys.  If you know someone who has already earned their Lion rank as a Cub Scout, they did so sometime between 1930 and 1967.

Some Lion Basics

Lion-Parent-and-Leader-BookLions are kindergarten-age boys. Lions, like Tigers, join with an adult partner that attends every meeting with them. Lions are a part of the pack but do not attend every monthly pack meeting. Lions only meet twice each month. One meeting will be a den meeting and the other will be an outing or pack meeting. The outings are a time for the entire family to join in and have fun on an adventure. The pack is encouraged to invite the Lions to just a few pack meetings each year (1-3).  Each Lion adult partner takes on the responsibility of planning and leading at least one of the adventures during the school year.  Leadership responsibilities are rotated through each family in the den. This is a “shared leadership” model that is used in both Lions and Tigers.

Lions use the same Cub Scout sign, salute, and motto as the rest of the pack.  The same 10 Purposes of Cub Scouting apply as well.  They learn the same Scout Oath and Law that all other Scout units say/repeat. The uniform is a blue Lion t-shirt and optional Cap.

The Lion program weaves traditional Scouting concepts of character development, leadership skills, personal fitness and citizenship into activities that are age-appropriate and fun for the boys and their parents. The activities introduce the family to Scouting activities and principles and provide an exciting way for the little guys to explore the world around them. The program will fuel their imagination, creativity, and fun as they experience the growth Scouting can provide. At the end of the Lion year, they “graduate” to Tiger, and advance through Cub Scouting.

Lion Advancement

Lion-Adventure-BookThe Lion Adventure Book, as well as the Parent and Leader Guidebook, have 12 adventures in them. 5 of them are required to earn the Lion badge. These five required adventures are designed to focus each Lion on leadership, personal fitness, citizenship, and character. Their adventure book looks more like a coloring/activity book with one page for each adventure. Boys earn stickers for their adventure book when they complete each adventure. When they complete the required 5 adventures, boys receive their Lion badge. The Parent and Leader Guidebook is set up similar to the other den leader guidebooks with meeting plans which include the Gathering, Opening, Talk Time, Activities and a Closing (Same basic parts of a den meeting all den leaders should be familiar with).

That’s all the “basics” I’m going to give.  If you want a more detailed and in-depth look at the new program there is a good explanation found on The Voice of Scouting.  So, read that if you need to know more, but keep reading here to find out how to join a Lion unit in the Utah National Parks Council. You can also download the LION Flyer BSA here.  And some more resources and links from the national BSA can be found here.

How to be a Lion in UNPC

Lion T-shirt

Lion uniform t-shirt

Like I said in paragraph two, The Utah National Parks Council IS going to be starting Lion units this fall. If you live near one of the units that already has Tigers, contact them to see if they plan to add Lions. (I know that Pack 1456 in Springville is adding Lions, and I’ve been told 2 packs in the St. George area will be also). The Utah National Parks Council is making plans to start some new units that will run both the Lion and Tiger programs.  Exactly where and when is still up in the air—it will depend partially on the interest/demand.

Sometime September – October, we will hold a recruitment/sign-up night or two at the Scout office in Orem. Before then, we are creating a task force of volunteers willing to help us get the word out and make contacts with potential charter partners. If you would like to join the task force or if you would like to get involved as a Lion adult partner, drop me a line and let me know (email link below). We will be needing boys and parents, of course, as well as Lion guides and Tiger den leaders too.  Watch here (on The Boy Scout blog) for more information about the Lion and Tiger initiative in the Utah National Parks Council.

Do you want to get in on this ground floor opportunity?  – Just kidding, I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch but… What a fun and exciting time to be involved in Cub Scouting! The Lion program provides a way for even more boys to be involved in and receive the benefits of Scouting. Every boy deserves a chance to be a Cub Scout!

Annaleis SmithAnnaleis Smith – is a “stay at home” mother of 5 children.  She has been a Cub Scout leader for the past 13 years in various positions and is currently a Cubmaster, Unit Commissioner, and the VP of Membership for the Utah National Parks Council (heading up the Lion and Tiger initiative in the UNPC)  Cub Scouting is for every boy!

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