I first heard about Akela’s Council at my very first Roundtable in August 2003. I think it was a report from someone who had just gotten back from it and I thought to myself “100 dollars! I don’t think so!” I was so new and overwhelmed at that point in my “Cub Scout career” and I don’t think I could have talked my husband in to staying home with the 4 kids. The next year I don’t remember if I even heard anything about it or at least there was some reason that I didn’t consider going. The next year I was very pregnant and the thought of sleeping anywhere but in my own bed kept me away. The next year I had a nursing baby. But the next year I thought “Let’s see… no pregnancy, no nursing baby, no real reason NOT to go.” When I asked my husband what he thought of the idea he said that a few days away from my 5 kids would be good for me… So, after being a cubmaster for 4 years, I went to Akela’s Council as a participant of AC23 – Aug 2007 at Maple Dell. It was SO great! I came home with a much better understanding of the Cub Scout Program as well as a renewed commitment (and specific goals) to do my best to run a great program for the boys in my pack. It was held the week right before school started that year and so I made sure that all our “back to school” shopping was done early and left the kids and husband to “fend for themselves” for 4 days. Truth be told, they had a great time together too. I will admit that there was a little bit of work involved, and I could have used a little more sleep, (I remember that I packed a book to read during my “free time” and never even opened it) but mostly it was just lots and lots of fun! I once heard someone describe it as “a whole year of Cub Scouting in just 4 1/2 days” and I would say that’s a pretty good description. Someone else I know who went describes it as “life changing”, I agree with that also. There was SO MUCH information shared it was incredible and lots of hands on projects too. Honestly it is hard for me to describe because I think that it is just one of those things that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand and appreciate what a great opportunity it really is.
One of my most favorite outcomes from Akela’s Council is all the friendships I have made with other Cub Scouters from all over our council and from other councils as well. For example, in 2008 I was asked to teach a class on costuming at the Utah Valley Cub Scout leader Pow Wow. I didn’t have very many costumes myself so I reached out to those I met through Akela’s Council. Within just a few days I had offers to loan me more costumes than I possibly had time to talk about and show in the class—it was awesome! No matter where I go to train leaders, I inevitably run into someone I’ve met at Akela’s Council. In fact, the whole reason I got started writing articles for this blog is due to a friendship that started at Akela’s Council. Some of my very favorite Cub Scout leaders are those I’ve met thru Akela’s Council. It’s true what it says in the AC song, it really is “a feeling, not a place”
Since I went in 2007 the price has increased a little (like prices always do) and the course has been shortened by 1 day—but it’s still a super value at only about $33 dollars a day for your food, lodging, all the training information, a t-shirt and lots of fun. (You might come home with a few neckerchief slides too) The presentations are always updated and based on the most current BSA programs and policy—which this year means the new Cub Scout adventures. Since I first attended in 2007, I have been on staff a few times and this year I have the honor of being the Cubmaster/Course Director. (A great big shout out to my awesome staff!) To be honest, I would have to say that I am the Cub Scout leader that I am today because of Akela’s Council. There is no doubt about it, the information, inspiration and friendships gained at Akela’s Council through the years are an invaluable part of who I am today. I am a better Cub Scout leader, mother, wife and friend because of Akela’s Council.
This year’s Akela’s Council is September 16-19 at Camp Tifie. Registration is filling up fast but there is still room for more Cub Scout leaders who want to be a part of this great training experience. You can find even more information and history about this unique training called Akela’s Council at akelascouncil.com and you can register to attend this fall at utahscouts.org/akelascouncil Join us on this adventure where it’s learning and fun at AC31!
Darryl Alder wrote a little about his experience and that of Garret Winn in the recent article titled “Find YOUR Scouting Spirit at Akela’s Council.