Families help provide leadership and support to ensure that their Cub Scout has a good experience in the program. Successful family involvement relies on a meaningful connection between the youth, his family, and his Cub Scouting leaders. This connection nurtures and supports the Scout, allowing him to explore and experience all the Cub Scouting program has to offer. It is a connection that accommodates the diversity among the families in a pack and den, including the differences in cultures and socioeconomic situations. It is a connection that acknowledges that each boy’s family can make a significant contribution to his Cub Scouting activities and advancement.
Whenever a boy joins your pack, pick from our Easy A-Z—Ways to Encourage Involvement or read below:
- Share a copy of the Cub Scout Parent Information Guide or send them this link before you meet parents or family members for orientation.
- Specify exactly what you would like them to do; at your annual program planning conference, make a list of needs for families to sign up to help with specific responsibilities.
- Make sure each family member is asked personally to help. If they sign up on the list you have created, reach out to them one-on-one, confirming their desire to help and thanking them for their support.
- Hold monthly parent breakouts for 10 minutes at pack meeting; encourage them to ask questions. Explain how their involvement can help with the “bigger picture” of things. For example, a den leader may ask a parent to take the lead in working with the boys on their blue and gold table decorations. This allows the den leader to focus on advancement and den meetings, and assures that the den will be ready to celebrate the blue and gold banquet with all the other dens in the pack.
- When a family signs up for a task, hold them accountable by checking in with a friendly tone and asking if they have any questions. Keep that connection strong and communication lines open at all times.
Key Points for Too Little Involvement
- Keep lines of communication open. A visit with the family can help answer questions about missed meetings and forgotten handbooks. There may be a sensitive situation going on at home. Try to connect with the family and gain insight on how to support them and their Scout. For example, the boy may need help with transportation to meetings for a short time while a family member recovers from an illness. One-on-one support may encourage them to open up about what’s going on.
- Families that are new to Scouting might be holding back, believing they have nothing to offer because the pack leaders have been there longer and “have it all under control.” Or they may misunderstand, thinking they have to be registered leaders in order to help out.
- All family members have something to offer, and pack leadership must make opportunities available to them. Make sure that two-deep leadership is provided at all times when working with youth in the pack.
Key Points for Too Much Involvement
- Family involvement is essential to the Cub Scouting program, but when it becomes too much of a good thing, asking those helpers to do specific tasks may help give direction. For example, the den leader might ask the parent, “Can you work with me at the next meeting to teach the Scouts the taut-line hitch? We will follow the directions on page 202 of their Webelos Handbook. Specific and detailed asks can help this situation.
- If a den leader still feels that he or she is being overrun, the Cubmaster and pack committee chair can attend a den meeting or outing and kindly remind a family member that their Scout is getting the support he needs from the Cub Scouting program and its leadership.
Family Involvement in Cub Scouting Advancement
Advancement is a joint effort involving the youth members, the adult leaders, and the family. Cub Scouting uses the program delivery method of involving families in advancement. Together with the den leader, a family member signs off on advancement each step of the way in the Tiger, Wolf and Bear handbooks. In the Webelos Handbook, if a family member serves as a Webelos/Arrow of Light adventure counselor under the leadership of the den leader, they may sign for the requirements they helped the Scout complete.
Parents are the life blood of your pack. How do you plan to involve them?
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. Currently he serves as committee chair for his LDS Ward’s Crew, Team and Troop committee