Keys to a Successful Cub Scout Program – Part 1
Key 1 – Call a Complete Staff of Adult Leaders
First, each ward/pack should have the following 12 adult Cub Scout leaders:
- Committee Chairperson and at least two Committee Members
- Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster
- Pack Trainer (Look for an article about this position soon)
- Webelos Den Leader and Assistant Webelos Den Leader
- Bear Den Leader and Assistant Bear Den Leader
- Wolf Den Leader and Assistant Wolf Den Leader
All adult Cub Scout leaders may be either male or female.
Adult leaders must be registered with the BSA—this is both a BSA and a church requirement. As soon as an adult accepts the call to be a Cub Scout leader they should take the BSA Youth Protection Training and then print and attach the completion certificate to the BSA Adult application. The registration fee is paid by the church. Adult leaders should not be sustained or start working with the boys until the registration process is complete, including the background check.
As soon as a boy turns 8 years old he should be registered as a Cub Scout. The Primary counselor and the Wolf den leader should visit the family of the 8-year-old boy to give them an overview of Cub Scouting and fill out the BSA Youth Application. Ideally, this is done the week of his 8th birthday. The family and the boy should be informed about meetings, uniform, handbook, advancement process and standards of conduct.
Also, boys who move into the ward should receive this same registration and overview as provided to a new 8-year-old. Cub Scouts and their families moving in may not have received this information before and they need to know how Cub Scouting functions in your ward.
Key 3 – Get Adult Cub Scout Leaders Trained ASAP
Step 1 – Youth Protection Training is done online by creating an account at my.scouting.org and should be done immediately upon acceptance of the calling. Youth protection needs to be taken every two years for adult leaders to remain current/registered.
Step 2 – Orientation Training. Your unit commissioner (a designated leader in the stake Primary) should provide new leaders with an orientation training to help them understand more about the position. The unit commissioner assigned to your pack is there to be a resource for you. They will encourage you to attend roundtable and inform you of additional training and activity opportunities in the district and council. Their #1 job is to help you be successful as a Cub Scout leader.
Step 3 – Get the appropriate manuals and handbooks for your position. Each adult Cub Scout leader should have a copy of The Cub Scout Leader Book and The Scouting Handbook for Church Units in the United States (available for download online at lds.org and in the LDS Gospel Library app under leadership). Den leaders and assistants should each have a copy of the Den Leader Guide for their specific den. There are 3 of them, one for Wolf, one of Bear and one for Webelos. They may also find it helpful to have a copy of the boy’s handbook for their den. Cubmasters will find plans for pack meetings online at scouting.org.
Step 4 – Leader-Specific Training. If your stake or district sponsors leader-specific training, plan to attend soon. In-person/live trainings are the best way to get questions answered and clarified. However, all Cub Scout leader-specific training is also available online at my.scouting.org. Online training often makes it easier for Cub Scout leaders to complete their training sooner.
Step 5 – Attend monthly Cub Scout roundtable. The local BSA district provides ongoing training (usually on a weeknight) each month. At roundtable you receive additional training on BSA policies, information about upcoming events, as well as get ideas for crafts, games and skills for your meetings, and you get to network with other Cub Scout leaders.
Step 6 – Attend the annual University of Scouting or Cub Scout Leader Pow Wow. This is a one-day Saturday event conducted by the council (or district) that provides an opportunity to choose from a variety of classes in all kinds of topics. Classes are taught by experienced Cub Scout leaders and professionals.
Key 4 – Leaders Wear Uniform and Set the Example; Boys Wear Uniform.
Leaders should get and wear the appropriate uniform to all den and pack meetings. This sets the example. While we do not exclude those not in uniform we should expect and encourage the boys to wear the uniform also. However, LDS policy states that the pack’s budget should NOT be used to pay for uniforms either for the leaders or the boys.
The BSA provides meeting plans for both den and pack meetings to help you be successful. Everything from “before the meeting” to “after the meeting” is laid out in very clear and concise manner. Games, ceremonies, and other activity ideas are all included in the plans. If you have a favorite game or activity feel free to change things up. The guides are meant to make it easy for leaders not to restrict them to a set idea. Do what your boys like and what works for you. You should not have to start from scratch or “re-invent the wheel”. Keep it Simple and Make it Fun!
Look for Keys to a Successful LDS pack – Part 2 here.
Author: Annaleis Smith is a self-professed “Training Junkie.” As a Cub Scout leader for the past 13 years, she has attended many trainings and has helped train hundreds of leaders in our council. Akela’s Council is her favorite training of all time. She is currently a Cubmaster, a unit commissioner the VP of Membership for the UNPC.