The Annual pack planning conference is the first step to keeping families involved year-round. Invite parents to the conference so they will be involved as the calendar is established. Make sure school calendars are referenced and avoid major holidays and possibly community events. Consider events being held by your chartered organization and see if Cub Scout activities can be held in conjunction with these activities. With parental inputs, schedule day camp or resident camp dates so families can plan vacations around these activities. Pack leaders should remember that “family understanding” is one of the purposes of Cub Scouting and should schedule pack and den events that support the family. When leaders work with families, there will be a greater chance for successful summertime participation, as well as supporting the “Involving Family and Home” method of Cub Scouting.
Consistency is the key to having a worthwhile year-round program. If den meeting days are changing week after week during the summer or pack meetings are moved here and there with no communication, families will lose faith in the program and they will not attend – and they may not be back in the fall. Plan the calendar, communicate the events, and provide meaningful fun, learning, and advancement opportunities for Cub Scouts and packs. By doing this, packs will find that their program will thrive and their pack numbers will grow as more families want to be involved because of the excellent year-round program being provided.
A well-planned calendar can also keep families informed as to what kind of advancement opportunities will be taking place during the meetings. Communication can keep individual Cub Scouts from falling behind. For example, the den might be visiting the local zoo during a month that the absent Cub Scout could visit another zoo with his family while away on vacation. It is important for families to understand that they can be helping their Cub Scout by being familiar with the adventures of each rank.
However, planning for summer does require flexibility. Pack leaders should consider what changes need to be made during school breaks to enable the greatest success. For example, during the school year, dens may have 2-3 hour-long meetings per month in addition to the monthly pack meeting, but in the summer, may find two or even one longer den meeting a month easier for more Cub Scouts to attend, especially if these meetings involve outdoor activities. Leaders may want to consider combining dens if two-deep leadership is difficult to maintain due to vacations and work schedules. Leaders may want to consider not meeting in a month a major pack activity will take place, such as Cub Scout camp or Cub Scout day camp.
Author: Boy Scouts of America |Advancement News