Cub Scouting: Confidence, Character, and Citizenship building in a wrapper of FUN!
Cub Scouting is fun for the whole family. In Scouting, boys and girls start with their best right now selves and grow into their very best future selves. It’s fun, hands-on learning and achievement that puts kids in the middle of the action and prepares them for today – and for life.
Purposes of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting is a year-round, family-oriented part of the Boy Scouts of America program designed for boys and girls who are in Kindergarten through fifth grades. Parents, leaders, and organizations work together to achieve the 10 purposes of Cub Scouting:
- Character Development
- Spiritual Growth
- Good Citizenship
- Sportsmanship and Fitness
- Family Understanding
- Respectful Relationships
- Personal Achievement
- Friendly Service
- Fun and Adventure
- Preparation for Scouts BSA
All the activities leaders plan and Cub scouts enjoy should relate to one or more of these purposes.
The Methods of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting uses seven specific methods to achieve Scouting’s aims of helping youth build character, train in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develop personal fitness. These methods are incorporated into all aspects of the program. Through these methods, Cub Scouting happens in the lives of the youth and their families.
1. Living the Ideals: Cub Scouting’s values are embedded in the Scout Oath, the Scout Law, the Cub Scout motto, and the Cub Scout sign, handshake, and salute. These practices help establish and reinforce the program’s values in Scouts and the leaders who guide them.
2. Belonging to a Den: The den—a group of six to eight children who are in the same grade and are the same gender—is the place where Cub Scouting starts. In the den, Cub Scouts develop new skills and interests, they practice sportsmanship and good citizenship, and they learn to do their best, not just for themselves but for the den as well.
3. Advancement: Recognition is important to everyone. The advancement plan provides fun for the Scouts, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members and their den leader work with them on advancement projects.
4. Family involvement: Whether a Cub Scout lives with two parents or one, a foster family, or other relatives, their family is an important part of Cub Scouting. Parents and adult family members provide leadership and support for Cub Scouting and help ensure that Scouts have a good experience in the program.
5. Activities: Cub Scouts participate in a huge array of activities, including games, projects, skits, stunts, songs, outdoor activities, trips, and service projects. Besides being fun, these activities offer opportunities for growth, achievement, and family involvement.
6. Serving the Neighborhood: Cub Scouting focuses on the home and neighborhood. It helps Scouts strengthen connections to their local communities, which in turn supports their growth and development.
7. Uniform: Cub Scout uniforms serve a dual purpose, demonstrating that a Scout is part of a team and showing individual achievement (Scouts wear the badges they’ve earned). Wearing the uniform to meetings and activities also encourages a neat appearance, and good behavior.
Cub Scouts: A Positive Place
The Boy Scouts of America emphasizes a positive place in Cub Scouting. Any Cub Scouting activity should take place in a positive atmosphere where Scouts can feel emotionally secure and find support, not ridicule. Activities should be positive and meaningful and should help support the purpose of the BSA.Delivering the Cub Scout Program
The Cub Scout program can be extremely rewarding for the youth in the program and their adult leaders. At the same time, it can be challenging, especially for the new leader facing his or her first group. Resources are available to break down how to deliver the program, beginning with the den meeting, such that the planning and execution are simplified and new leader confidence is increased. Cub Scout Planning Resources
Part of the inherent strength of the Cub Scout program is its organization. At its most basic, Cub Scouting consists of:
- A youth—The individual boy or girl is the basic building block for Cub Scouting and is its most important element. It is only when each child's character, citizenship, and fitness are enhanced that the program is successful.
- A den—Each girl or boy belongs to a den of similarly aged youth. The den is the youth's Cub Scout family where they learn cooperation and team building, and finds support and encouragement.
- A leader—Adult leadership is critical to achieving the purposes and aims of Scouting. By example, organized presentations, and one-on-one coaching, the Cub Socut learns the value and importance of adult interaction.
- A pack—Each den is part of a larger group of different ages and experience levels in Cub Scouting. The pack provides the resources for enhanced activities, opportunities for leadership, and a platform for recognition.
While there are other parts of the Cub Scout organization (districts, councils, etc.) which are important administratively and to support adult leaders, they are more or less transparent to the youth in Cub Scouting.
Responsibilities to the Youth
All Cub Scout leaders have certain responsibilities to the youth members in Cub Scouts. Each leader should:
- Respect boy's and girl's rights as individuals and treat them as such. In addition to common-sense approaches this means that all parents/guardians should have reviewed How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide, and all youth leaders must have taken the BSA’s Youth Protection training.
- See that Scouts find the excitement, fun, and adventure that they expected when they joined Cub Scouting.
- Provide enthusiasm, encouragement, and praise for their efforts and achievements.
- Develop among the youth a feeling of togetherness and team spirit that gives them security and pride.
- Provide opportunities fo experience new dimensions in their world.
Den Leader Responsibilities
In addition to the leader’s general responsibility to Cub Scouting, the den leader has certain other leadership responsibilities that may be summarized as follows:
- Work directly with other den and pack leaders to ensure that their den is an active and successful part of the pack.
- Plan, prepare for, and conduct den meetings with the assistant den leader and den chief (if Wolf, Bear or Webelos den leaders) or adult partners (if Lion Cub or Tiger Scout den leaders).
- Attend the pack leaders’ meetings.
- Lead the den at the monthly pack activity.
- Ensure the transition of their Cub Scouts to a den of the next rank (or to a Scouts BSA troop if Webelos) at the end of the year.
Den leaders and Cubmasters (with supporting unit committee members) represent the leadership team that makes the pack go. In general, the Cubmaster (sometimes referred to as the unit leader) is the guiding hand behind the work of other pack leaders and serves as program adviser to the pack committee. He or she is a recruiter, supervisor, director, planner, and motivator of other leaders. The Cubmaster’s main responsibilities are:
• Work directly with the pack trainer, den leaders, den chiefs, pack committee chair, and committee members to make sure that all dens are functioning well.
• Ensure that all den leaders have completed Youth Protection training and Den Leader Position-Specific Training.
• Work as a team with the pack committee chair and pack trainer to recruit, educate, guide, support, motivate, and inspire the other adult leaders.
• With the help of other leaders, plan quality, year-round den and pack programs filled with fun and activities.
• Lead the monthly pack meetings with the help of others, involving all dens in some way.
• Conduct impressive advancement, recognition, and graduation ceremonies. For Webelos crossover ceremonies, involve Scoutmasters, the Order of the Arrow, and other Scouts BSA leaders.
• Coordinate pack membership, recruiting, and transition.
• Maintain good relationships with parents and guardians. Seek their support and include them in activities.
• Request den chiefs for all Cub Scout dens and, after selection, see that they are trained. Recognize the den chiefs at pack meetings.
• Establish and maintain good relationships with Scouts BSA troops that your Webelo Scouts may work with and/or join.
• Know about and use the appropriate and available literature (point out the current versions of those publications, which should be on display in the room).
• Attend monthly roundtables.
Role of Training
Core to succeeding with these responsibilities is the concept that every Cub Scout deserves a trained leader. Being a trained leader helps you deliver the program in a way that is effective and efficient with a focus on the core objectives for the youth.