Thinking about joining Cub Scouts or just recently joined? Scouting can be an awesome experience for youth and their families. However, being the Mom or Dad of a new Cub Scout can be overwhelming! Below are a few tips from a veteran Scout Dad:
1. Buy a BIG Cub Scout shirt!
These scouts grow fast, and you'll want to get the most bang for your buck! Size it right and you can use the same shirt for 3 years and can save yourself the hassle of having to remove and re-sew patches onto a bigger shirt. Besides, there's nothing cuter than a little Tiger in a floppy uniform shirt! If your scout does end up outgrowing uniform pieces, consider donating them to the Pack so other scouts can use them.
2. Read the Handbook.
Each rank has its own handbook that explains in detail the program for earning achievements for that rank. Just about everything you'll ever need to know about scouting is in there...really! Take a couple of hours early on to sit down and read through the handbook. You'll be glad you did!
3. Work on achievements at home.
Every den leader tries to accomplish as much as possible in den meetings, but let's be honest. When you put a few kids together in a room for an hour, sometimes there are unexpected distractions. Plus, it's fun to do things the scouts enjoy even if it doesn't fit a specific rank achievement or elective. Plan to do achievements, electives, and belt loops at home occasionally. They are super easy and may be things you already do together as a family...another reason to read the handbook and familiarize yourself with the program. The scouts LOVE receiving awards and some are just too easy to pass up! Also, some of the achievements are really better suited to be discussed as a family so you can incorporate your own experiences and values.
4. Help the Pack go!
Den leaders, Cubmasters, Treasurers, Committee Members (basically any adult you see regularly in a khaki scout shirt) are all volunteers. They have made a commitment to donate their time and talent to the Pack but they welcome any help they can get! There is a lot of work that goes into running a successful Cub Scout program and you don't have to make a major commitment (or wear a khaki shirt) to really add value. Do you like to cook? Do you have access to materials or resources to share with the Pack? Can you call to setup pack outings? Are you good at fundraising? Can you plan a meeting for a den leader? Do you have ideas for den or pack activities? Do you know a charitable organization that the Pack can help serve? Can you come a few minutes early to setup or stay a few minutes late to help clean up? There are countless ways you can contribute!
5. Have Fun!
Above all, have fun with scouting! It's a unique opportunity for you and your child to spend some quality time together and build relationships. Embrace the noise and chaos! Cherish the mess! Laugh at the skits...even the not so perfectly orchestrated ones! Take pictures! What a blessing it is to share a little joy and make memories with these little guys!