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Boy/cub scouts - what should I expect?


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#1 laurad1125

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 08:39 PM

My boys are 10.5 (5th grade next year) and 6 (1st grade next year) We are considering putting them in scouts. I'm not at all familiar with the program. I'd really appreciate any info any of you could provide.

How much time should I expect each boy to spend at meetings and troop gatherings?

How much time outside of meetings will they need to spend?

What types of activities do they focus on?

How much parental involvement is required? How much is recommended?

What do you like about your family's participation in scouts? What do you not like?

Last year our activities were all a bust. I really want to find something the kids will be engaged in and that will be reasonably well run and organized.

#2 In The Great White North

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 09:09 PM

As a Cub Scout, he met once a week after school for an hour and a half. There was no "homework." There was a Halloween party, the Cub Scout Derby and a weekend camporee (family camping.) That was it.

Boy Scouts met in the evenings, once a week. They had "homework" for some merit badges. There were two or three weekend camping trips and week in the summer at camp. And the Memorial Day Parade. Parental involvement was limited to getting him to meetings and chaperoning at summer camp for a few days (they split up the week amongst the dads). Some dads did become leaders, which obviously adds the weekly meeting time requirements.

I recommend dad being involved once they hit Boy Scouts. Cub Scouts were mostly run by moms. At the very least, dh should be prepared to chaperon a few days at camp.

Activities focused exclusively on merit badges and advancement. Cub Scout badges are more "cut and paste" but BS badges are proficiency oriented.

I really like the gradually increasing responsibility and leadership of Boy Scouts and the concrete skills he learned.

The major problem is that I have had to work very hard to tweak the Girl Scout program into something similar for his sisters.

#3 TxMama

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:26 PM

My boys are 10.5 (5th grade next year) and 6 (1st grade next year) We are considering putting them in scouts. I'm not at all familiar with the program. I'd really appreciate any info any of you could provide.

Your 5th grade boy would be webelos and I'd recommend you find a pack this summer. Most webelos groups work during the summer and he'll have some catch up if he wants to earn his arrow of light by next spring when he'll cross over to a boy scout troop. Don't worry there are plenty of boys that join as a Webelo 2 and he'll get to cross over even if he doesn't meet all the req. for the Arrow of Light.

Your first grade boy will be a Tiger. This was our first year with a Tiger Scout and it was a blast!

How much time should I expect each boy to spend at meetings and troop gatherings? 1 hour weekly meetings. Pack gathering depend on the pack you join. We have several family campouts during the year, Pinewood Derby, Raingutter regatta (during the summer), Twilight camp (summer), Cub-a-ree, etc. This are all optional activities but a great deal of fun!

How much time outside of meetings will they need to spend?
Depends on your kids and what they are working on. Minimal but it just depend on the week activity. Pinewood derby car took several hours and my oldest's Eagle Scout Project took many , many days worth of work. Usually less than 1 hour per week or nothing.

What types of activities do they focus on? Fun boy active activities! Camping, building, making, doing activities. My Tiger scout went on a monthly Go See It with his den.....My Eagle scout went on a 2 week back Packing trip to Philmont in New Mexico.

How much parental involvement is required? How much is recommended?Your boy will get more out of scouting if you are involved. Tiger scouts requires a parent involved. I guess you could just drop off your boy for Webelos but you will be missing out on a whole lot of fun! There are many, many ways to volunteer and help the pack out. THe boys that earned Eagle are the boys who have an involved parent.


What do you like about your family's participation in scouts? What do you not like? Everything. We like everything.

Last year our activities were all a bust. I really want to find something the kids will be engaged in and that will be reasonably well run and organized.


You can join anytime. Your younger boy will complete most requirements with you but it really is just a fun easy year. We had such a fun year with our Tiger Den. My oldest boy joined scouting as a Webelos and thought Webelos was "OK". Hang in there for Boy scouts. Boy Scouts is awesome for teen boys! He went on monthly camping trips, and a couple of high adventure camping trips. Earning his Eagle and all the stuff he learned from his merit badges was just icing on the cake.

Our son's scouting blog which I'm way behind in updating!

Edited by Wendy B., 02 June 2009 - 10:32 PM.


#4 CathyinNC

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 10:47 PM

Wendy B. was right on the money! My son has loved scouts. He started as a Tiger and is in Webelos now. He's really looking forward to crossing over to Boy Scouts to get into more of the adventure type activities.

My only advice is to see if there are multiple Packs in your area. Different Packs put different personality into the Scouting program. You may find that one is a better fit for your family than the rest.

#5 Margaret in CO

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 11:47 PM

You got a good description of Webs. Boy Scouts is considerably more involved. Yes, there are the once a week meetings--try to get back before circle time so you know what's going on. Or better yet, stay and see what's going on--and help! Both BS and CS have parent planning meetings once a month. We just had ours tonight. Most CS dens don't meet in the summer, but have a once-a-month Pack activities. BS really moves in the summer--raft trips, camping, summer camp, leadership training, Eagle projects, fundraisers, Order of the Arrow camps and service projects, hiking, backpacking, flag ceremonies, canoeing and biking--those are what we have planned for the next 3 months.

You'll want to take stock of your interests and abilities and see where you fit in to help as a merit badge counselor. As your Web gets closer to cross-over time (next March or so) visit several different troops (it's a requirement for Arrow of Light anyway) to find one that fits you and your boy. We have two troops in our town--the LDS troop that seems to spend a great deal of time doing stamp collecting and counts camping as setting up a tent at a swim meet, and our troop...

As one Scouter writes: I love this Scouting stuff...

#6 In The Great White North

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:47 AM

Ds(17) has been in Scouts since Tiger and I've yet to see or hear of a Parent Planning meeting. Must depend on your district.

#7 lgm

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:18 AM

>>How much time should I expect each boy to spend at meetings and troop gatherings?

Cub Scout Den Meetings are 1 hr for Tigers, 1.5 hr for Webelos, but some Packs do it differently. Usually it's 2-3 Den meetings a month and 1 Pack Meeting. The Pack Meeting is a one hour program if everything is planned ahead and runs well. Usually there is one pack outing each month which can be a hike, a visit to something educational, a sporting event, or an event such as a Bike Rodeo, Pinewood Derby or Family Campout. Den field trips are usually in lieu of the weekly meeting rather than in addition. The Council may offer a fall and/or spring event weekend event for Cubs from the whole Council; this is optional but it's usually really cool b/c they bring in interesting people with talents to share. The Pack has an outing each month in the summer, but no Den or Pack meetings then. Resident and Day Camps are an option.

Boy Scout Troops meet for weekly for 1.5 hrs except for the week that it is Green Bar (Patrol Leaders Council) only. There will be 2 Court of Honor Meetings for the whole family each year; they are about 2 hrs each and as many Eagle Court of Honors as needed. Summer schedule for our Troop is to continue meetings right up until Resident Camp week in July, then a high adventure outing over the summer for the older guys and as many hikes, canoe trips, and rock climbing outings as can be fit in. A week of Resident Camp with the Troop is IMHO a must; it's running just under $300 a week in this area. There is usually a campout every month, and service projects galore. My son can't possibly do everything our Troop offers.

>>How much time outside of meetings will they need to spend?

As much as they want in Boy Scouts...there are a lot of merit badge and service possibilities as well as the monthly activity and, at the older ages, the duties associated with their leadership position. In Cubs, it's up to them. There are many electives that they can choose to work on in addition to the work for their Rank. Some boys will earn all Webelos pins for example. boyscouttrail.com has a good summary of each rank and the elective options.


>>What types of activities do they focus on?

For Cubs, the particulars depend on the leader and families involved. Some packs go with the theme of the month and do activities surrounding that, personalized to the resources in the community: http://www.scouting....ScoutHelps.aspx
http://usscouts.org/...outs/bbugle.asp

For Boy Scouts, it's outdoor adventure and what is done depends on the talents of the leaders and the resources in the region. My son's troop rock climbs, camps, orienteers, backpacks, whitewater rafts and canoes. Occasionally they bike, but that's a toughie because many boys don't have a bike. Parents can go on any trip they wish, and are usually need for supplying transportation. Not all outings are open to the whole troop - high adventure requires maturity and scout skills, so usually there is a req't to be First Class as well as having swimming merit badge if it is a water outing. Troop/Patrol meetings are planned by the Patrol Leader's Council and focus on scout skills such as first aid and orienteering.

>>How much parental involvement is required? How much is recommended?

Everything at the troop and pack level is volunteer leadership. With Tigers, a parent is needed with the scout at all meetings. Every level of cubs needs den leaders, cubmasters, ass't cubmasters and leaders to run the administrative part of the pack/troop. Webelos dens need activity badge counselors. Troops are similar, and also need parents to drive to/from campouts. At home, you'll be busy supplying Cub project supplies as needed and then in Boy Scouts, rides to merit badge counselor meetings and service projects. You'll will also be needed for discussion and some skills instruction at home. Fundraising is also an area that parental involvement may be needed - each troop and pack handles this differently.

>>What do you like about your family's participation in scouts? What do you not like?

It's good wholesome fun with a purpose. If pack and troop are being run properly, scouts will learn a lot. I have met some very interesting people in the community who love to share their passions and of course it's great to see how much the boys have grown over the years. My personal favorite activity from Cubs was the "Make a Rope" activity from Bears - did that as a den activity, but making the equipment was a family fun activity. Being in a group opens doors, too and it really helps the fathers become more involved. When the pack or den does activities like Pinewood Derby, tour a C5A, sleepover on a Navy vessel, or even tour a woodshop, the dads push the moms aside. We've even had dads take off from work to do tours. They love cub bike rodeos too...found many that were paperboys and could show the kids how it's done. Boy Scouts will take your son places you may not have the skills to take them as a family. Parents can improve their skills too, as the Council offers training.

The only thing I don't like is parents that clique up their kids. It didn't happen often for our pack, but when it did, it was rough for that den until the Cubmaster could take some effective action with the parents. At the Troop level it's not been a problem as the Scout Law is taken seriously and the Scoutmasters are proactive at inclusion. Safety is taken very seriously here too. Do interview packs and troops to find a good fit. Hope you enjoy the adventure as much as we have.

Edited by lgm, 03 June 2009 - 08:33 AM.


#8 lgm

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:28 AM

>>Ds(17) has been in Scouts since Tiger and I've yet to see or hear of a Parent Planning meeting. Must depend on your district.

It's up to the Committee Chair and pack leaders to have the monthly parent/leader meeting. They can get unenthusiastic and give up on having it, but it is recommended in the leader's manual as part of running an effective unit.

When my son first joined, the Pack was calling it the monthly leader's meeting and mentioning that parents could come. When I became commmitte chair, we did some reflecting and decided to change the name to "Akela's Roundtable" and hold it consistently in same place, same night of the month, same time..it did help as many started realizing that they were actually Akela to their Cub, not a chaeuffer service to the boy.

The Annual Planning meeting in cubs is usually done over the summer, with all adults invited. The pack progrm for the year is laid out, leaders recruited for each monthly outing, and fundraising set. If the CC can do that, it's going to be a good year. If a person is looking for a pack to join, and doesn't like 'fly by the seat of your pants', I'd recommend they ask about this aspect.

Our Troop has a monthly adults business meeting except for the summer, where parents are welcome to come address any concerns with the Troop that they have.

#9 Mrs. Frankweiler

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:28 AM

>>How much time should I expect each boy to spend at meetings and troop gatherings?

Cub Scout Den Meetings are 1 hr for Tigers, 1.5 hr for Webelos, but some Packs do it differently. Usually it's 2-3 Den meetings a month and 1 Pack Meeting. The Pack Meeting is a one hour program if everything is planned ahead and runs well. Usually there is one pack outing each month which can be a hike, a visit to something educational, a sporting event, or an event such as a Bike Rodeo, Pinewood Derby or Family Campout. Den field trips are usually in lieu of the weekly meeting rather than in addition. The Council may offer a fall and/or spring event weekend event for Cubs from the whole Council; this is optional but it's usually really cool b/c they bring in interesting people with talents to share. The Pack has an outing each month in the summer, but no Den or Pack meetings then. Resident and Day Camps are an option.


Thank you for starting this thread, Laura, as I had many of the same questions. I hope you don't mind if I add one more.

For all these outings, is it just for the scout and parent, or are siblings allowed/welcome as well? I would hate for ds to miss lots of things because I couldn't get a sitter for the littles.

Edited by Mrs. Frankweiler, 03 June 2009 - 08:39 AM.


#10 laurad1125

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:46 AM

Thank you, everyone! This was all just what I needed to know. It sounds wonderful. Igm - the links are fabulous - just what I needed. I'll be calling our local council today to find a pack for the boys!

#11 TxMama

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 08:58 AM

For all these outings, is it just for the scout and parent, or are siblings allowed/welcome as well? I would hate for ds to miss lots of things because I couldn't get a sitter for the littles.


Almost all Cub Scout outings are family friendly with siblings involved. For example, our Pinewood Derby had a separate sibling race with prizes. We personally bring lil' sis to all events if we think she will behave through them.

Boy scouts is a little different because parents do not attend all Boy Scout events.....you will have the option of just dropping off your boy and picking them up at the end of an activity.

#12 lgm

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:08 AM

Siblings are welcome (and usually planned for) at Pack meetings and outings unless the facility that is being visited has an age restriction. There may be some events that a younger sibling can't directly participate in, for ex. a Pack Volleyball event. Cub volleyball usually uses a large ball and the rules and activity work for Cub Age, but a younger child would be in danger playing with cub age siblings and their parents. He could be off on the sidelines though, playing his own game with other little ones and a ball or perhaps helping with the water station. Parents are expected to supervise their own children. I have had people bring infants in all-terrain strollers and backpacks on hikes. Have had tricyclers do Bike Rodeo events as well as toddlers who walk and want to throw the newspaper. Grandparents can come too.

At den meetings, sibs usually don't participate; they'll play quietly, color or read while the boys have their meeting. It works out to be fun if the parent bring an activity for the sib to share with another family's sib.

#13 ScoutermominIL

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:08 AM

Here are some of my thoughts -

You have had very thorough responses. As you can tell each pack/troop is going to have a different schedule and run differently. My DS's Boy Scout troop is similar to those mentioned above but quite different as well, if you KWIM.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned are the fundraisers. Most packs/troops participate in the BSA popcorn sales program. There is usually a fall mini-sale and a bigger spring/summer sale. There are prizes for the amount of popcorn sold, etc. The funds from the sale support the local BSA council as well as the pack/troop. Some packs/troops put all of hte funds into a general account for some of the pack's/troop's expenses. Others have line items for each boy and the scout can spend his money on whatever he wants (i.e. uniform, field trips, summer camps).

My DS joined a troop that opted not to sell popcorn. They have a huge haunted house in the month of October instead. They build the props, decorate, advertise, and become the scarers. It brings in around $15,000 each year. Every scout gets 'paid' for the amount of time he works on/in the house. This money goes into his account and he can spend it on any scout related item he needs to buy. The rest of the money goes into a general kitty. These funds are used to pay for camping trips, food allowances during field trips, etc. We have not had any out of pockets exenses with this BS troop. It has been wonderful. DS has been whitewater rafting in WI, rock climbing in WI, camping in IN and summer camp is paid for. Without this wonderful fundraiser DS may have missed out on some of these opportunities.

---
Whichever path you choose to take into scouting I know your DSs will have a great time. Being a part of the BSA has done wonders for our DS and our family. We enjoy the time we spend together helping DS work on merit badges, planning and packing for his camping trips, working on the haunted house (his big sister even helped with that). I would like to reiterate from an earlier post - join Webelos this summer. Summer camp is an invaluable experience for Webelos. Not only is Webelos camp more like Boy Scouts but so many pins are offered it will help your DS earn the pins needed for his Arrow of Light.

Here are some links for when you have a spare moment: http://meritbadge.or...x.php/Main_Page http://www.insanesco...59/Webelos.html

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I am planning on using the qualities of a scout as monthly discussion topics during our next school year. I let DS choose some of the merit badges he wanted to work on this spring and we worked those into his curriculum.

(I apologize for the disjointed post. I have been called away from the computer and lost my train of thought.)

#14 Lux Et Veritas Academy

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:16 AM

I love the program and say that with excitement. The whole merit badge thing works right into homeschool. For instance, we are doing environmental science MB right now, and I am using the MB book for our curriculum for science for my 11 year old. He will do anything the scouts ask him to do for a merit badge, and so I am getting a lot out of him right now and teaching him lots of life skills. We did the astrology mb for the same thing and went into way more detail than his regular science book did. He is working on the gardening merit badge with our garden and compost. I wish he could do all of the merit badges. I think the key is parental support and do the eagle scout thing before he turns 15 and they lose interest with highschool stuff.

#15 LG Gone Wild

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:32 AM

Thank you for starting this thread, Laura, as I had many of the same questions. I hope you don't mind if I add one more.

For all these outings, is it just for the scout and parent, or are siblings allowed/welcome as well? I would hate for ds to miss lots of things because I couldn't get a sitter for the littles.


For the most part, my dd and toddler tag along. I find it a drag but my dd and toddler love it.

I find that there is a lot of parental involvement. I don't think anyone could really do Webelos with just dropping off the boy for the meeting. Perhaps boy scouts but not Webelos and definitely not cub scouts. Parents really need to help their boys with their badges, pins, and belt loops. I've been told that in boy scouts, the boys will be more independent. Which is good because I can't wait to cut them apron strings.

Even though there is the weekly den meeting and some campouts, there is waaaay more. There are pack hikes (a group of dens form a pack), pack campouts, pack meetings, pack dinners, pack fundraising, pack bowling, raingutter regatta, pinewood derby, space derby, community service projects (graffiti removal, cemetery cleanup, park cleanup), visiting senior centers, field trips, day camps...and more. Believe you me, there is a patch for everything. Hope you can sew.

It's really a family commitment. Even though only one child is in scouting, we are all doing it.

It's is heavy duty but I am continually impressed with scouting.


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