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Cub Scout Pack 310
(Newport News, Virginia)
 
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Family Involvement



Family involvement is essential to Cub Scouting's success. When we talk about "family" in Cub Scouting, we're sensitive to the realities of present-day families. Many Cub Scouts do not come from traditional two-parent homes. Some boys live with a single parent or with other relatives or guardians. Cub Scouting considers a boy's family to be the people with whom he lives.

The Role of the Parent



Cub Scouting encourages closeness to family. The program will give you opportunities to take part in activities with your son that you normally couldn't do. It provides a positive way for parent and son to grow closer together, and encourages you to spend quality time together. In this way, Cub Scouting is a program for the entire family, and your involvement is vital to the program's success.

Some specific things you can do to help your son in Cub Scouting are

  1. Work with your son on projects
  2. Help your Cub Scout along the advancement trail
  3. Participate in monthly pack meetings
  4. Attend parent-leader conferences
  5. Go on family camp-outs with your son
  6. Provide support for your son's den and pack

The Cub Scout years are developing years for young boys, falling between the dependence of early childhood and the relative independence of early adolescence. As he grows, your son will gain the ability to do more things "on his own," but at this stage of his development, your help is critical.

Work with your son on projects

Boys often start projects at den meetings and finish them at home with the help of a parent. Such projects become the catalyst for parents and boys—often joined by siblings and friends—to interact with each other in an informal, relaxed way.

Because the purpose of projects is to teach a boy new skills, a project will challenge a boy to do tasks that he hasn't currently mastered. It's not uncommon, therefore, for a boy to need help from his family to do some of his projects. In Cub Scouting, boys are not expected to do things entirely on their own. So long as a boy does his best to do as much as he's capable of, it's perfectly acceptable for a parent or sibling to help him with the tasks he's unable to do on his own.

Help your son along the advancement trail

The advancement plan is designed for parents to use to create a learning environment in their home. With the Cub Scout handbooks as a resource, parents and boys work together to do the achievements required for each badge. The advancement plan provides fun for the boys, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members work with boys on advancement projects.

While Cub Scouts will learn skills and begin work on projects in their weekly den meetings, the parent remains at the center of the advancement program. As each task is done or each skill is demonstrated, the parent signs the Cub Scout's handbook to record its completion. And when the boy has completed all the requirements to earn an award, the parent presents that award at the next monthly pack meeting.

Participate in monthly pack meetings

The weekly den meetings are for Cub Scouts and their adult leader. The pack meeting is for the entire family of every Cub Scout. At pack meetings, parents see their sons in action with their friends, meet other parents, and join with neighbors in caring and sharing. These types of opportunities are scarce, and pack meetings highlight how Cub Scouting teaches boys cooperation and collaboration.

The pack meeting is also a monthly showcase for all that the boys have worked on in their den meetings. Craft projects are on display, skills are demonstrated, and skits are performed to show the boys' command of the monthly theme. While boys at this age seem to be struggling toward independence, having the approval of their parents and other adults whom they admire remains important to them—so your presence at these meetings is critical to underscore the importance of the lessons your son has learned.

Attend parent-leader conferences

Held at various times throughout the year, parent-leader conferences provide opportunities for you to discuss your son's participation and expectations of den and pack meetings. Such conferences can help your son get the most from his Cub Scouting experience, and they give you the chance to communicate with pack leaders, to share knowledge and gain the awareness needed to work as a team to help your son succeed.

Go on family camping trips with your son

Besides being fun, family camping is a chance for quality time together and an enriched family life. This program is a recreational opportunity—it's not on a tight time schedule. Family leadership rests with the adult member(s). This leadership might be yielded from time to time as the family chooses to take part in activities, such as swimming, where specific camp policies must be followed for safety and proper operation.

Provide support for your son's den and pack

It's important to remember that the adult leaders of your son's den and pack are volunteers who give their own time to provide a quality program for your son. While they have been carefully selected and extensively trained for their roles, there are always times when they could use help from parents in the pack.

Pack events such as the pinewood derby, blue and gold banquet, or field days take a lot of effort—more than the monthly meetings. The pack's leaders would likely welcome any help you can give. Likewise, den leaders will be grateful to parents who can lend a hand with field trips and outings. By pitching in as needed, you can show your son the importance of helping others. So be on the lookout for opportunities for you to help the den, the pack, and its leaders.

Becoming A Leader



Cub Scouting relies on volunteers to be pack leaders. Volunteers come from all backgrounds and experiences. Plumbers, lawyers, homemakers, teachers, doctors, janitors, and scientists—people from just about every occupation imaginable—are involved in leading youth to become responsible, caring, and competent citizens. They also quickly discover that Scout volunteering lets them learn new skills and build lifelong friendships while having fun.

Leadership Roles

Some of the roles you might fill to support a Cub Scout pack are these:

  • Cubmaster. The Cubmaster's most visible duty is to emcee the monthly pack meeting. Behind the scenes, the Cubmaster works with the pack committee to plan and carry out the pack program and helps coordinate the efforts of the den leaders. A Cubmaster may be assisted by one or more assistant Cubmasters.
  • Den Leader. The den leader conducts weekly meetings for a smaller group of boys and helps coordinate the den's contribution to the monthly pack meeting. A den leader is typically assisted by at least one assistant den leader.
  • Pack Committee. The pack committee works with the Cubmaster to plan and carry out the pack program. The committee also coordinates major events and secures support for the pack. The committee consists of a chairperson and other members who may have particular functions, such as finance, marketing, advancement, or outdoor program.

The Benefits of Leadership

Volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America is a way for adults to work with youth to build a better future for everyone. Besides giving valuable service to youth in their communities, volunteers find that they reap many personal benefits from being a leader in Cub Scouting.

  • Parenting Skills. Scout volunteering helps adults develop closer connections with children. Volunteers agree that their experience in leading youth has helped them learn to relate to young people and inspire them. Almost nine of 10 volunteers say Scout volunteering has helped them become better parents.
  • Ethical and Moral Character Development. Scouting promotes ethical and moral character development in youth. Volunteers become role models for these traits as they lead and participate in activities with youth and other adults. Through their leadership, volunteers enhance their own ethical and moral decision making. They feel the experience makes them more honest and trustworthy.
  • Management and Leadership Skills. In member recruitment, fund-raising, leader recruitment, and program planning, volunteers get opportunities to set and achieve goals. Volunteers say these experiences carry over into their work life, making them better managers and employees.
  • Conservation. Scouting teaches young people and adults to live by the Outdoor Code: Be clean in one's outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation-minded. Many volunteers come to Scouting with a strong commitment to the environment, and most indicate that through volunteering they have heightened their environmental awareness and developed or improved their conservation skills.
  • Community Spirit. Volunteers agree that Scouting encourages them to become involved in other organizations. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Scout volunteers also volunteer for other youth groups. Scout volunteers give time to religious youth organizations, youth sports associations, parent-teacher associations/organizations, Girl Scouts, 4-H, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
  • Citizenship. Volunteering leads to greater participation in community service activities that range from collecting food and clothing for local shelters, to planting trees, to picking up trash in local parks. Scout volunteering also builds leaders' pride in their communities and in being Americans. An overwhelming majority (90 percent) feel that volunteering for Scouts has helped them become a better citizen.
  • Communication Skills. In their many roles, volunteers are called upon to communicate with Scouts, other volunteers, community leaders, and parents. Not surprisingly, many volunteers say this experience has helped them become better listeners and communicators.
  • Physical Fitness. Scout volunteers believe the activities they do in Scouting help their overall physical health. Volunteers report that they have developed or improved their camping, hiking, and swimming skills because of Scout volunteering.
  • Enjoyment. Scout volunteering is just plain fun: "you get to be a kid again in a way," said one volunteer. More than a fourth of the volunteers agree that their Scouting activities help them reduce the stress and anxiety in their lives.

More than 1.2 million adult volunteers give their time and skills to the development of youth through the Boy Scouts of America. An overwhelming majority (96 percent) of these volunteers say their experience has been so positive that they would recommend volunteering for the Boy Scouts of America to others.

Requirements

Any parent or chartered organization member is usually welcome to pitch in and help with the pack, and there are no formal requirements for periodic or temporary assignments. But to serve in an ongoing role, you must register as an adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America by submitting an adult leader application. 

This application must be approved by the pack, the local council, and the national office. The requirements are fairly straightforward:

  • You must be 21 years of age or older. (For some positions, such as assistant Cubmaster or assistant den leader, the minimum age is 18.)
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
  • You must agree to abide by the Scout Oath and Law and subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle.
  • You must be a person of good moral character and satisfactorily pass a criminal background check.
  • In some cases, being highly active in the pack or chartered organization, having experience working with youth, and having specialized skills can also be beneficial, but are not strictly required.