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Parental Involvement in Cub Scouts

by Molly Thompson

When you're trying to decide in which of your children's activities you want to get most involved, know that Cub Scouts relies heavily on parental involvement. If your youngster is a Cub Scout, find your niche in terms of participation. You might opt to be a Den leader, teach an activity or skill, or take the boys on community outings. Yes, parents are often busy, but scouting is truly a family commitment. Starting with Tiger Cubs in the first grade and moving through the subsequent ranks of Wolf, Bear and Webelos by the time they are in fourth and fifth grade, trained parent volunteers are essential to the program's success and contribute considerably to the boys' development and self-esteem well beyond their Cub Scout years.

Tiger Cubs

The youngest Cub Scouts, called Tigers, are usually first graders. As Tiger Scouts, one parent is expected to attend every meeting and activity with his scout. Keeping a group of high-energy youngsters this age focused and occupied -- and out of mischief -- is often a challenge, so the more parents available to help, the better. Tiger Cub parents help their young scouts with all aspects of scouting, especially the traditional Pinewood Derby, in which the boys design a wooden car and participate in a fun day of races and prizes The Pinewood Derby is held for Tiger, Wolf, Bear or Webelos Scouts. According to a Michigan Department of Education review of the research on the subject, "The most effective forms of parent involvement are those, which engage parents in working directly with their children..." Tiger Cub scouting provides an excellent opportunity to lay this foundation for future success.

Wolf Cubs

After their Tiger Cub year, boys can earn the rank of Wolf. Wolf Cubs build on their Tiger experiences by learning more about the history of Scouting, the Cub Scout promise and motto, and the Law of the Pack, which they recite at monthly Pack meetings. As Wolf Cubs, second-grade boys are eligible to participate in the time-honored Boy Scout fundraiser -- selling popcorn. Parental involvement is essential to the success of this effort, since Cubs are not permitted to do door-to-door sales on their own. Parents can assist with coordinating the sales for the entire pack, as well as arranging for the pick-up and distribution of the pack's popcorn.

Bear Cubs

Third-grade boys can become Bear Cub Scouts. These boys are actively involved in earning merit recognitions, in the form of belt loops and pins. Parents at this level can serve as teachers for the various skills and knowledge sets required to earn the merit awards. Both men and women teach the boys traditional skills such as building campfires, whittling and using a compass, but they also share their knowledge and passion for activities such as cooking, collecting, astronomy and sports. There is a merit activity for every Scout, and each one needs a parent to help teach it, so you can find a way to help, whether you are an avid outdoorsman, financial wizard or chess master.

Webelos

Webelos Scouts spend their fourth- and fifth-grade years preparing for their future as Boy Scouts and responsible citizens in their community. The Webelos, along with their parents, participate in local service projects, such as "Scouting for Food," an annual food collection drive to support local food pantries. They graduate from day camps to sleepover camps, at which parent attendance is important for the Scouts from both a learning and supervisory perspective. Parents guide their Webelos Scouts in accomplishing requirements for merit pins in fields such as home repairs, first aid, athletics and forestry. Parents help the annual pack banquet and join their sons as they make the important crossover from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.

Parent Participation Rules

The Boy Scouts of America, the parent organization of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, mandates certain levels of adult participation in all Scout activities. The required Scout-to-parent ratio varies, depending on the nature of the activity and the ages of the boys participating. For the protection of the boys, Scouting also has a strictly enforced "two-person rule." No adult is permitted to be alone with a single Scout of any age. At least two adults must be present at all times. Parents must also complete online youth safety training and become a registered adult member of Scouting.

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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