A Home and Neighborhood Program
The Cub Scout program of the Scouts, BSA stresses the relationship of the family to the Scouting program and importance of the family in the the development of the Cub Scout age boy. Cub Scouting gives families sets of age appropriate activities structured so that parents and other family members have considerable control of how the Cub Scout grows.
The Cub Scout program is unique among the various Cub programs in the World Scouting movement. Our method is based on activities a boy could do around his own home or in his immediate neighborhood. While most other Cub organizations conducted a sort of “junior Boy Scout” program with a few leaders in each pack, the BSA opts for something quite different: fun stuff right near home with adult leaders for each den.
Boys up to the age of 9 are influenced by people in his home more than by any others. Parents or others there have had the greatest power in his life since he was born and he reacts mostly to them. The importance of peer pressure will typically not start to take over until around age 10, as he makes close friends, and it will grow through the early teens when the peers replace the parents as the main force in his life.
The influence of other adults: neighbors, teachers, leaders in Scouts, religion and sports will also start about age 10 and often will overshadow peer influence by the late teen years. As he grows, he reaches out to his community for acceptance and companions.
Parents and other close family members have a relatively narrow window of a few years to open the door to their boy’s future – to shape his character, help set his life’s goals and how he will react to his next set of influencers. These Lion, Tiger and Cub Scout years are the time for parents to spend as much time as they can with him, to lead him into positive activities, to get to know his friends and his friends’ families. Cub Scouting gives parents a wonderful set of tools to do exactly these things.
The life of a five-to-ten year old is centered on his home. He is just learning how to form close friends and explore new places. He still looks to mom and dad for approval, support and advice. Typically, he doesn’t start reaching out to other adults away from his home until the middle school years. Those Cub Scout years are recognized as an opportunity window for parents to exercise the greatest influence on their sons. Parents who wait until their sons are in Scout Troops to become involved are often rudely disappointed — by then, the boys are usually looking elsewhere for guidance and inspiration. Do it now in Cub Scouting!
Much of Cub Scouting involves lots of short activities where a boy and his parents do things together. These activities: getting ready for a Lion/Tiger meeting, building a Pine Wood Derby Car, working on achievements and electives – automatically involve TALKING. They TALK, they listen to each other, they plan, they express their hopes, their concerns, and their jokes. They learn to respect each others moods and styles. They create special communication channels that remain vital and valuable for all their lives.
Each Adventure loop on his belt or Webelos Pin on their color sash is a sign that says “We spent hours doing neat things together!”
A Role Model is someone the boy sees as an image of his future acts in life. At Cub Scout age, this is a person he presently knows, someone he loves and admires – usually an adult or older sibling in his home. He will grow up with many of the traits – the ethics and the life goals – that he perceives in that role model.
Don’t confuse role models with heroes such as the sports star, the great statesman or the military figure. These can become important beacons in a boy’s growing up but rarely will he copy their day-to-day life styles. A role model tends to be the person he sees every day. The boy’s talk, his walk, the way he thinks and the way he solves problems become images of how that person acts. That person, usually his parent, is the true role model.
Cub Scouting gives parents opportunities to show their sons examples of leadership and responsibility. It may be a leading a den or pack meeting, or organizing the Blue & Gold banquet or Fourth of July Parade or Friends of Scouting campaign, but every parent should take on a visible job in his Cub Scout pack where the Cub Scout can see his role model doing something important. Every Cub Scout deserves to see his parent be a hero.