When I attended the Philmont training session for the new Cub Scout program, I heard a new term, participatory citizenship. It encompasses civic awareness and patriotism, service and stewardship. This topic was one of the organizing principles of the new Cub Scout program.
In the new program, a service project is included in a required adventure for every rank (and even some electives). Here are the requirements:
Tiger Adventure – Team Tiger 4: With your den or family, participate as a team in a service project that helps our country or your community.
Tiger Elective Adventure – Good Knights 6: Show your understanding of knights’ service to others by participating in a service project in your community.
Wolf Adventure – Council Fire 2: Participate in a community service project with your pack, den, or family.
Wolf Adventure – Council Fire 5: Select one issue in your community, and present to your den your ideas for a solution to the problem.
Bear Adventure – Fellowship and Duty to God 2b: With a family member, provide service to a place of worship or a spiritual community, school, or community organization that puts into practice your ideals of duty to God and strengthens your fellowship with others.
Arrow of Light Adventure – Duty to God in Action 2: Under the direction of your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader, do an act of service for someone in your family, neighborhood, or community. Talk about your service with your family. Tell your family how it related to doing your duty to God.
Webelos/AOL Elective Adventure – Aware and Care 7g: Participate in a service project that focuses on a specific disability.
Why should we do service projects? While doing a service project is part of the required adventures, that isn't the primary reason especially for our pack. Most of our families are fortunate to have parents with good jobs, so our boys haven't seen many families who are struggling. Service projects are a good way to expose them to people who have less than we do.
One of our den leaders said that our projects need to have the boys actually doing something. For example, we had a book drive a couple of months ago. This was a worthy project that benefited children who otherwise wouldn't have any books. But in terms of the boys' involvement, there wasn't much. They may have helped their parents pick out a couple of books to donate, but that was it.
The next month, we participated in the Scouting for Food drive. One Saturday, the boys walked around assigned neighborhoods hanging out collection bags with notes attached. The next Saturday, they went back and picked up the food. When the food was delivered to the collection point, the boys helped sort it. The first Saturday was a very rainy day. The second was a very cold day. It was uncomfortable, but this gave the boys a much more hands-on project.
Teaching boys to be good citizens by providing service is one of the things I love about the Cub Scout program! What active service projects have your boys done? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Yours in Scouting,
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Sunday 27th of November 2016
Our pack does the scouting for food, caroling at local nursing homes, collects hats and gloves for the homeless, picked up litter at a local walking trail, and does a collection of items needed at our local animal shelter. They also help out at our Relay for Life event, Walk to End Alzheimers event, and a Veterans Day flag retirement ceremony. We strongly encourage community involvement and service projects. It's good for the boys and parents as well.
Old Time Cub Scouter
Thursday 24th of December 2015
I couldn’t agree with you more about actual “hands on” service projects. One year our Tiger Den leader was an Army reservist, who recruited our Pack to help with a drive to collect used cell phones and pre-paid calling cards for the troops overseas, which was a truly noble cause. As far as our Cubs involvement, they were to just ask their parents and relatives for a monetary donation. Service projects that all the Cubs in our Pack participated in on a yearly basis included: Christmas caroling at our local Veteran’s hospital (where they also distributed hand-made Christmas cards), Scouting for Food, and the American Legion Post requested our Webelos dens to help them place flags on veterans graves in two local cemeteries on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Two more annual events that promote civic awareness and patriotism that our Pack had participated in were our town’s Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day Parades. The Cubs in my Den also completed service projects to satisfy requirements for advancement and other Cub Scout awards. Those projects included: picking up litter in a city park (World Conservation Award), helping our PTA at the school carnival (Citizenship Belt loop/Webelos Citizen Activity Badge/Webelos Badge), and cleaning up trash along a hiking/bicycle trail (Leave No Trace Awareness Award).
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Tuesday 24th of June 2014
Our boys helped to collect socks, hats and gloves to give to the men's homeless shelter in the area. After we collected the items, we took the boys to the shelter so the could hand them out to the gentlemen staying the night. It was funded by a bounce a thon , then with the money the boys raised, the pack went to Kmart and purchased items. The webelos den composed the form the pack used to raise donations, and a parent contacted the store and they gave us some great discounts on the item we purchased.. it was so much fun for all.
Tuesday 24th of June 2014
Wow! This is an incredible idea! I am a huge believer that hands on service projects teach the boys so much more. Your project is the perfect embodiment of that. From having the Webelos design the form all the way to handing out the items, it's a true hands on project. Thank you so very much for sharing!