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,
P.S. If you liked this Cub Scout tip, sign up below for more suggestions!