“Why should my child be a Cub Scout?” Experiencing new things, developing character, setting goals, learning skills, and of course, being outdoors are the top five reasons why my son is a Cub Scout.
You might be wondering why your child should be a Cub Scout. A Tufts University study released in 2015 found that that “boys in Cub Scouts became significantly more cheerful, helpful, kind, obedient, trustworthy and hopeful about their future than non-Scouts.” Most parents would say that’s reason enough to join Cub Scouts.
Cub Scouts is the part of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for younger boys and girls. Boys and girls who are in kindergarten through fifth grade (or ages 7 to 11) can be a Cub Scout. My family has been involved in Scouting since my oldest was in first grade. It has become a way of life for us.
Here’s the reason that we first joined Cub Scouts. My friend asked us to. Simple as that. I didn’t know much about Scouting, but what I did know led me to believe it would be a positive experience.
But why do we continue to be active in Cub Scouting? There are so many reasons why, but here are the top 5.
Reason 1. Outdoor Activities
Cub Scouting gets my son off electronics and outside. Camping and hiking are the Scouting outdoor experiences that come to mind first. But Cub Scouts are outdoors for many other reasons.
The requirements to earn rank badges and other awards include outdoor activities. Tiger Cub Scouts go outside to observe the night sky. Wolf Cub Scouts play catch to improve their throwing and catching ability. Bear Cub Scouts plant a vegetable or herb garden. Webelos Scouts create and go through a fitness course that includes running, jumping and avoiding obstacles.
The kids are outside for other reasons too. We visit nature centers and parks. We go geocaching. Dens play games such as tag or gaga ball.
Our pack meets at a church with a playground. As soon as we arrive at the church, our Cub Scouts dash to the playground to play with their friends before the meeting starts. They head back out there the minute their meeting ends.
Reason 2. Try New Things
The Cub Scout program gives the children opportunities to try new activities. They can learn magic tricks. They can investigate how air affects different objects. They can build a robot. They can create art and music. They can design their own game or make a movie.
Cub Scouts often love an activity so much that they want to explore it more. For example, building a simple collection as part of a Cub Scout requirement can lead to a lifelong love of stamp collecting.
Reason 3. Important Skills
As adults, we know how to do many things that we may not teach our kids. I haven’t had the lesson in reading a map or tying a square knot with my son, but he has learned map reading and knot tying in Cub Scouts.
Cub Scouts learn how to use tools by building wood projects. Every summer at our Cub Scout day camp, there are at least one or two boys or girls who have never used a hammer, and we show them how.
Cub Scouts learn basic first aid skills for treating cuts, blisters, insect bites, and nosebleeds among others. They also learn what to do in more serious situations such as heart attacks and poisoning and when someone has stopped breathing.
The children test and change batteries in smoke detectors. This skill comes in handy when those things start to chirp!
Reason 4. How to Set and Achieve Goals
Cub Scouts can set goals for many activities. They may set a goal for the number of adventures they want to complete or when they want to complete them. Setting and working toward physical fitness and nutrition goals is required for several ranks.
And don’t forget popcorn sales! Typically, packs will have prizes the boys can earn based on the amount of popcorn they sell. My son picks out the prize he wants to earn and then starts begging us to take him to sell.
Reason 5. Character Development
What exactly is “good character?” The Center for Youth Ethics at the Josephson Institute identified six ethical values that they call the Six Pillars of Character. They are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Cub Scouting reinforces each of the ethical values.
The Scouts participate in activities that are specifically designed to teach good character. Tigers learn polite and respectful language and create a den code of conduct. Wolves develop a den duty chart with each Scout being responsible for certain tasks. Bears complete a service project that helps clean up their community. Webelos complete requirements that develop empathy for people with disabilities.
Recently, my 10-year-old Webelos walked up to an elderly woman who was putting her groceries in her car and said, “I can help you with that.” He did so with no prompting from me. Yes, it brought me to tears.
This is what the Cub Scouting program provides for my family. If you aren’t involved already, check it out. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ways it’ll benefit your family. Find your local group at Be A Scout.
Yours in Scouting,
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