I currently serve as a ward Primary president. My wonderful calling gives me all of the blessings and challenges that I know so many other Primary presidents encounter. One of these blessings (or challenges) is Cub Scouting.
During my service in the Primary I have seen our Cub Scout program bless boys and their families, both in our ward and in our community. I have also struggled to know how to best implement this inspired program. While we always have plenty of eager boys in our Cub Scout dens, running a consistent program with effective leaders, priesthood guidance, and parental support is sometimes a challenge.
My husband serves as our ward Varsity Coach and he signed up to attend an LDS Varsity training conference at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico this summer. I was excited to discover that a Cub Scout training titled “Elevate!” was also available the same week. I immediately signed up to attend!
We loaded our van with camping gear and six of our children and set off for a week at Philmont.
Wow. I was in for a treat! The week’s training was focused on how we can elevate our Cub Scout packs to truly be effective for our boys. One of the things I loved about the Elevate! Conference was that half of the participants were LDS and half of them were not.
We were able to discuss in detail the differences between how the two types of packs are run and also gain valuable perspective and amazing ideas to implement in our pack from an outside source.
In addition to the excellent lessons at Philmont, we also had a small class size—six students and two teachers. Our close group provided interaction and hands-on experience that was invaluable.
We did a lot of troubleshooting throughout the week and I came home full of ideas on how to handle tough situations encountered in Cub Scouting.
One of the most valuable principles I learned at Philmont was why and how to use a pack committee to ensure success in our ward Cub Scout program. The idea of involving our Cub Scout parents in supporting our activities, advancements, and Scouting programs was so exciting to me! I made a list of parents who could serve in different committee roles and shared it with our bishopric. They were excited about the idea as well, and our committee is now being formed. I know our pack committee will be a great asset to helping our pack run smoothly and to providing a better program for our boys. Additionally, it will lighten my load as a Primary president to know that our Cub Scout pack is functioning and effective.
Another helpful idea I gleaned from the conference was the value of involving boys and parents outside of our ward in our Cub Scout pack. When we provide a quality Scouting program, we can confidently invite all boys to participate, thus strengthening young men and families everywhere. I believe that Scouting is a powerful stepping-stone to lead families to Jesus Christ.
The most powerful concept I learned at Philmont was that the purpose of Cub Scouting is to instill the Scout Law in boys. We do not help boys build birdhouses or go on hikes just for fun. Those activities are just means to an end. Our course director continually reminded us that if we noticed problems among our Cub Scouts during an activity, we should stop and take the opportunity to re-teach the principles of Scouting. Remind the boys to be courteous, helpful, friendly, etc. Cub Scouting is an incredible tool for building boys into good men. I loved this vision of Scouting!
Our week went quickly, and soon it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and our beloved Philmont.
Both my husband and I came home on fire! We were filled with ideas and inspiration to apply to the boys and leaders in our Scouting callings—both Varsity Scouting and Cub Scouting.
In addition, my kids had a great week playing in their age groups and making good friends with other Scouting families. Our week at Philmont was truly like a family vacation except that as parents we were able to also be nourished and elevated in a classroom setting while our kids enjoyed being outside.
I’m excited to move forward with our ward Cub Scout program. I now have a clear vision of how effective our pack can be in strengthening and preparing young boys—and their families—to receive and enjoy priesthood blessings.
I highly recommend the Elevate! Cub Scout course to all Primary presidents and leaders. Our prophet supports Scouting, and so should we. Let’s “Do Our Best” to implement the inspired Cub Scout program and bless the lives of boys in our wards and communities.
~Mamie Hammer is a Scouting Mom to one Boy Scout, one Cub Scout, and seven other children. She lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico.