At first, I was hesitant.
“Why should I volunteer?” I wondered. After all, I’m a busy mom with ten children, I teach preschool, my husband is busy with his job, and I was already a Scout leader 20 years ago. (Yep! Been there, done that.) Haven’t I sufficiently paid my dues?
Still, my son is 9 years old, so I accepted the invitation to lead his Cub Scout den. And I have NO regrets. In fact, I highly recommend that any busy parent consider getting involved in Scouting.
First, Cub Scouts is a quality program. Available resources make the life of a leader easy. Let me illustrate with what I call the “Six C’s of Cubbing.”
Before my first den meeting I had butterflies in my stomach. What was a Mama supposed to do with 8 busy boys for an hour?
My husband suggested I read my new Bear Handbook, so I did. Tentatively, I cracked open the spine, peeled back the fresh pages and…VOILA! I immediately found a fun activity I could do with the boys. I turned another page…VOILA! Another simple activity. I kept turning pages and discovered that the entire book was filled with pictures, ideas, and easy activities that boys LOVE! Thankfully, I realized that I didn’t need to start from scratch—everything was already laid out for me. Opening the Bear Book was like discovering a gold mine!
Within a few minutes of reading the handbook I had so many ideas that I had to take out a pen and paper and scribble notes to keep track of what we would be doing each week. Which leads me to my second tip…
CALENDAR. It was easy to create a schedule of activities for the next three months. I soon had a clear idea of what the boys and I needed to accomplish. After writing my plans on a calendar I felt confident that I could lead a Cub Scout den, help the boys pass off requirements, and advance at a good pace through their Bear Books.
A calendar makes my life simple because I don’t need to reinvent the wheel each week. Instead, I glance at my plan, put a few finishing touches on the details, and I am prepared for a quality meeting the boys will love. CALENDARING is vital to successful Scouting.
Once I had a plan in place, I COMMUNICATED with my parents. An introductory email, with my calendar attached, let them know I was serious about meeting with the boys and would make it worth their time and mine. After all, we have lots of choices in our children’s extra curricular activities and I don’t want to waste precious afternoons. I also send a brief follow-up email each week as a simple reminder. Scouting is Fun with a Purpose. Make it worthwhile, too.
Next, I invited my parents to CONTRIBUTE to our den. A simple request for one parent to attend each week immediately introduced me to which parents were available to help. In fact, all of my parents were happy to oblige. It’s fun to have them there to see what we are doing. And let’s face it, going to one den meeting every few months to assist is a small price to pay for quality Cub Scouting.
Also, inviting parents to contribute lightened my load. I didn’t have to be a ringmaster every week, creating a bigger and better show. Instead, I’m drawing on the talents of the parents. They have so much to offer! Someone else is handling the woodworking, someone else is arranging the tours, someone else is reaching out to Veterans. It’s amazing what happens when each family lifts a little. Scouting is all about synergy.
Once I started my meetings, I stayed CONSISTENT. Even when it wasn’t entirely perfect for my family or someone else, I did my best to keep our meetings at the same time and in the same place. I’ve found that meeting consistently helps the boys and parents trust that we are really doing Cub Scouting and, again, this will be worth their time.
Finally, my all-time favorite part of Scouting is the opportunity to CONNECT with good families in our community. Scouting is a natural draw for people who believe in and honor God, Family, and Country. It is a safe place for youth to be taught and grow together in character, fitness, citizenship and leadership.
It’s now been a month since I started this round of Scouting. To anyone considering involvement, let me review what I’ve learned:
- Scouting is a quality program chock full of CONTENT that is already outlined in an easy format (just open a handbook and see…)
- Make a CALENDAR for the next few months.
- COMMUNICATE regularly with your parents and share your calendar with them.
- Invite every Scouting family to CONTRIBUTE something to your den.
- Stay CONSISTENT with weekly and monthly meetings and activities.
- And finally, enjoy the CONNECTIONS that come through Scouting.
I’m a busy mom, I’m a Cub Scout Den Leader, and I LOVE it!
~Nettie H. Francis is a new Cub Scout Bear Den leader. She is also a mother to ten wonderful children. Seven of her children are currently involved in Scouting.