Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cub Scout Purposes - Character Development

Cub Scout Purposes – Character Development

In a continuing series we are taking a look at some of the reasons WHY Cub Scouting is important and relevant as well as HOW we achieve those purposes. This week’s article will talk about Character Development

1. Character Development6. Respectful Relationships
2. Spiritual Growth7. Personal Achievement
3. Good Citizenship8. Friendly Service
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness9. Fun and Adventure
5. Family Understanding10. Preparation for Boy Scouts
Character Development is one of the Purposes of Cub Scouting.  Character development isn’t just one of the purposes of Cub Scouting, it’s also one of the Aims of Scouting—The big 3—Character, Citizenship and Fitness.  And it’s listed as number one in the Cub Scout purposes.  I’m not sure it they are listed in order of importance but the fact that it’s a purpose and an aim tells me that it’s a pretty major part of Scouting. Since its origin, the Scouting program has been an educational experience concerned with values. In 1910, the first activities for Scouts were designed to build character, physical fitness, practical skills, and service. These elements were part of the original Cub Scout program and continue to be part of Cub Scouting today.
What is Character?  When I googled “What is Character” the very first definition that came up defined it as “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”  The next definition I found was “A pattern of behavior, thoughts and feelings based on universal principles, moral strength, and integrity” and still another was “The combination of mental characteristics and behavior that distinguishes a person or group.” And since we are talking about this in connection with Cub Scouting, here is what it says about Character “Character can be defined as the collection of core values by an individual that leads to moral commitment and action.” So what are those “core values”?  Those listed in the Scout Law of course: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.  Those are the values that we want boys to have. Those are the character traits that we are trying to build.Scout Law defined

What parent doesn’t want those attributes for their children? Whether a mother of boys or a mother of girls its obvious to see that society as a whole would be much better if we all lived by the Scout Law.
How do we do it? In the Cub Scout program, the particular part for teaching character development used to be called “Ethics in Action” then it became “Character Connections”. Both of those were specific to the previous “Cub Scouting’s 12 Core Values” which were a bit different but quite similar to the 12 points of the Scout Law. In the new program, there are Character Compass icons in the boys’ handbooks as well as reminders in leaders’ manuals to reflect on one of the values listed in the Scout Law. In the Cub Scout Leader Book it tells leaders to “Take every opportunity to point out how an activity or service project your Cub Scouts are doing connects with the Cub Scout ideals (Scout Oath, Law and Motto) Again from the national website it says “Character development should extend into every aspect of a boy’s life. Character development should also extend into every aspect of Cub Scouting. Cub Scout leaders should strive to use the 12 points of the Scout Law throughout all elements of the program—service projects, ceremonies, games, skits, songs, crafts, and all the other activities enjoyed at den and pack meetings. Character development should challenge Cub Scouts to experience core values in six general areas: God, world, country, community, family, and self.”
Character Compass WolfCharacter Compass – What’s that? As Cub Scouts work on the adventures in their handbooks, they will notice the Character Compass symbol. A compass is a tool that guides a person from place to place. Character is how we act, and it guides our entire lives. This compass will be a guide to one or more of the 12 points of the Scout Law. Every time Cub Scouts check the compass, it will remind them of how the activities in each adventure are related to the Scout Law. This may also help them think about how the points of the Scout Law guide their way in Cub Scouting and in daily life.
Are we succeeding? According to a recent independent study done by Tufts University the answer is a resounding YES!  Scouting builds character!  Scouting was put to the test over the course of three years, when a research team from Tufts University worked with theBoy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council to measure the character attributes of both Scouts and non-Scouts — all with a goal of better understanding the character development of youth as it was happening. The project, surveyed nearly 1,800 Cub Scouts and nearly 400 non-Scouts under age 12 using both interviews and survey data. In the beginning, there were no significant differences in character attributes between the two groups. By the end, however, the differences were striking in several areas: hopefulness, helpfulness, obedience, cheerfulness, kindness, trustworthiness.  (notice some of those scout law values in there)Tufts Study
And of course they also found that those that regularly attend, are engaged and involved in packs with engaged programs gained even more.  That’s just common sense right?  Tufts Key Findings

Of course for those of us involved in scouting, part of the reason we are involved is because we believe and have seen the influence for good on the boys. (And on us leaders too).  So for those of you who are true Scouters none of this will come as any surprise but for those who are sitting on the fence or are opposed to Scouting, there is proof that Scouting really does help build character in boys. The program delivers what it aims to deliver. You can read more about the Tufts study here.  And here.  And here too.

Posted by the Utah National Parks Council authored by Annaleis Smith.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Jump Into Scouting!

Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park | Kids Birthday Parties & Corporate Events

It's time again for another fun summer outing with Pack 1910!  This time, we are headed to Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park in Colleyville!

Want all the fun details on this event?  Keep reading my friends!

WHO? Pack 1910 Scouts, Siblings, Friends and Parents -- yep! Scouting is for EVERYONE!

WHAT? Jumpstreet indoor trampoline park -- time to get your jump on!

WHERE? Jumpstreet Colleyville

WHEN? Tuesday, July 26 from 6-8pm

WHY? Because it's fun! Plus -- it's exercise... AND IT IS INDOORS! (Anyone else ready for this heat to end!?!)

COST? The event is $12 per person payable at the door.

DRESS CODE? Please wear your pack t-shirt -- and socks! Socks are required.

NOTE:  A waiver must also be signed for each child participating. (Choose the Adult / Child) waiver.  Using their online form, you can complete waivers for multiple children at the same time.

They have printed waivers there, obviously, you can sign as well. No worries.

I would recommend bringing a water bottle and a small stringed backpack or something for them to keep that and their shoes in. LABEL EVERYTHING. Leadership there will help try to keep an eye on anything but just know that they will need to be responsible for their belongings.

Parents are welcome to stay and visit or you may drop and enjoy dinner and return for pick up.

LEADERS/PARENTS: Please RSVP on Scoutbook for yourself ONLY if you will be choosing to stay with April at the facility with the kids as a point of contact if they need any assistance over the jump time-frame (Please wear your Pack t-shirt).

Don't forget that by participating in just one event per month, your Scout will earn the Summertime Achievement Award.

Get your dodgeball arm ready!

There's a special place for those aged 4-7

They are all going to bounce, run, jump and have a blast!

Cub Scout Purposes - Spiritual Growth

Cub Scout Purposes – Spiritual Growth

In a continuing series we are taking a look at some of the reasons WHY Cub Scouting is important and relevant as well as HOW we achieve those purposes. This week’s article will talk about Spiritual Growth 
1. Character Development 6. Respectful Relationships
2. Spiritual Growth7. Personal Achievement
3. Good Citizenship8. Friendly Service
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness9. Fun and Adventure
5. Family Understanding10. Preparation for Boy Scouts 
Before we can talk about how Cub Scouting helps a boy’s spiritual growth let make sure we all have an understanding of what I mean when I say “Spiritual Growth”  So, Let’s look at a few definitions I found online in no particular order:
  1. Spiritual growth is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.
  2. Spiritual growth is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh less and producing the fruit of the Spirit more.
  3. Spiritual growth is simply matching my practice with my position.
  4. Spiritual growth is the personal development to enlarge the diameter of the sphere of consciousness.
  5. The process of inner awakening, and becoming conscious of our inner being.
Blue QuestionmarkOkay, I’ll admit some of those make sense to me and some make me think “What?” so let’s just say that no matter how you define spiritual growth – I think it’s one of those things that is SO personal and SO… well for lack of a better word, spiritual… that I’m not sure that it really can be defined in a way that makes everyone happy. So let’s get on to the HOW part.
Scout Oath and Law – The first part of the Scout Oath is to do one’s best “…to do your Duty to God…” and the last of the 12 points of the Scout Law is Reverent.  And since (at least in my experience) we usually say the Oath first and then the Law this creates a bit of a spiritual sandwich if you will.  We start with God, put lots of other good things in there like duty to country, helping others, being trustworthy, loyal… and finish with Reverent.  This reminds us first and last that Scouting is an organization that believes in God.  Sometimes we have a mistaken belief that we can’t talk about God at Scouts.  Wow!  That is SO not true.  In fact I think if we don’t talk about God in Scouting then we are doing a great disservice to the boys.
Duty to God AdventuresDuty to God adventures – In the Cub Scouting program there is a Duty to God adventure that is required for each rank (except Bobcat).  The BSA Statement of Religious Principle “maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.” 
Religious Emblems programs – The Religious Emblems programs are programs created by the various religious groups to encourage youth to grow stronger in their faith. The religious groups—not the Boy Scouts of America—have created the religious emblems programs themselves. The Boy Scouts of America has approved of these programs and allows the recognition to be worn on the official uniform, but each religious organization develops and administers its own program. 

BSA Religious Emblem/Knot
BSA Religious Emblem/Knot

Outing in Scouting – We as Scout leaders have some unique opportunities to point out how beautiful God’s creations are and help teach a respect and love for all He has given us. There experiences and feelings that boys feel while outside learning about, enjoying and just being outside that they may not feel anywhere else.  
Leader “Shout-outs” – That seems an odd term when talking about spirituality but I think you know what I mean. Those times when an leader makes a specific effort to point out how Duty to God factors into the current activity. A leader that guides a reflection/discussion after an event and asks the right types of questions can get boys to think about how what they do during the week relates to what they learn on Sundays.
Duty-to-GodDuty to God – I can’t conclude an article about Spiritual Growth without linking to my all time favorite video about Duty to God. Hopefully most of you have seen this video created by the LDS church a few years ago with some great quotes by Baden Powell, Jimmy Stuart, John Wayne and others.  If you haven’t seen this before it is worth watching.  It’s worth showing to your boys at a den meeting, to the families at a pack meting. A very good explanation of where and how God fits into Scouting.
Article from the Utah National Parks Council member Annaleis Smith and can be found in full here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cub Scout Purposes - Friendly Service

Cub Scout Purposes – Friendly Service

In a continuing series we are taking a look at some of the reasons WHY Cub Scouting is important and relevant as well as HOW we achieve those purposes. This week’s article will be about Friendly Service. 
1. Character Development 6. Respectful Relationships
2. Spiritual Growth7. Personal Achievement
3. Good Citizenship8. Friendly Service
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness9. Fun and Adventure
5. Family Understanding10. Preparation for Boy Scouts 
Part of the Scout Oath that every Cub Scout learns is “to help other people at all times.” What does that mean to a Cub Scout?  At this age, most boys are aware of how their actions affect others. He is learning that he can be a force for good. And he can choose to be helpful. Not only does he need to learn to give service, but he needs to give friendly service. To me, that means with a cheerful heart, with a smile on his face, to do so willingly.  Giving service goes hand in hand with citizenship, with family and with character development.  Learning to think about someone other than just yourself is part of growing up. Even young boys of Cub Scout age can learn that it’s good to help other people and that you feel good when you do.
What kind of service can Cub Scouts do? 
The Cub Scout adventures have many requirements that allow them to provide service. But we don’t have to wait for a requirement to have Cub Scouts provide service.  Boys should be taught to look for opportunities everywhere.
The first place to start may be to ask yourself, or them, WHO they can give service to. Cub Scouts can serve their parents, their siblings, their friends, their neighbors, their charter organization, their school, the community, the world. Is there really a limit on who they can help? I don’t think so. Yes, it’s true that there probably are some projects that are just too big or too heavy for these little guys to do that might be better handled by the Boy Scouts, but Cub Scouts are capable of more than just picking up trash in the neighborhood (I think that is the #1 Cub Scout Service project). And while that IS a good thing to do, let’s try to think of other things they can do too.
scouting-for-food-350Scouting for Food –  Food is collected for local food banks. As a Pack, we can distributes bags/fliers before the pick up date and the Boy Scouts do the actual picking up. Most Cub Scouts are big enough to help with both parts of this annual service project. It might be good to help them see the end result as well as the beginning.
Collections – Are you collecting something else to donate to a hospital or shelter or other organization?  Books, coats, gloves, toys or anything else?  Cub Scouts can help.  Many Cub Scouts are not yet at the age where they care what others think of them, so they are often more willing than older boys to knock on doors (with the proper adult supervision of course) and ask their neighbors to contribute (and they are so cute… that can’t hurt). There are lots of things that need to be collected and donated to various organizations and Cub Scout boys can help.
Cub Scout Outdoor ServiceConservation Projects – While some boys may not be big enough to do some of the heavy lifting of trees, rocks, etc, they can certainly help rake, shovel, pull weeds or plant small plants.  And yes, they can help pick up trash too.  Boys love to rake up leaves—especially if they are given a little time to play in them first.  
Flag Ceremonies – There are many different types of meetings that could start with a flag ceremony from the local pack. How about roundtable or a PTA meeting?  What about a city council meeting or a local sporting event? This is something Cub Scouts can do. Cub Scout Flag Ceremony
Simple Ordinary Things – Cub Scouts learn that there are simple things they can do every day to be of service to someone.  Unload the dishwasher without being asked.  Give up their seat on the bus to an elder.  Hold the door open for a teacher.  Play with the new kid at school.  Make your brother’s bed—it’s best if you do it in secret. Help bring in the groceries.  Read to a child.  Share your toys.  Give a hug when someone is sad.  Smile.  It doesn’t take much to make a difference every day.
It’s good to teach boys to do service quietly—secretly, even—and to not expect anything in return. It was the Boy Scout in London who would not accept a reward for helping the American find his way that led said American, William D Boyce (founder of the BSA), to seek out Baden Powell to find out what this Scouting thing was all about. However, it also helps to know just how much good is done by scouts.  So once you have done those service projects as a den or pack be sure to record them on the Good Turn for America website and report that service project too (Journey to Excellence item #8, Service, requires reporting it).
Giving friendly service in simple ways as a Cub Scout will lead to bigger ways as a Boy Scout and even bigger ways as an adult. Don’t discount the good that can be done in the world by your average Cub Scout-age boy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Thanks to those scouts who joined us for the first-ever Cardboard City Lock-In at the Family Life Center this Saturday!  We talked a little about homelessness, city planning, recycling and had some fun making some awesome shelters!  Take a little look-see.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cub Scout Purposes - Fun and Adventure

Cub Scout Purposes—Fun and Adventure

In a continuing series we are taking a look at some of the reasons WHY Cub Scouting is important and relevant as well as HOW we achieve those purposes. This week’s article will talk about FUN and ADVENTURE
1. Character Development 6. Respectful Relationships
2. Spiritual Growth7. Personal Achievement
3. Good Citizenship8. Friendly Service
4. Sportsmanship and Fitness9. Fun and Adventure
5. Family Understanding10. Preparation for Boy Scouts
WHY is Fun and Adventure one of the Purposes of Cub Scouting?  Does that question really need to be asked? I mean really, we are talking about boys here—young boys. If it’s not fun… well why do it, right? Even for the older boys and us adults too, if it is something we enjoy doing, we try to do more of it. The more fun it is, the more boys want to participate. That is just common sense. The thing we need to remember here is that FUN is just one of the purposes, not our only purpose. If we are only doing it for the fun we are missing out on some of the other benefits and purposes of Cub Scouting.
cub fun 3
And... Adventure?  Who doesn’t love a good adventure?  Just the word Adventure suggests something exciting, new, possibly mysterious and of course, fun. They are listed together because when you are talking about little boys, fun and adventure just go hand in hand. At this age it’s all about learning new things, exploring new ideas and having fun while doing it.
Most Cub-Scout-age boys are willing to try just about anything. The question here is what kind of adventures do young boys like? It may not be the same kind of adventures that us leaders would like, but the program is not for us; it’s for them. 
HOW do we provide Fun and Adventure? Follow the program. The new Cub Scout program requires the boys to complete 7 adventures to earn their rank.  It's no coincidence that they used the word “Adventure” for these new requirements.  Again, it suggests fun, explore, experience, go, do, action… Adventure is not sit, talk, learn, tell.  Yes, there are some of those types of requirements but they are by far in the minority.  Most of the requirements in each adventure require some action.  For Cub-Scout-age boys just being together with your friends and doing something (almost anything) is fun.  But as leaders there are ways that we can make things even more fun.  I am going to suggest just a few:Cub Scout Buddies
1. Turn it into a relay race/game
Take for example the Wolf adventure, Paws on the Path. The boys need to learn about the “6 Essentials”. In the Wolf Den Leader Guide it suggests that you use the well known “Kim’s Game” as a way to learn them.
I like Kim’s Game and I have used it, but when I did this adventure with my boys I wanted to make it even more active, so we had a relay race.  At one end were the two lines/teams of boys.  At the other end was a large paper bag of stuff.  Included in all that stuff were of course the six essentials but then there were other items as well, some that would also be useful on a hike and some that were obviously not appropriate to bring.  Each boy in turn would run to the bag, pick an item, and bring it back to his team.  The team would then decide if that item was one of the 6 essential or not and then send the next boy.
The first team to have collected all of the 6 essentials was the winner.  There are SO many ways to turn Cub Scout learning into a game and make it fun. Not all competitions have to have “a winner;” sometimes just seeing if you can do something faster than the last time that you did it, or more times that you did before makes it fun.  Baden Powell did say that Scouting is a game with a purpose.
2. Put simple motions with it 
We all know there are different ways to learn, we also know that little boys like to be active. Let’s say they are trying to learn the Scout Law.  Why not place strips of paper or even tape spaced out on the floor with each of the 12 points written on them.  Have them say “A Scout is… then say/read (with help if needed) each word before jumping over them.  Or if that’s not active enough have them run from one side of the room to the other and say one of the 12 points as they touch each wall.  BE THE TEAPOT! 
3. Songs or Mnemonics 
images-201Turning something in to a song is sometimes a fun and helpful way to learn something. That's how most of us learned our ABC’s. 
Most of us have probably used some sort of mnemonic to remember something like ROY G BIV for the color order of a rainbow or your fists to remember which months have 30 days and which have 31.  Or who didn’t learn that the spaces on a music staff spell out FACE. And of course as Scout leaders many of us are familiar with EDGE – Explain, Demonstrate, Guide & Enable. There are all sorts of ways to have fun with words to help us learn and remember things.
4. Let them experiment
Let the boys get messy, let them get dirty, and let them experiment.  Boy don’t want to talk about dirt, they want to dig in it and feel it. Tigers have an adventure where they get to make up their own game—how fun is that?  Bears have an adventure all about laughter. There is lots to experiment with in the Bear Super Science and Forensics adventures. Don’t be afraid to not do something because it might be messy—I know that’s hard sometimes but give it a try.  Let them play and experiment with art, science, and nature too.  Hands on learning is not only more fun but often more memorable too.
images-2055. Go on the Field Trips!  
The new program is easier for leaders in many ways.  Some leaders have complained about the number of field trips required and have discussed ways to complete the adventures without the “outing” part.  If you asked the boys if they would rather go visit the fire station or have a fireman visit their den meeting—odds are they would choose to go to the fire station every time.
Yes, it takes a little more forethought and planning for the leaders (no more winging it on the day of) but it’s way more fun for the boys.  They want to go, see, do, and experience, not just learn about.  Take them on the outings, let them experience the adventures the way they were intended and they will have lots more fun.images-206
Don’t shy away from an activity that might not fulfill any other purpose.  Sometimes we do things just because they are fun and that’s okay—sometimes. While it is important to make sure the boys (and leaders) are having fun, you can be sure there is probably more than just fun they can be getting from that adventure too.  Yes, Fun and Adventure is one of the purposes of Cub Scouting, but it’s not the only purpose so keep it in perspective.  And be sure to think of new and creative ways to make everything we do in Cub Scouting Fun for the boys.
Fun Activities = Happy Boys = Happy Leaders = Happy Parents = Fun!
Article posted by Utah National Parks Council member Annaleis Smith and can be found in full here.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy Birthday America!

On the Fourth of July, the Scouting nation will celebrate one of the most revered and celebrated days in American history: Independence Day. A time for appreciating our nation’s freedom, Independence Day is a special holiday for Scouts and Scouters to commemorate America’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence. And as citizens of this great nation, Scouts learn the importance of honoring the significant day. 

Want a fun local way to celebrate?  Join the Keller Police Department for the first ever July 4 bike parade.  Get all the information here.