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Cub Scout Pack 69
(Pine Island, Minnesota)
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Cub Scout Parent Information Brochure

Your Role as a Parent

Cub Scouting encourages closeness to family. The program will give you opportunities to take part in activities with your son that you normally couldn't do. It provides a positive way for parent and son to grow closer together, and encourages you to spend quality time together. In this way, Cub Scouting is a program for the entire family, and your involvement is vital to the program's success.

Some specific things you can do to help your son in Cub Scouting are

  1. Work with your son on projects
  2. Help your Cub Scout along the advancement trail
  3. Participate in monthly pack meetings
  4. Attend parent-leader conferences
  5. Go on family campouts with your son
  6. Provide support for your son's den and pack

The Cub Scout years are developing years for young boys, falling between the dependence of early childhood and the relative independence of early adolescence. As he grows, your son will gain the ability to do more things "on his own," but at this stage of his development, your help is critical.

Work with your son on projects

Boys often start projects at den meetings and finish them at home with the help of a parent. Such projects become the catalyst for parents and boys—often joined by siblings and friends—to interact with each other in an informal, relaxed way.

Because the purpose of projects is to teach a boy new skills, a project will challenge a boy to do tasks that he hasn't currently mastered. It's not uncommon, therefore, for a boy to need help from his family to do some of his projects. In Cub Scouting, boys are not expected to do things entirely on their own. So long as a boy does his best to do as much as he's capable of, it's perfectly acceptable for a parent or sibling to help him with the tasks he's unable to do on his own.

Help your son along the advancement trail

The advancement plan is designed for parents to use to create a learning environment in their home. With the Cub Scout handbooks as a resource, parents and boys work together to do the achievements required for each badge. The advancement plan provides fun for the boys, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members work with boys on advancement projects.

While Cub Scouts will learn skills and begin work on projects in their weekly den meetings, the parent remains at the center of the advancement program. As each task is done or each skill is demonstrated, the parent signs the Cub Scout's handbook to record its completion. And when the boy has completed all the requirements to earn an award, the parent presents that award at the next monthly pack meeting.

Participate in monthly pack meetings

The weekly den meetings are for Cub Scouts and their adult leader. The pack meeting is for the entire family of every Cub Scout. At pack meetings, parents see their sons in action with their friends, meet other parents, and join with neighbors in caring and sharing. These types of opportunities are scarce, and pack meetings highlight how Cub Scouting teaches boys cooperation and collaboration.

The pack meeting is also a monthly showcase for all that the boys have worked on in their den meetings. Craft projects are on display, skills are demonstrated, and skits are performed to show the boys' command of the monthly theme. While boys at this age seem to be struggling toward independence, having the approval of their parents and other adults whom they admire remains important to them—so your presence at these meetings is critical to underscore the importance of the lessons your son has learned.

Attend parent-leader conferences

Held at various times throughout the year, parent-leader conferences provide opportunities for you to discuss your son's participation and expectations of den and pack meetings. Such conferences can help your son get the most from his Cub Scouting experience, and they give you the chance to communicate with pack leaders, to share knowledge and gain the awareness needed to work as a team to help your son succeed.

Go on family campouts with your son

Besides being fun, family camping is a chance for quality time together and an enriched family life. This program is a recreational opportunity—it's not on a tight time schedule. Family leadership rests with the adult member(s). This leadership might be yielded from time to time as the family chooses to take part in activities, such as swimming, where specific camp policies must be followed for safety and proper operation.

Provide support for your son's den and pack

It's important to remember that the adult leaders of your son's den and pack are volunteers who give their own time to provide a quality program for your son. While they have been carefully selected and extensively trained for their roles, there are always times when they could use help from parents in the pack.

Pack events such as the pinewood derby, blue and gold banquet, or field days take a lot of effort—more than the monthly meetings. The pack's leaders would likely welcome any help you can give. Likewise, den leaders will be grateful to parents who can lend a hand with field trips and outings. By pitching in as needed, you can show your son the importance of helping others. So be on the lookout for opportunities for you to help the den, the pack, and its leaders.

Family Activities

Cub Scouting aims to develop youth into participating citizens of good character who are physically, spiritually, and mentally fit. The organization recognizes that it is the responsibility of parents and family to raise their children. The Cub Scout program is a resource that can help families teach their children a wholesome system of values and beliefs while building and strengthening relationships among family members.

When we speak of the "family" in Cub Scouting, we are sensitive to the needs and structures of present-day families. Many Cub Scouts do not come from traditional two-parent homes. Some boys live with a single parent or with other relatives or guardians. Cub Scouting considers a boy's family to be the people with whom he lives.

The family is probably the most effective mutual-help organization to be found. Family life has its good times and bad times, but, above all, it is people giving strength to one another when needed, people caring and letting it show, people leaning on one another, and people feeling loyal to one another. It's worth the effort to keep a family strong. For this reason, Cub Scouting seeks not only to help the boy, but to unite and support the entire family.

In turn, family involvement is vital to the success of the Cub Scout program. At this age, boys are only beginning to discover their individuality—and as much as they seem to want to take on tasks and responsibilities on their own, they still look to their family for help and support. Family involvement provides that help and support for boys, and it is positive reinforcement for the lessons learned in Cub Scouting.

New Family Orientation

The pack leaders should provide an orientation session for new Cub Scout families to acquaint them with the program, its goals, procedures, and other basics. The information given to a new Cub Scout family should include:

  • An overview of Cub Scouting, including the program's aims and methods as well as policies and procedures
  • Details about the upcoming year, such as the dates of scheduled meetings and events, and information about the pack's newsletter, Web site, or other means of receiving updates
  • The procedures for joining a pack, helping with den activities, paying dues, and helping with the boy's advancement
  • A review of the "Parent Guide" in the boy's handbook, with an explanation of the ways parents or guardians work with their boys on advancement
  • A review of "The Family's Responsibilities" as outlined in the Cub Scout Leader Book, to let you know what is expected of each family
  • A copy of Cub Scouting's BSA Family Activity Book, which explains how Cub Scouting can help meet family needs
  • The family talent survey sheet, for you to identify ways in which your family can help the pack

The new family orientation may take place before the family joins the pack or soon afterward. It's not uncommon for the orientation to be divided into two sessions: one before you have joined the pack, another afterward.

Family and Advancement

The advancement program is part of the fun of Cub Scouting. To advance in rank, boys must complete certain activities, called "achievements" or "electives," to earn each badge as they progress. A parent must sign the Cub Scout's handbook to certify that the boy completed the activity. This is an excellent opportunity for families to get to know their sons better. Family members and boys get much satisfaction from it.

Along the advancement trail, the family may be involved in many ways. Some achievements and electives require the Cub Scout to complete a project, with which most boys will need help. Others require the Cub Scout to discuss or explain certain concepts or to demonstrate his ability to apply a skill, which will require the participation of family members.

Most importantly, every achievement and elective in Cub Scouting requires a boy to do his best. It's not necessary for the Cub Scout to do everything by himself, and it is perfectly acceptable if he needs some prompting to discuss or explain a concept. Sometimes, there can be a delicate balance between being too critical (which may damage a boy's self-confidence) or too lenient (which can impair character development). The den leaders can help guide families to find a happy balance between expecting too much or too little, so that the program provides the maximum benefit to your son.

Pack Meetings and Events

Weekly den meetings are intended for the boys to interact with one another and their leaders in a small group setting. Any gathering on the pack level, however, is intended for Cub Scouts and their families. Your family is not only welcome, but is expected to attend the monthly pack meetings, take part in special events such as the pinewood derby or the blue and gold banquet, and participate in the family camping program. Besides delivering the Cub Scout program, pack activities tend to be social events that bring together Scouting families in your community.

At some events, parents and families may have a specific role. For example, when a Cub Scout has completed all requirements for a given badge, his parent presents the badge to him at the pack meeting. There are other times when you will play an active part in helping pack leaders to conduct the meeting. Even when neither of these things is strictly required of you, "just being there" at these events is important to your son's self-esteem. Your presence makes Cub Scouting all the more valuable to your son.

Parent-Leader Conferences

Throughout the program year, parents will have many opportunities to meet with the den leader to discuss their son's participation and expectations of the den. The main purpose of these conferences is to help your son get the most from the Cub Scouting experience by coordinating the activities that happen in the den and in the home. Key topics for these conferences often include:

  • Interactions with others. The den leader can provide helpful information on your son's behavior in the company of other boys outside the home.
  • Advancement progress. The conference is a chance to discuss the pace at which your son is progressing in his achievements and electives.
  • Special needs. You can indicate any special needs your son has, such as limitations, diet, medications, or health restrictions, so the den leader can plan activities accordingly.
  • Program update. The den leader can bring you up to date on the program, including the skills or topics to be covered at upcoming den meetings.
  • Emergency procedures. You and the den leader can review and update information such as emergency phone numbers, written medical permission, and any other information specific to your son's needs.

Planned parent-leader conferences ensure that each of these topics, and any other item of importance, is discussed. However, if an issue or concern arises, it should be possible to arrange to talk with the den leader before the next scheduled conference.

Supporting Your Pack

In various other ways, your family can pitch in to support your son's pack—by lending a hand at meetings, offering additional assistance with special events, helping to coordinate major activities, or assuming a leadership position in the pack. While none of this is strictly required of you, any support you can give the pack ultimately benefits your son. It's no coincidence that the packs that deliver the best program to the Cub Scouts are those that get the most support from families, who work together to make the pack a better, stronger organization.