As parents raise children in this changing world, they look for resources and help in training their child. To paraphrase an old saying, it does take a community to raise a child. Parents find help in the form of public schools, their religious community, and other institutions. One often overlooked program is that of Cub Scouts.
Cub Scouting is a division of Boy Scouts of America. At over one million members, it is currently the largest of the three divisions, the other two being Boy Scouting, and Venturing. Cub Scouting started in 1930 as a home and neighborhood centered program, which focuses on "caring, nurturing relationships between boys and their parents, adult leaders, and friends." My parents enrolled me into Cub Scouting at an early age, and I found it to be exciting and enjoyable. I was introduced to new skills, activities, and people. I gained new friendships, and my current friendships were strengthened. I felt as though I were a park of something important, which needed me. I dont recall whether there were gangs in the area where I lived, but looking back, I see that Cub Scouting not only provided a good sense of belonging, I feel that if I did join a gang, it wouldnt nearly have the enjoyment of Cub Scouting. I see this program as an alternative for children (and Boy Scouting for teenagers) who are feeling left out in school and the groups that often form there.
Boy Scouting started as a program to strengthen youth. Cub Scouting has the same goals, but with a different way of teaching them. Specifically, Cub Scouting has nine purposes,
Cub Scouting includes five levels of membership, based on the grade in school the child is in. The Tiger Cubs start out in first grade, then move into and through Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and into Webelos in fifth grade. Each levels group of boys is referred to as a den. The Cub Scout program being hosted by some organization (such as a school, church, or community leaders) would include these five dens, which, when together, is referred to as a pack. I have the privilege of serving as Den Leader for a Bear Den right now. It is a wonderful opportunity to volunteer and help the community in this way. It is a wonderful feeling seeing each group progress each year, better than they were before they came, and knowing that I had something to do with their progress.
Typically each den meets for one hour each week during the school year to fulfill a requirement or two, occasionally perform community service, and have some fun activities. Each pack would meet together once a month for a pack meeting. There is an awards ceremony for those who are progressing in rank, and usually learning or fun activity in which the whole pack participates. Each summer there are day camps for the boys to enjoy. There is also the yearly fundraiser, and the well-known Pine-Wood Derby racing event.
As a whole, I can easily recommend Cub Scouting as a program to help parents in raising their children. The associated costs are very low, and the experiences (as well as experience) gained is invaluable. I am very grateful that as a child I was able to participate in such a program, and Im certain your child would enjoy it as well.