Cub Scouting is a year-round, family-oriented part of the Boy Scouts of America program designed for boys and girls who are in Kindergarten through fifth grades (or are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 years of age). Parents, leaders, and organizations work together to achieve the 10 purposes of Cub Scouting:
- Character Development
- Spiritual Growth
- Good Citizenship
- Sportsmanship and Fitness
- Family Understanding
- Respectful Relationships
- Personal Achievement
- Friendly Service
- Fun and Adventure
- Preparation for Scouts BSA
All the activities leaders plan and boys and girls enjoy should relate to one or more of these purposes.
THE METHODS OF CUB SCOUTING
To accomplish its purposes and achieve the overall goals of building character, learning citizenship, and developing personal fitness, Cub Scouting uses seven methods:
- Living the Ideals
- Belonging to a Den
- Using Advancement
- Involving Family and Home
- Participating in Activities
- Serving Home and Neighborhood
- Wearing the Uniform
The methods bring Cub Scouting to life for the children and their families.
Living the Ideals. Cub Scouting’s values are embedded in the Scout Oath, Scout Law, the Cub Scout motto, and the Cub Scout sign, handshake, and salute. These practices help establish and reinforce the program’s values in boys/girls and the leaders who guide them.
Belonging to a Den. The den—a group of six to eight boys or girls who are about the same age—is the place where Cub Scouting starts. In the den, Cub Scouts develop new skills and interests, they practice sportsmanship and good citizenship, and they learn to do their best, not just for themselves but for the den as well.
Using Advancement. Recognition is important to boys and girls. The advancement plan provides fun for the children, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members and their den leader work with kids on advancement projects.
Involving Family and Home. Whether a Cub Scout lives with two parents or one, a foster family, or other relatives, his family is an important part of Cub Scouting. Parents and adult family members provide leadership and support for Cub Scouting and help ensure that children have a good experience in the program.
Participating in Activities. Cub Scouts participate in a huge array of activities, including games, projects, skits, stunts, songs, outdoor activities, trips, and service projects. Besides being fun, these activities offer opportunities for growth, achievement, and family involvement.
Serving Home and Neighborhood. Cub Scouting focuses on the home and neighborhood. It helps boys and girls strengthen connections to their local communities, which in turn support the children's growth and development.
Wearing the Uniform. Cub Scout uniforms serve a dual purpose, demonstrating membership in the group (everyone is dressed alike) and individual achievement (the kids wear the badges they’ve earned). Wearing the uniform to meetings and activities also encourages a neat appearance, a sense of belonging, and good behavior.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SCOUT LAW TO CUB SCOUTING
While the points of the Scout Law may be self-explanatory for adults, helping the scouts to understand them is the opportunity we have in Cub Scouting! We, as members of the Boy Scouts of America, believe they are a code to try to live by every day.
Look for [character compass indicators] in the intro section for each adventure. Character compass indicators provide a reference to the scout, his parents, and leaders to take a moment’s reflection on how they are brought about naturally with the work he is doing for his rank badge.
The Beginning of Scouting
Scouting, as known to millions of youth and adults, evolved during the early 1900's through the efforts of several men dedicated to bettering youth. These pioneers of the program conceived outdoor activities that developed skills in young scouts and gave them a sense of enjoyment, fellowship, and a code of conduct for everyday living.
In this country and abroad at the turn of the century, it was thought that children needed certain kinds of education that the schools couldn't or didn't provide. This led to the formation of a variety of youth groups, many with the word "Scout" in their names. For example, Ernest Thompson Seton, an American naturalist, artist, writer, and lecturer, originated a group called the Woodcraft Indians and in 1902 wrote a guidebook for boys in his organization called the Birch Bark Roll. Meanwhile in Britain, Robert Baden-Powell, after returning to his country a hero following military service in Africa, found boys reading the manual he had written for his regiment on stalking and survival in the wild. Gathering ideas from Seton, America's Daniel Carter Beard, and other Scout craft experts, Baden-Powell rewrote his manual as a non military skill book, which he titled Scouting for Boys. The book rapidly gained a wide readership in England and soon became popular in the United States. In 1907, when Baden-Powell held the first camp out for Scouts on Brown sea Island off the coast of England, troops were spontaneously springing up in America.
William D. Boyce, a Chicago publisher, incorporated the Boy Scouts of America in 1910 after meeting with Baden-Powell. (Boyce was inspired to meet with the British founder by an unknown Scout who led him out of a dense London fog and refused to take a tip for doing a Good Turn.) Immediately after its incorporation, the BSA was assisted by officers of the YMCA in organizing a task force to help community organizations start and maintain a high quality Scouting program. Those efforts climaxed in the organization of the nation's first Scout camp at Lake George, New York, directed by Ernest Thompson Seton. Beard, who had established another youth group, the Sons of Daniel Boone (which he later merged with the BSA), provided assistance. Also on hand for this historic event was James E. West, a lawyer and an advocate of children's rights, who later would become the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. Seton became the first volunteer national Chief Scout, and Beard, the first national Scout commissioner.