How To Plan A Successful Year

Joining Cub Scouts is an exciting time for young boys.  It is the time when they begin to build their skills and to prepare for the world of Boy Scouts.  With so much to learn in a new environment, it can also be a confusing and overwhelming time for parents.  With thoughtful discussion and careful planning, successful navigation of the program is within reach.

My husband and I both work full-time and are very busy parents.  In addition to Cub Scouts, my son also takes martial arts and guitar lessons.  Due to our many obligations, we are efficient and purposeful in designing our son's scouting adventure.  We have been a Cub Scout family for 2 years and I have found some things that work to keep us organized and to keep our son engaged and well-rounded.

Determine The Child's Goal

The first thing you want to do when your son joins is to talk to him and try to understand his goals.  There are many reasons for joining scouts.  His goal could be to have fun, to make friends, to go camping or to earn every achievement possible each year.  Years ago, I joined with my oldest son when I was a single mother and wanted him to have a positive male role model.  His only goal at the time was to have fun.  Having fun is a goal!  If this is your child's main goal, then make sure that he has fun, while building towards possible future goals.  

Determine The Parent's Goal 

I now have an 8-year-old in Cub Scouts who has been in for 2 years.  While his goal is to earn every achievement possible each year, my goals for him are too big for him to see at the moment.  My goal is, like a lot of parents, for him to want to earn his Eagle Scout.  However, I leave this open for him to decide as he gets older.  Cub Scouts is all about him following his own path, not mine.  The idea is to help set your son up to earn whatever he sets his sights on as he gets older.

Decide What Your Son Wants To Earn 

Now that you know the goals, you can combine them and decide how you are going to meet them.  Decide how many and which adventure loops your son wants to earn.  Divide them by how many months he will have in the scouting year.  Create a calendar for each month and fill in the tasks he needs to complete to earn the adventure loops chosen for that month.  For example, if he wants to earn 2 adventure loops per month, and each one has 4 achievements, that is a total of 8 achievements per month.  You would plan to complete 2 achievements per week.  This calendar is essential in our organization of our year.

Tell The Den Leader Your Plan 

Each pack has at least 4 dens.  Get to know the den leader.  This is the person that will lead the activities each week.  This leader will have designed a basic program to help the boys make their rank and be ready for the next den.  There will be lots of fun along the way.  Let the den leader know which adventure loops your son is trying to earn and how he plans to do this.

Sign The Den Book For Each Task Completed 

Each year, the boy will have to buy the book that belongs to his den.  Every time your son completes a task, you will sign it off in his book. Make sure you share your book with your den leader.  Take pictures, bring in displays and have your son explain to the den leader what he did for each item.  This will enable him to receive credit for his work.  The den leader may ask your son questions about what he did.  This is a fabulous time to share!

Following these steps will help you and your son meet the goals you set when joining Cub Scouts.  You must work as a family to get the most out of your experience!  It's important to let your child move at his pace.  Cub Scouting is fun with a purpose! 

This is a fun time for your child and must not seem like just another classroom.  Some boys are happy to earn what the den leader has planned for each meeting.  Some boys set the goal to earn every adventure loop possible for the year.  There is no right our wrong way.  Look at your goals to know what's right for your son.

With thoughtful discussion and purposeful planning, your son will have fun, create great memories and get the most out of his time spent in Cub Scouts.  He will build lasting friendships and he may even fly with the eagles!