Welcome to the LDS Scouter Blog. We hope to provide you with valuable information, share useful resources and maybe even improve some attitudes and Ward Scouting programs. The recommended way to use this blog is to start with the post, "Why I started this blog." Then browse through the post titles in the archive (found in the sidebar) for topics of interest.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Encouraging Family Involvement

I wrote about how Cub Scouting is meant to be a family-centered program, but what are you supposed to do as a leader when the parents don't understand that? Here are a few ideas for encouraging more family involvement in Cub Scouts:

Some wards use the Primary's Baptism Preview to also introduce the activity programs for 8-11 year-olds. A Cub Scout leader and Activity Days leader are each invited to speak for a few minutes about the programs. This is a great opportunity to introduce the idea to parents that they are an important part of the program. Let them know that their own attitude and involvement will have a big influence on their son's experience. Show them the parent guide at the front of the Wolf book and let them know they can and should work on many of the achievements with their son. Let them know they are invited to Den Meetings and that the whole family should attend Pack Meetings. You may even want to quote Elder Oaks' "Good, Better, Best" talk and point out that Cub Scouting can actually provide them with more quality family time.

I know of one Wolf Leader who even visits personally with parents who cannot attend the Preview and tells them all the things she wishes someone had told her when her sons started Scouts.

Once the boys have started the program, it can be a challenge getting them and their parents to remember to work on assignments during the week. Oftentimes fliers or e-mails are not enough for busy parents who have many things to worry about throughout the week. One Den Leader I knew used post-it-type sticky tabs to mark the pages in each boy's book where the assigned achievements were. It made them easier for parents to find and served as a visual reminder. It was a very effective system. It also made it easier for the leader to mark things off the following week. She then put tabs on the new assignments before giving the books back to the boys. Some parents may even be persuaded to add tabs to any extra achievements they work on at home, to make those easier to find for the leader marking them off as well.

Use your parents. Hopefully you already make use of parents in things like driving for field trips and providing refreshments for Pack Meeting. Parents can be involved in other ways as well. Find out what all of the boys' parents do for a living, what their hobbies are, whether they were ever Scouts, etc. Most likely you will find that most of the parents have some knowledge in an area related to one of the achievements, electives or belt loops. Invite them to a meeting to help with that activity and share their experience with the boys.

In the Primary manuals for the older children, many of the lessons have a suggestion at the end for the boys to teach their family what they learned that week in Family Home Evening. This same idea can be applied to Cub Scouting. See if you can find ways to make some of the activities something the boys can take home to share with their families or teach them. Maybe you could provide the boys with some kind of handout or activity they could do with their families.

Families can be encouraged to earn BSA Family Award. This is a special award that families can earn through setting goals and working together.

You may have seen the Mother's Pin ribbon necklaces. They are something moms can wear to Pack Meetings or Courts of Honor to keep their Mother's Pins on from when their sons earn rank. I recently came across this blog post, where a mom made her own, as well as several others, which she planned to give out to the other moms at Blue & Gold. If you have some women in your ward who enjoy sewing, maybe they could be persuaded to donate time and supplies to make some Mother's Pin necklaces for the moms in your ward. They could be given out at the Blue & Gold Banquet or when each boy turns eight. Receiving and wearing the necklaces might help the mothers feel even more like part of the program, as well as giving them a place to keep those tiny, little pins from getting lost.

These are just some ideas. Anything that you can do as a leader to help strengthen the family is a good thing.

1 comment:

America Jane said...

Great blog Arwen! I'm following you in my reader now. :)

I love your approach to involving families. Sometimes leaders get antagonistic about parents' lack of involvement, but I think often parents just don't know what's expected of them. Positive, gentle encouragement will do wonders for most parents who do want what's best for their kids.