As I mentioned in the article about the Aims and Methods of Scouting, Cub Scouting has its own set of purposes and methods, but most are the same or similar to the Boy Scouts.
There are ten Purposes of Cub Scouting which leaders and parents should be working toward. Most don't need an explanation, or it would be redundant to the last post, so instead I will simply list them and point out a few differences. In looking at the differences, we can understand the Cub Scout program a little better. Every activity with the Scouts should relate to at least one of the purposes. They are:
Sportsmanship and Fitness
Fun and Adventure
Preparation for Boy Scouts
According to the BSA's website,"These purposes help us achieve the overall aims of the BSA of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness." In a way, they are really just breaking down those three aims into more specific goals that are appropriate for boys 7-10.
Notice "Spiritual Growth" and "Family Understanding" are high on the list. Those are both things that the BSA wants to promote and we should keep in mind at our activities. The Church website has a table you can download that shows possible activity correlations between Cub Scouting and Faith in God. This chart can get you started in finding ways to combine Faith in God with your den meetings. The Faith in God book is also the guide for the religious knot that the boys can earn.
The final goal is preparation for Boy Scouts. Even starting at age eight we should be helping the boys prepare for missions. One things we can do at this age is give them a good Cub Scout program. If their enthusiasm for Scouting can grow and last until they reach Boy Scouts, their Boy Scout leaders will have a better opportunity to help prepare them in the next stage of their growth. Think of preparation for Boy Scouts as preparation for the priesthood.
The Methods of Cub Scouting are what we use to help meet the purposes. They are:
The Ideals - The Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack are very similar to those of the Boy Scouts. The boys are taught from this early age that they have a duty to their God, country and families. (When typed out like that, it's kind of reminiscent of Captain Moroni, isn't it? Alma 46:12)
The Den - The boys belong to a den instead of a patrol. They aren't running things like they will in Boy Scouts (although they love getting a turn to be denner), but it gives them a sense of camaraderie to belong to a den.
Advancement - Again, this is a method, not the goal. Advancement is important, but it is also only a means to an end, not the end itself.
Family Involvement - We see again that families are an essential part of Cub Scouting. The more involved parents and family are, the better a boy's experience will be. The program was designed to be done with parents, and we shouldn't miss this great opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our boys.
Activities - Having fun is what keeps the boys interested and coming back. They'll learn more when they're enjoying themselves.
Home and Neighborhood Centered - Here's something different about Cub Scouts. The emphasis is on home and neighborhood. The boys will enjoy getting to know the area they live in, and it will prepare them to be better able later to serve their community.
The Uniform - See previous post. At this age the boys are excited to wear a uniform. Take advantage of that. When they are older they will be more likely to want to wear a uniform if it was a positive experience in Cub Scouts.
Remember the article about Cheryl Lant at Philmont: "Bishops and branch presidents — want a deacons quorum filled with young men well prepared to perform their Aaronic Priesthood duties? Start first by building successful Cub Scout dens... Cub Scouts is another tool that local priesthood and Primary leaders can utilize to train and prepare boys to receive that 'preparatory' priesthood. 'Truly the work we are doing is the work of the priesthood.'"