For the last few months I have been enjoying a new Scouting position, different than anything I've done in Scouting before - being a scout parent. Now that our oldest is finally a Cub Scout (after attending various scout meetings and functions since before he was born) I have been getting a whole new perspective on the program.
I have to say that I love it. Yes, I do brag sometimes about my unfair advantage - having a working knowledge of the program from the get-go, where most parents come in confused and full of questions - but I am still learning things from this new perspective that hopefully will make me a better leader and trainer.
One thing I have gained a new appreciation for is the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program. I can see in my son how the immmediate recognition and the variety involved keep him more interested in the program than he would be just working on rank advancement. He was way more excited about receiving his first belt loops than he was about getting his Bobcat.
That said, and while I can see a lot of ways to work belt loops into den meetings, I think belt loops are something that parents should be encouraged to be working on with their boys. I know this is easier said than done. One suggestion I have is to start with whatever the boys are doing anyway. Get to know the boys, then give their parents information about relevant loops and pins. For example: got Cubs in soccer? Send them home with worksheets for the soccer belt loop. We have a family in our den that is into roller skating and roller derby. I told the mom about the roller skating belt loop. Instead of just working on it with her son, though, she offered to set up an activity at the local skating rink and work with the whole den on the belt loop (don't you love it when someone else volunteers to plan and run a meeting?). Once they get started and know a little about belt loops, I have found many parents are very interested in learning about all the belt loops so they can find more things to work with their sons on.