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Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Just in Cub Scouts..."

In a recent conversation with my DE friend, he said something that has had me thinking about it ever since. As someone who has lived mostly in the Midwest, he has had an interesting time adapting to the culture since moving here a little over two years ago, and there are many things about Church Scouting that drive him crazy. This one really took me off guard, though, especially coming from a professional Scouter. He made the comment that we don't focus enough on primary. He feels there is a very big imbalance, with all the focus on youth 12 and up. He believes Cub Scouts is important for getting the boys started in Scouting.

He is not the only one I have heard this from. More than once our Council Commissioner has made comments about how Cub Scouting is the best/easiest way to recruit/do missionary work. He talks a lot about how easy it should be to have those Cubs bring their friends to meetings with them. I have heard that something like 90% of Boys Scouts started as Cub Scouts (don't remember the exact figure).

When boys are Cub Scouting age, they are much more open to joining scouts and many of the things associated with that. If they participate in a good Cub Scout program, they are more likely to continue on and enjoy Boy Scouting. If their program is a disappointment or they do not attend Cub Scouts, they are very unlikely to have any interest in participating in Boy Scouts when they are older.

My own personal observation is that when this happens within the Church, the boy not only has no interest in participating in weekday activities, he does not seem to feel a part of his quorum on Sunday.

I think it is important to have good programs all the way through, but it really does need to start in Cub Scouting. As a unit commissioner, I recently met with a Charter Rep for one of the other wards nearby. He is the bishopric member assigned to both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts (I know different wards do this different ways; some have the charter rep focus on Boy Scouts and the other councilor focus on Cubs, and some have just one do both). He confessed that he did not pay much attention to what was going on in the Cub Scout program. He was very busy, and he trusted that the committee chair and primary were taking care of things and it was best if he just stayed out of the way. I wonder whether he would ever take that same approach with the youth programs.

What do you think? Do we often de-emphasize the importance of Cub Scouts in favor of programs for the older youth? Is it "just" Cub Scouts, or should it be regarded on the same level of importance as any of the other programs? I know the age group of around 12-25 is considered "high risk," but does the foundation for or prevention of that risk actually begin earlier?


mormonhermitmom said...

I find that whether or not there is a strong Cub Scout pack depends on the leaders and parents. If the parents care about it, their boys will be there. If the parents don't care, good luck ever seeing that boy at any meetings at all. If the leaders care, uniforms are important, activities are well thought out and communication is frequent and helpful. If the leaders don't care, neither do the boys and the parents scratch their heads "Is there a scout 'thing' tonight or not?"

Just a note, I have YET to see a unit commissioner come to one of our pack meetings or ask our COR about how we're doing. The whole "just in/over Cub Scouts" seems to be endemic to the "Mormon Corridor".

Evenspor said...

I am betting you have never seen a bishopric member at a committee meeting before either. It is something that I have seen in few wards, despite it being a requirement from the Handbook. It makes a huge difference. The effect on the attitude of parents and leaders is one example. If your bishopric showed enough interest in the program to attend meetings, what kind of message do you think that would send to others about its importance?

Anonymous said...

I'd say the reason the Biahopric Member is not coming is because they haven't been invited or understand their role in the program. While the Bishop could help emphasize this, it usually is not - due to "traditions of our fathers" type behaviour. It's hard because its a top down solution that hasn't been directly instructed from top down and this the emphasis is placed elsewhere. I'm personally struggling with this as well because it is not a high priority (so it seems). Top Down - meaning top leaders leading to those below (on an Org Chart).