Parents in the Pack

A Parent's Role in the Pack

You may be wondering—even a little nervous—about what your role is in Scouting. Well, your first role in Scouting is simply to continue what you are doing: Be a parent. Help your scout succeed. Be supportive. Follow through. You're here because you see value in the Scouting program. Help that value come through. There will always be times when your scout doesn't want to go the weekly meeting or seems to be losing interest in advancing and doing his best in Scouting. That's when he needs a parent's encouragement. Scouting works best when the whole family is behind it.

And you're probably dreading the standard call for volunteers that you hear from school and every other organization you are associated with. Well, don't get me wrong — Scouting operates only because we have great volunteers. And yes, we hope that you will offer to help out the troop in some way. We have volunteer roles of every size and every type. Even if you only have a few minutes a month to help us out, we can use you.

But being a Scouting volunteer isn't just another chore you take on because you have to. Let's hear some typical experiences of Scouting volunteers:

"When I first got into Scouting, it was because of my child. I thought it would be a great program for him. What I didn't realize then was what a great program Scouting has been for me. I have met so many great people in Scouting and have made some great friends. It is something I wasn't looking for and didn't expect. I know I'll always be with friends at a Scout meeting or event."

"When I first got into Scouting, I expected to just drive my child to meetings and drop them off. I'm not an outdoor person. I work in an office all day. But when the committee chairman announced that they were looking for a new treasurer, I figured that would be a small way that I could contribute, so I put my hand up. Well, I was surprised to find that even my skills were needed by the troop. Everyone really appreciates what I do, and I've even started taking an interest in the outdoor stuff—I went on my first campout last month, and it was a blast!"

"With my job, I don't really have a lot of free time, and I don't have a regular schedule, so I can't really go to Scout meetings or on campouts. But they told me that as a merit badge counselor, I could meet with Scouts whenever it was convenient for me. This way I get a chance to share my woodworking hobby with these great scouts , and can do it on my schedule."

"One of the things that surprised me, after I had been an assistant Scoutmaster for a year or so, was that I had starting applying things to my job that I learned in Scouting. The training for Scouting adults is excellent and has a lot of practical applications. It's a lot more than learning to tie knots."

"I don't have a lot of time I can contribute to the troop. But one thing I did sign up for is to be a troop committee member so I can sit on boards of review. Boards of review are like little job interviews, where adult committee members ask the Scouts about their experiences in the troop and what they have learned. It is so rewarding to have a real conversation with those scouts ."

Regardless of your skills or interests, there is something you share with all Scouting volunteers that makes your involvement priceless—your interest in having your scout in the best possible Scouting program.

Cub Scouts

Cub Scouting encourages closeness to family. The program will give you opportunities to take part in activities with your child that you normally couldn't do. It provides a positive way for parent and son to grow closer together, and encourages you to spend quality time together. In this way, Cub Scouting is a program for the entire family, and your involvement is vital to the program's success.

Some specific things you can do to help your child in Cub Scouting are

  1. Work with your child on projects
  2. Help your Cub Scout along the advancement trail
  3. Participate in Pack and Den meetings
  4. Go on family campouts with your child
  5. Provide support for your child's den and pack

The Cub Scout years are developing years for young Scouts, falling between the dependence of early childhood and the relative independence of early adolescence. As he grows, your child will gain the ability to do more things "on his own," but at this stage of his development, your help is critical.

Work with your child on projects

Scouts often start projects at den meetings and finish them at home with the help of a parent. Such projects become the catalyst for parents and Scouts—often joined by siblings and friends—to interact with each other in an informal, relaxed way.

Because the purpose of projects is to teach a Scout new skills, a project will challenge a boy to do tasks that he hasn't currently mastered. It's not uncommon, therefore, for a Scout to need help from his family to do some of his projects. In Cub Scouting, boys are not expected to do things entirely on their own. So long as a boy does his best to do as much as he's capable of, it's perfectly acceptable for a parent or sibling to help him with the tasks he's unable to do on his own.

Help your child along the advancement trail

The advancement plan is designed for parents to use to create a learning environment in their home. With the Cub Scout handbooks as a resource, parents and Scoutswork together to do the achievements required for each badge. The advancement plan provides fun for the Scouts, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members work with Scouts on advancement projects.

While Cub Scouts will learn skills and begin work on projects in their weekly den meetings, the parent remains at the center of the advancement program. As each task is done or each skill is demonstrated, the parent signs the Cub Scout's handbook to record its completion. And when the Scout has completed all the requirements to earn an award, the parent presents that award at the next monthly pack meeting.

Participate in Pack and Den meetings

We need your support to help the Den Leader or be a Den Leader for your child's group. Dens happen at the grade level, so they are smaller groups of kids that are working on the same projects for advancement.

Go on family campouts with your child

Besides being fun, family camping is a chance for quality time together and an enriched family life. This program is a recreational opportunity—it's not on a tight time schedule. Family leadership rests with the adult member(s). This leadership might be yielded from time to time as the family chooses to take part in activities, such as swimming, where specific camp policies must be followed for safety and proper operation.

Provide support for your child's den and pack

It's important to remember that the adult leaders of your child's den and pack are volunteers who give their own time to provide a quality program for your child. While they have been carefully selected and extensively trained for their roles, there are always times when they could use help from parents in the pack.

Pack events such as the pinewood derby, blue and gold banquet, or field days take a lot of effort—more than the monthly meetings. The pack's leaders would likely welcome any help you can give. Likewise, den leaders will be grateful to parents who can lend a hand with field trips and outings. By pitching in as needed, you can show your child the importance of helping others. So be on the lookout for opportunities for you to help the den, the pack, and its leaders.