Front Line Stuff
Edited by Robert Peterson
Retaining Tiger Cubs and Parents for Cub Scouting
Committee Chairman E.R. is concerned that many of his pack's Tiger Cubs and parents drop out of Cub Scouting. How, he asks, can leaders inspire the boys and parents to stay in Cub Scouting?
Three simple steps will keep Tiger Cubs and their parents interested in Scouting for the long haul. First, remember the words attributed to Lord Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, Scouting's founder: "Scouting is a game with a purpose." For Tiger Cubs, the most important part of that quote is "game," so make sure their meetings and activities are fun.
Second, make sure parents see the nine-minute video, "Cub Scouting: It's Not Just for Kids" (AV-01V006). It is an excellent tool for conveying the aims and methods of Scouting and for introducing parents to Scouting's program and mission.
Third, make sure each boy receives a subscription to Boys' Life. The magazine is a consistent reminder of the best Scouting has to offer.
Council Training Chair J.D.
Unfortunately, too many parents see Scouting programs as baby-sitting services. They should have the opportunity to see the full potential of Scouting by going outside their unit.
They might visit a camporee or attend a day camp or a family camping event. They might also invite Boy Scouts to come to a den or pack meeting to give Tiger Cubs and parents a glimpse of what lies ahead if they don't drop out.
Getting Tiger Cubs involved early in Scouting activities is a must. Our council holds a Tiger Safari Day, a daylong program with events for Tiger Cubs and their parents. This introduction to Scouting sets their expectations and builds early interest. This time is also used to explain the program to parents and answer their questions.
If early den meetings are unorganized, Tiger Cubs can lose interest. Have an experienced den leader conduct the first two or three Tiger Cub meetings to make sure parents understand what to expect from the program. This will help everyone get off to a good start.
Schedule a field trip early in the season to a police or fire department to foster the sense of community.
Present Tiger Cub awards at every pack meeting to make the Tiger Cubs feel more integrated into the pack. Award separate prizes for Tiger Cubs at the pinewood derby.
Manage parent expectations. Many parents are not aware of limitations on Tiger Cub events compared to those for Cub Scouts and expect much more with less of their involvement.
Our pack's answer is "Fun! Fun! Fun!" It's all about program. We have integrated Tiger Cubs into every aspect of the pack; they make a presentation at every pack meeting, as does every other den.
Each den talks about the fun things they did that month and what they're planning for the next month. We make a point of having some activities that are geared for each age level, so that we can say, "Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! I'll bet you younger Scouts can't wait for next year when YOU will be able to do that!"
The younger boys can see what older-boy activities they can do whennot ifthey come back.
We should be recruiting new Tiger Cubs and their parents by the end of May and have them registered and active in June. They should attend summer day camp with their parents, and Tiger Cub dens should be active during the summer.
Because Cub Scout Program Helps starts with September, some leaders think that our program starts that month. In reality, Cub Scouting is designed to run year-round. Too many packs start activities after School Night for Scouting in the fall and end in early spring.
Tiger Cubs is the ideal vehicle to attract new leaders for Scouting as well as provide a quality family program for parents and sons.
Tiger Cubs need to want to become Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and Bears must want to become Webelos Scouts. And, of course, Webelos Scouts must be eager to join Boy Scouts. There should be new challenges and opportunities as they move up in Scouting.
The pack trainer should work with parents to ensure a quality experience for all, and the pack's chairman and Cubmaster must make sure all dens are active and successful. It is helpful for previous Tiger Cub leaders to advise the new leaders for a few months.
Also, the Tiger Cub year is a good time to start Boys' Life subscriptions. The monthly arrival of the magazine reinforces the sense of belonging. Finally, KISMIFKeep It Simple, Make It Fun. Not only will Tiger Cubs remain in the pack but they will bring in friends.
Pack Committee Member J.W.
Many families drop out because of the common misconception that Scouting competes with sports, school, music, and religious activities. The fact is Scouting complements and reinforces each of them. But parents sometimes feel overwhelmed by the time required to get their children to various activities, including Scouting.
When our pack does "Fired Up for Scouting" night in the fall and our spring roundup, we talk to the parents about all the positive aspects of Scouting and point out that all the badges and patches you see on a Cub Scout's shirt are positive, representing new knowledge, a goal achieved, and a fun experience.
We also tell them that we try to plan more activities than a boy can do and that because Scouting is a year-round program they can pick events they want their son to attend. In most cases, once they come to a couple of events and see how much fun their son has and how proud he is when he receives an award, they're hooked.
Assistant Cubmaster P.H.
E.R. should bring together adult leaders, parents, and boys who have graduated from Tiger Cubs and successfully gone on through Cub and Boy Scouting. Ask them to describe how their experiences in Tiger Cubs helped them succeed in Scouting and in life in general.
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