Using Boys' Life as a Cub Scout Program Tool

Readers give new Cubmaster C.T.B. tips on how to encourage Cub Scouts to read Boys’ Life and how to integrate the magazine into a pack program.

Illustration by Bill Basso

Boys love a challenge and a reward. Before the pack meeting, select facts or tidbits of information from articles in the current issue of Boys’ Life. Write them on slips of paper and call them “treasure hunt questions.”

At the beginning of the pack meeting, each boy draws one question out of a bag and has five or 10 minutes (depending on his capability) to find and give the answer. As each boy is successful, he is rewarded with a small treat, such as a piece of candy, for being so smart.

You must gear the questions to the age and capability of the boys and be prepared to “shadow” a boy who may struggle with his challenge because you want all of the Cub Scouts to have a successful experience.

Don’t allow the game to take too much time. It must be fast-moving so it (1) doesn’t take away from the planned pack activity; (2) doesn’t become boring or predictable; and (3) interests the boys enough that they go home and spend more time reading Boys’ Life on their own.

West Point, Utah

Many Cub Scouts like to do activities as a group. Divide the pack into small groups—or use their regular dens—and assign each group a different Boys’ Life article to read before the pack meeting.

At the next meeting, ask each group to discuss their article and ask for ideas on how the pack might use the article’s subject matter in its own program.

C.E.H. Jr.
Macon, Ga.

The first step is to get the Cub Scouts to subscribe to Boys’ Life and then read it. Our pack does this by having a “Quiz of the Week” based on an article from the magazine. The quiz is posted before the boys arrive at den meetings, and if they answer the question correctly, they get a prize—advertising trinkets the parents use in their businesses (pens, penlights, mouse pads, American flag stickers, etc.).

The number of Boys’ Life subscribers has increased in our pack, and the Cub Scouts are reading the magazine, trying to guess what the next quiz will be.

Alpharetta, Ga.

As part of a pack meeting presentation, C.T.B. could have dens take turns reading from Boys’ Life. Have each Cub Scout choose a joke from “Think & Grin” and read it to the pack. The boys can practice reading at den meetings. They might try presentation skills, like voice projection.

This is how I got hooked on Boys’ Life as a Cub Scout in 1959.

Allentown, Pa.

I have held Boys’ Life Quiz Contests at troop courts of honor. I make up six to 10 questions based on the current issue and type up a quiz. A copy is given to everyone in attendance, and a prize is given to everyone who has all answers correct.

I find that when a Scout’s sister or younger brother has all the answers correct, the Scout will start reading.

Scoutmaster D.H.
St. Louis, Mich.

One way to encourage Cub Scouts to read Boys’ Life and to use it in the pack program would be to have a “scavenger hunt” every month.

Read through your copy of Boys’ Life and make a list of questions that can only be answered by boys who have read the magazine.

Make copies of the list for den leaders to distribute to the boys at den meetings.

As part of the gathering activity at the pack meeting, the boys can turn in their answers for some small reward or recognition.

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Editor’s note: The BSA publication Pedro’s Parade: Using Boys’ Life With Den Activities (BSA No. 26-088) is available through local Scout council service centers. It includes a variety of resources, such as:

  • songs—like “I Can’t Wait to Read My Boys’ Life” (sung to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”) and “My Boys’ Life” (sung to the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”).
  • activities—such as using the Boys’ Life Codemaster page for a pack or den code-breaking challenge.
  • games—including a scavenger hunt to find items located within the pages of an issue of the magazine.
  • crafts—like making cardboard holders for storing back issues of Boys’ Life.
  • skits—using jokes from the Think & Grin page for inspiration.
  • ceremonies—including introducing advancement winners by reading a personal letter from Pedro, the BL mailburro.

There are also ideas for using Boys’ Life in special pack events, like a detective day, kite derby, and magic show; and suggestions for creating an “I Discovered Boys’ Life” patch to spark interest in reading and promote sharing the magazine with friends.

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