Natasha Brand has no trouble remembering what Scouting was like back home. That’s because she and her youngest child, Sam, spend two months in the U.K. each summer. Sam is a Cub Scout in both countries, while his mom is a den leader here and a group section assistant there.
One of Sam’s leaders in the U.K. went through Cub Scouting with Brand’s older children, twins Jake and Jordan, who are now 25.
“My youngest son is getting to go to Cubs with a Cub I used to help,” she says.
“The lovely thing has been the exchanges we’ve had between the groups,” Brand says. “We’ve had a letter exchange between last year’s Webelos and the Cubs in the U.K. We’ve exchanged patches and scarves. It’s really made a bond of having a sister pack in another country.”
And that sister pack includes many actual sisters, because British Scouting has been co-ed since the early 1990s.
One difference she has noticed between the two countries’ programs is that the U.K. packs give more responsibility to sixers, the British equivalent of denners (Cub Scouts who are appointed or elected to assist the den leader and den chief). That’s an idea she implemented in her BSA den.
“They all really stepped up to the position and really enjoyed having the responsibility,” she says. “I think denner is an important position that’s underutilized.”
Also underused, Brand says, is the position of council international representative, a role she assumed for Westark Area Council last summer.
“All the international activities that are listed on the BSA website we’re trying to promote,” she says.
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