How to Get Up and Go
Wrangling your Tiger Cubs on trips is like herding cats — plan on lots of people and lots of patience.
Illustration by Dave Wheeler
The Boy Scouts of America promises its members a lifetime of adventure—family camp-outs, day and summer camps, national Scout jamborees, high-adventure trips. But all of this activity starts closer to home with Tiger Cub “Go See It” outings.
To earn the Tiger Cub badge, a boy must take part in simple excursions in five achievement areas: Making My Family Special, Where I Live, Keeping Myself Healthy and Safe, How I Tell It, and Let’s Go Outdoors.
The outings might be simple, but coordinating them can prove difficult for new Tiger Cub den leaders. In fact, Dan Hartshorn of Pack 112 in Berwyn, Penn., got so frustrated leading his den of 13 boys that he later created a Tiger Cub den leader manual as part of his Wood Badge ticket. The manual includes general guidelines and a directory of places to visit in the area.
Here are five ways that you can plan great Go See Its:
1. Plan trips well in advance.
Map out your den program months in advance. Schedule trips at least two weeks ahead and explain just what you hope to achieve. When you call the police station or newspaper office, says Hartshorn, ask for a 30-minute tour followed by time for questions. Point out that you’re bringing first-graders accompanied by adult partners.
2. Stay close to home and get creative.
Hartshorn discourages his pack leaders from planning all-day trips to nearby Philadelphia. “They’re looking at it through their eyes and trying to do something big and cool,” he says. “But a half-hour or 45 minutes for these guys can be a cool thing.”
Lisa Titus, Cubmaster of Pack 358 in Barrington, N.H., says creative thinking can pay big dividends. For the “How I Tell It” Go See It, a den in her pack visited the office of a local “freebie” newspaper rather than a larger publishing operation. “They were really cool,” she says. “They took pictures of the kids and mocked up a front page for them.”
3. Use adult partners and pack leaders as resources.
Titus recommends splitting up responsibility for planning field trips. Allow a parent who’s a firefighter or a librarian to show off his or her workplace, for example. You’ll have a great Go See It and teach all the parents a valuable lesson. “It builds far more ownership into the parents,” he says. “They get used to participating.”
4. Think like a first-grader.
“Gooey is good,” Hartshorn says, while sitting still for long periods of time is bad. And speaking of sitting still, be prepared to lead a simple game if you get stuck in the lobby of the firehouse waiting for your tour guide to return from a fire run.
5. Thank the people you visit in writing and keep notes for next year.
The first part is common courtesy and smooths the way for future visits. The second part helps future leaders learn from your successes—and mistakes.
Above all, Hartshorn says, “Have fun. If you’re having fun, they are.”
Dan Hartshorn’s “Tiger Cub Leaders Guide” is available for download on his pack’s Web site: www.cubpack112.org.