Pros and Cons of Cub Scouts

Updated on September 08, 2013
S.H. asks from Santa Barbara, CA
21 answers

My son has a flyer for cub scouts and I am thinking of signing him up. I plan to be with him, so the whole child molester thing is not the con I am looking for here (someone on my Facebook wrote this, so I am bringing it up). I want to know the average cost (i called, but they said to just show up and will go over the annual dues with me). The meetings are once a month, yet I am assuming there will be more get togethers. I was trying to explain to my son what is was, but I know I was very general and may have gotten him excited for things they do when they are older (making a fire with sticks and camping). We happen to be Christian, but excluding certain faiths (or non faiths is not a plus to me). Could you tell me your experience and what is typically expected? I think asking here is better than fb, because I know some would like to say some negatives and be anonymous. I really want to know the positives too.

edit-Thanks B. I forgot about the annoying fundraising. I will hear what they have to say during the meeting.

*i have a child talking in my ear while i type, so if this does not make sense I'll edit.

*Katie- good point about it varying from pack to pack. I am concern about the local one because 2 people complained about it feeling like a punch list (show up and get a check mark then badge or whatever). I am hoping for fun learning experiences that will challenge my son and help him with leadership skills.

@Patty, my son is 6, so i was under the impression that i need to take him to the meetings and outings. I would not mind leaving him with familiar parents for the meetings, but if they do camp at this age, i would want my husband with him.

@canuck, when i inquired on my Facebook, someone out of town included a link about the lawsuit and child molesters in the scouts. another local friend said cub scouts have the parent with them. Her statement made me think that was expected. Other moms make comments about going to the meeting and knowing so and so because of cub scouts. this made me think the parent(s) are expect and wanted to be involved.

edit: i understand they need money. I was just reminiscing about my cubical job and have many candy bars or popcorn/nuts fundraisers for all the co-workers' kids. I was getting annoying. i do not want to be one of those people.

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So What Happened?

I really hope our troop is similar to the experience 2kidmama wrote about. The day camp sounds awesome for age 6 to 8 and then sleep away after that. I will find out soon enough what our troop does at the meeting (I'm expected to go).

I'm wondering if some of the other moms that are commenting on independence might be thinking of older boys.

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answers from Los Angeles on

If you want to support a group that doesn't believe in equal rights for all humans go for it. We have some friends in cub scouts and they have learned not to ask me for a donation as I will not give to organizations that breed hate.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I am struggling with this as well. Several of the people that I associate with have their kids in scouts. Locally, I am guessing that the scouts are just fine. Nationally, I have a problem with their organization. My personal opinion is that the Boy Scouts of America use religion as a way to justify hatred and discrimination. That is really not the message that I want to send to my son...folks are just fine as long as they believe exactly the same way as you do...otherwise they must be excluded.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We didn't do it because of the BSA policy excluding gay scout leaders and gay scouts once they become adults. I would not let my son join an organization that would exclude our friends and parents of my son's friends. We did use it as a good teaching lesson in morality. The girl scouts on the other hand seem to be an inclusive and tolerant organization.

ETA: Good for the Girl Scouts supporting Planned Parenthood. I was unaware of that, but just another reason to support them.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

there's a lot of great stuff about scouts.
but their discrimination policy and insanely outdated notions about homosexuality rule them out in my book. all their vaunted concern about 'values' is utterly nullified by their vile, hateful and totally wrong stance about gay people.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Scouts is a good program. It is based on Christian values, they don't preach to the kids but they do follow standards you'd expect to see good Christian people follow like being kind, being prepared, making sure the places you've been are left in better shape after you leave than they were before you arrived, service, character, morality, values, high standards for sure.

I think it is a good program. It teaches the kids so many good things. I enjoyed doing cub scouts with a young man who I was working with through my job, I was a Habilitation Training Specialist. I worked with people who had developmental disabilities. I worked one on one with him and we planned out and did all his badges in a shorter time than the other kids. We had scheduled time each day where many parents just try to come home from work and get dinner on the table and homework done.

It was much easier for me. I had planned time with him every day.

I enjoyed the trips we took and the goals we set. We did a lot of fun things.

I think scouts is a fun program and lots of good things come from it. I'd say you will enjoy this too. Attending and helping the kids do this stuff is a great way to bond with your kiddo and spend quality time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

My oldest is in 1st Grade, and we just signed him up for Cub Scouts. I don't know a whole lot a out our pack, but I was a Girls Scout from age 6 through 18, and then I became a leader. Loved it!!!

I loved Girl Scouts. Imet some great people, learned a lot about camping, outdoors, leadership, community service, goofy camp songs (That I now sing to my kids. Bonus!)

I do know many people who tried Girl Scouts and did not have a good experience. It all depends on the leader and the right mix of kids. Boy Scouts is the same way. I'd like to at least give it a shot.

I don't agree with the Boy Scouts' policies on homosexuals. I don't agree with the Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuals either, but I am an active member of my parish. I don't want to deny my son the many amazing opportunities and experiences he can have through scouting. I'm never going to agree with everything every organization does. I'm not going to be silent about my feelings, but I'm not going to be obnoxious either.

As far as fundraising goes, well, it's a part of life. The reality is, without fundraising, these organizations can't exist. It can get out of hand, no doubt. But you have to have money.

Good luck with your decision.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Great organization. Kids learn to be leaders in their community, they will do charity work, yes fundraising too. They learn how to work together and become independent. There are camping experiences. My boys loved it. Staying with him? Kind of defeats purpose of him learning g to be independent and work together as a group. I would rethink that IMO.

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answers from Dover on

My son joined as a Tiger Cub and stayed with it. He is an Eagle Scout. I will tell you that some Cub Packs and/or Scout Troops are more active than others. Some are more active in some things and less in others. For example, our Cub Pack did not do a lot of the events with other packs but our individual dens were quite active and the whole Pack (weekly or bi-weekly den meetings and monthly Pack meetings/activities). Same was true as a Scout Troop. They camped once a month, had weekly and bi-weekly meetings but did not do the typical fundraising events. Dues were more than reasonable too. It is best to go to their informational meeting to be sure you get all the info and ask questions you have...others may have the same questions and/or some you didn't think of.

The pros I see is that it teaches them things they might not otherwise learn (survival skills, cooking, etc) and gives them a variety of experiences and service opportunities while having fun. One of my son's older troop members joined the military. When they had to do survival camping his was the only tent not soaked with condensation and he was the only one not cold because he learned about that (through experience) as a boy to layer and not layer as necessary, etc. His commander had him teach the rest of the unit. When my son left for college, he was cooking on his own whereas my grown nephew (6 years older than him) still can't cook as well (hey, if you learn to cook in the woods, you can certainly cook on a stove).

The cons...sometimes some groups can be cliche-ish, the units can be too active or not active enough for your schedule, and as with everything...parental involvement can make or break a youth group (again too active or not active enough), and some kids don't like it.

My suggestion is go to the meeting, let him join if he wants. Be active in it for this year. If he doesn't like it, don't make him sign up for the next year.

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answers from Chicago on

My son is on his 4th year. He has a great Leader/Pack. My husband does stay with him at the meetings. I think it's mandatory that a parent is at the meetings till a certain rank is reached. But they don't sit near each other, the parent just has to be in the building.

As far as selling popcorn, it's no big deal. Sometimes we sell several hundred dollars and sometimes only a hundred. Our pack just lets us know that the more we sell the less outings will cost. The fundraising is way less than schools push. And they do a great job will all the outings and activities, so we are happy to pitch in. I think we pay about $40 a year. We also get the Boys Life magazine which is around $30 a year.

As for discrimination within the Organization, I think is just silly and an excuse not to join. Heck I don't agree with Girl Scouts supporting Planned Parenthood and having Planned Parenthood info on childrens brochures but my Girls were in it still. Kids are to young to hear all that garbage and unless you are encountering direct discrimination, you cannot really believe all that junk.

Join and see for yourself. I hope you get a great pack like we have.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Our group here is really great...they made a big statement saying we accept anybody and don't discriminate which I thought was awesome. They do sell popcorn and they encourage the kids to try to raise money, but they don't make a big deal if you don't sell much. Our son sells to about 5-6 neighbors each year so he is not a big seller like some kids! Anyway, I like them because the kids work on neat projects that promote being a good person, being helpful, learning about health and the body, being kind, etc. They do camp outs a couple times a year which are a blast for the kids. The kids have fun doing skits and whatnot at the big meetings, so they practice doing things as a group and in front of a large crowd. They do a bike rodeo each year. They do a big bbq/cookout each year with activities. The summer daycamp each year is super fun and our son does it each year (he's 9)...they do sports, archery, target shooting (very supervised), orienteering, etc. This next summer he is going to try his first cub scout sleep away camp with some of his friends. I am excited for him...I think he'll be ready for it. I really see nothing negative about the scouts where we live.

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answers from Washington DC on

I strongly recommend that you talk to parents of kids already in this troop or who have had kids in the same leader's troop in the past. Because every group or pack or troop in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts can be VERY different depending on the kids involved and the adults leading it, asking folks for very general experiences that are not related to this specific group isn't going to help you a whole lot. You can get a very generic idea but some folks are saying it was dreadful and dull, while others are saying to go for it -- and that's all based on their kids' experiences in other places, with other leaders. Talk to parents in your school or neighborhood instead to find out whether this is a relaxed leader, a go-go-go leader, one who presses kids to fundraise, one who doesn't emphasize fundraising, etc. Some troops/packs expect a ton of commitment and activities beyond that once-a-month meeting and others don't. Some consider things like camping trips and other activities optional, no problem, while others start to look askance at families whose son doesn't do every single trip....It varies greatly, so get more local input rather than giving too much weight to what you hear from us in other locations.

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answers from Grand Forks on

I just wanted to agree with Patty. He won't learn much independence if you stay with him at meetings and on camping trips.

Here in Canada the Scouts organization is inclusive of all races, religions and sexual orientations.

I can't think of any organizations that don't require fundraising, but sometimes you are able to opt out of fundraising if you write a cheque. Of course the fundraising develops skills in the child as well. (talking to people, handling money etc.)

ETA: In Canada Cub scouts is 8-10 year olds. Parents do not attend meetings or camping trips. Beaver Scouts are 5-7 year olds. Parents do not attend meetings, but camping trips are family trips.

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answers from Norfolk on

It can be a lot of fun.
It depends on the group.
I considered signing up our son but the local troop here was totally about selling popcorn and if you didn't have people to sell to (or didn't want to participate in the fund raising) - they were NOT interested in having you join up.
Sorry but we're not joining any group who's main focus is 'sell Sell SELL'.
I refuse to pimp my kid - or use his cuteness as a marketing ploy.
The troop in your area might be completely different - or maybe you enjoy the fundraising.
So check them out and see if it's a good match for you and your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We like it, I will repeat again, that it all depends on the leaders in your area and that can vary from group to group.
I can be a little anal and the disorganization from the leaders drove me a little nuts, but the boys had fun and did some really neat things together, lilke learning about our towns history, doing summer outings to the buffalo farm and places we hadn't been, arts and stuff and the skits, they also did some community service and stuff I really liked. If the disorganization had bother me more I certainly could have stepped up.
at the young age, tiger and bear, we were at all the meetings and events, I suppose we could have traded off with other parents or something but we all just participated w our own kids and it was great, As they get older I'm sure you and your son would feel more comfortable with certain things like day camp and while you would be welcome to volunteer you wouldn't have to and if he wanted the independence that might be a nice way to ease into it.
We have not done any overnighters, period, and probably would still only do them with a parent for a while.

I'm pondering what you said about a punch list. there is some homework in our pack, sot hat is one thing and there were a few things at the meetings I felt ds only did halfway and was given a badge for, but if I can step back and really look at what kids his age are capable of and not my pinterst/fb/marthastewart idea in my head, then yeah he really did earn it.
we really have about 5 packs within 10 mins of us so you might want to explore a bit and find a good fit.
I will say the friends my son has made have been GREAT! really super kids and families.

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answers from Houston on

The group my son was in was extremely boring! They sat around and talked about cooking, and tying knots for an hour or more. My son stopped going, but I'm sure it would depend on the scout leader. Get someone was is fun and active!
The cost was minimal, about $30 a year. But you have to do lots of fundraising! And they push it ALL THE TIME. popcorn, all kinds of stuff, you have to sell

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answers from Boston on

I have girls so I can't speak from personal experience, but I will say that experiences seem to vary a great deal from pack to pack. I would definitely go to the meeting and see what information you can gain. The boys around here are definitely involved in fundraising (as are the Girl Scouts, most schools, many other clubs etc), but I don't think that is the main focus. My nephew just finished his Eagle project, and I think Boy Scouts has taught him a great deal about organization, working with others and leadership. I also think he has learned a lot about helping others and doing charity work.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My son was a cub scout for several years and just became a Boy Scout. My husband was a boy scout and thought it would be good for my son. That being said - I totally hate the Boy Scout organization for a lot of reasons and I've been overruled on this issue at home.

The Cub Scouts weren't too bad. There were a mostly kids from school and the parents were all nice. The leader was great and very dedicated. How much you do and learn is really up the the leader. Some leaders are better than others. We met twice a month as our little group and each meeting they did a project. Once a month they entire group met - all the different cub scouts groups and weeblos. I don't know what it cost to join but you do have to buy uniforms and each year there is a new color hat and tie and book. We did a few field trips that cost money (Whale Watching, some nature centers, Camporee, etc.) but some places gave discounts to Cub Scouts. We did a lot of free trips too. I put together a free tour of a radio station for their communications patch. We went hiking in different areas.

The fund raising was mostly selling popcorn (I basically sold to myself, my parents and some people at work) and a dinner once a year where we ate bad food and had a silent auction for things that people donated.

Parents were always with the kids in Cub Scouts. In Boy Scouts the parents don't do as much and the younger kids are supervised by the older kids. These older kids are 14, 15, 16. These are the ones I don't trust. I make sure my husband is there supervising since my son is just turning 11 this month. We really don't like the people in our Boy Scout group but my son refuses to change groups. At their campouts the boys are not allowed to share a tent with their parents. The 14 year old said the the 10 and 11 year olds had to sleep with the older boys. My husband said absolutely not. My son and his 2 friends stayed together in one tent and the dads slept nearby.

Hope this helps with your decision.

I hope this helps with your decision.

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answers from Savannah on

It's a time consuming group! Every Tuesday then most weekends, there is another event. Of course let's not forget family camping trips, which were torture with a toddler brother & a hubby who hated camping. It got worse every year. So after 7 years of it, we were done! There is no way that my second son will join!



answers from Anchorage on

We tried it out and were not at all impressed.



answers from Detroit on

the experience will depend totally on the leadership. if you get a good leader it can be great.. bad leader... bad ...

at our school.. each pack (grade level)meets monthly.. then the entire school of boy scouts meets monthly.. when the entire school meets (60 boys from first through 5th grade it is crazy. loud busy.. ...even the first graders have opportunities for some camps. and other fun activities. but a parent must attend.

funny.. my daughter joined daisys (kindergarten girl scouts) I attended 2 or 3 meetings.. there were 10 girls doing a craft eating a snack.. and 2 nice ladies running the meeting. I felt so comfortable.. I stopped attending the meetings.. I never once thought about child molesters.

boys scouts came up and I said no way.. can my son go .. unless a parent stays with him.. and indeed... for frist grade the parent must stay for every meeting.. and they encourage parents to stay for all meetings.

the extra activites camping trips service projects are optional... I would certainly go to a meeting or 2 and see what you think.. the dues are not too much..


answers from Washington DC on

We tried Daisy's for my daughter and it was awful...definitely not for us.

Our neighbors do Cub Scouts (older now I guess that he is in 4th grade) and they are CONSTANTLY tied up with it. They don't mind it - but again, not for us.

I do know that if you have the right group of people, it can be wonderful. We had a horrible leader and lots of other things that turned us away from the whole organization.

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