What Do You Think About Cub Scouts?

Updated on August 12, 2009
M. asks from Plainfield, IL
9 answers

My son wants to get involved with Cub Scouts. I don't know anyone involved so I'm looking for advice. Is it time consuming? What's your opinion/experience of/with it?


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answers from Chicago on

I cannot comment on cub scouts, but all 3 of my girls are in girl scouts, and it has been a great experience for them and me. If you have good organized (very important)troop leaders it makes things SO much better.

I would have him try it and see how it goes.

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answers from Chicago on

I think cub scouts and boy scouts have great people participating in them and they are wonderful organizations. But the national boy scouts organization has made some decisions beginning in 1999/2000 that my family could not support, so we joined camp fire instead (which is not nearly as well-run or well-funded - your club may vary.)

You can google for information on "boy scouts and discrimination against gays" and "boy scouts and religious discrimination" for more information. You may have heard that they don't allow gay leaders, but did you know that they also won't allow gay boys to participate? They have also kicked out local councils that disagree with the policies and will not allow them to set their own standards.

I just wanted to mention it because we spent a lot of time soul-searching about it and asking people, and although the leaders I know are great people who would never discriminate, I just couldn't give my time and money to a group that might kick out my own kids someday if they turned out to be "different." I hope the national organization will some day decide to take a different path.

Girl Scouts is a totally different organization and does not discriminate based on religion or sexual orientation. (I wish they would take boys!)

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answers from Chicago on

Please read my post.
Just be careful, make sure to feel comfortable with the people. I know Boy Scouts can be wonderful, but the creeps do creep in.



answers from Chicago on

Our family chose not to put our son in Cub Scouts instead we put him in Royal Rangers. In both Ranger and Scouts they achieve the same merits accept for in Rangers you are required to achieve the Gold Bible Merit.
One other great thing about Rangers is that it is men mentoring boys not den Mothers. Boy need men teaching them.
When you reach the age of 13 you also can become part of FCF, Fellowship of Christian Frontiersmen. Where men and boys experience life from a frontiersmen prospective. I say they go out and sleep in teepees.
Our son started Rangers in first grade and achieved his Gold Medal of Achievement at 13 years old and went on to be Illinois Ranger of the Year, two years ago. At the age of 19 he is still very involved with Royal Rangers and I think he always will be. "Once a Ranger always a Ranger."
Here is the Illinois Royal Ranger website http://www.ilrr.org/index.php
I am not sure where the closest outpost is to you but could easily find out for you, if you were interested. One of the head men for the state of Illinois is in our outpost.



answers from Chicago on

I had 2 sons in it and it was not an enjoyable experience for our family. The Dads were the Den Leaders and maybe we just got some bad ones. They planned the den meetings rather randomly so you would find out on Monday, that you had a meeting on Wednesday. One leader had the parents rotate the meetings which we didn't know about when we signed up. Then we had to schedule and plan a meeting.

The pack meetings for our groups were always on a Friday night. Usually you have 1 den meeting and 1 pack meeting a month, then there might be an activity or 2 on top of that.

Then there's the Pinewood Derby which we called the Dadwood Derby because it was totally obvious that the Dads made the cars. Our kids would be upset that their car didn't look as nice as those cars and we were not happy that the other Dads didn't let the kids make their own car.

So I'm sure some families love/loved Scouts, but it just seem too unorganized and another thing on the list for us.




answers from Chicago on

I think it can be a great thing for boys to be involved in. My son was never interested and I gave him that choice. My brother was very involved with it long ago. I do draw the line though because I think some troops can be extreme. It all depends on the troop and the leader. If you think your son would be great with it, find out about the troop in your area and talk to other parents and the leader. They can all tell you what you can expect and how involved your will have to be. Of course, you can always try it and if it doesn't work out, then you and your son can stop.



answers from Chicago on

My son was involved with Cub Scouts for a few years. I will say that the "pack" ("troops" are Girl Scouts) was VERY organized and planned many wonderful activities. Without Cub Scouts, we probably would have never stayed overnight at the Shedd Aquarium, shot off rockets and held boa constrictors, raced Pinewood Derby cars, visited a recyclable plant, etc... I watched my son face stage fright and speak into a microphone in front of 200 people. There were so many opportunities that were given to us, like camping, fishing, archery, staying overnight on a submarine, visiting a TV station, etc... The positive is that Cub Scouts has a lot to offer. You just have to find that right "pack" for your son.

Unlike Mary J.'s post, we had a regularly scheduled, den meeting, every other week (each pack has what are called "dens" , which are groups of kids divided by age.) My son's biggest complaint is that it became too much like school, meaning, he would come home, then have to work on his handbook lesson on a meeting night. (there are chapters to complete in the handbook). His Den leader didn't really hold the children's attention. His den meetings just weren't that exciting to him but the big Pack meetings (all dens came together) were fun, and they met once a month.

The point that Mary J. did make was about Pinewood Derby - Ours was VERY organized and time- conscientious (the race lasted for 1 1/2 hour - I've heard nightmare stories about this!). My son and his dad (and even his Uncle) really enjoyed working to make the fastest car and my son's car ALWAYS looked like it was completed by a kid. I knew he would never get a trophy for it because it wasn't the "coolest looking, fastest, most creative car, but it was his and his Dad & Uncle's project. Yes, those "aerodynamic designs" that those 7-year-olds allegedly created??? GIMMEE A BREAK!

So, my best advise to you - if your community has a "Boy Scouts Round-up Day" in September, go and attend. They will bring all the packs together and offer information on all the Packs in your community. Our community has about 6 different Packs, all run a little differently and all meeting different days. All Packs have their own "sponsor" (i.e. a church, VFW, etc... ) and the sponsor may offer a meeting place, monetary support, etc... depending on sponsor. Go and talk to the Packs and see which one you like and what activities they offer. Also, ask if there are any background checks for adults who work with young children (i.e. den leaders, etc..) Talk to other parents and see if there is one Pack that does more activities, which ones are organized or too militant. Cub scouts are the younger kids so if you meet any "Boy Scouts" (over 10-11 years old), ask THEM about Cub scouting and what Pack they used to be in and if they liked it.

It really is all about the people who run the Pack that truly determines the success. Cub Scouts can't run without volunteers - and a Pack is only as good as the volunteers who participate.



answers from Chicago on

Cub Souts is an amazing program, but it is extremely time consuming. They have one meeting per week, many campouts, special events throughout the year, popcorn sales, etc. The best thing for you to do is talk with the den leader at your school and find out what the time and financial commitment is. A better alternative is to see if there is an Indian Guides/Princess program available in your community. It is organized in a similar fashion, but in this program, the parent does everything with the child - together, at a fraction of the cost and time commitment.



answers from Chicago on

I will echo Jen's comments. I also can not support an organization who would not permit my friends who are wonderful gay and lesbian parents to participate. Or, if one of their children mentioned their "parents" (mom/mom or dad/dad) during a meeting to be told that their parents are not welcome because of their sexual orientation. What is that teaching? That is nuts, to me. And so hurtful. For that reason, no schools in our village sponsor Boy Scout troops. If/when the Scouts change their policy, I think the schools would reconsider. The Scouts know this, yet they have not revised their policy of excluding these families.

We love Girl Scouts. We are also looking into joining Campfire Boys/Girls. Both organizations are open and inclusive to all!

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