Mike has been a Scout leader since 1994? A long time. He loves helping leaders help kids. He believes in the Scouting movement for ALL kids!
You'll Have as Much Fun as the Kids!
If you have ever been to a Cub Scout Pack meeting, then you know that there is no better way to have fun with your clothes on than watching kids get awards, do skits, sing silly songs, and generally have a good time. What the audience and non-participating parents see is the culmination of a month’s work—laughing, struggling, and learning—by the boys as well as the leaders.
I have been a Cub Scout Cub Master for years. I am in my second time around in this organization, and I enjoy it more every time I work on a new month’s meeting. I can’t explain why this is, except to say that any time you see a young person, mom, dad, or kid accomplish some big-time goal, it feels good. Very simply put, but it’s true. It helps to have a fabulous Assistant Cub master and a great committee who are as crazy as I am. I can’t wait to see what happens when we all grow up.
I’ve worked with lots of people and participated in many activities as a teacher, parent, and leader. There is really no more incredible feeling for my money than to see a parent’s face as their child earns their next rank, gets an award, or sings a song in front of an audience for the first time.
All of this takes time, planning, and effort. The effort is a task of love. Once you get past the initial “OMGness” of it, the magic begins. For first-time leaders and Cub Masters, you need to understand that you are the FUN Master. What does that translate to in the world of jobs, bills, and other big person things? It means that for 60-90 minutes each month, you have to take off your adult hat and put on your kid hat.
How Is This Done?
- Pretty simply, follow the book! Follow the monthly program guides. BSA has been around for 100 years. They must know something about helping kids enjoy their time together. That’s rule number one.
- This really could be rule 1b. “If it’s not for the boys, it’s for the birds.” What does this really mean? Very simply, in any planning or activity, if it helps boys grow, have fun, and learn to be respectful citizens, then A-OK. If not, use a different idea. These meetings are the chance for the boys to show off and be recognized for working their hardest. So, if you do some things to look silly, if the kids laugh at you (really with you), if the skits are not perfect, so what.
- The parents are the heart. Recognize them. Say thanks to the moms and pops who bring their boys to activities and meetings. Acknowledge the effort it takes to get off the couch after working ten hours at a job you hate so that your kid can get the experience of scouting. Greet people at the meetings and look them in the eye. Shake hands with two hands and encourage them to feel right at home. Expect the parents to help you at the meeting. When the sign goes up, say, “Parents, can you please help me make sure that the sign is up for all the kids?”
- Have a schedule. I try to time everything out. I know that sounds anal, but better organization makes for better meetings. Look at a pack meeting like playing jazz music. You have a structure, but individual pieces of art and magnificence happen within that structure. That can only occur if you have a plan. Use your Assistant Cub Master to help you. Do your planning away from the scout aura. Do it at your house or a coffee shop.
- Have lots of crazy things like run ons, silly claps, props, goofy attention getters. You don’t know where to get them? Can you say Google? And most importantly: Go to in-person training, not online training!
Some Additional Thoughts
- Make the meeting fast! Here’s the truth about fast: Try to have the kids doing something about every five minutes. It could be a clap, a run on, a song, a yell, a demonstration—just something to keep them guessing. You’ll have at least as much fun watching the kids as they try to figure out what is happening next. Get the parents involved in these things as well. Parents who have never been exposed to this will try to act like big people at first. That’s just what you want. After they get over feeling uncomfortable and especially uncool, they’ll want to do it again and again. I’ve had some of my best leaders join because we asked them to do something at a pack meeting.
- Finally, ceremonies: They should be fun but meaningful. Advancements should be such that there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Get the moms, grandmas, and grandpas involved if possible. I know we live in an age of one-parent families. Get the non-custodial parent engaged if possible. Especially the dads. So often, after a divorce, these guys are treated as if they have leprosy. The pack makes everyone go in this case. Be gentle, but at least be inviting. Candles to darken the room, special stories—these touches all make it meaningful. The kids probably will forget, but the parents won’t. Trust me.
Read More From Wehavekids
A Sample Agenda
- 6:00 PM: Gathering game; make sure parents help out.
- 6:20: Call to order, sign is up, kids are in their dens, with parents as well.
- 6:30: Call the flag ceremony
- 6:35-ish: CM welcome
- 6:37: Skit
- 6:40ish: Awards
- 6:45: Announcements, make this silly
- 6:50ish: Song, crazy thing
- 6:55: More awards, silly claps, run ons
- 7:05: Skit, Song by leaders if possible, something really goofy
- 7:10ish: Announcements
- 7:15: Advancements, achievements
- 7:25: All sing Scout Vespers
- 7:30: Flag is retired, all people follow the flag out quietly
- Use the themes of the month for your ideas.
- Have fun.
- Let me know how you do!!
- Two things to remember: If it’s not for the boys, it’s for the birds.
- Dream dreams and you’ll see miracles.
The BSA Site
Tell About Your Meetings
Abundant Old Soul (author) from united states on March 15, 2012:
Thank you. I was a am at the jambo in 93. What a blast. Read my hub about dirty dishes. You'll appreciate the humor.
Maddie Ruud from Oakland, CA on March 15, 2012:
I was a Venture Scout with the BSA as a teenager. Having staffed many meetings and jamborees for the younger set, I know what great advice you've provided here!