My two nephews have been in Boy Scouts for as long as I can remember. My one nephew has completed the program and has achieved very high honors. My other nephew is well on his way to Eagle Scout.
So, it is no wonder I was very excited to sign up my son just as soon as he was old enough. He joined last year as a Tiger Scout. My son has delays in socialization and joining the Boy Scouts of America was something we thought would help him be part of a group and feel accepted. We thought that being involved in scouting would help him to do better in school by aiding in his self-confidence and pride. He loves putting on his uniform when it is time for their Den and Pack meetings. He loves the idea of seeing a group of kids his age every other week. He loves doing activities, games and outings with them. He is very much looking forward to attending an overnight camp in the spring too. We didn't feel he was quite ready for that this year so we are putting it off until the next camping session.
He reads his scouting handbook from cover to cover. He gets excited to plan out which elective he wants to tackle next. He has even earned some Academics and Sports belt loops and pins - bowling, video games and good manners.
They meet every other Monday. I like the structure of starting each meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, end with the Law of the Pack but also involve the boys in what types of activities they would like to do or learn about. That makes them feel very important. At the last meeting the boys discussed healthy habits. They made a chart of 10 healthy habits which they decided were most important and are tracking them for 2 weeks. This week my son volunteered to have he and his dad present the Elective of choice. It turned out though that they will actually be helping his fellow Wolfe Cubs to complete one of their Achievements as well as part of an Elective. What second grade boy doesn't like to learn about hand tools and get to use a power tool! We have even had a donation of some wood craft kits given to our cubs so that they can make something useful out of wood to complete the Achievement. My husband is a carpenter so this was a great opportunity for him to show the boys how to use tools and explain what a variety of different tools were for and let them all use some tools for themselves to practice on wooden blocks before the next meeting when they will be making their wood craft. Husband wasn't so sure that he would be able to manage 9 boys but it turned out great and the boys really enjoyed themselves.
Learning about nature, technology, our country, our communities and our neighbors is a great way to spend an evening. The kids are learning essential values for life - Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent. Those are core words to live by that scouting teaches boys.
I cannot say enough nice things about the folks in our Troop. I think that sometimes the Boy Scouts of America get a bad wrap but there are always negatives and positives in any organization or organized sports - it is human nature. You have to just find what works for you. The Troop that we were in last year had some organization/personnel issues that got a bit out of hand - so we switched to a different Troop, a new Troop, and we are glad we did. So if one Troop doesn't feel like a very good fit, then try another one. There are plenty to choose from.
What is most important is that Boy Scouts of America promotes your family spending time together doing activities, learning, listening to each other and sharing. Our Pack meetings is where the scouts' families come and share in the meeting. It is a very nice time.
We are looking forward to another great year in Scouting! My son would tell you to Be A Scout you will be glad you did. This experience is helping my son to grow into a young man who will be a great addition to society and able to feel confident in the job market when he is grown because of the experiences he is gaining now.