Summer is approaching – something we may have lost track of, despite the change in weather, because our routines have been substantially altered over the last year. Pack and den meetings have taken on a completely different look from what we were used to. Many of the ways that Cub Scouts took part in activities that lead to advancement in rank have had to adapt to the changing circumstances of social distancing and meeting remotely.
The National Advancement Team of the Boy Scouts of America reminds us that even though our Cub Scouts roll up to their next rank in June, special provisions are in place for them to complete the ranks they are departing while they begin to enjoy activities of their next rank. If a Bear, for instance, hasn’t completed all her requirements for a particular advancement item, she can still work on them over the summer in order to earn the Bear rank, while beginning to meet and take part in Webelos activities. In general, as long as the requirements are all met by the time school starts again, they can be awarded the rank they would ordinarily have earned the previous school year.
But this doesn’t mean that dens and packs have to meet on the schedule that they’ve been meeting on. Most of the requirements can be done individually or in smaller groups, and as long as Akela gives their OK, the Scout should be good.
Besides, leaders and parents would like to take some time away from the routine, and they deserve a break from having to manage den and pack programs along with their kids’ own activities outside of Scouting. Many children are enrolled in activities that only take place over the summer, families go on vacations, and if good fortune comes our way, we’ll be catching up on those things we couldn’t enjoy over the last year.
The three packs that I serve as a unit commissioner each have a different approach to summer programming. One has a rather ambitious program – fishing, bicycling, day camp, picnics, a pack campout – while another has just a couple things planned. The National Advancement Team reminds us that some of the best-run packs approach summer with the attitude of “let’s just have some fun!”. Although advancement can continue, they set aside time to just do fun things. Among their advice:
The pack gets together with no expectations other than spending time with their Cub Scout community. These packs hold barbeques in a local park, hit the beach, go for a bicycle ride or take a hike. They may visit a local museum, take in a local baseball game or spend the night at the zoo. The goal is to provide an opportunity for the families to get together, to see one another, to create some memories and enjoy themselves.
As a bonus, packs that offer an activity each month (June, July and August) can receive the National Summertime Pack Award. Cub Scouts who take part in an activity each of those months earn the shiny award pin. And for those rare dens that have an average of 50 percent or more of their Scouts take part each month, there’s the National Summertime Den Award.
There is no set path for summertime fun. Each pack does what it finds is best for all their youth, and what the families would like to do.Â The Advancement Team reminds us that the reward doesn’t have to be an advancement belt loop or a pin, but:
…the reward is seeing friends, being silly, just having a good time. Eating popcorn at a baseball game and seeing their faces on the jumbotron, or waking up in the lobby of the zoo to see the animals fed breakfast might just be the highlight experience that makes them want to continue their Scouting adventures in the Fall.
So, talk to your parents, make some plans, and get out there and have some fun!This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.