Character development key for youngest scouts
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking to the Cub Scout Pack 3149 Blue and Gold Banquet. For those not familiar with the program, the banquet is an annual event, which honors another successful year of the Cub Scout program. Regina Utter is the Cubmaster, and the Bonner Springs United Methodist Church is the sponsoring institution. The Pack has 43 members.
While I have spoken at many such events, this was probably one of the most unique. The banquet carried out the theme of medieval times entitled “Welcome to Ye Olde Blue and Gold.” There was even a “castle” backdrop for the stage at the Edwardsville Community Center. The program featured awards and skits by Dens (the program’s basic unit). I have to say this – the jokes were cornier than those told by Jeff Harrington and me during the summer band concerts!
But that wasn’t the most unusual aspect to the night. There was a fine dinner served but no silverware was allowed. Yes, that meant we had to eat with our fingers and fortunately there was an ample supply of paper napkins. It was a unique experience.
Obviously Pack 3149 is an active organization which introduces boys ages 8, 9 and 10 to scouting. At age 11, they can advance to the Boy Scout program at an arrow of light and cross over ceremony. Actually while I have an extensive background in the Boy Scout program, I know relatively little about Cub Scouts because I never was a member. I joined the Boy Scouts in 1949 when I was 12. Just that year they lowered the minimum age for the Boy Scouts to 11. Besides, there was no Cub Pack in Garnett, and during the years I was of Cub Scout age the war was going on and youth organizations took a back seat to the push toward victory.
The Cub Scout program differs from the Boy Scouts in that it meets weekly in the home of a member and is usually led by a Den Mother. The larger group session or Pack meeting is normally held monthly. As is the case with Boy Scouts, the Cubs stress moral living, citizenship, playing games, doing crafts and learning a variety of skills.
The Boy Scouts of America came into existence in the United States in 1910, and it wasn’t long before there was a movement for a program for younger boys. From what I’ve read there was a lot of popular support for the younger program, but it would take a couple of decades before it came into existence. In 1924, the national board proposed a program for younger boys to prepare them to be Boy Scouts. In 1930, the National Executive Board approved a Cub Scout program on an experimental basis. Obviously, the new program was a major success and on May 25, 1933, the word “experimental” was removed and the Cub Scouts of America officially became a reality.
In 1955 the Cub program started one of its most popular programs: the pinewood derby. Scouts are given a block of wood and a set of wheels. The boys carve and decorate a wooden race car. Using a ramp, they compete in races until a champion is selected. Awards are also given for the best decorated car. I served as a judge several times and it was a tough job. Incidentally, the Cubs have a pinewood derby on Saturday afternoon during Tiblow Days in the band stand at Kelly Murphy Park.
Yes, thanks to dedicated volunteers the Cub Scout program is successful and continues to prepare young men for leadership in the future.