EDUCATING PARENTS AND FAMILIES
by April Booth
Download the materials for this course:
- ABCs of Educating Parents and Families
- Family Talent Survey
- Pack Evaluation
- Patch Placement
- Sample Newsletter
- Sample Welcome Letter
- Welcome Packet List
Family Talent Survey:
Patch placement guide
(The ABCs and the other 23 letters)
Akela – Every Cub Scout needs to be surrounded with good leaders. Akela is the boy’s den leader and Cubmaster at den and pack meetings. At school, Akela is his teacher. At home…Akela is Mom, Dad and grandparents. Parents should be made to feel comfortable as their son’s Akela. Parents can initial their son’s requirements…
Bobcat Trail – Parents and family should take part in what their Cub Scout first learns in the world of scouting…especially those who are new to the program. Parents who help their boy earn the Bobcat Rank will get a good introduction to the basics of Scouting.
Communication – Den Leaders and parents who keep in contact on a regular basis are key players to the success of the Cub Scout. All forms of contact between den leaders and parents will benefit everyone involved. When behavioral issues arise, parents should be informed by the den leaders.
Den Meeting – Letting parents know what is going on at den meeting and what their boy will be passing off during the month can enable parents to reinforce the same information in the home. The den leader can ask parents to pass their boys off on a particular requirement/s at home during the week and report back. Another way to involve a parent is to ask them to substitute or help out at den meeting.
Empathy – Pack leaders that are aware of each boy’s background can show understanding and empathy towards difficult family situations that may arise. Handling these issues with sensitivity and care will create a happier connection with families.
Family – Cub Scouts is designed with the whole family in mind. Helping the boy earn his Cyber Chip is something the whole family can and should participate in together. Each family member will gain a better understanding of how to use the internet safely and establish valuable rules. Also, pack meeting is for the entire family. And…don’t forget to have FUN!
Great Experience – The hope is that the family will do all they can to help their boy recognize that the activities and values taught in Cub Scouts will help them throughout a lifetime. There are few youth programs that offer boys ages 8 through 10 such wonderful opportunities in learning life skills and moral values. Pack leaders and parents should work hand-in-hand to ensure that every boy is having a positive experience at every den and pack meeting during their time in Cub Scouts.
Handbooks – The first thing parents can do to start their boy out right is to buy the handbook. When the boy has the book to open and hold in his hands, he will be more interested. The Parent Guide at the front of the book is the first thing Parents should read. This is actually a requirement that only the parents can do in order for their boy to earn his rank. The Parent Guide is also ideal to go over with the family as well as the boy. Keeping the book updated and signed off after the completion of every requirement will help in keeping the boy motivated towards getting his rank advancements. Make sure parents get a copy of the revised requirements (available at the Scout Shop.)
Invite and Inform – The Den Leader is key in keeping the Cub Scout and his family coming to Cub activities. Den leaders should try all forms of getting the word out about den and pack meetings times, what the boys will be working on and other reminders…by texting, emailing, flyers, and monthly calendars will keep parents and boys in the loop. Eye catching invitations to pack meeting is a great way to advertise and get the family coming.
Joining – Find out if parents would like to become a member of the cub committee, become a registered Cub leader, or help the pack in one way or another.
Kudos – Remember to thank boys and their parents when they have helped out in any way. Be on top of awards the boys have earned at den meetings and make sure they get them as soon as possible. Help families realize the hard work Cub Leaders go through by recognizing leaders at the Blue and Gold.
Looking – Pack leaders should be constantly looking for ways to involve parents and families in Cub Scouts.
Magic Seven – Help the boy and his parents be aware of the “Seven Adventures” towards his ranks (6 required and 1 elective for the Wolf and Bear Ranks; 5 required and 1 elective for the Webelos Rank; and 4 required and 1 elective for the Arrow of Light Rank.
New Cub Scouts – A week or two before a boy turns 8, or when a new family moves into the neighborhood, pack leaders should contact the parents as soon as possible and schedule an appointment to welcome the new Cub Scout.
Open-Minded – The den leader should be willing to consider suggestions and ideas of parents that may help the program run more smoothly. Ask for help from the parents on implementing those ideas and plans.
Progress – Keep accurate and up-to-date-records on each boy’s progress towards ranks and keep the parents informed of that progress often. Parents should want to know how their boy is progressing. Tracking sheets are available online. Look for one that includes recent and up-to-date revisions. (Don’t waste time “reinventing the wheel”!)
Quality Program – Take time to put on den meetings that are meaningful and fun for the boys that help them pass off requirements and earn Adventures and ranks. Well-planned, quality activities will be remembered by boys and their families for years to come. Parents can contribute a lot to a quality program. Don’t be afraid to employ help from the parents from time-to-time.
Religious Awards – Some of the requirements for the Duty to God Adventures and the Religious Knot can be done at den meeting, however, they should ideally be done at home with the family. The values learned can benefit the whole family as they all go through the requirements together. Requirements vary depending on the religious preference of the family. Requirements for different religions can be found online.
Surveys – “Stop, Start, Continue” Survey and the “Talent Survey”. Find out in what areas the parents have knowledge and training…and what they are willing to share with the Cubs.
Training – Cub leaders will be able to help the boy and his family better when they are trained in their position. Additionally, parents and families can get trained at Wood Badge, Youth National Leadership Association, Family Camp, Philmont Family Camp, and others.
Uniforms – Stressing the importance of wearing the uniform won’t mean much to a boy (or his family) if the Cub leaders are not in uniform at every den and pack activity. The boys and their parents need to be educated on the proper way to wear the uniform and the proper placement of patches and pins. Everyone in uniform should wear it showing respect and keeping it clean.
Vision – In order for Cub Scouts to go through a successful program, leaders as well as parents need to have a vision of the purposes and benefits the program can play in the life of their Cub Scout.
Welcome Packet – A new Cub Scout family should be welcomed by the boy’s den leaders. A packet containing registration papers should be included…Every boy should be made to feel special and welcome.
Xtra Mile – Parents that go the extra mile supporting their son and the den and pack leaders will reap manyfold the rewards
Yearly Calendar – Each year a calendar of themes and events should be distributed to the parents and families of the Cub Scouts. This will give them the heads up in planning and may ignite a desire in some of the parents to offer their expertise in an area.
Zeal – Enthusiasm in the Cub Scout program is contagious. When the leader is excited about Cubs, the boys and their parents will sense that and will want to be a part of that program. Attitude is everything!