We must be doing something right

Last night was another Pack Meeting. I know I just said that like it was some burden or curse. Sometimes I wonder. Being a Cub Scout leader is hard. It is hard work. It really is not hard to teach the boys new things or spend time with them. They are wonderful. Being a Cub Scout leader is a lot of work. I did not think that being a Cub Scout leader would consume my life, but in all reality it has.

Sure there are the average run of the mill Cub Scout leaders that just do it because that is what they have been asked to do. You know which ones I am talking about. They are the ones that you love to hate. They are the ones that your boys barely eek through the program and barely make rank by their birthday (or by the end of the school year – however your program is run). You are probably nodding your head knowingly. It is fine, if you have multiple boys, you know exactly what I am talking about. If you are fortunate to have a single boy and a fabulous Cub Scout leader right out of the starting gates, just hang onto the reigns for as long as you can because not all Cub Scout leaders are created equally.

You are probably wondering how I feel I have the authority to say this. I probably should not say it. However, as a mother, I have seen many Cub Scout (and ultimately Scout) leaders come and go over the years. There are those that are fabulous and you hate to see them go. Then there are those like I stated previously that you love to hate because there is nothing else you can do. You do not hate the person, per say, you simply do not love them as a Cub Scout leader for your child (or any child for that matter). Maybe they are suffering from a case of burn out. Maybe they have not caught the vision yet and maybe they never will. Maybe they have not been converted to their calling like we all should be in the LDS Church. That is a hard one. You can not force conversion. It takes prayer and a softening of heart. It takes that individual to ultimately “catch the vision” so to speak on their own terms. They have to “get it” and ultimately come to terms with my it is important. They have to understand why it is important on a personal level, deep in their hearts (soul and being) as to why this is important. They have to know why we do what we do. They have to know why we have been asked to do what we do.

In the Church we have been asked to take Scouting seriously. It is not something we all may choose individually for our boys. However, this is the activity that in the Church we have been asked for our boys to participate in. In fact, it is so important that it is the activity that all of the boys and male youth of the Church are asked to participate in. It is not an optional program, it is their activity. The Church has been doing this for 100 years and in light of recent events in the Nation, the Church has felt that it is still in the best interest of our boys and young men to continue this as their activity of choice. It is so tightly engrained in their weekly program that it is hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. It is what has helped shape and mold faithful young men, diligent missionaries, men of honor, and courageous fathers for a century now. This will continue to help build character, faith, testimonies, and ultimately life skills in boys and young men for years to come.

That all being said, however, it does not take away the burden that is placed on the leaders to run a solid and strong program that is worthy of these boys and young men. It is a lot of work, especially in the Cub Scouts where this character molding beings. It is where these boys first get their glimpse of what Scouting is all about. This is where we make or break their opinion of Scouting. Do it right and you can convert them to Scouting for the rest of their life. Do it wrong and you may have a boy that is torn between other worldly ambitions the rest of his growing up years. Not that it is not important that he try these other things, but we have been asked to keep his focus and priority in Scouting where he will gain important skills for life – now and for the years to come. We are to help guide him to make decisions that will affect the way he will make decisions the rest of his life. In Scouting he gets to unplug and reconnect with himself and others – we pull him out of the world. In Scouting we are remind the boys what it is like to “live in the world but not of the world.” What an awesome program that falls so closely into the teachings of the gospel.

It does not make our job easier as leaders. It is a lot of work to come up with things that will keep modern boys’ shorter attention spans reeled in and on task. We still have to teach the same old basic skills that are essential for life and the boys want video games and other fun things. We have to teach about nature and the boys want to talk about all things modern. How do we combine these two polar opposite forces and keep them interested. The best part is that boys get interested once you get their attention and they start to learn something new. New skills can easily be adjusted to modern things. Tool boxes can have modern things painted on them. It is amazing how a box with a Monster, Inc theme makes an 8 year old boy delighted.

Back to last night’s Pack Meeting. We had a very loose Pioneer theme. I say very loose because I am not sure we even talked about Pioneers. We have a very rough flag ceremony because we did not have our trusty flag ceremony paper with the bulk of our leaders out of town. Who thinks about those things? Fortunately the Wolves learned how to do flag ceremonies at Day Camp this summer and so they mostly knew what they were doing. They still have a lot of work to do, but we had a flag ceremony. We had a single game for the boys to play. It was a game out of the Bear book – the rope toss. The Bears needed to sign that off for their Rope Achievement. They started that Achievement at camp so we needed to work on finishing it up. Another part got signed off for the Bears that showed up. Then we had an awards ceremony. We only had 8 of our boys there, but that was more than I thought we would have. Then we made ice cream. This is where the Pioneer theme comes back in. It was close to Pioneer Day which is why we picked that theme. That and the theme for July was Courage and the pioneers showed a lot of Courage.

The best part of the evening, however, is when we got out to the car. That was actually the surprise. My sweet 8 year old son, Lance announced, “This was the best Pack Meeting ever.” I am not sure what made it the best “Pack Meeting ever” but in his eyes, that combination of activities was more fun that a Pinewood Derby and a bike rodeo. He had a lot of fun. He enjoyed himself. He even got to sign something off if he has not already signed that off in his book. The Wolves have something about making a treat for their pack or family, or something like that. He worked hard on his ice cream.

While being a Cub Scout leader is hard work, it is those little side comments from the boys that really make it all worth it. When a parent tells me that their son wants to be at Cub Scouts it makes it all worth it. The hard work pays off in the end. The boys are the ones that benefit. Seeing the smiles on the boys’ faces is enough payment for me. Seeing them reap the rewards at Pack Meeting when they collect all their awards is just icing on the cake. They do all the work, I am just a catalyst to make sure they have fun doing it and want to do it in the first place.

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