Try Scouting to Find a Fun, Low Stress Afterschool Activity for your Son

 

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Camping, outdoors-man skills and self-reliance are three things boys will learn about with scouting. Signing up your son for scouting gives a nice break from academics and competitive sports. Another plus is that the boy can find a different set of friends separate from the kids in the classroom. For home schooled boys, it gets them out of the house in a group social setting.

For the Houston area, cub and boy scouts are overseen by the Sam Houston Council. The logo has a space shuttle, lone star and Houston skyline on it which is pretty cool.

The Cub Scouts motto is “Do Your Best.” This scouting program teaches values as well as lots of important skills for camping and life in general.

Cub Scouts is for boys in grades 1 thru 5. The boys are grouped into dens, ideally 5-8 boys, led by a den leader. Den meetings allow for the group to go through the program together to complete rank adventures through the course of the school year.

The ranks are:

  • Bobcat (completed fairly quickly for 1st graders)
  • Tiger (most of 1st grade)
  • Wolf (2nd grade)
  • Bear (3rd grade)
  • Webelos I (4th grade)
  • Webelos II (5th grade)

 

Dens meet once or twice a month. Den leaders are volunteer parents who guide the boys on their adventures with support from the other parents in the den and the pack leaders. Age appropriate materials are provided by the Boys Scouts of America for scouts and adults alike so everyone learns in a fun, hands-on fashion without competition or grades.

Overnight outings are planned so parents and their scouts can spend quality time in a low tech setting. The cub scouts is designed to have heavy parent involvement. With my two boys, I was able to sleepover on the USS Lexington, a retired World War II air craft carrier that is anchored as a museum in Corpus Christi. It was an eye opener to sleep on “shelves” and think how full grown naval personnel lived in such tight quarters during the stress of war.

Houston area boy/cub scout camps are also great places for weekend camping outings. Adventure camp is designed for the Cub Scout age boys and is held at Bovay Scout Ranch which is just outside of Navasota.

Boy Scouts is for boys in grades 6 to 12. The structure allows the boys a lot more leadership and the boys are grouped in patrols. Monthly camping is included and scouting gives teens a great chance for learning and leadership. Look for a troop that lets the boys run the meetings with minimal adult supervision so your scout gets practice with planning, leading and working with a group of peers.

Boy scouts have four “high adventure” camps.

  • Philmont Scout Ranch allows mountain hiking and other more challenging camping in New Mexico.
  • Florida Sea Base allows boy scouts to sail to the Bahamas, SCUBA dive, and other aquatic activities.
  • Northern Tier in Minnesota operates June to September for winter camping, fishing and hiking.
  • Summit Bechtel Reserve sits along the New River Gorge National River area in West Virginia and allows whitewater rafting and adventure in the Appalachian Mountains.

 

Of note, an Eagle Scout, the top rank a boy scout can complete, receives a higher starting salary if the young man enrolls in a military branch. Eagle Scout is also a well-respected achievement to list on college applications.

Both cub scouts and boy scouts share The Scout Law – A Scout is

  • trustworthy
  • loyal
  • helpful
  • friendly
  • courteous
  • kind
  • obedient
  • cheerful
  • thrifty
  • brave
  • clean
  • reverent

 

All these values are incorporated in age appropriate ways to help the boys develop classic values. Adult leaders are required to complete youth protection training and given lots of support from other leaders and parents to ensure the scouts learn, stay safe, and develop character.

Did I mention the fun? Camping in the dirt? Oh, and a favorite with my boys – the Pinewood Derby! Car kits with a rectangular wooden block, four wheels and axles are given out. Scouts and a parent carve the wood into a car-like shape, decorate it, add the wheels and then race against other cars to see who has the fastest one.

For more information, check out the below links:

 

-By Cynthia Marple

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