Cub Scouting brings to mind rocketry, camping trips, swimming parties, service projects, pinewood derbies, patches and awards. Boys come to school each week wearing their Cub Scout uniforms, and after school get together with their dens and learn, laugh, and become leaders.
“Designed for boys ages 7 to 10, Cub Scouting combines outdoor activities, sports, academics, and more in a fun and exciting program that helps families teach ideals such as honesty, good citizenship, and respect,” said Arvin Fontarum, district executive of Kanza Distirct, Quivira Council of Boy Scouts of America.
He will visit Great Bend elementary schools this week to talk to kids about Scouting. Great Bend has had a strong tradition in scouting for several years, and for the past two decades has been home to three Cub Scout Packs. Over the next week, Packs 184, 149 and 157 invite parents and boys to learn what Cub Scouts is all about at Cub Scout roundups scheduled at the following locations:
• Pack 184: Trinity Lutheran Church (2701 24th St.), Thursday at 7:00 pm on Aug. 23. Kenton Abbott leader.
• Pack 149: Trinity United Methodist Church (5700 Broadway), Monday at 6:00 pm on Aug. 27. Dorris Maddox leader.
• Pack 157: First Presbyterian Church (2400 Washington St.), Tuesday at 6:00 pm on Aug. 28. Travis Peaks leader.
All boys start out as Bobcats, and progress through Tiger Cubs, Wolf Cubs and Bear Cubs by completing specific achievements. Then, they become Webelos. As they progress, each achievement requires boys to learn more independently.
In sixth grade, they may choose to become a Boy Scout. Cub Scouts, however, is not a requirement to become a Boy Scout, Fontarum said.
“There is a drop-off from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts because sports and school related activities become more of a focus for many boys,” he said.
As boys transition into Boy Scouts, a higher expectation of self-reliance means boys will do more of the planning while parents begin to take a back seat. Cub Scouts gives boys an opportunity to observe and learn so they are ready to take on more responsibility as they grow.
“Great Bend has always had a strong Scouting network,” Fontarum said. “The Kiwanis Club is a supporter, and several business people in town are Eagle Scouts.” Once a person has earned the rank of Eagle Scout, they are one for life, he said.
Speaking of Eagle Scouts, in 2011, five came out of Great Bend.
“For the size of this town, that’s actually very good,” Fontarum said. “Only about two percent of scouts become Eagle Scouts. It is a valued achievement because of the number of service hours and planning involved. It’s not easy to become an Eagle Scout.”
Not every Cub Scout will become an Eagle Scout, Fontarum said. Only about two percent every make it, because of the time and planning involved in service projects. All achievements must be completed before the Scout turns 18 years old too. For many, Cub Scouts is simply an enjoyable family activity, and the benefits carry through into a boys life, as do the memories and friendships forged along the way.
Boy Scouts of America is committed to youth protection, Fontarum said. As District Executive, he is in charge of training volunteers, parents, and youth members to spot and to prevent child abuse. In recent years, the organization has stepped up its screening process and now requires all applicants for leadership to submit to background testing. Only those that pass may become leaders, and these leaders are trained in procedures, such as two-deep leadership at all outings. One on one contact between adults and Scouts is prohibited. The orgainzation encourages Scouts to report improper behavior, in order to identify offenders quickly. Offenders are reported and removed swiftly. Among youth, no bullying or hazing is permitted.
“We put the safety of our Scouts above all else,” Fontarum said.
Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been dedicated to developing boys into men of character. For more information, contact Fontarum at (316) 491-7772 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org