Go Start a Cub Scout Pack!
By Scott Sorrels
What is the most important thing you can do for Scouting – that’s easy – go start a Cub Scout pack!
We know from our personal journey how the lockdown has affected our lives. Our Scouts have similarly been affected. Our older Scouts often found ways to stay engaged, and even thrive. 54,000 Eagle Scouts and our inaugural female Eagle Scout class show the magic of the movement. It has been harder for our youngest Scouts. For the first time, our Cub membership currently lags Scouts BSA membership. Rebuilding our Scouting base after the pandemic can most benefit from rebuilding our Cub Scout base. Cub Scouts are the future foundation of our program, thus the mantra – Go Start a Cub Scout Pack!
Reflecting on this past year, I am struck by the realization that Scouting is ideally positioned to help and support American families in the post-pandemic environment. Think about it – our program provides a structured, goal-oriented comprehensive program that is ready made for the American family. We can demonstrably prove how Scouting improves lives through character development, outdoor adventure, and education. That is the message we need to take to the American family.
Ongoing research about how we can best support our younger generation shows that there is much work to be done. A current Harvard University study suggests that two thirds of their 7 to 15 age sample has clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and depression, with corresponding increases in hyperactivity and inattention. According to Dr. Ronald E. Dahl, the good news is that “troubling trajectories can be relatively easily reversed with positive experiences and by supporting kids through challenges.” The Harvard study has found that those who had structured routines, exercised, and had less screen time fared better. Is that starting to sound like Scouting? Other psychologists recommend that parents help their children find activities that give them a sense of purpose and help them set related goals. That sounds like a recipe for Scouting to me!
The re-emergence of Scouting is already happening. Summer camp attendance promises fun and adventure for tens of thousands of Scouts this summer. Our high adventure bases are ready for a strong year. We, as a nation, are rediscovering the great outdoors. We are indeed ready to “Escape the Great Indoors”, as our new campaign will suggest. Units are meeting. Courts of Honor are being held. Scouting is happening in America.
As Commissioners, we should focus on retaining youth in a quality Scouting program. That has always been our calling. We urge you to reach out to lapsed units and see what we can do to reinvigorate delivery of the Scouting promise. We are already starting to see positive results from supporting and re-engaging units that just need a little extra attention. Finally, go start a Cub Scout pack! Call your local Scout professional or membership team and ask how you can help start a Cub Scout pack. Together, we can make a difference as we move forward to deliver our mission.
Thanks for all you do for Scouting,
Loneliness, Anxiety and Loss: the Covid Pandemic’s Terrible Toll on Kids, Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2021.