A Cub Scout Den Leader - My Experience as a Female Leader
Being a Cub Scout Den Leader
I never set out to be a Cub Scout Den leader. I am a married mother to two boys, that both got involved in Cub Scouts early on. We spent time in two different parts of the country during those years. My older son got into Cub Scouts in the first year possible, as did my second son. My older son also had a female leader of his den, with lots of adult help. I kid you not, this grew into a tight knit group of people, even though we didn't really have much in common other than Cub Scouts at the time.
Sometimes, it just works out best for a female leader to lead, because of commitments and work of others who just cannot do it for whatever reason. Turns out, we had wonderful experiences. I mention this other wonderful leader, because when it came time that I was asked to do it, I recalled her giving so much of herself and time into these boys and all our families. When my younger son came up in age, it seemed to be my turn, and I honestly don't think I would have had the guts to do it if it had not been for her! Major love and thanks for Debbie, you know who you are! Those boys learned so much and will be forever grateful as are their families.
Now, onto my own experience as a Cub Scout Den Leader. Well, we had recently moved to a new place. We had been split up into groups, and while there were dads involved with all the boys we had, none could commit the time needed, and there was no leader. I was asked, and long story short, I became the leader. I had no idea how much I would learn and be stretched and enjoy that process over the next several years. If you are a person considering doing such a thing, why not try it? You are literally investing so much into these young people, to help them learn and grow in things they would not otherwise. That is a very rewarding thing in itself!
Values Taught in Cub Scouting
The boys start out in first grade, and go on through fifth grade to hopefully earn the Arrow of Light Award. All of my boys did achieve this goal with a lot of hard work. They learn to appreciate nature, family, God, others, and learn to give back to the community. This is one of the things that i like so much about Cub Scouts, the teaching to respect life, nature and your fellow man. This seems to be in such short supply these days, no matter what you believe. Scouts isn't overly religious either, like some have said. They respect all choices of belief or non belief. They learn to respect the military, and price of our freedom and the value of hard work. Encouraging of the boys to become more educated in all these areas, learn what is behind them, and why so many hold them, is a great thing.
Activities and Camping
There are monthly cub den meetings, then also the bigger pack meetings where the boys are presented up front, with any awards they have worked hard to earn. We got to go up in front of the whole pack every month, and tell the group what we had been doing, play new games, learn something new from police, or the fire department and more. Its truly incredible the opportunities we were a part of, that I really think we wouldn't have been if not for scouts.
Helping young boys be well rounded in many areas of society, not just what they are interested in, is so beneficial to opening up their minds and broadening their horizons. There was always a Fall family camp that we did every year. They learn how to survive and live in the outdoors. Learning about different tracks left by animals, fishing, and safety with fire and knives are other special skills they pick up.
We did Summer camps too, especially in the last two years of Cub Scouting. If I may say so, this was one of the scarier parts for me, not because I was fearful of camping, but just because I wanted to know I could be a great leader to the boys in a camping situation for several days, with only the help of another leader or two! There are very strict rules, all with the idea of protecting and safety of the boys on particular camp grounds. They are up early, and learn SO much these weeks, I cannot stress enough how incredible these times are!
They are stretched in their swimming and hiking skills, archery, knot trying, shooting ranges with BB guns and targets, and so much more. There simply isn't enough space here to convey how much a boy learns in Cub Scouting, even with a female leader! That I was able to do the day camps, several overnight camps, and lead them along is one of the things I will always be so happy about. I never knew I could do it, and we found it so fun! They take parts in fun and silly skits in the evenings around camp fires as well. Who learned more? The boys, or their leaders? That is a tough question that is a win win no matter the answer!
Some More Favorite Memories
Some of my favorite memories include fishing with boys that caught their very first fishes ever and remembering how happy they were! Things like hiking to a special cave that was hard to get into, then opened up wide in the inside were awesome. Hiking up to bluffs, overlooking a river, where we saw goats and special little round shaped pebbles shapes by the wind and erosion. The fall leaf hikes, trips to fire stations, and learning all the new skills stand out.
The hard work of one weekend passing out bags (the whole country, the US participates every year in this), to go back the next week to collect food for the needy in communities. They not only walked a long time, but helped to sort and give to the food banks in designated areas. They felt a deep sense of satisfaction in helping their fellow man that needed help with food during the fall season preceding Thanksgiving every year.
Seeing a boy work with flint and materials he gathered, then getting a fire started, and seeing the frustration give way to success, is a memory I won't forget. At the top of my memories with them though, besides earning their biggest awards, were the times we went in the creeks every day during our short "free time." Instead of resting, we all kept wanting to go wade in creeks, looking for special crystal rocks, or depending on the boys, catching frogs and crayfish. You never saw happier children, running to show me their treasures they found in nature. This warms my heart even now to think of it. When the end of the camp would come, and we were all completely tanned and wore out, it was so sweet to have them show their parents all their treasures and creations, going on and on excitedly about what they saw, learned and experienced. The parents would thank me so much every time, but I was the one that was blessed I think the most. Those boys now are graduating from middle school, and time is flying by. I will never regret all our time together.