Summer Time Pack Award
Scouters Share How Summer Programs Strengthen Cub Scout Packs Application
What are the benefits of maintaining an active summertime pack program? How does a unit develop a strong one? Answers to these key questions are presented below. They reflect the combined responses from a cross section of volunteer and professional Scouters—Steve Johnson, assistant district commissioner, Valle Del Sol District (San Gabriel Valley Council, Pasadena, Calif.); Bonita C. Harmel, Cubmaster, Pack 919, Pfafftown, N.C. (Old Hickory Council, Winston-Salem, N.C.); Bob Bentz, Cubmaster, Pack 500, St. Louis, Mo. (Greater St. Louis Area Council); Tracy Techau, Scout executive (W.D. Boyce Council, Peoria, Ill.); and Darla DiGiovanni, Cub Scout camping and training director (Greater Pittsburgh Council).
Q: Why is it important to have an active summertime pack program? What are the benefits?
- It keeps boys interested in Scouting. Without any Scouting activities over the summer, they tend to kind of lose their focus. It keeps the pack together and shows the boys the fun part of the Cub Scouting program—it gives them the chance to get the first experience of Cub Scouting in the outdoors with day camp programs and hopefully Cub Scout resident camp and Webelos Scout resident camp. It ties the whole program together.
- It provides program continuity. It facilitates the startup of the full operation again in the fall of the year.
- It keeps parents active and interested. They find they can go and shoot archery or play a game with their boy, and have fun doing it. Parents realize, This is a program for me, too.
- Events often involve the whole family. The siblings come along, and parents have the opportunity to experience Scouting with the kids. It gives families a chance to experience what the boys experience during the year. It’s an ideal situation for the entire family to get involved.
- The activities are fun, providing a good time. Summer activities can be some of a pack’s best events. People like to get out in the summer, and parents are always looking for fun weekend activities for their families to enjoy.
- It provides advancement opportunities. By working on achievements over the summer, boys keep the feeling of accomplishment going all year.
- Summer offers great weather. There are some activities a pack can do in the summer that can’t be done in winter.
- Cub Scouting is a year-round program. Boys get the full service of Cub Scouting and the fun and adventure that come with it. On the other hand, packs that have a three-month break during the summer and no activities risk losing the participation of youth and adults, and those members may decide to join other activities to fill the void.
Q: How does a Cub Scout unit develop a strong summer program? What are the necessary elements?
- Plan, plan, plan. Start the planning process early in the year, asking the boys and parents for their input. Announce scheduled activities well before everybody disperses for the summer. (However, simple, last-minute, fun events that require minimal planning and only a few weeks’ notice—like going to a baseball game—are possible. Many families with a free Saturday or Sunday afternoon will welcome the diversion.) Don’t forget to include in your planning any money-earning projects required to support the summer activities scheduled.
- Schedule a series of activities. The boys will try to participate in as many as they can. Have more than one activity per month, because of family vacations.
- Add fresh activities each year. A pack cannot repeat the same program every summer and expect to get the same level of response. However, some packs successfully key in on a couple of favorite annual events which kids and parents look forward to, and the planning for these gets easier each year.
- Include programs offered by districts and councils. Programs like day camp are fun and well planned. They require little preplanning by the pack, other than to organize the boys, decide which week to go, and provide leaders to accompany the boys.
- Enlist parental support and involvement. Certain activities need a lot of parents on hand to help. Pack leaders should let parents and other adults know where and how they can help out. To encourage parental support, ask adults to fill out the Parent and Family Talent Survey Sheet, BSA No. 34362A, as part of the joining process.
- Promote the National Summertime Pack Award. The award is a good indication to pack families and others that the unit leadership is providing a good, quality program for the boys.
The National Summertime Pack Award
Encouraging Cub Scout packs to provide a 12-month program by continuing to meet for several weeks or months when school is out of session is the purpose of the National Summertime Pack Award (NSPA). By planning and conducting three pack activities—one each in June, July, and August—a Cub Scout unit can qualify for the National Summertime Pack Award certificate (BSA No. 33731A) and streamer (No. 17808). And the possibility of earning the award can be an incentive for larger attendance at summertime pack events.
Dens with an average attendance of at least half their members at the three summer pack events are eligible for a den participation ribbon (No. 17806). Individual boys who attend all three summertime pack activities can receive the National Summertime Pack Award pin (No. 00464).