Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
One of the most valuable gifts that Cub Scouting can bestow upon a young boy is self-esteem. When he leaves his Cub Scout meetings feeling god about himself, knowing that he is a valuable human being, confident in his abilities, respected by his family and friends – he holds a gift richer than the treasures of El Dorado.
Building self-esteem is so important a purpose that leaders should build it into every part of pack and den programs.
It can show up in a variety of ways:
- Leading a den flag ceremony
- Being a denner
- Performing in a skit at a Pack meeting
- Seeing his name in news report of a Pack web site.
The Cub Scout advancement process is our most effective way. Think about it.
- He works with and receives support from his parents and other members of his family.
- He sees his progress build on the den chart of den doodle.
- He gets encouragement from parents and den leaders.
- His work and achievement is recognized by everyone at a pack meeting.
It is important that we tie this Pack recognition as closely as is practicable to his work. Those achievements in his Tiger, Wolf or Bear book are important. His efforts, his Doing His Best, his achievements are being recognized. He won’t make the connection if we wait too long to award the badge.
Cubmasters must ensure that boys who have earned awards receive them at the next meeting. Don’t let boys get discouraged by having to wait for recognition.
The advancement program, when implemented correctly, will
• Help build a boys self esteem
• Help build his self-reliance as he discovers that he is now old enough to assume certain responsibilities toward other people
• Give a boy the positive recognition that he needs
• Bring a boy and his family closer through the advancement activities that family members enjoy together
Cub Scout Leader Book 18-6
Rituals Are Important
All eras in a boy's life are enhanced by rituals, yet middle adolescence is a time when family rituals often fall apart. Because the boy is pulling away from family in order to become a man, we often let him disappear from family life. This is a grave mistake. He doesn't want it, and neither do we.
Eating together is one such ritual. Families of middle teens ought to try to eat together at least three nights a week. If this means one less sport or activity for the boy, then that's O.K. Eating together and loving one another and communicating during dinner is worth one of those sports.
Scouting May-June 1999
Ceremonies are one of the oldest forms of human communication. They pre-date history. Good Ceremonies are the ones that people remember. In fact, that should be the purpose of every ceremony: to fix something special in people’s memories. They commemorate something important that the people involved should remember. You want to the boy and his parents to remember, not just the ceremony, but what it all stands for.
To make your ceremonies that effective, try to incorporate drama, ritual, symbolism, and a message into each of the ceremonies presented in your pack or den.
Drama: Focus the audience's attention with the unusual. Use special lighting, music, props, and other effects. Do something unusual to grab and hold their eyes and ears.
Ritual:Drive your message home with symbols and actions that are familiar and meaningful to all concerned. Keep it dignified and comfortable to participants and the audience.
Symbolism:Use symbols to repeat parts of your message. Use sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste to underline your ideas. The candles, the badges, the pine boughs, and the campfire can all represent elements of Scouting and its ideals.
Message: Your ceremony must say something important. Pay careful attention to what it is that you want to say. To whom do you want to say it? How will drama, ritual, and symbolism get your message across and make it memorable?
And, of course we should all remember Judy Yeager’s advice on the subject:
Plus you can have fun, meaningful ceremonies that don't take a lot of time. My youngest will never forget his Wolf ceremony (and he's 17 now.) He was called forward with a few of his peers who had also finished and handed a balloon and a small plastic sword, accompanied by a few meaningful words about the badge. The boys were told to pop the balloons and voila--out popped a Wolf Badge!
Judy Yeager, NC