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Cub Scout Pack 105
(Schwenksville, Pennsylvania)
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Do You Have Some Ideas to Share?

This page is meant to be a two way exchange between our Pack and other Packs, Dens, etc.  Below you will find some thoughts on things that have worked for our Pack/Dens.  We welcome you to look through them and try the ones that might work for you.  In exchange we ask that you send us an email to tell us about things that have worked for your Pack/Den.  Many of our activities are copied or inspired by activities we have found by searching other Pack websites.  We hope this will make it easier for you.

Please send your suggestions/thoughts to Todd Eddy,

Pack Hiking


Pack 105 has a unique hiking club program.  Each month the Pack does a ~3 mile hike on various local trails.  Boys who hike 30 miles earn a hiking stick that is presented to them during an honor ceremony.  For each 10 miles after that, they earn a Scouting emblem for their hiking stick.  We believe that hiking helps kids grow in many ways and the boys (and their siblings) really enjoy it.

Recently we have started adding themes to our hikes to give the kids additional things to think about.  Here are some thoughts:
  • Animal Tracks:  On a recent hike down a slightly muddy trail we brought along a laminated animal tracks sheet and asked the boys and their siblings to find tracks along the way.  They occasionally stopped but it did not slow down the hike too much.
  • Leaf Identification:  We have not tried this with the Pack yet but I have tried it with my kids.  It tends to slow the hiking down due to the large number of leaves around and the difficulty in matching them to the large number of pictures in the book.  I would suggest picking pictures of 5-8 leaves on a laminated sheet of paper and asking them to just find these.
  • Geocaching:  We have not tried this yet but we have an idea of how we would like to do it.  We plan to target a local trail that the kids are very familiar with (and maybe even bored with) to make it a new experience for them.  We plan to place our own caches every 1/2 mile or so, give the kids maps with descriptions/hints and see how they do.  We will ask each to bring one item to leave in the first cache and have them exchange items between the rest of the caches.  My kids seem to love geocaching but are very frustrated when they can't find the cache.  By doing them ourselves, we can provide the level of help needed to ensure they are successful in a reasonable amount of time and keep the hike moving.
  • Letterboxing: Similar to geocashing, but without the technology of a GPS.  Letterboxers keep a note book and a custom stamp (of their choosing or design).  When the find a letterbox, they stamp the notebook contained in the box with their own stamp, and then stamp their own notebook with the stamp contained in the box.  Google "Letterboxing" for more information.
  • Silent Hike:  Asking Cub Scouts to hike 2-3 miles quietly without speaking is obviously unreasonable.  Asking them to hike silently for 5 minutes and then spending the next hour discussing what they heard and saw along the trail seems to work well.
  • Contour Map:  We have not tried this with the entire Pack yet but on a hike last year I brought along a contour map and discussed how to use the contours to understand the terrain and find your location in the woods with my son.  It didn't take long for several other boys/siblings to jump in.  They picked up on it and seemed to understand very quickly.
  • Compass Bearings:  A couple of years ago the Tiger Den worked through the map & compass belt loop requirements during a weekend Pack camping trip on Saturday morning.  When we went hiking in the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the boys in the Den taking compass bearings at each turn of the trail during the hike and pacing off the distance.  We may turn this into a more coordinated hike activity in the future.
Regardless of whether you offer hiking sticks as a reward, have themes or just plain hike, we highly encourage your Pack to start hiking.  The boys and their siblings love it and it's the perfect way for them to connect with nature while helping them build confidence in their own abilities.

Pinewood Derby

Most Packs run a pinewood derby and have developed great approaches over the years.  Here are some of the things we suggest:
  • Find a volunteer to lead and form a committee several months before the event.  The leader should be coordinating, not doing, as much as possible.
  • Check in all cars in on Friday night, race on Saturday morning.  If modifications during the check in take longer than planned, it will not delay the races when extended family and most siblings are present.
  • Have a facility to check weight, size, etc. a few days before the check-in so that people can see how close they are.  This can be at a Den meeting, Pack meeting or just for an hour on a random night.
  • Stagger check-in start times for each Den.  Start with the Tigers because they and their Akela will have the least experience.
  • Ask a local supermarket to donate donuts, coffee, etc. for race day.  It's good advertisement and a tax deduction for them.  We also put out a donation bucket to collect money for the Fire Company that allows us to use their hall free of charge.  Last year, the Fire Company was generous enough to donate it back with a matching contributing.  We are very grateful to them.
  • We place a chair at the end of the track for each Cub Scout/sibling to sit in while their car is on the track.  We rotate the cars from lane 1-6 to ensure all cars run all lanes.  Each race, the kids move down 1 seat as their car moves to the next lane.  One new competitor is added to lane 1, while the competitor who just raced lane 6 goes back to their Den/family.
  • Have a sibling category so that the whole family can be involved.
  • Always encourage the boys/siblings to do as much work on the car as possible.
  • Most importantly, HAVE FUN!  Cub Masters, remember that it's your job to set the tone.  It's also your job handle overly competitive parents if necessary.  (Redirection by giving potentially overly competitive parents specific assignments works well.  If they are busy helping shuffle cars to and from the track, they don't have time to worry about competing.)

Communicate and Automate

Communication is key to having a successful Pack.  It also can take a lot of time to do right.  Develop a system that works for you.  Here are some suggestions:
  • If you are going to use email to broadcast messages/information, consistently start the subject heading with "Pack ###" or "Den #" for broadcast messages and never do this for other emails.  This will allow people to easily distinguish between announcements vs. email discussions.  Email discussions are a potential source of confusion.
  • If your webpage provides a calendar with an auto messaging system (like Scoutlander does), take advantage of this.  You will need to be disciplined in placing items into your calendar as your Pack Committee, activity committee or activity leader finalize plans but it will avoid forgetting to communicate to your Pack/Den.  The more you automate, the less you need to remember.
  • Annual planning meetings are a great way to map out much of the year so that no opportunities are missed.  We suggest holding the annual planning meeting in May, before everyone is on vacation.  Use notes from post-activity reviews from the previous year as guidance.  At the September Pack meeting, give every parent 2 Post-It notes and hang calendars with events for the year on the wall.  Ask each parent to place their Post-It notes on the events that they would like to volunteer for this evening.  Participation is an expectation, not an option.  Volunteering is a great way to spend quality time with their child.
  • Cub Masters, have a blog.  It's a great way to communicate your vision, your concerns, your observations, etc.  It also demonstrates that you are very connected to the Pack and that you care.
  • Cub Masters/Den Leaders, be consistent.  If parents know when and how to expect communications, they will be attentive.

Responsibility Chain

The theme for October 2011 was responsibility. I had a difficult time thinking of a fun activity based on responsibility for the Pack meeting.  (Let's face it, fun and responsibility don't always go hand in hand.)  After reviewing many teaching websites, I combined small thoughts from many sources to create a program that appeared to work well.

The theme was done in 3 parts:
  1. Near the start of the meeting, I started the Cub Master's moment by reciting the Cub Scout Promise.  I then repeated it stopping at the end of each line to ask the boys what that line means to them.  I repeated this with the Cub Scout Law.  I then spoke to how responsibility and opportunity go hand in hand and encouraged them to seek both.  Finally, I introduced the Scout Law to them for the first time, told them that it is the basis for responsibility in Scouting and indicated we would use the 12 points from Scout Law in our activity.
  2. After awards and announcements, we launched into our activity.  The boys had been sitting for quite a while and were restless.  I asked the Asst. Cub Master to hand out 24 sheets of paper to groups with buddies (2-3 Scouts/siblings) and an Akela.  The 12 points of the Scout Law were written on 12 sheets and definitions for each word were written on the other 12 sheets.  (see attached)  I explained that talking about what each point meant was the goal.  Wonderful chaos broke out.  After about 2 minutes, the first groups had successfully matched a point with its definition.  Each group proudly raced up to me to show their success and tell me what each point meant.  I promptly rewarded them with high 5's.  After 4 minutes, all matches were complete.
  3. With a "signs up," the boys settled back in and I explained their next challenge.  The Asst. Cub Master distributed "responsibility chain" sheets to each Scout/sibling.  (see attached)  Showing them an example chain, I asked them to take these home and add a link to the chain each time they demonstrate responsibility related to a point in the Scout Law.  I told them that I expected that each would be able to complete their chain before the next Pack Meeting.  I asked the Akelas to celebrate their Scout's accomplishment by hanging the responsibility chain on the Christmas tree or in some other prominent place in the house.
This activity seemed to work well for our Pack.  if you try it, please let us know how your Pack made out.  My hope is for this and our Pack's many other activities to be the seeds that sow responsibility and other important character traits into the boys and their siblings.
Icon File Name Comment  
Responsibility Chain.doc  
Responsibility Game.ppt  

Den Chiefs

You should have Den Chiefs for all the Dens in your Pack.  Den Chiefs are given the opportunity to learn leadership and gain confidence in themselves.  The Cub Scouts look up to them as good examples of what they can become and are more likely to cross-over if they already know some Boy Scouts in the Troop.  Here are some best practices we have learned:
  • At the start of the year, introduce the Den Chiefs and tell the Cub Scouts that Den Chiefs are leaders equivalent to their adult leaders (establish credibility).
  • Use Den Chiefs to organized Scouts.  Opening ceremony, closing ceremony, flag raising at camp, flag lowering at camp, etc.  It reinforces the Den Chief's authority and we find the Cub Scouts line up faster for them than the adults.
  • Ask Den Chiefs to demonstrate whenever possible.  Knots, starting a camp fire, what to pack for hike, etc.
  • If a Den Chief acts inappropriately, immediately remove them from the situation and correct them like you would any other Scout, but out of sight/hearing of the Cub Scouts.
  • Never let an adult leader undermine a Den Chief's authority.  For example, when a Den Chief is giving a demonstration, gentle suggestions to help them are great but never allow an adult to say "you're doing this wrong," "that will never work," etc. to a Den Chief in front of the Cub Scouts.  If you witness this, quickly redirect the adult, say something to boost the Den Chief's confidence/authority and take the adult aside to explain to them what they just did.
  • Enjoy your interactions with your Den Chief(s).  Getting to know them and mentoring them is a very rewarding experience that is just as important as your relationship to your Cub Scouts.

Camp Cooking

Foil cooking is great!  We call them "silver turtles."  Many Boy Scout Troops do silver turtles but we have found that they work great for Cub Scouts on camping trips.  Here is what we suggest:

  • Have a chopping party a night or two before the camping trip to pre-cut all of the meat and vegetables.  Make sure you cut the potatoes very small so they will cook.
  • At camp, set up an assembly line.  Non-stick foil squares first, followed by two choices of meat (chicken & hamburger work well), then vegetables (potatoes, carrots, green peppers, broccoli, onions, etc.), then condiments (BBQ sauce, ketchup, steak sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.).  Wrap it, wrap it again with a second layer of foil and mark the name and time it goes onto the hot coals with a sharpie.
  • Set up a second assembly line for after cooking.  Place the food from the turtle on a plate and let them collect other food (Dutch oven treats, fruit, chips, etc.) before going to the eating area.
  • Some additional suggestions:
    • The Cub Master should talk to the kids to let them know how to make a silver turtle.  I like to say, "I'm sure that you are very grateful to your parents and thank them each night for the hard work they do to put dinner on the table for you."  (silence or laughter and uncertainty, am I supposed to thank my parents for dinner?)  "The only problem is that you don't get to pick what you eat for dinner.  Tonight we've solved that problem.  You will get to choose chicken, hamburger or both.  You will get to choose 2-3 vegetables or you can have all the vegetables...and so on.  Just remember, whatever you make, you will need to eat or there will be no smores for you later, so don't try to be funny."  This sounds corny but all of our Cub Scouts and siblings take it seriously and they are great about making good meals that they actually eat.  Maybe it is because we are giving them the power to choose?
    • Line your Scouts/siblings up and have your Den Chief(s) demonstrate how to make one.  This will give kids the confidence that they can do it and allows your Den Chiefs to be the first ones done eating.  This way the Den Chiefs can entertain the kids while the adults eat. 
    • Station 1 adult at the meat, 1 at vegetables, 1 at condiments, 1 at wrapping/marking and 2 at the hot coals.
    • Use a knife to slice open the foil, it is easier and lowers the chance of steam burns.
    • Make up a few generic silver turtles and cook them.  Some people (usually adults) will not put enough in their silver turtle to fill them up and will be grateful for the additional food.
    • Most will cook after 10 minutes on each side (turn once).  Let the larger turtles go 12-15 minutes on each side.
    • Hold the cheese for sprinkling after it is cooked or else it will burn during cooking.
    • If a child refuses all condiments, add butter to keep it moist.  Most kids will not refuse butter.
  • Another suggestion (not related to the turtles) is fruit.  We put out fresh fruit at every meal during camping.  You will be surprised how much of it they will eat.  (Even many of them who normally won't touch fruit.)
  • Have fun with the silver turtles.
Another similar cooking idea is "make your own omelets."  We have found this to be very popular with our Pack.  For breakfast, we have a station where the kids can get a Ziplock Freezer bag to fill with omelet selections.  They can pick from several vegetables (onions, peppers, broccoli, etc.), cheese, salt and pepper (same supplies we use for the foil packs).  The can then add up to 2 eggs, mash it up, seal it and mark their name with a Sharpie.  Then they drop it into a big pot of hot water to cook.  Here are some helpful hints:
  • Station one adult at the veggies, one adult at the eggs/sealing/mashing/marking and two adults at the hot water.
  • Use metal tongs to retrieve the bags from the water.
  • Leave the bag in the water for at least 3 minutes after the eggs look cooked (or the inside will still be raw).
  • More than 2 eggs or too many vegetables will make cook time very long.
  • Limit the amount of vegetables, the more you add, the more water will be inside and the runnier the eggs will be when they are cooked.  Green peppers seem to add the most moisture.
Finally, remember that you have a variety of tastes within your Pack but you probably want to keep your cooking simple and quick so that there is plenty of time for other activities.  Yes, we want it all and I think we've found a good compromise.  Here is how we plan food for a typical weekend camping trip:
  • Friday Night: Smores and mountain pies over a campfire.  Mountain pies are small aluminum or cast iron cookers that you can fit a sandwich in and place on the fire.  We usually have bread, pie filling, pizza sauce/cheese available for the mountain pies.  To make one, butter one side of two slices of bread, place one slice of bread in each side of the holder (butter side against the holder), place filling on the bread on one side (not too much, it's easy to over fill), close the mountain pie maker and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Yup.  Remember to put fresh fruit out, the kids will eat it.  Some cheese and crackers are also popular for the adults.
  • Saturday Breakfast: "Make your own omelets," pancakes or french toast, bacon and/or sausage, PB&J, OJ and coffee for the adults.
  • Saturday Lunch: Cold cut sandwiches and PB&J.  Quick, easy, portable and minimal clean up so that we don't need to slow down.
  • Saturday Dinner:  "Silver Turtles" for all.  For our camp cooking gourmets, we have our cooking pros make wonderful treats using Dutch ovens, etc.  Favorites include Buffalo chicken dip, corn/poppy seed bread, pineapple upside down cake, cobbler, etc.  Yum.  This provides the gourmet aspect for adults but the silver turtles keep the menu kid friendly and kid focused.
  • Saturday Evening:  If we finish our campfire program early enough, we pull out the left over smores, mountain pies, crackers & cheese and fruit.
  • Sunday Breakfast:  Cold cereal, PB&J and "make your own omelets" (with the left over veggies and eggs until supplies are gone).  Quick, easy with minimal clean up so that we can pack up, clean up, worship and get back home before noon.
Other suggestions:
  • Pack each meal into it's own plastic bin & cooler.  This way any adult can get meals started.
  • Put food in the bin for the first meal it will be used.  As you progress through meals, move food to the bin/cooler for the next meal it will be used.
  • Put things like can openers, etc. that you will need for the meal into the bin.  Especially in the dark on Friday night this makes life easier.
  • Put an adult who is not the trip leader in charge of food.  Many times food prep needs to occur at the same time as other activities (especially Dutch oven cooking for dinner).
  • Get your Den Chiefs involved with demonstrating things as often as possible.  Den Chiefs leading things are a positive experience for the Den Chief (learning leadership, gaining confidence) and the Cub Scouts will listen closely since they look up to him (and it sets a goal for them to achieve, being like the Den Chief).
  • Have fun with cooking.

Holiday Give Away Blanket

During the holiday season, it's always great to do a holiday themed Pack meeting.  We did a theme of winter solstice holidays.  During the Cub Master's moment, we spoke about the nearly universal tradition the most cultures and religions celebrate a holiday near the winter solstice and gave several historical (Roman holiday of Saturnalia, etc.) and contemporary examples (Hanukkah, etc.).  (The internet is a good resource.)

After awards and announcements, we laid out a Native American blanket on the floor and discussed the Native American tradition of "the give away blanket."  In most Native American societies, the give away blanket was a tradition done on festive occasions (weddings, etc.) and on the winter solstice.  On the winter solstice in particular, the blanket was placed in the middle of the circle.  People brought items that were extra or that they no longer needed and placed them on the blanket.  The more you could afford, the more you put on the blanket.  Then everyone had a chance to take any items they needed from the blanket.  Not only was this a nice gifting type tradition but it served a real purpose.  It was a redistribution of some of the wealth in society to ensure that all families within the society had enough to make it through the harsh winter months.

They key elements we wanted to drive home to the kids were:
  • It is better to give than receive.  Wealthier Native American families gained more prestige, the more they gave.
  • All families deserve the dignity of having enough resources to survive.
  • Redistribution of items is environmentally friendly and there is no additional cost.  (We very clearly stated that parents should not purchase anything for this.  It needed to be something the child owned and was giving up.)
  • It was a history and cultural lesson about a universal celebration.

Here are some details about how it was put together:

  • We notified Parents a couple of weeks ahead and clearly explained that the item needed to come from the Cub Scout/Sibling.  (No store purchased items.)  We included a list of things to consider including toys, clothes, canned goods, etc.
  • We reminded the Parents 48 hours before and the day of the meeting.  The leaders brought a few extra items (food), in case anyone forgot to bring something.
  • The history and directions were explained at the start.
  • Starting with the Tigers and Tiger ages Siblings, we asked each Den to come up and place their items on the blanket.
  • Once all items were on the blanket, we reminded the kids that they should only take what they need.
  • Dens were called one at a time starting with the Tigers and Tiger ages Siblings.
  • By the time we finished the Bears, there were not enough items on the blanket for every Webelo, so we asked all who had gone already to reconsider if they needed all the items that they had taken.  Several brought items back to the blanket.  We also put a few more extra items that we had previously held back.
  • Once everyone was done, we talked to the the kids about our Pack's society where the Webelos were likely wealthier because they were older and that they needed to take care of the needy in our society (mainly the Tigers).

We seemed to have made some headway with all of the Cub Scouts looking at gift giving/receiving differently, while learning some valuable cultural lessons.  I hope that you have similar success if you try this in your Pack.  Many Parents thanked our leaders for celebrating the holidays this way.  (Good lessons and no added burden of purchasing gifts for the Parents.)

I'm also happy to say that my Bear Cub and my daughter (Tiger aged sibling) both use their treasures from the give away blanket almost everyday.  The items are well used and loved (no money required).

Webelos Crossover

This entry was prompted by our recent situation with our crossover ceremony. Our den consisted of 16 Webelos 2 boys, yes that is a large amount for a den, however we were a large den from our Tiger year on and we always had plenty of leadership and parental help. Our boys recently crossed over into Boy Scouts, however there were three of the 16 who for various reasons decided not to continue with scouting. This posed a bit of a dilemma for me as I felt that these boys deserved some recognition for all their accomplishments, however none of the ceremonies that I saw mentioned this event. I spoke with several other leaders both in Cub and Boy scouts and I believe it is here that someone mentioned the phrase "Crossing into Life" and this struck me as something I could use. Our normal "Crossing over ceremony" includes the use of a small prop bridge, we have the Boy Scout/s from the Troop/s the boy/s are crossing into, blindfold the Webelos Scout/s and then escort them to the other side of the bridge where the Scoutmaster is waiting with his Scout book and Neckerchief along with any ceremonial words they may wish to add. This would have left my 3 boys on stage feeling awkward or "left out" while the others crossed, or conversely it would have left them in their seats while the others were recognized  Originally I was going to incorporate the 3 scouts into our crossing ceremony in order of alphabet, and when I came to their names I was going to simply mention their accomplishments and that they were not crossing to a Troop,  however since we had boys crossing into 3 separate Troops this would not work seamlessly.  My solution, which was partly improvised was to have those boys come forward first, escorted by their parents at which time I had the parents take the role of the Boy Scouts and I mentioned to the pack that these boys had decided not to cross into Scouts, but to "Cross into Life" and that as Akela I was now giving over their guidance to their parents, who then escorted them across the bridge, where they greeted and said their goodbyes to the other den leaders as well as the Cubmaster and assistant cubmasters. This idea seemed to make everyone, including the Scouts in question and their parents very happy and satisfied. I then let them join their parents at their tables while the remainder of the boys crossed into their respective troops. The only part of my ceremony that I would have changed was that at the end, I did not have "closing" and in retrospect I would have had all the boys including the 3 rejoin me on stage for one final recognition of the "Pack 105 Cub Scout graduating den" Otherwise I felt that we had a rather successful Blue & Gold ceremony.