Continue Cub Scouting
As we move back into the traditional Scouting year, many pack and den leaders are wondering how to make meetings work under the current pandemic restrictions. After all, we’re in the upper Midwest - meeting outside will only work for a few more weeks at most.
It is still possible to meet with your Cub Scouts and to provide a quality program, but naturally some changes will have to occur. Careful planning will be needed for this to be a successful Scouting year.
Here are some things to consider as you plan.
Facilities - do you typically meet at your chartered organization? Will they allow you to continue to do so? How will you meet their requirements for group size, sanitation, and mask wearing? Make a written plan to present to them, so they know you will address their concerns. Consider staggering den meetings on different nights of the week, so not all the dens are in the building at the same time.
Has your meeting place become unavailable, whether it’s your chartered organization or a local school? Time to go retro and have den meetings in den leaders or den families homes, as was done for decades. Outdoor weekend pack meetings may have to replace week-night pack meetings, or you may have to have in person den meetings and virtual pack meetings. If your unit is located close enough to a Northern Star camp facility, the council has made use of their buildings free for unit meetings: https://www.northernstar.org/meeting-spaces-for-your-unit
Health and safety - invest in sanitation products, such as anti-viral wipes and hand sanitizer. Get a box of paper masks for those who forget theirs. Make individual material kits for each Scout, by breaking up your current supplies, getting donations from parents or shopping the dollar store. Each Scout should have a box with markers, scissors, a glue stick or glue dots, some short pieces of paracord, and any other items they may need for den activities. This will avoid sharing of items and the need to sanitize shared materials.
Pre-meeting screenings should be conducted by each family, using the screening checklist provided by the council in the Unit Restart Guide. https://www.northernstar.org/Portals/2/Documents/2020_Unit-Restart-Guide-Book.pdf
Remember, if you’re changing your den meeting model, you still need to observe Youth Protection. Two registered leaders are required at every meeting and outing. If female Scouts are present, one leader must be a female.
Family involvement - this is a critical time to educate and communicate with parents. Den and pack leaders need to share resources, information and ideas for Scouting at Home. Parents should be encouraged to fully grasp their role as Akela and work with their Scouts at home, particularly if in-person den meetings become difficult, due to facility restrictions or weather. The National Council, and our council, in conjunction with councils around the country have created video resources to supplement den meeting content, and help families who are pursing advancement at home: https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/den-meeting-resources/den-leader-tips-tricks-video-series/
Make sure parents know how to report adventure and award completion, whether on ScoutBook or to their den leader for recording. Immediate recognition is even more critical if we’re not seeing Scouts on a weekly basis.
Resources - Many councils, units and leaders have created resources for leaders and families, which can help with planning and executing meetings, whether in person, in a hybrid model or totally virtually. In addition to the den meeting videos above, the National Council has videos here: https://www.scouting.org/topics/scouting-at-home/scouting-at-home-cub-scouting/. The Northern Star Council Scouting at Home resources can be found here: https://www.northernstar.org/scouting-from-home Among many others, one additional resource to consider are the Family-Led Cub Scout plans from the Atlanta Area Council: https://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/4424