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Scouting in the Capital

by Maranda My 8 year old, Julian, has been in Scouts since he was eligible which is Senior Kingergarten age. He did three years of Beaver Scouts and is now in his first year of Cub Scouts.

We have a large family, and participating in Scouts gives Julian a chance to do activities independently with kids his own age, which is a really valuable experience for him. He learns new skills and gets to do activities that are just for him, which he loves.

Part of the Scouting program is earning badges. In Beavers, the badges are participation based which  is perfect for that age group. Now that he’s in Cubs they work toward merit badges, and each badge has a series of requirements. Usually the requirements have some flexibility, such as choosing four items off a list of seven. The badges cover a range of interests inside and outside the home, and modern badges such as the recycling badge have been added to the program in recent years. The Leaders plan meeting activities that go toward badge requirements, and other requirements can be done at home.

I think that earning badges in Cubs this year is going to be really good for Julian’s self esteem. It’s not often in life that kids [or anyone] get recognized with something tangible for a job well done. The badges are presented at the meetings and the kids are congratulated by their peers. For Julian this is extra important because he has some learning challenges which means he’s not always “successful” at school, so I really look to the Cubs program to give him that feeling of accomplishment.

Cub Scouts do three camping trips a year, in the fall, winter and spring. Julian loved the fall camping trip, even though he had never been away from home for a weekend before. He did a lot of outdoor activities, learned about nature and had a lot of fun with his peers. It also fostered a lot of independence, which is good experience for a kid with a doting big brother. He is already looking forward to the winter camping trip in January.

His pack also does field trips, such as last week when they went to Watson’s Mill in Manotick. Julian and his pack helped make flour at the Mill and each Cub brought a bag home. He was so excited when he came home with that bag of flour, he burst through the door proclaiming “Look what I made!”. This week we baked muffins with his flour as part of the requirements for his baking badge. He brought the muffins to his next meeting to share with his pack, and felt really proud of what he had made.

Scouts isn’t just for boys, the program is now co-ed. Although we haven’t seen a lot of girls in our particular groups if your daughter is interested the option is open to her. It’s also a fairly economical activity, although you do have to purchase a uniform when your child joins. If you want more information about Scouting for your child, www.scouts.ca has a group locator right on their main page.

Maranda is a mom of four who loves games as much as her kids do and believes the best part of parenting is having someone to play with. She blogs about parenting, techonology and practical-yet-wholesome cooking at MomIcon – adventures of a mom, geek, gamer.