Summertime Awards Make Cub Scout Advancement Easy
“Summertime, and the livin' is easy,” so go the words of a popular song. Too often our Cub Scout leaders decide to take it easy too, but summertime is a great time for advancement to take place. A year-round program provides opportunities and variety for Cub Scouts. The BSA has awards for packs, dens, and individual Cub Scouts that can help to motivate Scouts and families to participate and keep summertime boredom from settling in.
A pack can earn the National Summertime Pack Award by doing three pack activities when school is out for the summer—one activity each in June, July, and August, (or during school breaks for packs associated with homeschools or year-round schools). Packs that qualify get a colorful streamer for their pack flag. Dens that have at least half of their members participate in the three summer pack events can earn a den ribbon. Finally, pack members who take part in all three events are eligible for the National Summertime Pack Award pin. This Cub Scout award is worn on the right pocket flap of their uniform. Note that this is a youth award and may not be earned or worn by adults.
What kinds of activities could make a boy and his unit eligible? The warm days and nights of summer spark the imagination. For example, a pack activity at a local pool would provide something for everyone to do. Water Adventures for each rank include Floats and Boats, Spirit of Water, Salmon Run, and Aquanaut. Accomplishing these adventures toward rank advancement with the families, provides more fun and more adult support. Other ideas may include a pack campout or an outdoor activity such as a campfire program, hike, picnic, or a visit to a zoo, animal refuge, or nature center, where additional adventures await. These include My Tiger Jungle; Tigers in the Wild; Call of the Wild; Howling at the Moon; Paws on the Path; Bear Necessities; Fur, Feathers, and Ferns; Webelos Walkabout; Outdoorsman; Castaway; Into the Wild; and Into the Woods.
The National Den Award recognizes dens that have a quality, year-round program. The award goes to dens that do service and conservation projects, field trips, character building, and camping. Dens earn the award as a team, not as individual den members, by having at least half of the den participating in the various activities. The recognition is a ribbon for the den flag or den doodle.
Additionally, Cub Scouts can earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award. This award can be earned each year using the requirements for the individual ranks. The first time the award is earned, the boy will receive a pocket flap award, each successive time the award is earned a Wolf Track pin may be added to the flap. Activities for this award include earning the specific rank adventures, some of which have already been mentioned, including My Tiger Jungle, Paws on the Path, Bear Necessities, and Webelos Walkabout. These and many additional activities, such as a nature hike, pack overnighter, service or conservation project, can quickly lead to the Scout, den, and pack earning the Summertime Pack Award.
Specific requirements for these additional BSA Cub Scout Awards can be found on scouting.org. The Cub Scout program should provide year-round opportunities for learning, fun, AND advancement particularly “in the good ole’ summertime.”