August Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
Volume 6, Issue 12
Toughen Up (Webelos Naturalist & Forester)
Food dye (the institutional kind that comes in one-quart-sized bottles is the least expensive. You can get it through the school cafeteria.)
Fill the plastic containers half full of water. Pour in plenty of food dye; the solution should be very intense. Squeeze in a little dish soap. Blow through a drinking straw into the solution until there is a 4-inch to 5-inch mound of bubbles. Lay the piece of white paper face down onto the mound of bubbles.
Note: Fill several containers with different colors of dye printing one color on top of another works well. Cubs can work into the bubble prints with pens or markers to create pictures.
Archery Picnic and Get Together
A great summertime Pack activity is an "Archery Picnic". The following outline can help you prepare for a similar event. This section would not have been possible without the assistance of Den Leader C. Mark Eakin (Pack 11 in Germantown, Maryland), and BSA-certified Archery Instructors Jon and Jaye Pearce (Pack 926 in Gaithersburg, Maryland). So, thank you Mark, Jon, and Jaye for your ideas and expertise in bringing archery programs to Cub Scouts.
Cub Scout Academic and Sports Program Guide or the previous Sports and Activity Book for Archery
As a summertime activity, divide the event into three specific phases:
Phase 1 - Questions and Answers
Discuss background (what are bows and arrows used for, who uses them today, etc.), the story of William Tell (the thought of a father shooting an apple off of his son's head really gets their attention), and archery safety rules. Make sure that each Scout understands the reasons for safety lines, how to carry arrows, how to keep the arrow down range, and what happens if a Scout doesn't follow the safety rules (i.e., not being allowed to shoot). The process of learning safety rules should include listening (they hear what the rules are), observing (they see you demonstrate then follow the rules), and doing (they follow the rules).
Phase 2 - Getting Ready
Help each Scout determine whether each boy is right or left eye dominant. This is much more important than right or left handed in aiming an arrow. The Cub Scout Sports and Academic Book on Archery describes how to determine eye dominance.
Set up the targets about 20 feet from the firing line. Also set up "William Tell" targets at one end of the firing line, about 10 feet from the line. William Tell targets are an outline of a boy's head and shoulders on a cardboard sheet. Cut a hole on top of the head, about 5 inches in diameter. Attach a piece of red fabric behind the hole. By attaching the fabric at the top only, an arrow or dart that passes through the hole will pass through the hole, then fall to the ground behind the target. Plan to use these targets with younger Scouts first, then move them back for older Scouts after they have had some practice.
Divide the Scouts into groups based on the number of bows available. If you have two groups, help the first group put on the wrist guards and advance to the first safety line. Assign one parent to each bow and then all the Scouts to advance to the firing line. Do not allow any Scout to nock and arrow until everyone is ready. Have one adult stay with the second group at the first safety line to watch. If you have more than two groups, you will need to plan for an activity, such as baseball, soccer, or dodgeball, that the other Scouts can do (with adult supervision and away from the archery range) so that they don't get bored. For younger Scouts (Tigers or Wolves), consider using toy bows first. Ask their parents for input and judge coordination and strength before letting younger Scouts use bigger bows.
Phase 3 -Shooting
This is where everything you have talked about gets real. Instruct each Scout that has advanced to the firing line to nock one arrow. Remind them to keep arrows pointing down range at all times. Walk behind each Scout/parent team to make sure that the arrows are nocked correctly. Take time before you let them shoot to make sure they are prepared. Then - let them "Fire."
After all Scouts have shot their five arrows, instruct them to retrieve their arrows. Scouts should take their bows with them to the target. That way, no one can pick one up and accidentally shoot while people are on the range. Remind the Scouts to hold the arrows correctly while walking. Bring all arrows back to the firing line and have the first group switch places with the second group. Repeat the above process.
Things to watch for:
Make sure Scouts don't turn arrows away from the targets, especially when they are excited about shooting. Don't let any Scout "dry fire" his bow. Don't let anyone get frustrated. If a Scout is having difficulty, spend a few moments working slowly with him to help him shoot his next arrow. Be encouraging, not critical.
Variations - Remember to give parents, especially mothers, a chance to shoot also. Keep track of how many turns each group gets; try to keep the turns balanced. Make sure that younger Scouts get to use larger bows, and make sure that older Scouts get to shoot at the William Tell targets. You may also try a parent/son/ competition after everyone has had a chance to practice.
Visit a physical fitness trail
Earn a Cub Scout Sports belt loop.
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