Baloo's Bugle

February 2009 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 15, Issue 7
March 2008 Theme

Theme: "When I Grow Up"
Webelos: Athlete and Engineer
Tiger Cub


Every child deserves a Safe Haven.

Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy

Every child should feel safe: no monsters under the bed, no bullies or predators lying in wait, no cruelty, no rejection, and no intolerance.

Every child deserves a Safe Haven.

Our dens and our packs must provide this to each boy. He must always feel welcome, respected, and safe whenever he enters into our meetings and events. No exception is permissible.

A Special Place

The following is from an earlier Scoutmaster’s Manual and has been often reprinted in Scouting venues.

Scouting is a special place. The rules are the ones we know well: the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. We create a safe haven in Scouting, a place where everyone should feel physically and emotionally secure. We do this in several ways:

We set the example for ourselves and others by behaving as Scouts should. We live by the Scout Oath and Law each moment of each day, to the best of our abilities.

We refuse to tolerate any kind of inappropriate put-down, name-calling or physical aggression.

We communicate our acceptance of each participant and each other through expressions of concern for them and by showing our appreciation whenever possible.

We create an environment based on learning and fun. We seek the best from each participant, and we do our best to help him achieve it.

When Dave Lyons added this to a Training Tip years ago, he emphasized that rules implicit the Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack were just as viable. It equally applies to Cub Scouting as well.

Just how can we turn our dens, our packs, our schools and even our homes into these safe havens? How do we recognize and then eliminate the conditions and situations that cause fear, intimidation or rejection? Like many other aspects, it takes commitment, planning and perseverance by all of us.

Start At The Top

We must start by recognizing that establishing quality is a top-down process. The Pack Committee, top leadership and even the Chartered Organization people must work together to get it off the ground. These are the adults who must show the example by behaving as Scouts should.

Buy-in By All

It is important that every leader – indeed every parent – in the pack agrees to our plan to make our pack a safe haven. That we will faithfully follow the rules in The Guide To Safe Scouting, and that we will do our best to ensure that each Cub Scout feels welcome, safe and secure

They need to make scouts feel:

(1)      free of physical and emotionally threats and intimidation,  and

(2)      welcome, accepted and respected.

Once they agree that our pack and our dens will be safe havens and then act that way, things are off and running.

Choice of Activities

Scouting events need to provide a friendly, cheerful and affirming environment for ALL scouts.   In our own conduct we must avoid unnecessary roughness, physical and verbal threats, foul language, and disrespect, and we should not tolerate such behavior by others.  Cub Scouting should be fun, it should build character, and it should give scouts opportunities to gain confidence and self-respect by their successes. 

Avoiding negative behavior is not enough.  We need to look for ways to make every boy feel welcome and respected.  To see that all Cubs feel included and are encouraged by their involvement with the pack we can —

(1)      Actively welcome and attempt to draw all boys into den and pack activities.

(2)      Watch for those who feel left out because of their own limitations and interests, or because of something that happened; then we can intervene to give help and good will to such boys so that we can bring them back into our group.

Adapted from Jery Stedinger, Troop 2,

Baden-Powell Council;

Communication Is Important.

The better that the families in each den and in the entire pack know each other, the easier it is to establish safe havens. If you know a boy and know his family, you are more likely to watch out for him and keep him safe. He is more likely to trust you and come to you for help.  Activities that bring families together – like Blue and Gold Banquets, pack picnics and campouts – foster good communication channels.  When you plan these events, look for ways to mix families so they get to meet different people and get to know each other. Just knowing a boy by name encourages a certain guardian relationship. This is another good reason to always emphasize his name when honoring a Cub Scout in a pack ceremony.

Know Your Children’s Friends

Parents must be vigilant. You have to be aware of who your children associate with both in and out of school. One of the huge benefits of Cub Scouting is that parents are forced to meet and communicate with other neighborhood parents which puts you one good step ahead. After a year in Tigers, two Cub Scout and two Webelos years, parents should feel comfortable checking with each other on all sorts of subjects that concern them. These relations can be invaluable to parents as their kids enter the teen years.

Den Codes of Conduct are Essential Tools.

Boys feel more secure when things are orderly and routine. It is important that Cubs not only are safe but that they also feel safe. Your den Code of Conduct should do just that. It should have a lot of boy-input so they feel ownership and should also address interpersonal relations that may be intimidating or threatening.  At every den meeting a boy should be able to say, “I’m safe, I’m with friends, I’m having fun, and I belong.”

What are YOU going to do now?

Go get ‘em. We need all the help we can get.

   The best gift for a Cub Scout.......
                          ......get his parents involved!

Also, be sure to visit Bill’s website to finds more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.

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