A Pack In The Concrete Jungle

After 6 years, I’m still a Cub Scouter. And I love it.

I haven’t moved up to Troop. I haven’t swam down to Colony. I’m perfectly content working in the pack. I have no children of my own and have just aged out of the Rover Scout program. I didn’t grow up in with Scouting, but rather I found it when I needed it most. Read more about that here.Read More

Scouter Robots

Inspired by a kickstarter for Little Codr (http://littlecodr.com/), a card game that introduces young kids (ages 4+) to the basics of coding, our team at Elsie Roy was able to use the card game to build a team building program that was fun.
Here’s how it works:
  1. Cubs in their lairs make a “team”. Each team is assigned a Scouter to be their robot. Robots can only move along the lines of the gym, and stop where two lines intersect. Each Robot starts in a different spot in the gym. They have a goal to meet.
  2. Each team is given 8 cards and only gets to keep 5. Together, the Cubs must work together to select their cards. They then have to place them in order to have their Robots move towards the goal.
  3. Each card is one action. If the card says “step forward”, the Robot will move between where the lines cross. Any intersection stops a move.
  4. The Scouter leading the activity will have “bugs” that come up in the code, often having the Robot change directions, undo their last movement, turn, etc.
  5. Once every Robot has completed their move, the teams are given another 8 cards and the process is repeated until the Robots complete their objective.
Th
is is a super fun activity and normally takes a full round for everyone to get the hang of it. It quickly became a favourite and is a regular idea on the Howler’s planning sheets. Bonus that it doubles as a STEM, creative expression, team building exercise, and also a leadership exercise.
You don’t have to have the card game to play this, it just makes it a lot easier.
Happy coding!

Cub Car Camp

Cub cars – probably one of the longest standing traditions of every Cub Scout’s experience in the last 50 years or so. I love how a simple block of wood can be transformed into a hot rod or a banana – it all depends on how creative the Cub is (or, isn’t). My first group I was a Cub Scouter with spent 7 weeks making Cub Cars. From January into March it was nothing but Cub Cars. We always had to be prepared for the one youth that missed the last week’s meeting to catch up. The group didn’t see a point in sending the cars home as next to none of the families had the tools needed to transform the wood. Normally a kit would go home and never return.
When I went into my first role as Akela, I refused to do Cub Cars. I saw it as a giant waste of program and a constant pain. I only get to see the Cubs for approximately 40 meetings – why would I spend almost a fifth of it building the car? Especially when no one wanted to enter the area race?
Enter Cub Andrew – he was a third-year Cub and REALLY, I mean REALLY wanted to make a Cub Car. So, I thought about it and concluded there was a better solution – a camp. Enter the first Cub Car camp.
We held it at the hall we met at regularly, had 8 Cubs, and a great time learning about wood shop tools, painting, cleaning up the local park and having great eats. To think back to what the camp started as to where it is now – hard to believe.
In the second year, we improved the camp and moved it away from our regular meeting space as we had more kids coming out. The third year, we had a group carpentry camp. As great as it was, I felt it was far too much happening in different directions. Managing 18 Cubs and 8 Scouts on 1, yes, 1 bandsaw was a nightmare. Barely was able to finish before the end of camp. The band saw was going till well after 11 pm on Saturday.
That was my last year with that group. When I joined up with my next group, we did the wood cutting in our regular meeting space on a Saturday in about 8 hours (6 Cubs, included meals, no race). That’s how I continued to run Cub Car Camp (day camp edition) with this group.
When I joined my latest group, Elsie Roy, I was determined to return to my home roots and have Cub Car camp return to a full weekend event. I took us back to the camp that I held Cub Car camp at my second year and haven’t stopped. Mostly because I get along great with the ranger and know the site well enough to draw it out for others to see.
With Elsie, I invite 2 other Cub Packs to join us. Not only do we link, but we share resources and overall have made the camp my pride and joy in the past couple of years. From designing on Friday to dropping the bass on Sunday afternoon for the rally, Cub Car Camp is probably going to be a Scouting Career highlight.
When it comes to the schedule, it’s all milestone based. As in, before bed on Friday night, all Cubs must have their designs completed and signed off by the lead carpenter (about a half hour into designing some Cubs are already done so I’ll put on a movie). In the morning after breakfast, Cubs cut their designs out and trace it onto their cars. By 10 am, we enter the “When Machines Run, We Don’t Run” and break off into 3 rotations of an hour. There is only ever 1 rotation doing the cutting, the other two are off doing a different program such as a hike and emergency shelters in the backwoods of the site.
This wiggles a bit depending on how many saws and kids we have. Typically all Cubs get to make the first cut and make the choice to either keep cutting or have the Scouters take over. An hour or so out from dinner we all come back together, have a quick game and get to sanding. Post dinner, we start painting.
So long as painting is completed before bed on Saturday, the rest is cake. In recent years, we’ve been able to get painting done by 8 pm and have a campfire. Sunday is all about the weigh-ins and wheels. Once all Cubs are packed up, they break into two groups – one that are putting on their wheels and the other is doing weigh-ins. I have found that very rarely do Cubs need to have weight removed – normally it’s all about the add. We found that hot gluing the weights on helps make the process super fast (blasphemy to some, but we make the weights part of the design as much as we can).
Cubs that are done both then are kicked down onto the field to play a game as we set-up the track and transform the hall into a race den.

Once lunch is served and everyone is settled behind the rope, I play a song of choice (Eye of the Tiger, Are You Ready to Rumble, Kick Start my Heart) and cut it off before the lyrics start and move to a new playlist that is always playing softly to fill the void when I’m not on the mic.
Below you will see various resources including:
Schedule (Google Sheets, view only. You have to add to yours or download a copy)
Name Tag (PDF) (fill in the name and print, page 1 is Cubs and page 2 is for Scouters)
Signage (PDF)
Template for Scouts Canada Cub Cars (wheels are in different position, blacked out space for no cutting)
Car theme playlist (link to YouTube playlist)
Car themed movie playlist (Google Doc, view only)
Cub Cars Rules and Regulations (Scouts Canada PDF)
Image gallery from camps past – click on an image to see full image:

Founders Day

A short 161 years ago in Paddington, UK – Lord Baden Powell entered the world. In his fiftieth year, Boy Scouts started, a worldwide organization that has helped, inspired, challenged, and I like to believe changed the lives of hundreds of thousands. I count myself lucky to be one of the individuals who has found a place within Scouts Canada to help carry on the vision.
Without being a Scout, I have no idea where I would be. I would have never met my friends, never mind my husband. I would have never found a place that accepted me for me (here’s a blog post I wrote ages ago on how Scouting helped me with my illness – http://oncearover.ca/2012/12/17/mission-based-healing-bipolar-doesnt-mean-a-pole-short-of-a-tripod/). I would have never started End2End Media – nor started half of the things that are a creative outlet for me.
In the 10 years I’ve been a member, I’ve worked directly with 180+ youth. I’ve watched them grow, have first experiences, and learn more about themselves in our time together than they realize. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours a year towards Scouts. There have been a few that I’m pretty sure I crossed a thousand volunteer hours (camps are auto 48 for just the event, never mind the prep). I wouldn’t change a single hour I’ve given as it’s given me a reason to learn, grow, and a life time of adventure.
Today is special to me. Scouts is special to me. It’s my one thing that has been with me since everything fell apart. It’s how I get to flex my maternal muscle and have sweet memories I would have wanted to have with my son. I work hard because some of the kids have nothing else – and I know that feeling far too well. I give my all, because I have no idea if one activity sparks a career path or is the moment one of the Cubs trusted in my care needs more than anything else because of whatever reason in their world.
Without BP founding Scouts, I would be lost. I use to play the “what if” game, but it’s become impossible to come up with anything else I want to fill my time with. It’s been challenging the last two months as I have needed to focus more on my health. One of the key indicators of my mental health is when I don’t want to go to see my Cubs and team. When I was first working on a plan of action to regain my footing in the early days of diagnoses, Scouting was immediately slotted in. Because I was accepted. I was encouraged. I was welcomed with open arms.
Some days I can confidently say that Scouting is why I’m still alive and here today. Scouting showed me a new world (literally, I got to go to Australia!). Scouting gave me my new family. Scouting has given me a career and gusto to dabble in entrepreneurship. Scouting lets me grieve in a healthy way for my son who left this world too soon.
Thank you, BP for everything. I doubt you expected the impact that your program for boys would have on people all around the world. From an old, grateful, cranky Akela – thank you.

Lest We Forget

After attending 2 of our local Remembrance Day Ceremonies, the youth concluded that they didn’t like it. They like the concept, but not the act of doing it. Why? They couldn’t hear anything or see anything. Being in a city, our services are packed. I’ve honestly never actually heard anything being said at a service aside from the firing of the canon, jets over-head and the trumpets. I totally understood what my Cub Scouts were saying.

We asked the Howlers Council a difficult question: “Then what do we do next year?”

A moment of silence. Another moment. One of the newer Cubs started to say something but stopped, saying it was stupid. Another one of the Howlers said that they’d like to hear.

“Have our own service?”

Done deal Cub Scout. Read More

Walking the Line

Imagine this- You’ve asked your Scouts what they want to do. You’ve planned where you’re going, who you’re going with, when it’s going to be how to get there, what you’re going to eat, and why you’re going. You’ve checked your gear, made sure your stove is clean and have your water filter ready. Parents have been briefed on the trip, you’ve got your Camping and Outdoor Activity form signed off from your Group Commissioner and left a copy of your emergency plan with another Scouter not going on the trip.

Everyone loves tick boxes!

Everyone loves tick boxes!

 

You are six hours into the adventure and something happens. A Scout sprains her ankle. Or it’s absolutely pouring and your Cubs are drenched, even though they have the right gear. Maybe you lose the trail while up on the ridge in the fog bank And the question you’re asking yourself is this—

When do we turn around?

Read More

Cub Aged Youth Today

At the age of 9, most Cub Scouts are more so worried about the spelling test they have with words like “before”, “boxes”, “spell”, “laugh” and “mother”. These kids are in grades 1-3. The grade 2 curriculum is comprised of; Arts, Physical Education, Math, Science and Social Studies. Arts is pretty basic stuff. Physical Education, think playing soccer. Math is their addition and subtraction. Science is about animals and how relate to them. Social Studies is learning about Canada’s Traditions and Celebrations. While looking at it simply, this is what the base goal of a grade two’s education is.Read More

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