John Hovanesian, M.D.
May 30, 2013
Three Tips for Keeping Scouting Alive Over the Summer
Summer is a wondrous time for parents and kids, with no school pressures, a break from most sports, and long family vacations. Most packs and troops slow down during this time with limited meetings, but the best units keep offering activities, and the new Journey to Excellence program appropriately recognizes the importance of a year-round program.
Naturally, every scout should attend summer camp, whether Cub day camp or Boy Scout long-term summer camp. But there’s so much more fun you can have. Here are three tips for putting together events that will be fun and successful that everyone will want to participate in:
1. Take it outdoors. With the great, warm weather and extended daylight hours, you just can’t go wrong with outdoor summer activities like a daytime potluck barbecue at the park or a family campout at a nearby campground. For more adventure, consider standup paddleboard lessons at the Newport sea base or zipline or ropes course outing at the Outdoor Education Center. These can work for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
2. Make it scalable. Choose events that will be viewed as a success even if you get a low turnout. Families can be very reluctant to commit in advance for summertime activities. A trip to the city pool for swimming skill training for Cub or Boy Scout badges becomes even more fun when it ends with an epic game of Marco Polo. A kite decorating and flying contest at the beach or a bike ride on one of OC’s hundreds of great trails will also bring families out.
3. Make it wacky. To lure families from laid back summer leisure, spice up your summer activity with oddball events. Try “Minute to Win It” games like The Anti-gravity Tent Pole Game shown here, the Sock and Rope game at this link, or Bean the Unit Leader with a Water Balloon. (This last one really requires no
explanation but a fairly docile Scoutmaster or Cubmaster. Safety tip: exclude those teenagers who are on the varsity baseball team.) Another favorite is Face the Cookie at this link. One more that’s a hilarious YouTube video but not recommended for safety reasons is Cub Scout Egg Jousting.
Enjoy your summer, everyone, and lets keep Scouting!