Posts Tagged ‘Cub Scouts’

Go Carts

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

go-cartsOne activity that we did for Cub Scouts when I led a group of Bears (3rd grade boys) was to make go carts. The instructions on how to make them are in the Bear Cub Scout handbook. I asked the dads in the group, “Who would be willing to be in charge of assembling the go-carts?” I actually had one of the dads volunteer. He cut all the pieces of wood to the correct size. We wanted two go-carts so that we could have races down a hill right next to my house. The man happened to have one set of wheels, but he needed another set. I told him we had a lawn mower that no longer worked. Could he harvest those wheels? He said yes.

go-carts-raceWe decided to assemble one before the children arrived so that we wouldn’t spend the whole hour just assembling them. We also met half an hour early so that we would have half an hour for the boys to assemble the go-cart, and the remaining hour to actually ride the go-carts. I asked all the dads, “Who rides a motorcycle?” I told the dads to bring their motorcycle helmets for the boys, which are much safer than bicycle helmets.

After assembling the go cart, we rolled both go carts to the top of a hill. I’m talking about a street, so I positioned one parent in the middle of each street at the intersection. If you have orange cones, this would work even better. I also had a first aid kit ready, knowing that there would be injuries. (Legal notice: This is dangerous, and I do not technically recommend it.) (Non-legal notice: This was so much fun! Who cares about the scrapes and blood? It was worth it. As you can see, I was meant to be the mother of three boys. Thankfully there were no broken bones.)

cub-scouts-go-cartsThe children were able to steer by pulling the rope right or left. There was also a way to slow down; you had to apply the brake, which was a piece of wood that was either touching the ground or not. The brake was in the center of the go-cart, with a boy’s leg on either side of it. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to tell the children not to put their hand on the street to slow down. Several children scraped their hands in this bird-brained way. For this reason I recommend that the boys wear gloves as well as a helmet before they get on the go-cart.

Cub Scout Camp

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

One Cub Scout cacub-scout-campmp is a family camp, and the families of the Cub Scouts are invited to come. The camp takes place near a lake in our area. As soon as we arrive on the campgrounds, we need to set up our tent. Then the children (and any adults who want to go boating or swimming) take a swim test. If you are considered a non-swimmer, you can’t go out alone with another non-swimmer. There has to be one swimmer on each boat. Also, there is a trampoline in the lake, and your child can swim to it on his own if he passed the swim test. Otherwise he has to wait for an adult to go with him. All the boys wear life vests unless they are taking the swim test on the first day.

cub-scout-camp-2The boys are divided into groups, and the groups go through six different stations during the three days we are there. The stations include BB gun shooting, archery, crafts, orienteering, geology in the treehouse area, and waterfront activities. The waterfront activities this year were water basketball and water volleyball. During elective time, there are swimming activities, boating, fishing, marbles, chess, badminton, knot tying, astronomy, and bike riding. The orienteering included instruction on how to use a compass and how to orient a map. We went on a short hike using our compasses. BB Guns and archery can only happen at camp, where everything is gated off, and the boys are given safety precautions. Everything happens slowly and deliberately. For example, “Notch your arrow to your bow string,” is one command. The instructor waits until everyone does this one step. Then he gives instructions for the next step. This way when everyone shoots, it’s the safest environment possible.

Crafts include leathcub-scout-camp-3er crafts, bead work, and woodworking. This year there was no woodworking because we made model rockets instead, which the boys blasted off on the last day. The boys also played with some weird colored sand that always stayed dry, even when you added water. The boys pounded different stamps into their leather bookmark. Last year the boys made a leather pouch for marbles. They also pounded together a wooden treasure chest with nails, and then decorated it. The year before, the boys made a wooden bug catcher with an iron netting stapled to it. Twice the boys made a key chain out of beads. Bead work is harder than wood working and takes longer.

The food is served at the cafeteria, and two Scouts from each table volunteer to be waiters. They bring the food to the table, and afterwards clear the table and wipe it off. A flag ceremony occurs in the morning and at night before eating, and the Scouts wear their uniforms. The boys salute and show honor to our flag and our country.

cub-scout-camp-4After dinner each night, a Turbo Rush is blown up, and the children run through it. It’s kind of like a big, puffy trampoline with a slide at the end. The boys also play human fooseball. A rectangle of wood is entered, with a hole on each end for the goals. Ropes hang across the area, and PVC pipe pieces are connected to the rope, at each place where a boy would stand. The boys hold on to their PVC pipe, which slides across the rope. A soccer ball is thrown into the area, and a soccer game is played, with no one allowed to let go of his PVC pipe. It’s actually quite fun for the boys.

A campfire follows tcub-scout-camp-5he games around 8:30 or 9 pm, when it’s dusk. The first night the talent show is put on by the camp counselors. Many skits, songs with hand movements, and jokes are told. The boys laugh and have a good time. The second night the Scouts themselves are involved in the skits. The camp counselors usually help each camping section to come up with a skit to present.

Finally, the Scouts go to bed in their sleeping bags in a tent. Stargazing happens on the final night. If you take the top off your tent, you can look up at the stars as you fall asleep.


Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


One of the fun activities at Cub Scout camp is archery. Each of the boys is given an opportunity to shoot with a bow and arrows. First the boys are given a set of safety instructions. They put on three things: goggles to protect their eyes, a wrist guard to protect their arm, and a finger guard to keep their fingers from hurting when they pull back the bow with their fingers. One finger goes above the arrow, and two fingers go below. The arrow is notched into the bow string right below a white dot. You pull back the string to the edge of your mouth, which is a lot harder than it looks. Then you let the arrow fly, hoping it lands somewhere in the target.


I tried archery for the first time this year, and I realized that I have no upper body strength. I had no way to aim the arrow because my arm was trembling, making the bow and arrow tremble. Three of my six arrows went into the tarp behind the bulls eye. I had always envisioned archery as a fun Robin Hood activity, but it would be much more fun if I did pull-ups and push ups for several months before I try it again.


My boys did much better than I did. My one perfectionist son was upset that he didn’t hit dead center every time like he does with BB gun shooting. My husband told him that archery was much more difficult. I think each of my boys got all their arrows in the target, but they had help. Nobody put their arms around me to help me steady my bow. I’m just saying.

Camping Under the Stars

Friday, July 16th, 2010


Here is my crazy experience camping under the stars with my family. My story includes sleeplessness, a helicopter, and a downpour. No wonder I hate camping!

Camping is a fun summer activity for most families. For some oddball reason, I don’t like sleeping on the ground. An air mattress does not resemble a real mattress. It just doesn’t. (Remember what happened to me in Paris, and you’ll understand why camping isn’t my favorite thing.) But last year when my husband wanted me to go camping with him and the boys for Cub Scout family camp, I decided to give it a try again. Since I love nature, and I love the idea of my boys having the adventure of being in a tent, I felt gung-ho about the whole thing.

When we arrived, the first order of business was to set up the tent. It was a big tent, so it took quite a while to set up. Then we blew up the air mattresses and unrolled the sleeping bags, and voila! …home away from home.camping-under-the-stars-2

That night I had trouble getting to sleep. First the boys were giggling and tossing and turning and swishing and whispering and shooshing. You get the point. My husband told them to knock it off, and they were quiet after that, aside from the occasional turn.

Tick, tick, tick. Time just passed, and I wasn’t falling asleep. I was finally beginning to doze off at 1am, when a loud helicopter flew above us and nearly scared me out of my wits. Every 10 or 15 minutes, it would circle back over, just to make sure that people drifting off would not be able to actually get to sleep. (Later my sister told me they were probably looking for a fugitive, and that a helicopter is always bad news, especially in the middle of the night. I told her I was glad I hadn’t thought of that.)

camping-under-the-stars-3The next night when it was time to go to bed, we had gone stargazing, and the boys had pointed out lots of constellations. My husband took the top off our tent, and we went to sleep under the stars. The boys were snoring within about 10 minutes of hitting the sack. My husband and I made love under the stars. I thought to myself, “This isn’t so bad. It’s romantic and fun, and I’ve never fallen asleep under the stars before.” No helicopters disturbed my sleep.

Water suddenly splashed my face at dawn, and I realized there was a huge downpour of rain coming straight into our tent! In the few seconds it took me to wake up my husband, I noticed the puddles on top of the sleeping bags of my 3 sleeping boys. My husband and I grabbed the tarp and flung it up onto the tent, getting completely drenched in the process. I looked like a drowned rat. “Good morning. We might as well get up. Can anyone find any dry clothes? It doesn’t matter if they’re dirty at this point. Dry is the only thing that matters,” I instructed my boys. They eventually got dressed. In the process of going to the camp bathroom and back, we tracked mud all over the inside of the tent. (We let it dry during the day and later swept it out.)

I shook the puddles off the sleeping bags. Oddly, the rain stopped the minute we put the tarp back on. Looking around the camp, the ground was dry everywhere except for where our tent was. It was as if God had dumped a bucket of water right on us because it gave Him pleasure to do so.