BSA Be Prepared Newsletter

August 10, 2010 4:34 pm’s  Be Prepared Newsletter provides news, tips, and other useful information about Scouting and the outdoors. Information is for all program ages, including Cub Scouting.

This newsletter is emailed every month.



A Successful Pack Campout

May 13, 2010 5:06 am

Jeremy Zweiacker is a guest blogger from Oklahoma.  He is a Tiger Cub Den Leader, an Eagle Scout, and a long time Scouter.

A couple of weekends ago, our pack went camping in the great outdoors — the first Scout camping experience for some of our Cub Scout families.

I’d like to share with you some of what I think made it a great campout.

Planning the Pack Overnighter

We began our campout planning several months in advance.  In August, we set the date for the campout and started telling our Cub Scouts and the parents about the plans.

In the fall, a page on our pack website was devoted to camping. We shared information about the importance of camping in the Cub Scout program and in helping boys prepare to be future Boy Scouts. The page also includes information about camping rules and safety and helpful hints like storing your sleeping bag in a pillow case instead of the stuff sack and more.

Since we did not want Cub Scout families wasting money buying new equipment, we worked with local Scoutmasters to see what camping equipment the boys would be able to continue to use when they become Boy Scouts. Suggestions included headlamps over traditional flashlights and that a Frisbee makes a great plate!

Then, in early March, pack leadership spent the weekend getting the required Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) training.

Our Pack Campout

Finally, the big weekend arrived. Despite constant drizzle and a location change, we had a great turnout, and our Cub Scouts had an awesome time.

We began our campout Saturday afternoon and everyone headed out to go fishing to start the weekend. As soon as everyone arrived and the tents were set up, we headed to an open field to work on the kickball belt loop. We also worked on the hiking and flag football belt loops. We let everyone have some family time, and of course we ate!

Saturday night, we held a short campfire that had some songs and skits by the boys. We then performed a flag retirement ceremony.

Sunday morning we had biscuits-on-a-stick and held a short outdoor worship service. A parent brought a guitar to play along as everyone sang.

After the service, we picked up the campsite and left it cleaner than we found it.

Keys to Our Successful Campout

Here are some things that helped make this campout go well:

  • Opportunities for everyone to be involved and learn, including siblings.
  • An agenda that was developed that took each minute of time so that Cub Scouts would not be bored. We even scheduled downtime for the families so they could explore the museum and displays where we were camping.
  • A nearby playground helped. We had some Cub Scouts who were only 6 years old. When the younger Scouts lost interest in kickball, and older Scouts wanted to keep playing, we could do so and keep everyone going because we could use the playground.
  • Opportunities for cool outdoor scout things like the adults cooking desert in a dutch oven.

Idea for Future: Pack Box

Our pack has not traditionally gone camping, but we are working to improve our outdoor program.

One idea we have is to build a “pack box” (like a patrol box). If one of our parents had not remembered to bring a spatula, we would have been removing the hamburgers from the grill with our fingers.

Our pack box will include things that are traditionally stored in a patrol box like the first aid kit, cleaning supplies, cooking tools, and miscellaneous supplies. The box will be kept by the Cubmaster and available for use at pack overnighters and Webelos den campouts.

We also will begin to build a second pack box that will store outdoor game equipment. In it we will store footballs, kickballs, rubber bases, plastic cones, and other outdoor play equipment.

Sign of Success

When my Tiger Cub and I were headed home, he leaned over to me and asked, “Dad, can we do this again?” I think I have him, and his fellow Cub Scouts, hooked on camping, and I could not be happier.

Mar-Apr 2010 Scouting Magazine

March 31, 2010 8:54 pm

The March-April 2010 issue of Scouting magazine is available at the magazine website.

This issue has articles of interest to Cub Scouters on the following subjects:

  • “Celebrate the Adventure” Photo Contest Winners. Link
  • Importance of Cub Scouter Training. Link
  • Academics and Sports Program FAQ. Link
  • Homeschooler Recruiting. Link
  • Dutch Oven Pot Roast. Link
  • Lightning Safety. Link
  • Healthy Snacks. Link
  • Being Prepared for Bad Camping Weather. Link

Winter Time Cub Scouting

February 6, 2010 5:02 am

Jeremy Zweiacker is a guest blogger from Oklahoma.  He is a Tiger Cub Den Leader, an Eagle Scout, and a long time Scouter.

Winter time is a great time to do Scouting activities with your own children. Today (as I write this on January 29), I am at home with my children because the snow keeps falling. I am starting to think about what we will do when we go outside, and we will go outside! We are Scouts after all.

My son, a Tiger Cub, has a lot of options when it comes to being outside in the snow and working out of his Tiger Cub handbook. Here are a couple of ideas I have tossed around…

1F. Family Activity – Think of one chore you can do with your adult partner. Complete it together.

Shoveling the snow on the driveway comes to mind. Head outside with a pair of shovels and start digging. With that extra snow that you shovel, you can make a great snow fort or it can be made into an awesomely large snowman!

5F. Family Activity – Go outside and watch the weather.

Snowy days give you a great opportunity to head outside and talk about the weather with your Scout. You can talk about how no two snowflakes are the same, and you can even try to keep one with these great tips from Boys Life.

It is also a great time to talk about the Character Connection for Faith since the sun might not be out.

There are many electives that Tigers can work on as well.

E10 – Helping Hands: Along with your adult partner, help an elderly or shut-in person with a chore.

There are a couple ideas that you can do. Ask your neighbor if you can get their mail for them, saving them a walk to the mailbox. Maybe they need their driveway or walk shoveled? Maybe they need help taking the trash to the curb or from the inside to the garbage container. All you have to do is ask, and they are sure to let you help.

E15 – Our Colorful World: Mix the primary colors to make orange, green, and purple.

Head outside and mix primary colors in the snow. If you have enough materials, make the snowman you just created from shoveling your driveway into a multicolored snowman. Wouldn’t your snowman look funky with an orange head and a purple belly?

E22 – Picnic Fun: With your family or with your den, have a picnic–outdoors or indoors.

It sounds a little crazy, but if you are going outside you might as well take a thermos of hot chocolate along with you and roast a few marshmallows or hot dogs. While you are drinking your hot chocolate, why not collect some snow to make snow ice cream? Now you have your drink, meal and desert!

E32 – Feed the Birds: Make a bird feeder and then hang it outdoors.

Our flying friends are always looking for a place to dine. After you finish drinking that gallon of milk in the fridge, don’t through away the plastic jug, make it into a bird feeder. Hang it outside and watch the birds flock to your feeder, and as a bonus, you are leaving the world a little greener by reusing plastic products.

E-35 – Fun Outdoors: Play a game outdoors with your family or den.

Paint some golf balls black or take the football outside to toss it around. Grab some cardboard (Scouts are thrifty) and make sledding into a sport and see who can go down the hill the farthest. Many summer games can be played outside during the winter.

E-37 – Take a Bicycle Ride: Take a bicycle ride with your adult partner.

I loved riding my bike in the snow when I was younger. It was a great workout and great fun! Younger Scouts may not be strong enough yet to hit the snow trails, but peddling around on the driveway in the snow can be a great way to get outside and burn off some of that cabin fever!

There are options for Cub Scouts of all ranks with the Cub Scout Academic and Sports Program. If you are looking to start a belt loop, the Weather belt loop would be fun to start during the winter. Depending on where you live, Ice Skating and the Snow Ski and Board Sports belt loops are available as well.

I think that it is time for me to head outside with the kids. What kind of winter Scouting activities do you do with your Scout?

DLTK Paper Bag Bald Eagle

January 26, 2010 6:04 pm

DLTK’s Crafts for Kids website has instructions on doing this paper bag bald eagle craft which would probably be a fun project for your Tigers or Wolfs. The site has a template for the project.

Theme: Take Flight


Hiking Belt Loop Requirements

October 26, 2009 5:41 am


Hiking is one of the forthcoming new Cub Scout belt loops for the Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program.

I have received from an unofficial source this set of requirements for the soon-to-be available award:


Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. A Tiger Cub must work with his parent or adult partner. Parents and partners do not earn loops or pins.

Belt Loop
Complete these three requirements:
1. Explain the hiking safety rules to your den leader or adult partner. Practice these rules while on a hike.
2. Demonstrate proper hiking attire and equipment.
3. Hike at least 30 minutes with your adult partner, family, or den.

Sports Pin
Earn the Hiking belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
1. Make a chart and record at least five hours of hiking.
2. Help plan a den, pack, or family hike.
3. Earn Cub Scouting’s Leave No Trace Awareness Award.
4. Earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award.
5. Learn seven trail signs and tell your den leader or adult partner what they are.
6. Be able to identify five different trees and five different birds on your hike. (These can be of the same species if multiple species are hard to find.)
7. Using pictures or photographs, identify three poisonous plants. (Examples are poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak; oleander, poinsettia, etc.). Watch for these
8. Take two different hikes for different purposes, for example, a nature hike, neighborhood hike, historical hike, city hike, stop-look-and listen hike, and so on.
9. Explain to your den leader or adult partner what a compass is and show how to use one on a hike.
10. Explain to your den leader or adult partner what a global positioning system is and demonstrate how to use one on a hike.
11. With visuals such as pictures or maps, report about one of your hikes to your den. Tell about how you prepared for your hike, who went with you, and what you saw.

[Photo updated 2009-10-29]

October 2009 Scouting Magazine

October 13, 2009 6:07 am


The October 2009 issue of Scouting magazine is available at the magazine website.

This issue has articles of interest to Cub Scouters on the following subjects:

  • Wrangling Tiger Cubs. Link
  • Obesity/New Annual Health and Medical Record. Link
  • How to Get Cub Scouts to Settle Down. Link
  • Reaching Quiet Boys. Link
  • Sleeping Bag Technology. Link
  • Dutch Oven 101. Link
  • Comfortable Tent Sleeping. Link
  • Cub Scout Pumpkin Chunkin’ Event. Link