Lion Cub Scouting is being piloted in select councils this Fall and just yesterday, the Scout Executive gave me a copy of this new program for kindergarten-age boys.
It made me smile to see “everything that’s old is new again.” You see, in 1960 I earned the Lion patch (to the left above) and this fall my grandson can earn the one to the right. The difference being, my Lion was the highest award (pre-Webelos) and during the pilot his will be a new entry-level award.
What Is the Lion Program?
Nurturing parents who want thier kindergartner to grow to be self-reliant, dependable, and caring will find this program has these same goals in mind for him. This age appropriate program integrates traditional Scouting aims of character development, leadership skills, personal fitness and citizenship into activities that are fun for both boys and their parents.
|Goals of the Lion Scout Program||Lion Scout Family Benefits|
Scouting has been called a game with a purpose. Our goal for these younger boys is to provide a safe environment for parents and their son to have fun as a family and with other families. As parents use the program to build a closer relationship with thier son and other families with boys this age, Lions offers them opportunities to share a little bit of the Scouting adventure. Together they will begin to understand more about Scouting and prepare their youngster for day camp and moving to Tigers.
|Who Are Lion Scouts?||What do Lions Do?|
The Lion program is made up of 12 adventures. Each adventure is designed to help your son have fun and learn useful things. Earning the five required adventures leads to your son achieving the Lion badge. In addition to the five required adventures, there are seven elective adventures that the boys in the den may earn for further fun and enrichment. It is not expected that boys will complete all 12 adventures. BSA suggests that dens complete the Lion’s Honor adventure first, however here is no required order for the remaining adventures.
According to a 2014 U.S. Census Bureau report, 57 percent of kids ages 6–17 participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity. This means that by the time they are eligible for Tigers, more than half of them already are engaged in some type of athletic, artistic or other program.
Often, children become attached to lifelong activities at an early age — that is certainly a goal we would have, as we know the long-term benefits of Scouting involvement include strong asset development in the areas of character and leadership. However, we also know that when youth participate in numerous activities at an early age, and miss joining Scouting, they are unlikely to do so at adolescence.—Mike Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive
The required adventures help boys explore important Scouting ideas: leadership, citizenship, personal fitness, character development, and outdoor skills and adventure. These outcomes form the core of all future Scouting advancement and recognition. The Lion program forms a strong foundation for a lifetime of fun and meaningful family Scouting adventures.
As they complete the requirements for each adventure, Lions will earn an adventure sticker to be placed in their Lion Adventure Book. Lions earn stickers, not adventure loops (belt loops) as they will do in Cub Scouting. Additionally, Lions will be led by parents filling the role of “Lion Guides” and will meet as dens of six to eight kindergarten-age boys.
Lions will wear their own approved uniform, a Lion t-shirt! It will be available in pilot-approved Scout Shops to help the Lions feel unique and special. (Lions should not wear the Cub Scout uniform until they are old enough to officially transition into Cub Scouting as a Tiger.)
Lion dens may be invited to participate in a few pack meetings, but according to ScoutingWire, “care should be taken to ensure that any meetings they attend are fun and engaging for boys of Lion age…meaningful and fun activities should be planned for Lions in any meetings they attend.”
At the end of the kindergarten year, Lions will “graduate” into Cub Scouting as a Tiger – where even more fun and adventure will await!
Official Program Announcements
In their release yesterday, the National Council stated: “Research shows that childhood development accelerates around ages four and five, about the time youth begin formal education. To supplement the learning and growth boys experience at home and in an educational environment at that age, Boy Scouts of America has developed a pilot program for five-year-old kindergarten boys called ‘Lion.’”
That same day, Bryan on Scouting wrote:
“Why go younger? …at age 4 and 5 …is also the time when families start looking for after-school activities for their children. While 5-year-olds could join a soccer team or karate studio, they couldn’t yet join Scouting. …in pilot councils across the country, parents will welcome a program that introduces Scouting concepts and values to 5-year-olds in a fun, age-appropriate way.
“The kindergarten-age boys themselves will enjoy exploring the world around them with friends. Lions promises to expand imaginations, spark creativity and amplify fun.
“At the end of the Lion year, boys will graduate to Tiger and advance through Cub Scouting.
“Lions will be piloted in select councils across the country. Your council’s Scout Executive already has details on how to apply to become a national pilot site for fall 2016.
According to Hayley Cordaro, communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America, the activities will introduce “the family to Cub Scouting, and provide an exciting way for the little guys to explore the world around them. The program will fuel their imagination, creativity and fun as they experience the growth Scouting can provide. At the end of the Lion year, they ‘graduate’ to Tiger and advance through Cub Scouting.”
Councils can apply to become a national pilot site for Fall 2016. Scout Executives have been made aware of the procedures to apply in packets just like the one we received. If approved, your council will record their experiences and provide feedback to national development teams for further study.
Though not every council will choose to launch this fall, any organization that wants to serve this age group can contact their council office for details and express interest. Many will be allowed to begin using the program as early as this fall.
Seems like this is just the beginning of an exciting program that is sure to grow Scouting. In the coming months, as we learn more, we will release more information. The National Council promises updates on the specifics of the program, FAQ’s, and more. You can always follow developments at Program Updates to join the excitement as BSA tests new ways to reach America’s youth with the benefits of Scouting!
What do you think about adding the Lion pilot program to Scouting?