A Scout is trust­wor­thy, loy­al, help­ful, friend­ly, cour­te­ous, kind, obe­di­ent, cheer­ful, thrifty, brave, clean, and rev­er­ent.”

Yes, part of Scout­ing is rev­er­ence. So, how do you keep a group of 7–10 year-olds rev­er­ent in the out­doors?

First, why do we take our youth out­doors? One is to find peace and rev­er­ence. When you are out in the woods or up in the moun­tains, you are away from all the world­ly noise. With­out the dai­ly dis­trac­tions of tech­nol­o­gy, shop­ping, or TV,  Cub Scouts can lis­ten and focus. Which brings us to the sec­ond rea­son why Scout­ing is based out­doors, so they can observe what God has cre­at­ed. They can appre­ci­ate nature and the impor­tance of it. When Scouts see what God cre­at­ed for them and feel the love God has shown, they them­selves may want to show God their love by keep­ing their world clean and beau­ti­ful.

Some­times it may be dif­fi­cult for young Scouts to under­stand just how much they impact the envi­ron­ment and why it is so impor­tant to be eth­i­cal when it comes to the out­doors. A short demon­stra­tion that you could do is the yarn obser­va­tion. You can do this indoors or out­doors, find a place on the ground (or gath­er some nature items such as rocks, dirt, leaves, etc.), place a few pieces of trash in this area (you may even find some already on the ground). Next, bring a piece of yarn long enough to make a cir­cle about one to two feet in diam­e­ter. Place the string on the area you have cho­sen with the pieces of garbage with­in the cir­cle. Now, ask your Cub Scouts to observe the area with­in the cir­cle and write down their find­ings. Once the boys are fin­ished, ask them what they wrote down. Ask them how they feel about what they saw and why they feel that way.

Teach­ing them their impact on the envi­ron­ment is cru­cial to the impor­tance of Scout­ing out­doors. Apply­ing the Leave No Trace Prin­ci­ples (for kids) could be effec­tive not only dur­ing your time out­side but for years to come. Teach your Cub Scouts the prin­ci­ples by these fun hand ges­tures:

Leave No Trace Prin­ci­ples for Kids:

  1. Know Before You Go (Point to your head)
  2. Choose the Right Path (Walk in place)
  3. Trash Your Trash (Make a scoop­ing motion with your hands)
  4. Leave What You Find (Take a “self­ie”)
  5. Be Care­ful with Fire (Make a fire motion with your fin­gers)
  6. Respect Wildlife (Put both hands up on head like moose antlers and tilt one hand down as if the antler is bro­ken)
  7. Be Kind to Oth­er Vis­i­tors (Bow)

Even though you have dis­cussed the impor­tance of Leav­ing no trace, the Scouts are still at an age when they are full of ener­gy and excite­ment when they get out­side. Here are a few games to play while on the trail to help keep their hands and minds busy:

  1. Col­or Swatch Game: 1) Go to your local home depart­ment store and pick up a few of the free col­or swatch­es in the paint sec­tion. 2) Cut out the indi­vid­ual col­or squares. 3) Give each boy about 3–6 dif­fer­ent col­ored squares. 4) When they are out­side, have them find their col­ors out in nature such as a brown square would match the brown dirt or a pur­ple square would match a pur­ple flower.
  2. Stone Game: While out walk­ing the boys could find small rocks to step on. Have them help each oth­er only step on the stones and not the dirt.
  3. Cub Zone: Keep­ing a group of Scouts togeth­er while out in the for­est could be like herd­ing cats. So, cre­ate the “Cub Zone.” One leader in the front and one leader in the back. The Cubs are free to walk slow or fast or zig-zag as long as they stay with­in the two leader a.k.a the Cub Zone.
  4. Trash Col­lect­ing: Give each boy a bag and have them col­lect trash along the way. Maybe have an award for the per­son who col­lect­ed the most trash or if they each col­lect at least ten pieces of garbage, they get the reward.

There are so many ways that you can make out­door ethics fun and invit­ing. You can search on the inter­net or even just make it up. Keep­ing them busy can make it eas­i­er!

Teach­ing Cub Scouts out­door ethics may be chal­leng­ing and because it is part of rank require­ments with­in the Cub Scouts, you kin­da need to do it. You can remind them that a Scout is rev­er­ent, even in the out­doors. Have them real­ize that because of God’s love, he cre­at­ed the world for them so they need to take care of it. Keep them busy and make Leave No Trace fun. Remem­ber, when they do their part now, it will have a huge impact lat­er.

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Maloree Anderson
Is a photographer, graphic designer, mom of one, friend of Scouting and marketing specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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