We had tigers at day camp this summer. And there is a HUGE difference between these kids (who JUST got out of kindergarden) and the wolves (just crossed over tigers).
But like I said before, if the program is tailored to them, then it should work. My only fear is that instead of gaining more people you will end up losing people earlier as the program for Lions is only twice a month and its easy to have dropoff when not much is going on, especially the camping etc that parents expect when joining scouts with their kids.
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- May 2012
- Oct 2010
I'm probably the only person here who was the parent of an actual Lion in the Northern Star Council. We did Lions with another Pack and then had to change Packs due to a meeting night conflict.
The main advantage of the program is that you get them signed up when they are young. Some other activities start in Kindergarten, and if you don't get them then, they might be booked. For us, the program worked out really well, and to a large extent, our Pack is doing it based on my son's experiences and what worked well for him.
What I have encouraged is for the Lions to take part in as many Pack activities as possible, and not worry too much about trying to have den meetings or activities. The Pack where my son was a Lion did have den meetings. But despite valiant efforts by the leaders, the den meetings weren't really a big hit. They did things like have stories, do crafts, take a short hike, etc. The same activities really could have been done just as well at home, though. I think he had fun, but I don't know if it was really worth an hour of our time.
On the other hand, he absolutely LOVED the Pack activities that he participated in. He made (probably with more help than older Cub Scouts) a Pinewood Derby car, raingutter regatta boat, etc. We went to council day camp activities, and he was able to participate in almost all of the activities the older Cub Scouts did. He absolutely loved all of those activities, and the only complaint that I remember was that he didn't get a real Cub Scout uniform. I don't think any of the Lions dragged the program down at all for the older Cub Scouts. He wasn't able to participate in everything, which was fine. When the other Lions couldn't take part, myself and the other parents kept them occupied with something else.
The real advantage was that by the time he became a Tiger, he was already gung ho about being a Cub Scout. I think this was because he got a chance to soak in all of the activities that the older Cub Scouts were enjoying. We're following the same approach in our current Pack. We've had about 2 or 3 Lions per year. We just let them and their parents decide a la carte what they want to participate in, and some have been more active than others. I think we've retained all of them. The main advantage is that we didn't lose them to other activities that started in Kindergarten.
A few days ago, we were at a park where some workers were repairing something. My son, who just became a Webelos was disappointed, because he wanted to do that job for his Eagle project. :-)
If it's done right (in other words, not exactly the way that it's being promoted by the Council), I think it's an excellent introduction to the program. It's not necessarily for every Kindergartener, but for a lot of kids, it will really make them excited about scouting.