Why a new-parent orientation is a must for your Cub Scout pack

cubcast-logoYou know how to welcome the new Cub Scouts who will join your pack this fall.

But what about their parents?

The August 2014 edition of CubCast reveals just that. It tells you why every Cub Scout pack should hold a new-parent orientation the night of their recruitment event.

CubCast’s guest this month is Dr. Geoff Zoeller, professional educator, Cubmaster and the vice president of membership and relations for the Patriots’ Path Council in New Jersey.

He argues that many experienced Cub Scouters forget what it’s like to be a new Cub Scout parent.

“It’s something that so many units overlook,” he says. “We take for granted as Scouting insiders that everybody knows what the Scouting program really is about. It’s really important to have parent orientation so we can explain who we are.”

In the podcast Zoeller outlines several topics for you to cover at the new-parent orientation:

  • Describing program
  • Discussing expectations
  • Showing what parents will need to purchase
  • Explaining national and local registration processes and fees
  • Making connections with individuals
  • Answering questions
  • Sharing the expected time commitment for parents and Cub Scouts

Zoeller suggests you hold your new-parent orientation the same night of your recruitment event.

That way you’re sure every new parent will attend and have his or her questions answered and expectations clarified.

Listen to the latest CubCast here.

What do you think?

Do you hold a new-parent orientation? When? And how do you make it successful?

Photo: Some rights reserved by woodleywonderworks


  1. We had our parent orientation for our Pack on a separate evening when they could leave the kids at home. We went over what scouting was all about and our scouting year. But this was after they had signed up. Between school starting, end of summer vacation, etc. I wonder how many people would show up to a pre-parent orientation. Hmmm…..

  2. Ahh… PERFECT TIMING, Bryan!! I’m in the middle of designing a Parent Orientation booklet for a new unit as we’re sending home Cub Scout packets with summer school boys as part of our Fall Round Up Membership drive. Being a Deaf unit where we cover 62 school districts, we’re also giving parents an opportunity to order uniforms through our Pack/Council leadership that will be ready for delivery at the school kickoff picnic happening the day before school starts. That way our Cubs are READY for popcorn selling in their Cub Scout uniform. (We also offering YPT training in ASL so this helps get the word out.)

  3. This is a must for ALL levels of scouting. New parent orientation for Boy Scouts is also necessary, because so much changes between the levels.

    Our troop has not only “fireside chats” with the parents at many of the meetings to introduce them to how the troop handles things (Boy-led troop, fundraising, etc) [and to get them out of the boys’ meetings, so they can have their own meeting], but our first campout of the year is an orientation weekend. Many of the new parents camp and learn some skills (which we are hopeful they will enhance through additional training), and actually form a parent patrol (or patrols, depending on the number) for that weekend, so they can learn firsthand the patrol method..

    We even have a troop manual (which we hope some of the parents actually read;-}> )

  4. A new parent orientation is a wise choice.

    Our unusually large pack, does this two or three times each summer as we get ready for the new school year. Normally we do it at the church which is our chartered organization. We meet on a Saturday morning and encourage the parents to bring the boys. Our brother Troop provides den chiefs who take the soon-to-be-cubs off to run and play for a while, and we meet with the parents to answer questions and help with paperwork.

    Our Troop does something similar. A new parent orientation the day after most of the boys cross over at Arrow of Light. Plus a series of quick talks (say 30 minutes) almost every troop meeting night during the Spring semester.

  5. I always rolled it into the Recruitment… but this year we are not doing a fall recruitment (small school; over 70% of the available 1st graders already registered and have been to day camp!) so we are focusing on Orientation fully. At the same time I plan to have experienced leaders run a “Bobcat Boot Camp” where all boys will complete 7 out of the 8 requirements for Bobcat; all they will have left to do will be the Child Safety exercises. These boys will most likely receive their Bobcat at the first Pack Meeting!

  6. “Dr. Geoff Zoeller argues that many experiences Cub Scouters forget what it’s like to be a new Cub Scout parent.”

    That’s also true for troop leaders as well. We need to make new scouts and new parents feel welcome and comfortable.

  7. I became the Pack Chair 4 years ago. One of the first things I did was incorporate parent orientations in our program. The information may be overwhelming at the time presented, but it is much needed. We have our meeting in August.

    i also serve on our Troop committee. The committee has found it necessary to have separate information sessions for new parents about merit badges and advancement for their sons. It has helped especially concerning their roles as parents.

  8. Being a newer parent to scouting along with a new committee chair person for Pack 613, I understand both ends of the spectrum. The entire first year I had no idea who was who, or what was what because I did not get to attend the fall round up at the beginning of the year, my husband did. Even so he did not know the answers to 90% of my questions!
    For our spring & fall round ups I created a PowerPoint presentation utilizing the template provided on myscouting.org. By creating this, I can ensure as Committee Chair that I will cover all information provided (questions I wanted to know & more). We include a folder that includes a copy of our upcoming year calendar of events, explaining the difference between committee & district events, & we’re working on including an informational sheet with our leaders on it. All year long I kept asking who does this, what position is that, what do they do etc. I think by creating this informational sheet, parents can get some background information on their child’s Den leaders, Cub Master, as well as Committee leaders. We’re planning on including a picture of each member, description of position, tenure as a leader, previous scouting experience, along with a few fun questions about each leader (hobbies, skills, where they grew up etc).
    The MOST important concern I would like to address would be providing a follow up parent orientation. There’s a magnitude of information that is provided that first night before they ever even attend a meeting and information will get lost or distorted in the cross fires. I’m recommending to do a follow up orientation two weeks after the new year begins. During this orientation you can show the Youth Protection Training video, have parents sign any forms i.e. talent release form etc. Afterwards I plan to explain their workbook, how & where to find the guidelines to complete the extras or to earn pins etc., along with providing an open forum at the end for questions. The thought is of light parent housekeeping (only a woman would think of this, lol).
    Please feel free to visit & like our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cub-Scouts-Pack-613/169819729884539) if you would like to contact me for a copy of our slide show to use in your future events, or if you have any other questions or just need some assistance.
    Penny Wagner
    Cub Scout Pack 613
    Committee Chair

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