Tuesday Talkback: How do you keep siblings entertained at Scout meetings?

Tuesday-TalkbackA parent’s schedule is a constant balancing act. That means sometimes Mom or Dad can’t help but bring along their younger, not-quite-Scout-age children to meetings or events.

Where some see a problem, Virginia Scouter Rob H. sees an opportunity. While he won’t let younger siblings participate in activities restricted to older Scouts or Venturers, he also doesn’t want these boys or girls sitting around feeling bored for an hour or two.

After all, today’s younger sibling is tomorrow’s Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Venturer.

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, Rob wanted to know how unit leaders keep younger siblings entertained. Read Rob’s email to me and then leave your comments — all after the jump.Rob writes:

Good morning, Bryan,

I wanted to get a discussion going to see how others on this list deal with an unusual situation.

Does anyone who reads the blog have younger siblings come to your unit meetings — siblings who are not yet eligible for membership in the unit? If so, do they offer anything for them?

I use myself as an example. When I was 5, my 7-year-old brother became a Cub Scout. I wanted to be one, too, but was too young. I went to every meeting anyway — my mom didn’t really have any other choice but to bring me — and so my brother’s Den Mother (I know, I know … I’m dating myself here) would have extra crafts and snacks for me to enjoy.

She always made me feel welcome, and when I was old enough, I joined Cub Scouting.

My crew, Venturing Crew 617, in Manassas, Va., has about 20 members. We meet in the same room as our sibling troop, and so at multiple points in our history, we’ve had younger brothers and sisters of Scouts or Venturers who are not yet of Venturing age come over to watch our meetings.

We see this as an opportunity to gain a new member in the future, so we go to great lengths to include these younger siblings as much as we can.

If the event is one which would present a danger or difficulty to someone under 14, we tell the parents, and they don’t participate.

We also ask each parent to sign a permission slip that states they know their child is not participating in an official BSA capacity and that the parent assumes all responsibility and liability for the actions and safety of their child.

But I am curious, how do other units manage this, if at all?

Thanks for sharing my question to the commenters.

Yours in Scouting,

Rob

About Bryan Wendell 2842 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.