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Welcome to Pack 196 – Parents’ Handbook

Welcome to Cub Scouting! As a parent, you want your son to grow up to be a person of worth; a self-reliant, dependable, and caring individual. Scouting has these same goals in mind for him.

Since 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has been weaving lifetime values into fun and educational activities designed to assist parents in strengthening character, developing good citizenship, and enhancing physical fitness in youth.

Adopting these values helps your son make good decisions throughout his lifetime and gives him confidence as he becomes an adult leader of tomorrow. With all the negative influences in today’s society, Scouting provides your son with a positive peer group and a program that is fun and adventurous and helps him to be prepared to shape his own future.

(If you’re looking for a quick-start guide to beginning your child’s involvement with Scouts, check out our Essentials page. Otherwise, read on for a more complete overview.)

Here’s a video with a run-down on the Cub Scouting program in general:

And you may download a PDF of the official Cub Scout Parent Information Guide.

Table of Contents

Click to jump to the individual sections.

Scouting Basics

When your son registers as a Scout, he joins a national organization: the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The BSA is divided into regions, councils, and districts.

Our pack is a part of the San Gabriel District, which, in turn, is a part of the Capitol Area Council. The San Gabriel District includes all the packs operating in the Georgetown and Northern Williamson County school districts. The Capitol Area Council serves the needs of the entire Austin area and the surrounding counties.

Cub Scouting

Cub Scouting is a family activity open to all boys in first through fifth grade. Any boy in that age group can join at any time.

In today’s hectic world, there never seems to be enough time to spend with our families. Cub Scouting is a way through which we can make that time, help our sons learn something about the world they live in, assist them to develop into young men of character and have fun at the same time.

You are the most important person in a young man’s life, and you are the most important part of Cub Scouting. Help us make the experience that your son has in Cub Scouts a positive one.

Pack Structure

Your boy is a member of a Den. A Den has between five and 10 boys of the same age who work together on age-appropriate activities.

In Pack 196, Den meetings are Monday nights at 7 PM unless otherwise stated by your Den leader. Dens usually have 3 to 4 meetings per month and Scouts wear their Class B uniforms. Specific information will be passed on to all Den parents.

Den leaders are responsible for coordinating Den activities; however, parents will be called upon to assist as needed. This may mean helping with a Den meeting or one of the other activities, gathering materials for a craft project, or providing a snack.

BSA Youth Protection Guidelines state that no Den meeting may take place without two-deep adult leadership. This means one registered Scout volunteer and at least one other adult must be present at any Den activity. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. In addition, all parents who participate in Cub Scouting activities are strongly encouraged to complete the online Youth Protection Training.

Your Boy is a Member of a Pack

The Pack is made up of several Dens. We meet as a Pack for the award ceremonies. These awards ceremonies are an important part of Pack 196 and are held in October, February, and May.

Pack leaders strive to make rank ceremonies as meaningful as possible. Please make every effort to ensure your son’s attendance at these meetings and that they wear their class A uniform. Family attendance is encouraged at Pack meetings. We do request that each Scout have at least one parent, or another relative, in attendance. If younger siblings attend, please make sure they have an activity to keep them entertained.

The Pack is Run by the Committee

The Pack Parent Leadership Committee (PLC) is made up of a group of qualified adults appointed by the Chartered Organization to administer the program of the pack.

The Committee members, as well as other Pack leaders, are volunteers and also parents of boys in the Pack. The Committee meets once a month and is led by a Committee chairman. The Pack committee’s responsibilities are to plan Pack activities, perform record-keeping, and manage the Pack’s finances.

The Pack is Owned by the Chartered Organization

The BSA does not directly own or run any of its member units. Instead, the units are run by Chartered Organizations, such as schools’ parent-teacher organizations, religious organizations, service clubs, and other groups interested in youth.

cross-tracks-horizontal-logo

Pack 196’s Chartered Organization is Cross Tracks Church, a United Methodist community. The Chartered Organization provides a meeting place and operates the Pack within the guidelines and policies of the Chartered Organization and the BSA.

Pack Activities

In addition to Den activities, Pack 196 also has different activities planned that range from community service to fun events for the family including:

  • Pinewood Derby races,
  • Family Camping (Fall, Winter and Spring),
  • Christmas Parade participation,
  • Charity bingo,
  • Christmas caroling, and
  • The annual Blue and Gold banquet.

Parent Volunteer Expectations

Pack 196 is a parent-run organization and requires the active support of all of the parents to provide a high-quality program for the boys.

In addition to the leaders who are working with the boys, there are many other positions required to support Pack activities. Most of these positions require only a couple of hours of your time each month (at most) and are critical to the operation of the successful Pack.

Please be aware that you will be asked to provide some level of support. It is your support that makes the Scouting experience successful for the boys. Many hands make light work, especially in Cub Scouting.

Ranks in Cub Scouts

Any boy who is six years old or in first grade may join Cub Scouts. They can join at any time through fifth grade and can also join at any time of year. If a boy thinks he’s interested, he can just tag along with a friend to a Den or Pack meeting to check it out.

Boys are assigned a rank based on their age/grade and do not have to complete the previous rank to progress to the next one. At the end of the year (May) all boys “cross over” to the next rank.

Scouts may work toward their ranks starting in June, or as soon as they join the Pack, until May of the following year. Webelos may work toward the Webelos rank and the Arrow of Light any time during their year and a half as a Webelo. As Scouts work toward each of their ranks they will wear different insignia to show their progress.

Bobcat

This is the first rank achieved by all new Cub Scouts. All boys must first complete the Bobcat badge requirements before they can be awarded any other rank (they can work on other rank requirements at the same time as they complete their Bobcat).

Tiger

First-grade boys get their first taste of scouting in this adult-child partnership, and must complete the achievements outlined in the Tiger book to earn the Tiger rank.

Tiger Cubs wear a tiger cub paw totem with a white bead for each required family activity, an orange bead for each required den activity, and a black bead for each required “Go See It” he completes.

Wolf

Second-grade boys must complete the achievements outlined in the Wolf handbook. Wolves and Bears wear a progress-toward-rank totem with beads signifying three achievements completed toward the rank.

Bear

This rank is for third-graders and is earned by completing the requirements in the Bear handbook.

Webelos “WE‘ll BE LOyal Scouts.”

Fourth- and fifth-grade Scouts work toward the Webelos badge. The rank is usually earned during the fourth-grade year. Scouts are called Webelos until their graduation from the pack in their fifth-grade year.

Webelos earn activity pins for their Webelos badge and for the Arrow of Light. These are worn on a special totem called the Webelos colors on the right sleeve of their uniform.

Arrow of Light

This is the highest rank in Cub Scouting. It is earned by completing achievements over and above those required for the Webelos rank. This badge is awarded at a special Arrow of Light ceremony in February.

Electives

After a Tiger, Wolf, or Bear Cub has earned his rank, he can work on special activities called electives.

Tigers earn yellow beads for their totem by completing electives while Wolves and Bears earn arrow points. When a Wolf or Bear has completed 10 electives he gets a gold arrow point. For each 10 electives after that, he receives a silver arrow point. He can earn as many silver arrow points as he is able.

If Webelos earn seven Activity Pins they receive the Compass Point Emblem and for each additional four activity points earned after that, they receive Compass Points to attach to their Compass Point Emblem.

Blue and Gold Banquet

Each February, Pack 196 hosts a Blue and Gold Banquet celebrating Boy Scouting’s birthday and all the boys’ achievements. This is a catered meal with all family members invited to attend. An awards ceremony follows the dinner along with a uniform inspection.

Pack 196 Family Camping

Pack 196 offers two opportunities for family-friendly camping each year, once in the fall and again in the late winter. A full day of activities will be planned for Saturday. Families are welcome to just come out for the day or camp with us on Friday and/or Saturday nights. The dates and locations are a little different each year. Tent and RVs are welcome (check to see if RVs are allowed at the campground we’ll be using). Each site will have water and electricity along with the restroom nearby.

End of Year Campout

Each Spring, Pack 196 will take a special overnight trip to a fun and educational destination such as the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Moody Gardens in Galveston, or the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Capitol Area Council Camping and Events

In addition to our Pack-sponsored activities, the Council offers many other events throughout the year. For a complete list go to their website: BSACAC.org

Summer Camps

Each summer, Scouts have the opportunity to participate in age-appropriate summer camps with the Pack. The boys have the opportunity to attend the following camps:

Cub Scout Day Camp

Multi-day camps with no overnight camping. Activities include archery, BB shooting, swimming, games, sports, crafts – and much more! Camps happen in June and take place all over our Council, from Fredericksburg to Austin to Georgetown. Remember that each camp is different, so check for deadlines and fees for each camp.

Pack 196 will select a camp to participate in but you can also sign up individually for other camps.

Cub Scout Resident Camp

More than just a regular campout, Cub Scout summer camp is a three-day, two-night camping experience for Cub Scouts of all ages, plus their parents and/or leaders. Cubs will have fun and work on advancement, while mom and dad can join and enjoy the unique beauty of this part of Central Texas. The camp is run by our Capitol Area Council at the Camp Tom Wooten location in Bastrop.

Webelos Extreme Adventure Camp

For first and second year Webelos only. Get the boys ready to move on to Boy Scouts, with more challenging skills like fire building, canoeing, first aid, advanced archery – and more!

It’s a Webelos Scouts first chance to enjoy summer camp “like the big boys”. This camp is run by our Capitol Area Council at the Camp Tom Wooten location in Bastrop.

Pack 196 Committee Meetings

Committee and Den leaders meet monthly to plan the upcoming pack activities. One adult from each Den (usually the Den leader) must attend all the committee meetings.

All adult members of the pack are always welcome to attend and participate in the committee meetings. Children are welcome, but it is a good idea for them to bring something to keep them occupied so they are not disruptive to the meeting. Meetings are usually on the first Monday at the month at the church starting at 7 PM.

Training

Each Cub Scout deserves qualified, trained leaders who will provide the best program possible, the way it is intended. Trained leaders ensure that the goals of Cub Scouting are met. Pack 196 requires that all leaders in uniform be trained. Training dates and times are available on the Council website on the Pack calendar and via Pack emails.

Self-paced online training: https://my.scouting.org/

Classroom training: http://www.bsacac.org/training_events.php

Communication

Due to the sheer size of the Pack, communications are mainly through email. Please ensure your Den leader has a correct email address for you and that it’s correct in TroopTrack (our private portal). You may give us multiple email addresses if you wish.

Updates will be posted on the Pack website and your Den leader should also provide information on upcoming events.

Roundtables

The objective of Roundtables is to get Pack leaders and other volunteers program ideas; information on policy, events, and training opportunities; and an opportunity to share experiences and enjoy fun and fellowship with other Cub Scouting leaders.

The San Gabriel District offers this informative training session on the third Thursday of each month at 7 PM at the first United Methodist Church, 410 East University Blvd. in Georgetown, in the gym to the East of the main complex. Check the district website for location changes.

Costs Associated with Cub Scouts

Cub Scouting is very affordable because families of Scouts do not pay all of the costs. Many community service organizations and businesses recognize the value of investing in Scouting. They recognize that tomorrow’s leaders are today’s Scouts.

  • Pack 196 annual dues: $85 for the first Scout, $65 for additional Scouts, and $25 for adult leaders (this covers the BSA fees and Boy’s Life annual subscription).
  • Den dues: TBD by your den leader
  • Uniform: $50-$60
  • Rank Book: $9-$15
  • Family campouts: approximately $10-$15 per family plus food
  • Rank overnight trips: $50-$200 per person (varies based on trip)

Cub Scout Uniforms

Scout uniforms can be obtained at the Council Scout Shop or purchased online.

Pack 196 requires a full Class A uniform with the exception of the official pants, caps and socks (these are optional).

Remember to buy big as the boys will be in the uniform shirt for several years and you don’t want to have to move all the badges the boys will earn to a new uniform shirt.

Fundraising

Pack 196 has two fund-raising activities to provide operating funds for the year. The Pack sells popcorn in October along with most of the Packs in the Capitol Area Council. In November and December, we sell Worlds Finest Chocolate bars. We will offer an incentive to encourage the boys to participate. Fundraising is the primary source of funds to operate the Pack during the year.