Ask Church members what they picture when they think of Cub Scouting, and many will probably say pinewood derbies. Or they will think of hiking or other outdoor activities.
But there is so much more to Cub Scouting. And with the Church joining with the Scouting organization to celebrate 75 years of Cub Scouting 56 years after it was included as part of the Primary program the message is how this program for boys ages 8-11 prepares them for the priesthood and for manhood.
"It's really unbelievable that 75 years have passed since Cub Scouting was introduced (as part of the Boy Scouts)," Elder F. Melvin Hammond of the Seventy said following a Cub Scouting blue and gold banquet Feb. 10 at the Relief Society Building in Salt Lake City. "The impact that it has had on our young boys is just incredible. There's nothing so important as teaching a boy faith in God and how to live in the outdoors and enjoy things of nature."
Elder Hammond, assistant executive director of the Priesthood Department and former Young Men general president, joined Primary General President Coleen K. Menlove and her counselors, Sydney S. Reynolds and Gayle M. Clegg, along with Primary general board members, to commemorate 75 years of Cub Scouting and its impact on Latter-day Saint boys since the Church adopted the program in 1949.
"I am very grateful," Elder Hammond added, "to have 12 grandsons who are going to be Cub Scouts and then Scouts and then, we pray, on missions, because that is what Scouting is about, to turn boys into men. I'm grateful for Cub Scouting."
In this 75th anniversary year, Cub Scouts throughout the Church are celebrating. Materials sent from the Boy Scouts of America include several activities suggested on local levels, and Cub Scouts and den leaders can earn special 75th Anniversary Awards.
Most of all, however, the Primary general presidency wants local units to remember that Cub Scouting "has a focus in the Church and it's a gospel focus," Sister Menlove said. "We're developing patterns and habits in our lives that will help strengthen us in spiritual ways as well as in physical ways."
Continuing, the Primary general president pointed out that in the Church, Cub Scouting begins at age 8, the same time boys can be baptized and the same age they begin working on their Faith in God certificate. (Cub Scouting works hand-in-hand with Faith in God for Boys Award.)
"The important thing about Scouting for us is the timeless values that it teaches a boy," Sister Reynolds added.
And Cub Scouting includes all boys, regardless of abilities or disabilities, Sister Clegg emphasized. The general presidency spoke of a boy with Down syndrome who earned his badges with the help of den leaders.
Claudia Anderson, Webelos den leader of the West Salem Ward, Monmouth Oregon Stake, understands this. Last year, a boy with cerebral palsy was a Webelo. For one activity, they went to a local indoor climbing wall where the boys took turns climbing the wall, including the boy with cerebral palsy. He was strapped into the climbing lines and "helped" up the wall. The boys, Sister Anderson said, were excited for him to be successful.
And having success whether participating in the pinewood derby or learning leadership skills is what 75 years of Cub Scouting is all about.
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