Something totally new we've done with the kids this year is get Lukka involved in Cub Scouts. I had a neighbor who was a Scout and I knew it was a highly involved membership, but I didn't really know what that meant outside of camping trips and the famous yearly derby. Back when I was at the Whatcom Homeschooling Association Workshops, I made a last minute decision to skip a workshop I had planned on and instead sit in on the boyscouting one. The parents who had boys in scouts talked about the subject passionately, and I could easily see how homeschooling and scouting could really go hand in hand. It's always interesting to hear someone who speaks with enthusiasm. It's infectious.
I decided to go home and talk to Stefan about it, and with my new knowledge of what scouts was, and what kind of projects the kids got to tackle through the years, we decided it was something we could really see Lukka enjoying. We borrowed a few copies of the scout magazine from our local library, watched an introductory video on scouting, and told him what he could expect the first year. Was he interested? He was, and he's enjoyed the five months he's participated in so far. The picture at top is his official 'cross over' to joining Scouts, at a end of year (June) crossover pack meeting, where the boys travel into the next level. For incoming tigers, which are boys who are 7 or first grade, it's when they become official cub scouts. The picture above is after Lu's crossover, with new hat & necktie. I don't have a picture yet of him in his full scout regalia yet, but he's earned himself a Summer Adventure pin, his Bobcat award, another badge, and we're working on this month his first bead on the bobcat!
Here you can see Lukka in the front and the rest of the boys who have their full scout uniform on at the cross over pack. I believe he and a friend right next to him were the only Tigers to cross over. Lukka just had his first den meeting (where his group gets together to play games, work together in relays, learn about scouts, and earn badges) this past week and there were six boys in it! It will be a full group. During the first year, parents are highly involved and one parent has to attend each meeting with the child. Since this pack (pack = all the age groups together) is all homeschooling boys, we meet once a month during the day and at least one parent is home every day anyway, so it works out just fine. It's really nice not to have weekly meetings, as that is just not something that could happen in our lives right now, another reason why I was interested in encouraging Lu this might be a good fit. Weekly and twice weekly groups would be edged out at this point in our transition. Scouts have a lot of options to participate, and so many of the get-togethers are optional.
The group picture above is of a few of the boys who went on a 6 mile off-road biking adventure this past summer. Lukka is in green. It was his first time riding an off-road trail on his own bike, and even Ani got to come along in the trailer. They both had a lot of fun, but L realized he's more made for speed than trail riding precision. :) Cub Scouts has so far been a really good experience for him and our family. It seems that the group is made up of highly dedicated parents, and everyone helps out in various ways, making it a well-oiled machine so not one or two people get burnt out and do all the work. There are always a lot of other siblings around (this being a homeschooling group) and so there is a play area that I drop off Ani while I am helping with Lukka, and she has made a few friends there, too, and is excited to go each time! The adventures they plan for the boys are very active-oriented, and they're all different. So far we've been on a 3 mile hike, a 6 mile off-road bike trail, and camping overnight at Fire Mountain where hikes, fishing, and campfire songs ensued. The training they give the kids is mostly leadership, doing your best, being kind, and working together. I am motivated to encourage that sort of value system and look forward to seeing how Lu blossoms in the new environment!