Yes, to a boy Scouting is a game–a wonderful game, full of play and full of laughter, keeping him busy, keeping him happy. Scouting is ‘learning by doing’ things that are enjoyable–exciting things! That’s the strength of Scouting! A boy becomes a Scout for the sheer joy there is in it. To you and me Scouting is a game, also–but it is more than game of fun. To us, it is a game with a purpose–the purpose of helping boy to become men by training them for citizenship.William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt
Handbook for Scoutmasters, Fourth Edition, 1945
While I may sometimes have a tendency to ramble on about the importance of citizenship or duty (to country, community, god, etc), it is the FUN in scouting that keeps our boys and girls coming back. Certainly, since this was originally written, the world and Scouting have changed, but the message still resonates — by providing a place to have fun AND learn at the same time, our Scouts will be better people.
We do this in many different ways – sometimes it’s the silly songs and skits (believe me, there is no one more uncomfortable acting goofy and singing a song about Bananas in front of 100 people than me). But in the world today it is easy for us to let our kids skim right through their youth. It feels like there is less free time, less unstructured play, and less innocence than ever. In Cub Scouts we try to bring some of that back.
At the Railroad Museum outing, in the recap at the end, our museum guide asked the kids what their favorite part of the night was. At least half of them said the ‘hide and seek’ game that they played. This was nothing structured; it was just spontaneous fun that broke out in the museum.
In the month of April we will have another chance for some fun with some exciting field games at our Pack Meeting. I am encouraging all scouts to take the opportunity to invite a friend along for the night. Last year, in my first meeting as Cubmaster, I found out an hour before the meeting that the Kohl’s Wild Theater group had to cancel for sickness. I didn’t have much time to prep, but we threw together a couple of games on the fly and the kids seemed to love it. For all of the thought and planning and “purposefulness” that sometimes goes into Scouting, sometimes its just a simple game that is remembered the most.