Cub Scout Activities and Achievements
by Darcy Howard
former Den Leader, but always an Eagle Scout mom
SCOUTING is adventure. Parents and leaders have as much opportunity to learn from scouting activities as any of the boys do. The programs of scouting are designed to have fun, and if we learn while we are having fun, so much the better.
It is often difficult for den leaders to find activities for all of the achievements listed in the scouting books. Parents and leaders alike are encouraged to participate in the rockhounding events listed below, to help your scout earn points toward achievements. Instead of repeating much of the information given elsewhere in this site, we'll give you links to that particular topic, and you can click over and check it out. Use the "back" button on your browser to return to this page.
Just how important is rockhounding, or the industrial equivalent, mining? Think of it this way: everything we have comes from raw materials. Everything. That means there are two ways of getting raw materials: grow them or mine them. There are no other choices. So, knowing what our resources are, and how to use and take care of them, is very important.
Tiger Cub Scouts (first grade or age 6) Family and den activities are based on the Big Ideas for the meetings. The rank earned is a paw print, and rockhounding offers a chance to work on either of two paws - number 3, Discover Nature, or Number 8, Go See It.
Here in Arkansas we have many places to visit where you can learn how the world is put together. The Ark. Geological Survey Learning Center in Little Rock is open by appointment. You can contact Angela Braden of AGC at 501-296-1877 to find out the requirements.
Dens can make a trip to dig crystals, leaders can invite a member of one of the local clubs to come over and give a talk to your meeting and show and tell about rocks, or ask a local high school earth science teacher to come share a rock collection. Going to a creek and picking up pebbles for a "rock collection" is sure to be a big hit. Alternatively, local museums will have displays you can visit - thus earning a field trip toward your National Den Award status. Some museums have films about dinosaurs and volcanoes. Call your local museums and state parks to see what facilities and resources they have.
Both the Wolf Scout and Bear Scout (second and third grade) electives are based on collections. These activities will earn the scout points toward a gold or silver arrow. The earlier part of this website chapter about "Let's go Rocking", and the sections on Managing a Collection, particularly labeling, will be valuable to help you in starting a collection.
Not all parts of the country have minerals that are easy to collect, but you should be able to find different rock types. Identifying those rock types might require some help. Ask the high school science teachers, local rock club members, and community college instructors to help you. There is a national list of over 900 rock clubs at Bob's Rock Shop, categorized by states, so somebody should be close to you!
If you are in a city with government agencies that employ geologists, call and see if someone on their staff would help you with your project, and what materials can be found locally. If there is a quarry near you, someone there is sure to be knowledgeable. Some gift shops carry mineral specimens, and if you like spending your allowance on things like rocks, scouts can buy inexpensive, attractive specimens that will come with a label. (Buying rocks is called silver picking).
When you have acquired a half dozen or more rocks, put the specimens, with their labels, in a suitable container, such as a plastic box for fishing lures, or one of those boxes you can put all your small toy cars in, and your collection is on its way. Show it to your den, and have Akela sign off your book!
Webelos (fourth and fifth grade) Geologist and Scientist are among twenty activity pins a webelo can earn. The activity badge represents an area of study that usually takes about one month to do. The webelos leader must sign off on the requirements. The scoreboard requires the scout to do five of the six listed requirements to earn the Geologist pin. The next link has a talk from Mikey the geologist that will help you fulfill this elective.
Den 5 finds crystals
Have pictures of working on your requirements? Send us some photos!