Friday, December 16, 2011

Cub Scuts

The spelling is intentional...

and my sucker tattoo from my coaching days is making my forehead burn like Harry Potter.

Earlier this school year, Big Brother decided he no longer wanted to do gymnastics.

Mom-E and I were cool with this, because it meant no longer having to be a in a hot place that smells like feet right when small children start to melt down with hunger.

Instead, Big brother decided to do Cub Scouts (which we both thought was probably up his alley moreso than gymnastics).

And there was a Pack at his school, which is close to home, and does not smell like feet.


It only took one pack meeting, during which they showed the foam rocket gun that was yours if you sold $1,000,000 in Trail's End popcorn, for Big Brother to get hooked.

And at the parents' meeting, the Cub Master for the Pack said that he likes to be the leader for the Tiger Cubs (first year cub scouts).

It took a little while for things to get started. They had 2 informational meetings at the school in September, because of a relatively small number of first-graders signed up.

So about the time we started wondering "are the Tiger Cubs going to have any meetings?" the Cub Master announced their first meeting.

And then the wheels fell off (or at least tried to).

They did have the first meeting, with a grand total of 4 boys, but suddenly the story changed.

Umm ... well ... *cough, cough* ... umm ... we're going to need one of you to be the den leader.

(Vacant stares. Shuffling of feet. My forehead starts burning.)

All parents mumble excuses about why they can't do it.

So, we decide to take turns leading the meetings at first, to share the responsibility. The Cub Master's Assistant says he'll come to our next meeting to help.

Of course, everyone turns green when it comes to decide who will lead the next meeting.

"I'll do it." (just get me some salve to make this pain on my forehead go away.)

So we have the next meeting (we have to find our own meeting place), and 4 boys show up, but not Assistant Cub Master, and everything goes okay (aka we "wing it" according to the Tiger Cub Den Meeting guide they gave me.)

The third meeting is called a "Go and See". Where you take the boys to a Fire Station, or a historical site, etc. The parents brainstorm an idea, and another parent agrees to make contact.

(But somehow, I'm left holding the master instruction manual for "How to be a Tiger Cub Den Leader.)

So another month goes by, and at the Thanksgiving Pack meeting, I talk to one of the other parents.

"Umm, that place we talked about is closed for the winter."

I'm thinking to myself, "Okay, were you going to tell anyone? Are we going to figure something out?"

At this point, it's become abundantly clear that if I don't grab the reigns, nobody else will (and my forehead is never going to stop throbbing).

And while I'd prefer to have Big Brother join the Cub Scout pack at our church, the year is almost half over, and it sounds like the other boys don't really have any other options, and it's not really fair to anyone.

So I make some arrangements for the boys to get a 20 minute guided tour of a local historical site. I speak directly to the person who will show us around, and confirm the arrangements with a follow-up call. I email everyone in the den to announce the meeting.

Last night we had the "Go and See". We get there, and I tell them who we are and why we're there. They go behind closed doors to tell my contact (let's call him Ted) we've arrived.

The nice lady comes out and says, "Ted's computer just crashed and he's on the phone with Tech Support. He'll be with you in a few minutes."

Not only is my forehead searing, but I'm hoping my insurance is good enough to cover the potential damages of a troop of impatient 6 year-old Cub Scouts at a "historical site".

We wait 45 minutes, passing the time by going potty en masse and attempting to play checkers.

I also tell the parents of the other 2 boys there that I'm willing to be the point person for the Tiger Cub den, because everyone feels so "out of the loop", in part because they're EXTREMELY disorganized.

You can imagine their relief. One parent was nice enough to say, "Yeah, I'm booked for work a month in advance. And Billy starts basketball in January and I'm coaching his team."

Thanks. Great to know you don't have time for the things you don't want to do.

Losing patience, I go talk to the lady again to request an update.

She comes back. "Can you wait 15 more minutes?"

"No, It's 7:30. These kids need to go home and get ready for bed."

So they give us a pamphelet and we wander aimlessly for about 10 minutes (the kids loved it because they got to ride an elevator), and then leave.

Wow, that was fun. Can we do that every night, please?

And so on the drive home we have to stop at the store for a few things, particularly because we're out of milk.

Little Brother falls asleep on the way there (yes, he came to Cub Scouts, too. Both he and Bab-E Brother screamed their heads off at the dinner table for about 30 minutes before we left, so Mom-E and I each took one cranky child), so I carried him throughout the store.

As we're shopping, Big Brother suddenly notices a 1/2 inch scrape on his hand that's barely bleeding. The world starts to come to an end.

Of course, the store doesn't carry the one kind of battery we need (for Pupp-E, who earned a reinstatement of his training collar after chewing a hole in Little Brother's comforter.)

So we get to make another stop at CVS to pick this up, all the while Big Brother screaming about his horrible pain from his miniature wound and how his hand is going to fall off.

(We'll at least we're in a pharmacy. Maybe the pharmacy can throw in a sedative or two for Mom-E and I, in addition to a narcotic painkiller for Big Brother?)

At least we got the batteries.

Man, Cub Scouts is sure neat, neat, neat. Good times.

At least we have the Pinewood Derby to look forward to.

Boys, when you're older an read this, know that the reason I do this stuff is because I love you and want the best for you, and I wouldn't do it for anyone else.

Have a good weekend, from your friendly neighborhood Den Leader,

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