When we moved to the Twin Cities four years ago, we asked both of our children what was one activity they wanted to continue that they did where we used to live. Our son wanted to continue his involvement with Cub Scouts, specifically a Jewish Cub Scout pack. In my search, I was pleased to find the pack at the Sabes JCC.
During the first week of classes at Talmud Torah, my son met a classmate that was active with the pack and I met the mom who happened to be the den leader for their age group. (A special thank you to her and the other parents who have volunteered many hours to both the Cub Scout Pack 738 and the Boy Scout Troop 738 at the JCC!)
That year, the boys experienced many wonderful opportunities and life lessons. For example, they raced cars they made in the Pinewood Derby, launched rockets in the JCC fields, went camping and hiking up North–all while learning how to better work together as a team, care for the environment, plan and prepare nutritious meals and clean up after themselves!
In addition to the pertinent life lessons Cub Scouts learned, as a parent, I was pleased to see a focus on social action activities that benefited the Jewish community. One such event taught the Scouts about food insecurity and how to shop for food on a very small budget. The food the Scouts purchased as part of the activity was then donated locally.
During the course of his involvement, Jeremy worked with the boys in his pack to earn the Maccabee and Aleph Emblems, the Jewish religious award Cub Scouts can earn by showing their knowledge of Torah, Israel, prayer, Jewish heroes and related information. Now, as a Boy Scout, he will work toward earning the Ner Tamid Emblem.
The Scouts typically have a diverse event calendar during the year. One annual event that brings Scouts and the Jewish Community together is Scout Shabbat. It invites the Scouts to wear their uniforms, participate in services, and have an organized potluck Shabbat dinner. It is a nice way to have the boys show their pride in being Jewish and being a Scout.
The scouting program is a wonderful experience. The program encourages kids to work together, to earn recognition for outside activities, help the community around them, and to be accountable for their actions. Importantly, our son has made friends with boys he probably would not have met had it not been for Scouts.
If your son is looking for a connection, likes doing things with his hands, learning new and pertinent skills, and enjoys being part of a group, look into Boy Scouts. You can contact the Sabes JCC 738 Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack at [email protected] or learn more at www.jccmplsscouts.org.
Editor’s note: Scout meetings are Tuesday evenings at the Sabes JCC. Feel free to drop by and the Scouts will happily give you more information. Efforts are also underway to launch scouting options in St. Paul.