Since the BSA’s Lion pilot program launched last fall, hundreds of new Scouting families with kindergarten-age boys have explored the fun and adventure that comes along with joining Scouting at a younger age.
When mom blogger Ashley of Ashley Glass heard about a local Lion get-together in her area, she jumped at the opportunity to introduce her son, Pierson, to the new pilot program. And once Pierson learned that the Lion event was a preview to the Pinewood Derby, Ashley says her son was “SUPER intrigued” by the idea of racing cars derby-style.
Upon arriving at the event, Ashley says they were warmly greeted by Dawn, the Lion and Cub Scout leader, who introduced Pierson and Ashley to everyone. The Lions gathered around Pierson and shared their stories about what being a Lion is all about.
“He was completely enthralled; being surrounded by other similar aged peers who were listening well, being attentive, and making him feel completely included, like he was actually one of THEM, how FUN right?” beamed Ashley of the experience.
Dawn then invited Pierson to choose from a box of cars so he could get a sneak peak of all the racing fun.
“He was ecstatic when he saw the track, and when they let him place it at the starting point, his excitement was so contagious,” explained Ashley. “I mean, here I am, completely new to an event such as this, and I was PUMPED for him to ‘race’ his car. The Lion Cubs actually surrounded him at one point and cheered him on, even though him doing this was simply for fun. They would actually be the ones participating in the car races, but they were so sweet and inclusive.”
Pierson watched as the cars raced down the track and then he joined the other Lions in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ashley says it was particularly touching to watch her son stand proudly with the other boys as if “he had been doing this his whole life.”
Next, Pierson headed to the car check-in zone where he marveled at all the cars.
“He was excited, supportive, and was building friendships in the mere hour that we were there,” shared Ashley. “I know the goal of the Scouts is to teach boys courage, compassion, positive attitudes, cooperation, honesty, and SO many other characteristics; and seriously, these were all very evident and sweetly displayed by the boys present.”
Pierson went home that day thrilled about his experience and Ashley says they are now strongly considering joining the program when he starts kindergarten.
“Excited is an understatement for how he felt about his day!” said Ashley.
Previewing the Pinewood Derby was clearly a positive experience for Pierson and his mom. While building and racing Pinewood Derby cars remains an activity exclusive to Cub Scouts, we are learning there is an interest for Kindergarten-age boys to become more hands on in this Scouting tradition. As the pilot continues to grow, we’re always looking to improve the Lion experience based on the interests of our local pilot councils.
To read Ashley and Pierson’s full account of their first Lion event, head to Ashley’s blog, Ashley Glass. To learn more about the Lion pilot program and find out if it’s available in your area, click here.
Have you had a chance to explore the Lion program yet? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below!