Understanding Cub Scout Parents

Understanding Cub Scout Parents

Last week we explored what goes through the mind of a Cub Scout as he seeks out structured fun and outdoor adventures. Scouting proves to be the perfect fit for inquisitive young minds, but there’s only one way to help get these kids into your Pack and prepared for life: demonstrating the worth of the program to their parents.

So what goes through the minds of parents of Cub Scout-age children? We can understand better by exploring the persona of the average parent in this demographic. In case you need a refresher on what we mean by persona here, let’s break it down. A persona is the emotional portrait of the people involved in Cub Scouting based on insights real-life members have shared with us, along with other research. The personas presented in this series are developed using customer insight data from the Voice of the Scout, academic and published data, and third party research from YouthBeat, The Family Room, and Pew Research Center.

What Draws Parents to Scouting?

“My family is the most important thing in my life1, and my role as a parent is to make my child feel loved and teach him valuable life skills2.”

Cub Scouting allows parents to impart life skills in a fun, adventure-focused program. In this way, Scouting fills both the parents’ need to prepare their sons for life and the Cub Scouts’ desires to have fun and structured play. Additionally, the program allows parents to draw from other adult leaders’ skill sets, imparting more insights than one parent could convey alone.

“I try to teach my son values and morals, but it isn’t always easy3. I seek people and opportunities, including after-school activities, which can help me build in my son a sense of confidence, social skills, and discipline4.”

Parents seek out learning opportunities for their children beyond school and at-home learning. However, they greatly value the free time they have with their kids so programs that fit this bill should both allow for parent involvement and offer great benefits in the childhood development of its members. Sounds a lot like the Cub Scout program to us …

“I value the outdoors but don’t always feel confident I know as much about outdoor skills as I should5. Cub Scouts, then, allows the opportunity for my son and I to learn, grow, and build friendships together5.”

Scouting has something to offer parents along with children. A program that better prepares kids for a well-rounded future and enhances a parent’s skills is what the mothers and fathers of young children seek. Scouting provides a spot to learn and make friends, not just for Scouts but for their parents too.

Boost Parent Involvement in Your Unit

From the Cub Scout parent persona, it’s clear parents want youth programs that supplement guidance kids get at school and home. But moms and dads also want to be part of the action. How does your unit prove to parents Cub Scouting is right for their sons? If you’re a parent, how does your unit include you in Pack activities? What initially drew your family to Cub Scouts?

1. In a survey of over 4,000 online adults with children ages 7-12 83% of parents strongly agree that “my family is by far the most important thing in my life” and 69% percent agree that “most of my spare time is devoted to activities with my family.” Source: Forrester, North American Technographics Online Benchmark Survey. 2013.
2. Making my child feel loved is my most important role as a parent (68% strongly agree). Source: YouthBeat Yearbook, March 2013
3. One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to instill solid values and morals in my child. Source. YouthBeat Yearbook, March 2013
4. According to YouthBeat, parents of children in grades 1-4 believe after-school activities “builds confidence” (81%), had an “exercise/health benefit” (80%), “develops socials skills” (79%), “teaches discipline” (67%). Source: YouthBeat, 2012.
5. YouthBeat Study on “Navigating the New Dad” (20123) found that many of today’s dads are negotiating fundamental changes in the domains that they used to dominate. When it comes to the outdoors and the wilderness, many dads continue to believe that they are in charge of teaching their children about nature, but they don’t always know the new rules of the outdoors, and they often don’t feel equipped to teach. Still, many value learning alongside their children.

Gina Circelli

Gina Circelli is the Digital Editor for Boys' Life. She loves sharing news about Scouts who shake up pop culture or contribute to their communities in a big way. If you have story ideas, reach out to the team at communications@scouting.org.


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Understanding Cub Scout Parents
Understanding Cub Scout Parents
Understanding Cub Scout Parents
Understanding Cub Scout Parents