Children seek the acceptance of belonging to a group. There is comfort in displaying the outward trappings that identify you as part of a recognized entity. Team sports fill this need; check out any youth soccer field or Little League baseball game for confirmation. This is also the reason street gangs are popular; they provide a sense of belonging.
Scouting is no different; Scouting uses uniforming to amplify the sense of belonging in our new recruits. But uniforms are not the only way to build esprit de corps, team spirit, among our Cub Scouts. Here are some ideas that may help:
- Every team needs a cheer! A den cheer is the first step in creating the identity of the unit. Here’s an example: Den 5, Den 5, We make Scouting come alive!
- Same goes for a den flag. Have each den prepare a den flag to be displayed at pack meetings.*
- Neckerchief slides unique to the den also build team unity. Again, the boys need to create it to own it.
- Spotlight a den for each Pack meeting. Have the Scouts create posters introducing themselves and showing some of their favorite things.
Here are some games designed to amplify team spirit:
- With old newspaper or scrap paper:
- Paper airplane or glider competition
- cross country skiing relay (rip 8×12 strips and “ski” across the floor)
- hat, t-shirt, or shoe decorating contest.
- Give each den a stack of newspaper & clothes pins to create a costume. They can dress a den member like a turkey at Thanksgiving, Santa or an elf at Christmas, or a mummy at Halloween. Once the costumes are crafted, have a parade to display their handiwork.
- Obstacle course – use a golf club & wiffle ball to negotiate the course. Then substitute a fly swatter or pool noodle for the golf club.
- Balloon volleyball, soccer, or tennis (fly swatter for tennis racket)
- Set up 3 rows of 3 chairs per row for Human Tic Tac Toe. Each team decides on their identifier, such as hands on heads for X and hands across chest for O; hats on for X, hats off for O. You get the idea.
Group games, contests, and identifiers can help your dens build team spirit.
*Pssst, let me share a secret: Purchasing a pre-printed flag from a commercial site doesn’t fill this need. If the boys don’t have a hand in decorating it, they’ll have no ownership. This concept applies to just about every Scout project you name.
Remember: If YOU’RE not having fun in Scouting, you’re not doing it right! Good luck, everyone.