Frequently Asked Questions
New to Scouting? Thinking about Scouting? Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
But first, start by viewing this "Welcome to Cub Scouting!" video.
What is the purpose of Scouting?
The mission of the Cub Scouts is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
There are four aims of Scouting: citizenship, character, personal fitness, and leadership.
The methods of Cub Scouting are: living the ideals, belonging to a den, advancement, family involvement, activities, serving the community, and the uniform.
What do Scouts do?
Some of the best things about Cub Scouting are the activities the scouts (and sometimes you) get to do: camping, hiking, racing model cars, going on field trips, or doing community service projects. Cub Scouting means "doing." All our activities are designed to have boys and girls doing something, and by "doing" they learn valuable life lessons.
Do parents/guardians have a role?
Yes. Parents, siblings, and family members are encouraged to attend most den and pack meetings and activities. Some parents and guardians even serve as leaders within Pack 553.
As a program for the entire family, Cub Scouting can teach your child a wholesome system of values and beliefs while building and strengthening relationships among family members. Scouting gives you a platform to equip your child. We provide other mentors to help your child grow, but you are also an important part of his development in scouting.
How old, or young, can a child be to join?
Cub Scouting is for girls and boys in kindergarten through fifth grades, or 5 to 10 years of age. Kids who are older than 10, or who have completed the fifth grade, are eligible to join the Scouts BSA program.
If a child joins Cub Scouting after kindergarten, do they need to “catch up” on earning badges from earlier grade levels?
No. The Cub Scouting program is designed so that a child may jump right in at any point. There is no need to work backwards to catch up. A new Cub Scout may join in any grade (K-5) and continue through the program.
When is a good time to get started?
Like most Cub Scout Packs, we go year-round. You can become a scout at anytime. Just contact our Cubmaster, email@example.com, or the Den Leader in your age group - or, just show up at one of our meetings.
If you have an interest in learning more about our Pack, or if you are ready to get started, please complete the online form here.
When are meetings?
Pack meetings are normally held once per month, and all of our scouts (K-5th grade) get together in the same place. The meeting is normally led by the Cubmaster. Keep an eye on the Pack calendar (on the main page) for dates.
Den meetings are usually held 3-4 times per month among scouts in common age groups.
What supplies or equipment are needed?
At minimum, each scout will need a uniform. The uniform shirt remains the same for at least the first three years, but the hat and neckerchief change with each rank. When a scout enters a Webelos den, he/she may need to obtain a new uniform if the parents in the den opt for the khaki-and-olive uniform. More information about uniforms can be found here.
The Scout handbook used to be required, since it provided guidance and information on rank achievements and requirement. Much of the information found in the handbook can now be found online within Scoutbook, so a physical copy of the handbook is no longer required.
How much does scouting cost?
Costs are generally split among three things - National BSA dues, Gulf Coast Council dues, Pack 553 dues, and the uniform. For each Scout registered with the Pack, you pay BSA national and Gulf Coast Council yearly dues of $120 plus yearly Pack 553 dues of $75, for a total of $195. Lion Scouts pay $50 for Pack dues instead of $75, and new scouts, regardless of rank, pay a one-time BSA fee of $25. This covers your enrollment through the school year (including summer). See our page on Scouting costs here.
Don't let the cost scare you off. Scouting is relatively inexpensive considering activities run throughout the year. The Pack is able to assist if you need help. Contact our Committee Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions about costs.
What do pack dues cover?
Each year, the Pack spends about $80 per Scout over the course of the program year. The majority of the Pack dues pay for the neckerchiefs that scouts receive at graduation each year, plus all the belt loops, patches, and awards earned during the program year. The Pack also spends money on monthly Pack meetings, upkeep for the Scout trailer and camping gear, special events and activities, Pinewood Derby kits, training for adult leaders, etc. Even Pack summer events like swim parties and bowling parties are funded by Pack dues.
Another big use of Pack dues is to pay the national registration fee for our adult leaders ($45 per adult). Our adult leaders are volunteers, and Pack 553 believes that our adult volunteers should not be asked to serve and then asked to pay additional dues. Therefore, the registration cost of all Pack 553 leaders is covered by the Pack dues.
How does our Pack attempt to minimize the cost of dues?
Our Pack strongly believes that Scouting is an excellent value for the cost, and we work hard to be fiscally responsible with the Pack's money. We also believe that Scouting should not be a financial hardship for anyone. To that end, we dedicate a lot of time and energy to making our fundraising periods very successful. Selling popcorn is a Scout's primary fundraising program; selling Camp Cards is another. We also look for other fundraising programs to allow the community to subsidize the costs of our Scouting program rather than expecting our Pack's families to pay dues of $195 or more.
What is "rechartering"?
Our Pack "recharters" every year in September. This is simply membership renewal for Scouting. Membership with the BSA runs September - August.
In 2020, BSA changed the timeline for recharter, which was previously January - December. If you joined Pack 553 in 2020 or prior, through a School Night Roundup in August or September, you probably paid around $50 to get you through the rest of the calendar year. That $50 covered your BSA membership for the months of September-December, and you didn't pay Pack 553 dues. This gave scouts an opportunity to try out Scouting and decide whether it was a good fit. If a scout choose to recharter, you would pay a full year of BSA dues and Pack dues. Then you would be good to go for another full year.
If Scouting isn't working out for you, then let Pack leadership know that you will not be rechartering, and we'll take you off the email lists. If you don't find an answer you need, email email@example.com, and we'll do our best to provide an answer.