Many Lamorinda youth are active in Boy Scouts of America. Becoming a Boy Scout often begins as early as first grade with Cub Scouts. A Cub Scout ‘bridges’ to become a Boy Scout in the middle of fifth grade. While the background of being a Cub Scout is helpful, it is not necessary to be a Cub Scout if your son wants to become a Boy Scout. Tiger Scout is the youngest scout and Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Scouting. The path between is a great adventure. Lamorinda has many second and third generation scouts, so there is a strong connection for many.
Many first graders learn about becoming a scout through the local Cub Scout dens that advertise in elementary schools. Dens are typically divided by school and have mom or dad volunteers to lead them. Having been a scout before is not a requirement of leadership, although parents are vetted for safety and it’s often that two parents team up to lead because there are many requirements. Each year, a cub scout progresses through the ranks by completing different requirements that are outlined in the Cub Scout Handbook. There are Den Meetings and Pack Meetings that help to accomplish this goal. A Den Meeting consists of just the grade level group of typically five to fifteen boys. Often there are two dens per grade level at any given school. The Den Meetings take place after school or on weekends and many dens divide the responsibilities amongst all parents so that each family is responsible for a meeting or outing. Pack Meetings involve all of the Dens at a particular school and they are usually one weeknight a month are are lead by the Pack Leader with the help of the Den Leaders. They often focus on a particular topic such as Toys for Tots at the holidays or a Rocket Launch in the spring. There are also many pack excursions and camping trips, such as overnights at the Academy of Sciences and on a Navy Ship, and many camping overnights all around local sites. In fifth grade, Cub Scouts typically start looking around for a local Boy Scout troop that feels like a good fit. Many Boy Scout troops open up their December and/or January meetings to prospective scouts. A Cub Scout that is active in fifth grade and has met the requirements ‘bridges’ to Boy Scouts. Members of the Cub Scout Pack and the Boy Scout Troop attend, in addition to the scout’s parents, attend this honor and after this, the scout now attends Boy Scout meetings. Another route if you are not a Cub Scout is to just join a Boy Scout troop in the middle to end of fifth grade.
Boy Scout Meetings
Once becoming a Boy Scout, there are typically meetings one night a week. There are adult leaders that run a troop and the size of the troop can vary widely. The meetings typically occur at the same time, day of the week and place. Boys spend time working on the badges and requirements that they must fulfill to move up the ranks: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. There are badges that are required for Eagle and then elective badges that boys choose to work on, all of which are done with the support of merit badge counselors. A scout must also hold certain leadership positions in the troop such as Patrol Leader. Boys are recognized as they earn badges and advance through the ranks at a Court of Honor, which are held throughout the year and parents are invited to attend as their Scout is acknowledged.
Adventure & Opportunities
There are many adventures and opportunities for the scouts. There are overnight camps, some local and some a little drive. There are high adventure trips such as 50-miler hikes, snow camping in Yosemite, climbing, biking and canoe trips. Moraga scouts are known in the community for hosting the 4th of July pancake breakfast at Moraga Commons following the Campolindo Fun Run. The troop raises their funds needed for the entire year from this event. Lafayette Scouts are known for their Christmas tree and wreath sales. Orinda Scouts have many long standing traditions, one of which is the Turkey Bowl, a father-son football game played each year. The troop conducts 15, 35 and 50 miler adventures and also participates in Sea Base sailing excursions, the Northern Tier canoe trip and Philmont Treks. Like many other troops, there is an emphasis on boy-led leadership.
The Ultimate Rank
The ultimate rank in Boy Scouts is Eagle and this takes a lot to achieve. In addition to the twenty one badges a boy must earn, there are community service hours, camping nights and leadership positions that a boy must complete. A scout applies for the rank of Eagle and gets letters of recommendation from parents, religious leaders, teachers, employers and family/friends that can attest to the scout’s character. Lamorinda is proud to have many scouts achieve this rank each year and you can see them recognized in our local papers. An Eagle scout proudly posts this achievement on college applications and resumes as it is widely known what dedication it takes to earn this rank.