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CUB SCOUT CORNER

OD

High-Wired?

Learn how to tame the three-ring chaos of belt-loop day.

THE RINGLING BROTHERS HAVE

nothing on Sandy Martens. A few years back, the veteran Racine, Wis., Scouter turned a local park into a circus with considerably more than three rings for her district’s Belt Loop-a-Looza. On an October Saturday, coun-

selors for 14 different Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program belt loops set up shop at the park, and boys from across the Lighthouse District—176 of them—worked to earn five belt loops of their choice. Although boys can always earn

belt loops on their own or in their packs, Martens says that districtwide or multipack belt-loop days connect boys with qualified counselors and make earning belt loops for team sports easier. After all, it’s tough to play soccer solo. The programs allow leaders

to share the burden of planning. Martens’ first decision was to enlist non-Scouters to teach most of the belt loops. Why? She wanted to round up a bunch of experts and enthusiasts. So a police officer conducted the Bicycling belt-loop training, while a meteorologist handled Weather. Students from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, whom Martens found through campus clubs and intramural teams, took on several others, including Geography, Geology, Soccer, and Softball. “We had people coming from all

over teaching these things,” Martens says. “This gave them service time, and it gave them good experience at working with younger kids.” That doesn’t mean Scouters

weren’t involved. Martens’ husband,

16

S COUT ING ¿ MAY • JUNE 2 0 1 0

Vaughn, filled in for one absent coun- selor, and a group of local Boy Scouts taught Wilderness Conservation and prepared lunch for the participants.

Scheduling Tips

Martens intentionally scheduled her Belt Loop-a-Looza for mid-October— early enough to avoid cold weather and late enough to include new Cub Scouts. As she explains, “This is a great

way to introduce them to Scouting. It’s not too expensive, they’re going to earn something right away, and it’s fun.” She advises that you could also

make a belt-loop day one of your pack’s summer activities. Doing so would help the boys earn the National Summertime Pack Award. Five one-hour sessions, with a

lunch break about midway through,

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