IRVING, Texas, Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is launching its largest pilot program in response to parents' increasing desire for more options for after-school programs that help kindergarten-age boys learn new skills, build character, and experience new adventures. Available this fall in 198 local councils, the new Lion pilot program will introduce families to the adventures available through Scouting and culminate for boys in the new Lion badge. Designed as an introduction to Cub Scouting, the Lion badge will serve as a precursor to the Tiger rank. The kindergarten-age boys participating in the program will be members of the Cub Scout pack, attend pack meetings and learn the Cub Scout sign, the Cub Scout salute, and the Cub Scout motto.
Research shows nearly one-third of all parents of children age five years or younger enroll their children in after-school activities where they can make friends, explore their surroundings, and further their learning and development. Millennial parents, in particular, are even more likely to engage their young children in after-school activities than older parents.i By engaging their children in Scouting, parents can instill in them a strong foundation for which to build their character. In fact, a study conducted by Tufts University found that youth who participate in Scouting exhibit positive character attributes, allowing them to embrace new opportunities, overcome obstacles, and become better prepared for future success.ii
"Combined with the beginning of formal education, the Lion pilot program helps cultivate positive character-building experiences that are vital for young boys at this stage in their childhood development," said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. "We believe families nationwide will see the value of this pilot program—and the value of Scouting—as it builds a solid foundation of character, leadership, values, and education that stays with a child for a lifetime."
As children progress through the pilot program, they will learn new skills by completing at least five of the 12 Lion adventures to earn the Lion badge. These adventures help children learn respect for their peers, the importance of family, building courage and making good choices. Once children complete these adventures, with the help of their parents and adult leaders, they will graduate to Tiger and advance through traditional Cub Scouting.
"In our council's experience, parents told us they wished their younger sons could experience some of the same activities their older kids do in Scouting. To meet this need, we began offering age-appropriate activities to kindergarten-age boys with tremendous success," said Cheryl Izyk, Lion Program Commissioner for Western Massachusetts Council. "The new Lion pilot program opens more doors to families across the nation who want to engage their young sons in meaningful, diverse, and fun after-school activities that develop character and leadership."
For more information about the Lion pilot program, visit http://scoutingwire.org/lion/. To see if there is a Lion pilot taking place at a BSA council near you, visit http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/Participating_Councils.pdf.
About the Lion Pilot Program
Cub Scouting's pilot program for kindergarten-age boys, the Lion pilot program, introduces families to the adventures and activities available through Scouting. Designed as an introduction to Cub Scouting, this pilot program is currently available in 198 local councils nationwide. Like other levels of Cub Scouting, Lion combines Scouting concepts of character development, leadership skills, personal fitness, and citizenship with age-appropriate and fun activities for young boys and their parents. For more information, visit http://scoutingwire.org/lion/.
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be "Prepared. For Life.®" The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.4 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21, and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.
i Forrester Research, Inc. Omnibus Survey. (2015).
ii Tufts University CAMP Study. (2015).
SOURCE Boy Scouts of America (BSA)