Parents have lots of questions when considering an activity for their children. Here are some things we are most frequently asked.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
How do you protect our scouts?
We have formal language provided by the National Scouting Office, but we want to answer this in our own words first.
As parents and neighbors, we’re doing the same thing you are: trying to raise children in an increasingly complex and changing world. The first thing to remember is Pack 90 Cub Scouting is not a drop-off activity. A parent or guardian must accompany the scout at all times. This change may be new to those who participated in scouting previously. In 2010, Scouting established new guidelines regarding adult interactions with scouts. To summarize, each leader must pass background checks and complete Youth Protection Certification Training every two years. Scout leaders may not be alone with scouts. Overnight trips for Cubs require a parent or guardian to accompany their scout. As mandated reporters in Pennsylvania, we have a strict policy for reporting threats to any child’s welfare to law enforcement.
The Policies regarding youth protection are available to the public, not hidden in some Human Resources office. We also encourage you to speak with our leaders or families who have had scouts in Pack 90. And as promised, here is an April 2019 statement from Michael Johnson, National Youth Protection Director of BSA.
Concerning physical safety, many of our leaders have current First Aid and CPR certifications, and we pay special attention to allergies (food or environmental) to help keep those scouts from inadvertent exposure.
Is it scouting expensive?
Scouting is less expensive than many other youth programs. Outside of the initial uniform purchase and annual membership fees, the Pack 90 leadership strives to keep events low or no cost. Parents do not have to purchase the full uniform. The shirt and neckerchief are the only required items for our Pack. Scouts are thrifty, meaning they are expected to learn about finance and money management. Our popcorn fundraiser earns money for each scout’s account. The balance can be used to pay for fees and activities. We have had some scouts who fund their entire year through popcorn sales.
Can my daughter join?
Yes. Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is open to boys and girls. This inclusion is still new to everyone, so please be patient as we sort out the details and logistics for this change.
Can women be leaders?
Yes. Women have been leaders in US scouting for decades. And now with girls joining scouts, the need for female leaders has never been greater.
I don’t know anything about Camping or Fishing what do I do?
Many families have never camped or fished. For camping, we have a fall sleep out at Forest Hills pool. Experienced scouts and parents can help you set up a tent, or you can choose to go home rather than sleep out. If you need recommendations on gear (especially what not to buy or how to avoid spending funds on things you don’t need), we are here to help. We have recently partnered with Pittsburgh Charity Let’s Go Fishing for our Derby. Let’s Go Fishing is a group of retired veterans who teach children and adults the fundamentals of fishing, including catch and release techniques. They also have all the equipment and bait for the event. There is no need to buy anything, only show up. Parents tell us they learn a lot from scouting, too. These are some of the low-stress ways we try to help.
How can I help?
More hands make a lighter load. If you can volunteer as an adult leader, we would love to have the support.
How much time does this take?
During the school year, scouts meet twice a month with their den for 1 hour. (Lions only convene once per month). There is also a monthly pack meeting where all the dens attend. During summer months, we offer optional activities, such as fishing and camping. But these are optional.
Do you push religion on the kids?
Scouting is a faith-based organization. While faith is mentioned in certain contexts, we rely on parents and families to discuss matters of faith as it relates to their household. For example, the Duty to God activity directs the scout to talk with parents about what faith means to their family. We do not promote one belief or creed over another and have members from varied backgrounds, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Bahá’í, Buddhism, Agnosticism, Secular Humanism, and many others.
Do you still hold the Pinewood Derby?
We hold an annual pinewood derby contest for the scouts as well as a parents and alumni race (with more relaxed rules). Our scouts worked hard raising funds to purchase a first-class racetrack supported by a computerized pole position system. A long-standing Pack 90 tradition is that the scouts build their own cars (with adult help for safety or final weigh-in purposes only). The race more fun for the scouts and brings out the creativity in shape and decoration.
There is no troop in my area can I join your Pack?
There are policies in place for scouts whose community lacks a troop. Please contact our Cubmaster to talk about your situation.
How can I sign up?
There is a form to enroll your scout. These must be filled out manually. These can be picked up at our annual round-up, or one of our leaders can get a copy to you.
Do you have endless fundraisers?
Scouts are not required to sell anything. Our pack has only one fundraising activity - popcorn sales. Participation is optional, but it is important to note that much money raised through sales goes directly to the scout (in their scout account, which can be used to pay for activities and fees) and to our Pack.