Now begins another busy year for parents across the area, packing up children, lugging around balls of all shapes and sizes and transporting all of this stuff to practices and games. (Hopefully parents will not forget to strap their children into their seats before embarking on their nightly journeys.) I agree children should be exposed to all varieties of sports and physical education, but I also wish to see their minds and imaginations used in the process.

I would like to offer another, and possibly the best option for boys across the area Cub Scouting. What better way to help your son become a man than by learning to be a good citizen, all while camping and having fun. The Boy Scouts of America offers a program to build character, citizenship and physical fitness.

Cub Scouts means “doing.” Boys learn and earn awards based on den and outside activities, from soccer to chess, from basketball to wildlife conservation. Youth tie knots, play games, learn games and even learn a little bit about public speaking at weekly den meetings.

All activities are patterned around the 12 Cub Scouting Core Values: Citizenship, Compassion, Cooperation, Courage, Faith, Health and Fitness, Honesty, Perseverance, Positive Attitude, Resourcefulness, Respect and Responsibility. Each meeting will normally begin with the Pledge of Allegiance and Cub Scout Promise.

Cub Scouting is designed for boys in first through the fifth grade. As a Cub Scout, your child will compete in Pinewood Derby races. Children are encouraged to complete the project with as much help as necessary… but not to allow the parent, especially the father, take his own “hands-on” approach. Anyone who has ever seen the movie “Down and Derby” starring Greg Germann and Lauren Holly can appreciate how caught up in the action a father, brother, mother or sister can become. Many Cub Scouts in our area also build and compete in a push-cart race. This is a pack specific event that has many times in the past turned into a regional event, drawing youth from Brownwood, Early, Goldthwaite and Bangs to compete in a physical, outdoor team-building event. Other racing events may include a model regatta race or space derby.

Scouting opens the world up for children to experience field trips, hikes, nature and conservation activities. One field trip in particular is an overnight excursion aboard the U.S.S. Lexington, moored in the Corpus Christi Bay. Youth spend time aboard ship learning the history not only of that particular vessel, but the Navy in general. Children and adults have the opportunity to experience flight and battle simulators on an actual aircraft carrier. This is another example of a family-friendly trip where the entire family is encouraged to attend, as quarters are available for male and female participants of most ages. (Children under 5 years are not permitted to sleep on the vessel.)

While camping, the youth’s mind and time will be filled with BB gun shooting, bow and arrow shooting, campsite preparation, crafts of all kinds and a plethora of other activities. A Cub Scout camping event will often showcase indian dancers from the area Boy Scout Order of the Arrow lodge or old-west gunslingers.

Everyone has seen the Cub Scouts marching in the parades held throughout the year. Shoot, they are as familiar as the Shriners and their little buggies. The families decorate the floats and have a great time sharing this experience and enjoying a little fellowship in the process.

The youth and their families also participate in service projects ranging from cleaning up an area of town to holding a recycle day for the city. Doing service projects is one way for Cub Scouts to keep their promise, “to help other people.” Most of the activities allow the children to earn patches and receive positive praise for their efforts.

Come on, support and get involved in scouting. For specific information about Cub Scouting in Brownwood, please contact Steve Ellis, Cubmaster, Pack 14 at (325) 646-7119. In Early, contact Michele Wiley, Cubmaster, Pack 4 at (325) 647-1628 or speak with any local Scout leader about how your child can participate, or perhaps even how you can become involved.

For more information about Cub Scouting in general, visit www.scouting.org or call the Texas Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America at (325) 677-2688.

Art Veneris is production manager of the Brownwood Bulletin. He writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at art.veneris@brownwood

bulletin.com.