Some Cub Scout Camping Tips To Know

My son is in Cub Scouts.  We just went on our fourth camping trip in the time he’s been a scout.  We always have a great time.  The Cub Scout ranches that our pack visit offer many similar activities.  There are cabins for sleeping. They have areas where you can pitch a tent.  There are scheduled activities such as archery and BB guns.  Some have lakes for swimming when the weather is warmer.  While you’ll find tips on all of these, I thought I’d provide some Cub Scout camping tips that are more practical.  These are tips I’ve learned only from experience.

Plan Your Meals

Your pack should get together and plan meals.  They should be simple yet filling.  You’ll want to keep them simple because many kids have simple tastes.  It’s best to find things that most kids will eat.  We do things like hot dogs for lunch and pasta for dinner.  They’re pretty easy to make and we generally don’t have complaints.

Do The Math On Serving Sizes

One thing our pack has NOT figured out is how to buy the right amount of food.  We estimated 35 people for our most recent trip.  This was pretty accurate.  Yet we bought three times the amount of pasta and sauce that we needed.  Three times!  How?  Because we always forget that of the 35 people, many of them are small people.  They won’t eat a full serving!

Have Backup Plans For Food

With just about every trip, there’s been one meal that didn’t work out according to plan.  One time there was a plan to cook packets of food over the fire.  It took a whole lot of time to get a fire going, and stuff was either getting burned or not cooking.  We had a lot of hungry scouts and a bunch of food that nobody wanted.

This past time we had planned some of the food to be baked in the oven that was listed as in our cabin.  The only problem is that the oven didn’t work.  So, we had to figure out how to cook some items on the stove.

A backup plan would have helped in both of those cases.

Inventory Your Supplies

We found that we didn’t have a few things that would have been helpful.  Among the missing items:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Ziploc bags
  • A strainer (for pasta)
  • A ladel

One of the reasons that we fell short is because, for many, this was the first time camping.  Every year there’s a new group of parents and kids, so things get passed around.  Therefore, many of the people simply don’t know what we have and don’t have.  A master list would have been helpful and is something we will definitely do.

Divvy Out Responsibilities

Both scouts and parents should have clear responsibilities.  On our most recent trip, we sort of forgot about this when it came to cooking.  We didn’t have parents signed up, and two parents ended up making every meal!  As one of those parents, it got exhausting.  We should have had people sign up and share responsibility.

Plan Down Time

As I noted above, there are lots of scheduled activities at many cub scout camping trips.  These are important and can teach great skills.  But, some down time is necessary as well.  Kids need a chance to rest or find other things that they want to do.  During some of our down time, we had some kids sit and play board games.  Other kids found a gaga ball pit and got a game going.

Pack Extra Shoes and Socks

There are a lot of outdoor activities.  Kids need dry shoes.  Kids will inevitably find a way to make their shoes wet.  Have extra shoes and socks.  Trust me on this.

Enjoy The Experience

Parents are busy keeping an eye on everything, and getting the kids to their next activity on time.  If not that, then it seems there’s something going on with regards to eating.  It’s sometimes hard to stand back and enjoy it, but make sure you do.  There were times I just stood back and watched the kids for a few minutes.  I watched kids that didn’t really know each other share in a cool game.  A kid that was not doing well at something would get encouragement from a fellow scout.  Watching the kids interact and form bonds was really cool.  Don’t miss it.

These are just a few cub scout camping tips I’ve come up with.  The biggest tip, though, is to have fun and make sure your scouts are having fun.  That’s really the biggest goal.

Readers, do you have any cub scout camping tips or similar tips you could share?  Please share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Kids And Money: Things My Children Have Learned

It is so fun watching kids learn, isn’t it?  Our kids are nine and seven, and they learn new things each day.  Even during the summer, they learn lots of new things.  As a personal finance blogger, seeing kids and money connect is satisfying to watch. My wife talk about money with them and explain many of the basics, but many things they figure out on their own.

We went on a recent camping trip, and it stood out how much they’ve learned. Of course, many of these things they wouldn’t be able to verbalize, but as a parent, it hit me that they are building an understanding.  Here are a few money lesson I have seen our kids figure out.

Work For Your Money

Our kids have enjoyed visiting the park stores this summer.  When camping, many campgrounds have small stores.  They often sell ice cream, candy, and basic supplies.  Our kids love going in their and want to buy small items.  They’ve figured out that if they do some extra work around the campground, they can sometimes earn money.  Picking up sticks for starting fires is a popular activity.  We’ve not run out so far this summer!

Save For Costly Items

Our kids typically earn a dollar apiece for their work around the campsite.  Sometimes this is enough for what they want.  Other times, they want something that costs more.  So, they’ve learned the concept of saving up for bigger items.

Better Items (Sometimes) Cost More

Kids have learned that not all candy costs the same. Sometimes, the premium stuff (or what they consider premium) is more than other stuff.  They learn to make choices.  They’re also learning to differentiate and also to form their own opinions.

Working Together Can Pay Off

The kids went to one store where small bags of candy were a dollar each.  Then, they saw that they were two for $1.50.  They figured out that if they agreed to each get a bag, they would pay less.  Seeing each of them walk away with that extra quarter was pretty cool!

You Have To Make Choices

That first time the kids walked into a store with some money in their hands, their eyes sparkled!  Oh, the possibilities!  But it didn’t take them long to realize that they had to make choices.  They didn’t have enough for the haul they wanted.  It’s amusing to see them walk around and discuss their options.  Picking out the right treat is serious business for kids!

Look For A Sale Sticker

They were pretty excited once when they came back having got an item on sale.  A toy that was normally $2 was on sale for $1.  And, they didn’t have to do anything special like pool their money.  They learn to watch out for sales stickers.  If it’s something they like, they realize they can get more for their money.

You Pay For Convenience

Our kids love candy bars.  Of course they do!  But, they know that their favorite candy bar isn’t always the same price.  It can be $1 in one store, $1.25 in a vending machine, and up to $2 in a park store.  Why?  Much of it has to do with convenience.  Park stores charge more because they’re offering the convenience to buy things without having to leave.  The kids have learned that if they want something there, they may be paying more.  They are figuring out that sometimes waiting and buying their candy ‘in town’ is a more economical option.  Of course, sometimes they choose to pay more, because they want candy now!

Taxes Suck

The first few times that my kids had to pay sales tax was eye opening.  It really didn’t make sense why they would hand over $2 for a $1.50 item, and only get 41 cents back.  Where did the other nine cents go?  Sales tax!  They’re now getting to the point where they expect it.  But, they still don’t like it!  Since nobody likes paying taxes, I guess they’ve figured out that lesson early! Kids and money lessons don’t always leave smiles on their faces!

It’s really cool to see our kids learn about money.  We’ve started making sure to bring them a few dollars on each trip.  To me, it’s an investment in their money education.

Readers, how do your kids learn about money?  Do you have any kids and money learning stories to share?  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

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The Importance of Small Wins

My son enjoys playing sports, but he isn’t a top athlete.  He likes playing more for the fun and the experience.  The teamwork helps as well.  He’s been in a few leagues with a few different sports.  Unfortunately, most of the teams haven’t done that well.  Still, I’m here to tell you that the small wins are important.

Past Leagues

The past couple of teams that he played on haven’t done so well.  Last summer, he played baseball and I think they won one game for the year.  They were mostly players who had just gotten started, and a lot of the other teams had been in place for a couple of years.

Over the winter he played basketball and they never won a game.  Unfortunately, they played in a league where, again, a lot of the teams had played together for a couple of years.  He seemed to be stuck on the ‘new player’ team.  They tried hard and did their best.  Still, you could tell that the losing was a bit discouraging, for my son as well as the other players.

A New Start

This year, my son asked to play baseball again.  He’s now old enough where it’s a kid pitch league.  Last year, the coaches did the pitching.

This has been a game changer.

When the kids started practicing, none of the kids had prior pitching experience.  However, one of the kids turned out to be a natural.  Right away, you could just tell he had the control to pitch well.

The teams we’ve played have all struggled to find a similar quality pitcher.  Our team has taken a lot of walks.  That’s one thing about the first year of a kid pitch league, hitting is scarce.  But, our pitcher gets it over the plate most of the time so there are a lot of strikeouts.

As a result, our pitcher has helped lead the team to a 3-1 record!

Three wins in a row followed by a loss where they still cut a nine run deficit down to three!

The kids love it.

Keeping Expectations In Check

Now, as adults, we are helping the kids celebrate.  But, we’re also keeping things in perspective.  Things are probably going to change, because the pitcher will be going on vacation and is going to miss four games.

I have a feeling those are going to be a lot tougher games!  That will definitely test the kids resolve and make them play.

Five Benefits Of Small Wins

Either way, these small wins that they’ve gotten in these first games are huge.  And, I realize that they’re very important.

  • A taste of victory.  Kids shouldn’t win all the time, but I think that having a taste of victory is important.  It makes kids feel good to win.
  • Confidence.  Our first few practices were tough.  Most of the kids hadn’t played together.  Some were pretty new to baseball.  But, these wins have made the kids believe more in themselves.  That leads to them trying harder and taking that extra step.
  • Teamwork.  The pitcher is definitely the glue that holds the team together.  But, even outside of that, you see the kids work better as a team.  They’ve won so they believe in each other.  There’s less hesitation and more trust.  It’s great to see.
  • Leadership.  Our pitcher has grown into the leader of the team.  He knows that people look up to him, and the kids have somewhat of a role model.  I think that kids around that age (mostly 9-10) need this.
  • Memories.  Kids are going to remember winning.  When memories of childhood fade away and only certain ones remain, these will have a chance to stick.  That’s pretty awesome.

This has been a fun season so far.  The kids still have seven more games to play.  No matter how many wins they end up with, having these three in hand has been great for all of them.  And, I won’t lie, it’s pretty awesome for the parents, as well.

Readers, what small victories have you or your kids celebrated lately?

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Ramona Books And Others I Loved As A Kid

I’ve written several times how much I love to read.  The thing is, I’ve loved to read since I could.  So, now that my kids are of reading age, I’ve gone back to remember some of my favorites.  These are some of the books I remember that I loved as a kid.  As you can see, I’m even trying to pass along my love of these great books.

Ramona Books (Or Anything By Beverly Cleary)

Probably some of my favorite books are of Ramona Quimby.  She was the star of a series of books featuring a rambunctious, misunderstood little girl, and the series of many adventures.  I read these books over and over again.  They made me laugh and I got a lot of the feelings that she expressed as a kid.  These books are timeless.  I’m now enjoying reading these to my daughter.  She looks forward to our reading time and brings these to me!

While Ramona was my favorite series of books, I read just about everything else that Beverly Cleary wrote.  She really wrote a lot of great characters.  I can’t even imagine how many kids grew up with her books as their favorites.

The Great Brain Books

The Great Brain was another favorite series of mine.  This featured mainly J.D. and Tom, two brothers growing up in the late 1800’s in Utah.  Although the setting was in a much different time period, you feel like you’re right there.  It makes you appreciate the world we live in.  For example, one of the highlights of the book was when the family got an indoor plumbing!  The series of adventures are awesome.  I started reading this to my son and he loved it.  Now, he’s reading them himself!

Garfield Books

image from Morguefile courtesy of svklimkin

The Garfield strip has been going on forever, it seems like.  It still remains one of my favorite things to read every Sunday.  Back when I was a kid, they started packaging some of the ‘best’ into books.  When I started reading, there were only a few books.  Now there are over 60!  My son loves checking these out from the library and shows me some of the favorites that I remember.

James and The Giant Peach

Roald Dahl is one of the most celebrated authors of kids books, and with great reason.  Many of his books are classics.  Many cite Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as his best book.  While that is a close second, I loved James and The Giant Peach the most.  There was just something about being taken away across the world in a giant piece of fruit.  I read this book over and over again.  The funny thing about this was that I never even saw the movie.  I think I heard it wasn’t all that great.  Some books, maybe, are simply left in the imagination, perhaps.

Not Quite Human Series

The others on this list may ring with a lot of people.  I expect most can be found in a public library.  Probably not so much with this series.  This was a series of books about a man who built a robot that he called Chip.  The robot was built as a humanoid teenage boy, and the series was having Chip attend school while trying to keep his identity under wraps.  I don’t remember too many of the details, and it’s out of print.  I expect that much of the technology is probably dated, but it’s still one that I look fondly back on.  Maybe I’ll have to check out eBay and try to find some old copies.

There were hundreds of other books that I loved reading as a kid.  Many I’m sure I don’t even remember but if I saw them again, I’d add them to the list.  All I know is that reading gave me the ability to enter different worlds.  As a kid, when imagination is as big as the universe, that was a great place to be.

What are some of your favorite books you remember as a kid? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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