I was in the Cub Scouts. Yeah, that's right. I don't remember why I was in the Cub Scouts. I wore the ugly blue and yellow mesh baseball cap. I marched in the parades. I made breakfast for people and helped little old ladies across the street. I collected canned goods for needy people, at least the kind of people who needed three months worth of canned beets.
I don't remember much about the Cub Scouts. I do remember being picked on by the Boy Scouts that were part of the same troop. It wasn't as bad as being a Weblo Scout though. Sound it out... Weblo Scouts. The Boy Scouts loved to shove that in your face.
I was a Tiger Cub, a Bobcat, a Wolf and finally a Bear before I was promoted to the shameful rank of "Weblo Scout." I did the dance, I walked the walk, I suffered through emasculating Lord of Flies type camping trips.
But to this day I can't remember why.
Maybe it was because some of my friends were doing it and I thought it would be neat. Slowly, one by one, my friends began falling from the group. Hadn't they taken the Cub Scout oath? Hadn't they agreed to "always obey the Law of the Pack?"
And what was this law of the Pack? It's simple and it goes as follows:
"The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout Grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill."
I have no idea who this Akela character was but I guess I must have followed him/her/it for some number of years. It might have had something to do with the Arrow of Light but I'm not sure. I think it is a mythical entity that is a "good leader." I never met Akela in the Cub Scouts, Weblos or Boy Scouts that's for sure. Mostly I met friends of mine who were on brief power trips and tried to make you do pushups.
You may be wondering why I am remembering all of this? Well, it's simple. I was driving down the street just the other day in lovely historic Providence, Rhode Island when something caught my attention. Over the Boy Scout Building I noticed a giant dinosaur wearing a sign that said: "Join Cub Scouts." It looked a little something like this:
I then began to wonder what had made me join the Cub Scouts. Today their preferred method of enlisting new recruits seems to be fear. Is that how I had been convinced to join? Maybe a hooded child molester had broken into my house and tied me up, beating me until I finally gave in and agreed to join. The memories of such an experience would obviously be too painful to not block out completely.
So I think that fear is a great way to get people to do what you want. The dinosaur who is clearly saying: "Join the Cub Scouts... OR DIE!" is a brilliant marketing tool but it didn't start there. I have gone through the cub scouts' website and researched their past advertisements and slogans.
All content taken from the Official Boy Scouts of America Website.
The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America, incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916, is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop an army of prepubescent sex-starved youth that will one day conquer the world. Through the years we have had a number of different ways of scaring young fragile children into selling their soul to Akela. Here is a complete history of propaganda and scare tactics that brought America's youth to our doors.
"Join the Cub Scouts or I will suck your blood!"
The Vampire was a great source of fear for little children in the late twenties and early thirties. As our first terror-inducing mascot the Vampire served as a great way to get children to join a protective group and stay out of the reach of Vampires who, as we all know, feast on young boys' blood.
"Schließen Sie Den Bengel Pfadfinder an oder ich werde ihr Land nächst überfallen!"
In 1939 Adolph Hitler's tanks swept across Europe, taking over countries and devastating entire races and quite frankly the Cub Scouts couldn't have been any happier! The Vampire had slowly been losing its scare potential and we were beginning to explore new avenues of terror such as frankenstein and some mummies. When Hitler's armies conquered most of Europe, our choice had been made. Truth be told, we were sorry to see him go.
A Communist Panda Bear
"Freedom can only be gained through the barrel of a shotgun."
For nearly thirty years this hateful Panda Bear served as the Cub Scouts' primary scare tactic. The long-lasting effects of the communist Panda Bear was to completely turn off leagues of children to Panda Bears. They're cute, they're cuddly, but they're Chinese and therefore cannot be trusted. The short term effects were to nearly double the population of Cub Scouts in America. For that I say, "Bravo, Panda Bear. Bravo."
The Japanese Business Man
During this time we used a Japanese Business Man to scare children (and most of America) into believing that Japan was going to buy all of America. This was great because we hired a number of South East Asian immigrants (and even some Dominicans) to pose as Japanese Business men and threaten to buy children's neighborhoods, cities and sometimes states. Then the Cub Scouts came along with an offer these children could not refuse: "Join the Cub Scouts and soon we will own the world. Then we will kill all the Japanese People." The children would scream: "Hooray!" Then we'd feed them ice cream.
An average Homosexual
"Hello children, I am a homosexual."
We believe an avowed homosexual is not a role model for the values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law. If people are allowed to do things such as "following their heart" and "not fitting into an idyllic 1950's type setting" then what would happen to our cherished organization. We believe that anyone who doesn't wear a sweater, smoke a pipe and have 2.2 children and a dog should not be a scout master. Homosexuals are scary scary individuals. At least that's what we thought.
"Raaaar! Join the Cub Scouts or Die!"
Ah, back to the classics. We were a little disappointed with results of the Homosexual Campaign. Some people found him to be a "nice guy" and this just didn't work. We were convinced that any homosexual man put in a room full of 10 year old boys would immediately start flapping his gums about man on man sex. Strangely this didn't really happen. Apparently homosexual men don't talk about man on man sex around a bunch of little boys anymore than heterosexual men talk about man on woman sex around little boys. We're still waiting to see if the dinosaur brings up dinosaur on man sex around ten year old boys.
So I hope this little nugget of Cub Scout history has provided you with answers to some of your Cub Scout related questions. I know I have learned a lot from this research and I will never look at my belt loops the same way again.