My wife and I want our kids to be active. We want them to try many activities to find their greatest interests.  And, there aren’t enough seasons to try every sport or academic group, or we must pick one and make them a specialist.  In our search for a solution to this we found one that works for our family.

My oldest son (6) is now a Tiger Scout which is the entry level rank in the Boy Scouts of America. When exploring the responsibilities and possibilities associated with Scouting, we came across the Academic and Sports Program and have found it to be a great resource for our family.  While this column might sound like an endorsement for the BSA, it is not*.  However, there are many strengths to this specific program.

Scouting not required*

Whether you are a fan of the Boy Scouts of America or not, this resource is right at your fingertips.  No sign-up, commitment, extra meeting to add to the calendar, or fund raiser you must do.  Simply go to the website (listed at the bottom), click on the sport or academics area you are interested in, and get going.

Low time commitment

I love the guidelines for their simplicity and ease of time.  Check out the requirements for the “Video Games” award:

Complete these three requirements:

  1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
  2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
  3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

Pretty simple, huh?  This was the first one we completed because 1) it caught my son’s eye 2) I wanted to get it off the list ASAP or else I’d never hear the end of it and 3) it provided healthy structure to video gaming in our house.  Win, win, win.

Try many activities

As parents, how do we help our children find the areas and activities they will be passionate about?  Instead of dedicating an entire season to one activity, this program offers the opportunity to dabble in many which could reveal an interest you could then pursue further.  Hey, it could be baseball or astronomy.

There’s an award!

Kids (and parents) love to earn awards.  Completing each area earns you a belt-loop that slides on a youth belt.  They are cheap and available either online or at the Scout Store located just off Fall Creek Road on the Indy’s east side.

A way to engage with your kids

There is no perfect guide to parenting and it’s normal to struggle to find a way to get into your child’s world to be an influence and encouragement.  I find this program helps.  My son picks the area he’s interested in (he loves choices!), we complete it together, sometimes over several weeks time, and we celebrate by participating in that activity.  If it’s an area that’s a flop and there’s no further interest, it’s still a win because you completed a project together.

As parents of VERY physically active kids, this program has been a great parenting resource for us, especially during vacation and stay-cation times.  Know there are resources out there that can help you leverage your time, parent with a purpose, and spend quality time with your family.

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/CubScouts/UniformsAndAwards/sanda.aspx