Local Cub Scout roundups are well under way as area youth and parents gather to prepare for months filled with hiking, merit badges and pinewood derbies.
Cub Scout volunteer Mark Thompson said the yearly roundup is basically preregistration for first- through fifth-graders whose parents are interested in getting them involved.
"It's an informational period for children and parents," Thompson said. "Everybody can come and talk and get to know each other."
Following sign-ups, packs from every elementary school will separate into dens and weekly meetings begin.
But much of a Cub Scout's time will be spent outside of meetings.
"We try to keep the 'outing' in 'scouting,'" said Cub Master Brad Brown, an Eagle Scout who oversees Pack 807. "It's extra-extracurricular."
Thompson said Scouts last year had the opportunity to visit an air base, where they saw fighter jets.
"Scouting gives you access to a lot of activities you wouldn't have access to otherwise," he said.
Field trips to newspaper offices, grocery stores and radio stations, let Scouts see "how the world works behind the scenes," Brown said,
In addition, youth will participate in educational competitions like pinewood derbies, rain gutter regattas and team-building exercises.
"It's all about pulling together as a team to accomplish goals," Thompson said. "In school, it's all about 'my test scores and my homework.' But in scouting, everybody works together."
"It's the fun activities and the diversity of opportunity in those activities," he said. "These kids get to learn a lot of skills."
There may be as many as 100 Cub Scouts in one pack, Brown said. Packs are then split into smaller groups, or dens, based on their age. Dens are organized by school.
Cub Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouting is considered more of a family-oriented activity than Boy Scouting, according to the organization's Web site, www.scouting.org.