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Duce's Wild: Cub Scout Chronicles: Proud of den flags

During

the first meeting with my Cub Scouts, we made a flag for each den. My

goals were to unify the boys, make our color guard more colorful at

pack meetings and last but not least, get rid of a stack of felt that's

been shuffled on my shelves of craft supplies.

Before

the boys arrived, I spread two large pieces of dark green felt on the

dining room table. I divided scraps of black, gold, tan and red felt

for each group to use as embellishments. With little help from me, the

Bear Scouts took their turn first and created a truly beautiful emblem.

Central

to their flag was a black profile of a grizzly bear, complete with the

distinct hump on its back. The borders were designed as a team effort

with rectangles and triangles of all sizes and colors layered together

and then repeated in all four corners.

Since

most of my recent craft projects have been with toddlers in nursery or

my preteen daughters, I was surprised at how well the boys

compromised, complimented and truly worked together to complete the

project in the alloted time.

The

older boys were particular when it came to symmetry and the exact words

they wanted cut out across the top. They also were adamant that one

side be snipped in 3-inch strips so a fringe would hang on the

outer edge. We were sure to leave enough room for a pole on the other

side, and then the boys got busy securing every piece with craft glue.

They were cognizant of the clock and desperately wanted to roll up the

flag so the Wolf Scouts wouldn't steal any of their ideas.

My

husband kept the younger three boys busy outside with a bow and arrows

and a makeshift target. Both groups were eager to switch places when

the time came.

Although I hadn't intended the project to be competitive, it was the nature of the boys to make it so.

The

younger three rallied around the table motivated by a hope of making

older comrades jealous with their unique wolf design. They too wanted

an animal shape as the central focus. After sketching on paper, every

frustrating effort looked more like a dog or a coyote or an oversized

hamster. They finally decided to make the shape of a wolf's head

similar to the one found on the wolf patch they hope to earn for their

uniforms.

The

younger ones needed my help with the sharp scissors, and when I

finished I was certain they would be disappointed with the

one-dimensional, one-color shape. But with the help of a white crayon

and some triangles to layer on the nose, eyes and ears, it finally

looked pretty good.

They

cut stripes to border both sides and were similar to the older boys in

wanting very specific words placed across the top. They made jokes

about wolves attacking bears and were hoping to add a defeated bear in

the background, but I discouraged them from including carnage on a flag

meant to honor the pack, not tease and taunt.

They

too rolled up their masterpiece before the older boys came in for

cookies and milk and traded brags about how cool their designs had

become.

Being

sewing-impaired, I asked my sister-in-law to help me secure the glued

pieces with everlasting stitches. The fussiness of felt proved to be a

major pain, so the master seamstress, my mother-in-law, stepped in to

save the flags.

They

were finished just in time for our first pack meeting and unveiled to

the crowd of family members. I watched each of the boys take his mom or

dad to the flags and explain his personal creative inclusions.

In

a subsequent week when we found ourselves at the wood shop learning the

requirements for a tools-identification patch, one brother in our

Mormon ward helped the boys make a wooden stand for their flags.

It

seemed a simple project but proved to accomplish all of my intended

goals: unity, Scout pride and one clutter-free craft shelf.