Growing up in the Boy Scouts of America, Robert “Wick” Warden learned life lessons he knew he wanted to pass on to his children.
The father of five girls, he explored various youth leadership programs to give his daughters those same opportunities, looking for a way to allow the family to do things as a unit.
The decision by Boy Scouts of America leaders allowing Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA troops to enroll girls sealed Warden’s decision.
On the first day of eligibility, June 11, 2018, Warden and his wife, Kristin, enrolled their daughters in a Cub Scouts pack near their then-home in northwest Arkansas.
Now living in Broken Arrow, the girls are part of Cub Scout Pack 785. Adelaide, 10, and Keturah, 9, are members of the Arrow of Light Den; Madeline, 8, is part of the Bear Den; Katherine, 7, is in the Wolf Den; and Deborah, 4, is waiting until she can join the Lion Den next year.
“For our particular situation, being in Scouts BSA fit our family,” said Warden, himself a 26-year veteran of the organization. “There are a lot of principles scouts reinforce that were things we wanted our family to work on.
“(Besides) by its intent and design, (scouting is) very family-orientated. This is one of the extracurriculars which really compliments all of the other extracurriculars.”
Growing up outdoors
Kristin Warden jokes that her husband began teaching their daughters about the outdoors almost from birth.
The lessons often meant the family could be found camping outside in the snowy backyard, complete with an extension cord and heater, or going on overnight trips with Pack-n-Plays in tow.
“We were always going camping as a family, having the girls learn hands-on skills,” Kristin Warden said. “So when Scouts BSA opened up with all it offers, we were excited.”
Besides fitting the ages of their daughters, the Cub Scout program provided one additional incentive for Kristin Warden — her husband was able to become an integral part of the girls’ extracurricular activities.
“He wasn’t just watching from the sidelines or funding it,” Kristin Warden said. “He gets to do it with them.”
Cub Scouts are divided by age and gender during the den meetings. The entire pack, or all of the dens within the group, meets once a month as one unit. The pack also takes part in various outings, including fall and spring camping trips or civic/community service opportunities as a single unit.
While living in Arkansas, the girls took part in a civic outing that included cleaning a nearby national cemetery.
A lifetime of lessons
As a scout, Wick Warden said he learned how to not only be a leader but also a follower or team player, learning to work with people from different walks of life.
“In scouts, you may be with people from different schools, from different religions, or different backgrounds economically, but you are all engaged in common activities,” Warden said. “This helps you develop as a person.”
An Eagle Scout, Warden is excited to know his daughters can not only work on things he planned to teach them, but also receive formal recognition for their efforts.
He looks forward to watching his daughters grow in the organization and eventually bridge into the Scouts BSA.
“In scouting, you are dealing with 13- to 18-year-olds during a time when they are growing a lot not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually,” Warden said. “It’s an age range when they learn to work together as a team to accomplish things.”
He believes scouting gives his daughters a space to grow at their own pace and an opportunity to learn personal management skills, goal-setting, teamwork and more.
“I feel it prepares them to take on most anything,” Warden said. “I say almost anything because there’s a realism there. But I know it will give them confidence to deal with the fear of the unknown and things which are difficult.”
This summer, Warden took his four oldest daughters on a scouting adventure. The crew were guests at the 24th World Scout Jamboree, which took place at the end of July at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia.
Warden said his daughters met scouts from around the world and were able to talk to many non-English-speaking scouts thanks to Google Translate.
Adelaide said she enjoyed having a chance to tour the world’s fair exhibits and learn about people from another country.
“I like making friends and doing things I wouldn’t normally experience,” Adelaide said, recalling one booth where an adult was making wooden pocket knives.
For more information about scouting opportunities in the Tulsa-area, contact the Indian Nations Council atokscouts.org, or call 918-743-6125.
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