I recently had the opportunity to speak to my son’s Cub Scout pack. I love being able to share my passion for the hobby with my son, but this was an opportunity to share the hobby with many young collectors. The scouts can earn a ‘belt-loop’ and pin about collecting. I was of course excited about the opportunity, but was unsure on how to approach the night.
The guidelines/checklist needed to earn the belt-loop was a good place to start. Following this, I had an idea of what material I needed to cover to help the scouts earn the loop. I was able to cover different type of collections, how to get started, where to get cards, how to store, protect and display them and a little about card value. All very good information for sure, but how do I make it engaging and entertaining for six to ten year-old cub scouts?
The simple answer? Cards, cards, cards and more cards!
I contacted my sources at Panini, Tri-Star and Press Pass, explained my opportunity and they provided the opportunity to several young collectors to experience the joys of the hobby. Thanks to their sponsorship, every Cub Scout got to open over 20 packs of cards each.
These were not high-end or premium cards. In fact not all of them were new, most of them were a couple of years old. The Cub Scouts did not care though. Some of the scouts had never oped a pack of cards before. Even for the scouts who did have card collections already, opening packs of cards was pure enjoyment. It did not matter that most of the scouts could not recognize many of the names. The athletes that were recognized were announced and celebrated. What a lot of experienced card collectors consider “junk” game used and auto cards were the talk of the night. In a sense, some of the scouts really did win their version of a lottery. I had scout after scout running up to me asking what this insert was or to help them identify what piece of material was used in that game used swatch or if I could read the auto for them. It did not matter to the scouts if the auto was a sticker or “on-card” auto. To the scouts that pulled them, they were that much closer to that athlete, even if they never heard of them. The scouts were laughing, smiling, and trading. The parents were happy because their scouts were happy. Many of the parents asked me to look up values and asked questions about there old card collections.
Even if these cards end up in bike spokes and shoe boxes it was all worth it. The scouts were earning an activity loop and pin, friendships were strengthened, generations gaps were bridged and the hobby was alive and well for one night for a room full of collectors young and old.
Here are some photos from our night of cards.
The very next day one of the scouts came to my wife’s classroom with a card and a hand-written note. He had found a card of one of my favorite players I mentioned the night before. He was asking if I wanted to trade. Both my wife and I were surprised by the sweet gesture. Of course I made his day with the cards he got in return. A card of one of the players I collect plus an opportunity to enhance this young collectors hobby experience? Absolutely! That is what collecting and trading are all about.
Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us!