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Absentee Cubmaster?

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  • #31
    My thoughts:

    "Hes missed 4 out of the last 5 meetings and a lot of the parents who love scouts and our pack are growing concerned."

    Pack meetings or those consolidated Den meetings and the parent "roundtables"? Pack meetings, it's a concern if its more than a couple - life happens and its not unusual for CMs to miss a Pack meeting and/or outing or two. The Den meetings? Even if they're all in the same place at the same time, the Cubmaster shouldn't be there - parents will always decide the Cubmaster is in charge of any meeting he's at, whether he's in charge or not. The Cubmaster really has no need to be at the Den meetings - the Den Leaders are in charge, they should be able to run their Den meetings without the CM being there. Really, the Cubmaster's presence is a big signal on the purpose of a meeting - when he's there, its an all-Pack meeting - when he's not, it's a Den meeting. Use that to your advantage.

    "myself and the WDL offered ourselves to be his ACMs ... "Well you wouldn't be DL anymore"

    The CM has identified that he needs you more as DL's than as ACMs. I'd respect his decision here. Having an ACM can be a nice thing, but its an option, not a neccessity. If the CM can't make a meeting, the CC steps in - it's part of the CC's job description. I've sen Packs without ACMs designate the WDL as the "Acting Cubmaster" when the CM isn't available for a meeting - and since the CMs job at a Pack meeting is essentially that of MC, that shouldn't be an issue.

    "so a parent isnt looking around asking wheres the CM I need to give him something"

    Why does a parent need to give the CM anything other than a handshake, hug or holiday card? The CM's primary interaction with a parent is a PR relationship - the "Hey, how's it going? Son enjoying Cub Scouts? Everything good with the Den? It's great to see you here" variety. Paperwork, etc. should go through the Den Leader - the Den Leader can get it to the right person (unless the committee member handling something wants it to come to them). Registration? Give to Den Leader to give to Committee Member in charge of registration. Popcorn money? Give to Den Leader or to "Popcorn Kernal". These things shouldn't be going to the CM. If your parents are wandering away from their Dens to look for the Cubmaster, you should be retraining them to deal with their Den Leaders.

    "We said we can help you out with retrieving awards, tracking achievements, managing things when you cant be there."

    Retrieving awards? There is a Committee Member position that would do that. Tracking Achievements? That's the Den Leader's job. Tracking Advancement? Again, Committee Member. Managing things when he isn't there? Committee Chairs job if there is no ACM.

    "One night he wasnt there, one of my bear cubs we discovered had a peanut allergy that both the parent and scout did not know about and we had to get him some medical attention. Told the CM. His response "Oh." "

    What did you expect? Pat on the back and a hearty "Well Done!" Ok, that might have been nice to hear. Wailing and gnashing of teeth? Why? Nothing he could do about it. I see this as you delivering information and him acknowledging it. There's really not much more he can do. You were present so its much more appropriate for you to contact the family to make sure the scout is ok - and you relay it on the the CM. The CM shouldn't be calling the family to inquire or follow-up - not unless he was there. This is a medical issue now, and a lot of folks are raised to keep medical issues private - I wouldn't assume the CM is uncaring, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt that he is just being respectful. If the family were to approach him at a pack meeting and chat about it, thats the time for a "I had heard and am glad little Joey is doing ok". Are you expecting him to take this information and somehow dictate a new "no peanut product" rule to be announced at a Pack meeting? I sure hope not.

    " He has been a no show at pack meeting where we usually give out vital information. It's kinda left the CC to do the work of two people and her to assume what is fine and not fine with the CM."

    Its part of the CC's job to step in and give out the vital information if the CM isn't at a meeting. But what is really disturbing is that the CC has to "assume" what is fine with the CM or not - isn't the CC communicating the the CM? Haven't you had an annual planning meeting where all this was already hashed out and now you're just delivering the program or are you running by the seat of your pants?

    "We do have monthly parent meeting and round tables with them. They are the ones who knock around ideas for the pack to do." What?? Why are you doing this? No wonder there's a potential for dysfunction - it sounds like you're doing planning a couple of months in advance at the most, based on suggestions from your parents meetings. Your Pack should be having an annual planning meeting - usually sometime in the summer - often its a combined Pack Leader and Committee meeting where calendars and suggestions are pulled out, brainstorming occurs, and the years calendar, from monthly themes for Pack Meetings to the Pack's outings, is planned out. Maybe you don't put together the plan for the Bike Rodeo you want to hold in April, but you put it on the calendar and add to the calendar 2 or 3 months before, planning time for the specific event. No need for monthly parent roundtables to get ideas for the next few outings. If you want to give the parents opportunities to give you ideas, that's again something done through the Den Leaders - anything wriong with sending out a flyer at one den meeting to be returned at the next den meeting asking for ideas for the next years outings? One less meeting for parents and for you to go to every mont - as for giving out information, thbats what Den and Pack meetings are for, as well as e-mails and newsletters.

    "We have had parents step up,company without asking wanting to mange achievements, camping, and activities. However our CM says no to a lot of these things for reasons beyond me. We have one parent who's a type a mom. I used to think that she was going to be a challenge to work with, but in fact, she's just wanting the best fr the kids and offered to handle some things for the CM. he said no, and she want to the COmmittee and they said yes."

    The examples I'm reading are really the Pack Committee's baliwick. Have you read the CM's job description? There's really nothing in there that would require him to have a committee of his own to handle. They're easily done by one person if he's got good Den Leaders working with him. Is he saying no to suggestions for changes to the upcoming program? Good - he should be saying no if the plans have already been made. Is he really saying no to people volunteering to help or is he telling them to go see the CC - I've seen way too many parents who have been told to see the CC decide thats no and not a "see the guy who needs to fill these jobs".

    "Our committee chair is frustrated with it because they have addressed it with him, but he seems to not really take what they say to heart."

    Addressed what with him? Take a good look at all the things that you're asking your Cubmaster to do - take any of those things that rightfully should be done by the Committee and find Committee Members to do them instead of dumping them on the Cubmaster's lap. Check your expectations of meeting attendance - a Cubmaster generally has no more than four meetings a month he has to go to - the Pack Meeting, the Committee Meeting, the Pack Leaders Meeting and the District Roundtable. Den meetings? Not unless he's received a call for help from a Den Leader. Parent Roundtables? Unneccessary meeting in the first place, and one the CC can run if you really need it - if I were the CM, the plan would be set by July 31 for the Cubbing Year starting September 1 and ending August 31 of the next year and would take those "parent roundtable" suggestions and stuff them into a box until the next annual planning meeting.

    "Parents are growing concerned."

    Then you need to retrain your parents so that they understand that the Cubmaster's role is not to take money, to take registrations, to track advancements, to track achievements. So that they know that if they have questions, or need to get paperwork in, that they go to the Den Leader first (just as we try to train Patrol members in Scouts to go to the Patrol Leaders before going to their Senior Patrol Leaders with issues) who will get the answers/information. It's to act as Ringmaster to the three-ringed circus called a Pack Meeting. Its to stand up and lead the silly songs, to hand out awards, to keep the enthusiasm level up. Its the Den Leaders and Committee Person's job to do all the program and support stuff that leads to the handing out of awards, that leads to the activities, that leads to the monthly three-ringed circus.

    "Boy Scouts is boy led and Cub Scouts is parent led."

    Wrong. Cub Scouts is not parent led. It is Pack Leader led. It is led by the Cubmaster, the CC, the Den Leaders and the Committee Members. The CM is the forward position public face of leadership. The Den Leaders are the CM's Lieutenants in the field. The Committee Chair and Committee Members are the behind the lines folks that make it easy for the front line folks to get the job done. All of these leaders are the folks that decide what the Pack is going to do and how its going to do it. The parents? They can decide to stay on your raft, or join another raft - but they don't decide how or where the raft is going to be steered.

    " I just finished WB training and I loved it. However his hatred (yes) towards WB given past experiences with it has caused a bit of a rift between us that I was not trying to create. I just wanted to help him and provide for him an outlet to say "Hey, Im stuck at work or something's come up. Can you run and get this and that?" "

    Finally, and please take this in the spririt it's intended. You've just finished Woodbadge. It means you're excited and pumped up - not unusual in those who have just fininshed Woodbadge. You're brimming with ideas, and eager to go out and do. And that's a good thing. You're dealing with a CM that has had a bad experience with WB - though we don't know if its as a participant or if its in interactions with other eager folks that have gone through Woodbadge. The fact that he's had any experience with it at all suggests that he's an experienced Scouter and isn't a first year Cubmaster (as does his statement that he's aware of the practices of Cubmasters at other Packs in the area). Your eagerness may be inadvertently creating a rift - after training this weekend, you might come away with a whole new perspective on just what a Cubmaster should be doing. I'm guessing you might end up reflecting that, well darn it all, he's actually doing what a Cubmaster is supposed to be doing - and how can I support him in that.

    At least that's my take.




    Comment


    • #32
      >>"ScoutNut, please remind all of the parents in my pack I am a den leader and not a CM. I know the chain of command, but my parents apparently do not. Is it my job to explain it to those parents outside my den? Yes, it is in my opinion."

      Comment


      • #33

        >



        I'm afraid I see that as an exaggeration of the facts, Scout Nut.


        The Cubmaster has several important roles. One is taking charge of the program at pack meetings and pack activities.

        Another is supervising and supporting the den programs. Another is planning the pack schedule and program.

        There are many reasons why parents might need or desire to talk with the Cubmaster.

        Comment


        • #34
          In general, the CM deals with the den leaders, and the committee members, to make sure a good BSA program is being delivered.

          The CM would interact with the unregistered parents at Pack meetings where he/she is the Master of Ceremonies, and at any Pack-wide activities the CM attends.

          Yes, the CM signs youth applications, but that does not necessarily have to be done in front of the family.

          Den leaders can (and should) keep track of, and collect forms, payments, applications, etc, from their own den families. There is no reason for families to have to chase down the CM for that.

          If a family has questions about program activities, the FIRST person they should consider asking is their den leader. Their den leader should be their main Pack contact person.

          It seems like the problem here is that this is a Pack that meets every week at the same time/place, all together. It is like a mini Pack meeting each week with breakout sessions for den meetings. All registered Pack adults, including the CM, are expected to attend every week.

          While this works well for some smaller Packs, in this instance, there seems to be some issues. The CM is no longer able to attend every meeting, every week. Not unreasonable in my book, as long as he attends the monthly full Pack meetings. However,if this Pack has mini weekly Pack meetings, and no monthly full blown Pack meeting, that could be contributing to the problem. Most folks who sign up as CM are not committing to a meeting every week.

          Another issue that this Pack seems to have is that the CC, and COR, are not recruiting enough volunteers to do the committee work (award/advancement, finances, outings, etc). When you have den leaders taking on ACM, and committee responsibilities, that tells me there is a lack of help.

          It also seems that this Pack has no formal monthly Pack Leaders meetings. It is at these meetings, run by the CC, where the program activities for the Pack are worked out. There should be no need for a parent to pit the CM against the committee to get an activity for the Pack. This should be all worked out at the monthly Pack Leaders meeting. Don't blame the CM for the lack of a CC.

          It just seems to me that this Pack has more problems than simply a CM who is getting a bit burned out.

          Comment


          • #35
            "It also seems that this Pack has no formal monthly Pack Leaders meetings."

            Den Leaders mentioned it...

            Said no to it.

            Hard to drive the pack when your CM doesnt see the need to meet.

            Thats the zinger. Poor communication from him to other people in leadership positions.

            Comment


            • #36
              Ummm. No monthly Pack Committee meeting would be a big issue for me.

              I find them very useful, and always have reasonable attendance if parents and leaders are sent a couple of e-mail reminders.

              Also, they are part of the annual meeting plan and schedule.

              An added feature is that they only no more than an hour.

              If the Cubmaster isn't interested, I'd talk to the Committee Chair about scheduling Committee Meetings ( I call them parent meetings myself.)

              Comment


              • #37
                >>"Hard to drive the pack when your CM doesnt see the need to meet."

                Comment


                • #38
                  I am acting as CM for my second time. The first time I thought I did a good job. I made every PM and Round Table. That was it.

                  I have grown a lot in the last 10+ years. Now in my second stint I am at every DM/PM/Comm Meeting/ any activity that is scheduled. I go because I love it and it does help the DLs. But I have found that it helps the scouts even more.

                  By showing genuine interest in what they are doing and how they are progressing the scouts can't wait for me to ask them each week. They are attentive and respectful to the DLs. Now our Cubs are not perfect and we have the occasional issue that needs to be addressed, like most Packs.

                  But I have been told by parents and DLs alike that since I was asked to be CM there is a difference in the scouts and in the Den Meetings.

                  Be there, Be present, and show genuine interest and enthusiasm.

                  I used to be a Bufallo...

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    It's a good idea for a Cubmaster to be present on Den Meeting nights. You get to know and interact with the DL's more often, meet the boys and, interact with their parents. It also makes you available to DL's and parents for questions and concerns. You can do all of this and still stay out and away from the Den Meetings. An added bonus is you begin to recognize and know the boys on a first name basis.

                    In the end, all of this depends on your Pack culture and expectations placed upon your CM. As CM of my Pack, I'm expected to be present on most Den Meeting Nights unless I have a schedule conflict. If I can't be there, I let the CC or other leader know. Besides, someone has to lock up the church when we are done and only the CC and I have a key to the church.

                    The so-called idea of the CM only serving as a "MC" at Pack Meetings and Campouts is a fantasy and a false respresentation of what the job requires. Check the list of responsibilities for CM by National. Effective CMs are highly engaged with thier Packs.

                    Comment

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