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Bear Scout Refuses To Attend Den Meetings

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  • #16
    Been there done that.
    If the parents pay the dues, he's a Cub Scout. If the Den Leaders, Cub Master, Committee Chair, etc. present the fun program, the Cub can benefit from it, IF he attends and progresses. But it is a choice, not a do or die requirement, is it?
    I had a boy in my Cub Den, he would come or not, he might be at the B&G or not. The parents were obviously not as enthusiastic as the Cub. Part of the dues went to the Dens in our Pack for supplies. I had a leather craft one time, the Cub wasn't there. I figured, they paid for it, they should have it, so I went and knocked on their door and the Cub answered the door. I said "hey, Bill, missed you at the last meeting. I thought you ought to have the leather kit." At that point, the dad came to the door, took the kit, said "thank you" and closed the door. Never saw the kid again.
    Did I take it personally? No, I know I did my job. Was I dissapointed? Sure.
    One can only " do your best".

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    • #17
      requirements: Webelos badge requirement is "Be an active member of your Webelos den for 3 months." Arrow of light is "Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months."

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      • #18
        MDM - This family has effectively taken themselves out of your den. They refuse to communicate with you in any way. The only positive thing in all of this is that there still seems to be a silght bit of communication with the CM.

        If the CM wishes to act as the figurehead "den leader" for this one boy "den" that is his call.

        It the CM is willing to sign off on, and present, the Bear Badge to this boy, that is his call too. Hopefully, he will insist that the boy actually DOES do the requirements, and, not just hand the boy an unearned award. However, at the Bear level, if the parents state that the achievements were completed, we have to take their word for it.

        Bottom line - if any of your Bears ask about this boy, simply tell them he is no longer in your den. I would also encourage them to talk to this boy at any Pack events he attends. It is a shame that the parents are keeping him from enjoying Scouts with his friends. You can only hope that there is really a better reason behind it than mere pique with you personally.

        If the boy attends the B&G, and is awarded his Bear Badge, I would make sure to congratulate the boy on his accomplishment, and let him know that the other Scouts have missed him.

        As for next year, I agree with the other posters, you need to have a heart-to-heart discussion with the CM, and the CC, about the situation - NOW. This pseudo "Lone Scout" stuff will not fly for Webelos. The family needs to get with the BSA program in your Pack, or find a Pack that is more to their liking.

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        • #19
          The problem we've run into when this kind of thing happens, is that the other parents and the other scouts start to talk. a bit of "how did he get the bear badge he hasn't come to any meetings." and a bit of morale issues arrise, other scouts and parents think maybe they can just sign off that they did stuff when they really didn't or that they can earn something without ever coming to a meeting.

          We do have a pack rule that if you are absent from meeting for 3 months, you are considered not a member anymore wtihout somethings changing. We will have a serious discussion about whether scouting is for you and your family or not. sometimes it's illness or sports or grades or other thing that is reasonable and can be accomodated. So we try to have a sit down with cm and cc and den leader and parents to discuss what can be done at home, what should be done in the den mtgs (there are a few parts of achievements even in Bear that say do with your den or in a den meeting) and which items are going to be more fun if they just come do it with the rest of the scouts. If a parent complains about a den leader, one of the pack leaders will sit in on a meeting and talk to the den leader and see if recommendations should be made. sometimes it's simply helping the den leader get more organized, sometimes it's suggesting that the complaining parent step up and lead an activity to help the den have a balance (some dens are too much activity, some are too much crafts and some are just an unorganized mess). we remind every parent that we are a team.

          In this instance if I were CM I would invite the parent to come back to a den meeting and see what it's like. I would ask the den leader to do the same, on the phone, not by email--and remind the parents m that den leaders grow and change thru a year, so what they saw at one mtg would certainly not be the same 6 months or so later. and then after the mtg sit down and look thru the book and see what the den leader might be able to repeat (some of the flag/citizen stuff maybe), and which items they are plannign to do anyway (so many of those electives are left over) that would count toward Bear and make up a plan with the parents for what to do at home. And then put it firmly in the parent's court. I would not give the Bear badge without at least seeing the book. CM is not den leader, sure they can do the signing and approving of the rank, but in our pack that wouldn't fly--den leaders are the ones that submit ranks, cause otherwise parents try to do end runs around den leaders, and cubmasters spend too much time doing den stuff, not doing pack stuff.


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          • #20
            Lot's of good advice here. I have to agree with most of what has already been said. Yes, I think a boy should be allowed to participate in Scouting even if he is unable to attend meetings for any reason. We have a boy who attends very sporatically. His blue shirt has no patches on the front, but he is happy and eager and enthusiastic whenever he able to participate. I've told other paretns that they can choose their level of involvement, and then I just try to have a more exciting program than the soccer league or the baseball league. I don't think that you are wrong to take this as a personal slight. You are a good den leader. You might never know why these parents don't like you. The best you can do, I think, is to always be kind to them and continue to provide a quality scouting experience for as many boys as possible.

            My best advice: don't present the bear badges to anyone. I never present the badges of rank. I present the segments and arrow points and other awards, but the badges of rank are presented by the Cubmaster to the parents, and then by the parents to the scouts. The reason for this is primarily because we do a face painting ceremony and I wish to participate as a parent. My son is in my den, and I want to paint his face Maybe this would work for you.

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            • #21
              I am going to say the CM is handling this properly. The boy is registered, entitled to Rank Advance, and if parent, as Akela, signs off on the achievement, well, the boy is entitled to his Bear Badge. As far as the CM presenting it and not you? Well, he's not in your Den, is he? I mean, he's basically a lone scout working on requirements with his parents and not coming to stuff. Clearly the CM wants the boy in Scouting and hopes he'll return (or figures he'll disappear after this and never be seen again), so who cares.

              I get the hurt feels, I'm a Den Leader, I sink a ton of time into it, but when you step back, this is entirely within the "letter of the law," so I don't see a reason to prohibit it.

              I'm guessing that the parents didn't like what they saw you doing, had other commitments other than Scouting, but wanted their son to do Derby and get his badge. We have some of those in our Pack as well. You hope that they'll return next year as schedules shift, but who knows.

              But I don't see any reason for you to present his Bear Badge with your Den, he didn't earn in with them. If you want to make it clear that this isn't reasonable, ask the CM to present it without any ceremony, and then make a big deal about your Den, talk about a few great meetings/activities that they did.

              Going out on a limb here, I'm going to say it's very unlikely that if he was in your Den last year, and they were active, and they signed up for Scouting again, that it had anything to do with that meeting. They had a year of your Cub meetings, then decided at a Parent meeting that you suck? That's silly. I'm going to guess that one of the new families has a big conflict with them, either parent level or scout level, and they aren't participating as a result. Their son might miss Scouting, and this might be a way back. If he's the only boy w/o a Bear Badge, that'd discourage him from returning.

              But who knows. Regardless, don't sweat it, focus on the boys in YOUR Den, and ignore the rest, it's not your fight.

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              • #22
                I don't have much to add here that hasn't already been said but I did experience something similar to this in the past few months. There are 4 scouts in our den that have completely dropped off since December (around the time the other den leader completely quit pitching in, who was a good friend of all their moms.) They all re-chartered via our Cub Master but have nothing to do with me. No responses to phone calls, texts, emails - I let them know of everything coming up and never hear anything in return. At the B&G, none showed up but our CM still had their Tiger patches ready (even though they did not complete half the achievements.) I realized at that point that nothing I could do would sway them, either they'll come back or they'll eventually drop out altogether (per advice of others and the writings in here as well.) I wish you luck with it, definitely try not to take it personally. I did for the first few weeks but as my husband pointed out, its for the boys, you can only do so much and not everyone who joins sticks with it (he's an example of that as he quit early on when he was a child.)

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