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  • #31
    Tot lot needs to be there so that parents can volunteer. With our tot lot the parents had to bring in a box of capri suns and enough snacks for 12. Each parent sending a kid to tot lot that is.

    The most we had in tot lot this year was about 6 so it was just one mom and a girl scout in there helping with the kids. Our day camp runs around 120 cub scouts so that was way little in the tot lot for the amount of kids we had at the day camp. Also, the mom running it was about 7 months pregnant. So running the tot lot was one of the only volunteer duties she could have as it was WAY too hot to let her run around outside safely. Our tot lot is in a room with an a/c.

    Our camp requires every cub scout attending the camp to have a parent volunteer for at least one day. Its mandatory. So it gave the expecting mom something she could contribute while not getting overheated. We had another 8 month pregnant mom come in for one day and she worked over in tot lot as well for the day.


    • #32
      Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
      If one were to go back to the original post, one would see that because no one wanted to volunteer for the day-care of the volunteers, they tagged along in the program. 2 problems, one no volunteers to help the volunteers, and two young kids tagging along while others, who have paid are having to put up with the interruption.

      I totally understand that there are those that can't volunteer because they have family commitments. So be it, they can't volunteer. I don't have a problem with that. But to drag them along and then expect someone to watch them imposes extra work on those in the program.

      If there aren't enough volunteers for a program, then don't have a program. If one wants day-care for the volunteers, and no one wants to baby-sit for the day, then hire someone. Volunteers that show up to help only to have their attention drawn in two different directions are not being honest with the participants that paid for their undivided attention.

      While there are lots of groups doing the day-care stuff for their volunteers it doesn't make it appropriate to the program. And as was pointed out in the original post, not only was there no day-care available, those kids tagged along with the parent and participants. So, the whole conversation about the merits of providing day-care for volunteers is irrelevant, the point being, in this case there was none, but then does the person volunteering now expect such amenities when they are supposed to be doing the volunteering for nothing?
      Boo, hiss. JBlake, I think in your 40+ years of volunteering, you must have forgotten what it's like to have young kids. Yes, you do sound like a "hard nosed Grinch" to quote your earlier post.

      Since you are venting about spoiled volunteers who expect to *gasp* bring their young children with them while they volunteer all day with their older children instead of putting them in day care for the week as you suggested (really? In my area, that would cost about $300 for the week) -- I hope you won't mind me responding with my vent from the other side as a burned out volunteer momma.

      Regardless of what you or anyone thinks is "fair", here are some facts:

      1. Scouting can't happen without volunteers. Period. Without volunteer parents, there are no camps, no den meetings, nothing.

      2. Good volunteers are hard to find. In our pack, less than 10% of the volunteers do all the work. I live in an area where most families have two working parents. I have grown very, very, very tired of people in our pack and in other kids' activities where I volunteer telling me: "Wow, you volunteer a lot. I wish I could, but I have a job."

      A. Yes, I am a work at home mom. When my oldest was born, I chose to give up a very good six figure job and start part time writing work from home so I could spend more time with my kids and my family. I did *not* make that choice so a few dozen double income families in our pack, church program, etc. could make twice as much as our family and still have all these volunteer led groups for their children without contributing squat. In fact, I've had to chase some of them down for bounced checks, etc.

      B. I am a work at home mom. I chose to greatly reduce my paycheck by working at home so I could have the flexibility to do things for *my* kids. Not so all of you could feel entitled to have me run around like a crazy person doing what you should be doing for *your* kids. Yes, I greatly resent the entitled attitude some people have -- to my time and effort. And don't even get me started about the drop and run parents who have the nerve to complain that the volunteer led program isn't up to their expectations.

      3. So, if Scouting runs 100% on volunteer effort, and good volunteers are scarce in the best of circumstances, it only makes logical sense to make volunteering as cheap and easy as we can for the people we do get to volunteer. Simple logic, JBlake. For me to volunteer all day every day for a week in my son's Scout day camp, I have to give up my work time and income, and pay for all of my kids to attend the camp. That's more than enough. If you actually expect me to also pay $300 to arrange a week of day care for my daughter, you are out of your mind.

      4. I am tired of having my little daughter referred to as a "tag along". Her name is Jennifer. She is very well behaved. She's not a nuisance.

      Over half of our pack's leaders are moms, all with preschoolers or babies. If you want us to buy the food, wash the dishes, haul the stuff to camp, cook your food, etc. while the very few volunteer dads do the fun stuff with their sons like Pinewood and archery, you had better not give me any, repeat any, flak about bringing my precious well-behaved little girl with me. I already feel like the pack scullery maid. Do not suggest that I pay for that privilege.

      Here's the deal. Last year, I started out as treasurer. Then, I was asked to be webmaster. Somewhere along the way, our committee chair decided I was his personal assistant and pack recordkeeper, and I started getting calls all the time to look up who paid for this, or who signed up for that. Then, the advancement chair moved out of state, and I was told "well, I guess you're the advancement chair now since you know about computers". Not asked, assumed. Then, no one volunteered to lead camp cards, so I got stuck with that job since I'm the treasurer, and I had to pay for the things. Oh, and the camping chair did squat as well. Since, as treasurer, I'm buying the food, paying for the campsite, and taking payments from parents, he just made himself scarce and let me take care of the rest of it.

      So, the upshot of all of this is that as of last week, I have quit all my various jobs but one: webmaster. The pack has lost an honest and reliable treasurer. I have no idea where they plan to get an advancement chair, camp card coordinator, etc for next year since I'm told it's against BSA policy to require parents of Scouts to volunteer time.

      I wish them luck. JBlake, honestly after the spring I've had, your post just ticked me off to no end. I honestly believe that the attitude you display here, and the BSA has displayed to me, is killing Scouting. On behalf of my son, I am very sad for this.

      If you want to complain, for heaven's sake, say something about the drop and run parents who do nothing to contribute. For you to complain about the people who *are* volunteering is just nuts.

      Last edited by GeorgiaMom; 06-26-2013, 09:51 AM.


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        Required to volunteer? One needs to rethink the definition of volunteer.

        As I mentioned in comments to Faith, when it comes to dealing with volunteers, it is imperative to have volunteers lined up well before the event. If not enough people show up, then cancel. The rebound on that issue is a lot of angry parents who are angry because they realize that they are really needed to make things go in the unit. Once they come to that conclusion, they tend to voluntarily volunteer.

        And to the other issue. What does YPT say about nursing SM who has gone off leaving a gap in 2-deep leadership and where's the baby when she's not nursing. Whole Pandora box here.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Does two deep leadership require 4 eyes on all 50 eyes at all times. I think not. What happens when a SM sneaks off to use the facilities ? Again this situation would not occur because you state Scoutmaster and siblings are not permitted at Boy Scout events. It can occur at a Cub Scout event. Again, so what. I think you misunderstand two deep leadership.

      • Faith
        Faith commented
        Editing a comment
        I don't know about going off to feed but when I had to run to the bathroom (for the first day it was just two of us over tot lot) I had to flag someone over that was unoccupied at the moment to come sit with the kids and other adult until I returned. And when the kids had to go for a potty break, we had to all up and go (we stood outside of the doors until they were done.) Never once did we skimp out on the 2 deep leadership (not sure how lax or strict others are with that rule but I was covering us as much as possible.)

    • #33
      I have to say this thread *would* have appeared, no matter what, if I was designated anywhere near the tot lot (as an assistant, supervisor or otherwise.) I didn't post in with the intent of complaining about my position (reading my first post, yes, I could have worded that a lot better.) I posted for suggestions (whatever worked elsewhere, as far as tot lot activities go, I was interested in.) If you look at my other threads I've posted since joining here, all of them are asking for suggestions/input. My approach to quite a few things I'm new at are to see what works for others and come up with something (my ideas + theirs) that I think will work for us as well. Yes, there is plenty I do without asking here. But as someone who does online work for other forums, etc., I know the positive influence a forum and its members can have on assisting someone in a particular area. So I utilize that here for myself whenever possible (whether it be archery targets, tot lot, den doodles, etc.)

      There was no 'planned day-care volunteer' - our CM asked quite a few people, they turned it down (most of those ended up not helping out at all as volunteers.) She reached out to me and me trying to help best I can, I stepped up. The lady who was over it for the past 2-3 years is no longer with the program (nor is her son.) In the end, it all worked out well and my older son had a blast. Thankfully his little brother had no influence whatsoever on his first district camp


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        Been there done that. However, when I was faced with a similar problem, i.e. lack of volunteers, I simply cancelled the activity. How can one provide a program when no one shows up to do it?

        My Ex was asked to be the head of the Ladies group at church. She asked me what she should do for activities. I set up a program so that all 12 events (1/month) had a sign-up sheet. Activity Chair, Program Chair, Decoration/Luncheon Chair and a dollar amount of it's cost. Unless everything was filled in the activity would be cancelled. She posted it for Nov/Dec and collected up the signup/pledge sheets. August didn't have enough volunteers and so she threw away the sheet. She put together the annual booklet for the ladies and when they noticed there was only 11 events scheduled they asked why. She told them. Then an ad hoc group of angry ladies got together and planned out the August event on their own. Had they done that a month earlier there wouldn't have been any problem.

        Well they never asked her to do that again and at no time before or after was the program all spelled out with all expectations ready to go at the first of the year. I guess they enjoyed the lack of planning kind of approach.

        But if the people don't show, what can you do? Not much, but to cobble together something at the last minute and beg people to volunteer is probably not the best way to handle things.

        I'm saying, Be Prepared or endure the hassles. The choice is always there. If one is not prepared, hopefully they have a planned Plan B, or best yet, cancel and reschedule when one has the resources to pull it off properly. Remember you are relying on volunteers, not paid people whose job it is to show up no matter what.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        We are considering a similar approach. The problem lies here. I want a quality program for my son, he deserves it. I will not accept the just canceling events like campouts, the Raingutter Regatta or PWD. I will find similarly minded people and work with them in a quality pack.

      • Faith
        Faith commented
        Editing a comment
        I know we've cancelled smaller events in the not so far away past (last 6 months or so) due to lack of volunteers. A lot of planning went into this camp (a lot of people backed out towards the end of it) and if they had of cancelled and re-scheduled, I have no idea if it could have continued or not. Most of us who did volunteer requested time off months in advance (I had to ask off almost 2 months in advance) and wouldn't have been able to. Our pack is very small (at least compared to the numbers I see on here) and the other two packs that were included in our district didn't have one scout join us. So if us that did volunteer weren't able and new parents volunteered, I still can't say we'd have enough to 'suffice' for what should be a decent amount of people attending. Yes I'm making excuses, lol, but I think they were going to do whatever they could not to reschedule (as this wasn't a reoccurring event like a monthly program.) I was bummed enough over the other stuff we cancelled, I think if they got to the point of cancelling everything (instead of stretching us as they could) it would cause us that are more active to end up bailing as well (maybe that's what happened to the others, I don't know, still getting to know them all.) And I know as I'm typing this, some are thinking 'well if its that bad maybe there shouldn't be an event', etc. but all I know is we 'did our best' and it was very successful, even with lack of volunteers (and us that did volunteer about wore out.) The scouts that did attend thoroughly enjoyed it, I'm still hearing about it from both my two (scout and tot.) Think I dropped a pants size over those last three days too, not complaining on that front.

    • #34
      Dear KDD:

      Re: the BSA policy about not requiring parents to help. I asked our district exec this by email earlier in the spring based on my contact with American Heritage Girls for my daughter, which does have a policy that every parent volunteer in some way. So does our church music group, and my kids' AWANA class. This was his reply:

      "BSA does not require, or even ask, that parents commit a certain amount of volunteer time as a condition of their Scout joining the pack. I can easily see why that’s the case. Consider households where, because of family or work situations, parents simply cannot volunteer – that would mean their boys would be excluded from Scouts.

      It’s also worth noting that BSA does not even accept all parents who do volunteer – it’s rare, of course, but that’s why the background checks are conducted. All volunteers with the Pack must be registered leaders, and all must take Youth Protection Training."

      In other conversations, the general tone has been that our BSA Council is all about signing boys up. They truly don't seem to care if we have enough parents to put on a quality program, or if the small contingent of parents running our pack is totally burned out. The attitude seems to be: "all boys have a right to enjoy Scouting". It doesn't seem to matter if the parents drop and run, complain constantly, bounce checks, whatever.

      I actually had one parent this year get mad at me as treasurer because I wouldn't accept a second check from her after she had failed to reimburse the pack for a prior bounced check for popcorn nor had she paid her dues. This was in March, after she always had time to waste my time at Scout events listening to her sob stories. Like I have time for this. I'm there to be with my son, lady, not listen to excuse after excuse from you, and certainly not to hear her anger when I couldn't take another check from her.

      Our pack is a mess. The standard procedure all year has been to plan events, beg for volunteers 1-2 weeks before the event, not get any volunteers, and then kick the responsibility to one of the very few of us already volunteering so that we don't disappoint the kids. I volunteered to be treasurer only, but I've been caught up in almost every event we've done. Not because I have time or because I want to, but out of guilt. As a result, I have firmly told the pack leaders that for the upcoming year, I am webmaster only. Absolutely nothing else.

      I volunteer on a total of five programs between school and church in which my kids are involved. BSA doesn't seem to get that. Their attitude is that volunteers are there no matter when, no matter what, for whatever the BSA and the boys need. No thanks.

      I have never heard our pack leaders come out and even ask the dozens of parents that do absolutely nothing to volunteer their time. And yet, they will keep coming back to the same 5 or 6 people over and over and over again because we're all suckers, apparently. That's lazy leadership.

      Our pack leader had the nerve to ask "someone" in our little pack committee to organize a pack activity promoting Earth Day and recycling, complete with materials, in April on two days notice. I didn't even bother to respond to the email. And then he complained when no one stepped up. Finally, our Bear den leader, who has four kids of her own, dropped everything, put together an activity with materials and led it herself. God Bless her, but I'm just sick of enabling our pack leaders this way.

      The CM and CC started the pack so they could do great things with their kids. And they do. All the fun stuff like Pinewood, etc. While the 3-4 other leaders (almost all moms with small kids) do everything else. I'm tired of enabling these two. Maybe by putting a very firm boundary on my time this upcoming year, they will be forced to either insist that the other dozens of do-nothing parents step up, or do more themselves.

      As an adult, I hate Scouting. There is no joy in it at all. I have spent practically no time with my son this year. During all events, I am stuck off at a table somewhere accepting payments, writing receipts, and trying to explain activities and signups to everyone. I barely saw my son's car race. The way they handle volunteering totally eliminates any opportunity to enjoy Scouting with my son.

      So next year, I will be webmaster, and that's it. Whenever anyone has questions, payments, forms to hand in, whatever, I'm just going to smile and send them over to our CM. :-)

      So, KDD, as much as I wish the BSA would support a policy like other groups use of requiring parents to volunteer, the BSA is evidently against it. I hope you work things out with your pack.



      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        Scoutnut, we need to set LDS aside because they have special status with the BSA. You are saying a regular CO can REQUIRE parents to participate in pack activities as a condition of membership in the pack? I am being told differently by District staff. We can "set the expectation" that they participate, and highly encourage them to participate, but when push comes to shove we can not drop them for that reason alone.

        I have been unable to find any written BSA policy other than Page 2 of the Youth Application. Other than the example of LDS, which I believe does not apply for the rest of us, can you cite some evidence I can show to district ?

      • Jeffrey H
        Jeffrey H commented
        Editing a comment
        You are correct in your decision to step aside and do less. You are burned-out and frustrated. In every Pack, like many volunteer organizations, there is the 80-20 rule: 20% of the people do 80% of the work. That's the way it is. Be grateful to those that step-up and don't worry about those that don't do anything. Quite frankly, some of the parents are better off not helping out - Trust me on that one. As Cubmaster, I don't want some parents at events because they do nothing but complain. I would rather have a few "happy" volunteers than a bunch of grumpy warm bodies hanging around. I agree 100% with "jblake" that events should be cancelled if volunteers don't step-up. I've done it several times. Cancelling is not the end of the world and it tends to get the message across that the "20%" are indeed volunteers and we can't do it all.

      • ScoutNut
        ScoutNut commented
        Editing a comment
        "we need to set LDS aside because they have special status with the BSA."

        No, they don't really. They simply more fully utilize the Charter Organization concept than anyone else.

        From the BSA Charter Agreement -
        "The chartered organization agrees to
        • Conduct the Scouting program according to its OWN POLICIES AND GUIDELINES as well as those of the Boy Scouts of America

        "We can "set the expectation" that they participate, and highly encourage them to participate, but when push comes to shove we can not drop them for that reason alone. "

        This is inaccurate. A Charter Organization OWNS ITS SCOUTING UNITS. They can drop any of their unit members (adult or youth) at any time, for any (or no) reason at all. The local BSA Council can NOT force a Charter Organization to accept, or keep any member.

        The signature of the Unit Leader is required on any Youth Application. The signature of the Committee Chair, along with the signature of the Charter Organization Head, or Representative, is required on any Adult Application before it can even be sent into the local council.

        From The Chartered Organization Representative (BSA # 33118) -
        "Your organization has the Scouting program on charter from the Boy Scouts of America, but the Scouting units and their leaders belong to your organization and are part of its ‘‘family.’’ It is most important that this relationship be understood. The BSA local council exists only to support your organization and to help it be successful."

    • #35
      jblake, I appreciate the different point of view you bring to the table, but what you are suggesting isn't feasible in my experience. Most parents I know, myself included, would not feel comfortable dropping a child off at the home of a volunteer they didn't know. I would not trust the person or the location. Using the child care services at camp is much more comfortable. The location has been cleared by camp staff, the volunteers have had YP training and often background checks, and the kids are accessible and visible during camp. If I knew a group of parents who were interested in volunteering together, we could easily arrange child care among ourselves. I don't. I'm in a large district and generally know only two or three other volunteers at camp each time I've attended. I pay enough for the privilege of volunteering for BSA, I am not going to add child care costs to that total.

      Cub Scouting is a family program. It's a family program because, IMO, that is what works for scouts between the ages of 6 and 11. They come with siblings who are too young to be left home alone, and the parents who volunteer can do so more easily if the 'family' part of Cub Scouting is respected. Not every aspect of the program must include siblings, but if they can be accommodated, I have found no harm in doing so. If one volunteer watching the children of 6 volunteers allows a program to take place, I see no harm in that either.


      • #36
        I think we can solve this difference with Jblake by using better language. We do not volunteer for scouts, we are participating members of the unit. We each have different roles, some involve more participation than others, but we must all participate in the program. If you don't want to participate in the program, fine here is your check back and application back. If anyone tries to tell you ScoutParent participation is not required, I suggest you show them page 2 of the Youth Application that the ScoutParent must sign. "....the ScoutParent enthusiastically participates with their Scout and helps volunteer leaders provide the best quality program experience to all youth in the unit." GeogiaMom, next time you see your DE, I suggest you politely hand him a youth application and have him read it to you.


        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Working with volunteers is a little bit like the saying, "We love all our volunteers, some when the come and some when they go!"

        • Pack18Alex
          Pack18Alex commented
          Editing a comment
          When one of my parents who isn't registered oversees a Den Project while I'm off handling pack leadership, they've volunteered. Those of us that wear the uniform, are there every week, work outside of the meetings, etc., we're part of the unit, just as much as the boys...

          We just don't earn loops/pins/rank badges... I earn my share of Temporary Patches though...