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  • Pack is collapsing

    I posted a bit the other day about the problems in my pack. What I didn't mention was we also had a Webelos leader who was pretty much disconnected from the pack. Doing his own thing when he met, and often skipping/canceling meetings. Without getting into the details, I have learned that all our Webelos have quit. Our pack now consists of a single den remaining. And that den leader is getting fed up with the parents. It's very frustrating to me because just a four years ago, we were about 40 strong, with five full dens. I just don't know what to do. I know I'm not alone because just last week we learned that about 20% of the packs in our district folded this year and many others are struggling to get enough leaders.

    It's either funny or sad that National and Council are worried about Journey to Excellence and I'm worried about survival.

  • #2
    Sounds like many parents in your community have opted for the next big thing. Has Trail Life or some other group in your area been advertising heavily? The best you can do, IMHO, is rebuild from the bottom. Recruit those tigers (and one or two parents) or bust.

    Comment


    • #3
      Like you said, it's happening everywhere. If you are invested in keeping this pack going, recruit. Not just boys but parents. I think getting parents to step up, CONSISTENTLY, is the tough part. When den meetings are infrequent and boys aren't advancing they will quit. We've been going through this as well.

      J2E is about the only way for National to help. It's more of a blue print of a successful pack. If you use it as a tool it can be of help.

      Comment


      • #4
        The problem with most packs is that they are usually not a part of a larger organizational structure. Most are concerned parents or PTA groups. Which means they do not have a strong continuity. All packs in this category will go through cycles of desolution and grandure. A few people see the chaos and then step up. For 4-6 years the pack will get strong. Then the core group moves on and the pack faulters again. Don't feel bad. My pack is in this pattern as well. When my oldest was in cubs the pack was 50 strong and we had great leadership. Now I came back and am the tiger leader. The pack is struggling. I have been recruiting the parents in my den and the wolf den to make changes. The Webelos II den is finished. The Webelos I group is disfunctional, and the bears don't know any better. So restart your pack with the tigers, soon to be wolfs. Plan a family camping trip this spring and summer. Help the tigers plan some hikes or outdoor activity. The parents who show up at these events will be your leaders.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thats a very sad situation, based off of this and your other posts. I understand you want to continue for the boys, but at some point you have to recognize when enough is enough. A pack cant be maintained by just 2 people. Unfortunately, you have been saddled by years of parents who think "oh, someone else will take care of it", and it sounds like time and again that "someone" has ended up being you.

          If you want to keep the pack going, I recommend having a mandatory Come to Jesus meeting with the parents of that den and lay it out. Tell em either step up to the plate or get out of the game. Then try to recruit a strong class of Tigers in the coming months, with expectations that Cub Scouts is not a babysitting service, and not a hands off activity for them. They need to be INVOLVED in their young boys' lives, and if they join in and contribute they will not regret it.

          Good luck

          Comment


          • #6
            I know Journey to Excellence is often maligned here, but I think it's really great. Our pack collapsed last year, my son had just joined as a Tiger and the old leadership threw in the towel. I was signed on as Tiger leader. The Bear leader stepped up a DL/CM, I stepped up as TL/ACM (later CC), and we went through and cleaned up our paper officers.

            I grabbed JTE in March or April and started working down the checklist. We went to the formal Den Meeting/Pack Meeting split (prior to that, it was weekly Pack Meetings, with activities haphazard. I took tons of training, pushed the parents to do more training. Focused on the JTE goals (with a target of Bronze, we accidentally hit Gold).

            Recruiting is key, it gets you non-burnt out parents and fresh scouts.
            Retention is a sign of if you are doing things right or wrong.
            Advancement: focusing on real advancement means the Cubs are learning and having fun.
            Trained Leadership: SO key, it gets everyone to understand the program they are having.
            Outdoor Activities: otherwise it becomes school work
            Service Projects: making sure you do some fun ones makes the service part real
            Trained Committee: last year, a paper committee. This year a real one, it's helping spread the burden.

            Regular Committee meetings, aiming for 6 because of JTE resulted in 3 summer planning meetings, and this year's programming went smoothly.

            JTE gives you the guide posts for running the back smoothly. I highly recommend starting there.

            Recruit freshly, and find a real charter organization. We linked up with a Synagogue, and we do our kick-off alongside their Youth Program kickoff, our Pinewood Derby @ the Purim Carnival, and Space Derby @ Lag B'omer Bonfire. This raises our visibility in the community and gives us recruiting opportunities. We also put our announcement's (achievements) in the Synagogue announcements, which helps raise our profile as well.

            My wife also started up a Girl Scout Troop for the sisters. Now families can come with all their children, and it's really helping.

            Last year we had no Webelos, this year we started with 8 and will finish with 6, if 4 of them cross over into the Troop, those will be our first cross overs in three years.

            Comment


            • #7
              You need to be careful with Tigers... involvement scares parents. If you have a younger sibling coming into Tigers, try the parent as the Tiger Den Leader. Otherwise, Tiger Den Leader is a crap shoot. As the school year goes on and the parents realize that your leaders don't have magical powers, just a cheap army-knock off shirt, they are easier to get to step up. At recruiting, it scares them.

              Comment


              • Brewmeister
                Brewmeister commented
                Editing a comment
                I disagree. You need to be upfront. Cub scouts requires adult participation and if they're not willing to give it they either aren't going to be happy or they are going to leave anyway.

                I always emphasized parent involvement with new Tiger recruits from the positive standpoint of, unlike other events where you watch from the sidelines, Cub Scouts is an opportunity for you to spend time with your boy.

                Recruit to the people who want to be there, not to those who don't.

              • Brewmeister
                Brewmeister commented
                Editing a comment
                I disagree. You need to be upfront. Cub scouts requires adult participation and if they're not willing to give it they either aren't going to be happy or they are going to leave anyway.

                I always emphasized parent involvement with new Tiger recruits from the positive standpoint of, unlike other events where you watch from the sidelines, Cub Scouts is an opportunity for you to spend time with your boy.

                Recruit to the people who want to be there, not to those who don't.

              • perdidochas
                perdidochas commented
                Editing a comment
                I agree that the ideal recruit for Tiger Den Leader is a parent with an older child in the pack. They've seen it, and realize that it's not that hard.

            • #8
              Play 'Taps' and say a prayer over the grave. Time to get on with life.

              Comment


              • #9
                All groups cycle as time progresses. A group starts out, they are interested in recruiting and getting things up and going. The cycle is going up. Once they reach a saturation point, the energy levels off and becomes rather myopic. Recruiting isn't a priority anymore, we got enough. This then leads to a gradual decline as the boys age out and no new blood is coming in. Once the group is perceived as declining, recruiting becomes increasingly more difficult because no one wants to join a declining group. Only when it gets desperate do people start the arduous effort of recruiting or the group collapses completely. This process repeats itself over and over again. Only when a group realizes this and avoids the myopic view of the group will the group be able to maintain itself. No one really wants to look "forward" beyond their son's involvement, it's for my son, not someone else's. There is no future leveling maintenance in a group that is looking out only for itself.

                tnff: it is obvious in the cycle where you currently are at. Now the decision is to fish or cut bait. There are two schools of thought on this decision. If you start over, there's no negative tradition that may have taken hold during the decline period. But if you start over, you have the nobody knows who or what you are all about.

                If one doesn't buy into this process, just ask your Webelos II people what they are doing about recruiting new Tigers. When they tell you, "Nothing!", then you know you're on the downward slope. They have no investiture in that Pack anymore. They got what they wanted, let someone else worry about the future.

                Stosh

                Comment


                • #10
                  Sorry for the long delay in responding folks, been a very busy couple of weeks in several areas. We finally held our combined PWD and B&G this week. Since we basically have just one den left, we combined this year, but it made for a very long day for the four of us doing most of the work. My son and daughter (he just got his cooking MB so this fit in) did most of the cooking for us, feeding about 50 people. Funny, we have 5 boys in the pack with two willing parent volunteers when there's work to be done, but 50 people show up to eat. Strange how that works.

                  My current plan is to hopefully recruit someone to take over CM so we can spend the summer recruiting then turn it over when they are ready and I can spend more time with the troop which we are finally starting to regrow after several bad recruiting years in a row.

                  I just want to leave this pack a success for whoever comes after me.

                  jim

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    5 Scouts, and 50 people?

                    Does each of those 5 Scouts have 9 folks in their families?

                    Who are you going to recruit as CM? Your son, your daughter, or the one other person (not related to you) who volunteers to do anything?

                    Always assuming they are not completely burned out after the PWD/B&G.


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