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  • Welcome to the Pack "letter"

    Hi Everyone!
    I've been away for a couple months, taking a break from scouting. I was getting discouraged form putting too much energy to the pack while not having the parents and other leaders "reciprocate"
    Our pack takes the summer off..... good and bad I think...
    Anyway, I'm back now trying to get some positive energy in preparation for the year.
    I tried and tried last spring to get a planning meeting together, with no luck or interest.
    Now, others are scrambling last minute to make it happen. starting out a bit disorganized but I'm trying to keep it reigned in....
    I was CM on paper last year, to do the behind the scenes stuff, and agreed to take on the full role IF the committee agrees and supports it. If someone else wants it, great..... well since we haven't yet met, I still don't consider it firmed up. I wish that I had put a deadline on the offer, in hind site.... but as it is, it looks like I'll probably be the CM this year, my son's Web 1 year....

    So, there a few things about the way the pack operates I wouldn't mind shifting a bit. One of those is to be more inclusionary of the parents, more or less unofficially "requiring" them to do something if their boy is registered. Even if it's a not registered job of organizing a camp out, or helping with an event.... or registering as a leader or committee member....

    I was thinking about writing a little letter, welcoming new folks to the pack, and existing folks too. Something to the boys and parents.... something to pass out at round-up, and to either give or email to everyone.
    something to tell a little about the pack
    to help them feel part of it and included
    what we do, how we work....
    briefly explain our email communication....
    nicely nudge them to volunteer to help
    set some simple expectations without being to overbearing
    etc....

    Any ideas of what I should write or what I should include?

  • #2
    I would include a pie in the face.

    Seriously. Well, OK, you can't put that in the letter, but somewhere in the first pack meeting you should get pied. It's fun for everyone and that's good. Then pass the sign up sheet around.

    Comment


    • #3
      ~~There is a pack associated with a private school (Texas I think) that has an "everyone leads" philosophy (google them, I don't have it here).
      Basically every adult had to sign up for a position or a task. I think you could borrow on their language for your letter, ask folks to be ready to come to the pack meeting and signup. Then at the first meeting send the kids outside with your den leaders to play some fun games and have big posters filled with all the events and tasks. Start again talking about the philosophy and how the pack is going to have a great year. Ask adults to fill in a task. (Hot ones: pinewood derby (3 adults), fall campout (3), popcorn kernel (1 plus assistant), summer camp paper guru (1), recharter paper pusher (1), October hike (1).... you get the idea.) If the events don't have a honcho -- maybe they don't happen. Put the names next to the tasks.
      When the boys come back in recognize each boy for each adult signup. "Will Bear cub scout Tim come on down to the front? Tim's dad Tom is the popcorn kernel. Thanks Tim and Tom."
      Do not come from a grouchy, tired, lecturing place, "I'm too busy to do it all on my own". Come from a excited, all for the boys, we're going to have a great year type of language, jump in and join the fun, type of place. (No tentative volunteer wants to put their hand up for something that will be too hard or not fun.)
      (Since you are changing the culture of the pack, You will have to follow up on adults who did not make the meeting or did not sign up for a task. Post the sign up poster in a public place or display at further meetings.)
      Best of luck. We had a lot of success with this approach.

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't know how big the pack is, but I would make an effort to talk to each of the parents and scouts. In my opinion the CM is the person that can work the room, not send a form letter. Our current CM is great, he develops a relationship with every scout (about 60) he also does the same with the parents. He knows when he needs to be silly, he knows when he needs to be the authority figure and he knows when he needs to be overbearing. He also knows what each den is working on w/o attempting to take over, but I assume if a den was struggling he would jump in. I don't think there are (m)any parents that would turn him down if he asked them to do something. But a letter would get ignored... we all ignore email all the time.

        I don't have that personality to be the CM.

        I noticed you said
        "I was CM on paper last year, to do the behind the scenes stuff"
        I don't think that the CM role is the behind the scene stuff that should be the committee / committee chair. It may be that you should be the CC or get a better CC so you can be the CM.

        I don't have that personality to be the CM.

        good luck

        Comment


        • #5
          I once ran across a program that covers a year's planning, staffing of the committee, chair person of the committe and a budget for the event. If one pulls it off (and yes it does work very well) it can mean a stress free year for everyone.

          Go back and dig out all the activities you have done the past 2 years. Then make a one page sheet with the title of the event on top. Put a date on it, i.e. January 2015 for one sheet, February 2015 for another. You can double up if you wish and have two events in the same month. Then have a place for a chairperson to put their name in to coordinate the event. Fix a dollar amount to cover the cost of the event, and a place for what if any programming is going to take place, and a few lines for people to sign up as committee members for the event.

          Then post them on the wall the first and second meeting of the year. If by the end of the second meeting all the sheets are not filled in completely and money pledged to the budget, and people haven't signed up to work, then take those and toss them. There's not enough interest in making sure the event will be successful. All those that are filled out. Compile into a calendar booklet and send to each household so that everyone knows when they have signed up, how much they have pledged in costs, and when all the events are going to be held for the year.

          This way people sign up for what they want and are not going to get hounded throughout the year to help out. They only need to help where they indicated they would. If there are not enough events to fill the year, then maybe next year when you put the sheets on the wall, people will take you serious about insuring a good quality program and they might be a bit more serious with their time, talent and money when asked.

          The downside to the program? If people get upset about it, they won't ask you to continue with being a CM and they can go back to the old way of running around at the last minute frantically begging for help on the events. Either way, the stress will magically disappear either way for the CM.

          Stosh

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by blw2 View Post
            Hi Everyone!
            more or less unofficially "requiring" them to do something if their boy is registered. Even if it's a not registered job of organizing a camp out, or helping with an event.... or registering as a leader or committee member....
            If you are going to do this either in a letter or in person don't be wishy washy. My son's sim team requires each parent to volunteer 2 times. They track it. If you don't the kids do not get to swim in championship. Every kid ends up swimming in championships. There are expectation and consequences around volunteering. When people know the rules people tend to follow them.

            The swim team does have the ability to allocate extra volunteering to other families. I think a family with 5 kids (would have needed 10 volunteer opportunities) got some help from other people so that they didn't end up volunteering every meet. But this is less of an issue in cub scouts where the ages are 7-11 compared to a swim team with kids 5-18.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll say right now that an "Only Cub Scouts who's parent has signed up to help with at least one event this year will be able to compete in the Pinewood Derby" policy will either get all your events chaired or get you thrown out on your ear.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by scoutergipper View Post
                I'll say right now that an "Only Cub Scouts who's parent has signed up to help with at least one event this year will be able to compete in the Pinewood Derby" policy will either get all your events chaired or get you thrown out on your ear.
                Absolutely the alternative is that the original poster is the one doing all of the work. It sounds like he doesn't get any support from the parent nor does he get support from the other leaders and committee. Sometimes tough love is needed.

                Now in order to do this you need to cleary have the volunteer opportunities outlined. With pinewood derby" set up track, MC, run the computer, arrange the trophy purchases, manage the inspection and weigh in, tear down the track, run concession stand, etc. Every event has multiple tasks that need completed. You can do this a couple of ways either have someone sign up as the chair and then the others sign up as volunteers the chair then assigns the individual tasks or let people sign up for the tasks. Either way you need to have a pretty good idea of the tasks so you know how many volunteers you need for each event. This also makes planning easier each year because it becomes a check list.

                I have seen situation where people complain that no one is helping but then you will see people go to the leadership and ask if they need help, and the leadership don't know what to tell them to do because they are caught up in the moment of doing rather than leading.

                Comment


                • #9
                  This is why one would spell out on the signup sheet what is needed. I don't volunteer for anything I don't know anything about.

                  Blue Gold Banquet 2014

                  Chairman ___________________________

                  Program _____________________________ (Line up the entertainment) Cost: $100 Pledges:________________________
                  ________________________

                  Table Decorations:_____________________________ Cost: $25 Pledge _________________________

                  Food Coordinator:______________________________

                  Table Setup:______________________________________

                  Cleanup:_______________________________________

                  Have everyone get a chance to sign up and if they don't, one can assume that that part of the activity isn't going to get done and to save everyone a lot of hassle and headache, just cancel it right at the beginning.

                  Stosh

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    some great suggestions here for sure..... to get people to step up..
                    I'm going to have to print this out and read it when I can concentrate on it a bit more..... Our CM has called a meeting this weekend for parents and the committee, that would actually be a good time to do such things, but it's a bit hasty at this point.

                    …. But the letter idea or question is a bit different and separate from this. I’m thinking more of a reference piece, framed under a welcome blurb….
                    Welcome
                    Here’s who we are or what we do
                    This is how we work
                    This is who you call
                    Etc….. QUOTE=Sidney Porter;n414783]I don't know how big the pack is, but I would make an effort to talk to each of the parents and scouts. In my opinion the CM is the person that can work the room, not send a form letter. .........
                    I don't think that the CM role is the behind the scene stuff that should be the committee / committee chair. It may be that you should be the CC or get a better CC so you can be the CM.
                    I don't have that personality to be the CM.
                    good luck[/QUOTE]
                    I don't disagree. I, like you, don't feel that I have the personality for it but I seem to be the only one with interest and energy to do something for the pack. I probably would be a better CC than a CM, but as it is I'm trying to step up to the need.
                    I actually think part of our problem of why folks don't step up is the unknown and the fear of not knowing what they would be getting themselves into... but there is more to it. I have many times approached people, trying to practice the age old advice of direct invite..... Usually get something like... "well, I work full time, and uh..... " I always feel like asking if they think I don't!..... but I bite my lip......
                    QUOTE=Sidney Porter;n414821]
                    ….I have seen situation where people complain that no one is helping but then you will see people go to the leadership and ask if they need help, and the leadership don't know what to tell them to do because they are caught up in the moment of doing rather than leading.[/QUOTE]
                    I’ve seen that too, in fact I have been that leader. I spent a good bit of time in the past making up a list of the jobs, who is doing what in the pack. Sometimes it’s tough to recall t the moment....because as you said, I’m caught up in whatever…. or it's not a good time or place for a discussion.....Sometimes I find it’s a delicate balance, but mainly could likely be solved by better preparation

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you don't have the "outgoing" showmanship personality for cubmaster, at least have the "host" mentality. When people are at your events, picture yourself as the host, like you would at your house. You go up, welcome people and speak to everyone to make them all feel welcome. Introduce yourself to people you do not know and introduce other people who do not know each other. Just like you would do at a party at your house.

                      If you make people feel included and part of something they tend to want to help more than if they feel alone/isolated.

                      If you can have a parent meeting, the whiteboard method is a good way to get volunteers. Write down all the activities you want to do for the year (Blue and Gold, Pinewood Derbt, Christmas Party, Food Drive, Hike, Campout etc) on the whiteboard. Then point at first thing on the list and ask who wants to be in charge of getting that event going. If no one raises their hand, wipe it off the board. After you wipe a few things off the board and parents realize there is no program without their help, they may start to volunteer.

                      Comment

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