Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

New to Scouts, could use some advice

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New to Scouts, could use some advice

    Hello
    My son and I joined Cub Scouts in October of last year, and while we are excited about what Cub Scouts has to offer, many of the parents in our pack are quite disappointed in our Cubmaster. Over the last four months, we have lost no less than eight boys and their parents. Those of us that remain believe that our core issue lies in poor planning. For some reason, our Cubmaster refuses to do it. Our Pinewood Derby was delayed twice, rules weren't enforced until the area race (which left out many of the boys that were under the impression they were supposed to race), and we just last week found out about the Youth Expo that was held today, leaving us no time to plan or register for a booth.
    After our Super Saturday training in January, the Assistant Cubmaster and I went to her to let her know that we wanted to help make the pack stronger, and she indicated that she was grateful for the offer, but has yet to actually take us up on it. When we make suggestions, they are quickly shot down, or pushed aside for another meeting (has yet to happen).
    We've lost our Webelos leader and assistant and our Cubs leader (I was the assistant, am now assuming leadership, though have yet to be designated). As it stands now, we have about four or five boys who show up regularly.
    I found out last week that I have been placed as Committee Chair, and have since been to our local council office to obtain the rest of the roster. I honestly have no idea how I got the position, since no one ever discussed it with me, or what the job entails, but plan to fully step up.
    I have looked quite a bit for information on how to deal with a Cubmaster that isn't interested in what she's been placed to do, but haven't found much that is helpful as of yet. My question is, is asking her to step down an option here? It's my opinion, and that of several other parents, that she is unintentionally doing more harm than good for our boys, and we desperately want to fix the situation.
    We have an amazing group of boys that want to continue, and we don't want to let them down by doing nothing.
    Any advice?
    Thank you!

  • #2
    Hi & Welcome.
    With any luck, the Pack might have a Unit Commissioner?
    He or She is the person to talk with about, how things are going with the Pack.
    Sadly, there seems to be not enough people to fill all the Commissioner spots that need covered.
    You might want to find out who your Unit Commissioner is and have a chat with him or her.
    If a Commissioner isn't assigned to the Pack?
    Find out who your District Commissioner is and give him or her a call and chat with him. (Tell him that having a Unit Commissioner for the Pack at this time is very important.)
    You can more than lightly get his phone number from the Council Service Center.
    Or you might want to attend a District Cub Scout Round Table Meeting.
    In the meantime, the best thing is to look for ways to help the Cubmaster and support her as much as possible, keeping in mind that your doing this for that amazing group of boys.
    Maybe finding someone who might be willing to put out a Pack Newspaper or start a web page? Might help push her into getting information out a little sooner and kinda push her into becoming a little more organized? (Whatever happens try not to allow her to take this task on, she has enough on her plate.)

    Back when my son was a little fellow, I took on the Cubmaster role. I did so mainly because I seen it as being an easy job.
    The real work in Cub Scouting is done by the Den Leaders.
    There is a very good book The Cub Scout Leader Book (Costs $9.99) that does a great job of explaining things and who does what. If I were you I'd get a copy and share it with the Den Leaders.
    Very often Cub Scouts with a great Den Program can get by with not having the greatest Pack program. After all the Den meets every week and the Pack only meets once a month!
    Good Luck.
    Eamonn.

    Comment


    • #3
      Since you are now the Committee Chair, get a Committee. There's no voting. You ask someone to do a job, they accept or decline. Once you have a committee begin by having an all leaders meeting. Pull out the calendar and plan out the next 18 months in advance. If the CM balks, meet with her later with your COR and Unit Commish. Ask if she wants to do the job or if she'd like to step down. Do you have anyone quietly lined up to take over the CM's position?

      Comment


      • #4
        Nike,
        I think I can and could see me using what I see as "Strong-arm" tactics,such as you describe if we weren't talking about volunteers.
        I don't know this Cubmaster, I have no idea what is and what isn't going on in her life.
        My feeling is that she needs some help and a lot of support.
        Tdcd, has posted that she is new and that there seems not to be an over abundance of willing adults.
        Eamonn

        Comment


        • #5
          Yesterday at the Youth Expo, we learned that she is also the leader of her sons pack. Thing is, he comes to our meetings as well, and from what we've seen, most everything that is being done is geared toward advancing him. I'm of the thought that the only things she has her plate full with are the things that will advance her son to Arrow of Light, even at the detriment of the boys in our pack.
          Don't get me wrong, she's a wonderfully nice lady, she just doesn't seem interested in doing what the job entails. Due to our lack of leaders at the moment, she's at every meeting, and more often than not, they're conducted like a classroom lecture.
          I've purchased several Den in a Box kits, and have been hauling them with me to the meetings, and making several attempts to separate the Wolves and Bears from the Webelos so that my boys have some focus on their needs as well. Unfortunately, we are rarely given the opportunity to do so.
          Due to the fact that she's so involved with Scouts in her sons pack, as well as her husband being involved for years, they are both quite friendly with our Council Staff. Our pack meeting was visited by our Unit Commissioner, and they had a grand time chatting it up.
          I dislike confrontation, and I am terrible at it, but I'm feeling backed into a corner regarding the whole situation. My son, and the other boys, really want to participate, and I really want to make that happen for them.
          I've looked into starting our own pack, however, my sons school is a no go unless we can do the meetings right after school gets out. Our Assistant Cubmaster (who has said she would step up if need be) lives in a nice apartment complex, so on Monday I am going to call there to see if they might consider making the clubhouse available to our boys.
          In the meantime, I've made some recruiting flyers to hand out, and worked up a mock monthly schedule for the Wolves and Bears. I'm taking the Assistant Cubmaster to the Scout store on Saturday to buy her her uniform, and the Webelos leader book (so far, I'm the only one in the pack that has any of the materials, leader books, sing alongs, how tos, belt loops, etc..) as it looks like she'll be filling in until we figure this whole thing out. I have also looked into other packs, but feel dreadful about possibly leaving behind boys that could do so well given the right tools.
          Honestly, the more I think about it, the angrier I get

          Comment


          • #6
            From what you have posted, it seems to me that the pack has more problems than just a poor leader.
            It could be that the Unit Commissioner and the Cubmaster have maybe got to be a little too close (I mean as friends, nothing more!!)
            Give the District Commissioner a call and buy the Cub Scout Leader Book.
            If you do take on the Pack Committee Chair role? You might want to look at trying to organize the Pack along the guidelines set by the BSA. - Given half a chance they really do work.
            Eamonn.

            Comment


            • #7
              This seems a very odd situation. It seems like you are talking about a very small pack which means it is difficult to run it the way a pack is supposed to be run.

              The way a pack is normally run, as you may be aware, is that you have a monthly pack meeting which the Cubmaster is in charge of, but the den leaders would also be having separate den meetings.

              Also, you seem to have a complete misunderstanding of who has the authority here. As the Committee Chair, you are above the Cubmaster. You should be running the Troop Committee meetings, and if things aren't getting done, the buck stops with you.

              Unfortunetly, since the Cubmaster is the person out front that the parents see, there is often a misunderstanding that they are the person in charge of everything. That, however, is simply not the way it is supposed to be. The Cubmaster is the face of the pack, but is not responsible for everything that goes on.

              Comment


              • #8
                Eamonn,

                Normally, I wouldn't play hardball either, but why waste time? Sometimes the brutal truth has to be told and remedial action taken immediately. And, the brutal truth of it is that this pack will probably fold this year. An uninterested CM and a surprise-you're-it CC? If the CC and the other parents are game and the CM doesn't want to get on board, let her gracefully step aside.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many of the things you mentioned are not the Cubmaster's responsibility but belong to the Pack Committee. A well run committee that provides the support the Cubmaster needs can make all the difference, and even a weak Cubmaster can do well with a good committee.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How is it that this person is the CM of your Pack if her son is in another Pack that she is also CM of?

                    You have a willing replacement ready. It sounds like it is time to let her know that she is free to return to her own Pack, and her own son's den.

                    Who is your Charter Organization (CO)? Find out who the head of your CO is and the Charter Org Rep (COR). Get a meeting together and discuss the future of THEIR PACK.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As others mentioned, you, as committee chair, are essentially the boss of the pack, with only the Chartered Organization Rep above you. You are the administrative/organizational arm of the pack, and can thus work with your committee to set a schedule, budget, etc. A pack committee is typically comprised of the committee chair, den leaders, assistant den leaders and any involved parent helpers that want to be there (we usually invite all parents to come). Technically, the cubmaster is not a member of the committee, but usually comes to the meetings. The committee chair runs the monthly meetings, not the cubmaster.

                      I think you're on the right track. Here's my recommendations: Send out a letter to all parents, den leaders (with a copy to the CM) that you are the new committee chair of the pack, and you "are looking forward to blah blah blah blah...". Include that you are scheduling the next committee meeting for XXX date at X time at X location, and all leaders and parents are encourage to come. At this meeting, we will be setting the pack schedule for now through the end of the summer, and we welcome all ideas. Preliminary discussion of the 2009-2010 schedule and budget will also be included. (Doesn't matter if CM has a meeting scheduled. Ignore it and schedule yours. If CM questions it, just politely but firmly indicate that it is the responsibility of the CC to have these meetings. You could make a comment that she's been working really hard with the pack and you will be lightening her load.)

                      Get on council website and find out about upcoming training dates, events, summer camp (if not already registered). Bring copies of these items with you to the meeting.

                      Go to your district roundtables. These are great for meeting people and getting info about upcoming events. There are longtime leaders there that you can ask for advice.

                      Contact your district exec and ask if they can send you info about any upcoming events for the next 6 months. Or you could stop by the local scout shop and get information there.

                      Start the meeting on time. Be concise (our meetings are never longer than an hour). Be polite but firm with the CM to make sure she knows this is your meeting. Have an agenda typed up and send it out ahead of time to everyone. Type up minutes afterwards and send them out (preferably within a week) to all parents and leaders. Set an optimistic tone. Send these communications to not only the current parents, but also parents of scouts who have dropped out in the last year. You want some of these kids to come back, and with some radical new changes (spearheaded by you), maybe they will.

                      We have committee meetings monthly from September through May, then one in summer to prepare next year's budget & tentative den/pack schedules. Let the treasurer (or CM, or whoever's doing the job) know that you need an update of the pack's finances. (Don't ask, just be firm that you need this information). If the CM is doing this job, then you need to find a treasurer from your pool of parents/den leaders and let the CM know that this person will be taking over the treasurer responsibilities, so please hand over everything (and don't forget - "we appreciate all of the work you've done......"). You, as CC, fill the pack positions, with approval from the Chartering Organization rep.

                      At the committee meeting in May or during the summer, set the pack schedule and tentative budget for the next year. If the financials are a mess, you will probably need to meet with the treasurer at a seperate meeting just to work on the budget.

                      Polite but firm. Remember that. Be professional in all of your dealings with parents, CM, and other leaders. It doesn't matter what relationship the CM has with district/council people. Start to establish your own relationships with these people.

                      See how the CM handles your changes. If you remove most of her workload, aside from planning and running pack meetings (her responsibility), then maybe she'll be tolerable. If not, then you need to contact your chartered organization rep and district exec and find someone else.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you for the advice
                        As I said, I just found out that I was CC, and since have watched the training video supplied by BSA, which helped me understand the position better. Looking at our roster, there is only one other committee member, the COR, and I'll be speaking with her tomorrow night.
                        I fully intend to follow the advice posted, and appreciate all the input. It's funny, I own and run my own business, but with little lives thrown in the mix, I found myself a complete basket case! So glad I found this site!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am glad you are taking it seriously and recognize that what you do impacts the lives of the boys.

                          I am unclear how you could be signed up as CC without knowing it. Afterall, you have to fill out an adult application.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm unclear on it too... I filled out the adult application when I filled out my sons application, two weeks later, she told me I was the Assistant Cub Leader, then last week (a full five months later) she asked me to sign another boys application. When I asked why, she informed me that I was the CC and then turned around and walked away.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's probably worth a call to the council office to see if you are "officially" committee chair, although I don't see how you could be without having signed a new leader application.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X