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  • Getting male guardians to volunteer

    What tactics do other Cubmasters use to get male guardians to volunteer? My Pack Committee/Den Leaders are all women... and nothing wrong with that, it's like having seven additional wives. (I say that with all due respect because they really are a great bunch!)

    But I can't seem to get the buyoff from the dads. Without explaining all the drama in getting where we are today. I mean, we're in okay shape and things are getting done, but dang, what's up with the dads?

  • #2
    Why not simply ask them?

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    • #3
      And make sure that when you ask you have a specific job you want them to do.

      Instead of this e-mail: "We need a committee of parents to organize the Pack's annual Raingutter Regata Picnic in the Park," use "We need four parents to man the grills, two to bring the gutters (10 ft each) and saw horses over, and one person to volunteer their pickup/van to haul coolers. Reply to Susan@... if you can help."

      Instead of saying, "Bob, missed you at last week's Pack meeting," ask, "Bob, we're planning a pack meeting focused on bike safety. Could you bring some of your orange cones from the safety division for the event?"

      Volunteering for a definite job or personal request is in many ways easier to say yes to/harder to deny, than just getting a general call for volunteers. After a while people are more likely to go from worker bees to organizers just because they know what to expect and how things have been done in the past.

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      • #4
        Everything Nike said...

        And keep asking those little, but important tasks, until one day you're ready to set the hook

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        • #5
          It's funny, because our pack was just the opposite. Scouting was a "dad thing" except for a few mom jobs like Blue & Gold and popcorn chairman. That carries over into the troop. Except for a couple moms who attend the Troop/Webelos campout with their Webelos, we NEVER have moms on campouts. A few will sit boards of review and counsel merit badges, but we've never had a female ASM. I guess it gets into the culture and sticks.

          Do the dads go camping with the pack? Try to hook them in on some high-testosterone outdoor activities. Get them to run a fishing program on a campout. Or teach the boys how to cook burgers on the grill. Find a project that requires lots of power tools. Transition that into pack and den meeting programs. You'll have a ton of them hanging around belchin' and scratchin' before you know it.

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          • #6
            It could be as simple as the Dad's feel intimidated by Scouting. How many were Scouts?

            If you know nothing about it, Scouting at any level has a lot more rules and regs than any other activity that you can get involved with. There are some religions that don't have as many rules!

            I'd suggest approaching specific Dad's with specific requests...preferably something that you know the Dad has a knowledge of.

            You might get better results that way, than by calling "All hands on deck!"

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            • #7
              I think that many of these things are self-perpetuating. If a group is all women, then a man can feel out of place. Likewise, if a group is all male, then a female can feel like she doesn't quite fit in.

              Our pack started out with a majority of male den leaders, and over time has now reached the point where the den leaders, Cubmasters, and committee members are 100% men.

              Despite our egalitarian society, men and women continue to have very different interaction styles, and being the odd man out (or odd woman out) can leave you feeling like you're not quite "clicking" with the rest of the group.

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              • #8
                pjwalden,

                You mentioned some drama without getting into specifics. I don't mean to pry, but perhaps understanding what happened with the drama may help to remedy the situation, if it is at all related.

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                • #9
                  I'm interested in this topic, too!

                  My Den Leader and I are both women, and we would GLADLY and happily step aside for any dad who wanted to step up and take our place! (My son has lost both his grandpas, so his life is dominated mainly by women...his dad is his only male role model. And as wonderful as Daddy is, he can't possibly demonstrate all the possibilities of a "good man" by himself. I want some good "tribal elders" for my kid to interact with, look up to.)

                  Part of our problem is employment. Most of the dads are the breadwinners. As such, they have hours during which they are simply unavailable. Good and fine.

                  But combine that with the scout mommies. THEY want the Den meetings to happen conveniently. For THEM, that means right after school. Not many guys are available at 3:15 p.m. to run a Den Meeting. If we propose to the families that Den Meetings be moved to the evenings when the guys can help out, there's a chorus of complaints:
                  "But when is he supposed to complete his homework?"
                  "I don't want him up late on a school night!"
                  "We have sports practice in the evenings!"
                  And some of the parents are just too lazy to put forth much effort...we've lost two Scouts from our Den this year because scouting "Takes too much time."

                  Nobody is interested in rocking the boat.

                  Sigh.

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                  • #10
                    There was a reason they were called Den Mothers and they met right after school - when many schools chartered units!

                    They all met once a month with a male Cubmaster presiding over the Pack meetings.

                    That system had its faults and benefits. Now with working mothers and hopefully working fathers (for those who want to work) meeting after school is problematic. Boy Scouts does it.

                    I put a lot of weight on what Oak Tree stated - if the adults males perceive that those positions are womens roles - good luck!

                    I was a leader for Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos and interacted with about 25% of the male parent and 75% of the female parent. The females needed to get used to my 'style' - amd so did the boys. Most have more contact with their mothers than fathers (although much less now than even 10 - 15 years ago) and most elementary teachers are female. So, for some, interacting with another adult male is a new thing.

                    One thing to beware of is to overly 'recruit' a male leader who fills a position on paper but not necessarily in reality.

                    Good luck.

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                    • #11
                      One possibility is to get in touch with a Boy Scout Troop and see if you can have an activity or two together on a weekend. That can be a chance for the timing to be right for the dads to take the boys and meet some other men who will be very welcoming and give a pretty good sales pitch on why they (dads) should be involved in this stuff. Coffee around a campfire is about as male bonding as you can get.

                      Our Cub Pack and Scout Troop are sponsored by the same organization and each year we do a campout trip together. No matter who might be runnng the den or taking the boys to the meetings most (not all) of the attendees are male.

                      Coffee around a campfire is about as male bonding as you can get.

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                      • #12
                        Heres what prompted the original post: Over a year prior to his departure, the old Cubmaster was preparing the Pack for his departure to Boy Scouts with his son; the Pack needed to find a new Cubmaster. At the time I was a Unit Commissioner, so I was aware of the situation and was monitoring it. No one was stepping up and morale started to drop rapidly; families were participating less and less. Some of the events I attended, I witnessed parents not assisting while the Cubmaster struggled to maintain control and barely complete an activity on his own. There was no Pack Committee in place to provide any type of support. I stepped in as Cubmaster since I knew my son would be starting within the next year as a Tiger; I basically didnt want to see the Pack fall apart any further.

                        *TIME WARP TO NOW* (A long difficult year and half in the past.) A little before my original post here, Id been working hard on the Pack Committee to get more dads involved. A week before our Pinewood Derby, only three dads had stepped up to volunteer to assist.. not a fun situation. Employing the more direct route (and not using the shotgun approach) when addressing dads for assistance helped tremendously.. sometimes its the simple things! I think I was just hoping dads would step-up and I wouldnt have to grovel. I was pleasantly surprised at the night-before track setup and on race day; I actually had too many dads step up. The dads the worked the PWD had such a good time that Im hoping to carry the momentum forward to future events. I watched their interactions and now know which dads: work well together, could be future leaders, and who possess valuable skill sets. I guess its a small start and the Pack just needed an activity to bring them all together!

                        Big thanks for all the suggestions!

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