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  • Advice for new leaders

    I asked this in a previous thread called "What do you know now that you wish you knew earlier" but it appears that thread has been corrupted. Second, it didn't evoke the response I had hoped for so I wanted to try again with the question asked differently...

    Based on your own experience, if you were giving advice to a brand new leader what advice would you give them?

  • #2
    For a new Cub Scout leader:
    1) Let your "adult" guard down and be silly with the boys (songs, games, storytelling, costumes)
    2) Your meetings will probably not go as planned - be flexible. As long as the boys have fun they will return. Some of the meetings that I thought were terrible were some of the boys' favorites.
    3) Don't wait for someone to ask for help - jump in where needed but respect the leader in charge of the activity.
    4) Introduce yourself to other Scouters at every opportunity.
    5) Understand that the professional District/Council staff have different responsibilities than an adult volunteer - you are responsible for your program.


    • #3
      Learn the program.
      Take all the training you can.
      Read your handbooks.

      Train the youth on the program
      Give them all the resources they need.

      Let the youth run the program.
      This includes planning and doing everything.
      Understand they won't run it like you would.
      Understand they are learning to be leaders.
      Let the youth drive the care.

      Sit back and let it happen.
      Don't try and save the day when something fails, let the Youth work it out.
      Don't dictate the program to the youth.
      Remember you main job is to advise not do.
      Always sit in the back of the room, this includes Courts of Honor.
      Run blocker of other adults for your youth.


      • #4
        Learn the program
        Read the handbooks.

        Don't take things personally, put on the best program you can, people can take advantage of it or not, you can't accommodate everyone or make everyone happy.


        • #5
          Let the boys figure it out.

          Do not excessively push your son to advance.

          Try to not yell or get angry because boys feed on this.


          • #6
            Go outside and move. Don't chain the kids to folding metal chairs.

            Be excessively patient.

            Don't raise your voice (except when a kid is going to stick his hand into the fire).

            Establish authority by your presence.

            Always keep a small notebook in your pocket to write down program ideas when they strike.


            • #7
              Advice to new Den Leaders:
              1) Learn as much as you can from 'Old Timers' that have been there, done that; look for the people at Roundtable that have lots of knots of their uniform.
              2) Get your parents involved in the den operation. Delegate a lot of the "smaller" tasks that need to done to have a successful den. i.e. have a different parent each meeting bring a snack/drink. Find an organized person to take care of the advancements for your den. Have another person(s) research your outings.
              3) Invite your Cubmaster, Committee Chair, and C.O.R. to your meetings(hopefully they won't all show up on the same night). They may be able to offer some ideas on different topics, or at least get to know the parents better, and get them involved somewhere. Some CM's CC's and COR's may want to get too involved, just remind them that, while you appreciate the advice, it is still your den/den meeting to run.


              • #8
                Find some old handbooks and skim through them.

                Some of it may be dated, but many of the themes still resonant today.

                The old school writers had a way with words that still inspires.

                Plus, there are some great programming ideas in those old books.


                • #9
                  Go outside. Just about any craft, game, or discussion can be done outside in or near a picnic shelter as long as it the weather isn't extreme.

                  Overplan your meetings. If you have a 60 minute meeting, make sure you have enough activities on hand for 90.

                  Bring your first aid kit. You'll need it.(This message has been edited by Nike)


                  • #10
                    It's OK if they make lumpy pancakes. They'll get better with practice.
                    Allowing mistakes to happen isn't easy. That also takes practice.
                    When the mistakes are minor, let them happen. Don't expect or demand perfection (in camping activities). Camping is the laboratory where things happen more quickly and intensely. That's a good thing.
                    Give new parents something to do, even if it's holding down a chair. They need to give their kids some room to breath.
                    Don't pack for them. Help them whenever they ask for it, but don't allow yourself to do things they can do themselves.
                    Most importantly ... Let them make decisions. Even a very simple (to us) decision can be very difficult, but if you never let them live with their decisions, they'll learn that it's easier to let someone else make decisions for them. That's not a good thing when the first time they're ever on their own to make a decision is as a freshman in the dorm on their first weekend away from home. That would mean that some kid across the hall whom you have never met will be making the decisions for your child. Don't let it happen. Give them chances to practice making decisions when it involves jelly or jam, smooth or chucky, white or wheat. It's good practice for that first dorm weekend. Let your child be the leader ... not that stranger across the hall.


                    • #11
                      Advice would vary greatly if the "brand new leader" was a Tiger Den Leader or Troop Committee member or Unit Commissioner.

                      If you want generic "brand new leader" advice - learn what the responsibilities of the leader are, socialize with like leaders (roundtable, training, etc.). Don't set your expectation sky high - those with many years of experience are just as fallible as newbies.(This message has been edited by acco40)


                      • #12
                        have fun!


                        • #13
                          It would probably help if I say my target audience is cub scout leaders rather than boy scout leaders. I don't want to discourage advice from boy scout leaders because it could apply to cub scout leaders also. Regardless, this thread is doing well. Keep the good advice coming. Thanks guys!


                          • #14
                            I have been trolling through other posts looking for other suggestions and wanted to repost a suggestion from another thread back to this to:

                            1) Keep all the suggestions in one place
                            2) Revive this thread into the active topics.

                            I need more content still. :-)

                            Oh, and the suggestion I liked so much:

                            Early on, teach the boys to obey the "signs up" signal. Thanks to Basement Dweller.(This message has been edited by once_eagle-always_eagle)


                            • #15
                              For new Cub Scout leaders -

                              Get trained.

                              Fully know what the program is, and it's purpose, that you are providing the boys.

                              Be FLEXIBLE, but follow that program.

                              Don't be afraid to ask for help.

                              Tiger leaders - USE SHARED LEADERSHIP! Get ALL Adult Partners involved in doing EVERYTHING with their Tiger. Remember they are a TEAM.

                              Wolf and Bear leaders - Let the boys start making decisions about what they do.

                              Webelos leaders - Get them outside right away. Start visiting Troops in 4th grade. Give them more of a say in their den.

                              Don't be afraid to have fun and be loud.