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  • New to forum, need some advice on getting started

    Hi there!

    I guess I should start with background info....
    We are in NW Illinois in a VERY rural area with a small school district, therefore we have small #'s for scouts. We (my husband and myself) just recently took on the duties/job of trying to restart the local Troop. It was once upon a time a great Troop and it makes me very sad to say that is not now. I am at a loss for where to start at this point. We have 3 Webelos who crossed over into this troop. So, we are signed up for Summer Camp and all 3 boys are going. We have a SM, ASM and CC that are active and involved, but, all are new.:0) We are trying, it's a struggle right now, but we are trying.

    Here's the problem.....We need volunteers. We are trying to run not only the CS program that we have been running for 4 years, but also the BS program. I have lost so many useful families in the last 3 years due to kids picking sports over scouts. I understand that and don't have a problem with it, I have a problem with NO ONE wanting to step up to help with anything. We have Good leaders but they are already pulling lots of weight. I don't want to burn them out, we need them. I also don't want to burn out ourselves.
    Currently here is what we have for our pack: CC, CM, 2WDL, 1Wolf leader. I am acting as CC, Trainer and Treasurer (I have to handle all the financial aspects except the actual acct, we have a 3rd party accountant that writes the actual checks) and all jobs in between . As far as committee members they are just people on paper who are not involved. We need help. I need suggestions because I feel like I'm not getting what I'd like to get accomplished. We have a smaller pack 19 boys. We will have Tigers in the fall, they never come till the fall after all the summer sports are over, so, I'll have to also recruit a leader out of the parents for that as well. I have managed to do many different jobs, not because I wanted to, but because no one is willing to help. We will be moving up to the Troop level only after this year of scouting. I need to get someone ready to take over this Pack. When our last CM and do all CC were leaving, no one took up their jobs, so they just left the boxes of stuff there one day and left. I had never done any of the CC, treasurer, do all jobs I am doing now and it took a lot of work for me to get people to explain to me what the heck I was supposed to be doing. I knew a little because I have an older boy (almost 17) who was a cub scout (in IN but still same basic ideas) . I don't want to have to do that to the pack when it's our time to leave. I want to help the next person so they can concentrate on running a good program. In the beginning another Parent was supposed to be my partner in all this, she was for a brief period but had to many obligations and had to step down. My husband works a lot and has no set schedule of hours, so a lot of his duties fall on me as well. I guess my main question is, how do I go about getting volunteers? Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    I have read many of the topics here, and would like to point out that I am open to constructive criticism, but please be nice.

    Thanks So Much!
    Heather

  • #2
    Welcome. I use to spend my summers in a rural area in IL.. I think the town name was spelled Tuscola (at least it was pronounced that way..) Main street was still a brick road (and though not a spring chick it is not because I am THAT old.. It was a novalty even in my day.)


    We had a similar topic last week.. Did not get too many responses, but perhaps you can refire the topic back up, so we can get more. Anyway the link below will give you what was stated on that thread..

    http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=355570

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Moose Tracker!

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello Troop,


        Yours is a very common story.

        The first key to a Pack or Troop that will command the support of parents is to have an exciting program that both parents and children find worthwhile. I'd look at both the Cub Pack and Troop for weaknesses.

        Does your pack do the same things each year? What kind of activities do you have scheduled for 2012-2013?

        Secondly, I think a key is to get parents in the HABIT of supporting the pack right away, and to have an exciting program for new families right away.

        In my pack we will have a stomp bottle rocket launch as a recuting night and first pack meeting combined on September 12th.

        A first den meeting September 17th will introduce new families to Cub Scouts by completing several Bobcat requirements and preparing for a fun hike September 22nd.

        The hike features a visit to a library, a self guiding hike to a farm where the Scouts have a tour and do a farm chore, and then a hot dog roast before hiking back.

        September 24th is our monthly parent meeting, which functions as a reception for new parents and to which the new parents will be invited. After having three exciting events, they are usually ready to show up and be ready to help with the program for the next month.

        Very often, new families are ignored once they fill out an application and write a check. Often it takes weeks or months before they start to understand how Cub Scouts work, and often they've discovered they can be artful dodgers of pack leadership by that time.

        My solution is to get new families started right away with an exciting program youth and adults find worthwhile and worth supporting.

        Comment


        • #5
          t61,

          Thanks for your service.
          I am almost in the same situation as you but for different reasons. My best parents (moms mostly) don't see themselves as leaders and aren't stepping up on crew committee. This pattern will have to change or the crew will fold in a couple of years.

          For your troop, do your best to enable the SM and ASM to go camping and hiking with the boys every month. All the other stuff falls into place if your boys can do that. Parades: find them, march in them.

          Is your CO a church? Talk to every young man (possibly young woman) about their interest in heading up a special ministry. Think out of the box.

          Have your boys plan a fall recruiting day for the troop. They go to school and hold an assembly demonstrating the stuff hey learned at camp. Maybe they set up camp in the playground.

          Comment


          • #6
            1) Research and find your District Executive. He is the "paid big bucks" fellow, and you need to catch him. He can put you in touch with other good Scout people. Ask about your Commissioner, you may or may not have one. Bend their ears for help and ideas.
            If you have a "hands off" Charter Organization, you can do alot of good by talking to them and making them more "hands On". Places to meet, places to go and do things, adult help (ministry?). If they can support Scouting by signing a paper, can they do actual support? Do a service project for them. Show your gratitude.
            Look over all the previous ideas. Visibility can help you build a unit. Parades, notices in the local paper, service projects, a hand painted banner outside your meeting place.

            CAMP, HIKE, go to the movies together. If the boys are enjoying it, make sure they "recruit" Even middle schoolers need a fun challenging time.

            Hold a cookout someplace visible, church backyard after services, local park (check for fire permission!).
            Do a demo at the county fair, pioneering, pinewood derby, cooking (!).

            Good luck to you and thank you for what you do for your boys.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, I am going to try to answer everyone in one...

              I can honestly say that since taking over the pack we have amped up the program. It's not perfect, and there is so much more I'd like to do, but no one will help. For instance, we do recruiting in the Spring and Fall at our school district. I should clarify that...We are a pack that consist of two small towns and rural in between them. Basically we service all of our school district. Our CO is the local Lions club and we use a local church for our meetings ( we have the congregations kids in our pack already) . The schools are pretty good about letting us in to recruit, although it's getting increasingly difficult to get more than 10 min with the kids for this. We show a dvd of all the fun stuff we have done the prior year to show the scouts not just a commercial, but a cool show with their friends and people they know in it. I'm going to try the booth at open house again this year, it was a bust in the past, but I'll keep trying.

              You asked what do we have scheduled for 2012-2013. Well, nothing yet, I am the only one who is doing all this. I basically go by what we did the previous year and guesstimate on council wide dates (they don't give us a year ahead of time notice, or if they do, it's news to me) trying to add new things when I can. We do a fun recruit day in the fall, in the past we have done a bowling party or swimming. There isn't much around here and people don't want to drive. We just got our own derby track this year, so we are hoping to do something involving the derby cars with new kids. I try to mix it up and add new things each year. We have integrated a Father son Cake Bake, Costume Party, Fishing outings, we've even taken the pack to Medieval times. I go to Day Camp every year with the boys so that someone from our pack is there, in fact, I go to every single event we offer. I make all council wide activities known and even some that are out of our council. After last years losing all the parents who would help in the actual set up and organizing of events this got especially hard ( I also had to take over the W2 group last year, because they no longer had a leader either) Lets just say, this last year was the breaking point. I can't take on any more jobs, people are going to have to step up.

              ***Have your boys plan a fall recruiting day for the troop. They go to school and hold an assembly demonstrating the stuff hey learned at camp. Maybe they set up camp in the playground. ***

              To answer to that, they won't let us set up something like that at the school, the older kids are pretty much off limits when it comes to free time they will let us have. Possibly they would let us at open house, the boys would be busy with open house, so it would probably be me again.

              Also, we are in every parade in our area ( off the top of my head I believe it's 5 a year) ALWAYS in uniforms, if applicable we make a cool float. We throw candy, hand out fliers, etc. We take part in helping the legion and lions put flags out for memorial day, as well as the actual service on Memorial Day. We do community clean ups, and just about anything the communities will let us do. We have a Food drive (in November because in FEB it's really cold up here) where the scouts go door to door ,with parents of course, and collect a ton of food for our local food pantry. ( we do this in both communities). This week we will taking part in the Flag Retiring Ceremony with the Lions before the community fire works show. We also do sell a lot popcorn, I think anyway $9000. Considering most of us live in the boondocks and the others are in two tiny rural towns. The hike sounds like fun, but the local library is a 1 room tiny building that has odd hours, and the farm part is ok for a few of the boys, but most of them live on farms. They'd all love hot dogs though! I can check into another location not far from here for a possible hike and cook out. That is a good idea!

              I wish I could say I could get the parents to attend a Parents Meeting. I am lucky to get them to attend Pack meetings. There are a few that are exceptions, but not many. We have the parents who are leaders that will help out if I ask, but I hate asking them to do more. The others pretty much run for the border as soon as meetings are over, if they even come in to get their kids. Sometimes I think we are a Babysitting service.

              I've had a few parents that thought they should yell at me for something they thought should be happening differently, and I don't care to be talked to like that for a job that I do for free and out of kindness. I try to live by the scout oath and this behavior is out of line. I was most appalled at the parents who will interrupt during a pack meeting to "correct" (criticize is more like it) when the CM is speaking. That to me was only showing the boys they could act like that too. It's frustrating and when I think I can't handle anymore of the craziness, I look at the boys and know that they deserve better. I just wish I could make the parents teach and portray respect for adults in their every day life.


              Ok, about the Troop again. Are there any training, books, resources you would recommend we have? We were left with a troop acct and thats about it. There is supposedly camping gear items stored in some barn at some former scouts house. :/ Not looking promising at getting that back, but I'll keep trying. Both the SM and ASM are new to this, so anything you can add is greatly appreciated. I asked our DE about MBC's and she said that since they required YPT training now, most of the people they had on a list were dropped. She said the list is nonexistent now. So, do we have to create our own MBC's for any the boys want to earn? I am encouraging the boys to take the basic MB courses at Summer Camp, so that they can earn their TF. We are open to any and all suggestions on what we need to be doing!

              Comment


              • #8
                You asked what do we have scheduled for 2012-2013. Well, nothing yet, I am the only one who is doing all this. I basically go by what we did the previous year and guesstimate on council wide dates (they don't give us a year ahead of time notice, or if they do, it's news to me)


                Then ask your council. I do not think it is only my council, as it was mentioned at a regional program.. The council should be putting together a council wide calendar with all the council events and trainings and every district event/training for the 2012-2013 year.. It should be available by early spring.. For us on district, once our dates are in that calendar woe be it to anyone who changes the date (but it does happen).. What I am not sure of is ours is passed out at what is called a "Kick-off" which is a day event for..... you guessed it... the start of the 2012-2013 calendar year.. But, if you miss it, you can get the calendar by other means.. (our calendar use to be a real paper calendar. Then a paper calendar & cd.. Now just a cd.. But the cd does have a calendar on it.

                Without parent help, it is difficult not to just do annual events, as thinking outside the box means extra work.. But, you could try by asking the parents for some fun and differnt ideas.. Then asked them who is willing to help organize them. If no one steps up, then the event is a no go, due to lack of support.. I know someone on this forum has done that with success.. Wrote the ideas on a large flipchart, then asked for help and crossed each off, as no one stepped up. When people saw he was serious, then he did get help.. (I tend to think, this may have been basement, but could be wrong.)

                Tie a parent meeting with information that they need. A new parent information meeting, too late for this year - but an information about summer camp night..

                Training.. Go to roundtable.. may not be held during summer, but aside from a possible summer break, it is monthly and a great place to get ideas from other SM's.. SM & ASM should go to Specific training and IOLS, I recommend it to anyone else in the troop with an interest in how a troop is run.. Definatly check if your Council is running something called Scouting University (some councils call it a different name, but SU is the most common name so if you use that name at your council they should know what they have that is like that, but called this.).. Anyway ours is every two years.. It is like taking college courses, you get over 100 topics to pick from in hour long slots (some run longer).. Fill up your hour long slots for the day with courses that really interest you.. Here is a link to one I found surfing the net, which shows you examples of topics held at an SU..

                http://www.stlbsa.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/BSA%20Site%20Resources/Training/Resources/University%20of%20Scouting-Complete%20Catalog.pdf

                http://www.pinetreebsa.org/forms/training/UoS2012Catalog.pdf

                (commercial break for a rant.. Last year, looking for programs, I found alot of great ones. This year, I found fewer good programs and more councils calling Merit badge workshops SU, and some normal training days like Youth protection & Troop committee training & Specifics training (no other fun courses) SU.. I don't mind a class or two on normal training, but that is not SU.. It just felt like people were ruining a good thing.)

                Well, make sure you ask your council about a Scouting University that has "fun" adult training.. (And try to keep your boys away from two many Meritbadge workshops.. that's a different topic.)

                Books, BSA Field book is good, Troop Program Feature volume I, II, III(I went looking for the c correct name of this and was surprised to find it on-line.)
                http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33110.pdf
                http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33111.pdf
                http://www.scouting.org/FILESTORE/pdf/33112_WEB.pdf

                Comment


                • #9
                  The harsh reality about rural life is you have more folks pulling double shifts to get by.
                  The good news is you probably have good connections and don't have to go far to camp.

                  Okay, your heart and soul is clearly in the pack. Be sure that everybody involved (including paper committee) know that their position is unsustianable and will have to change. Pray for the right person to step up.

                  The troop should focus on giving those boys a great program, MT gave you the references that I would give you. But the real challenge is to not "do for" the boys so much as "do with". This is the same challenge every parent crossing over from cubs has. How does this play out with three boy scouts? Some ideas based on what you've described:
                  Equipment: make sure the boys go with your leaders to collect any troop equipment if you find it. Make sure they are part of inventorying equipment. If you denied to make purchases, have the boys decide what should be the priority and how they will fund raise for it.
                  Advancement: don't worry about MBs except for what the boys may have earned at camp. Focus on making sure the boys learn 1st class skills. They are all in the handbook, which is really designed for a first year scout to learn from. You don't have to teach everything in the order in the book, I suggest whatever the dad's are best at, teach first. most troop take a year to present opportunities for each of the requirements from tenderfoot to first class, Until you get more boys, you may go faster, but just keep the boys practicing those skills.
                  MB counselors: it sounds like your starting from scratch. Here's the good news, you only have three boys which means at most you only have to find three at outsells at a time. The boys can be part of this search. Ask them what MB they want to work on, and ask them who they think they'd like to teach it. Then they can call that person and ask him or her if she would like to meet with them and the SM. At that meeting, SM gives the counselor the application and asks him to sign up so these and other boys can use him or her as a resource in the future.

                  And like I said before: camp and hike, camp and hike, camp and hike. Is there property next to the school ball field? Find out who owns it and prepare to set up camp there in the fall after football games. On the parade routes, is there a good place to camp? Have them set up there the night before or after. Literally, the boys could backpack the parade route if they wanted!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I glanced over your story, and see there are more than one.

                    Equipment: Over the years I have picked up material from former units that have folded. Perhaps there are some out there for you. Contact your District Executive to see if there are units that have folded over the past few years. There may be a larger troop that is upgrading and would offer some of there surplus equipment.

                    As far as events to attend, perhaps you are near a the border of your council. Your are in NW Illinois like I am. See what that neighboring council has going on. This can help if there is a conflict with dates, or distance to travel.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Without reading all the responses, how far are you from East Dubuque, IL? If your close by I have several things you might be interested in. PM my on this site or email me at jdsmerud@gmail.com, if your close and we might be able to link up.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know if you are in Blackhawk Area Council, but their 2012-2013 Program Planning Packet might help -

                        http://www.blackhawkscouting.org/Units/Resources/

                        Check out - 04 Boy Scout Planning Portfolio.

                        Although individual district calendars might be lagging behind, most councils have at least a basic council calendar for the 2012/13 program year up on their website by now. Also sign up for all council, and district newsletters.

                        As for volunteers, you can not charter, or re-charter, without enough volunteers. Since you have been basically a one-man-show, many folks just assume that is how it is supposed to be, and so will not not move out of their comfort zone (or off of their backside!) for you. How well do you know the Pack/Troop families? Pick the folks that you think will do the best job, and have a personal, one-on-one talk with each of them. Lay out the facts, including the fact that you can/will not continue to do this all on your own, but that you will be there to help them, help the boys. Sell the program. Sell their part in it.

                        Good Luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          hi there,
                          I'm new here in this site and looking for some advice on getting started..

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