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  • Troop interaction with Pack, and "hook" to keep the cubs in scouting

    I've been trying to help my CO's troop re-engage with the pack, and get support for the pack at the same time.
    More and more of our boys are crossing into other troops, since our troop has been shrinking. I think there were also some other issues, either with a leader or perhaps some of the boys that have since aged out. Anyway, they are now "under new management" and growing.
    I put the question out to or Committee chair, which is also the new SM.... But I figured I's put the same question out here to see what ideas you folks might have....
    Can you think of any cool stuff that scouts do that might be a good demonstration for the cubs? I'm just wondering if there's some sort of cool demonstration or "hook" that the cubs would enjoy watching or depending on what it is even participating in.... you know something that might inspire them to say "I can't wait to be a Boy Scout!", or something that would help connect the two things in their minds.... pioneering stuff maybe? Maybe scouts presenting something cool they did at summer camp?

    Maybe there's nothing simple enough that would work or maybe the ages and interests are too far apart.... I'm just thinking out loud of ways to sink a long term hook, and also get some free entertainment for a pack meeting!

  • #2
    In my experience ALL cubs find teenage boys fascinating! Lead a game, demonstrate cooking (with samples), do a 5 minute talk on why to be a boy scout (communications MB), den chief, help the cubs pick up trash ... Be tall with big muscles and a bit of acne... Do it often, not just once in a demonstration.

    Don't over think this.

    Comment


    • #3
      The troop reap what it sows.... The troop needs to host the Webelos on several camp outs a year. We host a webelo camp out in the spring and fall. Our SPL goes to Webelos resident camp with the den..... his job is to be the rock star. Sunglasses ball hat on backwards strutting around.....the cubs loved him for it..... he was the star of the camp..... we had other dens hanging with ours....to play with him.... he ran games during slow periods. He was big brother. Our troop helps with the spring family camp as well. We meet at the same time and place as the pack....no den chiefs......

      Comment


      • #4
        All the above. In theory a Den Chief is the troops biggest PR asset. I have not seen a helpful den chief yet. Have the troop lead the pack meeting. Gives the Scouts great experience and show the parents a bit of what you are trying to achieve in cubs. You have to sell parents also. Troop helps Cub Dads carry equipment and set up tent at pack campout.

        Comment


        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          Depends on the quality of the den chiefs.... like you I have yet to see a decent den cheif or one I would consider a good recruiter.

          One could argue my spl was the den chief but it was only for the 5 day s of the resident camp.... He basically played with the boys....

          He did not have to sit them down in a class room setting and try to get stuff done.


          Don't like the Pack meeting idea, It is tough enough for even an experienced CM to keep the attention of 40 boys. SPL wouldn't stand a chance.

      • #5
        My Webelos are spending this fall shopping around for a Scout troop to join. The two top-contenders both offer active programs and look like they would be fun for the boys. Building relationships with the boys starting when they are 1st year Webelos, if not sooner, and having several joint activities over a period of time would have a bigger impact on the boys than a single "wow" event. Ultimately the boys are going to go where they feel comfortable, and they feel comfortable with people they know and like.

        Comment


        • #6
          Don't overlook the power of action photography on Facebook.

          "Here's what my son Jimmy did this weekend!"

          Comment


          • TSS_Chris
            TSS_Chris commented
            Editing a comment
            @KDD: If they answer "Yes" to the second question of Part B of the medical form, you have all the permission you'll ever need to post their photos.

            You do have a copy of a medical form for everyone on your trips, right?

          • King Ding Dong
            King Ding Dong commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes we we have medical forms. Now we need a volunteer to keep track of the yes boxes.

          • Kudu
            Kudu commented
            Editing a comment
            BasementDweller: We find good Facebook photos between parents of Boy Scouts are effective in attracting the attention of parents of Cub Scouts.

            A surprising number of parents in other Packs around the county are "friends" on Facebook.

            As for youth, most of our Boy Scouts have hundreds of "friends," so announcements scroll by unnoticed by them.

        • #7
          This is where den chiefs have their largest impact. Also, boys from the troop help adjudicate the pinewood derby.

          Comment


          • #8
            As people on this forum know, IMHO, I think the concept of "troop shopping" is a broken BSA concept. Hurts troops and damages relationships and just gives cubs an excuse to quit. Heck why promote a big decision after five years of scouting? If ya don't like the unit the charter org had you in for Cub Scouts, you are welcome to switch at any time. Instead, you offer a big decision after five years of scouting. Heck, the best decision I know after five years of Cub Scouting is to try something new. Karate. Sports. Other.

            I feel hard on this one because our local DEs get good reviews if they start a new troop. The result, we have more troops than our packs can support. And from what I see, all the troops are "fairly" good. What I really get frustrated at is that "troop shopping" doesn't show you what the troops are really like. What's good. What's not. Instead what you see are the troops that look good on that day and that market themselves very hard. I fully believe in recruitment and helping packs. Fine. But we have a perverted over-emphasis on recruitment and troops marketing to all packs in our city. In fact, one of the troops that markets the best and looks the best is a troop that I would not want my sons in and that never actually helps any of the packs. Mainly because they recruit from ALL the packs in the city. Frustrating.

            Den Chiefs .. yet another mostly broken concept. It's a great role for boy scouts to have because it's almost an automatic advancement role. I have yet to see a den chief that makes the program less work. And they are essentially undependable. My experience is that at best you learn a week in advance if they will be there. Often you never know in advance and they may or may not show up. I fully understand. If the pack and troop met on the same night in the same place, it might work. But different locations, different nights, etc. It's another idealistt

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              Everybody wants something different in a troop. So how can I or you guide anyone else in what a quality troop is????

              Some folks want Adult led.......Some want a high speed low drag program.....on and on.

              So first a person needs to figure out what he wants or the scout wants.

              Announced or unannounced shouldn't make a difference. doesn't for us.

            • King Ding Dong
              King Ding Dong commented
              Editing a comment
              Well I meant is how to find what you and most on this board consider a quality program. Boy led, active, not an eagle mill etc.. The objective stuff is easy (program schedule, costs, older scouts still in program, etc). From the outside how can you tell if it is boy led, cohesive patrols etc.

              I doubt there are many SM that will stand up and proudly declare they are an adult led program and churn out 12 year old Eagles. "I can wrap this program up for your son faster than any troop in the area".
              Last edited by King Ding Dong; 08-30-2013, 09:32 AM.

            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              So you and I view eagle mills as bad.

              maybe that is exactly what someone wants????

              Boy led might be a bad thing for some parents.....

              The program runs the entire spectrum from troops that are ultra boy led thru Cub Scout Troops........

              I know that we have lost boys to the boy led chaos that some meetings can be..... They go up the street to the adult led troop and find what they are looking for.


              You could create a if your looking for a boy led troop here is what your looking for.....Advancement oriented, here is what you look for......High adventure.......Adult led....

          • #9
            Feeder troops and tight linkages only work so long. Other troops contact Webelos directly asking them to come visit their troop and it can quickly subvert years of effort.

            The "grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence" until you recognize they are just gift wrapping manure.

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              In a thread a couple of years ago someone, from a troop that didn't have a feeder pack, Said that all webelos should visit a bunch of different troops....

              As SM I know how much effort we put in to hosting the webelos on weekend camp outs.....doing the first aid demonstration for them..... To have them poached at the last minute by a troop that gave them a backpack, mess kit and sleeping bag..... lost an entire den that year.....

            • King Ding Dong
              King Ding Dong commented
              Editing a comment
              Wow, I have never seen or heard of anything like that. Book, necker, slide and loops, but is rolled into registration fee.

            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              There was a thread on the subject a couple of years ago. Some troops gift complete camping setups every year.....others like yours and mine troop t-shirts and books and epaulets....others nothing.....

              The funny thing is that troop that gifted backpacks no longer exists....adult issues

          • #10
            Sometime back there was a thread about a single charter for a "Unit" that contained all the program levels (much like the AHG model or at least similar to my understanding of the UK scouting group model). I think there's a lot to like about that model. Some challenges for the committee to manage but a lot to like.

            Comment


            • #11
              Fred,

              In response to your question on why change from the CO after Cub Scouts, people have already mentioned that every troop meets different needs. But sometimes the folks who make great Cub Scout leaders and make an excellent, active pack because they are organized, goal oriented, etc are horrible Boy Scout leaders because they do not allow the boys to make any decisions and constantly have them working on advancement and civic service in stead of having fun.

              Now don't get me wrong, I do like advancement. It give the Scouts goals to aim for, and more importantly gives them important life skills. Even the "paper pushing" MB's I really do not like are important. But when every meeting is focused on a MB, that's a problem. When it seems like you are doing service projects every single month, to the point that a camping trip or two are cancelled or part of the service project is a problem. Boys are transferring out or leaving all together because of that.

              And don't think a unit commissioner, trainers, etc will help with the situation. Many folks have intervened to give advice, mentor, etc. and we have been ignored or told we don't know what we are talking about. One Eagle Scout point blank told the SM at his SMC how the troop was screwed up and what was needed to be done to fix it, and he was ignored. Only reason he is still sticking around is A) Order of the Arrow, and B) he is a DC with the pack.

              Unfortunately it has gotten to the point that I have some reservations sending youth to the troop when doing Round Ups. In fact I ran into 1 youth and his mom whom I recruited for the troop this past May, and they have already quit the troop by mid-August. I wish I would have had the time talk to them to find out why they quit in less than 3 months, or less than 10-11 meetings.

              Comment


              • fred johnson
                fred johnson commented
                Editing a comment
                Ya know ... "every troop meets different needs". I just don't buy it. Some have flavors and specialties but most troops do the same things. And it only becomes an issue when you make a big jump from one unit to another where the units are treated as totally different units. i.e. pack versus troop. If the units had stronger ties such as one committee, you would see that jump and difference issue disappear.

                Plus ... from what I've seen now from years of involvement is that ... #1 Families new to the program do not know what to look for when troop shopping. #2 Families can't form useful opinions based on just a few experiences. #3 Troops (at least in our area) jump multiple hoops to look better than and different from the other troops.

                I've seen Webelos "shop" for troops and then flock like a bunch of lemmings to one troop. Every few years the flock changes directions to join a different troop. A troop can be starved for a few years and then drown in new Webelos a few years later. Plus it's abusive to volunteers who have invested so much over the years to then be asked to jump hoops yet again so that Webelos decide to join them. How many different times do we need to recruit the same kids?

                I live in a city with many "type A" troops, very driven, very program oriented. IMHO, it pits volunteer leader against volunteer leader and gets people clearly upset with each other. Conversely, we have multiple troops with experienced leaders who together have 50+ years in scouting. Yet their "feeder" packs have less than 10 years of experience (i.e. one or two years per leader).

                Treating packs and troops as separate units is a broken model. Period.

                Promoting a big decision after five years of scouting is a broken model. Period.

                Structure that promotes experience heavy troops and struggling packs is a broken model. Period.

            • #12
              As a recently retired Cubmaster, I fought hard against feeder packs to Troops. Troops should earn the Scouts that crossover to them. Also, not every Troop is for every Scout. Just as there are 31 flavors at Baskin & Robbins, there are that many and more Troops. I didn't like the fact that everyone went to one Troop year after Year. There were several good Troops around us. So, I started bringing in other Troops to do things with the Pack. So for the 5 years before they all went to one Troop. Now, we are in four other Troops for a total of five.

              FYI: I also grew the Pack from 25 Scouts to 64 by the time I left this year. It's all about the Program!

              Several things will attract Scouts to a Troop.
              Is the Program at the Troop good? Do the current Scouts like it? Is it the same year after year after year?
              Car Camping vs Backpacking? Who really wants to schelp stuff to and fro from a Trailer for hours? Maybe getting out on the trail or waterway is faster and easier?
              Merit Badge Mills....yuck....Who wants to sit and do course work at night. That's Homework. Boys don't want Home Work! Put the OUTING back into SCOUTING!


              Also, the one thing that jumps out at me...how is the CC the SM? The COR can be the CC. That Troop needs to run through Troop Committee Challenge (and not the online version) and also host the ILST for the Scouts/PLC. If the PLC is doing the samething year after year...inject some other activities. Yes, the Adults will have to make suggestions and use Guided Discovery to help steer them. It's not Adult Led or influenced...but guided. And no that's not another word to hide Adult Led either.

              Comment


              • fred johnson
                fred johnson commented
                Editing a comment
                I know that is what we are taught. But I just believe that is the simple analysis of the situation. You are obviously a driven and excellent leader. But, I think there is much more going on that needs addressing and I think "shopping" for troops is a big problem in scouts today.

                Is the program good? Okay. Of the eight troops in our city, I'd say most are good with strong programs. Though I hate comparing "youth led" as it's more slamming another unit with little basis, those that market the best seem to have the most adult direct leadership.

                I know your comments. But I just don't buy it. During my time as a pack leader, we've taken the pack from failing with all the leaders quitting to drowning in volunteers and a 70 cub pack. Our troop has multiple scouts working on Eagle and our troop doesn't even emphasize it. It's the kids choosing to do it. But each year our scouts bounce to another unit and several good troops in our city are starving for scouts. Friends are broken up and leaders get pissed at each other.

              • Hueymungus
                Hueymungus commented
                Editing a comment
                Fred: Totally hear and understand your points too. If the Troop that is starving does not realize that something is wrong, sooner or later something will happen. Hopefully parents will step-up and help correct it.

                Yes.. Adults get mad at eachother for pretty lame things. It's so weird. Main thing is, keep it fun and provide a good program. A Troop of 10-15 is just as good as a Troop of 120 if the program is good.

            • #13
              The thing that gets me the most is when a troop leader who has a cub switches from their troop's feeder pack to our pack because our pack is "stronger" or because their troop's aligned pack is struggling. Then starts promoting their troop in our pack without any investing in our pack to make our pack better. Our pack has strong links to two troops and weaker ties to five troops. We don't need another troop promoting their program in our pack. IMHO, I'd rather see that family stay in his troop's feeder pack and try to make that pack better.

              This has happened multiple times and it does get my goat.

              Comment


              • Hueymungus
                Hueymungus commented
                Editing a comment
                Fred: I hear you. I think turn about is fair play. If your coming in and have a kid in the program and also the Troop and start talking that way, you need to provide support. Bring the Boyscouts over to run a meeting, event, put on a demo, provide a Den Chief....something.

                The other point about helping the first Pack out is even more valid. Is that Pack so bad that a UC/DE needs to step-in or is it a case of "Dad" doesn't get his way? That I totally understand your point.

                I think that we are on the same page about how the Pack/Troop relationship should work.
                YIS
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