"Its hard to think and talk at the same time. "
As we demonstrate here on a daily basis!
One of the problems we have is this: We think up grand and glorious ideas and plans for the boys that we just know they will like. We imagine it in our heads so far as to even decide what reaction they will have.
And when they don't, we get upset.
I remember wht it was like back then at that age. We are not talking teenagers, we are talking 11 year old max, but mostly 7, 8 and 9 year olds.
We wouldn't dream of giving them car keys, leaving them at hoime alone while even going to the store for just 5 minutes, we wouldn't trust them to use a saw or BB gun alone....yet we expect them to act like mature adults during a long ceremony that...well to be honest...that most of the parents would be at if it wasn't for their precious angel bing in it.
Time to step back, thing simpler and quicker and get it over with.
Nothing wrtong with showing the boys something new and different, just remeber, they think witrh 7, 8 , 9 , 10 and 11 year old mentality, not our 25 - 55 year old mentality...not that I am 55 years old mind you, I am only 41.....ish.
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I'll tell you something else I learned while a CM for my pack. I would get to ther CO about 15 minute before anyone else. I'd unlock and set up whatever neded to be set up if needed be.
Then I'd go to the door and gret parents and scouts... EQUALLY . By that, I meant I gave scouts the same warmm greeting and fuill attentiuon I gave adults.
I have seen too many leaders talking to scouts and suddenly "drop" the scout when an adult came up to talk to the leader.
I would ask the scouts how they were doing, how was schoool, shake their hands or give them a high five.
I talked to them and not at them. I looked at them and not down at them. I treated every scout with the same respect I did any and every adult.
I still have former cub scouts who have crossed over come up to me at the grocery store, wal mart, reastaurants, etc...and say hi to me and tell me what they ahve been up to.
At camporees, I run into scouts who used to be in our pack but went to other troops. They come up and give me the scout handshake and ask how I am doing. I do the same: How's school?, play sports? Still loving scouting? How's the scouting and advancement gooing? Mom and dad doing okay?
I have noticed that these particular scouts are just as every bit respectful back as I was to them.
So, respect is also earned by us, not demanded.
Not that I am saying you demand instead od earn..but just as a general statement overall. WE expect youth to respect us, but with the way we look down on them, and the way we treat them, have we really earned it ourselves?
- May 2011
mrface, you didn't say how large your Pack is, but size does matter. When I was CM back in the 80's (for 5 years), our Pack grew to be almost 150 boys. 15 Dens, 4 of which were Webelos. Pack meetings were 2.5 hr marathons, and all we had time to do was hand out badges and arrow points. We made the decision to split the Pack...which is how our Pack was formed in the first place. The DE loves this. Pack meetings became almost pleasurable again...had time for skits and songs and cheers...and refreshments. I guess a rule of thumb is to strive for a one hour meeting. If you are running longer than that, you have a problem.
- May 2005
I'm with Beavah for openers:
When boys are bored with what is happening they start making their own entertainment.
Personally, I very rarely have issues with boy behavior. I did a recruiting meeting Wednesday and we probably had forty or more boys show up, most of whom had never attended a Cub Scout meeting.
There were NO behavior issues, and that was because we kept boys busy with things they found interesting and fun to do.
(This activity was making and then racing model sailboats --- a Raingutter Regatta type event. Boys and siblings arranged their own races and got a sticker on their Cub Scout Boat Racing License for each heat they won. Often boys quit racing in order to improve the design of their boats by adding sail or whatever. Parents were encouraged to help their boys build their boats and see the start of the racing. When parents were called away to find out about joining the pack, the boys remained fully engaged in the activities at hand.)
I usually like to schedule a competition during pack meetings to keep boys engaged. During December den meetings, dens make a Christmas "sleigh" and at the December pack meeting dens compete in a relay race pulling den members around in the sleigh.
When we prepare for our June campout, dens compete in erecting self supporting tents at a pack meeting.
While we don't advertize it, Cub Scouts ought to be a parenting class in which parents can learn new ways to control the behavior of children. A good Cub Scout Pack should not need to have adults shouting at children to behave.
Sometimes I will start a Cub Scout activity with my special flag ceremony. That begins with a recording of naval gunfire played REALLY LOUD, followed by a recorded bugle blaring "To The Colors." No need to announce the beginning of the meeting or to ask for people's attention!
- Jul 2002
I was a Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelos den leader. It seemed the more effort I put into some den meetings, the less interesting it was for the boys. Some of the most spurious events I dreamed up were the best.
I was also a unit commissioner for some time. When packs would hold a join scouting night, I would talk very briefly to the pack adult leadership (beforehand) and then let them meet with the parents and I'd watch the boys. Simple things like pairing up two or a maximum of four boys (two to a side) and placing a ping pong ball on a hard surface table and then telling them to try and blow it across the the opposite end to "win." They would sit there and play that simple game again and again. The game was quick (usually over in less than 30 sec.), kept them active and of course you can't talk much when you are concentrating on blowing!
Also, I had some issues with the other den leaders and pack committee members. They always seemed to be in the mood to essentially pay for entertainment at a pack meeting. At one pack meeting, my Webelos Den put on a skit (it involved one Tiger Cub too). The boys practiced at a den meeting and it kept the interest of the pack. The boys should be doing at pack meetings, not observing at pack meetings. Heck, as a Bear den leader I was bored listening to the Tiger and Wolf den leaders tell the pack about what activities they did last month and about the awards the boys in their den earned.
Wow, lots of great ideas in this thread and lots to think about.
Our pack is about 15 kids. Pretty small. This wasn't a 3 hour ceremony, it was a relatively quick one (a modified version of the "Tiger, Wolf and Bear Paws" ceremony) which followed a cookout/pot luck.
I don't think it's too much to ask for the remaining boys to sit quietly for 3 minutes while a den of 4 boys is getting presented their Wolf badge, is it?
One mistake was not having them sit by den. We'll make sure to make that happens next time and separate them out from their parents. That's a good idea, and for some reason we've not been doing it (largely b/c "that's just how they did it" and being the new Cubmaster, I haven't wanted to come in and change everything, you know?).
Another good point about greeting each of the boys at the door. Of course, we didn't have a door being as we were outdoors, but a good idea as well.
I appreciate the discussion folks. Glad this community is here!
- Apr 2009
Outdoors makes it tough. Even my venturers loose focus. There's a reason why schools have walls.
Hang in there. Work on some of the low-key stuff. You may need to have a word with the parents. And like Eng describes, with some groups you'll need to read the riot act. (I.e., get in touch with your inner "bad cop".)
Thanks qwazse. I've been avoiding using my inner cop simply from the standpoint that i'm the new cubmaster, and don't want to immediately be known for being a hard-ass. There'll be plenty of time for that, I'm sure. ;-)
It's a delicate balance, especially as we're trying to aggressively grow the Pack.
We're going to have a meeting with the parents as part of fall "reconvening" process (of course we're remaining active over the summer)....
- Nov 2010