Jump to content

ParkMan

Members
  • Content Count

    2293
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    51

Posts posted by ParkMan

  1. Any unit should not pay for Wood Badge, period. Wood Badge is not about position-specific training. In fact, one of the messages we got on our first day of WB was "It's All About Me." In other words, you spend all your other scouting time doing stuff for others, Wood Badge is all about YOU. Since it's all about you and the befits to the unit are tangential at best (ticket items notwithstanding), why would any unit pay?
    Sounds like someone on the staff misunderstood the curriculum. I can see someone saying that it's up to you to make a difference, but not that Wood Badge is all about you. As both a participant and staffer, the message I saw was one of service to the scouts and take what you learn here and make a difference in your units,
  2. Hey Smmortgat - Yes - sorry if I went a bit off the path from your earlier comments. I definitly remember you started this looking for a new troop.

     

    I think we're on pretty much the same page - you basically have a choice - stay & see if you can "fix it" or go find a new troop. I won't try to convince you to stay - sometimes it's better just to find a new home with folks who may be thinking similar things.

     

    Sorry if you've already mentioned this... Have you had a one-on-one coffee with the primary leader. Maybe she has similar goals to yours, but isn't sure where to start. Or maybe she's overwhelmed and would welcome some help. If she just really likes what they do now, then that's a sign that affecting change will be difficult.

  3. I'm noticing that I can't see anything in the Cub Scout forum now. If I look at page 1, I get "Invalid data requested". If I look at page 2, there are entries. Almost seems to me as if there was something in a record on page 1 that is causing a problem.

     

    BTW - I notice if I reverse the sort order, the problem now occurs on the last page, not the first page.

    Seems someone's fixed the problem. Interesting though that now there is a duplicate of a topic. Wonder if that was the issue.
  4. 1. Plan the event

    2. Calculate all the costs

    3. Determine the cost for each participant so the event breaks even

    4. Have the DE overrule your committee and charge double (or more) for each participant so the event makes money

    Isn't there an old rule that says "never do for a DE what a DE wants to do himself"
  5. I see this a bit differently. My son is in a large CS pack. My daughter in a large multi-level GS Troop. In both units, you see some families into camping, but many others that are not. For many families in the pack, CS might as well be a arts & crafts/field trip/fun activity. There are many for whom CS is not a "lets all get out in the woods" program. In my daughter's GS troop, you see exactly the same thing.

     

    smoortgat's posts sound like there is a little bit of "look, I know how scouting should work - you all just need to do what I say". You may be 100% correct technically - however, you are in a group with a different culture. You've gotten a lot of good advice here on how a GS Troop can run, but the reality is that the Troop may not want it to run that way. If the families are generally happy as is, why should they try to go spend a bunch of energy changing it. This is not a uniquely GS problem. My son's CS pack has exactly the same problem too.

     

    My general advice is that unless you see a real desire in the families for the program you describe, then decide to either go along as is, or go to another Troop. If you stay, don't expect grand changes, but do try to broaden their views from time to time.

     

    In my daughter's GS troop, there were folks who said "this is how it should run". But then as the unit grew, there were probably 20 different leaders involved. They all had different goals & desires for the program. SN was spot on - those parents worked together and found a good common ground.

  6. In 17 years of working with Cub Scouts, I have heard very few (if any) complaints about the uniform. The Tigers love it. The older boys tend to get whiney, but then they get whiney about everything as they get older! They still wear their uniforms.

     

    The short sleeve Cub shirt isn't really any hotter than a regular shirt, and Cubs have the options of buying shorts, or the zip-off Switchback pants. The problem with Cubs is a lighter weight uniform will not last a week. Especially the pants. Little boys seem to be highly affected by gravity. They spend a good portion of their time on their knees, and/or skidding across floors/sidewalks/etc. You need something extremely sturdy.

     

    As others have stated, a Pack t-shirt for active activities is also a viable way to go.

     

    Faith - for the slipping neckers, tie a knot, or put a rubber band, under the slide,

    I'd recommend making slides. It's great fun, they're memorable, and the boys like them more anyways.
  7. The GS program has the flexibility to allow for what you are describing you want. I've seen it in action. In fact, I think the GS program done well can challenge young girls as much as, if not more, than the CS program can.

     

    My suggestion, find a couple of female adults and start a troop together. In the GS system, you need at least a female co-leader.

     

    Once you get that Troop running, follow the GS program, just operate it similar to a CS pack or BS troop. You'll wear different uniforms, have different badges, etc..., but the fundamental goals can be pretty much the same. The interaction of girls vs. boys will be a bit different (girls like to sing more), but beyond that it doesn't need to be all that different.

     

  8. My son's the same way. He grumbles about putting his uniform on (though less now with the tan uniform), he grumbles about having to go to meetings, he grumbles about having to eat dinner too In my house, scouting is important and my son sees that. So, as he's matured, he's taking more and more pride in scouting. When he needs a nudge to get active in Scouting, I give it to him and over time that's worked.

     

    In a lot of houses, that's not the case though. I know many parents who don't see the bigger picture and for whom scouting is just another activity. When their son grumbles a few times about going to meetings or putting on their uniforms, the parents start to give up.

     

    For us, right or wrong, we've not been fighting the battle. Do I think it would help if we were better uniformed - yes. However, I think before we do that, we need to get better participation at pack meetings, have better programs, etc...

     

    So, for now I make the uniforming as painless as possible - hence the t-shirt.

    As I wrote that, I had that thought too. Perhaps I'm thinking about all this too hard and trying to solve issues one-by-one instead of just dealing with a bunch at once. I don't know.
  9. If you haven't already, talk with the CM more one-on-one. Perhaps buy him/her an adult beverage and have a chat. Make a few specific recommendations. If those recommendations require more effort, be prepared to help.

     

    Were I the CM of your pack, I'd welcome it.

  10. My son's the same way. He grumbles about putting his uniform on (though less now with the tan uniform), he grumbles about having to go to meetings, he grumbles about having to eat dinner too In my house, scouting is important and my son sees that. So, as he's matured, he's taking more and more pride in scouting. When he needs a nudge to get active in Scouting, I give it to him and over time that's worked.

     

    In a lot of houses, that's not the case though. I know many parents who don't see the bigger picture and for whom scouting is just another activity. When their son grumbles a few times about going to meetings or putting on their uniforms, the parents start to give up.

     

    For us, right or wrong, we've not been fighting the battle. Do I think it would help if we were better uniformed - yes. However, I think before we do that, we need to get better participation at pack meetings, have better programs, etc...

     

    So, for now I make the uniforming as painless as possible - hence the t-shirt.

  11. Basically we do maybe a prayer, flags, announcements, a few jokes from the CM maybe, awards..... maybe a skit or two from one of the dens. More blah blah blah..... much of it directed over the kids' heads to the parents in the back.

    I even suggested that instead of chairs at the tables, he get the boys to sit on the floor around him..... more of a camp fire discussion with the boys. Hasn't happened yet.

     

    This is us a year ago. The only difference is that we had some activity in there as well - some activities were better than others. I tried the sit on the floor in a circle thing and it sorta worked, but it can get chaotic. As a CM, one suggestion. Pick an area of the pack meeting you'd like to see improved and volunteer to the CM to take that on. If I had a leader that came to me and said, "I'd like to make awards" more meaningful, I'd be most appreciative!

     

     

    What interested me in the den activities is that I have a gut feel we need to move beyond the pack meeting as entertainment + awards, and towards something more. I'm also thinking that we need to find a way to be more than just 50 boys in a room all together. Put slightly differently... Right now, I think our general approach to the year is that boys go to den meetings and do den & rank stuff. Boys go to pack meetings to get awards & play. There is little relationship between the two. Also, there is little meaning from going to the pack meetings. That doesn't seem right.

  12. Our pack wears uniforms, but we're not terribly strong in our uniform ethic. There's a sort of we'd like you to wear it, but if not, no big deal. It's rare that we ask for them to be in uniform. Neckerchiefs are almost always optional.

     

    We also have a pack t-shirt, which is always an option.

     

    This seems to work well enough. Boys that don't want to wear the uniform don't, and because there are options and no-pressure the uniform is never really an issue.

     

    I do wish we had a bit more energy behind wearing the uniform, but it's not a battle that's on my radar right now :)

     

    One other note - my own son is a Webelos now. I was always very lax with him about tucking in his shirt, wearing the neckerchief, etc... However. once he went from the blue uniform to the tan, I drew a line in the sand. I told him that if he's going to wear a Boy Scout uniform, I want him to set an example and be fully uniformed (pants, belt, shirt). He's responded with enthusiasm to that one.

  13. I'm really interested in the idea of den activities at a pack meeting. In my time, we've never organized a pack meeting that way, so I'm curious how you'd do it.

     

    Would your pumpkin carving by an example of a den activity, or are you thinking of something different?

  14. I'm a cub leader, and so I tend to have a different perspective on this than many. At the Cub level, it's rare to get a long time leader with lots of bling, knots, etc. More of the long timers I meet tend to go the opposite direction - they shun knots, rarely wear WB beads, etc. A temporary patch - what's that? So, the new Cub leaders that I know pick up on that and don't bother either. In my 4 years with my son's pack, I am the only person to ever earn a knot out of probably 30 different leaders. As such, I get questions all the time from the boys - Hey, what's that on your uniform?

     

    I'd love to have some around the block guy show up at the pack meeting with more bling than you could imagine. I imagine a lot of kids would love it!

  15. My son's den had that same challenge. We had two den leaders ready to take on dens, but the parents couldn't figure out a split, so we kept it as one large den. With a large den like that, several boys became unhappy with the chaos and decided to leave on their own. Add a little natural attrition to that and by the end of the year, it was 10. A year later, that same group was 8.

     

    We ended up starting a second den in the Bear year and guided new boys to that new den instead.

     

    My recommendation. Find two good leaders and split the den along some natural lines. i.e., who can make a particular day, where they go to school, etc. Then run the dens seperatly. After a year together the natural inclination of the group will be to stick together. You may need to nudge them to stay separate. Remember, the longer you wait to split the den, the harder it gets.

  16. I have the same question. This year we tried to improve pack meetings. Some are better, some are not.

     

    One piece of advice I received early on was to make the meetings more "fun". Some folks want this to mean, make the pack meeting "entertainment". They'd like to have the pack meeting be a show, presentation, or game with the bare minimum of time for awards or announcements. As such, we did away with den skits, cheers, and songs.

     

    Pack meetings start at 6:30 and run for about an hour. Right now our meetings go something like:

    6:20 - gathering game

    6:35 - opening flag ceremony - a den does this monthly. We always start 5-10 minutes late.

    6:40 - announcements - CM makes announcments. There may be a special announcement or two.

    6:42 - awards - 10 mintues. Usually given by the den leaders who call up boys to the front. Due to the time, there is not a lot of ceremony here.

    6:55 - actvity or special ceremony

    7:25 - closing

     

    At the meeting, we have rows of chairs set up. Boys sit with their parents wherever they want. We don't sit by dens. The meeting is run by the CM, one or more ACMs, and the advancement chair.

     

    I'm not sure that focusing just on meetings as entertainment is working so well. I feel like we've lost some of the purpose behind the pack meeting with the boys having no role. Even when the den does the flag ceremony, the leader is sort of scrambling to find out who is there. Den leaders generally come - though not always. We get at most 50% attendance.

     

    My gut feel is that a great pack meeting can't be just a fun show/activity/game. It's got to be more. I've just not hit on the right formula yet.

  17. Hi all, sorry for the double post here. I was editing my post and walked away for 5 minutes. I came back and the post had been done. Not sure why. Here's a revised version.

     

     

    Many thanks all for the most excellent advice!

     

    If I pull out some of the common themes, I see:

     

    Community

    - Know familes and greet them by name

    - Get parents involved. Start with small tasks & build up.

     

    Get Parents to Buy In

    - Need to see value in coming to meetings

    - Need to overcome "nah, I don't want to go this week"

     

    Leader/Committee Meetings/Parent Meetings

    - Invite parents, especially new ones

     

    Pack Meetings

    - make them fun!

     

    Have a replacement now

     

    These are absolutely fantastic. Let me do some thinking and I'm sure I'll be back shortly with follow up questions.

     

    Thank you all so much for taking the time on this!

  18. Many thanks all for the most excellent advice!

     

    If I pull out some of the common themes, I see:

     

    Community

     

    - Get parents involved

     

    Get Parents to Buy In

    - Value in Coming to Meetings

    - How to overcome "nah, I don't want to go this week"

     

    Leader/Committee Meetings/Parent Meetings

    - Invite parents.

    - How to overcome folks just talking with each other

     

    Pack Meetings

    - make them fun!

     

    Have a replacement now

     

  19. I think BL really needs to be in the same category as Scouting. If you register you get a copy.

     

    Most boys (especially Cub Scouts) only exposure to scouting is through their home unit. BL helps the realize they are part of something much, much bigger.

     

    We make it optional our pack. When I look at the records of who gets it and who does not, it's interesting that it's usually the most engaged scouts are the ones that get it. I know that they probably get BL because they are already excited. The don't become excited simply from reading BL. However every little bit helps.

  20. Fellow Scouters - I need some help.

     

    I'm the Cubmaster of a good sized pack that normally runs between 60-80 boys. I've been Cubmaster for about a year and a half. I'm really worried that I'm just missing something fundamental here and am just flailing. Let me explain...

     

    The boys and families just don't seem all that engaged. We've got a fairly active pack calendar, but attendance is low. Our fall campout got about 30% attendance. Our upcoming spring campout probably won't hit that. The Pinewood Derby this year might have hit 60%. We had two Pinewood Derby workdays, so I know it's not because the boys didn't have an opportunity to build a car if they could not at home. Summer activities might hit 20-25%. I feel we have to beg folks to attend. There are 3 or 4 signup emails per event that all end up reading "please remember to signup".

     

    Monthly pack meeting attendance is at best at about 50%. I've tried to make the pack meetings more fun - to some limited success, but attendance has not gotten better. In several dens, the den leaders report similar attendance. Weekly meetings seem optional and folks never RSVP when they can't make it.

     

    Beyond the den leaders, we have a very small pack committee - just a committee chair and treasurer. We've got a couple of Assistant Cubmasters, but they double as den leaders/assistant den leaders. The pack committee meeting is really a pack leader's meeting. I'm talked with the Committee Chair many times about getting more adults involved, but he doesn't know how or is not interested building a committee. He seems content to preside at our "committee meeting" and help out with special projects as needed.

     

    Without other leaders, I fear I'm wearing out our den leaders. Most dens have two leaders, but some have only one. In the two dens with just one leader, they are both telling me that they are done at the end of the year. There are some den leaders who rarely show for the monthly leader's meeting.

     

    I, as Cubmaster, end up organizing just about every pack event - pack meetings, campouts, join scouting, summer activities. For major events, when I ask for help from the den leaders, I generally get it. However, we don't really have anyone outside that group engaged helping out. There's no activities chair, membership chair, etc.. This general structure pre-dated me and it is just the way the pack has always operated. A couple of Cubmasters ago we were smaller and he did run it all, but from what I understand, outside events were minimal. In his time campout attendance was just a few people. Yet, long timers look back on him fondly.

     

    I recognize I'm burning out. I don't want to quit and want to improve what I'm doing, but at this point I recognize the signs of burnout. My family is supporting me, but I've been pretty much told by my wife that when my son ages out of Cubs in a year that I need to retire as a Scouter.

     

    So, I'm feeling lost. I know we need to get the energy up, but I'm not sure how. I know we need better attendance, but I'm not sure how. Similarly, I know we need more adults helping out, but again, I'm at a loss of where to start. I feel like it's a self perpetuating cycle.

     

    I've taken pretty much every training available at the Cub level - including Wood Badge. But, I can't quite seem to make it click.

     

    I'm hoping some learned people here in the community may be able to help me make sense of it all and get me pointed in the right direction.

     

    Yours in Scouting...

  21. Hi Joe,

     

    That was me for the first year. I was there to help, but never was more than extra pair of hands. Over time, the CM found something that he didn't have the cycles for and gave me responsibility for it. It grew to be a pretty major focus for the pack. Now, as CM myself, I would love for an ACM to come to me looking to own something.

     

    Since you're friendly with the CM, my suggestion - grab a friendly beverage and spend some time brainstorming on what your role could be.

     

     

  22. If you, your scouts, and parents like the idea - go for it.

     

    There will be many reasons not to do this - cost, changes in size, etc... But, at the end of the day, if your group likes the idea and is excited by it, why not?

     

    One possible alternative suggestion would be fleece vests. I've seen those a few times and they look pretty cool.

×
×
  • Create New...