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Cubmaster Jerry

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About Cubmaster Jerry

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  1. Cubmaster Jerry

    recharter

    Yep, working on final plans for a split of my unit as we speak. I may realize that our attirition rate is "normal" but it is still discouraging. As it is, about a third of this years rate is from boys who paid at SNFS and just never showed up for anything. Can't figure that one out.(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Jerry)
  2. Cubmaster Jerry

    recharter

    Before we take a name off a charter please give the Scout or his parents a call and invite him back. Absolutely! My CC and I as well as the DLs have made A LOT of phone calls this year. We just want to make sure that it isn't something about our program that drove them out. Jerry
  3. Cubmaster Jerry

    recharter

    Tis the season for recharter. For comparison sake, I'd like to get a feel for what is "normal" - if anything at all really is - when it comes to how many boys are lost over the course of the year. Many of you might recall me mentioning my unit and how large it was - and is. In September, after tallying the new boys from School Night, we had a roster of about 135. Historically, before my arrival, I am told that my unit experienced losses of about 40%. This figure included not only those who dropped but those who graduated. I felt that was excessive. Mainly because at the end of last year, those who graduated made up about a quarter of that leaving a drop out rate of about 30%. So, that became my mission this year - to increase the retention rate. Well, the numbers are almost all in for this year and and it seems that we made some small progress. Our drop out rate, not including those who graduated is about 25%. Our total roster loss at recharter time will be about 40% but we have a large graduating class. Raw numbers look like this: Initial roster size: 135, Graduated Webelos: 20 (15%), Total dropped out: 35 (26%). My mission for next year will be the same as it was this year. How did you guys do? Jerry
  4. Cubmaster Jerry

    Is it really all that bad to be different?

    CNY writes The issue is that Troops like this are giving Scouting a bad repretation by presenting a poor program and turning youth off of scouting. And there is nothing anyone can do about it And that is because of the way the BSA organization is designed - to provide - or force (depending on which way you look at it) the responsibility of governing the program on the individual leaders rather than providing oversight. Again, depending on how you look at it, that can be good or bad. Beavah, again, I think you misunderstand the direction of my comments - or maybe I should apologize for not making myself clear enough. It is not as if I am suggesting that we stand at our meetings,outings,etc with the list of BSA standards and check them off as they are met. But there are things that I think should be considered important and shouldn't be different from unit to unit. Wear of the uniform is one of those. Regarding my Day Camp, I can tell you that we don't follow the BSA guidelines to the T. For example, we don't divide the dens into age groups because the size of our camp doesn't allow us to do this effectively. But we do have all of the required training, letters of approval, and activities common to Scouting. In this manner, we can still present the camp as a positive experience in the eyes of the boys, council, and by what the BSA intends. On the flip side, if we went so far as to determine that the attendees of our day camp would rather spend every day playing soccer or that they would rather have a five-day pokemon card tournament then we would be missing the aims of scouting if we allowed that to happen simply because that is what we felt was wanted. Jerry
  5. Very well said, AvidSM. Thinking for oneself is not something that comes naturally, unfortunately. It has to be learned. We as leaders and parents can preach and teach ethics and morals to our scouts and children. However, if we do not give them the opportunity to decide for themselves, they will always be looking for direction even when they are alone and have to make the decision themselves. Jerry
  6. Cubmaster Jerry

    Is it really all that bad to be different?

    I hope that you didn't misunderstand me. I certainly do not think that the BSA should mandate "cookie-cutter" programs where we are all the same. Nor do I think that we should give a particular responsibility to someone who is not suited for it. In my last unit, the W2 leaders always wanted to plan B&G as it was their graduation. The CM filled in parts where needed. It is not done that way in the Pack I am in now. It's my program start to finish. Both were very successful. The individual I met at NCS who was B&G Chair and in charge of the whole program was hesitant about performing her duties as she had never done anything like that before. She had obviously been "shoehorned" in. My sister Troop has that small troop look not because they like the feel of it but because the program and management can use some improvements. That much I do know through people who have dropped out of the Troop. I was recently speaking with a couple of my DLs who took their dens to a local hockey game for a den outing. When they arrived, they found another group of scouts were sitting in their seats (it was scout night at the game). After some effort and persistance, the ill-mannered scouts and their leader finally moved to the next section back. During the game, these scouts persistently threw things and otherwise showed bad scout behavior. In addition to that, they attended the game in their scout shirt - unbuttoned an no neckerchiefs. That is the different=wrong I am speaking of. Actions like that do not follow the intent or promotion of the BSA program.
  7. Cubmaster Jerry

    The Big, The Bigger and the Ginormous

    I transferred from a Pack of 45 to a Pack of 135 last year. There are a few limitations that my larger Pack has to endure because of the larger size. Probably the biggest hurdle we have to face as a large Pack is where to hold our big events such as B&G and PWD. For example, for this month's B&G we have to make sure we have room for 400 people to sit and eat as well as space to do the program. Pack meeting activites are another big adjustment I had to make as Cubmaster. It's kind of difficult to play a game at a Pack meeting with 100+ boys. However, the overall administration activities of each Pack were no different. Each of these Packs had plenty of Committee members. In my current (larger) Pack we did have to "encourage" a few parents to be leaders of newly formed dens but I can't say that is a direct result of the size of the unit. One glaring difference between the two was retention. In my old Pack of 45 boys, we averaged one boy lost in the four years I was there. In my new Pack we are probably looking at 20% lost this year. Those lost do not include graduation or transfers. I would be hesitant to limiting the size of a unit. The downside to establishing a maximum size is that leaders may see that as a directed cap. Once the unit reached that limit, they might be inclined to cease recruiting. I, for one, am not in favor of preventing boys from joining scouts for any reason. Now, we will only recharter about 90 boys this month due to graduation and those who have decided to leave the program (I am amazed at the number of boys/parents who sign up and pay at SNFS and then never show up). However, our last three fall recruitments have been 50+. Seeing that this trend will continue I hope to have a plan in place this spring that will funnel the majority of the new boys who sign up in this fall into a newly formed Pack in an adjacent community and as a result, reduce the size of our unit.
  8. Cubmaster Jerry

    Is it really all that bad to be different?

    Here's my bite worth: Admittedly I know very little about my sister Troop. That is because the individuals running the Unit are difficult to get ahold of. As such, I can't speak of their implementation of the Patrol method, how they run their Merit Badges, or any other aspect of their program. But I can tell you that they have a very difficult time recruiting and retaining boys. So someting is not only different but something is wrong. So much so that out of the 40 or so Webelos that my Pack has graduated over the last three years only a small handful have moved into this Troop - and only out of convenience of location, I believe. Most others have moved into another Troop. I can only speculate on what my be different/wrong. Cub leaders and others familiar with scouting normally go to other Troops. When I have gotten ahold of the ASM, "everything is fine". Expressing my concerns with the UC, her response is to form another Troop in the area as a result of this. As far as Cubs go, I met a new Webelos Den Leader at NCS. Part of her charge as B&G Chair was not only planning for food and guests but planning the program as well. When I asked her about the role of the Cubmaster in this and whether or not s/he is working with her the answer was No. Apparently she was to be the MC as well! Now, some may see roles and responsibilities as 'guidelines' but the fact of the matter is that the CM (hopefully) has the training to put on such programs whereas the DL would not. When I started explaining roles and responsibilities, her eyes got real big and she indicated that wasn't quite the way it worked in her unit. Now, personally, I find it difficult to understand why a new DL of only 4 months is not only charged with the responsibilities of Day Camp Director (as a result of attending NCS) but planning every aspect of B&G - the biggest gala of the Scouting year. Leadership availability may be a reason but I don't know. Roles, responsibilities, and training are there for a reason. Jerry
  9. Cubmaster Jerry

    Is it really all that bad to be different?

    Beavah writes: The BSA is "a resource provider for community organizations to use in running their own youth programs. Emphasis on their own" So if you were a CM/SM of a unit and had a majority of the boys who preferred to not wear uniforms, you'd be ok with that? And, if these boys, who had never been introduced to camping because maybe this particular unit is in a metropolitan area, and therefore they have no desire to go, you'd be ok with that? If that is the case, then you, or your CO, would then be altering the aims of Scouting to suit the desires of the youth you serve. As admirable as that may sound, that is not scouting. The YMCA or other youth programs probably offer many programs that may be better suited for these boys.
  10. Cubmaster Jerry

    Is it really all that bad to be different?

    I am not saying that all units should be the same nor am I suggesting that the BSA tweak or rewrite its books at all. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do things buried amongst the tremendous amount of flexability that we as scout leaders have. If council is given the same level of flexability as units are then I can certainly understand that. But, is my council exercising their flexability when they tweak the books so that my unit can be awarded Quality Unit when we didn't earn it? Are Troops that don't employ the Patrol method exercising their flexability in how they run their program? Are units that condone the wear of Class Bs instead of Class As to Pack/Troop meetings exercising their flexability? No, but it happens. That is when being different is wrong. When you go in to McDonals, you expect the same quality hamburger regardless of where you are at. It may be served by different people, in a different building and a different atmosphere but it is made from the same instruction chart as everyone else. There is nothing wrong with that. And, for the most part, I believe that the BSA, its council, and its units are following that same successful formula. But when councils and units don't follow the BSA formula, they die or at the very least present something other than what the BSA intends. And at that point boys and adults who would otherwise benefit from scouting aren't.
  11. Cubmaster Jerry

    Knowing Names

    I too feel that as CM I should not only know the names and faces of each boy but as many parents as I could try to remember as well. While I feel that way, it doesn't make it any easier for me. I usually have a tough time remembering names. And with 115 boys in the Pack, that makes it even tougher. But I keep trying. I attend as many Den meetings as I can to help in this endeavor. For me, it's a big hill to climb! But I am doing my best! Jerry
  12. Cubmaster Jerry

    Out with the old?

    Eamonn writes: "She went on to say that it is time the old timers like me...Stood down and gave new people the opportunity to lead the Council.. " A sure sign of the fact that you were successfull as a Scout leader in instilling the Core Values and Leaderships skills in scouts that you led. Congratulations! Jerry
  13. Whew! Still catching my breath after having just returned from National Camp School. A whirlwind weekend of about 35 hours of class time certainly provided me with the information and energy to run a great Day Camp this summer. However, after sitting back and reflecting on the weekend, probably the biggest question I still have is just where does the effort to run a standardized program break down? Why are councils and units run so differently when the BSA sings the same tune to everyone? Admittedly I am kind of hung up on following standards. Whether it is in scouts, work, or elsewhere, I am comfortable with the idea that if there are standards set, then, in most cases, someone who has much more knowledge and experience than I has determined that is the best way to do it. (that is not saying that I agree with everything though) Many of you have been to - and even ran - far more training sessions and schools than I have yet had the chance to go to. You've no doubt noticed that the recurring atmosphere at these is driven by preparation and excitement. One of the most anticipated things for me when I attend any training is seeing what the facilitators will come up with as a means to present their material. Skits, songs, props (I could go on and on about props), and even the people themselves are all carefully selected to get the information across in an interesting way. And all of the information they present, no matter what level of training it is, all comes from BSA standards But, when speaking to many scouting peers and reading many posts in here, I find those standards are sometimes disregarded and replaced by the "what works best for me" philosophy. And I am not necessarily speaking just to the Unit level. Nor am I speaking of the need to have authorized skit lists, standard summer camp programs or other things that would limit creativity and excitement. I am speaking of regulation-type items. Quite often the NCS staff's responses to Am I allowed to-type questions this past weekend were "It depends on your Council." But shouldn't every Council and every Unit look to the BSA as to what it should do? But regardless of the answer to that last question, I in turn ask does it really matter? At the basic foundation of scouting are the 12 Core Values. Should it matter how I, you, or anyone else gets across the message of the Core Values to the boys? The answer is yes. It does matter. And it goes back to what has been determined to work best for all. It goes back to following standards. Is it really all that bad to be different? Only when different equals wrong. YIS, CMJ
  14. Cubmaster Jerry

    Couples who are both Scout Leaders

    Have to agree with FScouter. One person - one job. But we all know it can't always be that way. Fortunately for my wife and I, who have both been registered leaders for 6 years now, we have always had the opportunity to only wear one hat each. However, that did not stop my wife from telling me how I should wear my hat, if you get my meaning. I never claimed to be the greatest CC or CM but I always do my best and know the boundries of the positions. My wife is far less diplomatic than I am and even less patient. She often felt that I should share her more direct style rather than use mine. Needless to say that during trying times in the Pack which I was charged with handling, it caused many rifts between us because she felt that I wasn't handling it appropriately. She has since assumed a committee position and our conversations that surround scouting now rarely tread on delicate issues. They moreso surround the fact that I am often neck deep in scouting responsibilities and she feels that I should back off. Right now, she is trying to argue that I should step away all together when my youngest graduates Webelos. That time is two years from now but she knows me well enough that she has to start pushing that issue now! But at least she understands what my responsibilities are. If she were not involved in scouting with me, she might just see scouting as another thing that takes me away from her.
  15. Cubmaster Jerry

    Questions about Electives

    Thanks for that clarification guys. Checked my copy of the Bear Handbook, v.2004 and there it is! Did that change? I haven't been a Bear leader for about 5 years but could swear that it used to be that way. Or maybe I just took it for granted and extended what I knew about the Wolf program into Bear. Though, in the end, does it make a difference? What's the point? I think I would prefer to include those unused Achievement Requirements than allow a scout to complete an Elective requirment multiple times and have that count. Jerry
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