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About cubmaster3947

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    Doha, Qatar
  1. cubmaster3947

    Den Leader Award

    Your CC and/or CM may be waiting for a good opportunity to present it to you. I'd earned my CM award in December last year, and was convinced that the paperwork had been lost, only to have the CC show up at the final Pack meeting of the school year (May) to present it to me in front of the entire Pack. mark
  2. Hi Kristi, You're in luck...you caught my eye! What do you need to know? Ask here, or contact me directly. mark
  3. cubmaster3947

    Getting Volunteers in a Cubscout Pack

    Several folks have suggested picking the parents you want & recruiting them. Sounds good on paper, but I'm guessing that's where the original 5 that do 70% of the work came from. The problem is getting the uninvolved to get involved. I've done the recruiting & gotten a few parents that I can REALLY count on to help out. Problem is as stated in the original post...they (& I) are burning out. One thing I've done with some success is to let an event fail. It's harsh, but it does drive home the point. Since becoming CM 3 years ago, our Pack's parents had gotten to the point that the parent committees would happily sit back & to do nothing for an event, knowing I would jump in & make sure everything ran smoothly...they knew I couldn't stand to disappoint the boys & used it against me. I was burning myself out & I don't even have a boy in the program. So last family campout, I forced myself to do nothing to help the parent committee other than to tell them what they needed to do...it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, holding back & watching the trainwreck unfold. The result was a truly unmitigated disaster...pathetic bonfire program, almost no firewood (collecting firewood in advance is a MAJOR undertaking when you live in the Arabian desert), no planned games / activities, no songs, rampant boredom. Lots of parent complaints about the lack of organization, to which I calmly responded that this is what happens when parents ignore their responsibility to the program...I can't do EVERYTHING. Harsh? Yep, but they got the point. Two months later, parents were stepping up & putting together the BEST B&G we've ever had (although I ended up doing the cleaning because the family on clean-up duty bugged out), followed a couple of months later by a PWD that went off without a hitch, despite the fact that I was completely uninvolved due to work committments I could not escape. "Ahhh...Cub Scouts...the boys are GREAT. The parents are the problem." mark
  4. cubmaster3947

    I, Emily, promise to do my best...

    Behind the scenes lobbying is certainly my preferred approach, but sometimes it doesn't work. I must admit, though, that the mom I lobbied & failed with last year has volunteered without my even asking THIS YEAR. Guess that's a "delayed" lobbying success! =8^) 1...2...3...draw is the method of last resort, but I've had to do it with at least one Den every year. It's sad, but some parents just don't seem to care... mark
  5. cubmaster3947

    I, Emily, promise to do my best...

    I support all of the above, and add a couple of my own observations. As a CM, I face this situation durn near every year...this year at 3 levels (Tigers, Bears, & Web I). Most parents will play "chicken" with you. You say "I'm splitting this Den if no one steps up" and they don't step up because they think you won't actually do it. You've got to be dead serious, no bluffing. If no one steps up, draw names from a hat & don't apologize for it. You can provide a quality program for 8, or a crappy program for 20. Not a difficult decision. Here's how I handle it: In addition to the behind the scenes lobbying of the parents I REALLY want, I typically send out a serious of three emails to families. #1 reads something like "Hey, we need a DL...can't provide a quality program with a Den this large, great opportunity to influence the lives of young boys, fun, etc." #2 reads "Hey, no response yet...if someone doesn't step up, I'll be forced to draw names." #3 reads "Still no reply, I'm not kidding & will be drawing names on Wednesday @ 6:00pm." And if no one steps up by then, I WILL draw the names. It would break my heart, but I'll turn boys away before I'll let unresponsive, uninterested parents destroy the program. Fortunately, I've never had to actually draw...someone always calls me on Wednesday @ 5:45pm. I've had a couple of parents confront me with "Oh, how can you do this to the boys!?!?!" My response..."I'm not doing it to them...you are." Stand your ground...you're in the right. Good luck! mark
  6. cubmaster3947

    I, Emily, promise to do my best...

    Go to the forum on Cub Scouts & check out the thread on "Large Den Management" (http://www.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=102682). Your Den is WAAAYYY too big and should be divided into THREE dens; 6 - 8 boys per Den is about right. In my experience, Dens this large typically lose a large percentage (~50%) of the boys because they're not having any fun, as well as quickly burn out the Den Leader. I agree 110% with Kenk & Eagle. Be tough, draw names if you have to, but you've got to split the Den. Anything less is grossly unfair to you, and also unfair to the boys because there's no way you can deliver a quality program to a Den that large. mark
  7. cubmaster3947

    unhappy parents - advice needed pls

    Sounds like you handled it perfectly. Awards & ranks must be EARNED. The boys (and many parents) have to learn that you earn your way thru life, and it's never to early to start teaching that lesson. As for your starting time scenario, I'd say you did only one thing wrong...you started 5 minutes late. Announce loudly & well in-advance what time you will be starting & start PROMPTLY. Otherwise, some people will just get progressively later & later, expecting you (and everyone else) to wait on them. Don't do it...set a high standard early & expect people to live up to it. Ah...Cub Scouting...the boys are great; it's the parents that cause problems! =8^) mark
  8. cubmaster3947

    Age or grade level: Which determines den assignment?

    Hmmm...I somehow skimmed right past scrain's comment in the thread about how sorting this boy by age keeps him with a friend. I agree with that. My main criteria whenever this comes up is to do what will make scouting the most fun for the boy...the goal is to keep him in the program. Usually (but not always), that goal is be achieved sorting by grade so classmates are together. But in your case, if age works, go for it. If he's not enjoying Cubbing because his best friend is in another Den or rank group, you'll lose him. A similar issue that comes up on occasion is the lad who's skipped a grade in school; i.e. a Wolf by age, but a Bear by grade. I've typically sorted him based on grade, my logic being that if he can handle X grade in school, he can handle X grade in Cub Scouts. Plus, again, this keeps him with his classmates. On the other hand, if his best buds were Wolves & he really wanted to be with them, then I'd let him. mark
  9. cubmaster3947

    Den Chief Training Help?

    Hi everyone, Our Pack is in a foreign country (Qatar) where it's impossible to have District- and/or Council-sponsored training. I've got several new Den Chiefs this year & would like to offer them some DC training. Does anyone have some premade Powerpoint files that they would share? We've got DC manuals, but I'm looking to offer them a 1 - 2 hour class analogous to Leader Specific for the adults. Thanks, mark
  10. cubmaster3947

    Age or grade level: Which determines den assignment?

    I would recommend going with grade. Primary reason is that this will keep him with his classmates. Only exception would be in the case noted earlier where going with grade would cause a boy to repeat a rank. In that case, I'd advance him to the level...reapeating a rank would lead to boredom & you'd probably lose the boy. mark
  11. cubmaster3947

    Large Den Managment

    Our Pack tried large Dens once a couple of years ago because no one would step up. We had one Wolf Den of 11 and a Bear Den of 13. Utter disaster. Den meetings were total chaos because the DLs could not control so many boys, and by the end of the year we'd lost about 50% of the boys (dropped out), one DL, and the other DL (a gentleman with 8 yrs DLing experience) threatening to quit. In hindsite, this was my failure. I was the CM, and I let it happen. We now strictly limit Dens to 8 boys (with the Pack Committee's blessing), no exceptions. Having learned a hard lesson, we realize that large Dens are not fair to the DLs and, most importantly, not fair to the boys. On a few occasions since then, I have had to be the bad guy and tell parents that if someone doesn't step up, we will be forced to draw names & turn boys away. (We feel that drawing names is the fairest method; only the DL's son is exempt from the draw.) Is it harsh? I guess so, and I live in fear of the day no one steps up and I actually have to turn boys away. But this is a case where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I believe it is far better to turn away a few boys than to deprive the entire Den of a quality program. mark
  12. cubmaster3947

    Boys joining in 5th grade

    We seem to have this come up every year. I make it a point to explain the dilemna to the parents up-front so that they aren't surprised about it later. We also offer the alternative of starting out with a Web I den if there's going to be more than a few months after crossover until the boys 11th birthday. This is a tough one with no simple solution...at least that I've been able to find. mark
  13. cubmaster3947

    Share Your Web Site

  14. cubmaster3947

    First pack meeting-arrgh!

    This sounds like our Pack when I got "roped" into being CM three years ago. Someone suggested training & planning and I'd say they're spot-on. If you're willing to take over as CM, or even to be an Asst. CM, I'm sure the current CM would welcome the help. As a former CM, I think Asst. CM is a good role if you want to effect some change without creating a lot of friction. I was always willing to take on ACM's and let them run with their ideas for improving the Pack program. Volunteer to be ACM, and take on training as your goal for the year. Or maybe putting together a small manual documenting plans for the various events your Pack holds (registration night included!)..."plan-in-a-can" would go a long ways towards alleviating the problems you've described. (FWIW...I've been trying to achieve this myself for 3 years now, but not yet there. Still on my goals list, though!!) mark
  15. cubmaster3947

    combining wolf and bear dens

    Hi kahits, Interesting delimna. On the one hand, I'd say don't combine them, because their activities are different. On the other, I say combine because a boy trying to work his achievements without the fellowship of other boys is more likely to quickly lose interest & drop out. Perhaps you can work with your Den Leaders to develop a plan such that a couple of weeks each month the two Dens are working on similar achievements. Then your lone Bear could attend the Wolf Den meeting, but his work would be more complex, appropriate for a Bear. Given that Wolves have 12 set achievements, while Bears choose 12 of an available 24, you might be able to work out a route for your Bear that would correlate quite well with the Wolves. Good luck! mark