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cs4wc

Unorganized Packs and Dens

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Recently my Tiger Den was dissolved because the only boys that came was my own and my co-leaders son. We were invited to join another pack that had 5 boys in it. Myself and my co leader are to remain as leaders in this new pack. My problem is the new pack seems just as disorganized as the old one. The Cubmasters keep saying they will get us trained but it has yet to happen. It seems like whenever I have questions about funds, advancements, uniforms, etc. I run into a brick wall. I am constantly being told that "I'll get back to you", I am still waiting. I was told when I first signed my son up (September) and volunteered to be a leader I would have all kinds of support. It seems that the old pack and the new pack are one in the same. From what I have seen in the new pack they do not go by the book, the boys run around like wild indians, and no effort is made to even think of doing any kind of projects that would go with the monthly theme or the Tiger Cub achievements. I was told that they didn't even want to try to get the boys to sit down to do anything, they would rather go on outings to keep them occupied. Is this going on with other dens? Does it get better in the Wolf and Bear's? My two boys worked hard for their beads and are almost ready to get their Tiger Cub patch, but now it is like starting all over from the beginning.

 

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Don't wait for anyone to get yourself trained. Call your Council office and find out when the next training sessions is. If there isn't one coming up anytime soon in your District, ask about other nearby districts. Pick a date and sign up for it. And then ask when your District's Roundtable meeting is, and go. Roundtable is a terrific resource for new as well as experienced Scouters. Make a list of the questions you have and ask them at Roundtable. I would bet that if they didn't have the answers for you right away, they would find out the answer and get back to you or tell you who might know the information you are seeking.

 

Don't give up, don't be discouraged and don't keep changing Packs. Find a place where your son is happy and comfortable, and make a commitment to making it a better Pack. I think a very important thing to remember is that there are very few "professional" scouters out there. I mean people who actually get paid to do Scouting. The rest of us are Volunteers and sometimes, the rest of our life creeps in and pushes Scouting to the back burner. Not a pretty thought, but it happens. And sometimes, you have people who just don't care. So, find out when you can do training, get to Roundtable, and have fun with those Tigers! Tigers are the best! They love everything you do, because it is all new and fun. Share their enthusiasm - it might become contagious to the rest of your Pack.

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It will get better! Don't give up! My comments follow some of your italized originals.

 

Recently my Tiger Den was dissolved because the only boys that came was my own and my co-leaders son. If you like the original pack, a Tiger group of two boys and their parents is okay. I have observed that some parents don't want to make the commitment required of Tigers but are very willing for their boys to start next year as Wolves. Our current Wolf den of eight boys only had three when they were Tigers.

 

The Cubmasters keep saying they will get us trained but it has yet to happen. It seems like whenever I have questions about funds, advancements, uniforms, etc. I run into a brick wall. Training is usually offered by the geographic District or Council that serves your unit. Find out the phone number of the Council office, call during working hours, and they'll help you find the next available training session. Also, FastStart training is available on-line at the www.scouting.org.

 

I am constantly being told that "I'll get back to you", I am still waiting. Sounds like the pack leadership is overloaded.

 

From what I have seen in the new pack they do not go by the book, the boys run around like wild indians, Not going by the book is a problem. Boys running wild is an easier problem to correct, if the Cubmaster and leadership are trained. It sounds like they aren't, which might explain why you get the brush-off when you mention training.

 

and no effort is made to even think of doing any kind of projects that would go with the monthly theme or the Tiger Cub achievements. Projects generally aren't part of a pack meeting. A pack meeting is about giving the boys a chance to demonstrate something they did/learned/tried in the previous month, sing some silly songs and/or perform a silly skit, AND about recognizing boys as they advance towards and beyond their rank. I would never expect the pack meeting to contain any activity that counts towards a Tiger achievement.

 

Is this going on with other dens? Yes.

 

Does it get better in the Wolf and Bear's? If those den leaders make it better.

 

My two boys worked hard for their beads and are almost ready to get their Tiger Cub patch, but now it is like starting all over from the beginning. Work already completed by your Tigers in a previous pack counts and does not have to be redone. If they've earned their beads and badges, the boys should get them at the very next pack meeting. They DO NOT have to wait for the other boys to catch up to them.

 

Bottom Line: Take a hard look at both Packs. The Pack that is better organized, where the Cubmaster and leaders are BSA trained, and you can easily visualize your son and yourself spending four years there, is the Pack for you.

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Excellent advice from CubsRgr8

 

I only believe one item is incorrect.

 

Fast Start training is indeed on the national web site, but it is not available through the national web site. You can only access it through a local council web site.

 

So go to your local council web site and look for Cub Scout Fast Start training. It likely is there.

 

If not, go to my local council web site www.bsaboston.org. We do link to the national site.

 

I know that it is there.

 

It may be reasonable to expect that the Pack leaders are better organized, etc. but likely, they are patents and volunteers just like you shoveling as fast as they can. To find out about training, etc. contact your local council office and talk with the District Executive for your district. Let him or her know what you want and what you need. Their job is to see that you get it. But if they don't know about you, there is nothing they can do.

 

If you don't know which is your local council, that information IS available on the national web site. There is a search for council by town, zip code, etc. function.

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cs4wc -- excellent questions and a perfect opportunity to turn a situation around.

 

The advice you have received so far in this thread is very good and from people who know their stuff.

 

I'm one of the few "professional" scouters (3,500 or so supporting a membership of nearly 3.5 million kids across the BSA) and have seen this type of thing happen both personally and professionally.

 

I see a lot of passive voice in your original post. My advice to you is to take out the passive voice -- meaning take action as others have suggested. Go to the training, don't wait for it to be provided. Offer to lead a pack meeting rather than wait for one to be led for your boy. There's no need to make a nusiance of yourself, I'm not suggesting that, but offer to help or simply reach in and start doing. Don't wait for someone to come "knight you," that probably isn't going to happen. But if you offer to take care of the financial stuff of the unit, it will probably be given over to you . . . it does sound like your fellow leaders are either overwhelmed, disorganized, etc.

 

This reminds me of what happened when I was about 8 years old. I saw a TV commercial about Cub Scouting and really wanted to join. My Mom called the Scout office and was told that the pack at my school was all but dead. She could have just shoved me into another pack or kept me out of Scouting altoghether, but instead she asked the District Executive, "What will it take to get the pack going again?"

 

He told her. Pretty soon, Mom was a Den Mother (back in those days you had to be female for what is now Den Leader) and my father was Cubmaster. Shortly thereafter we had a pack of 40 some boys.

 

Dive in and have fun with your son!

 

Best of luck to you and keep us posted, please.

 

DS

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1) Probably the best bit of advice I received when I first volunteered as a den leader was, "If you wait for permission, nothing will ever get done. If you see something that need doing, do it. No one will ever complain about it."

 

2) The best training you can have right now is to read through your son's Tiger Book. If you will do the things in the book, you're probably 90% there. But by all means, do as the others have suggested and contact your council office for a list of training dates.

 

3) About the wild indians (Is that PC? Can we still say that?); Cub Scouts normally operate at a very high level of chaos. Learn to block it out. Two years from now you will amaze yourself by being able to quietly read a book while swarms of boys play capture the flag all around. I am of the opinion that one of the most important things we do is to create a safe enviroment where eight year old boys can behave like eight year old boys. As long as they are safe, let 'em have fun.

 

 

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Off the topic a little but to respond to TwoCubDad, I attended a meeting a little while ago where one of the attendees was a Cherokee from North Dakota. He said that the preferred term among individuals of that ethnic group is "Indian" or "American Indian." He said that, at this point, almost all of us are Native Americans.

 

He also said that the term "Indian" is a corruption of the Spanish "In Dios" or "With God" which was a term that Columbus used to describe the people he found meaning their spirituality, closeness to nature, love, etc. It was and should be regarded as a term of respect.

 

If you look at the most recent Cub Scout books, you will see the term "Indian" appearing again. It was a result of the comments by this gentleman.

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I had the same experience Neil describes when working with the Saginaw-Chippewa Tribe in northern Michigan a few years ago.

 

They seemed bit miffed at being called "Native Americans." One even said, "We're Indians and we're proud of it."

 

DS

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I am not quite sure if you are talking about a den or pack. I think you are primarily referring to the den. The boys, even Tigers, should not be running wild for the hour. Some of that time yes, but not all of it. Even Tiger meetings have structure. An opening and closing can take 10 minutes. In the den meeting they should be doing a craft or game that supports the achievement that they are working on. During the remaining time they should be engaged in a suitable supervised activity. The boys will quit if they are not engaged in the Program, or to say that another way, the boys dont need scouting for a 1 hour play date, and they can do that anywhere and at anytime.

 

If the Pack also has the same level of chaos you need to do something. Fortunately for you, your options are the same weather its the Den or the Pack. You can, take charge, have a serious discussion with the Cubmaster and/or Committee Chair, Contact Council and ask that your Unit Commissioner talk with the CM or CC, or if you have a strong Charter Organization talk to the Charter Org. representative and let them know whats happening. Of course you could always switch packs again, but by now I suspect that you are dizzy and disheartened. It you do chose to switch again, contact your Council first and find out which packs in your area have their act together. Good Luck.

 

PS Without structure it will not get better as the boys get older. Even with structure, the boys will still be out of control at times. It goes away when they get married and have children of their own.

 

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I was a new Tiger Cub Leader this year. We were lucky enough to have a lot of Tiger cubs and we retained all but 2. I had the same problems you have had as far as getting information. I couldn't get a phone list for months. I took it upon myself to get info where I could. I latched on to another leader that seemed patient and knowledgeable and I would ask her questions. I also looked at tons of sites on the internet to learn as much as I could. If you keep it fun, the boys will keep coming back. Every Tuesday the first thing they says is, "What are we going to make tonight?" The love crafts. I also give the random beads on occassion to add onto a necklace. These beads don't mean anything but they love them anyway. The know at Pack meetings they will get the beads, patches and beltloops they have earned.

 

I don't get much feedback from the parents so I never really know what they think. I try to keep them informed with a simple weekly newsletter. Seems to work ok. Hope some of this helps. Don't give it.

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CubScoutMom2004,

 

Don't be afraid to ask the parents for there feedback! Your can't make adjustments if you don't know what direction to go in.

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