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NewCubDad

Looking for a new pack

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"Why wouldn't a pack make such arrangements? I would think the CO would normally be happy to let the scouts solicit their employees or patrons and be proud to be associated with the boys."

 

 

Every CO is different. Not only are there many, many different kinds of organizations that are CO's, each CO has their own way (and level)of interacting with their Unit(s). Some are very involved in any and all aspects of their Unit(s). Some are on paper only. The vast majority are somewhere in between.

 

It sounds like your CO is a fire station. A fire station is not an ideal location for a popcorn booth sale. Unless it is situated in the middle of town or some other busy area there just would not be enough foot traffic to make it a good sale site. Stores, banks, and post offices have been our best sites. As for posting a flyer or having a scout stop by with his take-order sheet, that's a great idea. Did your son give it a try? It doesn't sound like he did. It also sounds like none of the other boys thought of doing it either. Maybe next year you can take your son on the rounds of the local fire and police stations! I plan on giving that tip to my son for next year, thanks!!

 

Good luck with your new Pack!

 

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Getting back on topic, I am not a big fan of switching Packs. Where would we be if people didnt stick around to make their operation work? Lets all go find a better Pack or Troop! One without any problems, one with people who ALL get along, one where everybody does their share and ALL the parents contribute to the outcome. Shangri-La is right around the corner.

 

By switching units we reassure the parents that they dont and wont ever have to step up and help the unit grow. Hey, there are always others out there that do a good job and we can take advantage of them!

 

Then there is the void thats been left behind. It can never be filled. When Tigers leave a CS Pack, there is a five year cycle that must be completed before the void disappears. Sure the Pack might recruit some Wolves the next year, but the foundation is gone.

 

Pack meeting are great, but I think that we tend to put too much weight on the success of pack night. Successful dens are not successful because the Pack runs a good program, they are successful because the Den runs a good program. The boys spend better than 70% of their time in the Den setting as opposed to the Pack setting. How much interaction is there with the boys in a Pack? Mostly none, the age groups almost always stay together.

 

New leaders reinvigorate a unit. New blood, new ideas, a sense of youthful excitement, those are all the things that new leaders bring to a unit. When a new leader leaves, all those things go away.

 

So when I tell someone, you are such an awesome scouter!!!!, its for a different reason.

 

Just my two cents.

 

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I have sympathy for fotoscout's POV, but I struggle with the ever increasing likelihood that I'll end up 'doing it all' in the pack because the entrenched leadership as well as the CO have not shown much interest in changing things. So instead of having a Pack structure that supports the dens, it'll be a den making things available for the rest of the pack. Burnout, here I come!!

 

Plus, if the other pack leaders are happy with the way things are, aren't I just being a big pain to them by pushing for changes that they don't feel are necessary?

 

I'd think that there could be some sort of modified darwinism that would take place if more people at least looked at other packs. Poor packs would shrink, good packs would grow & eventually the poor packs would disappear and the good packs would split - presumably with some people who have an idea of how a well-run pack should run and fill the void left by the dead pack. Seems more humane than locking families who don't know any different into a relationship with a poor pack/CO.

 

RE: CO popcorn - we actually completed popcorn sales prior to my initiation to scout leadership - at the time I wasn't aware that a CO even existed, much less what thier responsibilities might be.

 

PS - I have no illusions about being a 'awesome scouter' I'm just a guy trying to find a good fit & a good program.

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Maybe the others just need a leader or someone to show them that it can be different.

 

As for the CO, many, many (and that is probably an understatement) units have a nothing more than a handshake with their CO. The COs obligation is to do two things; 1- provide a meeting place, and, 2- approve (provide)leaders. Many (probably most) do neither!

 

Although I am not clairvoyant, I sense an expectation on your part that the CO will provide the program for you. This is not the way it works. The leaders make the program. And when the current leaders phase out, you are left to provide the program for those coming in behind you.

 

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Yes, I'm beginning to understand that the CO is mostly a 'requirement' that has few enforced obligations. I imagine that most go through a 'testing the limits' phase as the boys do, and found that they can get away with doing very little and that's worked out fine for them.

 

Assuming the pack has decent leadership, I don't see that a pack would be hurt too badly by an inactive CO.

 

Do I expect a CO to spoon feed me a program? Not at all. I've got plenty of program help available to me.

 

I generally expect that people and organizations live up to their responsibilities. When a CO takes responsibility for a Pack, I would expect no less of them. I expect the boys to take thier responsibilities seriously, I take mine seriously, why should I expect less of the CO?

 

(I can already hear the 'Where's the fun?' posts being typed)

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Alright, it's a day later now. I've visited the other pack in my area and talked with the CM, CC and a couple of den leaders. I've seen a huge difference in the way this other pack is run.

 

As I look back on the other postings, what I've determined is it comes back my 'responsibility' rant of last night. Some leaders/parents accept the responsibility and some leaders/parents do not.

 

Top differences:

 

Pride - Check the uniforms - 'Quality Unit' badges - I saw 2 different years displayed (on different leaders) and I was witness to a National Den Award ceremony.

 

Volunteers - 3 parents sitting on the Popcorn/wreath sales committee & others assisting. A separate person chairing the Pinewood derby. Someone else handling membership & awards. Plus, during the Web2 awards, the CM made sure to point out that the pack would need additional volunteers when these boys leave the pack.

 

Goals - One of the pack goals is to achieve Quality Unit status and National Den Awards for each pack.

 

Execution - Goals are OK, but these guys sat down and planned the year to help the Pack and the dens meet the goals. They might fail, but they're making sure the opportunities for success are scheduled.

 

Crossover - Most Webelos make the crossover into scouting.

 

Family Camping - The pack is involved with not 1, but 2 family camping activities (spring & fall). To do this, they are working 'out of district' to be a part of their camping program.

 

Experience - CM was an Eagle. CC was an Eagle.

 

Community - The pack contributes to the community - last night was 'shelter sock' night. Instead of making ornaments or having a gift exchange, the pack collected toiletries for a charitable organization and the boys packaged them in felt socks. The Webelos boys will deliver them to the organization.

 

Did I ask about the CO? No - it's a church and I am familiar with them and have fewer reservations about the relationship than I do with the CO of my current pack - though they do provide the space for the Pinewood derby and the scouts serve on Scout Sunday there.

 

I don't think this other pack is some sort of overachieving, all-work-no-fun pack. They're trying to follow the model and they're providing a good (quality?) program. Head and shoulders above my current pack - and quite a few others if the responses to my posts are any indication.

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Moving to a new pack is like pulling off a bandaid - if you are going to do it, do it quick once you have decided. Pinewood and Blue & Gold is just around the corner - where would you and your son rather be for these signature cub scouting activities?

 

You can beat your head against a wall over the next couple of years or put yourself in a better position to have a good time. To me its a no brainer. Well-run packs have a way of attracting good leaders, while poorly run packs eventually die off (as they should) until someone steps forward to pick up the pieces (which really can't happen until the entrenched leadership has moved on). Any other packs in your area to visit just to make doubly sure? You need to get your den people up to speed and give them the information to make their own choice.

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I was going to let this thread die, but yesterday we received a Christmas card (don't call the PC police, we still have Christmas!) from a distant relative whom we haven't been in touch with in over a decade.

 

Turns out they have a boy in 2nd grade & they just joined scouts this year. Here's what they had to say:

 

"...He has joined the Cub Scouts, and he really likes it but they run it nothing like when my brothers were in it in (DELETED). Here, they only have meetings every other week and they only get their badges once a year, rather than as they earn them. It makes it hard to get him to work towards them, and it really aggravates my mom and dad. But (HE) likes it and I don't want to discourage him. We're going to try a pack in (DELETED) to see if they're a little more structured and organized because that was my main motivation in putting him in. We'll see what happens."

 

No kidding - This relative is on my wive's side of the family and is probably a 2nd or 3rd cousin and lives 800 miles away from us.

 

 

(possibly a new thread, but..)

Has this type of thing always happened with scouting? or is there an increase in the number of newcomers to scouts that are surprised to find that things are 'more relaxed' or 'less organized' than what they expected?

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I don't think that there has been an increase in "bad" Packs. I do think there are people out there that don't really understand what Scouting, and Cub Scouting in particular, is all about.

 

Also, there will always be Packs that are not run the way they should be just as there will always be students that cheat on tests, drivers that run red lights, people who fudge on their taxes, etc. If the unit has never been run right most of the members will not know any better and the rest won't care.

 

Looking at more than one Unit is always a good idea before settling on one to join.

 

 

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