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Sprucing up the Pack Meeting

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Sprucing up the Pack meeting: (Now that we are really responding to Marty's comments, and no longer about presenting pins, I am going to start this as a new thread.)


Visit three other packs during their pack meetings. You will leave each with at least one good idea, maybe more.


Insist on the den leader (or a representative) being at the committee meeting and spend 15 minutes planning the next months pack meeting. (Use the planning sheet in the Leader book. Make copies of it for everyone at meeting. When they leave each has a copy of the meeting plan and knows who is doing what. At that point ANYONE could be the leader of the pack meeting.) Give each den one piece to do, a song, a skit, a game, a cheer, an opening, your helpers. (While I am thinking of it, assign one den to come early and set up, and another den to plan on staying late and cleaning up.)


Finally, ADULTS don't always like to sing songs. Boys love to sing songs if everyone else is. Don't let the ADULTS talk you out of doing songs at pack. Get the boys all down together to sing. Do fun songs. Do some songs regularly so they get to know them good. "Boom-Chicka-Boom" is universally loved by every boy I have ever seen!! (By the way, the Cubmaster does not have to lead the songs, you could have a regular person who doesnt mind do it.)


Get a few adults with you to have fun. When several adults are having fun at pack meetings, other adults will want to have fun too. Boys always want to have fun.


Resources: Check your Program Helps book (cheap, available at store) for ideas, also the current POW-WOW book, and "Baloo's Bugle" online, for on-topic ideas.


Ham it up! Have fun! When I had to fill in for the Cubmaster I would show up in costume to do a bit. One month I was a close friend of Galieo's and I told them about my friend and his discoveries while adults set up 5 learning stations about the stars and constellations. Another time I was a prospector looking for gold and I told them about all the trouble I had gone through, then we had a Paul Bunyan relay race in big old boots, big old flannel shirt and a fry pan with a flap-jack in it.


Don't let any one segment drag on too long. Do some awards at beginning and some at end if you need to.


Hope this helps.


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Good suggestions. Only one comment, Den Leaders are NOT part of the Pack committee. Although I have a hard time convincing my pack! I've attended almost 100% of the committee meetings (I am a den leader). It is great to have a representative of the den to the meeting but I would re-write your sentence:


Insist on the den leader (or a representative) - WAS


Insist on den representative (or den leader) - NOW


And a boom chick a rocka, chick a rocka chicka boom!

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Thank you, Imascouter, for re-posting this as a separate thread.

I guess that the following information might expand the discussion.

Since I posed the first question, about changing a pack's culture and improving pack meetings to incorporate awards and fun, I have learned the following:


* I am assuming the Cubmaster (CM) position since the current CM is moving up to Scouts with his son. It turns out that the only Assistant Cubmaster (ACM) and Committee Chairperson (CC) are also leaving.

* The COR has no relationship with our CO (the school PTA), but that is okay since he never attends committee meetings.

* The balance of the pack committee is the current CM's wife (who is moving on too) and a retired former Cubmaster, who has never attended meetings either. So essentailly, there is no more committee.

* None of the other den leaders are trained beyond YP.

* Some of the other den leaders do not want to change anything, because the current way is the only way they know.

* The CM and ACM are moving up in April/May and the committee chair is already gone, so could I plan the activities for the pack for June, July and August?

* The pack has not earned a quality unit award in three years, mainly due to the training issue.

* We haven't been involved in any district fundraisers in over three years (I can't wait to see the financials).

* We haven't been involved in any district events for most of the past three years (the district training people keep asking me what pack I'm from).

* No one is BALOO trained except me, but that is okay, since our pack doesn't file Tour Permits.

* No one has filled out medical forms in over two years. Our parents were suprised when we asked them to fill 'em out.

* Whatever paperwork requirements exist, the CM and CC got by with the bare minimum because it was just them doing everything.


I have already taken or am signed up for YP, New Leader Essentials, Postition Specific for both Webelos Leader and Cubmaster, BALOO, Webelos Outdoor, and University of Scouting. I attend all district roundtables (all of which the current CM suggested).

I am contemplating Wood Badge this summer. I have bought pretty much every publication related to Cub Scouts (and some Boy Scout material)that the Council Scout Shop has. I'm on two list serves for Cub Scouts, and visit this site, Cybercubber and USScoutingProject regularly.


I essentially get to start completely over with this pack.

The two co-presidents of the PTA have sons in my den. And they are looking for a suitable COR for me.

I have a couple of parents of boys in my den who will volunteer for pretty much anything to help the pack.


My short term problems:

What happens next year, if I use the then senior Webelos parents to fill the gaps, when our sons move up?

How do I change things fairly drastically without alienating other volunteer leaders, parents and boys?

How do I recruit more adults to work with the pack?

How do I do this without alientating supporters of the current CM, who for all of his faults, held everything together for two years?


Any and all advice greatly appreciated. I feel that I have to start doing things now, because iit will be June before I realize it.




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Hi Marty,

If I can toss in my two cents. You can't worry about how other adults will feel if you start following the program. If they had followed the program you wouldn't have to make waves now. You must keep your focus on who you are there to serve. You have a responsibility to give the boys currently in the unit the best possible scouting experience you can.


Start by making sure all meetings are fun and hands on. Don't let Pack meetings be announcements to parents, that is what newsletters, e-mail and telephones are for. Then make sure the other volunteers know how much they are appreciated and make sure they have the resources and tools they need to do thier jobs. Work with other active parents to find a good Committee Chair and Charter Organization Representative. Get them started doing two things, 1)repairing the relationship with the Charter Organization and 2)holding monthly meetings to help plan and support the program.


Don't forget the resources of the local District to help you get on the scouting track, especially the training staff.


Best of Luck,

Bob White




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Pack's may have pack leaders' meetings, committee meetings and an annual pack program planning conference. My only point about den leaders is that they are NOT committee members and should not need to attend committee meetings. Of course they should attend pack leaders' meetings and the annual pack program planning conference.


Imascouter, in his post, suggested that den leaders attend committee meetings. They should not. They are not committee members. This is in full agreement with the Cub Scout Leader handbook.


P.S. The Cubmaster is not a committee member.

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At this point, who can or cannot attend committee meetings is moot. There is no committee other than the den leaders. Let's not get side tracked from the real problem.


Marty, I think you have a classic opportunity to show some leadership and turn this unit around. Don't look at the problems and lack of leadership, look at the opportunity you have. Whether or not you succeed, will depend on your attitude. You need to have a lot of enthusiasm for the program and the improvements and changes which need to be made.


First of all, you need to set goals for yourself and the pack. The number one goal should be to achieve Quality Unit status. That gives you a whole set of sub-goals for leader training, programs, etc. Another goal could be that 50% of the boys advance one rank during the year (I think that's low, but that's the goal for the training awards). Another goal may be to upgrade pack meetings to make them more fun for the boys and to emphasize advancements.


Present these goals at a pack planning conference. Set aside a Sunday afternoon and invite not only the den leaders (and your newly-recruited committee members) but as many parents as you can get. (Don't tell the parents this is really for "leaders" -- make them think they are supposed to be there too.) For each goal, break down all the parts and a talk about how you plan to meet the goal. Regarding the advancement goal, for example, discuss with the den leaders how they should be using the advancement requirements for ideas for den meetings. I see a lot of dens which do fun things, but the den leaders never make the translation into an achievement. Buy every den leader a advancement wall chart so they can track their boys advancement. Give them all instant recognition kits and make sure they know how to use them. You've been to the training -- you can come up with even more ideas than this.


You can also encourage advancement via the pack meetings. Make a big deal out of advancement with elaborate ceremonies heaping great praise and attention on the boys receiving the badges. Advancement becomes infectious. Once the boys see their buddies getting the recognition, they are going to work harder. A little friendly competition to be the first or to earn the most arrow points can be a good thing.


As far as pack meetings are concerned, as Cub Master, pack meetings are totally within you perview to run as you see fit. All the suggestions made here, and in the resources listed, are great. Go for it. You don't need to wait for anyone.


You asked about recruiting Webelos parents into leadership positions. All things being equal, I rather have a Tiger parent with little brothers that a Webelos parent getting ready to age out. But take what you can get. I've put Webelos II parents into jobs, but with the understanding that they won't bail out on me in Feb. at crossover. I do ask that they continue through the end of the school year, even with their son out of the pack.


You may or may not be able to change the thinking of all the current den leaders. They are volunteers -- you can push a string uphill only so far. But as new leaders come on board, set the expectation that they will get trained. I've found that most new den leaders greatest fear is not knowing what to do and are therefore very motivated to take training, if given the opportunity. It's the veterans who have "done it all and know it all" who resist training. Make sure all your leaders know when leader training is being offered. Send them copies of all the training fliers and e-mails from the council, include them in the newsletter and pack meeting announcements.


You may also talk to your district training chairman about conducting some of the training at a pack comittee meeting. They should be able to at least offer Fast Start and New Leader Essentials during a committee meeting.


One more thing -- instead of trying to get a COR, focus on a strong committee chairman. Since the PTA co-presidents are involved with the pack, they can serve as you laison with the PTA. Since they are your institutional heads, a COR would answer to them anyway. What you need is a strong partner to work with you as committee chairman. Right now, you are wearing all the hats. Your priority needs be getting someone to take half those hats from you.


Good luck.



(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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  • 2 weeks later...



You and I could be in the same Pack. The only difference is that our Cubmaster is not moving on. I envy you!


People are funny, they want to be a part of a winning team. When the parents see a positive change in the Pack meetings they will begin to step forward, or at least they will not take a step backward when you ask for help. As they come to realize that youre committed to doing this thing the right way, they will come forward on their own.


As for songs, Im the only one in our Pack that does any songs with the kids. To answer your next question, no, I cannot sing, in fact I joke that the most important thing I learned at Wood Badge was that I need to go for voice lessons. Most often I do simple songs with the kids, but given the opportunity I target the adults. For instance, when it was our turn to do the opening at our Pack meeting, I had my kids hand out song sheets with the first two verses of America the Beautiful. Everyone had song sheets, I asked all the kids to go stand by their parents. Then we sang. Of course the kids had trouble carrying the second verse, but the parents fought their way through it. In the end I had no less than 20 parents come up to me and tell me that they didnt know the song had more verses. They were involved and next time theyll be a little less negative when we sing a song. Another time I had my den parents sing Auld Lang Syne, they thought I was crazy, but some of them took the song sheets with them on New Years Eve.


One of the things that is not emphasized often enough is how we the leaders, interact with the parents. I am convinced that in Cub Scouts the parents are as much our audience as are the boys. Not every Pack is staffed well enough to do a by the book pack meeting. By that I mean that the Cubmaster would have plenty of time to Greet and talk to the parents prior to and after the meeting. Someone else here mentioned Newsletters, email, mailing and other forms of communication. If you want the parents involved they need to see that are committed, and excited about doing this job. Nothing is more contagious than excitement!! Communicate with them, ask them for feedback, ask them for ideas, and they will feel apart of the your operation.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Congratulations on taking on the most fun job in scouting! I speak from experience.

The posts are right on about developing leadership and the songs and skits are your tools to get all oars rowing in the same direction.

Pack nights will be yours, your style and your influence, there for the boys to shine and be rewarded.

When I first took over as CM, many moons ago, the first thing instituted was songs and skits, no ifs ands or buts. Yeah it can be like pulling teeth. My ASMand I did the first one of the year and the kids saw the potential there in us making fools of ourselves, that that pack, and the troop it feeds, are big, today, on skits!

Second thing was involving the kids! Den demo's, above mentioned skits and songs.

Involve as many adults as possible, giving them all just a little bit to do: You find props, someone else help with ceremonies, someone else to direct dens to "brag tables", someone else for popcorn, you get the idea, the more work spread around, the better. Using above mentioned tools, you all should start having fun! Both Boys and Adults, while never forgetting that you are there for the boys, your new bunch of fun adults will bring your program to life for your sons.

I thought real big, ran a gold rush in the form of a mini cub camporee for the pack, We had 200 people show ( I always included sibs and family), my wife thought it nuts that we went away on vacation the week before the event, but it "forced" everyone else to do the last minute stuff. I had spread enough of the work and leadership around, that no one had that much to do, and yet, a pack of 75 kids, plus friends and sibs, had enough fun over a 4 hour period. Did I mention that we fed everyone too!

The greatest reward was last SAt. I was invited back to the packs B&G and the kids where just great, my ego is really swelled today. Like I said the best job in scouting... and I have done a lot of them, CM is the one where you get to be the "Big Kid"


Also: Go to Round Table was not mentioned! That's where you will get more "tools" for fun!

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