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Stepping Down Gracefully

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Hello All!

I am new to this forum but have read alot of great advice. Hope you can help me now!


August 2003 we went to roundup with our son who was interested in scouting. Come to find out they were forming a Pack, not recruiting to an existing one. My hubby got recruited as CM. I was recruited as DL. No problem yet. Lots of other people were recruited also. Went home and didn't hear anything for 2 weeks. The DE called to speak to hubby, he wasn't home. She told me that all recruited leaders had changed their minds and would I mind being CC if only on paper.( terrible trick)I had no idea what I was doing but agreed to help out. Went to training, bought every book possible and read them all. Nothing told me how to start this pack. Finally, got rolling around October 2003. Since then things haven't been great. We were new, therefore had NO MONEY. Had no idea how to make it either. I was thinking I was clearly not the person for this job. But, I plugged away, determined not to disappoint ANY boy. I attended all round tables, trainings and even stopped by other Pack's meetings for tips. I spent my own money to support our very tiny pack of 6 boys. Got to be very expensive. In addition, my hubby travels for work, so I had to take on the CM role as well.In April we had Kinder Roundup.Recruited soooo many Tigers. All the parents agreed to be registered. I was elated! Since then, its been downhill. We have Committee meetings every month. Only 3 people ever attend.

Long story short...

The Pack celebrated its 1st birthday this month and I am exhausted. While I no longer have to dig so deep into my pockets, I still feel as if there is just simply not enough involvement. I now have 2 of my own boys in the Pack.My hubby stepped down as CM after prompting from me. We recruited the hubby of a Tiger Leader to be CM. They informed me 2 days ago that I had better start looking for somebody else, because their son will not be returning next year, and they are tired of the parents.

I give up! I want to step down from all my positions.( I have many) I am scared though that this already floundering Pack will be dead within months. I feel terrible guilt, but feel that I have done my best. What am I to do??

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Of Course I would!! Problem is... no one wants to help. I beg for help. I even asked for someone to just be my assistant. I tried to explain that someday my boys will no longer be with the pack ( hopefully moving on to a Troop ) I don't think they understand the serious problem of only 1 person knowing and doing everything. I am simply sick and tired of the free babysitting service I seem to be offering.That along with the administrative part of it is just burning me out. Keep in mind I have 1 fulltime job, 1 part time job, and hubby and I coach all our kids sports teams. Volunteering isn't what bothers me. It is parents who say they can't do anything because they don't have time. HELLO!!! I do everything I said above AND still make time to be a leader. Not yelling, just complaining.

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I'm sorry that you're having trouble and hopefully my advice can help in some small way.


I've been asked to put on an informal training session in conjuction with our next district roundtable that I'm chosing to call "Getting the Parents to do stuff." It's about recruiting.


Let me run my course outline (written entirely by me who's pen name is Been There, Done That.)


I'll begin the one hour session with the objectives:


By the end of this session you'll:


Owe someone a favor

Know how to "recruit to the task"

Transform the useless into doing something.


BTW -- this session is built on my experience as a membership chairman and as a commissioner. I've also organized many units.


First -- I'll do the usual intro stuff. Make everyone feel comfortable.


Then I'll ask them to separate themselves into two groups. I'd like the left-handers seated on the right side of the room and the right-handers seated on the left side of the room.


They'll move around, although they won't know why.


Then I'll ask them to raise their hand if they've ever been asked to do something they weren't sure they wanted to do, but liked it once they did it.


Most will raise their hand.


Then I'll ask them if they're receptive to the information I'm about to give out. I'll tell them that I'm going to walk around the room and that if I don't believe they're receptive, I'll tap them on the shoulder and send them into the regular roundtable session. They can leave quietly with dignity.


Of course, I'll tap no one. They're going to be there because they want to learn this stuff.


Then I'll have them open their eyes. I'll ask what they think I've been up to and put their answers on a flip chart.


What I've done, I'll explain if it doesn't come out on it's own -- is GET THEM TO SAY YES TO ME, BY DOING A SIMPLE THING I REQUESTED -- three times in under 10 minutes.


This will lead us to "recruiting to the task."


There is a big-time difference between saying, "I need a treasurer," to a group and making a specific request to an individual who has been hand-chosen by however for the task. "Rich, the pack checkbook is a mess. Would you mind working with it for 30 days and giving a report to the committee at our meeting?" Rich will probably say yes. Now that he's straightened it out, 30 days later, he'll be much more receptive to the idea of keeping it up and that's called a treasurer.


Recruiting an Assistant Cubmaster can be tough. Recruiting someone to run next month's pack meeting because you're not available is pretty easy. If you get the same guy to cover 2 or more pack meetings, pretty soon it's easy to convince them to take the title "assistant cubmaster" -- the guy who takes over the meetings when you're not available.


Then we'll do a brainstorming session on typical scouting jobs that are really task related. Getting parents to attend outings, do committee-type functions (i.e. picking up advancement, filing tour permits, etc.)


Then I'm going to give homework and a real world assignment. I'll ask them to pair off. I'll tell each pair that they have to solicit a favor from the other person (help me rake my lawn on Saturday, drive to my outing next weekend, whatever it may be.) I'll also tell them that they have to do the other guy a favor of a similar nature and scale. This is called recuiting. However, there is never recruiting without cost. If you ask someone to help you, they need to get something in return. Sometimes that return involves you doing a favor for them, sometimes (most often) the favor is the satisfaction they get from having done a good thing for someone else.


Bottom line -- recruit to the task and let the job sort itself out later, don't do it all yourself, and finally, make it a group effort.


If you think about "I" as a physical, actually letter standing alone in a field . . . it's pretty easy to topple.


However, "We" or "Us" n the same context is pretty tough to knock down.



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Kristi --


Please do use it. Please also realize that I haven't had a chance to field test my little syllabus yet. The Roundtable isn't going to be held for another week and a half.


Proceed at your own risk, but I wish you the best of luck.



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Unc - Great advice and a nice sylabus. I may use it someday as well.


PMHO - Don't give up yet. You need to work at your recruiting skills. This is, unfortunately, one area that the BSA doesn't provide much in the way of training. Uncleguinea provides some good advice. Consider what he has to say.


The bottom line in recruiting is getting parents to buy into a vision. I approach it like this:

1) Sell them on the vision.

2) Get them involved in incremental ways (Unc's ideas fit here)

3) Expect nothing less.


When you're selling parents on the vision - and this is important - don't sell it the same way you sell it to the boys. To the boys you sell the adventure, fun and excitement that scouting brings. You want to touch on that, but the things parents want to hear are:

- How scouting will help my boy be a better leader and a better person.

- How it helps with academics.

- How it may lead him into his career.

- How it may help him obtain scholarships and a job someday.

- etc.


These things are important to parents, even parents of 1st graders (especially if they have an older child approaching HS or college age).


Let me also refer you to another set of resources on volunteers. I also serve as our children's ministry leader at church. Recruiting volunteers is a challenge for us there as well. Last year, we used some training materials from Promiseland, the children's ministry of Willow Creek Church. Their 2003 conference was entitled "Got Volunteers?" and was all about recruiting, training and retaining volunteers.


If you don't mind listening to some Christian messages, there is some good stuff here that can be applied to scouting. This is the website of the materials:



The first session ("Call Volunteers to Action") is the most appropriate for what you are facing. I've included a link directly to the video below. (But be warned, this is a very large file. I wouldn't link on this unless you have broadband, there are smaller versions available from the website.) About 31 minutes into it, she addresses different methods of asking volunteers for help. She talks about several unsuccessful ones (bribery, begging, guilt), as well as how to successfully ask for help. It's funny you mentioned you "beg for help", because she talks about that approach. (remember, this is a LARGE FILE).

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I would speak to someone in the district and find out how they can help.


Who holds your charter? Is there someone there who may be willing to help?


Believe me, many of us have been there and know what it is like! If it gets really bad, perhaps you can merge with an already existing pack.

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"You need to work at your recruiting skills. This is, unfortunately, one area that the BSA doesn't provide much in the way of training."


You are mistaken EagleInKY, not only are there 4-page brochures covering how to recruit adults.

"Selecting Quality Leaders", but part of New Leader Essentials traing covers the process.


The brouchures are free and available through your local Scout office. They are step by step guides and easy to follow. The advice given in New Leader Essentials is related to this pamphlet.



Have you given consideration to my last question?

If you just did one role in the pack what would you choose and why?


Bob White


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There is no such thing as merging units in scouting. You can quit a unit and join a different one. The Charter Organization can end or not renew a charter forcing the members to join another unit if they wish to continue in scouting.


But Charters cannot be merged, and the charter belongs to the CO not the volunteer leaders so PMHO has no control over the charter.


Bob White

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Bob - The "selecting quality leaders" brochure is a good guideline for selecting the Cubmaster/Scoutmaster/Varsity Coach. And, if PMHO has a strong CO and committee to work with, that can help her fill the Cubmaster role.


However, I was talking about the more general topic of getting help from all the parents in various ways. There are loads of unused talent in every group. Figuring out how to put them to work is a big task. The ideas I was sharing was targeted more toward finding help of all kinds to assist in making the unit successful.

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To Bob White...

I did read your question and decided to ponder it rather than just answer. I still don't have a solid answer all I have is this...

I am not sure I am fit for any position. I am afraid the reason the Pack hasn't worked is because of me. I am full of doubt about my leadership qualities. But, more than that I am filled with turmoil and guilt that this Pack is not going to survive. I have implied several times to my other 2 active committee members that I will be stepping down.(health and financial concerns) If I had to pick 1 job, I don't think I could. I know that wasn't exactly what you asked. I do thank everyone for all the great ideas. I have a den meeting tomorrow night and have asked for a short parent's meeting as well. I will try and apply the new ideas into my meeting. Wish me Luck!

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As explained in NLE, it's the same recruitment process for any situation. I have seen it used for every adult need in scouting.



Do not get down on yourself about the job you have done, as you point out you have been doing several at once and very few people are going to be successful at that.


What you need to choose is one position and only one. Do not worry about what happens with the ones you leave benind, there are others responsible for filling those.


If you like working with the kids be a den leader and nothing else.


If you want to help support the program and are good at organizing and motivating others be the committee chair. If you would rather do one task like advancement or ceremomnies then be a committee member. The life of the unit is not on your shoulders, that is the charter organization and Charter Organaization Representatives responsibility, they can deal with it or not as they choose. You need to find what part you want to play and focus on that. Guilt is not a method of the BSA. You should be having fun too.


Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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