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WHEW! NOT GOOD!( L-O-N-G post)

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This evening's Cub Scout meeting was not good. It was the end of a failed beginning.

 

BACKGROUND: My son is a Wolf Cub this year and the pack did not form until October. Since then they have had 5 meetings, popcorn pick-up and a parade, during which no real activities have been accomplished. Here is a highlight of what has happened so far:

 

1. Organized the Bear, Wolf, and Tiger Dens.

2. Solicited volunteers to be leaders.

3. Passed out papers for popcorn sells.

4. Collected popcorn orders.

5. Distributed popcorn.

6. Began work on Bobcat badge.

7. Christmas parade.

8. Distributed papers for another fund raiser.

 

Although this may seem like a lot, there is no organization or activities at the meetings. If you review the list of things above, items 1-5 were activities that were handled by the leaders and adults. Only the Bobcat work and parade have anything to do with the Cubs. And the work on the Bobcat badge has been minimal.

 

After the last meeting, I talked with my son about how he can affect the den (help the pack grow) by applying some leadership to the other Cubs to get them to participate in the meetings by helping the Den leader (the Cubs run around out of control during the meetings) with the den's activities. I explained how troops are set up and led by the Scouts instead of the adults. So I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me not to come inside the meeting so that he could work on things himself instead of me getting involved and helping him with everything (we work on the scouting stuff at home). Also, he wanted to get involved with the leadership of the den.

 

So I waited in the car while he went to his den meeting. After 30 minutes, the den leader came out and told me that my son could not attend the meeting unless his parent was present (this goes for all Cubs). So, of course, I went inside.

 

When I came in, the Committee Chairperson was explaining to the parents about a new fund raiser and continued for another 10-15 minutes. I asked my son what he had done so far and he responded "Nothing." After the fund raiser speach, the Wolf den leader then presented the Committee Chairperson with cup cakes to celebrate her birthday and afterwards the meeting basically fell apart.

 

I approached the Committee Chairperson to inquire why parents must be present during meetings and was told:

 

1. "I'm not a baby sitter."

2. The Cubs run around unsupervised.

3. The school principal has required that parents be present because the Cubs have been seen running around unruly during the meetings.

 

I responded to her that maybe they were running around unruly because, based on my observations, that there were no activities for them to do and they were bored. She became loud in her speech and told me that the reasoning for no activities was because they started late in the year and could not do anything else until they completed the Bobcat badge. Also, no outdoor activities during the winter because the Cubs might get sick (temperatures for the last few days has been in the 70s).

 

We continued our verbal discussion but I dont think the connection was made about having the traditional scouting activities (crafts, games, etc) during the meeting to keep things interesting and fun. She asked me why, if I had such good ideas did I not step up and become a leader. I told her my reasons, but of course they werent good enough. Id like to get involved, but am not available right now. Soon, once things get a little settled, I hope.

 

Finally, to end the discussion she stated Im not going to take any criticism. I responded that it is through constructive criticism that we learn how to do things better. She had made the statement earlier that she was going to get a suggestion box because some parents had been complaining that she and her leaders were not doing their jobs.

 

So, based on my observations of previous meetings and this discussion, I am taking my son out of this pack and will look for another.

 

I would appreciate your comments, on my observations, the pack, the Committee Chairperson, etc.

 

-ML

 

 

 

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Ypou sound like you might be able to add some positive ideas to this den and/pr pack. Certainly sounds like a lot of fundraisers. When they had the first fundaraiser - what was the outcome. It does take money to run a Pack, you might be surprised at how much.

EVERY parent should be involved with the cubscout program. It is a family program and is promoted as that from the beginning. I have a problem witht the fact that you have lots of time to sit in the car and write long emails about good ideas but supposedly no time to implement these ideas into the pack. Have you condidered being part of the committee, as a secretary, treasurer, decision maker - you know, you as a parent are automatically a committee member. It would do you more good to take your ideas and input into a committee meeting (an open meeting to any held once a month) and discuss with them there.

Sorry, I- like your sons leader - wonder why parnets who have so much to say hesitate to step to the plat to do - something and anything other than complaining and sitting in the car. Your sons porgram should be more fun. Reconsider taking the time to participate actively in your scout pack and implement your ideas.

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"1. Organized the Bear, Wolf, and Tiger Dens.

2. Solicited volunteers to be leaders.

3. Passed out papers for popcorn sells.

4. Collected popcorn orders.

5. Distributed popcorn.

6. Began work on Bobcat badge.

7. Christmas parade.

8. Distributed papers for another fund raiser."

 

Sounds Like a good start for only being active for a month.

 

"So I was pleasantly surprised when he asked me not to come inside the meeting so that he could work on things himself instead of me getting involved and helping him with everything (we work on the scouting stuff at home). Also, he wanted to get involved with the leadership of the den."

 

You have to remember that this is a Pack not a Troop. While Boy Scouting is more of a boy activity, Cub Scouting is a family activity. The leadership roles are left to the leaders and PARENTS.

 

"I approached the Committee Chairperson to inquire why parents must be present during meetings and was told:

 

1. "I'm not a baby sitter."

2. The Cubs run around unsupervised.

3. The school principal has required that parents be present because the Cubs have been seen running around unruly during the meetings. "

 

3. Tigers are the only one that needs to have a parent at the meetings, but each den leader can make a rule requiring a parent to be at the meetings. In your case "The school principal has required that parents be present".

1. Den meeting are not a place to dump your child off for an hour a week, this is not directed at you, but a lot of people will do this and never offer to lend a hand.

2. If the parents are there and the kids are still running around unsupervised, there is a parent problem not a pack problem.

 

...responded to her that maybe they were running around unruly because, based on my observations, that there were no activities for them to do and they were bored."

Your probaly right, so jump in and lead a hand. You don't have to be a leader or any thing to run an activity. Bring a box with hole cut in it and some bean bags and play bean bag toss.

 

"...the reasoning for no activities was because they started late in the year and could not do anything else until they completed the Bobcat badge"

I though you said that they worked on that already. And yes this is partly true; from my understanding, you can work on things but can't get credit till you complete you Bobcat.

 

"...no outdoor activities during the winter because the Cubs might get sick (temperatures for the last few days has been in the 70s)"

When you plan these things a week in advance you don't know what the weather will be at the time of the meeting. I plan all my outdoor activities for when it gets warmer (November is always still warm here).

 

"...if I had such good ideas did I not step up and become a leader. I told her my reasons, but of course they werent good enough."

Why not be a leader? I don't know what your reasons are, and they might be very good, but we all have things in our lives. We have one leader who flies all over the country for his job. Once a month he has to leave on about a 24 hour notice to fly out. Thats why he has an assistant den leader. (BTW he is also in the reserves so one weekend a month he is at training.) We also have one leader whose wife just had a baby (two weeks ago) and he works 12-14 hour a day (a UPS driver) during December. I work evenings and nights as a baker, and during Christmas and Mardi Gras (I'm in New Orleans) I will be working 12-14 hour shifts.

Last year I had a parent that complained about everything I did. I could do nothing right. So I asked her to run and event, the fire station go-see-it the night before the go-see-it she called me all up-set saying she had not had a chance to set it up. All I'm saying if you see thing not being run right "Jump In" and fix it or stop complaining. Give these people a break they have busy lives too.

 

 

I have been free from the EVIL NICO-DEMON for 2 Months, 2 Weeks, 1 Day, 23 hours, 52 minutes and 8 seconds or since 9/8/04 (76 days). I have saved $408.06 toward my retirement. I now have 1 Week, 3 Days, 16 hours and 35 minutes left with my children that I would not have if I had smoked 3,079 cigarettes

 

(This message has been edited by zippie2223)

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ML,

 

As long as your Cub Scout pack is requiring parents to be at the meetings, you might as well get involved. Sounds like someone needs to bring structure to the chaos. Granted, with a group of boys there will always be chaos .. some of it should be planned!

 

Looking at your profile, it looks like you have been an active leader in the Boy Scouting program. If you aren't already familiar with the Cub Scout Program helps, go buy one! It has weekly activities planned for each den, you don't have to re-invent the wheel for every meeting. Enlist the other parents to conduct an activity or two at the meetings.

 

I too was pressed for time being a mom of 3 little children, working fulltime, being on call after the work day, all with my husband working 3 p.m. to midnight. Having witnessed how much fun my son and his buddies had at each scout meeting that when my oldest son's den leader stepped down as his son had quit scouting, I just had to find the time so that they could continue on with the scouting program.

 

Pam Meyer

Pack 4201 Webelos Leader

Green Bay, WI

 

P.S. Does anyone know why I end up posting two messages even though I submitted my reply only once?

 

 

(This message has been edited by pamchuckm)

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B-P says:

 

"Remember that the boy, on joining, wants to begin scouting right away; so don't dull his keenness by too much preliminary explanation at first. Meet his wants by games and Scouting practices, and instill elementary details bit by bit afterwards as you go."

 

The birth of a new Pack need not be a chaotic time if the adult leadership is there and is strong. Sounds like too much burden is being shouldered by a few. It does take some time, however, failing to make it fun for the boys and get them 'scouting right away' is the critical task of a new pack - not raising funds.

 

Good luck in the new pack.

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Zippie gives you some great advice. Bottom line - you need to get involved. It sounds like the den leader doesn't know what to do. Perhaps she hasn't been trained. Step up, get involved, and be a positive help to the den and the pack.

 

Second, Cub Scouting is not Boy Scouting. Don't try to turn it into a boy-led program. It's not. Their are only two aspects of Cubs that hint at boy-leadership. The denner, which takes all direction from the Den Leader, and the Den Chief, which is a Boy Scout. So don't push or even encourage your son to take a "leadership" role. It's just simply not time for that yet. Boys at that age will not respond or accept leadership from peers.

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Im confused, what are we talking about Pack meetings or Den meeting?? Or do you not have separate den meetings???

 

EagleInKY, is correct. This is Cub Scouts, not Boy Scouts. The boys do not have the ability to do what Boy Scouts do.

 

The fact that you only got going in October isnt bad. Many CS units dont get there act together until October, and dont overlook the fact that its only November now. Thats just one month.

 

Your kids should not be working on Bobcat materials at Pack night, if that is whats happening. On the other hand, the activity you listed is Pack business that would be appropriate at Pack night.

 

I am still confused.

 

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Definately sounds like the Pack is having some start up pains. These leaders all need to be trained ASAP.

 

Like every other rank in Cub Scouts (not Webelos Scouts), most of the requirements for Bobcat are supposed to be done at home with the family. They can and should be reinforced in the den, but most of the actual work should be done at home. You do not put every other activity on hold until rank has been achieved. (This is where training for the den leaders would help)

 

It sounds like your Pack is one of those that meet all together all of the time. I have never been a big fan of this, although I realize that it works well for some units. The Pack might need to re-think how they handle these meetings. You said that they had been getting complaints other than yours, so it does not sound like the meetings, the way they are now, are working well.

 

You said that the Committee Chair was in charge of the meetings. This tells me that although they might have some leaders, they do not have enough to fill all positions. The person who should be in charge of PACK meetings is the Cubmaster. The person who should be in charge of DEN meetings is the Den Leader. The person who coordinates (monthly) Pack LEADERS meetings is the Committee Chair. The person who should be in charge of FUNDRAISING is either the Treasurer or the Fundraiser Chair.

 

2 things that have already been mentioned -

 

1) Cub Scouts is NOT Boy Scouts. They are run VERY differently. Cubs are NOT boy led. Please, do not confuse your son by comparing a Cub Scout Den to a Boy Scout Troop. The only Cub leadership positions in a Den are Denner and Asst Denner. Their use is entirely up to the Den Leader.

 

2) Since the school requires parents to attend all Scout meetings, why not chip in and help while you are there. Bring a bag of balloons with to every meeting. Easy, cheap, no brainer way to have instant games of all kinds for the boys.

 

Your choice is basically do you want to go to the trouble of helping this Pack get off the ground. It could be a rocky time and require some time and effort on your part. Or do you want to find an already established, up and running Pack that is not in need of as much help. There is no right or wrong choice, simply what works for your family. It sounds like you have already made that decision.

 

 

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On the one hand, you can't die on every hill you climb. If this pack isn't a good match for you and your son, perhaps moving on to another one is a good idea.

 

On the other hand, there are a lot of good ways you can contribute without either butting heads with the current leadership or taking over yourself. Sounds like the pack/den is spending too much time on adult stuff and not enough time with the kids. At the next meeting, go armed with a game for the boys to play. When the adults start in on fundraising or whatever, offer to take all the boys outside or to another corner of the room for a game. Unless the leaders are either idiots or control freaks, they would be nuts to turn you down. Maybe after a couple weeks you can offer to handle the program for the following week. Get a copy of the Cub Scout Leaders Book or the Den Leaders' How To Book for ideas. Take Den Leader training youself to learn the outline for how a den meeting should be scheduled.

 

Sometimes the easiest approach is to just start doing things that need to be done. Forgiveness is easier to obtain than permission. Just make sure you're doing it with a helpful attitude and not make it a confrontational thing with the leaders.

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I am with fotoscout...

this sounds like a Pack meeting not a den meeting, though 5 meeting since October ...seems like a strange number of Pack Meetings (Hybrid?). If they are pack meetings... in the cubs the Pack meeting is not the place to do 'scouting stuff' it is for games and awards, infomation delivery and maybe even some snacks and craziness ,although that is why parents are needed (to control our little ...er... future leaders)

 

Cub program is way different than Boy Scouts. In cubs the parents help direct almost all the work towards advancement until the boys become Webelos...

Actual den meetings help toward this but much of the work is outside of meeting and at home...

 

Question: do all of the dens meet at the same place/time? It could be a meeting space issue...If this is the case, Den leaders could and should look around for a new den meeting site (your home?) with two deep leadership of course. perhaps they do not have enough space or transportation for scouts...who knows? But the Dens shopuld not meet at the same time/place unless they have separate rooms.

 

Try to remember, that if this is a new pack, most of the volunteers may be as yet untrained, struggling to figure things out and many may never have had any scouting background...Launching a new program rarely goes smoothly, particularly if parents expecting a smooth running, experienced program spend most of the time telling people what should be done while not pitching in themselves...(not to pick on you...we/I are/am not there and you are...but I have 'been there' before...BSA does not mean Baby Sitters of America!

 

Try to 'see' what is really happening before you trash the efforts of volunteers...and in the end they may be totally clueless and you may decide to search elsewhere...but until you are ready to roll up your sleeves...and pant legs and 'wade in' don't expect folks to 'jump too' just to fill your program needs...its your boy and this sould be MORE than a two-way street.

nuff said

and sorry if this is not what you needed to hear.

 

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First of all, thanks to each of you for your comments. My reason for posting here was not to complain but to solicit others' opinions, advise and comments.

 

Second, I'd like to respond to some of the comments, first to better explain, and others to give my comments regarding their response.

 

It's long, and I apologize ahead of time.

 

nosretep,

 

1. "When they had the first fundaraiser - what was the outcome." - $3000 +

 

2. "EVERY parent should be involved with the cubscout program." Agreed. I believe I am involved. At a minimum, my son and I work on his scouting each weekend. He was the first Wolf Cub to finish his Bobcat requirements. Only he and one other Wolf have done so.

 

3. "I have a problem with the fact that you have lots of time to sit in the car and write long emails about good ideas but supposedly no time to implement these ideas into the pack." Thats a pretty strong statement. Lots of time to sit in the car was 30 minutes. Time to write my long e-mail was done after 10PM my time, and it doesnt take me long to type my posts. As far as you having a problem with it is of no concern to me.

 

4. "Sorry, I- like your sons leader - wonder why parents who have so much to say hesitate to step to the plat to do - something and anything other than complaining and sitting in the car." I have specifically spoken to the Den Leader on 3 occasions concerning helping her. Her response was words to the effect that the boys wont listen to meI need someone to make them behave. I have asked what the plan is for the following meeting to which she responded with words to the effect I dont really know what to do, the boys dont listen to me. She invited me to the Round Table meeting, however, it was cancelled then rescheduled after I had made other plans.

 

Zippie2223,

 

1. "Sounds Like a good start for only being active for a month." True, however, most of the activities were conducted by the parents while the cubs sat waiting for something to do.

 

2. "You have to remember that this is a Pack not a Troop. While Boy Scouting is more of a boy activity, Cub Scouting is a family activity. The leadership roles are left to the leaders and PARENTS." Yes I understand the difference. I am not advocating that my son become the leader of the den, but, leadership is on many levels. A young boy who wants to step forward and experiment with leadership should be encouraged, not told that he is too young, not ready, not his place, etc. As far as a family activity, I am very involved with my son and his scouting. We worked together on his Tiger Cub activities last year and are working together at home now. He has completed his Bobcat requirements together with me.

 

3. "Tigers are the only one that needs to have a parent at the meetings, but each den leader can make a rule requiring a parent to be at the meetings. In your case "The school principal has required that parents be present". - Yes, once explained, the answer was accepted as a requirement and no further discussion was necessary in regards to parents at meetings.

 

4. "Den meeting are not a place to dump your child off for an hour a week, this is not directed at you, but a lot of people will do this and never offer to lend a hand." I have been to all the other meetings (the only parent that is usually there, excluding the leaders), and as described above, have offered to help. But there is no program to help with.

 

5. "If the parents are there and the kids are still running around unsupervised, there is a parent problem not a pack problem." I would partially disagree here. I still believe that if the den/pack had a program that the Cubs could be involved with that the Cubs would not be running around. I would agree however, that many kids nowadays dont seem to get a lot of discipline from their parents. I helped coach my sons baseball team last summer and saw it there too. If my son hadnt been on the team I dont know if I would have stuck around. It was very frustrating.

 

6. "Your probably right, so jump in and lead a hand. You don't have to be a leader or any thing to run an activity." As I would have thought too, however, while talking with the CC last night about my stepping up, she mentioned how she met with her leaders 15 minutes prior to each meeting. I told her that I was unaware of those meetings. She responded that she wasnt required to tell me because it was for her leaders. Kinda made the point that if you arent a leader then to stay out of her business. And I gotta say that that was the general feeling that she projected. I dont know what complaints have been made previously, but I think that she believes it has been me complaining.

 

7. "...the reasoning for no activities was because they started late in the year and could not do anything else until they completed the Bobcat badge"

I though you said that they worked on that already. - I was using her words and being generous. In five meetings, only 2 Wolf Cubs have completed the requirements.

 

8. "When you plan these things a week in advance you don't know what the weather will be at the time of the meeting. I plan all my outdoor activities for when it gets warmer (November is always still warm here)." Id be happy for just about any kind of scouting activities, indoor or outdoor. And thats my main pointno activities yet.

 

9. "Why not be a leader?" - As I stated, I have personal reasons that do not allow me to be one of the leaders. I would love to be able to be a scout leader full time. I think that I could do a good job. But, it dont pay the bills, so I opted to try to help when I can. I dont have the time right now to develop their program for them. Maybe the current leaders dont either. I dont know.

 

10. "All I'm saying if you see thing not being run right "Jump In" and fix it or stop complaining." I attended the 4 previous meetings and did not complain, despite my not liking what was happening. I offered to help. When I was told that parents were expected to be present to supervise their kids, I gave constructive criticism, in private, after the meeting was finished. The CC said she wasnt going to take any criticism.

 

WWBPD,

 

1. "Remember that the boy, on joining, wants to begin scouting right away; so don't dull his keenness by too much preliminary explanation at first." - This is exactly what is happening. Lots of talk and explaining but hardly anything for the Cubs to do.

 

2. "The birth of a new Pack need not be a chaotic time if the adult leadership is there and is strong. It does take some time, however, failing to make it fun for the boys and get them 'scouting right away' is the critical task of a new pack - not raising funds." I agree wholeheartedly. I wish youd been there last night. Youve stated exactly how I feel.

 

 

EagleInKy,

 

1. "Bottom line - you need to get involved. It sounds like the den leader doesn't know what to do." Ive attempted to help. I cant be the leader right now. I am directly involved with my sons scouting.

 

2. "Second, Cub Scouting is not Boy Scouting. Don't try to turn it into a boy-led program. It's not." I understand the difference. I dont advocate Cub Scouts being boy led, but I wont discourage leadership at any level.

 

fotoscout,

 

1. "Im confused, what are we talking about Pack meetings or Den meeting?? Or do you not have separate den meetings???" - All the dens except the Webelos meet together at the same time/place. The CC runs the meetings except for the Tigers. They do actually have a program that they are following.

 

2. "Your kids should not be working on Bobcat materials at Pack night, if that is whats happening." - I agree, and that is why my son and I worked on his Bobcat Badge at home.

 

Scoutnut,

 

1. "You do not put every other activity on hold until rank has been achieved." Although I agree with you, it would seem that the CC does not.

 

2. "Since the school requires parents to attend all Scout meetings, why not chip in and help while you are there." Tried, to no avail.

 

Twocubdad,

 

Your post makes a lot of sense. Im afraid however, that after last nights discussion with the CC, my son would not be welcome. Ill definitely do things differently next time.

 

Anarchist

 

1. "BSA does not mean Baby Sitters of America!" - Not being there during the meetings is not an issue. The lack of a program and the refusal of the CC to acknowledge constructive criticism is what got my goat. I havent mentioned it previously, but she was quite condescending and rude during our discussion. I asked her twice not to raise her voice at me.

 

2. "Try to 'see' what is really happening before you trash the efforts of volunteers...and in the end they may be totally clueless and you may decide to search elsewhere..." Ive been there and observed and offered assistance. In my opinion they are clueless and dont want to hear about it from anyone else.

 

Thanks,

 

-ML

 

 

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Wow, a lot going on here.

 

First, 7 year old boys do not respond to boy leadership. Your son can certainly be a helper to the den leader, but a leaderNO. This is socially not a good idea for your son or anyone elses. Boys this age look to adults for leadership. Cub Scouts is no place for 7 year olds to experiment with leadership.

 

Your meetings seem to be all screwed up! Dens in the Pack can meet at the same time, in the same location, but they should meet separately. They should conduct their own gathering activity, opening, program activity, and closing. You cant have a Pack meeting every week! If the dens are meeti

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Your pack's leaders are not following the program. They may be following "a" program, but it is not Cub Scouting. The CC running a den meeting of multiple dens grouped together? Where in the heck did that come from? Not in any training I've ever seen.

 

If the CC feels inclined to do something to better improve communications or whatever, let them have a joint parent's info session while the den leaders take the boys off to get their den meetings going. This pack is definitely screwed up.

 

And, while you may be very busy with your boy's scouting unit, I encourage you to get involved with this one as well. Otherwise, your younger son may get turned off on scouting and you lose him completely. I know of many leaders (including myself) that serve at multiple levels.

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ML,

 

May be late to get into this topic, but I am very curious to see how everything turned out. Did you continue to go to this Pack or did you find another one?

 

I am just real curious to see if this pack has survived 2 months now!

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