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So Many Problems, Where do I Start

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O.K. Where do I start. We are a small Pack, with about 11 boys total. We have a Committee Chair that also serves as the only one on the Pack Tresury. Last year going into the Blue and Gold, he would not return phone call, or E-mai. In fact would not answer the phone, when we contacted the Church that is our Charter Rep. They bluntly told us that it was not there problem. Our Cub Master was recruted by being told that all he had to do is hand out awards at the Pack Meetings. The other Den Leaders, usually do not show up for Committee Meetings. Last year I was ready to walk out, and take my son, but as a Den Leader, I did not want set the wrong exaple.

How do you remove a Committee Chair? The next problem, is trying to find someone to take his place. Other than him, we do not have any Committee Members. Yet, somehow we still qualiffy for Quality Unit. Does anyone have any ideas if I should jump from this sinking ship?

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Difficult problems, but many of us here have also faced situations like these. Ask yourself and your son too - What kind of experience are you getting in this program aside from what you mentioned? Are these Cub Scouts having fun and enjoying being Scouts? If so try to get others to help and stick in there. The leaders in the pack don't have to be parents of the boys involved (it helps, but isn't necessary) Are there any former Scouts in your area who might could lend a hand?

What about your friends? Is there a local Boy Scout troop that might could provide assistance.

Ask the church that charters your pack to mention in their newsletter that the Cub Scouts could use a few volunteers.

Talk with the District Executive for your district and ask for advise and help.

There are many ways to find your way out from the maze of problems your unit has if that's what you want.

After you ask yourself about the program, you find that you and the Cub Scouts are not enjoying yourselves as Scouts - Then I suggest visiting other nearby units and looking for one that can offer what you and your son need.

Best of luck and let us know how things go.

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Wow, and I thought MY pack was in sorry shape. They say that "misery loves company" so at least I can commiserate with you and let you know that you're not the only one in this kind of uneviable position. I'm going to join this forum to see if we can both get some advice since we have related problems. I have to say that it doesn't sound like your pack has much going for it and your son is not getting the best CS experience. At a certain point I think you have to do what's best for yourself and your son, especially if you try but find that you can't fix the problems of your pack.


Here's a description of my pack:

We have 13 boys: 7 Wolfs, 6 Bears, plus 2 nominal Tigers without a den (they just show up for Pack meetings). The pack is only in its second year and it is probably now clear to those who didn't see it before why the school and the other 2 elementary schools in the district went for at least 10 years without any CS. As the leader for 7 years of one of the few Girl Scout troops in the district, I knew it was going to an uphill battle to keep a pack going at our school. Even our PTA meetings get only about a dozen people from well over 200 families. There are many reasons for this including a high number of new immigrants with limited English ability and simply an unwillingness on the part of many parents to give of themselves and their time. And I don't believe that anything can significantly change that.


My pack does have a Committee Chair who has worked really hard, but he has not only burned out, but this year he has work demands year that have him working long hours and making many business trips. He wanted to step down this year, but continued when no one else would take the job. Last year he also organized both the popcorn sale and the pinewood derby. This year he did the popcorn sale again, but (with my encouragement) announced firmly that he could not do the pinewood derby, so finally with only a month before it was scheduled, a team of 3 Wolf dads stepped in and shared the job, doing it quite well too. The CC's wife is the den leader of the Bear den where I am the ADL. She's also a bit burned out, and told me that she is not willing to do Webelo leader training, so I volunteered to switch roles with her next year if we continue.


Last year's CM was the mom of the sole Webelo who either dropped out or aged out. I don't know if he found a BS troop to join or not. This year's CM was not really the right person for the job IMO. He doesn't believe in the concepts of discipline, authority, or leadership, equating them all with coersion. So he announces that scouts that don't have to wear their uniforms or tuck their shirts in "if they don't want to", assumes that people will just volunteer when something needs doing (and lets things "drop on the floor" if people don't step forward), and is always polling the adults so that he can say that "the pack made the decision" instead of soliciting opinions, but then taking responsibility to make the final decision. But he's moving away this summer anyway.


The CC's son is one of the Bears in our den and another Bear is also moving this summer. So if we don't get any new members, our den will have only 4 members next year. In fact, it could well be even fewer since the boys who are not the DL's and ADL's sons do not have very regular attendance.


Anyway, we tried to recruit more scouts and parents, but only a single kindergartner and his family to showed any interest. I had briefly discussed the possiblity with the Bear DL of trying to find another pack to join. Tonight, the CC (DL's husband) told me flat out that he was going to start looking for another pack for our den.


But even finding another pack could be difficult. There are only two other packs in our town. One of them is chartered through an Orthodox Jewish day school. (My son is Jewish, but we're not Orthodox and would probably not feel comfortable with that pack. The DL's family is non-affiliated Christian.) The other one is chartered with a church and I heard from a Jewish parent who visited that it was quite blatantly Christian. Also, its pack meetings are on a night that doesn't work for the DL's family or mine, plus it is the pack that the district commisioner is affiliated with and our CC and DL do not want to have anything to do with him since they are mad that he didn't give our pack more help.


There are several packs in the town next to ours, but that town is actually in a different council. In fact, some people who live only a half mile from us and are technically in our town, go to schools in the neighboring town's school district and are thus in that other council. One of my questions is: will we "get in trouble" if we try to join a pack in another council from the one that our school is in?


I am hoping that some of the wise and experienced scouters who frequent theses forums will be able to offer some advice.

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T158 - no, you will not "get in trouble" if you join a pack in the next town, which happens to be part of another council. The area that I live in is in the far corner of "our" council and a 15 minute drive from 2 other councils. I know people in my town who belong to all three councils. Frankly, the councils do not communicate much at all with each other, so if your son switched to a pack in the next council, chances are good that your original council wouldn't even know - not that they could stop you anyway.


Brian - does your unit have a unit commissioner? If so, it sounds like this is a good time to talk with that person. He or she should be an experienced scouter with a somewhat more objective perspective because s/he isn't part of your unit. They may be able to offer some solid advice and work with you to help make any changes as smooth as possible.


Do you get the feeling that your CC would probably step down if only there were someone else in place to step up? Or would he fight this tooth and nail? In the first instance you have an easier task because you really do not need to "remove" him, only provide him with a willing successor.


But in the latter case..."removing" is difficult, particularly if it is primarily a conflict of personalities or styles rather than blatent violations of BSA policy. All the more so since your CO wants no part in the process. Rather, I'd focus on building a strong committee around this person. CC is a powerful position but often, that power is extended due to the vacuum around the position. Get someone else to handle the B&G, Pinewood, Advancements, etc. (several people - not one). That will reduce the CC's reach and probably, provide better results.


Now you're a small pack - 11 boys. Ok, you may find the parents in your group can't contribute a whole lot more than they already are. What about extended family? Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, etc. make great leaders too. What about other community members? Do you have a troop you work with? How about asking them (and their charter org.) to help provide ideas for adult recruitment - or volunteers, outright. It isn't in the troop's interest for the pack to wither either or they'll have no new scouts.


If you move to another pack: I did this with my son after his first year. Actually our whole den went together. We were glad we made the change, but moving to a new pack did not mean less work for us and it didn't guarantee a smooth ride either. Every pack has its problems and weak areas. Be prepared for that, but also take a little time to get the lay of the land so that you don't come across as the person who is always saying "well in my old pack we did it THIS way..."


Bottom line: What's the best move for your son at this time?



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First, my sympathy for you and your son.

I'll be bold, if you are not willing to be CM or CC, then jump ship. Those persons and the COR have the responsibility to straighten things out in cases like this.


Start thinking long term: The goal at this stage is to have your son join a Scout Troop.

Interview Scout troops in your area, ask them what packs feed them, and thier opinion on those packs.


You have the gift of time to work on this.


Cub scouts and Scouting needs to fun at some level. Yes, there is that "hour a week" (ha) for adults leaders. But if your son sees that you are stressed and frustrated about Cubs then what message is he forming.




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QUOTE: "Start thinking long term: The goal at this stage is to have your son join a Scout Troop."


You may already know this, but some do not: You can still join a Scout Troop when you turn 11, with or without Cub Scouts. I did and was a Boy Scout for 4-1/2 years.


If for any reason Cub Scouts does not work out, your Son can still join a Boy Scout troop at 11 (or completes 5th grade).


(This message has been edited by Newbie Den Leader)

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Deciding if changing Packs is the right thing is a VERY personal matter. We can't really help with that. You need to take a good look at your Pack, Charter Org, & family & decide (with your son) if this Pack really works for you. Setting a example for the boys in your Bear den has nothing to do with it. You main focus should be what is best for your family & what your son wants.


As for removing a CC, that is the job of your Charter Org Rep (COR). It sounds like your Charter Org could use training & a refresher course in just what their responsibilities are, because, yes it is EXACTLY their problem!



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A few years ago, my pack was having a hard time finding leadership. We did have a decent number of boys (35-40), but no CM. All of the den leaders already each held another position (at the time I was Tiger DL, Webelos 1 DL, CC, Advancement Coordinator, and Membership Chair!), so none of us could also take on CM. When we actively looked into merging our Pack with another local Pack, that's when we finally got someone to step up to CM.


GS-CS: you have a tough decision. It doesn't look like either of the other Packs will work for you. Personally, I hope you don't let the "Christian" Pack scare you away. As a Christian, myself, I've often wondered why we don't practice at least some of the Jewish tradtions that are a part of our heritage. My small town Methodist church has recently spent much time reintroducing us to our Jewish heritage. Did the offended parent talk to anyone, or just assume that they were "too Christian?" As we all know, Scouting is not about just one religion. I'd talk to the CM and bring up my concerns, if I were you, before totally discounting them. Due to personality conflicts and scheduling conflicts, you say that might not work, anyway, though. Good luck!


Brian, if your son went to Saukenuk Day Camp last summer, then I think I met you. If not, then it was someone else with your same name. Feel free to send me a private message if this is the case. If you are the person I'm thinking of, then I can say right now, that my Pack would love to get a Bear den. We have no Bears this year. When this age group were Tigers, the Tiger leader and his son dropped out, and no one was willing to be Wolf leader last year. So we had no Wolves last year, and won't have Web. 1 next year, etc. Hopefully, you can get enough volunteers to keep your Pack going, though. Maybe if the church realizes that this could be their last year chartering a Cub Scout Pack, then they might step up to provide some leadership. Good Luck!

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Thanks, funscout for your thoughts.


The Christian pack wasn't "offensive". It's just that the pack prayer mentioning Jesus and the Christmas ornaments they were making made my friend (who happens to be the AL of my GS troop) uncomfortable. Since the pack is chartered by a church, it is not unreasonable that they would have a religious component to their program. I'm not criticizing them; I'm just saying that they are not right for us.


Actually, it's our council that I think could do a better job of being sensitive to Jewish scouts. They schedule trainings on major Jewish holidays (e.g. the only fall CPR class ends right before when most Jews would be trying to eat an early dinner before services for Yom Kippur start). Their popcorn for fundraising is not certified kosher, so I can't even sell it to half of my neighbors. Luckily, many of the Orthodox Jews around here are really nice so they just gave our pack a donation when they couldn't buy our popcorn that we were trying to sell in front of a local grocery store. In contrast, our GS council's explicit policy is that no GS one-time event including those at the service unit or even troop level should be held on any religious holiday that is significant enough that the local public schools do not meet (the case with Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah in my town) and all GS cookies are certified kosher. A few years ago, it was pointed out to the GS council that they only had their outdoor ed trainings on Saturdays (which is the Jewish sabbath when observant Jews are prohibited from lighting fires and by extension that is why they don't drive, cook, or even turn on/off lights). They responded by having a special non-Saturday training in which they even used new pots and all kosher food.


(In fact, I think that the GSUSA has reacted directly to the recent policies of the BSA by being as inclusive as possible such as by not excluding either atheists or homosexuals. But that's a topic for a different forum.)


On the other hand, as I said, we wouldn't be comfortable in the Orthodox Jewish troop either. And I wouldn't want to be in that pack because then we'd miss out on most of the council events: they cannot participate due to dietary restrictions and Sabbath observance.


Since I've been reassured that it is OK to join a pack in a different council, I'm looking into some packs in neighboring towns. Thanks again to all for the encouragement and words of wisdom.

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t158 - Sorry about that! I went back to the wrong post to figure out to whom I was responding and managed to pick up your name instead of GS-CS. It was, in fact, GS-CS who asked about the possibility of joining a unit from another council. I should've paid closer attention...





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t158sm Thank you for the ideas. That gave me a direction to try.


Lisabob: A Commissiner? Is that anything like a snipe???? No we do not have one. After more reflection, I remember when my son started tigers, and our CC was filling in as Tiger Leader, and he said that even though his sons were gown he was doing this becouse the church priest had asked him to do it. Since he is a member of the Church, he may have trouble whith stepping down. I feel that I have done all I can to give them direction. I have done all of the training, attended Pow-Wow for the last 2 years, Day Camp, Lock-in, and other District events. I always come early for meetings, and stay late to clean up. I plan on taking Balloo training in the spring, and Wood Badge later. The only event I have missed in the last 1 1/2 has been the food drive. I have put myself up to chair the Blue and Gold also. I keep reminding myself of my OA promise of being cheerful in the service to others. Thank you all for listen to me vent. I just want you to know that I am doing my best to put in a maximium effort.

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Your not alone, our pack is about the same size as yours.

Our C.C. is about to step down (Thank God).We just

had our blue & gold it was not the boys I had to talk over it was her. She is more worried about how much

$$ is in her kids account than any thing else

Our C.O.R. forgot that we were having a blue & gold

Not to forget the Old women at the church ( our C.O.)

are plain mean. It been so many years since they were

kids I think they have forgot what Its like.

So we were forced to have our blue & gold in the basment.

We may be having the opp. to go back to the fire hall

were our pack was before.I think we are going to go.

Also I think our council is the most disorganized

one around our scout shop has nothing in stock.

We are getting our awards from the next council south.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on my situation and request for more advice:


Our Feb rally night was a bust. Only one family of a kindergartner showed up. They were interested, but have not returned calls and did not attend a committee meeting they were invited to. I think they were not really interested once they realized that they would have to start up a den themselves rather than just having their grandson (who lives with them) join a den run by someone else.


At our the last pack committee meeting, the current CC pointed out that with our pack's small size (down to 11 families next year after two move), nearly all the families that are able are already providing a leader or are on the committee and have organized a pack event. Most of the other families have circumstances (such as starting new jobs) that make it difficult to help out. No one has volunteered to be CM or CC next year and the people who were at the committee meeting were able to verify that they had talked to the families who were not there and that they would not be willing to take those positions.


So it was clear to those of us at the meeting, that finding another pack to merge with is probably our best option. Then the current CM (who is moving from the area this summer!) arrived late and declared that "we" need to try to recruit again and just do a better "sales job". That burned me up because he was poorly informed as to what efforts had already been made and I think that he expects that someone else is going follow up on his suggestions and do all the work of another recruiting effort. A council staff person did do an assembly at the school and did get the boys excited according to my son. The problem was that the parents were not interested. And we have already flyered the other two elementary schools in the district, but scouting interest in our area is really quite low. So the CC told the CM that he was free to do whatever he wanted (on his own with anyone who wants to join him), but that he had only until the end of the month to come up with at least 5 new registered boys AND 2 adults to fill the open positions. Suffice it to say that it's not going to happen.


After discussing the situation with the DL of our den (I'm the ADL, but we will probably switch roles next year), we've decided to seek out another pack for our den to join. Next year, our den will have only 4 boys after two of them move and we expect that the other two families would be willing to change packs with us. The packs that seem the most promising are in the council next door (we live only a half mile from the council border).


Questions for the experienced scouters out there who have been reading this thread: What should we be looking for and considering? This is what we have thought of:

- Does the other pack seem happy with the prospect of our joining them or would it reluctantly allow us in only because they don't like to turn people away?

- Pack meeting date (DL and ADL families have fairly restrictive schedules)

- Stability and committed pack leadership (no sense leaving one pack to join another that is also on the verge of folding)

- Our boys and adults feeling comfortable with the others: I definitely feel that we must attend a pack meeting to see if it feels like a good fit before making any decisions.

- Similar social-economic range of the pack. I'm leery of joining some of the packs in the town north of us which is considerably more affluent. Some packs require large family financial contributions and tend to do expensive activities and trips with most of the cost paid by the families. But at least one of our 4 families has struggled with a parent being laid off and difficulty in finding another job. The town east of us has a mix of family backgrounds more similar to our neighborhood. (At our elementary school 17% of the families qualify for reduced price lunches, but some of the families have parents who are doctors and other high paid professionals.)

- I think we are willing to either join a small pack in which we would welcomed as an enhancement to the pack (coming with 4 boys and 2 adult leaders), or to join a much larger pack that is easily able to absorb us, perhaps even having our boys simply join an established den.


Any other issues we should think about?

(This message has been edited by GS-CS_leader)

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What kind of activities do the boys do in the packs you are considering joining? Do they do summer camp (day or resident or both)? Do they hold den or pack meetings regularly during the summer months?


All of the things you have listed so far make sense (though I'd be leery of typing any pack based on economics, but I still understand your concern). But they're also focused primarily on what the ADULTS would like. Now that's important because without adult buy-in, the boys won't be involved. But...make sure you are looking at this from the boys' perspective too.



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