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Yikes! I'm the new cubmaster!

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Many of you have heard me complain about our pack's do-nothing cubmaster, who even admitted in front of a crowd of new Cubs and parents in September that he "just read the announcements" and that the real work was done by one of the other leaders (who is Webelos leader, treasurer, assistant Cubmaster, etc.). Back in the fall, I wasn't sure whether I should volunteer to be committee chair (we don't actually HAVE a committee, much less a chair) or Cubmaster.


Well, at our January pack meeting (which was our Pinewood Derby), it was announced that the do-nothing Cubmaster had started a new job that had evening hours that would preclude his continuing to serve as Cubmaster. The call went out (to our 35 families) that we needed someone to step up as Cubmaster--and that all the job really entailed was standing up at the pack meetings and reading the announcements!


and not one person stepped up to volunteer. I contacted our assistant Cubmaster/Webelos leader (my son is in her den), and said that if no one else stepped forward, I would do the job, but only until next February when our boys crossed over.


At our Blue and Gold banquet, it was announced that I am the new Cubmaster. I think that our "one woman show" really thinks that all I'll be doing is "reading the announcements," but if I take the job, I think there's probably more to it than that. I'm signed up for Cubmaster-specific training on March 18. (I've already done New Leader Essentials and Youth Protection Training through my position with my older son's troop).


But before March 18, what should I know about being Cubmaster? I think that one of the tasks the assistant and I have ahead of us is gearing people up to take over from us when we leave next February. I'd like to have a parents' meeting and get people committed to a variety of positions to keep the pack rolling. Right now, we have no committee chair, no COR (unless it's the assistant Cubmaster/treasurer/Webelos den leader, who is also president of the school's family council--which is our CO), no pack trainer, no separate coordinators for stuff like Pinewood Derby or Blue and Gold. We do have an awards chair, and a popcorn kernel.


Any advice for a new leader who wants to do things right?



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Hi Elizabeth,


Congratulations on your new position! :)

And I mean that sincerely. I've moved on to Boy Scouts now, but I served as CC in my pack while my wife was CM, and it was really a great time.


Getting people to volunteer to help out is always difficult. From everyone I talk to, it is getting more and more difficult in each succeeding year.


And, well, the CM is a bit more than "reading announcments". The CC is responsible for the "business" of running the pack; the CC is more or less responsible for getting the various jobs filled, pack finances are tracked correctly, dens are organized, etc. Much of this, of course, is done with the support of and in partnership with the CM. The CM is responsible for the "boy side" of the pack. The main "regular" responsibility is having a successful pack night each month. The CM is the public face of the pack. The CM is responsible for making sure that the pack program is being followed, ie, are the dens moving forward as they should, are the boys having fun, etc?


You need to get yourself a CC. You need to get all of your leaders trained (that's the job of the Committee, really). Of course, you need a CM and CC to be able to recharter. Then, turn most of the mechanics of the pack over to that person. You need to concentrate, as quickly as possible, on the boy side of the pack. If that's not done right, you'll lose Scouts, and if you lose Scouts, you lose parents that could fill those jobs. It starts a spiral downhill you don't want to get caught in. On the other hand, a strong boy program brings in more Scouts, which brings in more parents, and you get a nice upward spiral of support. :)


I've been through a good deal of these kinds of things before. It's likely most everyone who's on the Forums has as well. Keep the questions coming and I'm sure you'll get some help here. Feel free to drop me a PM as well if you want. I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm happy to share what's worked for us, and what hasn't.

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Starwolfmom, congratulations!


The important thing is to make sure things are organized and the kids have fun. Also, do not do it yourself, delgate. The Cubmaster is also a cheerleader, so recruit people to help. They will form your committee. The way we have done things when parents are not volunteering, we have said that if somebody does not volunteer, we won't do it. Some times the threat of the kids not being able to do something, gets parents to volunteer. Also, don't burn out your volunteers, have co-chairs, helpers, etc. Maybe challenge a den to take the lead on the an activity, that way the work is spread around a group of parents.


You will always get volunteers for Pinewood Derby and other fun stuff.


Good luck!

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The first thing to do is to have a talk with the ACM, who seems to be running your pack, and find out what she wants you to do. If she really just wants you to MC the pack meeting, and you start doing other things on your own, there might be conflicts. I hope you have a monthly leaders' meeting, where you, she, and the other leaders can discuss who will do what.


CMs are supposed to do a lot more than many of them do. In our pack, we've had a hard time finding someone who's willing to MC pack meetings as well as plan and run the program. So, our new CM was told that all he needed to do was MC pack meetings. I hope he'll eventually do more, but in the meantime, the ACM is doing the rest of the CM's job. This may be unorthodox, but it seems to work for us.

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Congratulations on becoming CM! Your heart is definitely in the right place to do a good job with this.


As far as asking for volunteers, I think all Packs struggle with this. The only way we ever get "volunteers" is to directly ask a person, (after we've made a general announcement that didn't net anyone.) We've also tried having each den provide parent helpers for a particular event, or asked for at least one parent from each den to help with every event.


Good Luck and have fun!

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General announcements for volunteers never works. You need to be observant of the parents in your unit and figure which ones can be approached to ask them to volunteer (e.g., the ones that always have an opinion about how things should be done or the ones who do little things to help out at a pack or den meeting or activity).


Once you identify someone who is approachable, you need to match the job with their skills. If they do well with the kids, you need to offer them a job that involves program planning or execution such as cubmaster, den leader, or their assistents. If they do well in organizing and motiviating other adults, maybe they'll make a good committee chair. The most important part in pitching the job is to describe the role and responsibilities in closed finite terms. Folks don't want to take an open-ended job and will more likely accept a job if then know exactly what they will be doing.


Don't complain about how much work your job is. Talk about the fun parts of what you do. If potential volunteers see that the current volunteers are having fun, they'll be more interested.


The pack leaders need to demonstrate how much fun they are having at each and every meeting. For example, if you have a relay game that pits the dens against each other at a pack meeting, be sure to have the adult leaders make up a team (of course you're going to lose the race to the scout but who cares, the parents will see you having fun and want to participate too).(This message has been edited by MarkS)

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MArkS--That "having fun at pack meetings" comment made me laugh. In our pack, for the past two years, our dens have done NOTHING as individual dens at pack meetings other than taking turns with the opening flag ceremony (totally uninspired ceremonies--they're always the same).


Here's what our schedule has looked like so far this year:

September--opening meeting. boys ran around while Cubmaster made announcements to the parents. Then each den met in a corner so parents could meet the den leaders and get information about when den meetings were, and uniform info.


October--hayride and campfire at local stable that does this stuff. There were no den skits or songs at the campfire. Kids just roasted hotdogs, made s'mores, and ran around like wild men. CM made announcements.


November--Awards given, presentation of raptors by local wildlife rescue organization (way cool, by the way--owls and eagles and hawks).


December--Christmas carol program for cub families and "special guests." Pinewood derby cars handed out. We used to carol at a local nursing home and have a can drive at the same time, but we stopped doing this a few years ago.


January--Pinewood derby.


February--Blue and gold banquet. WEbelos crossed over to Boy Scouts with cool OA ceremonies team involvement.


March--we're doing a raingutter regatta. At my suggestion (first act as CM) we will be participating in Scouting for Food--first time ever for this pack--and handing out the door tags and explaining the program at this pack meeting.


April--We've scheduled a pizza party at a local restaurant owned by the dad of one of our boys. Awards will be given and announcements made, but the restaurant doesn't really lend itself to any other activities.


May--Pack cookout (or cook-in, depending on the weather), and boys move up to the next rank.


That's it until September. We currently have no summer pack activities. If boys want to do Cub day camp, they can, but it's not really pushed. Usually, the boys attending are my son, the ACM's son, and two or three other boys from our den.


I'd love to encourage our den leaders to have their boys prepare a song or skit or even a report on what they've been doing to present at the pack meetings, but that will be a major paradigm shift for them. As a parent, my impression of our pack meetings has been that they are a race against the clock to get everything done and get out of the building as quickly as possible. When I hear about the fun things other packs are doing (songs and skits, father-son cake auctions, etc.) I feel sad.


I asked the ACM when the next pack leader's meeting was scheduled, and there isn't one. She had one parent (Wolf den leader, I think) volunteer her house for a meeting, but that's as far as planning has gone. I think I might be able to whip up some enthusiasm among the adults, but we've got to get them together first.



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This is where you need a CC. He or she would schedule the monthly leaders' meeting and run it. In the absence of a CC, you could do that. At first, you probably won't get many leaders to show up, but if you keep at it, they will eventually. Especially if they get signed up for things in absentia.


As the CM, it's your job to plan the pack meeting. Go to the leaders' meeting with a plan in mind. Assign each den something to do at the pack meeting. If the leader isn't there, inform them afterwards what their den is doing. I try to get all the parents involved in some way, also. One den's parents brings refreshments, one bring items to raffle, another sets up the room, and another cleans up afterwards.

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Congratulations on your new position!

All of the above posts have great suggestions!

If you are not familiar with "Program Helps", use that as a guide as to how your pack meeting should be run. It will get you started and provide structure and continuity to the program. That got me started. We didn't follow the monthly themes religiously, but the book helped me organize the meeting.

Pack meetings should be held once a month, regardless. If you start changing the dates, parents will forget. Same day of the month, same time.

And yes, you (and the boys) should have FUN at the pack meeting. Get down on their level; involve them (songs, skits, run-ons, jokes, etc) and thank, thank, thank, the den leaders and parents. Admitedly, it's hard for grown-ups to act like kids. I'm in my second childhood, so I don't have that problem! The only serious part of my pack meetings were the rank advancement ceremonies. These should memorable events for the boys and fairly solemn, IMO.

Recruit parents for jobs/tasks by asking them directly to do one small thing as opposed to 'chairing" a committee, being a DL, etc., until you find out what their talents are and what they like to do, or are good at doing.

Go to Roundtable...you'll get lots of ideas here and meet other CMs who will be more than willing to share ideas.

Finally, get as much training as you can. 10 years later and I'm still learning.

Good luck!


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  • 4 weeks later...

We only occaisonally have dens doing skits. Most of our boys are shy on singing too. Our dens rotate hosting the pack meeting and do the following: flag presentation, skit or skill demo, host 4 activities, and provide refreshments.


Some of the activities are games like penny toss, lassoing a boot, balloon relay. Other fullfil requirements/electives like modeling something from clay, starting a family tree, learning about your home state, etc. The activities are based on the monthly themes from National. Every Pack should get at least 1 copy of the Program Helps at the Program Launch from your council.. You can order more copies from your Scout Shop or ScoutStuff.org (National's online store).


A format like this may make things a little more fun and easier to transition into for a start. If the boys start getting out of hand, use the Scout Sign to quiet them and remind them at the more time they run around, the less time for the fun activities. Maybe the next year shift to all dens performing at each pack meeting if you want. Things should be fun and you have to see what works best for your Pack.


I am the most experienced Scout in my pack (Wolf to Webelos & AOL, on to Eagle, and in the OA) and they look for me to take over next year. I am currently running a Bear Den and work in IT, so be CM too just is not practical for me or the Pack. I will not have the time(I also have 3 kids who are in/starting Daisies, Cheerleading, Football, Tee-ball, Baseball, and Lacrosse, plus Religion). But I help out any time I can, like going to most Round Tables and assist anytime that I can. Maybe you have a parent like me somewhere that can help do some training and advising other leaders.


At least you have a ACM, our cubmaster for the last 4 years just moved on to Boy Scouts, Our Webelos I leader stepped up to be new CM until Feb. 2007. We have needed a ACM for past 2 years and our Treasurer leaves in June.


Do a talent survey of all the adults. Try to match backgrounds/skills with committee needs. Try to recruit from Tiger/Wolf parents a new ACM to starting training in order turn the reins over to when your son crosses over. Have someone do a monthly newsletter with reminders for upcoming events, Pack meetings and leader meetings, and anything news worthy for the pack.


ASAP get a copy of the Council and School calenders and note all revelant Cubscout events and school closing. Use this basis to plan out next year. Have a leaders meeting in June to find out from all other leaders: what works and what does not, activities they would like to see done(same or differently), and get ideas to brain storm over the summer. Have a August leaders meeting to plan out the whole year (pack meetings, leader meetings, activities, district and Council sponsored cub events). End of year we meet at a restaurant, and in August we have nacho night or BBQ at someone's house.

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