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ChuckSt8er

"Mandatory Volunteering" in Cub Scouts

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OK, as you were - - please feel free to debate the issue of whether it is appropriate to ask for a Pack to develop and execute plans to require volunteer time/support as a condition of being a member of that one pack (not Scouting in general).

 

The benefit is that it allows a more even and equitable distribution of labor, rather than continually taxing the "usual suspects" volunteers. The bad news is that parents whose time is stretched may not be able to provide the support that such an arrangement requires, and ultimately will pull their son out of the program.

 

Debate away.

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Interesting concept but one that should not be used.

 

Parent's and/or guardians are not part of any Scouting unit unless they register and requiring every parent/guardian to register would be unmanageable plus not all might be approved.

 

Ed Mori

1 peter 4:10

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This is basically already in place. What else does one consider the tiger cubs adult partner. They attend every meeting and every outing with junior. If the den is following the program they get their rotating turn at leading the meeting. If after a year they have not been bitten by the bug maybe the pack is better off without them. If your pack is lacking adult leaders fix your tiger program and the problem will take care of itself.

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And before anybody says "well the ones who wouldn't be approved wouldn't want to join..."

 

We had a lady, a single parent, whose son was soooo excited about joining cubs as a Tiger. Nice kid, nice lady. She was eager to sign on as a volunteer. Except she had some felony convictions for a variety of things in her (not so distant) past. She was up front about these, claimed she wanted to start over with her feet on the ground. But when we ran this past council the answer was "no way." Her volunteer app. was denied, and probably rightly so. Now she understood this and found other ways to lend a hand - setting up tables, making decorations for the blue & gold, etc. - but she was not in a position to be an official volunteer. Yet, her boy is still in cub scouts and will be moving along to a troop this year. It has been a stabilizing force in his life (probably hers, too). Do we want to say "sorry, not for you" to a kid like this? I didn't.

 

 

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People who are forced into doing something that they do not want to do generally do not do it happily or well. That puts an added burden on the folks who they are supposed to be helping.

 

If my CM/CC told me that I was required to take on a Pack activity (even though I was putting together a weekly program, spending my own money, setting up outings, spending hours each month keeping records up to date, spending hours attending monthly Committee & Roundtable meetings, spending hours getting ready for and helping to present monthly Pack meetings, and more, all in my capacity as a Den Leader) or I could find another Pack - I would find another Pack.

 

On the other hand, if my CM/CC asked my nicely if I would have time and be willing to help with something else I would say sure, why not.

 

I wear many Unit and District hats, not because someone is holding a virtual gun to my head, but because I enjoy what I am doing. The day the "gun" come out is the day I say enough is enough and find an organization that appreciates what I am willing to give to it.

 

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ScoutNut, wouldn't being DL be your "required volunteering?"

 

"If after a year they have not been bitten by the bug maybe the pack is better off without them."

 

This is SO true. When my oldest was a Tiger, there were some who just weren't going to participate in "shared leadership." We didn't miss them. But, there are a lot of folks joining as wolves or bears who miss that, so there needs to be a way to get them involved.

 

We had some boys join our pack in Spring of their Bear year. They joined because they received an invite to join scouts, and when they arrived at the meeting discovered it was a new pack and they were told the pack wouldn't exist without them volunteering. They felt tricked because they weren't told it was a new pack. They asked around and found us and were happy to know the pack wouldn't die for their lack of volunteering... the result was the parents felt more comfortable volunteering because they could contribute in areas where they were comfortable, instead of just because it had to be done.

 

 

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"ScoutNut, wouldn't being DL be your "required volunteering?""

 

I was actually referring to the following comment in the original thread -

 

"Our Pack is pursuing a philosophy and program of mandatory family support during two activities per year with assigned teams. Unless there is a REAL good reason for doing so, nobody ducks this expectation, not even Den leaders (they only have to support one activity due to their Den responsibilities)."

 

However I do not like mandatory volunteerism. Also, how would you enforce it in a Cub Pack? Charge the unvolunteering families more? Kick them out?

 

If you are going to put on a $ penalty, some might pay just to get out of it. However you will always have those who do not have time, or money, and don't feel they have a need to explain themselves to the Pack, who will simply pull out. Some will find a new Pack and others might feel that attitude is BSA policy and quit all together.

 

If you kick them out, you again get some who will find a new Pack and others, who might feel that attitude is BSA policy, will quit all together.

 

The Pack gets no volunteer, no $, and more important, the boy gets no Scouting.

 

How sad when it is so unnecessary. All you really have to do is ask the person you feel can handle the task, nicely, face-to-face, to do it. More often than not they will readily accept. If they do not, you ask someone else.

 

 

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Ed, I respectfully disagree. Remember, the original post was about Cub Scouts, not Scouting in general. The Cub Scout program is a family oriented program. The Scouts parents are their Akela. They need to be involved. They are part of the program, registered or not.

 

That said, I think the approach decribed above that one may take to encourage volunteerism (is that a word?) is a bit heavy handed and may backfire.

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I have to agree with Ed and ScoutNut on this. I've been very involved with scouting since my son joined, first with the pack, then the troop and district. I believe in volunteering in the community in other ways too. But if I were told by a unit leader that I *had* to "volunteer?" I'd probably go find another place to spend some of my "free" time just out of irritation. I'm not fond of adults on power trips, which is what this would signal to me (sorry Chuck - that might not be the case for you, I'm just saying that's my initial reaction to being told I "have to" do much of anything with my spare time).

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I don't think you can expect anything productive to come out of *forcing* someone to volunteer. The trick is to get them to *want* to help out. We have more camp staff than we know what to do with - several who don't even have kids in Scouting anymore/yet. Why? Because we have so much fun, everyone wants to be part of it. And camp staff isn't just the 2 weeks we're at camp - it's monthly meetings from October to June, writing program plans, coming up with supply needs, sometimes hunting down those supplies themselves, setting up and tearing down camp. It's a lot of work, and they know it. Yet still- we have no problem getting people to help out.

 

We have the same thing in my pack. We make helping out feel like a perk, not work. Help set up the Pinewood - get lunch free. Help set up the Blue & Gold - your name is listed on the program and I will make a big deal about your efforts.

 

I tell prospective parents that their sons will get from Scouting exactly what the parents put into it. If the parents don't want to be any part of Scouting, maybe they'd be happier signing up for a sport that will allow them to tuck & roll their kid in the parkinglot. Boys are happier in Scouting if their parents are involved. That doesn't mean every parent has to step up to my level of insanity, I mean commitment. Sometimes all we need from them is stay at an outing to be a human guard from the parkinglot. Any Mom or Gramma can help with snacks. Dads and Grampas are good at cheering for anything, and knowing that some parents will never be able to stay, if you can get someone to cheer for some spare kids, that keeps the happy going.

 

I tell parents that everyone has a talent or a skill, no matter what they think. It's my job to find that special something. I don't need 50 rocket scientists. Sometimes what I need the most is a Mommy who can handle a dozen kids and a bucket of crayons so we can run a leaders meeting without the kids underfoot.

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I've recently, after many years, got rid of a problem at almost the other end of the spectrum - the Obsessive Volunteer. This lady insisted on attending every volunteer opportunity, but was herself very unpopular.

 

I think volunteering with us gave her some sort of sense of purpose, so Scouting was helping her. Trouble was, when she was around, no-one else wanted to volunteer. It was a difficult issue.

 

Fortunately some other factors have now led to her moving on, and we're getting a lot more volunteers as other parents gradually realise she's gone. (It's hardly something you can loudly promote.)

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LOL, we had "that lady" too! Apparently she has relatives in Australia. We found ourselves asking for help in a more targeted and quiet way when she was around, not that it always worked.

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There is a difference between being a registered leader and helping out at an event. I agree that it is not feasible to have every parent a registered leader. We have parents who would not be approved by the Council as a registered leader. They can still volunteer to help at Pack events.

 

Reading through this post and the previous thread it appears that the ones who would not like being told it was mandatory are the ones who are already volunteering heavily at the unit, district and council level. You're doing your part and the intent would not be to get you to do more. This is aimed at the others who never go onto a website like this.

 

I've talked about this post to some leaders in our area and we get a good chuckle about those cub packs who say they would never require anybody to do anything to help. We see those units here and it isn't pretty. 5 parents doing the work of 20. Those units are usually very small and on the edge. If a parent moves out of town or has additional work commitments, events get canceled because there is no back-up personnel or plan. Or it becomes a group of 3 or 4 doing the work of 20.

 

A pack is a structured organization. To be successful, it needs to depend on people who can be assigned tasks and be expected to carry them out. Granted, some do this better than others, and we try to match the task to the ability. And yes, that includes giving them a choice of tasks.

 

Some people lead and some people need to be led. One of the goals of the program is to give these boys the tools to be a leader someday. We demonstrate that through the leadership structure. You lead by doing and you assign tasks to others to help you.

 

It has been said that some parents work 60 hours a week or more and can't volunteer. Nonsense. If you're a parent you will spend some time with your boy. You can show up at a Blue and Gold dinner and pass out napkins, or you can help lead a den meeting one night or you can scoop ice cream for an hour or two at a social event or something else. The idea is NOT to commit these folks to do it year 'round, the idea is to help out in some manner at some event. Plain and simple.

 

Dropping of a boy at a den meeting, not going with him to any event, not helping out at any event, leaving someone else responsible for your child full time, while you're busy elsewhere-- We call that babysitting or daycare here. Yes, there are cub parents that I can count the number of times that I've seen them during the year on one hand. But one of those times was to help at an event.

 

We ask them to volunteer with a smile on our face, they say yes, and no one has ever left because of it.

 

By the way, we have gone from being the smallest pack in town to the largest. Our program is full of fun activities such that boys come from other schools (and towns) to ours.

 

Now I am a commissioner. I help out packs that are in trouble. Why are they in trouble? Two reasons- failing to follow the program or lack of volunteers. And more often than not, lack of volunteers is the reason.

 

Sure I'd love it if every unit had parents lining up to lead and taking part all on their own. But it's not the case, so we give them the incentive to step forward.

 

CMM(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Mike)(This message has been edited by Cubmaster Mike)

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The key to this thread is one very particular word in the title - "MANDATORY".

 

"I've talked about this post to some leaders in our area and we get a good chuckle about those cub packs who say they would never require anybody to do anything to help."

 

If that is what you read here than you must be reading a whole different thread than I am.

 

There is a world of difference between asking specific parents in your Pack to do specific things (even just doing a mass cattle call for helpers, which I dislike) - and REQUIRING that everyone, INCLUDING registered Pack Leaders, MUST do a set number of Pack activities per year, or be kicked out of the Pack.

 

Chuckle all you like, I do not find that type of forced volunteering amusing at all.

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