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Cub Master forcing me to take New Boys?

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Welcome to the forum.

I'm with you 101% on this one.

As I see it you have every right to set the limit of how many Lads you feel you can serve and serve well.

If the Pack needs more adult leaders?

That is not your concern.

Your job is to deliver the program to the Cub Scouts in the Den you lead.

The role of the Pack Committee is to form a selection Committee and set about finding the adults that are needed.

Sure the easy thing to do is place these boys in existing Dens. But a Den is supposed to be the size of a Boy Scout Patrol, Cub Scouting is supposed to prepare theses young Lads to become Boy Scouts.

I urge you to stand your ground and serve the Boys in the Den as best you can.

Don't allow yourself to be bullied into doing something that you don't want to do.



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Thank you for your thoughts.


Thank you for your support. I will hold firm on this. I have always been a person to follow my gut instinct. I try my best to do what I feel is right.


Maybe I will log in again and tell you how things turn out. It will be interesting.


Keep on Scouting, I will do the same.

Take Care.

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Agree with Amy and Eamonn. As a former CM, I was faced with this in a huge Pack. Rather than alienate and possibly lose the good DL I had, it was my job to form new Dens. Like Amy said, if parents won't step up and "help the Pack go", then the blame is on them...not the existing DL. 14 boys in a den is insane and should never happen. Just like I found having a Pack of 15 dens (and 4 Webelos dens) was insane, making Pack meetings a circus. We split the Pack and got back down to a manageable size. 20 years later, the spun-off Pack has split again and all units are still strong and active. That's how Scouting spreads.

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You mentioned that several of the parents in the den were already highly involved as volunteers... Have you considered splitting the den so that more boys could be added to each of the two dens?


Get the Asst. DL setup as a new DL, and have 2 of the parents step up as new Assistants.

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Former CM here. I confronted this in the pack and I agree that you cannot be forced to take additional boys, nor should this kind of pressure fall on you. I would ask if you could take them on and if you say 'no' I would respect that. I also agree that after being den leader for every level, 8 boys is a comfortable maximum for a den size. I might push it to 10 or 12 for the right group but that isn't for me, as CM, to decide. That decision is for the den or the DL to decide.


I also agree with the sentiment that den parents should be prepared to step up to the plate if needed as leaders. The program is not designed to be a free babysitting service and I fear that some parents view it that way.


I am unsympathetic to external criticism that places the responsibility on the Den Leader for excluding boys if the DL decides not to take them in. The DL is already doing a great service for 8 boys and often does not get sufficient recognition for this. To condemn them for turning away boys who have been stranded by OTHER adults is, in my mind, obscene. The OTHER adults are the ones who need to step up to this plate and take responsibility.

Yes, as CM I also had to take on a den temporarily several times. If the pack has a strong committee and a supportive CO, new leaders will be found.

Otherwise, if those boys cannot be placed in another or a new den, the parents of those boys are the ones who have made the ultimate decision by not getting involved as leaders themselves.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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It sounds like some of this may be a mountain out of a molehill in the end.


Denleaderamy wrote: "If I say yes and allow them this time. Round-up will come around, we'll pick up 2-4 boys and before long we are a den of 12, which is close to what we left before."


Then if the pack expects you to pick up boys at round-up, regardless of the other den's leader issues, you'll still have a problem come the fall, won't you?


Has the pack considered this... keeping the 2-4 boys "floating" over the summer, den-less or under the temporary direct leadership of the CM, and then taking the 2-4 new Webelos, adding them to the floaters, and creating a whole new den of 4-8 members? That would seem to solve everyone's problems.


One additional observation, and I'll leave this alone and wish you the best -


"If these boys leave Scouting, it is not because of me. It would be the responsibility of the parents who don't step up and/or the Committee who doesn't recruit new leadership. Don't place blame on the volunteers."


The parents and the committee are volunteers as well - so you're effectively placing blame on other volunteers. It takes a team effort to run a pack well. And a good pack is only the sum of good dens.


One other idea. It sounds like you've got your program ducks in a row. One solution that would help both you and the other dens would be to hand over some responsibility for a couple of meetings to your ADL or some parents, and take the time to run a workshop on program or planning for other DLs of perhaps less successful dens, or for parents who want to step up. That would help everyone.

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"The parents and the committee are volunteers as well - so you're effectively placing blame on other volunteers."


I disagree strongly. Amy is defending herself from a claim that SHE is to blame and YOUR spin puts it on her as well. The blame game is destructive. Taking responsibility is what is needed and Amy is taking responsibility RIGHT NOW for the den she has decided she can manage. That is HER rational decision. The responsibility for those leaderless boys rightly falls to someone else who can take on that responsibility. If no one volunteers, the blame is not on other volunteers but rather on people who DON'T volunteer. They can take responsibility or they can take blame.


But if Amy decides she can't take the boys on, she has decided what the bounds of her responsibility are and her decision should be respected. The CM can meet with the parents of the stranded boys and offer them the opportunity to revive the den. It should be clear to them what the implications are for refusing to volunteer. I did this on several occasions and each time we managed to resolve the problem. Those parents are caring people and they usually can make a good decision if they really understand the costs and benefits to their boys.

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The bottom line is, some people will NEVER 'step up" and no maount of alk, cajoling or even pointing out what htey are missing by not bsing involved with their children will change that. My son is now 17 and I have seen the same phenomenon in Scouts, sports, PTA/PTSA, church and probablky other places that I have repressed by now. I think it is the Marines who say that 10% never get the word. You can probably turn that around and say 90% never "get it" about volunteering.


You can either get all upset about it (which I have in the past), or just understand the phenomenon and be grateful that you have the opportunity to be involved in things for your child and for the other children who don't have parental support. Sometimes people aren't involved because of difficult situations and sometimes it is just because they live for themselves. If the latter is the case, then our involvement with their children may be one of the few ways to break that cycle for the chid. After all, that is one of the reasons that adult association is one of the methods. Other people may truly feel they have nothing to offer. With those people, a friendly invitation may be all that is needed.


All that being said, I sympathize with Amy's problem but need to add a personal story. My son joined Tigers late in the fall because he had been playing flag football (and I somehow ended up being responsible for the concession stand for the whole organization---go figure). He was at a diiferent school from most of the kids but we lived in the area and the CM and CC were people we knew from our church. He made the 12th Tiger. Before the first meeting I got a call and was told by the DL that he couldn't join because 12 was too much. (Now, that was true, but not anything I had known about. Additionally, probably 9, 10 and 11 was too much also.) There wasn't an option offered to start another Den or anything. I called the CM with that question and became a DL (actually I think the title was Tiger Coach, but I didn't know that at the time.) Interestingly, the 6 boys who remained in the original Den were all "old guard" form the town and the 5 other boys who came to the new Den with my son wer the newbies or otherwise different (from the East coast or Hispanic or, in my son's case, African-American). Coincidence or clique, who knows?

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Good story, pinkflame. You are obviously one of those people who find it difficult to say 'no'. Especially when children are involved, and I appreciate that.

I guess it's interesting to speculate about the reasons primates do what they do. In the end, we're left with a simple decision to volunteer or not. If no volunteer can be found among the parents of a group of boys, I am saddened by the fact that those boys are being left to fate by their parents. But that is their decision, for whatever reason, not mine...or yours....or Amy's. As Cubmaster I greatly valued the volunteer leaders and tried to give them recognition. It is a contagious thing, I observed, to give that recognition at pack meetings, because sometimes one of those reluctant or shy parents would come up and mention that they would kind of be interested in helping out. I always had an application in my pocket.

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Guess I'll just have to disagree with the optimal number in a den being eight. To me, an optimal number is whatever the den leader and assistants are willing and comfortable to handle. In Amy's case, that number is eight. However, that is not the case for others. Back in my old CM days we were the mega Pack in town. Always around 120 boys any given year. Most dens had more than eight boys. One in particular I remember well always had somewhere in the range of 12-16 boys all through the Tiger to Webelos years. That particular den leader was outstanding, had at least two ADLs and a Den Chief.


Back then when we did school roundups we never had any fifth graders signing on and at best two or three fourth graders. Our Webelos den leaders always absorbed the boys that came to school night. There was simply no way to form a brand new den, with a brand new leader, with only two or three scouts.


Amy, while you may want to limit your den to eight boys (and that is certainly your right to do so), what will happen in the fall if one or two fourth graders want to join? Again, as you and others state it is not your responsibility, but you have posted that one of your concerns for taking on two more boys now is that you may take a few more in the fall. Seems a bit contradictory to me. If your line is drawn at eight and you are sticking to that, then it shouldn't matter how many guys sign up in the fall. It will be up to the CM and Committee to make sure those boys have a den leader.


I do hope for your CM and Committee that they are able to find a den leader for the four leaderless boys and that in the fall are able to recruit a few more to make a den with a reasonable chance for success. Nothing turns a guy off to crossing over to Boy Scouts more than a lousy Cub Scout experience.


Maybe I'm feeling particularly ornery today, but after reading through the thread again I can say at least for myself that I had a very strong negative reaction from the initial post. Thought about it for a while, thought I reached a level of objectivity, and then came back later to read a new posting. Perhaps not Amy's intent, but the posts come across as very isolationist - our group is just perfect the way it is and we don't want outsiders mucking it up. Perhaps again not her intent, but it certainly doesn't appear to me that she was seeking advice at all. Rather, after receiving confirmation that she's doing the right thing from Eamonn she signs off and wishes us well.



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To the contrary, I'm not spinning anything or blaming anyone. Please re-read what I posted, and don't read into it any more than what I wrote. Amy's post said, in part, that any responsibility is on the committee, which is composed entirely of volunteers. Then she said not to blame the volunteers. I don't understand that line of thinking. Volunteers are volunteers, whether they sit on a committee or are direct-service folks.


I agree that it's not Amy's responsibility. If she absolutely positively can't handle a ninth boy, that's her prerogative. But I strongly disagree with her reasoning, and encourage her to open her mind and arms. We've heard four different reasons for not wanting the group to grow:


- "I have planned on handing off more bits of the responsibility to my boys in Webelos and feel that it is harder to manage more than 8."

- "Adding boys would impact my wallet. Because Scouting is not free. There are always expenses involved. As a leader, I often find myself absorbing some of these."

- "All I was saying was this, I have a strong program because I keep it small, fun, and managable. If you overload leadership, there is a higher chance of burnout and then there is a bigger problem."

- "This group of boys that we have. They are all friends outside of scouting. They are all on the same sports teams and have similar interests. We see these people in other situations. I am also worried that new boys might feel left out because of the team spirit the boys already have."


Each of those reasons - delegation of duties, financial concerns, potential burnout or external friendships - can be dealt with in a constructive manner just as easily with a group of 10 as with a group of 8. So I don't see the reason for all the angst that some have expressed.


From my own experience: As a Cub resident camp staffer, I had super-dens of 15-20 Cubs that I had to lead in programs, escort around camp, eat meals with and get ready for events - for up to six days at a stretch, for 10 hours or more each day. I only burned out when I neglected to ask the parents for support.


For all we know, the CM has reached out to the parents of the remaining boys, and they all have excellent reasons they can't step up to the plate. Perhaps the dads are night-shift nurses and the moms are long-haul truckers, and their schedules just don't work. We don't know.

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First, I see Ms. Amy, who with her ADL is handling 8 young boys and delivering the promise. Her read of herself and her ADL is 8 is the right max number for them.


As Eamonn, Packsaddle and nldscout said before me: Bravo, Ms Amy. Keep delivering the program to these 8. If anything, I'd ask your CM for more resources, such as finding you a Den Chief from a local Troop!


There's a reason B-P chose 8 for both the Patrol and the Den: A leader can work directly with a finite number of led folk. Current leadership theory actually has that number at 5-7, but 8 was the going empirical number from B-Ps service in the British Cavalry.


As far as growth goes, the Committee Chair and the Cubmaster have responsibilities to the Pack as a whole, to plan for, recruit for, train for, and develop growth. Managing growth by simply assigning new members to the existing structure is not a plan to succeed. It's simply failure to plan, and thus planning for failure.


Now, might it be reasonable this fall for your Den and an expansion Webelos Den to meet together several times, so the new DL/ADL/Den Chief team can see some of what "right looks like?" Sure. You do get to establish ground rules, though, even there.


BTW, if your CM finds someone who says they can take (12, 14, 16) kids in the Den and asks you to step aside, ask for a Pack Committee assignment, and graciously yield ... and I'll bet even money now you'll be asked for help soon enough. :)

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Gwd, keep in mind that it's really difficult to gauge tone and inflection from a medium like this. I'll offer a general observation. I agree with your statement about the optimal size being whatever the DL or den decides. The pack I led (I was CM for about 6 years) had about 12 dens (+/-, and excluding Tigers) and what I observed was a size that maxed out at 10. At 10 the den leaders were often asking for help, maybe for a new den to take a couple of boys along with new ones. If they had less than 8 they were usually willing to accept another boy. I concluded that about 8 or so was an 'optimal' size from this unscientific but empirical exercise. I also observe that at the time, 9-passenger vans were popular. (and the boys helped destroy at least two of mine, LOL) Nevertheless, I draw no conclusions from that observation.


There were short-lived exceptions. One den had 12 and seemed very happy with it. Some of those boys moved away so it slimmed as it entered Webelos. I saw another den with 15 and they stayed that way for several years. They had one DL and FIVE assistants. The parents collectively decided to run it as a single den and I supported that decision. Again, that den no longer exists as the boys all split up into smaller peer groups as they aged.


As for the tone of Amy's initial post, when a DL finally came to me for help, they often had been reluctant to add another problem to my plate and had let their frustration build. They were also sometimes shy about admitting the problem in the first place. And sometimes they were anxious about my reaction to the problem. All these things can cause their initial statement of the problem not to be completely objective. I understood this. I suspect Amy is feeling some of these things, maybe more as well. I could be wrong.


Edited to add: I agree with John-in-KC's observation of '8' suggested as a good size by B-P. When I was a den leader I had up to 8 in the den and I have to tell you it was a lot of fun...but very difficult to keep up with all of them. We met outdoors for most den meetings and there was usually a tream or lake as well as playground equipment. None of them were 'Stepford' children. More than 8 would have been a much greater challenge and I complained vehemently and daily about it to the CM (me, it turned out for a couple of early years ). ;)(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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