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Multiple Pack Meetings

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As packs become larger the skills needed to manage and lead them change. The nature of the program may need to change as well.


For example: with large packs it becomes increasingly difficult to hand out all the awards that have been earned with meaningful ceremonies. The time taken to do so keeps expanding in proportion to the number of boys until it pushes out other worthwhile activities, or the meetings get excessively long.



I've toyed with the idea of having two separate pack meetings, one for Tigers and Wolves and the other for Bears and Webelos. Each could have similar program elements and other program elements that might be customized for the maturity level of the Cubs in the Pack.


Of course there might be occasions when the whole pack met as a group.


Any comments on this bright idea would be welcome.

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It is not a Pack meeting if only some of the dens are there.


How can the younger Scouts interact with the older Scouts, if they only see them once, or twice a year?


If your Pack is so big that you can not handle everyone in a single Pack meeting, then it is time to split the Pack, not the meeting.

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Consider yourself fortunate, I suppose. There are a lot of packs that are so small, the challenge is to have meaningful DEN meetings. I guess you are on the other end of that spectrum.


One thing to keep in mind is that the BSA divides Cubs into three distinct groupings: Tigers, Cubs (Wolf/Bear), Webelos. And the Wolf & Bear programs are set up in very similar ways. So it wouldn't be ideal to separate those guys. Then too, the Bears are itching to be Webelos (and Tigers think the Wolves are "big" kids, much admired). So you wouldn't really want to separate those groups. Not to mention the hassles for parents who have multiple kids in the pack, and/or leaders who wear multiple hats, or your CM and ACM(s). Would they be happy to come to more than one pack meeting? This could result in some new practical problems, just as it resolves some existing problems. (I also tend to agree w ScoutNut that it isn't really a pack meeting if not all the dens are included/invited.)


Maybe there are some other ways to address the underlying issue. For example, maybe you can have some awards handed out at the den level, rather than the pack level.

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We have a very large Pack and this is true. That said, after 5 years in the Pack, 2 as DL, 1 as ACM and 2 as CM, I have discovered a few things. In most cases, unless it is something truely unique (such as how we go overboard for our Bobcat ceremony with drums, indian dress, etc.), the parents care more about how the bling is presented than the boys. Most of the boys couldn't care less "how" they get their awards as long as they get them and hove fun at the meeting. They really don't want to sit through 40 cases of "Joe Green worked hard to get bla, bla, bla." Because of this fact, we have moved to a more simplified and rapid award distribution. Beads are presented in Den as they are earned by their Den Leaders. Belt Loops and other awards and patches are presented in a quick manner during the Pack Meeting and then we concentrate on what is presented at the Pack meeting for content, games, and group activities. The boys have a good time and they don't get board.

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Hello LisaBob,


My own pack is small and struggling, but I'm Commissioner for a couple of packs that are good sized and succesful ----one in particular is getting to the point of being hard to manage as I've described.


They've been going in the direction of Pack212Scouter. I've suggested my bright idea of two pack meetings, but they are happier with Pack212's methods.


I've taken the time to make badge presentations something that might be memorable for boys. But perhaps this winds up being boring for most boys as Pack 212 suggests.


My aim has been to make the presentation reflect the work put into getting a badge and hoping top inspire other boys to want to complete their achievements and earn their badge.


Eagle Scout and Arrow of Light ceremonies commonly inspire boys to work on advancement, at least for a while.


Are more elaborate badge ceremonies worth the time and effort it takes to put them on?



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Keep in mind it been a few years since I was Cubmaster (TwoCubSons are now OneEagleSon and AProjectAwaySon)but our pack ranged between 80 and 120 cubs, depending on the time of year.


My philosophy was that recognition was the number one purpose of a Pack meeting, so we ran things pretty much as P212S outlined. We even pushed belt loops of to the den meetings. Generally we only pesented "big" awards at pack meetings -- obviously rank, religious emblems, etc. We went back and forth on Webelos activity pins and arrow points.


But we made a big deal out of the presentations. Sometimes we may have had 12 or 15 boys receiving the same rank, but our goal was to single out every boy at some point and highlight what he had done. Everyone had their 15 seconds of fame.


One thing we did which I think was unique to our pack was a bulletin board on an easel just inside the fellowship hall door. Across the top was a banner "Tonight's Honored Scouts" and below we had each boy's rank badge mounted above his name and den number. There was always a crowd around the board to see who was getting what that night. The original idea was that during the meeting we would move the board to the front of the hall and make the presentations off the board. That resulted in a number of lost badges, especially if a boy was absent the first month. Ultimately we got enough rank badges that we had a separate set just for the display board, separate from what was presented to the Scouts.


You've probably done this already, but before you go cutting into the core purposes of a pack meeting, make sure you've stripped out all the crap. Still doing announcements? (If you must, feel free to sing to your computer, but please don't post the song.) We replaced announcements with a down-and-dirty newsletter given to everyone on the way in. At most the CM would remind folks to pick up a copy of the newsletter and may call attention to a particular item. DON'T let the CM devolve to reading the newsletter. If the popcorn kernel needs to conduct business, or the day camp coordinator needs to collect applications, they should set up a table in the back of the hall.


Bottom line: don't take away from the boy's time with adult business.

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Yeah, we also hand out the belt loops and activity pins in Den Meetings. They get to go home and say "I earned this today". (Actually, since it is right after school, they can also show off to the kids in after school care).


As I've posted elsewhere, one can still "recognize" them at the Pack Meetings. Just because Michael Phelps got his Gold Medal at the Olympic pool just after drying off doesn't mean you can't recognize him at the Pack Meeting when he comes home to Baltimore. (Plus, there is less downtime as one handles the bling).


On the topic of who cares about the presentation and comments (kids or parents), the Pack Meeting presentation (before we started doing the belt loops and such at Den Meetings) that had the best kid reaction for a fun way to award was the Awards Pinata: all of those baggies of bling with names on them were put in a Pinata, and the kids got to line up and whack away.


In any event, as far as I can see, the big connections kids make at this level appears to be at the Den Meetings, with their Den (and maybe other dens at their same level).


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All RIGHT! So no one likes my idea of splitting a pack and having two meetings!



I have yet to find anyone else who liked that idea, but it still seems to be worth considering to me!


In the meantime though, I copied Eagledad's excellent post on how he managed his large pack meetings and e-mailed that on to the Cub Master who raised questions about managing increasingly large pack meetings.


I'm Commissioner for that pack and ran the Tiger Cub Den a couple of years ago when the pack was struggling.


Thanks for all the excellent comments and ideas!

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