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15 too many for a bear den ?

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Our pack currently has 2 wolf dens. My den has just me for the DL, the other wolf den has two DL's. We started as 2 tiger dens with my den having 3 leaders (and 10 kids), but 3 kids (along with the 2 leader parents) quit scouts. So I've been operating my den by myself with some help from parents, but no official other leaders to discuss activities with. The parents help when I ask them to do a specific thing for me. I haven't been able to get another parent to commit and sign on as an official leader.

Now next year our CM is leaving at the crossing over when his youngest son crosses over. We have no ACM and haven't had one since I've been there, and no real committee chair. The CM and his wife a DL do just about everything. In fact after almost 2 years, I'm not even registered as a DL yet. I don't know if it's our pack or the council losing stuff or whatever.

But either way, the CM asked me at the beginning of Tiger year to be the ACM and I said no that maybe I would do it this year. But being both my ADL's quit. I can't step up and help anymore because there's nobody left for my Den. I don't really want to be a CM, I'd be fine being ACM and doing piles of work, just don't want to run pack meetings. Our CM has asked politely about 5 times for someone to be and ACM and then CM. Nobody has come forward. I know what will happen next year if council comes in. Either all positions get filled or we shut the pack down. That being said, I was going to approach the other Wolf den and see if they were interested in merging for the Bear year so I could step up to ACM. Hoping to also find another ACM so when our CM leaves, there will be two of us. I would still be there for DL, but I'm thinking 3 of us could lead a den of 15 (assuming nobody leaves). Because I for sure can't lead a den all by myself and be a ACM or CM. Besides it's against BSA rules I believe. I offered to do both at the beginning of the year (before I was thinking clearly) and I was denied because I can't do both and I have nobody to take over my den.


What do you folks think? My fear is that when he and his wife leave, we're left holding the bag, not knowing anything. I've been trying to learn stuff, but can't learn it all. Not many others seem to be concerned about it as me.




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I had twelve to fourteen Bears and cringe at the thought of some other poor soul having that many! LOL You really need two dens for the boys to get the most out of it and having two dens will also allow you to have "rank" events where the boys do stuff as a group (like hikes and such). Shuffling and splitting is very hard but look hard enough and you will find the DL's you need to make it happen so you can become the ACM. Also call around and see if you can find a UC to help you both with the DL issue and with training. The UC's usually have some pretty good ideas about getting people to help.

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14 is an ideal number. After you get done telling the families that wont help out they are gone from the pack, you should have a manageable number of 6-8 or so.


Unfortunately, the "Cubmaster who does everything" is a formular for a failed pack, as you can see now.


You must be tough about getting the people you need to run the pack properly.


Frankly, the really critical position is, or ought to be the Committee Chair. There no reason a Cubmaster can't delegate running pack meetings to an ACM if he desires to do so.


I think someone needs to start making tough decisions about identifying the best person to fill various positions. If they refuse to do the job, either they agree to do something else that needs to be done or they are OUT.


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Even with my den of 7 it's tough because inevitably every meeting, one or two don't show up and with 4 it's tough to do some activities I have planned. Especially when I don't know beforehand that someone is not attending, which is quite often. I do think that 15 is a bit too many. I had figured if any more dropped out of either den, we'd wind up merging anyway, but thought I'd get opinion here.

Even though I'm not more than a den leader, I am penning an email that isn't as polite as the CM requests for help were. Mine pretty much states that in one years time the pack will cease to exist unless some people step forward and help. PERIOD...I haven't sent it out yet. Just conferring with a couple other people on the wording of it.

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There is a reason all the leadership and management theory I've ever read, be it from industry or the Armed Forces, says 5-7 is the right size for 1 person to supervise. 8 was based on 1 leader and (shock) seven followers.



- Split the den.

- Get at least two assistants and a Den chief.

- Do nothing, and watch some kids walk away.

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If you are going to take over as Cubmaster, you will need to find leaders for your den.


You have been with this den for two years now. You must know the families at least somewhat. Which adults seem to like to work with the boys? Which adults seem to "get" Scouting?


Pick the two who you feel would do the best job of being den leader, then ask each of them, face-to-face, if they will take on the job. Make sure they know that the Pack will be behind them, and that they can come to you for help at any time. Make sure they know where to go for resources. Do what you can to convince them, and make them comfortable about taking on the job.


If they both accept, then you have your new den leaders!


If only one (or none) accepts, then go to your next best choice(s), and do the face-to-face request again.


Keep this up until you have two den leaders for your den.


If you are NOT going to take on the job of Cubmaster, then have the current Cubmaster do this same activity, but with the entire Pack.


Group, blanket requests, and email threats, will NOT get you any volunteers. They are way to easy to ignore.


Pick the best choice for the job, and talk to them face-to-face. Keep going down the list of best possible choices for the job until one of them says yes.


It is a lot harder to say no to someones face, than it is to simply ignore an email.


Whatever happens, you, and the rest of the leaders in the Pack MUST get registered in your positions, and you MUST get trained.


BTW - Where is your Charter Organization in all of this? Your Pack belongs to them. Do they care that they will loose the charter, and the Pack, if no CM can be found?

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I've asked 4 of my den parents face to face(the ones I thought best suited) at the beginning of this year when my other leaders quit. They all said no for their own different reasons. So after that I just gave up asking.

Same way the CM asked me to be ACM last year and I said no. Being in cubscouts for 3 weeks, there was no way I was accepting an ACM position and then running the pack. Also from seeing that he and his wife did everything(didn't take long to figure that out), while I have a wife, she works two jobs and can't do all that scout stuff, so I wasn't going to take his job on single handedly.


Beats me where the charter organization is, I have no contact with stuff like that.

While yes, my registration has never been finished, I have taken all the training that I was supposed to take. I'm just operating as an expired tiger cub parent last I checked.

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I have 15 Wolves. My Husband and I are CoDenLeaders as well as he is ACM and I'm Committee Secretary. When we started as Tiger Leaders with 10 boys we told the parents we can grow this group as big as we want but it means participation from all parents. The parents come to all the meetings and are very active. We never told them that as of Wolves they could drop off.


We tend to do things in groups. So we will ask for 3 parents to help out and split the group out. Then as leaders we can walk around and be available if there are questions or behavior issues.


I personally could not do this and be Cubmaster but many can and do it with smaller groups.


Talk with your parents and lay it out for them. You need den leaders and asst den leaders. If they don't step up to help then the boys will be without leaders. Then stop talking. Let them think about it. Hopefully they will step up or at least ask some questions that might guide them into being leaders.


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"I've asked 4 of my den parents face to face...... They all said no for their own different reasons. So after that I just gave up asking.



Dont give up asking. It will likely take multiple face to face requests before someone will agree to become a leader. In the meantime, start to change how things get done in the pack and den, with your chief goal being to make sure that the next leader will have all the help that he/she needs.

Success feeds on success. Packs that have a lot of adult involvment are that way because a) the adults are having fun, b) the work load is spread across a large group of people, c) the parents currently helping pull in their friends to help, and d) continuous recruitment is being done because it is recognized that leadership constantly turns over in cub packs.


In packs that are struggling to get enough adult help, most people will not volunteeer, because they see that there is never enough help, and dont want to be left holding the bag. It is difficult to move a pack from this culture to a culture where all parents help out, so

you may have reached a point where some tough love is called for.


Schedule a meeting of all parents of your den.

1) Review the situation and explain that going forward your den will be run as a team effort. (Parents are aware of the situation, which is why no one wants to take over as den leader.)

2) In advance of the meeting, prepare a schedule listing all den meetings, field trips, and other activities. Ask parents to sign up for two. They are the organizers for those meetings / events. If some (or all) parents do not sign up, assign them to open spots. The parents then have a choice - accept the commitment or drop their son from the den.

3) Make phone calls to any family that did not attend the meeting. Tell them the meetings/events that they have been assigned. If they balk, let them know that their only other option is to find another pack for their son.


Many people are glad to help once they know that they are not expected to take over the den.

Others will have excuses/reasons why they cannot help, some good, some not. There is something that everyone can do, regardless of the reason/excuse.

Expect some to make the decision to drop. Those that remain will have more fun. That includes not only the scouts, but also the parents, who are now more engaged.

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