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The "One Man Show"

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As I see it, accountability is the problem. I think most parents in a Pack recognize the CM as "upper management", and hold the CM accountable if something goes wrong with a Pack event. They don't want to hear about how the CM delegated something to somebody else, and it's that person's fault that something went wrong because that person didn't take care of it. I think the parents see it as Basementdweller put it...it's up to the CM to "keep an eye on things".


In this type of program that is entirely volunteer-run, we expect that when a person volunteers to do something, his/her own sense of accountability will drive him/her to deliver. Otherwise, what can we do? We can ultimately "fire" the volunteer, but not until after the fact. Seems like a common problem for many different volunteer-run organizations.


We can "keep an eye on things" but this is a touchy subject for a few reasons. First, the CM may not know the volunteer very well, and so a personal relationship isn't already established. This makes interaction awkward at first, just like getting to know your coworkers when you first start a job. Also, people have differing opinions of what constitutes "keeping in touch".


So some volunteers may be awful at communicating with the CM during the process, but ultimately deliver. Those volunteers may be offended at what they perceive to be too much "checking in" on them by the CM. However, without feedback how is the CM to know that the volunteer will ultimately deliver? Often times we've heard about how X delegated something to Y, X asked Y for an update but hasn't heard anything, X is hesitant to ask Y again because X doesn't want to "be a nag", and meanwhile the event is approaching fast and before you know it Y better come through because there isn't time for a plan B.


The ultimate accountability falling to the CM combined with the "touchiness" of delegating to others often times encourages a CM to take on more, not less responsibility.

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I'm the new CM for my Pack and I'm blessed to have a CC that is extremely active. Our CC actually plans and coordinates the Pack leaders meetings and coordinates Pack activities. We work together on planning and it's truly a shared partnership for the Pack. I can actually focus on the work of being a CM and not worry about Pack committee business. Quite frankly, I don't have time to be a "one man show". I like being CM and I plan to do it for at least two years but one of my first duties is to find my replacement. It's important to show parents that a properly run Pack is not a "one man show" and that shared leadership is normal.


Delegating? Well, delegation is the way to go but delegation requires work and follow-up. You should not delegate to others and forget about it. As a CM, if I have delegated a Pack event to other leaders or parents, it's important for me to check-in one or two weeks in advance to see how things are going. In the voluteer world of Scouting, surprises and the unexpected will happen, but follow-up before the event will minimize those occurrences.

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Jeffrey and his CC have the right idea 100% in my view and experience.



CMs need a CC who takes their job seriously, and both need to cooperate to identify new people for leadership roles.


A rule of thumb is that it's always easier to do a task yourself rather than find and train someone else to do it. Short term, anyway. Long term it's fatal if you do it too much.


It's a job to recruit, train and check up on those new leaders. So why not make that a job by itself? Scouting has the Scoutparent Coordinator position, who can be the person who finds and trains those new leaders for the CM and CC.


The tendency is for the CC and CM to be so busy that recruiting new people isn't done systematically, which is what the ScoutParent Co-ordinator can do. A Scoutparent Co-ordinator may be turned down when one task is proposed one week, maybe even when a second task is proposed the next week or month. But it's hard to keep saying "no" after a while.

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Hello Fehler,



From the BSA Website:





In my experience, pack trainers concern themselves with getting leaders trained, not recruiting them in the first place.



Of course, there's no reason a pack trainer couldn't be tasked with recruiting new leaders and THEN getting them trained! Perhaps I should have a chat with my Scout Parent Coordinator about taking on that job too....



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I am afraid our pack is doomed. Our current CM is a one man show when it comes to the paperwork and awards. I am a one man show when it comes to the games and activities. I have recognized this and plan to get the parents MUCH more involved this fall if possible. I am afraid, however, that the current CM will not have anyone trained to take over as CM next spring as far as the paperwork and awards go. We have no CC, Pack Committee, or COR and the CO is content to let the pack run itself. I fear for the packs future after next spring. I may end up having to take over for one year for my son's sake, but unless another parent is willing to step and be CM after that I don't know what will happen.


The lack of volunteers is not just apparent in scouting. I am a member of another volunteer organization, and when an event is coming up, it is like pulling teeth to get someone to volunteer to do something. It is also a small club, which contributes to the problem. Even when we were a bigger club, it was always the same group that volunteered for all our events. When this is true in any organization, eventually, that group gets tired of "doing it all." So they stop. The rest of the group can't believe what is happening, and either someone else steps up to take over or the group slowly dies. It is a sad situation.

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Ive been told that help is hard to get everywhere. Ie- church, pto, soccer on and on. Shame that everyone wants someone else to raise their children. MarkF you gotta live in NW Pa! If not it sure does sound like it. Good luck, help may come from somebody!


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Hello MarkF,



I'm working to revive a pack that was down to one (1) boy 2 1/2 years ago. The past year or so in particular I've been having success recruiting new and effective leaders.


They don't grow on trees. You have to keep looking for them and providing a welcome for people, and keep getting people started doing small tasks.


Two weeks ago I had a new parent whose boy just joined the new Tiger Cub Den as a Kindergartener offer to lead a game at our den meeting last night. As it happened, his son was sick and couldn't attend, but the dad was there ready with the game. He's interested in being the new Tiger Cub Den Leader.


If you are a one man show for games and activities, that means you are the #1 person to DELEGATE leading games and activities to parents who haven't done that. Give those parents an idea for a game and see what they do. Those that make a good effort are those to cultivate for additional tasks.



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  • 1 month later...

"Of course, it's a nasty cycle: as long as the leader keeps doing it, the parents see no reason to volunteer. As long as no parents volunteer..the leader will keep being the one man show."


Amen, and hallelujah.


I found myself doing this last year exactly to avoid what jamist649 describes.


Although, at the close of last season, we actually GOT a CC from another Pack who's going to come help us. She said, "I want YOU to just worry about being CM and making your Pack meetings a fabulous party. IIIII am here to do your admin stuff."


I nearly wept.

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