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What has been your experience forming new Tiger Cub dens for your pack? What kinds of problems and issues have you had?



Any comments on the on-line training if you've looked it over?


What kind of training has your district or council offered?

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Helping parents understand the role they are expected to play, and that the folks who volunteer are just that - volunteers, probably also parents, not paid staffers.


Consistency & quality of program - often seems to be the blind leading the blind, unless there's a "repeat" parent or two in the Tiger group. This turns off a lot of folks.


Getting past the "not it" syndrome where the last parent to object is the one who gets picked to be the leader, frequently resulting in rather poor leadership choices.


Explaining the family-oriented nature of cubbing, esp for Tiger partners (and coming up with creative & flexible solutions for would-be Tiger parents who can't attend many meetings but want their boy to participate)


Helping first-time cub parents understand the relationship between den and pack.


ETA: I guess a lot of this is really about teaching young parents about being good civic volunteers - an experience many of them have never had in their adult lives, before cubbing.

-------About training:----------------


By the time we get a person to do the online training, they're already hooked and will likely do whatever needs to be done for the pack. These are not the typical Tiger parents though. Wavering parents aren't going to jump through the hoops to do the training. I have thought it would be better to do the training en masse, maybe at the first den meeting (with some other activity for the little guys).


We run (used to run?) Tiger Den Leader training in person, in November. By then it is too late. A den that is off to a weak start will have lost half of its members by then and expectations about behavior, participation, and the nature of the cubbing program have already been formed.


(This message has been edited by lisabob)

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We've had really good experiences when we do parent to parent recruiting in the spring in Kindergarden. A group of interested parents forms to provide the experience for their sons. Once first grade starts, group is ready to get going. (And those piano, swimming, etc lessons don't get scheduled over the day of scouts.) District offers Cub Leader training in the fall with a tiger breakout for the 3rd hour. Tigers get going and achieve by B&G. Boys and parents are proud.


When we recruit in the fall, leaders haven't been able to schedule in the training. Group dinks around until after Christmas. Boys tend to earn their tigers late. Less retention.


This group of tiger parents is interesting -- several Eagle dads. Some are even attending the summer activities and going to day camp with the Bears. It will be interesting to see how that den does.


Our district has school by school fall recruiting done by the DE but this has not been effective in our school community.


There was one session of training offered this spring. That is new.


Our pack does den meetings after school, so this might be a big difference from other pack recruitment experiences.

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I schedule our district Tiger Cub Den Leader training in.... June. Just did it this past Thursday before our Roundtable.


We had four people attend, two people each from two packs. That's despite several e-mails to pack leaders pointing out the advantages to packs of promoting this training shortly after new families have been recruited.

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We always do all of recruiting in early September. In general, we've had all of the issues that Lisabob lists.


The first big den leader training is usually in September - that was the best way to do it from my perspective. But now I guess it's all on-line. The training is fine, but I think there is some value in getting people together with lots of other leaders just to see that you're part of a big group all in this together.

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I agree with what Lisa listed as the problems. The solution I've offered to my pack is that I act as Tiger Cub leader until we have someone who is comfortable volunteering. The program stays strong and new parents are not overwhelmed with learning about scouting while trying to lead a group of boys and parents who are also learning about scouting. In my experience at recruiting leaders for all levels, parents are more likely to volunteer when they've had some time in and have a better idea about the commitment. I can appreciate that both as a parent volunteer and as one of the pack leaders who will be working with them.


The online training for Tiger Leaders is ok, about the same as the other online training. There are so many variations on how different packs operate, I think it is hard to do anything more than a very general overview. Hearing about the different resources is good, and the information about how the organization is structured is also good.

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I think others have addressed most of the usual problems with:


- leaders

- parents

- program


Another big problem is communication. Our CM needs to communicate better with our adult leaders and vice versa. Last year we had one leader meeting at the beginning of the year, and that was it. Not nearly enough in my opinion. This year I'd like to help make sure that the new crop of adult leaders is given every possible means to communicate with me and the CM if they have questions or need anything. I'd also like to make sure that we have more adult leader meetings as well.


The biggest hurdle we are running into at this time is getting parents to step up as volunteers and leaders. Most of them just want someone else to run the program so they can just bring their kids and sit around socializing during the meeting. As of right now, we need a bear leader, a wolf leader and a tiger leader. Our CM already commented to our DE that if it had not been for me stepping up and having activities each week for the boys to do we would have folded as a pack. He also singled me out and mentioned this at our advancement ceremony/campout we had for the boys this past weekend. I am torn about this. On the one hand it is nice to be recognized for my efforts and have the respect of the other adults and especially for me the kids. On the other hand, I feel kind of down that none of the other parents/adults stepped up when our other leaders stepped out. And to be honest I did not get the parents involved enough this past year. I plan on changing that in the coming year. Point is, it is hard getting parents to volunteer and I am not sure why.


Retention - we seem to have trouble keeping our tigers ... and our leaders. Very much tied to the consistency of program lisabob mentioned. Having a good leader who provides a good program for the kids keeps the kids wanting to come back.


Dealing with the grown ups. This is usually where scouts seem to disappear as most parents won't bring their kids back if they don't like what is going on for one reason or other. The parents don't like the CM or the DL, or they don't approve of an activity, or ... well you get the picture. Most times the kids are fine, it's the parents who are the ones creating problems. Of course this is a general problem, not just with the Tiger dens.

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Spring recruiting has been a big bomb for us and I would not do it again, but to each their own.


The reason it's hard to get a Tiger leader, beyond the usual volunteer reluctance, is that most people do know know what Scouting is about. So, you ask for a leader, and nobody has a clue. That is a valid point.


So, we recruit new tigers but do not ask for a leader at that time. We hold our first Tiger meeting and I run the meeting with my son, displaying the parent-son partnership.


I explain to parents that this is how the Tiger program works--parents and sons together. See how easy it is?


Then we have a signup sheet. Each parent signs up for at least one slot to plan and do--activity or go-see-it.


I also have a guidebook I made up that I give to the den as a resource to pass around. It has a bunch of games and activity suggestions. Somewhat like the meeting plans in the offical BSA material, but not as overwhelming and strucutred. Makes it look simpler and easier.


Then after we get signups, I say that I need a TDL who is essentially a "parent coordinator." This is someone who will schedule meetings, report advancements to our advancement coordinators, and who I can talk to in order to be sure things are going ok. That person MAY evolve into the DL going forward, but not necessarily. As people see how the program runs, someone more suitable may come forward.



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Yes, we had zero signups for Tigers in spring and that was the most surprising to me because I thought that boys just leaving kindergarten would be looking for stuff to do, particularly since they're not really in baseball yet. But I didn't realize that the PARENTS were the ones NOT looking for stuff to do.


In contrast, a CM friend of mine has had great luck with spring recruiting, running a similar event. Go figure.


So, out of a half dozen kids who came to our spring recruiting, most were for my son's den, and were invited by boys in the den.


Got two signed apps. One with no payment, I'll catch you later (right!). The other we did get payment and add to the roster but after a few reminders about summer events coming up I got a message back that "we're going to wait until fall."


Go figure. Big waste of time for Tigers. Stick with fall. The parents, who make the decisions, are back in the activities mindset then.

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83Eagle, we handle Tigers in similar ways. The primary difference is that I act in the role of parent coordinator for the first couple of months. I have found that after running meetings for a month, parents find the idea of den leader to be much less intimidating.

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As district Membership Chair, I conducted a model recruiting night at our March Roundtable. Pack leaders were invited to attend and bring their Cub Scout to our Stomp Bottle Rocket Launch, the most powerful means I've found to attract the interest of new Cub Scouts.


I helped three packs do spring recruiting using the rocket launch, including my own. They signed up 10, 9 and 13 new Cub Scouts. The 13 were all Tiger Cubs and my pack signed up six new Tiger Cubs.


In my pack, new Scouts join the temporary Bobcat Den for a few weeks so that boys can complete Bobcat requirements and parents can learn about Cub Scouts by doing it. That includes a hike and hot dog roast.


Before our June Roundtable, I offer Tiger Cub Den Leader training for any new parent who can be persuaded to attend. In July I conduct our district Tiger Twilight Camp with the aim of giving new Cub Scout parents experience in leading activities.


Starting Tiger Cub recruiting in the fall is too late to reliably start new dens, in my opinion and experience. My aim is to get packs started in the spring and then to give them the ideas and leadership that will get those new Tiger Cub Dens formed in the spring and summer so they will be ready to go with a great program in the fall.

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I've done spring recruiting at the pack/den level and as a former district membership chair, at the district level.


Some packs have success with this, while others don't. It seems to me that the packs where leaders are well connected to their community, are most likely to succeed. The years where our pack did the best, it was really because we had a couple of moms with older boys who had volunteered all year in the Kindergarten classrooms. They encouraged the rising kindergarten families to join in spring, rather than wait til fall. People join because they already know the leaders, already have older boys in the pack, are neighbors/friends with families in the pack, etc. Cold-calls, people with no experience or connection to the pack already, aren't very likely to join in spring.


Now some packs also don't do (m)any summer activities, and for those packs there is not a lot of point getting a Tiger den up and running in May/June, just to have them wait until Sept/Oct to actually do any cub scouting.



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