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SeattlePioneer

GREAT Pack Committee Meeting

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Three and a half years ago, I began volunteering with a Cub Pack that consisted of one Cub Scout. The pack is in a critical location and as District Membership Chair I decided we couldn't afford to see it fail.

 

We've been especially effective in growing the number and effectiveness of our adult leaders and parent volunteers.

 

Last Saturday we had a terrific Pinewood Derby that gave both parents and Scouts a very good experience and a lot of fun. Last night we had the best Pack Committee meeting I've ever seen. People were happy with the program and ANXIOUS to volunteer for leadership positions to help continue and improve the program. One parent has agreed to be our new Popcorn sale leader and several people suggested new ideas for activities at our June camp out which they would lead. A one time Pack leader and long time member of the parish is going to be our Chartered Organization Rep and work on making the pack more of a part of the parish community.

 

Monday we have our spring recruiting night scheduled. Yesterday I delivered more than a thousand flyers to ten of the schools in the area of the pack --- if I'd had more flyers it could have been twelve. I'll be visiting four schools at lunch to promote our recruiting night, which will have boys and parents decorating an egg and then dropping their package off a balcony to see if their egg survives.

 

A number of schools in the area are heavily Hispanic --- up to 60%. For the first time I have an invitation on the back of flyers in Spanish ----I'd like to see if we can attract more Hispanic./Latino families to the program, which is chartered by a Catholic parish.

 

We still have problems, but it is really nice to see some successes happening as well.

 

(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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That's great news and I'm glad you posted. I'd like to hear about some of the strategies you used to grow the Pack, the ones that worked best and the one that didn't. A success story like this needs to be shared.

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Great Job SP!!!

 

How are you handling the translation barrier with inviting from the Hispanic schools?

 

I ask, because one of the schools that feeds our pack is becoming more Hispanic because of the neighborhood make up. We've had a hard time recruiting there because of the language barrier. I know if I could get some of those boys to sign up I would be getting the whole family to sign up as well. Not literally, but the whole family does come out to den meetings and supports the boy in his endeavors.

 

Now get that District Tiger program up and running, and you'll be out of a job!

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My Pack is based out of a public elementary school with 60% Asian and 35% Latino composition. The Pack itself follows nearly the same demographics except it is more like 55% Asian, 30% Latino and 15% everyone else. Language isn't an issue since I've heavily recruited for all ethnic groups and I've identified families with the necessary language skills to help communicate.

 

When I became CM, there were 12 kids. 3.5 years later, we've got about 55 scouts (11 Tigers, 12 Wolves, 20 Bears, 7 Webelos I and 5 Webelos II)(give or take 3). The secret of my Pack's success?

 

(In no particular order but all important)

 

*A "no drop off" rule

*A separate Code of Conduct that every family (parents and scouts) sign every year reminding that good behavior is the only appropriate behavior.

*A Guide to Scouting that sets forth Pack expectations and information for new parents

*Early planning

*Summer Program

*Lots of camping (early on in school year)

*Promoting the Pack at elementary schools and utilizing the BSA national advertising materials but with our own messaging (for example, this year was "Skills You Need To Know To Beat A Zombie Apocalypse")(also make sure your Council approves materials and language).

*As CM, get to know your DE really well as well as local troops

*Get involved in school activities and local government (Pack is well known in City Council and governmental staff so we get all of the fun activities and outings)

*Foster shared responsibility and POSITIVE attitude toward family activities.

*Encourage families to volunteer (or be "volunteered) since they will be at meetings anyways.

*Account for sporting activities and seasonal events (schedule meetings and events with eye toward basketball, soccer, baseball, martial arts, etc.)

*Identify potential leaders BUT really spend time evaluating to make sure that parents are positive and "treat" their own children well at meetings (don't recruit a screamer or parent who belittles own child).

*Find out about parent interests and talents (make up your own talent sheet as BSA is bit complicated).

*Use parent interests and talents in Den and Pack meetings and at outings.

*Remind families that they are leaders and that the Scout leadership only supplements their leadership. Thus, in CS the children look to their parents for support first and Leaders also look to parents for support - reinforces message of fostering responsibility

*Train your parents (meaning, encourage them to take BALOO, go to Pow Wow etc.)

*Every family to do Youth Protection (so they understand why all the rules)

*Tell families that if the children are not having fun, then that means leadership is doing something wrong - ALWAYS be responsible for your Pack. Don't pass the buck.

*If your Den Leaders or other leaders make a judgment call on activity, support them if it is within the realm of reason. Remember, this are volunteers and they don't need to be belittled, humiliated or dressed down. Always take the bullet if a parent is upset ("the buck stops with the CM/ACM/Pack Chair).

*Goal setting

 

Most importantly, if you are not having fun, you are definitely doing something wrong. Build out your leadership. Spread the work around. As CM, I review everything but I let the 3 secretaries and 2 treasurers work on the details. I've got 1 ACM and another in training so the workload is spread around. Since families are there, make them be the Pack Committee.

 

Finally, as CM, you have to demonstrate competence. If you don't know, don't make it up. Look it up, ask around, get help. But don't make it up! Be funny. Pride won't get you far but self deprecating humor will. Also, speak up. Families don't want to see a wishy washy CM. Make decision and run with it. If it is wrong, acknowledge the error and change. Remember, no pride.

 

My recruitment goal is 65 kids next year and 75 the following year. I've also set up goals for camping, monthly outings and optional weekend events.

 

It's a bit of work but everyone gets involved and they definitely have a good time.

 

Have fun and remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE (this is what I tell every parent) :)

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I was just at ANOTHER terrific Pack Committee meeting, this one for a Cub Pack for which I'm Commissioner.

 

The Cubmaster has been running a fine program, but he hadn't been getting the help he needed and he was tending to become "the Cubmaster who does everything." Pack Committee meetings haven't been held for several months, which didn't help.

 

He's planning on giving up the Cubmaster position after August, when his son will be a Webelo II and looking towards joining Boy Scouts and leaving the pack. His theory is that it's better to leave as Cubmaster after August and make the Pack responsible for recruiting a new Cubmaster before he actually is gone, so he will be available to help with the transition.

 

Anyway, he's made a strong plea at meetings and E-mail for parents show up for a parent meeting today, and 15 adults turned out.

 

Wine, crackers cheese and such helped create a nice social atmosphere as he reviewed the parent volunteer issues and appealed for more help.

 

Quite a number of people agreed to help with various tasks and positions. At least one Assistant Cubmaster was recruited, and a first pick to be Cubmaster identified. Leaders will be inviting the prospective Cubmaster to a coffee at Starbucks to tell him he is the Pack's first choice to be Cubmaster, that several new people will be filling positions and that he will have the help he needs to make the job a reasonable one.

 

This is the classic method of recruiting a unit leader recommended by BSA. I wouldn't be surprised if it works again.

 

 

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Great stuff to hear. I'm going to do some serious recruiting of boys and adults in the next month. The pack already has 56 kids but not enough leaders and draws from an area that should generate 200 cub scouts. The fear has always been that recruiting would lead to too many kids. In my opinion, we need to recruit and. Then figure out a way to bring the program to every kid we can, start a second pack, etc.

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In my experience, the most powerful and effective method to recruit new leaders is found in the BSA publication "Selecting Cub Scout Leadership" found on line at:

 

http://www.google.com/url?q=http://scouting.org/filestore/pdf/13-500.pdf&sa=U&ei=SRJ4T4-AD8iLiALZ6JCnDg&ved=0CBAQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNEBYlNc7WX92ol-CsaLpX34Mzh0kg

 

 

There is a similar publication describing the same method tailored for Scout Troops.

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>

 

 

The flyers delivered to schools has an invitation in Spanish on the back of the flyer. The invitation was written by a council District Executive who speaks Spanish.

 

My aim is to hope to find a parent who is bilingual in Spanish and English, and give them the task of being our contact person for Spanish speaking families.

 

At this point I have a few ideas on how to improve the number of Spanish speaking families in our English speaking pack, but no successful experience in this area. So I'm trying to learn how to do this.

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My pack will be doing spring recruiting Monday. Of course I'm hoping we get a good turnout of new families joining the pack.

 

If we do, I'm floating the idea of turning our April Pack Committee meeting held at the end of the month into a reception aimed at welcoming those new parents into the pack.

 

I'm thinking of written invitations to those new families to attend, perhaps a couple of bottles of wine and snacks, name tags for all, and giving everyone a chance to introduce themselves.

 

Supplement that with a little discussion of upcoming pack activities and things families can concentrate on, such as earning Bobcat.

 

And making new families feel welcome to ask questions about things they don't understand about Cub Scouts.

 

Asking people to help out with things at upcoming activities such as our June campout.

 

 

Does that sound like it would be a good idea?

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how do you reconcile the use of wine at scout leader meetings?

 

I think I could get a LOT of parents to attend meetings if I served alcohol.....

 

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What's the problem?

 

 

Alcohol is only prohibited if youth are present or you are at a Scout Camp or facility.

 

The aim here is to create a friendly atmosphere for new parents. Some people have a glass of wine, others do not.

 

Den and Pack meetings are for youth. Pack Committee meetings are for adults. A former DE suggested that it was as important for adults to have an enjoyable time as for youth, and he suggested making wine available as a means to achieve that end.

 

I've had a Pack Committee meeting with wine a few years ago, which went well. The Pack Committee meeting I attended Saturday as a Commissioner was the second, and that went very well.

 

The reception I've suggested here is a proposal I've made to the Pack Committee Chair. We'll see what she wants to do.

 

Getting new parents brought into a friendly, welcoming Pack Committee sounds like a worth end upon which to sacrifice a bottle or two of wine, to me, anyway, and I don't drink at all.

 

Furthermore, don't you think a lot of parents these days are rushed, harassed, and lack a friendly, sympathetic group to which to belong? If we can make the Pack Committee that group of friends who work together, isn't it likely we will have a stronger program?

 

Anyway, these are my thoughts.

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We do have snacks and drinks at our pack committee meetings. No alcohol though, as there are often children present and our CO doesn't allow alcohol on the premises. Unless the meeting is in a private home, all of the places we've used to hold meetings - church, library, local coffee house - don't allow alcohol. When we've done yearly planning meetings with alcohol, we don't seem to acomplish as much...YMMV. :)

 

Our pack and troop leadership are social groups as well. Spend that much time with people and you'd better like them!

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