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christineka

Wild Cub Scouts: Disabled and Jocks together

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I'm a new Den leader. I have two others, who are also new. We need help. We are an LDS troop, so none of us leaders really volunteered, but we want to do our best. We meet at the church. Being LDS, kids automatically become cub scouts on their 8th birthdays. They don't have to do it, but it is expected. The church pays the boys' dues and other fees. Our troop dynamics are a little different because no one has chosen to be in cub scouts and no parents volunteer to help do anything. That said, we had a bad meeting today and I wish I could throw in the towel.

 

We have had a rough time getting boys to come. They said they wanted to play sports games. We decided to do that today. 8 boys actually came! There were big problems, though. Two boys came solely to play. At every opportunity they were showing off how they could throw the ball in the hoop. (We were learning to serve a volleyball and playing kick ball.) They publicly expressed disappointment in several boys who were obviously not athletic. (My son is among the non-athletic.) Then when it was time to divide the boys into teams for kickball, they tried to be on the same team. I chose a different way of dividing teams, so they were on opposite teams and were upset. I paired off the boys to hit the racqetball to each other, but the jock best friends didn't get each other and so refused to work with their mates. Kids were all over. One boy got upset that the other boys weren't doing as expected... Anyway, it's chaos and certain kids don't respect others. We have a boy with both mental disabilities and physical deformities. He's a webelo, but coming to bears instead with his brother. We've got several other boys with mental disabilities (high functioning autism and adhd). Basically, when we have a bunch of boys, cub scouts is chaos and feelings are getting hurt. The rest of the time we've got only a couple boys showing up.

One of the den leaders has a couple high functioning autistic boys of her own (webelo and boy scout) and went to school for counseling, I think. She can be really good with some things, but we could use some more ideas and help. Please tell me anything you think might help!

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Not being there, it's hard to say. Not being familiar with an LDS program makes it worse.

 

So, to find a soulution, you first have to understand the problem.

 

In my un educated guess to an issue I have not personally seen in a unit who workd uner a program I do not fully understand....

 

I'd say that first and foremost, your biggest problem is that the parenmts have not taught these boys any manners, respect or control.

 

Yeah, all boys act up and get hyper every now and then. And mob mentality does happen top young boys too.That's normal and to be expected.

 

But the first thing you should do is talk to these parents about these boy's behavior and attitude.

 

Since this is an expected program, and parents are expected to have their kids attend, I'd figure that they would be more prone to establishing respectful behavior in their childreen.

 

Now on your part, this is the time to tell the boys that while they can still have fun, you are still in charge. You make the decidions.

 

Then maybe a short lecture on good attitudesm respect, courtesy, etc...

 

 

Again, not sure exactly how LDS does it, but in regular program, the unit will not let one scout ruin it forn everybody elsle.

 

Againm every kid acts up sometimes. No big deal,But if a few are causing that many issues,for the rest of the scouts, we will send them on their way.

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I'm not 100% clear on the LDS structure either. But here's the deal: what you are describing isn't Cub Scouting.

 

There is a program for you to follow. There is training for you to take to learn the program and there is a support structure of other leaders whose job it is to support you. You need to tap into these resources.

 

First stop is the Cubmaster of your Pack. (You are in a Cub Scout Pack, not a Boy Scout Troop, which is for boys 11 and up.) The Cubmaster is responsible for programming for the pack and as a den leader, you report to him. He's there to run the pack program and help you with your den program. If discipline within the den continues to be a problem, I would ask the Cubmaster for assistance.

 

There is also a pack leaders' committee which is there to help with the administrative details of running the pack. One member of the pack committee is the Training Chairman who should be able to direct you to a number of on-line and live training seminars. Different sessions will teach you BSA policies, the Cub Scout program for your level (Bear) and give you some specific program ideas to use during your den meetings.

 

If you don't know who these folks are, I'd go back to the person who assigned you to work with the Cubs -- your Ward President maybe? I know you may not have choosen to be a den leader, but I commend you for your attitude that if you're going to do it, do it right. I don't know how LDS church assignments work, but personally, if someone assigns me a job I believe the OWE me the resources to do it right. You need to go to these folks and make sure they are giving you the resources you need to be successful. Your boys deserve it.

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Well written. ^^^

 

Few things aggravate me more than parents of Cub Scouts who think BSA stands for Baby Sitters of America. I've personally seen it in both Catholic parish and public school Packs and am certain it pops up in every Pack at one time or another. It all comes down to the Charter Organization making the effort to educate the parents right up front, before their sons join the Pack.

 

If I understand correctly, your service as a den leader is considered a religious calling and you do not have the right to tell parents that their kids either "shape up or ship out!" Even so, there is nothing on the LDS website page about Cub Scouting (http://www.lds.org/service/serving-in-the-church/primary/leader-resources/scouting-in-primary/cub-scouting?lang=eng&query=scouting) that says you are expected to be a patsy and suck it up. My brief review of the webpage also finds that the Church expects the Pack to be organized and run just like any other Pack, with some minor LDS specific variants. That includes scout behavior and parent support/participation.

 

I suggest you contact the unit's COR, explain the situation to him, and request that he back you up in communicating expectations to the parents. This would be best done with all parents simultaneously, perhaps after a religious service, to avoid anyone from feeling singled out. If the COR is unreceptive, then go up the ladder. Unfortunately, if that doesn't help, then I suggest you not worry about tailoring the program to attract more kids and instead provide a program the conforms the BSA standards and pleases the kids who do show up.

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Also don't let being in an LDS unit isolate you. If there is a den leader from another unit in your area with whom you can compare notes give them a call. Your district executive can help you with that. Growing up, my troop shared some activities with an LDS unit, and I think it helped both SM's do their job better.

 

As to the discipline issues, I think you should work on two activities each meeting. One sport and one craft. It could be an activity where you make a game, then play it. Be sincerely proud of the jocks in your den, that way later you can actually ask natural leaders among them to help teach the non-athletes a skill or two.

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Go to your CubMaster and your bishop! Your disabled Scouts need one on one attention. The counselor in the bishopric over the Primary should be able to call additional people to help with these disabled Scouts.

 

Keep asking the parents for help. Just because they don't have a calling doesn't mean you can't request help if you need it. Ask for help!

 

Can you ask the "jocks" to be denners? Maybe if you sit them down and tell them how much the other boys look up to them and how you need their leadership, they'll step up. It should also help teach courage and compassion. :) You might consider asking the Scoutmaster for a Den Chief as well - if you have an older Boy Scout helping, it may help change the dynamic.

 

 

I'm also a den leader in an LDS pack. The sad thing to me is that my sister was called as a Webelos den leader in a different ward/district, and she hated it for some of the same reasons you listed.

 

 

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Find out about your district Roundtable. I found mine very helpful in program planning.

 

My first thought in reading yours is how big is your den? Six is a good number but no more than 8. Since sports are giving you problem, I'd get away from it and gear your den meetings toward hands on activities where the scout has to do their own yet follow you for directions. The Bear book should give you plenty of ideas plus google BSA Cub Scout program helps. I'm not sure if they still print those any more but they were really helpful during my first tour as a Den Leader.

 

If you have a very large den that can't be split, don't be afraid to tell parents they must do a rotation shift where they MUST attend a den meeting to provide adult help. If the parent can't attend, tell them its THEIR job to find a replacement. Do contract sheet of rules for scouts and make parents sign it. List the punishment on it. Scouting is not a babysitting service so that contract will help them change their ways quick by putting ya all on the same page.

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If you do have a mixed group of differing abilities try to rotate the activities so everyone has a fighting chance to be success now and then. Also I have seen dens that did a lot of sports and they never seemed to have long scouting "legs"; boys dropped out to join "real sports".

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All good replies so far. My $.02 worth.

 

1)Take the Online Den Leader Specific Training at www.myscouting.org. I know there has been work on a LDS Cub Scout Leader Specific that is available live, don't know if it's online though. (FYI LDS specific focuses on the differences between the current 5 year program that is in use and the LDS use of the older, 3 year CS program AND uses LDS terminology to help you out).

 

2) Get a copy of the Pack and Den Meeting Resource Guide found here http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/cubscouts/leaders/denleaderresources/denandpackmeetingresourceguide.aspx so that you can print individual meetings or buy the book (it's cheaper to buy the book). I would suggest that your church buys the books as they can be reused.

 

3) As someone else suggested, GO TO ROUND TABLES(RTs)! ( caps for emphasis, not shouting). RTs are monthly leaders' meetings for an entire district. It's a chance to meet other leaders in your shoes, get info for upcoming events, get ideas for your meetings, etc.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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Congratulations on getting a good turnout!

 

 

Cub Scout competitions are about being fun, character driven and building experiences.

 

As I think about it, I might have put both the athletes on the same team, and the other six boys on the other team! See if that evens things up and makes them fun.

 

If not, have the athletes take their shoes off and try again. They might be ready to sit down after trying that for a while.

 

Give the athletes a chance to see how they do sinking hoops from two or three times the usual distance. Or perhaps they have to run down to the end of the field and back before they take each shot. You want to wear down some of that energy.

 

Use these points to discuss what it means to "do your best." For those with special talents, much higher standards of performance are expected.

 

In Boy Scouts, when boys were antsy we did a run around the block. One boy always beat me, but he had to run pretty good to do so.

 

You do need to maintain order and make sure boys aren't being pushed around. The usual rule of thumb is that one badly behaved Scout can drive four other out of the program.

 

These are just a few ideas that may or may not work for you. Maintaining order for Cub Scouts is mostly a matter of keeping them busy.

 

You need one or two activities each meeting that all the boys will be interested in doing. That can be a science experiment, construction project or lots of other things.

 

An example of something I've found to be a hit is making and then using stilts. Each 2"x2" 8foot long stud bought at Home Depot is cut in half by the boys and a 2x4" foot rest is nailed on. Boys love sawing and hammering, and they'll have fun learning to use the stilts, too.

 

I'll bet you can teach even the athletes that there are things that are fun to do other than ball games.

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boys always seem to want to "win" they want the best X players on their team so that they can win.

 

it will happen in scouting both in cubs and boys if you allow it. the key thing I've used with both levels was to remind them that we aren't playing X to win, but for everyone to have fun, try new things, and to do their best. This isn't an X team - that's where you will go to try to win -- here you are scouts!

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