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Getting New Parents Involved in the Pack

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If I just ask the group I get no responses.


If I ask individuals it works at least half the time. I tell the den leaders that they have to have an assistant leader recruited and generally they can do it. At join night I tell them that it's a family program and they'll be leading at least one meeting for their son's den.


Our committee jobs are harder to fill than the den jobs.

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You can politely assign jobs.


If you ask you will never get a volunteer...... have a specific job ....small to start then progressively larger with mentoring.


I didnt understand this for the first five years aa a bsa volunteer.


Till i figured it out i was beating my head against the wall.......I worked myself out of a job in 6 months doing just this.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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Unwilling parents? It seems unlikely you'd have success in getting them to help. You should have recruited more boys with willing ones. You're doomed to fail. Give up.


But seriously... effectively leveraging the willing may be a better use of your time and effort than engaging the unwilling. Novel ideas for this would be interesting to read. But one suspects that the successful formula (or at least the one with chances of success) is the dull but effective tried and true.... communication, coordination, planning.


There's some truth to the old saw "if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it." But take care not to burn out your best resources.


Facilitate their decision to volunteer by having a program or schedule outlined and laying out an expectation that all will volunteer for at least X commitment from Y slots on a calendar/schedule with discrete slots they can choose from. For those slots, they'll be responsible for making the activity happen and have latitude to do it their way (within the bounds of safety, morality, and program appropriateness.) Have back up plan activities-in-a-box ready to go for when plans fall through and excuses phone in.


Tell them frankly... "It's a family program. You don't help, program flounders. You do help, I'll help you help, and we'll make this a fun and successful program for all concerned."


And then stand before them and deliver a speech like this:



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The method we use to get help is simple - we ask for it.


We do not do a general, cattle call, request. That is to easy to turn a blind eye/ear to with the thought that surely SOMEONE ELSE stepped up.


We use the BSA method, and ask, face-to-face, the person we feel will do the best job in the position needed. We keep asking until a suck, ahem!, volunteer, accepts.


We generally do not have a problem. Heck, I had a parent get mad at me because I did NOT approach him! We ended up with 3 assistant leaders in that den.


Our Pack's theory is you have to get them early, and brainwash them. So we suck the parents into the whole concept of Scouting, and volunteering, at the Tiger level.




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We have a core group of parents that just always help out. However, this year, they are gone (moved to BS last March) and the support is lacking.


We've relied on the den leaders to lead things. This year, we can't--the Web2 DL has a daughter whose a senior in high school this year--lots of college trips and other events. My husband (Bear DL) was just placed on the transplant list for a kidney, so we cannot commit to leading anything for the next few years...when the call comes in, we have to drop everything for 6-8 weeks. We have made it clear to the parents that if they DO NOT step up, then activities will be cancelled.


Basically, I try to get to know the people before I need them--find out what they are interested in or what they are good at. Then I simply take the sign up form with me and flat out ask. I have the DLs ask (two do so with no problems, and I think this year Tigers dens are going to step up, they were asking all kinds of questions and stepping right in). If all else fails, I send in the CM. No one says no when he asks.

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I have a strategy I've been using for several years to get parents to help, and to get NEW parents to help RIGHT AT THE START in particular.


That begins with our recruiting night, held last Wednesday. We do an activity that pretty much requires the boy and his parents to work together to complete the task at hand --- building stomp bottle rockets, a simple Raingutter Regatta boat or whatever.


Parents then get to experience the fun of seeing their boy compete with the project they built together.


At our first den meeting Monday, parents will be working with their boys on making a customized hot dog roasting stick, which will be used on our hike next Saturday.


At the Monday meeting a simplified family survey is handed out for parents to complete, asking the parents to identify the kinds of things they would be good at doing, or that they would like to do, to help the pack.


The Saturday hike is to a fun location, where we will be introducing parents and boys to how to sell Cub Scout Popcorn so that new families are encouraged to participate. The conclusion of the hike will feature a fun hot dog roast with Cub Scouts using their new roasting sticks to roast hot dogs over an open fire.


The following Monday (two days after the hike) new parents are the invitees to our scheduled pack committee meeting, which is held in part as a reception to introduce new parents.


We have some treats as part of the reception, and will be using the parent survey sheets to ask parents to help with particular things they have already indicated they would be interested in doing.


Our aim is:


1) give parents a powerful reason to support the pack, by engineering some excellent activities and experiences for boys, parents and families.


2) Use the family survey to identify things parents are good at doing or WANT to do.


3) Make the reception an attractive thing for new parents to attend, and ask people to fill as many positions as possible at that time.


4) Get people into the HABIT of attending pack committee meetings by scheduling them as part of the pack meeting plan, getting brand new families to attend right away, and keeping meetings short (an hour or less) and fun for adults.




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We have a mandatory parent meeting right after recruiting, the next week.

We go over the basic outline of positions in a pack and explain what positions need to be filled. We usually get someone who steps up if we need a cubmaster or assistant cubmaster usually a dad who used to be a scout. If not we recruit someone to help with finding some ceremonies and making some decorations for pack meetings, someone to help lead games for pack meetings and someone to help lead songs and skits/run ons, etc. Those people usually end up as an assistant cubmaster after they try it for a month or so.


the committee positions are the hardest to fill.

We go over our calendar of events, and try to get someone from each den involved for each event. Some things are simpler like who can call and set up a visit to the firestation for the tigers?


Then we break down some committee jobs into small pieces. it may be newsletter, email list, who can go to the scout shop and buy awards once a month and who in each den can help with popcorn sales, etc? we try to get one person per den to want to help out with these sorts of things.


we let everyone know that every event is put on by us. there are no magic fairies that will come do it if we don't do it.


We bribe them with snacks and drinks, and we talk about other things besides scouting, and we make sure everyone knows all the fun that can be had.


and somehow, just like every other pack we end up short handed, but get a core group of extra hardworking parents. we try to have someone (scout parent unit coordinator?) touch base with uninvolved parents to explain what we need provided, paid for, done behind the scenes, or need their help for one meeting to do. And they do usually comply once they know what is needed and a bit of help identifying what it is that they can do around their busy schedule. cause it seems everyone is super overscheduled nowadays.


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Hello 5 Year,





Excellent post! Your early parent meeting is just what we'll be doing September 24, although it wont be "mandatory." Instead, we'll be coming off a terrific activity at our recruiting night, a model first den meeting and a terrific hike and hot dog roast.


A series of hit activities for new parents provides an incentive to see how that's done at the parent meeting.


But I'm all in favor of bribery and treats ---- do you have any you recommend in particular?


Also, I favor limiting parent meetings to no more than an hour. If parents know there is a realistic timetable and they wont be talked to death, they are a lot more likely to attend.



Personally, I wouldn't do a long description of positions. I should have our customized (brief) family survey forms which will allow us to tentatively match people up with jobs that need to be done. So we can ask people to do specific tasks.


Hmmmm--- I have a new Tiger Cub father who was in Cub Scouts and an Eagle Scout. We have an overworked Cubmaster who is also a Bear Den Leader. How soon might you hit that new parent up to be Cubmaster?

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We do a general invitation to all of positions that are needed. Sometimes you get a response, sometimes not. The most effective way is a personal invitation to someone that you have targeted for a position.


I just did this with a prospective Tiger Den Leader and he is showing interest. Even if he does not accept, I have at least conveyed to him that I believe he has leadership qualities that our Pack is looking for.



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