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vicious mess - unwritten rules at the speed of thought

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How does one stop a pack committee that throws out the book and has only unwritten rules that can change at the speed of thought? CO is concerned, me too. CO also doesn't want to destroy the pack. It would like to see committee follow the leader guide, but how does it do that without removing all of the committee members if they don't want to change?

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It is hard to respond, as your post does not list anything specific. So, here's my general take on the situation.


Adult volunteer membership (den leaders, cubmaster, committee members, etc.) is reviewed and approved by the Charter Organization, usually by the Chartered Organization Representative (COR). If the COR is not satisfied with the actions of the committee, it is the COR's obligation to meet with the committee and discuss the issues as hand.


Perhaps dedicating a committee meeting where the COR brings in a District Trainer and holds a review of New Leader Essentials would help the committee regain its focus. However, if the committee continues to disregard the instructions of the COR, then the COR must step up to the plate and remove those individuals who are the cause of the problem. Ideally, the COR will have replacements ready before a removal occurs, replacements who accurately understand the BSA Cub Scouting program and are willing to provide it to the youth your pack serves.

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I wish it was as that simple as more training. The rep who is supposed to be interfacing with the CO is actually hostile to the CO. It's more like the inner circle kind of thing. It ends up that the CO isn't represented in the committee nor are they particularly welcome. It's truly a shame. Religious awards are discouraged, etc. I personally don't see a way out of it without replacing them, but they are already operating without 2 deep leadership.

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Sixstones, welcome to the forums.


If you don't mind a few questions from an old professional Scouter, the following information would help me and a lot of very wise volunteers to help you with your situation:


To which organization is your pack chartered?


What are the points of contention between the CO and the COR?


Can you give us more details on the "vicious mess?"


What role do you play in the pack?


In what way is the committee "throwing out the book?"


Generally speaking, the more details given to the folk who hang out here, the better the advice received. I think you'll find this group to be pretty even-handed when all information that can be given is given.


Please let us help you. I like to think that's what we do.


Assistant Scout Executive


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chartered to a church


Points of contention I'm not really sure about


Vicious mess: see below


Role: Webelos Leader


In what way: A parent and I have both been told that they (the cubmaster & committee) make their own rules and they don't really care what's in the book. This was also said in front of the COR




One Den's too big with no thought of separating

Paperwork is not turned in for all members that way their charter isn't as expensive

No 2 deep leadership for ANY of the dens

Parents have been told they don't need any more leaders/help

Parents have also been informed the boys don't need any uniforms

Bears & Webelos are not allowed to earn their whittlin' chip, I was told the boys might get hurt

We've been told that the boys are discouraged from earning a religious medal

Meeting are held 2 times a month with 1 pack meeting a month, not allowed to have any more than 2 meeting even for webelos

Cubmaster has taken it into her mind that she has to approve all the bobcat badges. The parents and leaders aren't good enough for that.



And the list goes on.


Now, on behalf of the COR, she just now found out there is problems but she doesn't know how to deal with them...espcecially since the committee wouldn't even talked to her last night when she showed up for a meeting. She doesn't want to destroy the pack or tear it apart but she does want to get it fixed.

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SS --


I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice for dealing with the committee (I'll give you a few thoughts later), but I think it is important for you to keep in mind that you have an excellent opportunity to provide a quality Scouting program to....


... your Webelos den.


You can encourage your Webelos to earn their Religions emblems and even help set up a program if there is enough interest. You can encourage your Webelos to wear their uniform and set a good example by wearing your own. Meet with your den as often as you like. If you're meeting in your regular location I don't see how they can prevent you from meeting. Teach knife safety at a den meeting and give your boys their Whittlin' Chips. The cards are readily available at the Scout Shop and only have to be signed by you. I'm not suggesting that you do all this stuff at your next den meeting for the purpose of thumbing you nose at the committee -- go at it with a positive attitude -- but I'm only suggesting that an out-of-control committee can't prevent you from running your den the way it should be run.


As to the problems with the committee: with or without your COR (preferably with) you need to place a call to your DE. Several of the problems you cite -- lack of two-deep leadership, failing to register boys to save money -- raise serious liability issues. If the DE doesn't step in (or have your Unit Commissioner do so) go to your Scout Executive.


The rest of the issues relate to quality of program. The committee either wants to follow the aims and methods of Scouting or not. If they want to offer a quality program, training will help. Perhaps the district training committee will offer a group course for the entire committee.


But if they insist on running the progra as they are now, it's really up to the COR to make the leadership changes necessary to bring the program up to par.


Good luck to you and your boys.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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I agree on promoting the religious emblems. The sticky part about that is it that I have to do it outside of any den meeting. The CM's son is one of the Webelos, is always at the mega-den meetings, but only participates with the rest of the Webelos about half the time. They are preventing meetings, threating to remove me as den leader if I don't stay with their mega-den meeting program. At this point in time I'm afraid that the out-of-control committee is indeed preventing me from running the den in typical cub scout fashion. I taught Wolves last year. They all received their religious emblems awards, over half received the U.S. Heritage award, and all of them finished at least their citizenship BL.


The COR and please forgive me if this gets confusing, it's confusing here sometimes. Their is a real COR (COR-A) and another one claiming to be the COR (COR-B), and I'm not sure if I understand all of it yet. But here goes. COR-B left CO and was replaced by COR-A. COR-B went and called parishners in the church to undermine COR-A. COR-B has since left the church. COR-A only contact with the pack was to sign the charter and donate money. Even with making inquiries to the pack, COR-A did not know what her rights and responsibilities were and had no idea of the problems.


Then there are also 2 non-active committee members. #1 member I'm not sure why she is not involved, #2 committee member has been incapacitated for a year now due to health problems. That leaves one committee member who is actually the committee chairman, she just happens to be friends with the CM and they are the one's making up their own rules, alongwith COR-B.


Are you as confused as I am yet??

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There is a Troop in our district that whenever I have paid them a visit are always in the same place.

It is as if time has stood still.

Everytime I have been there they are in the Church basement. Sitting around the same table.

They don't attend summer camp.

Reports show little or no advancement.

But there they sit the leaders and five or six Scouts.

There is no evidence or any indication of a program.

I know that this seems a long way off from where you are.

However I feel the best thing that the boys in this troop and you could do is -----


Packs and Troops ought to be like restaurants, you shop around till you find one that you like and serves the stuff that you want.

Just like these lads in the troop that does nothing, I would think that what is happening hasn't happened overnight.

The real difference is that it seems that you know what the program ought to be. Maybe they don't?

Welcome to the forums.


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Most of the time I can answer quickly. This time I need to mull it over until morning. Both Twocubdad and Eamonn offer solid advice. I'd suggest starting a pack under your own leadership as an option.


However, I ask that you let me mull it over during the night and I'll try to give you some alternatives within 48 hours of this post. Please free to call me to task if needed. I'll watch these forums as I always do.


Thanks for answering my questions. I'll return the favor and answer yours. If you'd like, please feel free to private message others on this forum to get their opinions of me. I don't mind.


Dave Steele

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IMHO, the best solution is to remove the cancer at its source but there is a danger to that as well, the patient may die from the surgery. How's that? The CC and the CM get so ticked off at being replaced and stomp off in a huff taking their kids with them. Their kids' friends want to leave as well and then others figure that something must be wrong so they leave too.


Be that as it may, you can't let people stray too far from the program.


At this point it is really up to the COR to step up to the plate. Maybe the Unit Commissioner should be involved as well.


There may not be a good resolution and the best thing is for you to take your den and run away. The pack may die which is not a good thing but the worst thing is that the boys are being denied the Cub Scout experience.



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Oh boy, this is a mess. They're not leaving you much wiggle room, are they?


Ultimately, you've got to do what's best for the boys. Given the seriousness of the violations, the status quo isn't an option. It sounds like you have the ear of the new COR. I would want to make sure you both have the support of the Institutional Head. If he/she isn't involved in Scouting, it may take some education to get him/her to understand the problems.


You and the COR need to sit down and figure out a plan and see what all the options are. Work with your DE and commissioner. One option may be you becoming CM. One may be moving to or forming another unit.


Hang in there, a lot of boys are counting on you.

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I echo the poster who said you could provide a quality program for your den. It reinforces what I firmly believe from my Cubmaster and pack CC days: the Den Leaders are the key to Cub Scouting effectiveness. The Cubmaster can be great, but if the den leaders aren't, your program will stink. The reverse is true, too. You can't save the world, but you can save your eight.


What can they do, fire you?



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SS -


Let me first address the mess you described by letting you know part by part from your list what is against BSA policies and what is not.


"One Den's too big with no thought of separating "


This is not a violation of BSA rules, but could hurt the program for the boys. They could get "lost" in the big group and some kids aren't comfortable without getting personal attention.


"Paperwork is not turned in for all members that way their charter isn't as expensive"


That's a problem. At best it is an insurance risk for the pack to carry intentionally un-registered kids. At its worst, it is an absconcion of funds -- stealing money from the parents. If a pack accepts an application and money from a parent, the expectation on the part of the parent is that their son is registered promptly with the BSA. Even holding that application and money for one month to save the fee (I've seen it done) is stealing money from the parents and the Boy Scouts of America. Further, if the boy is not registered, he is not entitled to wear or earn the badge.


"No 2 deep leadership for ANY of the dens "


Are there no parents at the meetings? Just a den leader? If so, they are neglecting a policy of the Boy Scouts of America and there is nothing to protect them from allegations of child abuse or negligence in the event of a law suit. Two deep leadership does not require two registered leaders, there are other options.


"Parents have been told they don't need any more leaders/help"


This is not terribly bright on the part of the committee, but isn't violating policy.


"Parents have also been informed the boys don't need any uniforms"


That, as it happens is true. However, there are a lot of good reasons for the uniform and I think efforts should be made for full uniforming for all boys.


"Bears & Webelos are not allowed to earn their whittlin' chip, I was told the boys might get hurt "


Phooey! There is no policy to back that claim up. I agree with the suggestion that you teach it anyway.


"We've been told that the boys are discouraged from earning a religious medal "


That ought to get your CO excited in a not-too-good way.


"Meeting are held 2 times a month with 1 pack meeting a month, not allowed to have any more than 2 meeting even for webelos "


I'm seeing more and more of this. There are no requirements for the number of meetings that must be held and some packs are going to bi-weekly den meetings and bi-weekly pack meetings just to keep busy families involved in some Scouting. I don't agree with it, but there's nothing to stop them. I'm troubled that they're limiting the number of meetings you may hold and don't agree with that, either.


"Cubmaster has taken it into her mind that she has to approve all the bobcat badges. The parents and leaders aren't good enough for that. "


I need some help with this point. I can tell you that the approval for the advancement falls to whichever position(s) have to sign the Advancement Report" that is turned in at the council service center when the badges are purchased. If the Cubmaster is one of them, she indeed does have a part of the approval in her hands. I don't have one in front of me and don't regularly see them, so I'm really not sure.



As to CR A and or B I'll admit to confusion. Whoever is the currently registered one needs to spend some time with the District Executive, District Commissioner or both to find out what he/she can and should do. Then they need to step up to the plate and do it. An important part of that process will be to have a conference with the Institutional Head -- pastor of the church.



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  • 3 weeks later...

It's been awhile, I thought I would update everyone on the situation. Come to find out (per last message) that the lady identified as COR-A actually was the IH that was supposed to be signing the charter, it's being looked into as to who is signing what these days.


The interesting threesome CM, CC, & COR-B pretty much ripped me up in front of the pack. Asked the myself, my wife, and my bear-cub not to return. Then they spent a lot of time on the telephone trying to encourage the only other pack in town not to accept us either.


Anyway the CO has sent a letter to the council informing them that COR-B is not holding any position. The CM & the one-person committee(CC) have been put on notice that if it doesn't all change dramatically very soon the charter will be going away. My understanding is the the CE will be coming here soon to help straighten out the mess. The DE ending up being part of the problem since she didn't care what happened at the pack as long as "the numbers" were there.


I'm helping out with the bears in the other pack as an un-official assistant. It may be a long time before the damage can be undone and the wife and I can participate in scouting again other than being parents. As for the Webelos (4) that were in my den, 2 quit when I was asked not to come back. (I only just learned of this yesterday). Of the other 2, 1 is the CM's son, and last one doesn't come to any of the meetings.


I wish them (the CO) luck in fixing this, as far as the pack goes it's not my place to do anything there anymore. My hands are washed of them.

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