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Jeffrey H

DE thinks our recruiting is "too good"

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Our pack leadership has done a good job of recruiting new cub scouts this past year. We did this out of necessity because we were beginning to lose boys pretty fast. There is only one problem. Our DE thinks were are doing too good of a job recruiting and taking the life out of other Packs in the district. The DE is not happy because our success has cost one unit to fold and another one is on the brink.

 

The CM and I were really annoyed by this assessment because our Pack does not recruit on other Packs territories and we do not recruit cubs away from other Packs. All of our recruiting was done within our charter organization (church) and one elementary school. If a cub comes to us from another Pack, he does it on his own initiative. We have no desire to see other Packs suffer, but wish them the best. We have about 50 active boys and Ill admit that sometimes the dynamics of a group our size causes boys from small dens to check us out.

 

Two questions:

 

1) How does a Pack keep their recruiting from becoming too good?

 

2) How can the Cubmaster and leaders happily do their jobs and ignore the politics that tends to lower morale and take the joy out of serving?

 

It seems its a darned if you do or darned if you dont

 

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IMO, there is no such thing as being "too good" at recruiting. If you are only recruiting out of one school and your C.O. then you're doing nothing wrong. The problem you are describing really isn't all that uncommon. My guess is you have the best pack in the town and it's easy for parents to pull their kids out of a nearby struggling pack and place their children in yours. This presents a problem to your DE because he/she is now losing units and it's creating a numbers problem for him/her.

 

It's not your problem so I wouldn't worry about it. Your job is to provide the best program possible for the boys in your pack. If the program is so good that it attracts kids from other packs then so be it. As long as you're not trying to actively destroy other packs' membership, then you're doing nothing for the DE to get upset about.

 

What the DE ought to do is get you or some other adults in your pack to do a mini-training on recruiting. Share your ideas with others.

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What the last guy said in capital letters.

What is attracting the boys and parents to your Pack is program. They see a well run Pack with a program the boys enjoy. You can show others how to do it but unless they are as enthusiastic as you are it won't help much. Tell the DE to come to your Pack meetings and Committee Meetings and take notes. That way the DE can see to it that the District Training Team has the opportunity to use your success as a teaching tool for new Pack Committees and CMs.

Saying that your recruitment is too good is right up there with I don't want to go to that Camp because; "The food's too good." "The beds are too comfortable" and "There's is just too much fun stuff to do!"

LongHaul

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I suppose it is easier for a DE to hobble along with a bunch of average packs, than for him or her to go out and really support several weak packs that are on the edge. By doing so well, you put the DE in a position where they either have to work really hard with those weak packs or else find someone else to blame - you - for the failure of those packs. Not right of course.

 

So what the previous posters say, goes, the DE is way off course here. But also? Does anybody from your pack (and those other packs) participate in district roundtable or other opportunities for you to get to know other pack leaders in a friendly environment? I've been amazed at how territorial SOME pack leaders can be, even when their perceptions of "their" territory are silly and nobody is out "raiding" "their" pack. But once you know each other and have worked together, that dynamic can change. In other words, I guess I'm advocating that your leaders do what they can to build ties to other packs in town, if you haven't already done so. It isn't your job to "save" them. But it can help you (forget the DE) if they don't see you as their opponent.

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Does anybody from your pack (and those other packs) participate in district roundtable or other opportunities for you to get to know other pack leaders in a friendly environment?

Thanks for the advice.

We have anywhere from 2 to 3 that attend RT each month - usually the CM, ACM (myself), and a DL.  We have friendly relationships with other Pack leaders and we support District events. 

When I mention "terriotories", I'm referring to a specific elementary school that has been assigned to us by our District.  There are really no territories that belong to any Pack, just "gentleman's agreements" that we will not recruit at schools that are assigned to other Packs.

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You are doing nothing wrong. Challenge the DE to get the other packs to raise their own bar. "Rising tide raises all boats". Improve the program district wide and you'll all be doing better.

 

We limit our recruiting to "our" school and our CO. We've had a few cross over the boundaries for whatever reason. I've sometimes been asked if we were recruiting them, which we never were. I've never been told it's a problem. I was told once that if we came into a neighboring school to recruit, they would then show up at "ours". We decided the self-imposed boundaries were fine.

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Nothing infuriates me more than to be ridiculed by other Scouters in your area for doing things right. Our Troop is seen by some as the 800-pound elephant of our district. We aren't just huge or anything, but we are always involved. We have a very diverse group of boys and appeal to many people because of our participation in things like Webelos Woods, Day Camp, other district activities. Troop in our district tend to not support these events, but turn around and complain when we "steal their kids". We end up recruiting the kids that they were after because we supported our district. Those Webelos have a great time with our Boy Scouts who staff district events and they naturally became interested in our Troop. We never called these people, they called us. Once they make contact, it's our job to see that they stay involved in Scouting, not just for the good of our unit, but for the good of the youth in our district.

 

I am so proud of our Scouts and I will never apologize for running a successful unit. Your DE is way out of line if he's telling you to cool it. He needs to be getting on his commissioners to help these struggling units succeed instead of labeling you "Too Good".

 

-AD

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Your DE is an idiot (Where have I heard that before?) Your job is to bring Scouting to as many boys in your area as you can. And you are doing a great job at it. Keep it up. Your DE should take some hints from you and get to work!

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"Your DE is an idiot..."

I wanted to say that earlier but I figure I better start this thread with a more polite tone.  It is irritating to deal with unnecessary politics from the pros. 

 

 

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Tell us about the conversation you had with the DE regarding your recruiting practices. You were told to stop recruiting? You were told to stop recruiting existing Cub Scouts? You were blamed for the demise of another pack? He gave you suggestions for recruiting boys not already members? What did he say exactly?

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Let me tell you it isnt fun being on the receiving end. Weve been going to a small pack with a large pack nearby. Having more kids gives the large pack more parents to draw leaders from, and having more leaders allows them to run an efficient recruiting machine as well as run a better program and have backup leaders to provide continuity when leaders leave.

 

Traditionally the 2 packs recruited from different schools. The District will not help with recruiting at the opposite schools, but the large packs resources for community-wide recruiting (for instance we got direct mail advertising from them) gave them a good foothold in the school we traditionally drew from. This gave them the ability to do peer-to-peer recruiting, further hurting the small packs recruiting efforts. Now the boys want to go to the pack where their friends are going. The small packs ability to recruit leaders is reduced as well, leading to a declining program.

 

I suppose Darwin would argue that the elimination of weak units is good for Scouting. Still, I suspect that having packs with strong school identities, and of reasonable size, will attract more cubs and provide a program that fits them better. On the other hand, maybe I'm just whining, and we ought to throw in the towel and close the small pack.

 

 

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No recruiting can be considered to good, unless you have every boy of cub scout age registered

We have several packs in our district that recruit from the same school due to some of the packs being chartered by churches and meeting at the church and by other CO's who actually meet at the school. We had an issue a couple of years ago, so the membership chair, along with the district chairman)had to come up with a policy regarding recruiting at the same location. This has worked fairly well.

Your district membership chair should meet with the Packs in question and see what agreement they can come to. Has anyone come up with an overall marketing and recruitment strategy for your district? You don't mention how many TAY you have. I would do what I could to help them with their recruiting. Involve the district people

With that being said. If a boy wanted to join who went to another school or lived in another area wanted to join my pack, I would not turn him away, I might ask why... and I would make no apologies

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Jeffrey,

 

I don't see you mentioning one should be certain ally, and one hopefully an ally:

 

The should be certain ally is your Chartered Partner, in the persons of the Executive Officer and the COR. THEY can tell the SE that they endorse and support your efforts, and will the Professional Service in the person of the DE please do its part of living up to the Charter Agreement!

 

The hopefully an ally is your Unit Commissioner, and the Commissioner's Service as a whole. If they are active and in place across the units of the District, they should be sensing any problems. Further, they should be offering help to get other Packs healthy.

 

Of course, this all could be wishful thinking ... not all Districts have DCs like Eamonn and Beavah (or even former DCs in Eamonn's case). Not all units have involved and caring CORs.

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Concerning our small pack that's having trouble competing for recruitment: Our Chartered Org. (a church) has been pretty much hands-off. They are currently looking for a new pastor, and I'm the acting COR (primarily Committee Chair), but am not affiliated with the Chartereed Org. I'm trying to recruit a new COR from within the CO. We'd been getting pretty good support from the district, distributing flyers, stickers, etc. Once it started looking like we might not recharter, we've been getting lots of attention from the District Executive and Assistant District Commissioner, but the recruiting efforts haven't been very successful. Since it's tough competing for older kids against the better program at the large pack, we should probably work on trying to recruit next year's Tigers now before the large pack gets to them. Maybe we will be able to get some leaders from the new Tiger parents. When we don't have many resources within the pack, it's tough to do decide whether to put our energy into recruitment or program, unfortunately it's hard to have one without the other. I don't know how many eligible boys there are in the neighborhood, but there are lots more boys in soccer and baseball than in Scouting, but lots of them object for religious or political reasons, or claim to be too busy with sports and other activities.

 

 

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WOW... I can't believe all the people ESPECIALLY the professionals that think they "own" the schools they recruit from. None of the schools (except one church school) sponsor troops. Almost all the troops and packs in this area are sponsored by churchs or civic organizations. At an elementary school night, you may have three or four packs represented. All the leaders seem to be willing to encourage the boys to sign up, that joining is more important than which pack they join. We try to get them in the pack that they will feel comfortable with and will be able to get to the meetings. I think that some schools have more boys join one pack more than the others, but I think we all have a pretty mixed group. Our pack has boys from 5-6 schools, including two different county school systems and a couple of private schools. We are even brazen enough that some of these boys attended schools in a different district at the time they joined. These were kids that lived right on the line and found "their perfect fit" pack in the other district.

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