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Jeffrey H

DE thinks our recruiting is "too good"

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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?

 

FScouter,

 

Our DE has only talked with our CM and the CM talks with me frequently about issues.  Im the ACM.

 

We were not told to stop recruiting.

 

We dont recruit existing Cub Scouts.  They sometimes come to us.

 

We were blamed for the demise of another Pack.  Its a long story, but Ill brief.  A year ago, our Cubmaster agreed took to be Cubmaster of another Pack so they could re-charter.  He did not want to do this initially, but agreed in order to help that Pack.  He agreed that he would serve only until they could find another CM or one year, whichever came first.  We kept that Pack active by inviting them to our meetings, campouts, outings.  Well, a year went by and no one stepped up to be CM and the Pack did not re-charter.  The DE is upset because he does not see why our CM could not simply continue being CM for their Pack.  He reasons that they are a small Pack and should not be any trouble.  From an administrative standpoint, our CM did not want to deal with two Packs. 

 

During the past year, our DE suggested that we transfer some of our scouts to the struggling Pack to beef up their roster.  This of course helps his number of precious units.  Our CM and CC did not comply with his request.   

 

 

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I was the despised CM at one time that was robbing another Pack of its boys in order to feed our own (recruiting was "too good"). I didn't go out of my way to do it, but it did happen.

 

We had the largest Pack in our District (by far) with about 90-100 boys. Another Pack nearby had around 40, and several others struggled along with 20 or less. I got a call from a Den Leader that wanted to move his entire den to our Pack. Seems his Pack never did anything - no Pack meetings, no Pinewood Derbys. The CM for that pack was largely absent and relied on the Den Leaders to do everything within their dens. At the time, I had no idea about all this but told the Den Leader that he was, of course, welcome in our Pack.

 

I REALLY did not intend to personally lead to the demise of that Pack as I was accused of by not only our DE at the time, but by his boss as well.

 

I just figured people will go where they want to go and I wasn't in a position to tell them they couldn't join our Pack. For the next few years we grew from the average of 90-100 boys to 120-150. During that time, several small packs never rechartered.

 

That was a long time ago. Many years have gone by and I've learned a lot more about Districts and the numbers of Packs and Troops in them. Seems there is always one great big pack and there is always one great big troop - then a bunch of little, struggling packs and troops.

 

Also, at least in our District, seems like there isn't much interest in helping each other out. There is huge competition at the Cub level for Scouts. Yep, I'll admit back then I was very proud of being the CM for the "LARGEST DEN IN THE DISTRICT" ta da! And, yes, I got over myself a long time ago.

 

At the Troop level, most Troops sit back waiting for Webs to crossover. Recently, that has led to something of a demise in some Troop's numbers around here as Webelos Leaders have gotten wise to the fact that their Scouts ought to shop around for a Troop and not just follow the pack.

 

 

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Its like being caught between a rock and a hard place. We dont recruit existing Cubs but we also do not turn away Cubs that come to us from other Packs. The ones that we pick up tend to be from very small Dens of 2 or from Packs that do not do anything to speak of.

 

If we refuse these boys, we could lose them for good in Scouting. So what we do? We go ahead and take them and then get a visit from the DE because his evaluation is not going to look so good. We dont need that.

 

Whats interesting about our Pack is that we are not doing anything above the ordinary. We are simply delivering an active basic program that includes regular Den meetings, Pack meetings, occasional outings, a summertime program, and a couple of campouts a year. Oh yes, and the traditional pinewood derby.

 

I could have posted this in the CUB FORUM, but since we are having issues with our DE professional, I thought that this would better place.

 

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2 cents:

 

We are rapidly becoming a gorilla pack, having doubled the size of our unit from 35 to 76 boys in the past year, selling 6x the amount of popcorn over the previous year, and by Centennial Award standards, hitting on all the fundamentals.

 

My beliefs: If we are doing our jobs at the Cub level correctly, then our units will grow, split and continue growing. Provided the right infrastructure is there, we can and should foster responsible growth.

 

My beliefs: There is not enough cross-pollination of success among Units. We're run as feifdoms, when we should be united in our support of Scouting (capital S) and not just scouting at the Unit level. A rising tide should be used to spark inspiration and action among all units.

 

Re: "Too good recruiting" - Consider having packs partner during fall recruiting to let all units benefit from the exposure. Continue the partnerships throughout the year - - joint camping trips, joint Pinewood Derbies, etc. By getting families excited about "the program", they just might be inspired (with the right Unit leadership) to go above and beyond their current program approach - - which ultimately strengths all the Units.

 

Go and visit others, reach out, share ideas, share activities. In the end, we are not here for the numbers on our sleeves. We are here for the white square knot in the purple circle.

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There's no such thing as recruiting being "too good" and you can't turn away boys who are likely choosing to transfer over dropping out altogether. You can't be blamed for doing such a good job that all others pale in comparison. Your CM can't be expected to do double duty. It's unreasonable to think that is an acceptable long-term solution.

 

Let me take a moment to speak from the other side of it. At one time, about the time that our oldest son first joined, the pack was falling apart and many boys left for another pack. Our pack was recruiting half-heartedly from 4 schools and dropped to about 20 boys. The pack down the road was recruiting from 2 schools and was growing. It was our pack's own fault, no one disputes that. No one was going to help us dig out of a mess of our own making.

 

A group of new parents (my husband and I included) took over and pulled the pack back together. We are now starting to find out what happened to the boys who would've been part of our pack. Some went to another pack and others never joined at all. Some of the "never joined" are joining now... They tell us that they looked into it a few years back, but didn't like what they saw, but they are back now. It makes me sad that they didn't get that experience they were looking for back then.

 

Now, we don't have 4 schools to recruit from. We have two. The other two now have their own packs. Our leaders have gotten to know their leaders. Our CC is the UC for one pack and the other pack just borrowed a bunch of our camping gear for their first camping trip. One of the new CMs has told people that if they don't like the way things are going, before they leave scouting altogether, check out the pack on the other side of town. Another of the new packs has purposely scheduled their meetings for a different day than ours so they can serve scouts who have scheduling issues with our meetings.

 

I don't personally go to roundtable because of babysitting issues, but my husband and several of the other leaders go. I know that the people there get to know one another and the exchange of ideas helps foster a good working relationship among different units. I know that when the nearby Troop received no Webelos crossovers two years in a row, everyone in the district started to rally to see what can be fixed in that unit, rather than blaming another troop for "stealing" all the boys.

 

I can't say there aren't lots of issues with getting three packs going strong where there was only one before, but no one is pointing fingers. The recruiting drive of one of the new packs actually got 2 boys for our pack because they went to a meeting thinking that they would find their sons' friend, who raved about Cub Scouts, only to discover that the friend was not part of the new pack, but in our old pack. Families now have options. No one says, "you have to be part of our pack because we recruit or meet at your school."

 

Instead they say, "oh, you can't make it one Wednesdays because of baseball practice? The pack down the road meets on Tuesdays"

and "you don't like that that pack is affiliated with a church? The one over there is sponsored by the PTA." "Oh, you think that pack leadership is made up of dictatorial jerks?" Now when we tell them where to go it has a completely different meaning. LOL

 

Where 25 or 30 boys were members, there are now 50 and September recruiting drives will easily draw another 20 or 30 among all three packs. Some boys will come to us from the other schools because their older brothers or older friends are already with us, and we will lose a few who would have been destined for our pack, but are now going to join the one that meets at their school, but it also allows us to concentrate more on our remaining two schools. We already have as many Tigers for next year as my oldest son had his entire Tiger year.

 

Any pack that is losing members to another needs to look to themselves for the problem, not to the other pack. And if your DE is worrying about his job because his numbers are dropping, well maybe he should be, but you should be commended on keeping the overall number of scouts up. And instead of pulling your CM to be CM elsewhere, he should be asking your CM and other leaders to help mentor those in struggling packs. It is much more likely that parents will step up to a leadership position if they know that there is a support system of knowledgeable, successful scouters they can rely on for advice.

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Kudos ScoutingMom! You get the "most logical post of the day" award in my book.

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