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Daped01

How Much is too much?

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Hey guys and gals, I want to ask you guys what you think is too much change too quickly? I recently was asked to be our Pack's Cubmaster, to which I agreed. After going through the program as a Tiger Parent/Tiger Den Leader it was easily apparent that something was not being done properly, or what I viewed as even close to properly. However out of respect for those that are volunteering their time and me being the New Guy I just patiently did the best I could for my tiger den. However now that I have been named Cubmaster, I would like to start making gradual changes to get to what I feel is the BSA Cub Scout Program. Some of the suggestions I have brought up have been received with "we have always....." We have never done.............before" or the , we tried it but it didn't work before, type answers. I want to build the pack up to the levels it was at when I was a scout, and my vision of how to do that calls for some simple, yet extremely important changes to be made. However I don't want to make so many changes that it pushes everyone away and I'm standing all alone.

 

do you have any advice for a rookie CM?

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What kind of changes are we talking about?

 

Are you going to be standing alone for these changes, or do you have some Adult support from some folks?

 

Changes usually don't work if no one supports them. It can be a real challenge, but if you're moving the Pack back towards a "real" Scout program without support, I would suggest a gradual approach.

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Basic things to me that are totally foreign to them. Preparing a budget, having a program planning conference.etc. Even doing ANYTHING in the summer (I was told at our last meeting, we are used to shutting down completely in the summer.....?!?!?!?!?. I do have at least 1 ally with me in our troop scoutmaster (small unit, combined cub/boy scout committee) who is an Eagle Scout. Between he and I our previous scouting experience combined, a few of the Committee members could be easily swayed.

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Just try to keep remembering the old joke that "it's only one hour a month", LOL.

Seriously, if you can explain the benefits of each change, why it's good for the boys, and how it helps everyone, they'll probably go along with the changes. My vote is to move ahead with these things and give them a try. The budget, annual plan, things like these are all good and you really do need them. As for summer events, you can break into that with summer day camp for the boys and add whatever others want.

When I was CM, summers were held sacred for family outings so outside of summer day camp or similar activities, we were mostly inactive as well.

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You gave away your biggest bargaining chip. IMO, you should have made your acceptance of the CM conditional on some changes you want as it would increase the chances of committee and adult support. Program planning is reasonable and you will certainly need help. Preparing a budget is the Pack Committee's responsibility, though you contribute there as well.

 

Beware the unit culture. You cannot change a unit program without a large body of support. The corollary, don't fight battles you cannot win. And third, you never actually lose, as your Plan B is to spend time with your son, your family. If the rest of pack wants to spend summer vacation with their families, that can work for you too.

 

My $0.02,

 

 

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We've never done that before and we've always done it this way have tradition that go back 5 or 6 years only. I've made major changes and improvements can go either way. You never know until you try. The last thing they want to do is find a new CM so that much is in your favor. Stosh

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I'm coming off of a very frustrating year as an (former) BSA volunteer, so please let me give a devil's advocate view. It may be pessimistic, but you did ask for opinions.

 

I have seen our own pack lose about 75% of the boys and about 50% of the adult volunteers over the last two years. I attribute this in part to lack of planning and running roughshod over the adult volunteers.

 

If you came to me as a parent and said "things aren't being done properly around here, we need to increase the attendance numbers", I would be looking for the door. I've been burned by leaders who knock themselves to get more boys attending with no thought to having adult volunteers in place to work with them. I hear similar from our District and Council. My perception and experience is that no thought is given to the fact that I have a schedule, other children, and a family. I eventually quit.

 

If I were in charge, I would start by building up the adult leadership before bringing in more boys. I would set boundaries and limits that would hopefully reassure volunteers that they will not be overwhelmed. For instance, I would set a reasonable den ratio: 2 leaders to 12 boys. And advertise that limit. When boy 13 shows up, let the parent know that they will need to step up to help start a second den for that age group. I have been the lone volunteer told I must accept 16 kids alone (in church), oh and by the way this one is in a wheelchair, and that one has anger issues, "good luck!". Never again.

 

When I asked the pack leaders and the district about requiring each parent to volunteer somewhere and/or setting a reasonable adult/boy ratio, I was told they couldn't do that as a matter of national policy. The BSA's rule is that no boy is turned away ever, and no parent is required to volunteer because if the parent can't or shouldn't volunteer, the boy will miss out. I can't work in that system. I actively avoid volunteer groups organized that way.

 

Plan ahead. Our CM and CC annoyed me to no end with last minute demands: "we have a mandatory leader meeting tonight", "I need you to organize a pack meeting activity two days from now", the CC calling me with last minute research for the packwide email on Wednedsay evening when he knows I'm in the middle of volunteering at church because he waited until the last damn minute (again) and now his failure to plan is supposed to be my emergency to handle.

 

Don't keep going to the same well every time. I and another mom became the go-to people last year. We were asked to everything and anything, mostly at the last minute. As other volunteers dropped out or moved away, the CM and CC made zero effort to recruit anyone new. They just kept coming to the two of us. By the end of the year, I was treasurer, achievement coordinator, record keeper, fundraising coordinator, and webmaster. My friend was in charge of all purchasing, including buying all the food and arranging all the stuff needed for 100 person campouts. Did i mention she was pregnant with two younger kids? By the end of the year, we both quit. The CM and CC appear to be dumbfounded that they have to do all this themselves now. I have no sympathy. If one person already has one major job, quit asking them. Go find another parent to step up.

 

Start with your adult volunteers. Show them you respect their time and effort, and they will offer it. Most want to be involved with their kids. Ask everyone to do something, instead of asking a few people to do everything. Be proactive. Plan way ahead so your volunteers can too. Then, start recruiting more boys and improving the program.

 

If you're going to ask moms to help lead, include their younger children and daughters. I got tired of my younger daughter being justifiably frustrated by being sidelined. Fact of life. If I'm volunteering in my son's activity, his younger sibling/s are with me. Include them. They have feelings too, and want to be a part of the group. If you treat my daughter like an unwanted tag along, don't be surprised if I quit.

 

Good luck,

 

Ga Mom

 

 

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We define leadership for our Boy Scouts as "motivating others to work toward a common vision." Your job as a leader is, 1) to have a vision for where you want the pack to be; 2) effectively communicate that vision to others; and, 3) motivate them to work towards it.

 

Say your ultimate goal is to have a program which is fun for the kids and easy on the parents, consequently increasing participation and enthusiasm for both. That means your program needs to be consistent and dependable so the boys look forward to the programs and the parents can easily plan on them. The two keys to that is having annual calendar so the parents can make plans well in advance. Pack meetings are the first Monday of every month. The pack goes camping the first weekend in October and April. Pinewood Derby is in November and Blue and Gold is in February. Cub Scout day camp is in June and Webelos Resident camp in late July. To keep the boys interested all year, we're going to follow the recommended plan of having one summertime pack activity per month through the summer. They're still the first Monday of the month. Etc., etc. etc.

 

This lays out a vision for the pack which is both reasonable and something most everyone should want to buy into. You the have an actionable plan for meeting that goal so folks can see the path toward reaching the goal. But if your plan and you come across as another bureaucrat ginning up more work for everyone, it will fail. But if you sell your vision as part of an overall plan which will be both more fun for the Scouts and easier for the parents to plan around, who wouldn't want to do it?

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Where is your Pack Committee Chair in this? Have you discussed your vision with your CC?

 

Since you stated you have a small Pack and thus must have a combined Pack/Troop Committee, this screams lack of Cub parent support.

 

In order to have a budget you need a treasurer. In order to do summer activities you need someone to plan, and run them.

 

YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL YOURSELF!!

 

Since your Committee is combined - what does the Troop do for a budget? Or are they running on the seat of their pants also? With the SM on your side, you can approach the CC TOGETHER, and ask for some kind of plan to be put together for the upcoming year for BOTH units.

 

Being as this is now June, putting together any Pack activities for this Summer is going to be difficult. Most summer camps have already finished registering. Most Pack families already have a good portion of their Summer planned. Your Pack is done meeting formally for the year so you can not present plans to the entire group at once. you will have to rely on e/snail mail.

 

Find a Pack parent willing to take on planning one, cheap, fun, activity, for this summer. Plan it for July or Aug, so they have time to contact everyone in the Pack, and the Pack families have time to incorporate it in their schedule.

 

One of our staple events was a Back To Scouting picnic in mid to late August. Find a picnic area by a playground, and/or a splash pool. Do this SOON as these picnic permits go FAST! Most municipalities will waive permit fees for Scouting groups. This is an easy activity because even if your family, and the family doing the planning, are the only ones who show up, it can still go on, and will still be fun!

 

 

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If I may, when I accepted the duties of Cubmaster, we were steeped in longstanding "We have always done it that way." The first thing to do is to make those requesting money come up with a total cost (we have always paid for Summer Camp=$2500)(Really????) before even considering the issue. Summer time was my time to play because "We never do anything in the Summer." I came up with 3 events at very little or mostly no cost and planned them so that if it was only a small number; we would still have fun. -remember two deep leadership. By the second Summer we were doing most of our recruiting during the Summer events because most of the boys showed up and brought friends and still at very little cost. Bicycle Rodeo in a playground at School. Fishing derby where they have to make their own poles. (cost = twine, some hooks and bait if purchased.) Kickball game for an hour or so. Keep it simple and make it fun. Ask your son what he wants to do. Think like a third grader. Remember that your Tigers are now Wolves. I downloaded a standard permission slip and made sure that those being dropped off had contact info. Change that comes slowly and is well thought out can be done and most of the time they will not even notice it.

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Where is your Pack Committee Chair in this? Have you discussed your vision with your CC?

 

Since you stated you have a small Pack and thus must have a combined Pack/Troop Committee, this screams lack of Cub parent support.

 

In order to have a budget you need a treasurer. In order to do summer activities you need someone to plan, and run them.

 

YOU CAN NOT DO IT ALL YOURSELF!!

 

Since your Committee is combined - what does the Troop do for a budget? Or are they running on the seat of their pants also? With the SM on your side, you can approach the CC TOGETHER, and ask for some kind of plan to be put together for the upcoming year for BOTH units.

 

Being as this is now June, putting together any Pack activities for this Summer is going to be difficult. Most summer camps have already finished registering. Most Pack families already have a good portion of their Summer planned. Your Pack is done meeting formally for the year so you can not present plans to the entire group at once. you will have to rely on e/snail mail.

 

Find a Pack parent willing to take on planning one, cheap, fun, activity, for this summer. Plan it for July or Aug, so they have time to contact everyone in the Pack, and the Pack families have time to incorporate it in their schedule.

 

One of our staple events was a Back To Scouting picnic in mid to late August. Find a picnic area by a playground, and/or a splash pool. Do this SOON as these picnic permits go FAST! Most municipalities will waive permit fees for Scouting groups. This is an easy activity because even if your family, and the family doing the planning, are the only ones who show up, it can still go on, and will still be fun!

 

 

Thank you for the reply!

 

We (I) have a plan for summertime activities. June will have cub scout resident camp at our council cub scout outpost which 3 or 4 boys have already been registered. Also, at home we will have a Kickball game. It gets kids outside, it gets kids active, and it gets us together.

 

July will have us marching in our Annual 4th of July Parade,

 

August will be Cubscout Day Camp, or swim day at our local municipal swimming pool.

 

 

Those that can make it to summer events is great! those that can't, I don't lay any guilt on them, nor schedule it as a "mandatory". as we move forward it will eventually become the norm....that's my hope as least.

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Thanks for all the replies. I think I may be trying for too much too fast then. I will slow things down so its not so many things at once. My main focus the rest of the summer will be to get the budget (introduced it with help from the treasurer) to those that showed up to our last committee meeting. only 3 of us attended. We will have another meeting next month to hopefully get any further input/approval. after budget approval, we will work on Program Planning. Our DE wants to meet with us sometime in early august to set a date for her to come help us with planning. After that I will start focusing on putting on really good pack meetings.

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My experience has been that you are more likely to get negative responses from volunteers if what you are proposing is going to be more work for them. If you are willing to shoulder a little extra work this summer by planning those summer activities yourself (like it looks like you've already done), I'm sure the success of those events will be enough to encourage volunteers to take on the planning of at least one summer activity next year.

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My experience has been that you are more likely to get negative responses from volunteers if what you are proposing is going to be more work for them. If you are willing to shoulder a little extra work this summer by planning those summer activities yourself (like it looks like you've already done)' date=' I'm sure the success of those events will be enough to encourage volunteers to take on the planning of at least one summer activity next year.[/quote']

 

 

This is about where I am at in my head with it. I solicited some advice at our last district roundtable about summer activities, one fellow scouter said they do 3 kickball games, 1 each in June July and August. I pretty much took that and tweaked it for variety, but still equally as simple of activity. My pack doesn't have a large contingent of those willing to go to cub resident camp/day camps, so I want to have an activity at home they can participate in as well.

 

we live in a small rural community, so finding open space (for free) for a game of kickball or anything else is extremely easy, and free. At least a few times, we will be on the lawn of the local Nursing Home/Assisted Living complex. The residents of the complex love it any time they can watch kids playing and having fun.

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