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tnff

Just Need to Vent

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It's been a while. I posted some things a few months ago about being burned out. Well our pack took the summer off and went into things feeling a little better. We're merging another pack into ours because their leader is burned out so we thought the increased size of combined packs might generate some more volunteers. Nice round up and recruitment. Then we have our first meetings.

 

Can't get through two meetings without some of the parents taking their sons and leaving. Why? Because we asked them to not drop off their child and leave, but to participate with their son.

Then I get home tonight to find an email from another parent complaining about their den leader not being an experienced leader. This is for Tigers. We found a parent who was willing to step up and put herself on the line to lead the den, and what thanks does she get? Complaints from a parent who wasn't willing to step up.

 

I try to be available to all the new parents and help them get settled in, but it seems that at least half or more all wanted to complain that they had tried Cub Scouts before and the packs never did anything. What I want to ask them is "Well, what did YOU ever do? What did YOU volunteer to lead? How much time did YOU give?

 

What I'd really like to do is post a giant banner at every roundup: If you are so busy you can't find an hour a week to spend with your son, then don't even bother to sign up. No one will have any fun.

 

Sorry folks, had to vent. I love Cub Scouting. I love the boys and seeing when they catch on to something. I love seeing them grow and cross over into Boy Scouts. But I am done with parents.

 

jim

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Jim, hang in there. Clearly some parents didn't get the memo. It sounds like you spend a lot of time trying to be polite. There's nothing wrong with asking "So, what will you do to help ?" Give the parent a call and let them know that you'll miss their boy and when they have time to contribute to the life of the pack, you'd be happy to see them. Or don't. Tell the DL her life just got a little easier.

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I wouldn't worry about losing the boys because of the parents. After all, you never really had them in the first place.

 

I understand the parents reaction as well. They signed up their boy, not themselves. I don't agree with it, but I understand it.

 

Politics? Haven't any time for them. That's why my CC and committee are there to protect me. If they don't, they get to look for a new SM.

 

I have a lot to offer and if this troop or that group doesn't want me around, fine, there's a lot of other organizations who would appreciate my help.

 

Life is too short to spend time justifying it and putting up with other people who have too much free time to whine and complain and make no effort to help.

 

It always surprises me when I walk away and the group that was complaining is all of a sudden "surprised" that I don't show up anymore and they are left scrambling to find someone new to complain about. :)

 

What I have found out is the guys down to the community dinner for the homeless NEVER complain no matter what is being served.

 

There... that's my vent. :)

 

Stosh

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Then I get home tonight to find an email from another parent complaining about their den leader not being an experienced leader. This is for Tigers. We found a parent who was willing to step up and put herself on the line to lead the den, and what thanks does she get? Complaints from a parent who wasn't willing to step up.

Getting tiger den leaders are always hard. If you are lucky you have someone who was involved (even if just a parent) with the unit in the past or someone that was involved with scouts in the past.

 

But if those are not an option I have seen situation where you have one pack meeting and the CM says someone needs to be den leader figure it out. You could end up with someone but it might not be the best person.

 

An approach that I have seen that work well is the CM takes the position for the first month (2 or 3 den meetings) this allows the parents to see how the program should be run, it also give the parent an idea of how much of a commitment it will be. But most importantly it allows the CM to approach the correct parent that should be leading the den. The first concern that I have heard about this is what if no parent steps up the CM is left with it. I have never seen that happen you just need to set expectation that this is temporary.

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Start directing concerns (complaints) to the committee, and focus and having fun putting on a program for kids. I'd let the committee know your doing this, and suggest they make a rule to only discuss non-safety concerns in person, at committee meetings. I think you can see the possibilities in this :)

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I know this doesn't make things any better but I've been there myself. I tend to agree with jblake47 on this. It's better to just shrug off the parents are aren't really interested and focus on the boys and families who are. And if you have a strong committee, I also agree with Old OX. Try not to burn out yourself. The cubs are, IMHO, the best part of scouting and you don't want to miss it. First thing you know they'll be...horrors...teenagers.

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Tnff - I was at school promoting cub joining night and one kid told me he wanted to come back to cub scouts then told me his dad didn't have fun at the tiger meetings so they quit. I've heard that before - from the parents: not thinking the program was fun - but seen a room full of tigers laughing or playing a game or building something - makes me want to say 'sorry that seeing your son have a good time, or learn something new isn't 'fun' for you because it looks like HE is having fun to me". I get parents are busy but in our towns tigers meet 2x/ month. Those parents are too busy to spend 2 hours a month doing an activity with their son? I get that they paid the fee to sign up, but just because they did wouldn't they be interested in seeing what that fee gets them in terns of how their son grows? No wonder we could be a doomed society.

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Jim I completely understand and DON'T understand how parents do not make the time for their boys. YES everyone is busy. I have began to wonder though if cub scouting interferes with Keeping up with the Kardasians, or Big Brother? Seriously though

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Read them the yard stick story....

 

It always seems to rely on the backs of a few leaders per pack about what they do. It is unfair to those few but we do it for the right reasons. When I get frustrated, I try to think about a few boys that have benefited from my work and take the joy from that. No good deed goes unpunished.

 

You are an idol to some kid in the unit. Thanks for all that you are doing to make a difference in the boys life.

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Thanks for the thoughts guys. It helps to hear from others who live it. For the past two years, the "committee" has consisted of 4 of us: the CC, whose son is also well into Boy Scouts, my wife and I (our son is now Life), and our one other den leader whose son is now a Bear. Besides CM, I also have the Webelos, my wife has the Wolf den. The CC, as well as my wife and I brought our sons up through this pack; it was strong and active at about 45 boys. Because our sons loved it, we wanted to give back by staying on to help others. It saddens me to see the packs in our town collapsing, not for a lack of boys who want to participate, but for a lack of parents who care enough.

 

Thanks,

 

jim

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I see the same thing in the Boy Scout troop only the parents are a bit more politic and savvy in how they phrase their whinning. My opinion only, but I think this is a consequence of how youth sports are run. One or two gung-ho dads and maybe a team mom run things. Parents only show up for the games. At higher levels parents pay big bucks for their sons to be on teams with semi-professional coaches.

 

Scout parents seem to thing that is the way of the world. Drop your son off for all the mundane, boring stuff but pick and choose the fun campouts to attend. When the troop goes whitewater rafting I can always count on a dozen parents signing up for their one-and-only scouting trip of the year. Last week, camping at a nearby Scout camp and focusing on basic scout skills, I had to scrape to get the four adults I needed.

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