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Loy_36

About to throw in the towel.

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So we're about to go into our 4th meeting and it seems to be almost impossible to continue doing this. We only have 6 Cub Scouts total 2 tigers, 1 wolf, 2 bears and 1weblos. One of the families has 1 of the tigers and 1 of the bears so when they miss which is often that only leaves one kid in each of the ranks and to top it off the dad is suppose to be our acting weblos leader. One of the whole main reasons for doing is to have your child in a group of kids his own age to experience things. So I don't feel that my son and the others kids are getting the full Cub Scout experience from this. With that being said I feel like telling the other parents and the charter we are shutting it down and enroll my son in another well established pack in another town and getting involved with them. Is this wrong of me for feeling so defeated?

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I just started a Boy Scout troop with 6 boys. Contrary to your experience, we're having a blast! We can't always choose the cards we are dealt, but how one plays them can make all the difference in the world.

 

It's kinda reminiscent of life in general. When we were young, we lived in some of the best dumps the city had to offer. The rooms were furnished with some of the best furniture we could find along the curbs. Hand-me-down kitchen utensils and maybe, your pride and joy, a cast iron fry pan. Fond memories! Would I ever go back? I started out in a troop of 40+ boys, changed to an existing troop of 5 that grew to 28, now I'm back to 6 in a brand new troop. Like I said, we can't always choose the cards we are dealt... :)

 

As for me, I see great potential for your 6 boys. The first thing I would do is brush up on your "one room schoolhouse" approach to the pack and work from there. The boys don't have to win every award, they don't have to bling up their shirts with every patch ever produced, the only thing they have to do is have fun. The Pack is not the program, it's the people.

 

Stosh

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jblake, I appreciate the words of encouragement. I think I have such high expectations of what this program was going to be and people were going to be as enthusiastic about it than I was. I know at least my son is having a good time and enjoys me being the Cubmaster & his Den Leader but as I stated in my first post are the kids getting what they should out of the program when there is only one of each of them in their Den and the only interaction with other kids is when them the Cub Scout and the Den Leader which is their parent is when we have an activity at the end of the meeting. I just want to be sure my son and the other kids think back on this when they get older and say "Ya I had a lot of fun in Cub Scouts".

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In addition to your son's enthusiasm for your leadership. Some suggestions:

1. Program according to the needs in your community. Take a walk down your street. Meet every boy your son's age. Ask what they like to do for fun. Figure out if your "den" might do something similar. Go with your son and pass out invites.

2. Gather your pack and visit another Pack's meeting. Have each boy meet with their counterpart den. At your next pack meeting, ask them what they liked about being in a big group, and what they like about being in your small group.

 

In may be that the boys will really want to be part of the larger pack. But, you may also learn that they like their smaller pack. Either way, they begin to develop the phrases they can tell their friends that may get them to join scouting. And you get a better idea of how you can best serve the youth in your community.

 

Good luck.

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So we're about to go into our 4th meeting and it seems to be almost impossible to continue doing this. We only have 6 Cub Scouts total 2 tigers' date=' 1 wolf, 2 bears and 1weblos. One of the families has 1 of the tigers and 1 of the bears so when they miss which is often that only leaves one kid in each of the ranks and to top it off the dad is suppose to be our acting weblos leader. One of the whole main reasons for doing is to have your child in a group of kids his own age to experience things. So I don't feel that my son and the others kids are getting the full Cub Scout experience from this. With that being said I feel like telling the other parents and the charter we are shutting it down and enroll my son in another well established pack in another town and getting involved with them. Is this wrong of me for feeling so defeated?[/quote']

 

You need to recruit and get a few more boys. Talk to your DE about it. I'm sure he doesn't want to lose a unit.

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I hate being the bad guy ... How far away is the nearest other healthy pack? Is it a 5 minute drive? A 10 minute? A 30 minute?

 

I say this because though you can and should recruit, recruit, recruit, you also have to think about what is best for your boys. Though you can have a good experience with a small pack, you generally need a critical mass to create the common scouting experience. You could always have your pack meet as a sub-part of another pack until you have enough members.

 

Just remember to spend as much time creating a great experience for your sons as you spend trying to fix a hard situation.

 

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Loy, I'm sorry to say you are not alone in what you experiencing. Many dedicated scouters are confronting the same situations.

 

Good advice offered above, both pro and con. I agree with both camps. Do the best with the hand you are dealt, but after a certain point if you've got to fold, fold.

 

Many a good scouter has burned out, to the detriment of their mental and physical health, as well as family, because they kept a unit afloat by sheer willpower, long after it should have just folded. Gotta keep that unit open, even just on paper, so the thinking goes.

 

No one wants a unit to fold. But scouting has a long history of burning out leaders who are the only ones that stand in the breach and keep the unit alive. Years and experience have me thinking differently now. You know where the line is...listen to your gut and if you've got to close operations, close it and don't look back and don't feel guilty. Your well being and your family's is more important. If there are cubs and parents that still want scouting, they'll find some place else and step up there.

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Is this wrong of me for feeling so defeated?

 

No, it's not wrong of you to feel defeated.

 

I did the small Troop and small Pack thing for 10 years. The small Troop is infinitely easier than the small pack because a small troop simply becomes a patrol. The infrastructure do handle that is significantly smaller than a small pack. I absolutely enjoyed small troop scouting.

 

A small pack (our's fluctuated between 10 and 20 scouts but most recently was down to about 6) is harder to manage because it depends on Den's, and all the surrounding leadership, to be successful. When every den meeting is effectively a pack meeting it's difficult at best to honestly address requirements for each den at the level they need to be addressed.

 

You're the only one who has any idea if recruiting will have any impact on your membership. That said, I'd argue that if you can't reasonably expect to recruit 10 or more additional scouts across all the den's this fall, plus leaders for each den, you don't have enough critical mass to maintain. Don't feel bad about it.

 

Take your son, and any that want to follow, give them a good scouting experience in the other unit and maintain your sanity.

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I hate being the bad guy ... How far away is the nearest other healthy pack? Is it a 5 minute drive? A 10 minute? A 30 minute?

 

I say this because though you can and should recruit, recruit, recruit, you also have to think about what is best for your boys. Though you can have a good experience with a small pack, you generally need a critical mass to create the common scouting experience. You could always have your pack meet as a sub-part of another pack until you have enough members.

 

Just remember to spend as much time creating a great experience for your sons as you spend trying to fix a hard situation.

The nearest healthy pack is a 20 minute drive from our house. I've talked to several people about joining and I've found out rather quick that a lot of the time people will come up with some sort of reason that they can't join. Rather, they are to busy with work, have to many other things going on and so on and so on. We have a lot of competitive sports especially baseball around our area and we lose quit a bit of kids to that. Personally I think it's more the parents thinking that baseball will get them something because I've never meet a kid in the 3rd grade that wants to play & practice baseball 4-5 days a week. Just my opinion.

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My first two years as Cubmaster were with a unit with seven boys, about the same mix of ages as you have. I started using a new planning guide produced by the BSA for small units like this. Instead of dens the program guide is meant to run as one unit of mixed ages. It (tries to) have a little bit for each group every week. It has it's short-comings in that Webelos don't want do to Tiger projects, and Tigers can't always handle Webelos material. It also depends on the parents doing a lot of rank specific advancement at home with the families... which doesn't work if parents expect you to hand hold the boys through 100% of the program. The upside is it keeps all the boys engaged together and you only need one other parent to help facilitate the program.

 

The material is BSA written so I'm sure I can distribute it to other leaders, but don't want to just post it publicly. Send me a PM with your email address and I'll send you the pdf.

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Have you done a Round up at the schools? Sorry I dont know how big your town is.

We haven't had a Round up at any schools but there are a few that I'm trying to work with the DE for my area to go in to and have a sign up night for our pack.

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My first two years as Cubmaster were with a unit with seven boys, about the same mix of ages as you have. I started using a new planning guide produced by the BSA for small units like this. Instead of dens the program guide is meant to run as one unit of mixed ages. It (tries to) have a little bit for each group every week. It has it's short-comings in that Webelos don't want do to Tiger projects, and Tigers can't always handle Webelos material. It also depends on the parents doing a lot of rank specific advancement at home with the families... which doesn't work if parents expect you to hand hold the boys through 100% of the program. The upside is it keeps all the boys engaged together and you only need one other parent to help facilitate the program.

 

The material is BSA written so I'm sure I can distribute it to other leaders, but don't want to just post it publicly. Send me a PM with your email address and I'll send you the pdf.

 

I assume you have something else but they also publish this resource on their website.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/523-021.pdf

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I assume you have something else but they also publish this resource on their website.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/me...df/523-021.pdf

 

 

I wasn't aware these were published out on the site yet. Yes, this is exactly what I was referring to. They were piloting Year A when I first used it, but I think this program year is the third of this program type. Thanks for the link!

 

Loy_36... here is the link:

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/membership/deliverymanual.aspx

 

They are writing five years of programming so a boy that starts it as a Tiger doesn't see the same exact program every year.

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