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Eamonn

" I'll Get You A Goldfish"

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Have to admit that I have not been keeping up with all the changes that have been going on.

Today the mailman left a copy of Scouting Magazine in my mail box.

I was interested to read the "Cub Scouts: The New Adventure".

From the very little that I seen, I kinda think some of the changes are good.

 

However, just like all of Scouting's programs, while the content might be good or even wonderful? 

We all know that it all depends on the delivery.

The delivery depends on the people who are tasked with making the rubber hit the road.

 

At the risk of being wrong. My guess is that most of the people who take the time to participate in a forum like this have been bitten by the Scouting bug and are willing to devote a lot of time and energy into something that they enjoy and maybe know a lot about.

 

I served as District Commissioner and as a District Chairman, for a little over ten or eleven years.

During this time I watched the Packs in the District.

Packs unlike Troops have a Leadership Team that as a rule remains the same.

In the area where I live there are very few Scoutmasters with less then ten years in, with the same Troop.

Pack leadership seems to always be in motion.

Adults move from Pack to Troop or quit when their kid has had enough or wants to do some other activity.

 

The better Packs seem to have a hard core team of adults with one or two people who have strong leadership capabilities and are able to not only bring out the best in other people but also in many cases make the entire ride fun for both the kids and the adults.

This is not easy.

 

Parents of children Cub Scout age are, in my opinion the most stressed group of people on the planet.

Today in most cases both parents are working full time, very often not working Monday through Friday nine till five jobs, but all too often working various shifts.

They are paying mortgage payments, car payments and a good many other payments.

They have a good many different groups making demands on their time. Church, PTA and groups that they might have been involved with B. C. (Before Children.)

They might also have had the misfortune of having had a girl!!

So add all the stuff that girls do. (I thank my lucky stars that I only had a boy!).

 

If we are honest, all the wise words and tested recruitment methods go out the window when it comes to many of the Cub Scout Leaders.

All to often it becomes almost a bullying of the adults, the parents of the new Cub Scout recruits.

Any idea of selection or finding a qualified person just doesn't happen,

More often then not the new Den Leader is the poor person who allowed the guilt trip to take hold and was willing to raise their hand.

I worked with a really nice Lady. She was an RN, Her first son, from a previous marriage was /is an Eagle Scout. She had remarried and had another son. 

The Lad came home from School with all the information about Sign Up For Scouting Night, which was happening at his school.

She knew that I was involved with Scouts and Scouting. She was proud of her Eagle Scout son and seemed happy with everything he had taken and learned from the program.

She had served as a Den Leader and Pack Committee member. However she said that she was unwilling to "Go through all that again." The demands on her time and what it took away from her family was just too much.

So she told her young son that if he was willing to give School Night and Cub Scouting a pass that she'd buy him a gold fish. - The kid took the fish.

 

I'm not sure what can be done that might improve the delivery of the program?

Part of the problem as I see it is that when it comes to Cub Scouting the delivery takes far to many adults and these adults burn out very quickly.

The time it takes to serve as a Den Leader who attend way to many meetings is very hard for most normal parents. 

Maybe the time has come to study parents in the 21st century?

Maybe the time has come to see if Dens are the best way to deliver this new and improved program?

If not there is a chance that gold fish sales might rocket.

Eamonn

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Well speaking as a den leader for 5 year (Tiger thru Web II) I wouldn't do it again. The kids I loved but honestly the parents just made it not worth the trouble, they loved to offer advice or criticism on what I was doing but" oh no I'm too busy to help". And on ANY event the majority of parents just checked out on watching their kids and would allow them to do thing we had specifically asked them to watch their kids for after all most Cub leaders have their own kids to deal with as well.

 

Now maybe a smaller pack wouldn't be so bad, we had routinely 100 cubs and all their assorted siblings and parents attend camping or anything else but I think the difference is only in degree. I REALLY got worn out dealing with kids from 2 months to 11 years old all at the same time.

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We give CS parents crossing over a 6 month pass on serving in the unit exactly because of CS burn out.

 

To @@Eamonn and his point of parents in the 21st century, what we have seen is the 20- and 30-something crowd too busy with their golf games or girl's nights out to be bothered to volunteer in CS. I have seen two packs fold because of this phenomenon. The leadership of each pack spend 18 months trying to train these parents to take over. District, even council got involved. The parents simply knew it was easier to let the pack die and get merged with another pack so someone else could take leadership without disturbing their routine.

 

Very sad.

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Boy Scout leaders tend to look as me funny when I say being a Cub Scout leader is the hardest volunteer position I ever had. I've been a Cub leader for 6 years now, and I am burned out.

 

I admit, part of it is my fault. In addition to being a DL, I've been day camp PD three times, day camp staffer an additional 3 times, and CS RT commissioner for 3 years.

 

Part of it is the fact that Cub Scouts IS adult leader intensive. We do just about everything for the Cubs. And whereas Boy Scouts serves terms of office as PL, SPL, etc, Cub Scout leaders tend to be there until their sosn age out or quit.  

 

But part of the burn out is my district. There are two major district events, Cubmobile and Pinewood Derby. And for the past 3 or 4 years, the activities chair has kept changing the dates for these events. Once upon a time, the dates were written in stone: first Sunday in November for Cubmobile, last Saturday in January  for PWD.

 

Cubmobile keeps getting pushed further and further up to the point that this year it was originally scheduled BEFORE all the round ups were finished. We got them to push back the date, but there was a conflict with another district activity that same weekend that affected 2/5s of the Cubs. As for PWD, while we have asked to move back the dates to take advantage of the LOwe's Workshops ( the local store always wondered why they never had Cub Scouts attending the workshops, because they were done AFTER the PWD). we can live with the last weekend in January. BUT when you move up the PWD so far into January that A) the packs are just getting back from Christmas break, and B) the college students that work the event are not even nack in school, there are issues. Me and other pack leaders have felt like idiots because we plan stuff and then have to change at the last minute in order to participate with these traditional activities.

 

On a positive note, I think the pack's leadership has finally come to the conclusion to "do their own thing" because of the new program. Because everything needs to be coordinated and a set pattern of 2 meetings, 1 Go See It, and 1 pack meeting are required for 7 months to earn rank, we will be ignoring district events unless it coincied with what we are doing. And my pack is not the only one.

 

Sorry for the rant, but it was good to vent.

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Well speaking as a den leader for 5 year (Tiger thru Web II) I wouldn't do it again. The kids I loved but honestly the parents just made it not worth the trouble, they loved to offer advice or criticism on what I was doing but" oh no I'm too busy to help". And on ANY event the majority of parents just checked out on watching their kids and would allow them to do thing we had specifically asked them to watch their kids for after all most Cub leaders have their own kids to deal with as well.

 

Now maybe a smaller pack wouldn't be so bad, we had routinely 100 cubs and all their assorted siblings and parents attend camping or anything else but I think the difference is only in degree. I REALLY got worn out dealing with kids from 2 months to 11 years old all at the same time.

And the really sad thing is that many of those same parents, when the unit did go under, blamed it on everyone but themselves most likely.  

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I put in 7 years as a CS volunteer and that was enough.  I can handle BS a lot better.  Take that whatever way you wish.  :)

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