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Ranman328

Den Leader Issue

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First, never take this stuff personally. If a DL wants to go off the rails (but the boys are otherwise safe), there is no amount of training or correction you can do to stop it. Never, ever, feel stupid. We're all learning here.

 

Clearly, you need to listen to your parents more. You don't have to agree with them. You just need to better understand what they're thinking. Then, you might want to ask the least disagreeable parent to step up as Wolf DL! That parent (if you identify him/her) will start by participating in the leader's skit and dispensing awards at the B&G.

 

The uniforming thing ... you need to talk to parents about how they feel. Some den parents are fine with a tight ship. As a parent I pushed back on any over-policing. (Partly because I knew finer points. Partly because I knew what would be no problem for us could be a hardship for others.)

 

Your troop's SM needs to understand that there are personality conflicts that may be driving why few crossovers come his way.

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A leader should NEVER point out something a Scout is doing wrong in front of a group or other Scouts. NEVER!!!

 

How would she like it if you dressed her down in front of the Pack or the Pack Committee.

 

IMHO, if I were Pack Chair, I would have a "come to Jesus" meeting with her and remind her of her role, how to act and treat the boys and ask is she can do that. If not, show her the door.

 

My two cents.

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It would be interesting to read momma den leader's version of this.  I agree she is far less than ideal and I'd probably not want her running a den in our pack, but on the other hand, there are some positives.  As bad den leaders go, she's not that bad (note I compared her to bad leaders, not good ones).  She at least takes initiative in doing activities and outings, appears interested in directing the boys toward advancement, and is giving of her time to the boys.  Her issues appear to be around the bureaucracy, formality, and structure of the cub scout program.  From what you've said, and my own limited understanding of the girls' program, she's running it like that.

 

It sounds as if there have already been attempts made to coach this leader and it appears she has not been receptive.  If I had a vote, I'd be inclined to let her ride out the year and look to replace her as the den becomes wolves.

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@@SlowDerbyRacer, I sort of agree. But, now is the time to start warming up next year's leaders. DL hates bureaucracy. Fine, then get a tiger parent who will help manage it for her.

 

The reason this is important? As the boys get older and the program gets more complex, being mavericky is a non-starter. She's gonna hit a wall.

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I've long felt that it would be so great to have a perpetual Tiger Den leader....

I picture a grandma that's great with young kids... maybe a retired school teacher

or grandpa that just loves kids and doing scout stuff.

not necessarily even with a grandkid in the pack....from the women's or men's club at church maybe

 

It seems like just when a leader is getting up to speed they are moving on to the next rank or position.

 

But if a pack could find that perfect leader taht only wants to work with the young kids

they could really get to know the program and the pack

and really do a great job of introducing the families to the pack.

and could do a great job grooming one of the parents to take over for Wolf

and all of this would take all that pressure off the tiger parents

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I've long felt that it would be so great to have a perpetual Tiger Den leader....

 

 

This is a key issue that many in Scouting have been discussing for years. We seem to get the real quality leaders at the Boy Scout level, but early CS leadership seems to be the adult that got cornered in to doing the role. We then have really poor training and tools to hand them to do their job.

 

I remember my Tiger DL days. I had no clue when the committee met, how to plan a meeting, or anything else. Google was my friend. I had one older DL from another den take me under his wing and help me. When I left 5 years later I had developed the "in a box" idea where each new DL got a box with the program helps book, 2-3 "ready to go" meetings complete with games, skill or fun project (tied to a requirement), etc.

 

I think BSA used to offer these too. One would think UCs would develop something like this for their units.

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I've long felt that it would be so great to have a perpetual Tiger Den leader....

I picture a grandma that's great with young kids... maybe a retired school teacher

 

We did this and I feel it was a big contributor turning our Tiger program around. They weren't grandmas, but past den leaders who had three or more years experience in the pack. They maintain communication between the committee and the den as well as advise the den of ideas based on successful past experiences. Since it wasn't a demanding job, they really enjoyed the experience. You could kind of look at them a the Den Commissioner of the Tigers. Worked very well. I would do it again if I somehow become a leader for my grand kids. 

 

Barry

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When my son was in Tigers, there was no DL.  The parents each planned an event and the boys showed up.  No bling, no hassle, just a lot of fun.  One parent had us visit the airport where the boys got to go up into the tower, see the fire/rescue equipment, get back into the luggage handling areas, and see a ton of stuff not available to the public.  Another took the boys to the library, every boy got their own library card, got to check out a book, sat in on story time, went back into the archives, got to ask questions at the research area, use the microfilm machines.  We of course did the traditional police tour and fire dept tour, the local museum, etc.  It was really one of the best years for the boys.  No pressure to do anything except have fun. 

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....We seem to get the real quality leaders at the Boy Scout level, but early CS leadership seems to be the adult that got cornered in to doing the role. We then have really poor training and tools to hand them to do their job.

My last couple years with our pack I felt like I couldn't get parents to do anything but give me their best blank face zombie impression.  We had a full staff of den leaders but we tried and tried but the parents just wouldn't step up.  I watched some of those families as their son's went to the troop (a few still had boys in the pack).

These people that never helped beyond stacking chairs or the like in the pack, but they really stepped up the interest over at the troop.... joining the committee and really taking an active role.

Very encouraging (for the future of the troop)

but also very very discouraging

 

We did this and I feel it was a big contributor turning our Tiger program around. They weren't grandmas, but past den leaders who had three or more years experience in the pack. They maintain communication between the committee and the den as well as advise the den of ideas based on successful past experiences. Since it wasn't a demanding job, they really enjoyed the experience. You could kind of look at them a the Den Commissioner of the Tigers. Worked very well. I would do it again if I somehow become a leader for my grand kids. 

 

Barry

Yeah, grandmas were just what i'm picturing.  Any experienced leader would fit the bill, who is willing to do it well and repeat even without a son in the den or pack.

 

When my son was in Tigers, there was no DL.  The parents each planned an event and the boys showed up.  No bling, no hassle, just a lot of fun.  One parent had us visit the airport where the boys got to go up into the tower, see the fire/rescue equipment, get back into the luggage handling areas, and see a ton of stuff not available to the public.  Another took the boys to the library, every boy got their own library card, got to check out a book, sat in on story time, went back into the archives, got to ask questions at the research area, use the microfilm machines.  We of course did the traditional police tour and fire dept tour, the local museum, etc.  It was really one of the best years for the boys.  No pressure to do anything except have fun. 

as it should be, well in a way.  I think you have to have a DL for charter, but even if you don't I think you dod need a registered and trained leader to guide it

But absolutely, all parents participating.

This is exactly what an experienced repeat den leader could pull together in short order, without the parents tripping over themselves before they figure it out... if they ever do without guidance.

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My last couple years with our pack I felt like I couldn't get parents to do anything but give me their best blank face zombie impression.  We had a full staff of den leaders but we tried and tried but the parents just wouldn't step up.  I watched some of those families as their son's went to the troop (a few still had boys in the pack).

These people that never helped beyond stacking chairs or the like in the pack, but they really stepped up the interest over at the troop.... joining the committee and really taking an active role.

Very encouraging (for the future of the troop)

but also very very discouraging

The hardest thing is to walk away from a unit after putting in so much time to build it. You can only do your best to train the folks taking over and hope they do their best and follow the plan.

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After one has done their part, if the next group let's it fail, it's not their problem anymore, they have moved on.

 

I had a director of education come to me in a panic saying she had called everyone in the congregation and they couldn't get anyone to teach 3rd grade Sunday School.  I asked how many kids did that affect and she said two.  I made one phone call and they had their teacher.  It's always surprising how many people lie to their pastors.  :)

 

No one in today's society practices the art of brinkmanship anymore.  It's too bad.

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After one has done their part, if the next group let's it fail, it's not their problem anymore, they have moved on.

 

I had a director of education come to me in a panic saying she had called everyone in the congregation and they couldn't get anyone to teach 3rd grade Sunday School.  I asked how many kids did that affect and she said two.  I made one phone call and they had their teacher.  It's always surprising how many people lie to their pastors.  :)

 

No one in today's society practices the art of brinkmanship anymore.  It's too bad.

 

I know you agree with this, @@Stosh, but we shouldn't have to bring the conversation to brinkmanship. Parent should WANT to be involved in their kid's lives beyond dropping them off at events. Our pack required parents to be around for Tiger events. That is what Tigers was about. We encouraged parents to be involved in other pack and den events after Tigers as well. It wasn't necessary for every parent to attend every meeting, but to show up and take an interest was a great example for their kids to witness. 

 

Kids know when they're being "dumped" at a meeting so mom can get a pedicure and dad can hang a Starbucks and surf the net. The kids pick up on this are are ambivalent as all heck when their parents display this behavior. I have been tracking two groups of parents in my unit for three years now. One is the drop-off-and-run crowd, the other the stay-and-volunteer crowd. Suffice to say that the latter's kids are more involved, achieved ranks faster and are better scouts than those who drop and run.

 

Go figure.

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@@Krampus

 

I don't disagree one bit, there are basically two kinds of people in the world those that give and those that take.  The description of the parents fits right into that definition.  But what happens when one has nothing but takers, the drop-off-and-run parents?  Those parents are not displaying and teaching their children the importance of servant leadership, i.e. taking care of someone else.  The description clearly shows that the giver parents have better scouts, like that should be of any surprise to anyone!  I have dealt with this issue my entire life of working with youth and other adult volunteer organizations.  I learned even while back in school that 10% of the people do 90% of the work in any organization. 

 

But there are ways of getting around that and "brinkmanship" often draws a different outcome than from sitting back and letting "George" do it because he's always first to help anyway.

 

One always has to remember that "George" can often be the source of the problem!  The 10% that are always there first to volunteer get the plum jobs.  Those marginally involved pretty much don't get a chance and when they do it's the jobs that "George" doesn't want to do anyway.  People aren't dumb, they figure this out, so do kids of scouting age. 

 

My Ex ran a program for the woman's group at a church once that had everyone sign up for all the activities the ladies were going to put on for the year and then some.  When everyone in the congregation had a chance to sign up, she collected up all the papers and if they didn't have enough people to do the work, not enough money to fund it or didn't have someone to take the lead on it, it was tossed in the garbage.  (BRINKMANSHIP!)   Within a week, somehow the sheets reappeared completely filled out and funded.  She put the booklet of all the information for every activity and sent it to every lady in the congregation.  Then she did nothing but remind people who was doing what and to read their little activity book, everything there.  Along about June the activity for the group was a Father/Daughter Dinner for Father's Day.  The ladies had everything all set to go and 30 minutes before the start they were all in a tizzy that none of the tables were decorated.  My Ex and I get a call.  We go over there and sure enough the place was nothing but tables and chairs.  At 20 minutes before the event, a pickup truck pulls up, the lady, her husband and her two sons, one middle school, one high school. rolled in and within 10 minutes the place was unbelievable.  She and her family must have been working on getting that ready for 6 months and pulled it off in 10 minutes.

 

The ladies of the church didn't like that process and "went back to the way they had always done it."   So they went back to "George" begging for help every month all year long.  It was of interest to note, that that lady never had done anything with the church ladies before she and her family decorated tables..... and never did anything after either.  She knew what she needed to do for the whole year, had time to get ready for it, do it well, and know that no one was going to hound her all year long to come in at the last minute to help.

 

Sometimes the art of brinkmanship is a valuable skill to have in one's arsenal.  I don't see it as a negative, but as a gentle persuader of allowing the marginal people an opportunity to come forward and provide real help, valuable help, not just doing the grunt work that "George" doesn't want to do.

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I know you agree with this, @@Stosh, but we shouldn't have to bring the conversation to brinkmanship. Parent should WANT to be involved in their kid's lives beyond dropping them off at events. Our pack required parents to be around for Tiger events. That is what Tigers was about. We encouraged parents to be involved in other pack and den events after Tigers as well. It wasn't necessary for every parent to attend every meeting, but to show up and take an interest was a great example for their kids to witness. 

 

Kids know when they're being "dumped" at a meeting so mom can get a pedicure and dad can hang a Starbucks and surf the net. The kids pick up on this are are ambivalent as all heck when their parents display this behavior. I have been tracking two groups of parents in my unit for three years now. One is the drop-off-and-run crowd, the other the stay-and-volunteer crowd. Suffice to say that the latter's kids are more involved, achieved ranks faster and are better scouts than those who drop and run.

 

Go figure.

 

We didn't do a very good job with this in our pack.  Since before my time it was a culture of a lot done by just a few.  I stepped in just to help them.... and before long they had jumped ship due to burn out.... almost leaving me hanging for all the pack level stuff.  We had den leaders but not much else.  I'll admit that I didn't do a great job of turning this around... i tried, but was not able to do.

 

I noticed what you are pointing out very clearly about the kids of those that volunteered.  

 

 

@@Krampus

 

I don't disagree one bit, there are basically two kinds of people in the world those that give and those that take.  The description of the parents fits right into that definition.  But what happens when one has nothing but takers, the drop-off-and-run parents?  Those parents are not displaying and teaching their children the importance of servant leadership, i.e. taking care of someone else.  ....

 

 

I often wondered what the scouts were thinking when I would appeal to the parents during pack meetings and their parents would look at me blank faced.  (I tried to not talk to adults in pack meetings, but sometimes I did because we were desperately needing help and they wouldn't attend parent meetings)

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The game is: hold out as long as possible and whoever loses their nerve first gets stuck with the job.

 

"Due to the fact that we have too many Bears this year and we are short a DL, next pack meeting we will be holding a drawing to see which boys at the Bear level will need to find a different pack for the year."

 

Then hold the drawing.  What are the odds that one of the parents from the pool will step up and be DL so his/her son can stay with the pack?

 

Unfair?  No, it's unfair to have the one Bear DL take on too many boys and burn out.  Now you are down 2 DL"s for the following year.  The downward decline of the pack takes another step.

 

If one does not have the resources to run the program for the year, at least be honest with them so they can make arrangements elsewhere for their boys.

 

The reason one has burnout is because one is trying to run a program with no where near enough people.  If there are no resources, then quit misleading people into thinking there even is a program for their boy.  Better to shut down the failing pack and get the boys involved in other healthier packs..... or start recruiting volunteers differently than what is being down now, it's ain't working, do something else, it just might work!  It can't make it any worse.

Edited by Stosh

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