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Stephan.M

New to forum still first year in scouting.

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Hello everyone. I'm a relatively new scouter. The pack I'm in the year before my son joined fell apart. When we joined we had 5 den leaders. We are now down to me the Webelos leader. My son is crossing over in may but I've been asked to take CM for one year to get the pack started back up. That I don't mind to do as a good cub scouts unit will feed the troop. However I have been recruited by the CO of the troop to take over as SM. I have agreed to take an ASM for the new scout patrol for the first year to learn the ropes. The present SM who wants to retire stated that he will hang around for one more year. Does anyone think I'm biting off to much?

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Does anyone think I'm biting off to much?

 

Heck yes you are biting off WAY more than you can chew.

 

Building a Pack will take a looong time. One year won't cut it.

 

Taking over for an SM is a hard job. I would encourage you to make sure that SM shows you the ropes in Year 1, you take over in Year 2 and he's around during Year 2 to help advise (in the background).

 

You cannot be a good CM and be a good SM (or ASM for a NSP). It is one or the other given the situation you describe.

 

My two cents.

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I used to be a ASM and WDL, then ASM/Crew Advisor, then ASM/Crew Advisor/Church Youth leader, then SM/Crew/Advisor/Church Youth Leader, then SM, then UC, then SM/UC of a new troop startup from scratch, now I'm back as SM/UC/WDL/Church Youth Leader and the council just asked me to start a new crew. 

 

I'm retired and I've been at this stuff for 45+ years.

 

If this is your first year, YOU ARE TAKING ON TOO MUCH. 

 

You're done with Cubs, don't look back.  Take on ASM for a year, NOT AS NSP ASM, you need a broad based learning curve.  Maybe after a year preferably two, take over as SM.  You can do that for 5 years before your boy ages out.

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Welcome to the forums!

Those of us who've worn multiple hats simultaneously always ask ourselves if we've done a disservice to one unit or the other.

 

I'd like to know what's so magical about you that the CO thinks you would make a great SM? I'm not asking to be mean, but really, folks have seen my great outdoor skills, how well I work with the boys, how I nail rules and regs, etc ... and they all knew that the best position for me was ASM, and later crew advisor.

Maybe that's because we had a lot of depth, but the point is that someone who enjoys being SM (basically a mentor and coach), does not enjoy being CM (a master of ceremonies, gopher, and recruiter), and maybe one in five SMs enjoy being a crew advisor (good for nothing and best used that way ;) ). The person him/herself doesn't always see that, but someone from the outside often does. So what are these people seeing? And who is the most correct? Who does your spouse think is right?

 

Here, you'll get a lot of opinions on new scout patrols, if any patrol needs its own ASM, how you should be working your troop, etc ... The fact is, nothing we say is gonna help you with that until you really get to know these boys and their parents, go to district round tables, and get trained. Most round-tables split sessions between Packs and Troops/Crews. Given that, there is now way you can maximize interaction with all the people who are most likely to help you be a good SM/ASM and those who would help you be a good CM/ACM. That alone limits your ability to be the best you can be in either position. On top of that, the synergy between the two position descriptions is simply not there.

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Here we are,  talking about doing TOO MUCH in Scouting.   Really, us?  :-)  

 

 Look at the few comments above.  And other writers on this forum.   We have every type of career represented, both active and retired. We have husbands, wives, Gmoms and Gdads. Single folks, you name it.

 

The secret is "balance", Grasshopper, balance.   And juggling is a good metaphor, too.  How many plates can you keep spinning with out losing some?  Which ones are the important ones?   Wife, kids?   Career, boss?   Church?  House maintenance?  Shoe polish?

 

Scouting is important to you, that is obvious. It shows in your short intro above, in the fact that you sought out this forum. You see the benefit to your son and the sons of others.  How do you translate that into action?  How to transfer that passion to others?  And you NEED the others, believe me.  

You are valued for your Scouting experience and organizational ability (they want you to be a SM???). Someone else (the same CO?) wants you  to  be CM and help resuscitate a moribund Cub Pack.  Do you have any OTHER  parents/adults who share that desire?   You say you lost  a bunch of Cub Leaders, why did they leave?  Perhaps discovering that might help with your decision as to your course.   You DO NOT want to be the ONLY  Cub Pack Savior.  How can you be a Leader when there is no one to lead? 

If it was me, (and you are not me!)  I would opt for the Cub Pack, assuming I have some support.   The Scout Troop might need a new SM, but that can wait.  If it is already a viable Scout Troop, there are some other candidates in there, somewhere.    A Cub Pack can be breeding ground for new Scouts and new Scout Parents.  Take those boys hiking, to CSDC, to the museums and  zoos and ship overnights.  Show those shy young parents how easy it is to help their boys to be confident, independent and  able.  When they reach Boy Scouts, they will help transform the new Troop into the Boy Led Troop we seek.  

Seek to hear that boy who says, unbelieving, "you mean I can do that?" 

You can (you will) help your boy in his Scout career by being his dad (Pardon my assumption)  (and how about mom?  Where does she come into this, ummm?) .  Parents do not necessarily need to "bridge over" with the boy.  Some of the best CM and SM are the ones without boys "in the program". 

 

AND don't forget to take the training.  All good things.   SLS, BALOO, all the online stuff, and look for the U of Scouting in your council.    Even the SMaster stuff can be of benefit to a CM.  Wood Badge?  Eventually, don't hurry it. 

 

See you on the trail.

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Hello everyone. I'm a relatively new scouter. The pack I'm in the year before my son joined fell apart. When we joined we had 5 den leaders. We are now down to me the Webelos leader. My son is crossing over in may but I've been asked to take CM for one year to get the pack started back up. That I don't mind to do as a good cub scouts unit will feed the troop. However I have been recruited by the CO of the troop to take over as SM. I have agreed to take an ASM for the new scout patrol for the first year to learn the ropes. The present SM who wants to retire stated that he will hang around for one more year. Does anyone think I'm biting off to much?

 

I think it can be done so long as there aren't any extra responsibilities thrown at you. I've been in pretty much that position (albeit the SM didn't have one foot out the door and the Pack was humming along just fine.)

 

There can be some cross-over in responsibilities between between your Cubmaster and ASM-NSP roles. In an ideal world the ASM-NSP works with the pack to insure a good transition for incoming webelos and coordinates activities between the units to help make that happen. It could be similar to the role many Cubmasters take who are also the Den Leader for their son's Den. Not ideal, but in the real world this happens all the time.

 

If the outgoing Scoutmaster is going to be hands on and not start transitioning duties this will be manageable. If the current Scoutmaster starts handing off responsibilities (which I would almost expect based on your comment), its going to be a very busy year. I'd sit down with him and let him know you're there to learn by observing and he doesn't  have even half of your attention until May of next year. I told my predecessor SM I was 80% Pack / 20% Troop until I handed over the Cubmaster role. That is probably a reasonable allocation. 

 

One thing you didn't mention is if the Pack had an active committee chair. Consider that when deciding to take on the ASM role. If your rebuilding a Pack without a committee chair, then your workload is even bigger

 

One suggestion is to make sure you have a transition plan at the Pack ASAP. You didn't say what was left of the Pack in the lower levels. If you don't have a potential future Cubmaster in the wings today, keep in mind you might not find one in the fall among the incoming parents.

 

I will say this, if forced to chose between roles, take the Cubmaster position. IMHO, so long as the Troop is active today and taking Scouts on regular outings, one of the most important things a healthy Troop needs, long term, is a healthy feeder Pack. Without a good source of new Scouts, you're not going to have a Troop after a few years. And I suspect in a year or two, once the Pack is back on its feet, there will still be leadership opportunities for you at the Troop.  

Edited by meschen
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Hello everyone. I'm a relatively new scouter. The pack I'm in the year before my son joined fell apart. When we joined we had 5 den leaders. We are now down to me the Webelos leader. My son is crossing over in may but I've been asked to take CM for one year to get the pack started back up. That I don't mind to do as a good cub scouts unit will feed the troop. However I have been recruited by the CO of the troop to take over as SM. I have agreed to take an ASM for the new scout patrol for the first year to learn the ropes. The present SM who wants to retire stated that he will hang around for one more year. Does anyone think I'm biting off to much?

 

This is a rhetorical question: but one you should think about while rebuilding your pack. Why did the Pack fall apart? What needs to be fixed?

 

I'm reading between the lines but since all you have is another Webelos Leader, it looks like everyone else aged out and you had a recruiting failure. Perhaps that is the first thing to look at repairing. IMHO, relatively speaking, recruiting Tigers and Wolves is the easiest thing for a Pack committee to do. Unfortunately, the most difficult task for the Committee is recruiting Den Leaders for those same Scouts. 

 

OTOH, if the Scouts and their leaders left before the end of their Webelos year, then you have a program issue and need to find a way to offer a full program. Either way, I'm not sure you're looking at one year to put a strong pack together. It takes a while to build the institutional knowledge and experience on a pack leadership committee until a pack can run on its own momentum.

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Thank you for all the comments and suggestions. Perhaps I should elaborate some about the situation. I'll start with the cub pack. It was dropped by the previous CO about a year ago an found a new home just before my son joined it as a Webelos 2 I took the den leader position. It took until last month to get the pack charted. Through this time we have had no real committee. Needless to say it has been a very steep learning curve. But thanks to some great leaders in this council I have gotten some great help.I have gotten some great training. In person on line and Gilwell field. I have been excited to watch my son's and his fellow scouts growth in scouts. He loves the being in the outdoors as do I. And he is very excited to cross over.

Edited by Stephan.M

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I think it would be too much to take on both roles.  My son is crossing over next week, and I started as a Tiger Den Leader for a dying Pack.  Within a few months of joining Cub Scouts, I found myself 'promoted' to Cubmaster for that Pack.  I am an Eagle Scout.  My mom was my Wolf Den Leader.  My dad was my Webelos Den Leader and Cubmaster.  I knew a lot about Scouting and had some idea of what I was getting myself into.  With all of that said, I almost burned myself out in that first year because we didn't have a real committee (there was one on paper, but I never saw nor heard a thing from them).  I was trying to do everything myself, with a lot of help from my wife.  Luckily my Chartered Org Rep stepped in and saw what was happening.  He rallied the District Execs who came in and said what I wasn't saying "Chris needs help!"  A few parents stepped up, and now I had a Committee Chair and another Den Leader.  That started the ball rolling and now I have an active Committee, Den Leaders for almost all of my dens (we have one problem den we just haven't been able to fix), and I actually enjoy Scouting again and find I have time to be a Roundtable Commissioner.

 

When my son crosses over, I want to stay involved with the Pack for at least a year, but I will do so in the role of Pack Trainer.  That way I can help recruit leaders, mentor them, and keep the Pack heading in the right direction.  In the short term, I have no plan to take on a position in the Troop he is joining.  I plan to ease my way in and see where I'm needed.  I'm sure I'll eventually end up in some role, but it might be good for him if I'm not one of his leaders at first.  He hasn't experienced that yet (dad having no authority in the unit).

 

Rebuilding a Pack is hard work, and you need to start by recruiting a strong Committee.  Find the people who are good planners/organizers and want to work behind the scenes.  Review the Pack Org Chart.  Review the job descriptions.  Note which things the Committee should be doing, and which things the Cubmaster should be doing.  You'll be surprised if you read up on it, because most of what I see many Cubmasters doing is work that should actually fall to the Committee or Den Leaders.  I honestly think that in most cases, the best role for someone who wants to rebuild a Pack is Committee Chair, not Cubmaster.  As Committee Chair, in most cases it is your job to make sure the work gets done.  It would be a lot easier to recruit a Cubmaster if you make clear that their main role is planning and MC'ing a monthly Pack Meeting.  Then start handing out the other jobs in small chunks.  It is still a ton of work, and I wouldn't want to take on a Troop position at the same time, but rebuilding a Pack as a Cubmaster isn't the best way to do it, in my experience.  The Cubmaster is really stuck in the middle, and to really do it right your should be at the top - and the top position is really the Committee Chair.

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