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JosephMD

Cub Scouters - Stay an Extra Year

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How many cub scouters would like to have one extra non parent volunteer?  You might not get one, but you can be one.

 

I knew when my son was a tiger, that I wasn't cut out for cub scout leadership, but my wife was in her element with them!

 

I look to my mother as the example, she was my bear den leader, and the assistant webelos leader, and when I bridged, she became the cubmaster for two years (I had no younger brothers).  Then she became a unit commissioner for several years, until she got really busy with girl scouts with my little sister. 

 

There is always room for an assistant cubmaster or assistant den leader or an active committee member who can organize an event or two.  Tiger parents can be very overwhelmed, being a tiger den leader can be really helpful in getting those new parents up to speed, and turn over the den leader to one of your capable, and trained, tiger parents when they bridge into wolves in the spring. 

 

I see the troubles with leadership turnover through my wife's role as a pack committee chair.  This is my advice to her, to encourage leaders to put in just one more year. 

 

Besides, if they were planning on jumping into an ASM role with a troop, putting that off a year can give their sons a chance to grow into a boy scout and be less dependent on mom or dad. 

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An ideal position for that type if person is the Pack Trainer. Attend a different den meeting each week and help steer the leaders. Like you said with an emphasis on helping out those new Tiger leaders.

 

We recently moved and my son was only in the pack for 6 months before crossing over. I offered to help as Advancement Coordinator, in person and with a couple of emails but never received a reply back. My troop doesn't need me so now I am helping on the district level. I think some Packs are hesitant to have leaders without children in the pack, or maybe it's personal and they don't want me.

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When my son joined our Pack as a Tiger, I became his Den Leader.  Before that year was up, I became Cubmaster (they saw my Eagle knot from a mile away).  At that point, the Pack was down to somewhere around 10 boys and was failing.  In my first year, we lost a couple of den leaders, lost their sons and their sons' friends, but my wife and I worked our behinds off to recruit enough boys to keep the Pack around that same number.  Over the next few years my wife and I (and later some really passionate committee members and Den Leaders), put in a lot of time helping that Pack go from red to green in our UC's eyes.  We're now around 30 boys and in the best shape we've been in a long, long time.  With my son just having crossed over into Boy Scouts, it was time for me to step aside and let the next generation step up.  Yet at the same time I didn't want to completely walk away because I don't want this Pack to slide backwards.

 

So next year I've decided that I could best help this Pack as Pack Trainer.  As KDD pointed out, that's a perfect role for an experienced Cub Scout leader who isn't ready to walk away.  Much less commitment than any 'front line' position, still a member of the Pack Committee, and able to make sure the next generation of leaders knows how do deliver the Cub Scout program the right way.  Of course, if you have more than one leader who wants to stick around and help, there are many other roles behind the scenes where I know an experienced Scouter can help.  The key is to let the next generation spread their wings and assume the leadership roles (Den Leaders, Cubmaster, Committee Chair), with you acting more as a mentor and extra set of helping hands.

 

With our Council and District piloting the Lion Cub program this fall, that's another role that would be ideal for an experienced Den Leader.  Lion Cubs meet only about twice month, one outing and one Den Meeting.  Less commitment than some other Den Leader positions, and it allows you to personally mentor the newest future den leader.  If your Pack isn't doing Lion Scouts this fall, than as you both have pointed out, helping start the year as the next Tiger Den Leader would be ideal.  The goal for both the Lion and Tiger 'Guide' would be to identify a good Den Leader, and probably hand over the reins about half way through the year and step back to let them step up.

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i have written here before

I think the single most valuable position could be having a perpetual tiger leader.

A non parent that knows the drill and isn't trying to figure things out on the fly

they could really set off each new den level on the right path, help select and groom one of the parents in that den to take DL the following year, to help groom all of the parents for other helping roles, help everyone - parents and scouts- to better understand the program

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It can be very difficult to convince parents to go to the training sessions especially Baloo or OWl that many times involve an overnight. Offer to go with them as a "buddy" and help them along, sharing a tent or other gear to help ease the anxiety. Also being a point person on planning and implementing campouts can be very helpful. The DLs have enough to deal with

 

The trick is to be a mentor and not run the show.

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i have written here before

I think the single most valuable position could be having a perpetual tiger leader.

A non parent that knows the drill and isn't trying to figure things out on the fly

they could really set off each new den level on the right path, help select and groom one of the parents in that den to take DL the following year, to help groom all of the parents for other helping roles, help everyone - parents and scouts- to better understand the program

I agree, and also like meyerc13s goal of handing over the reigns halfway or so through the year. I am going to give this some thought,

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Pack trainer is a great idea!  But, as my wife has found, why is it so difficult to get cub scout leaders even basically trained?  The training is online, and doesn't take that much time.  I will say, it is not the best training, it may even be somewhere south of good, but it is a lot better than nothing.  Our district still does in person training, but interest is fading.  How a pack trainer can help?  Get the word out, personal invitation, follow up, meet for breakfast before hand. 

 

I've actually never been to a Pow Wow or University of Scouting, those are usually my wife's thing, but what great resources for cub scouters to go beyond what is offered online.  The two biggest reasons stated as to why someone didn't attend: 1, I didn't know & 2, Nobody to watch the children.  #1 is easy to solve, #2, not so easy these days.  But a pack trainer, getting the word out, organizing the pack leaders to attend together, putting together a car pool, would be a lot of help.

 

I kind of got off the subject.  Maybe pack trainer isn't for everyone.  The idea is, a non parent volunteer helping in any role is a big plus, and those that have done it for 5 years should know the program in be in the best position to be the most helpful. 

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YEAP...My son crossed over and I am sticking with the pack for a while.  I am not quite ready for Boy Scouts yet, I am still too hands on and I enjoy it.

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Pack trainer is a great idea!  But, as my wife has found, why is it so difficult to get cub scout leaders even basically trained?  I have the same problem as Pack Trainer.  Everybody's busy (no kidding).  Asked nicely, got lots of promises, links provided with clear instructions, follow ups, finally figured out it just isn't a priority for them & left them alone.    

 

But a pack trainer, getting the word out, organizing the pack leaders to attend together, putting together a car pool, would be a lot of help. Agreed.  Keep spreading the Good News of Scouter Training!  :) 

 

I kind of got off the subject.  Maybe pack trainer isn't for everyone.  The idea is, a non parent volunteer helping in any role is a big plus, and those that have done it for 5 years should know the program in be in the best position to be the most helpful.   I've thought about this too.  I think it's important if you find such a person to give them assurances (and stick to them) they won't be pressured into taking on more, which is a justified fear a lot of volunteers in any organization have.  Committee leaders fear a vacuum that will create more work for them, and fall short of some standard the district, council or national has set for the Pack that has little or nothing to do with the boys.  I can see that I'm being groomed for Committee chair, but they'll have to understand that if I step up, I will only Do My Best, which might not be good enough for us to get a pretty plaque or patch, but I'll make darn sure the boys have a good program!

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While I think experienced leaders in Cub Scouting is important, personally I could not do it again at this point in my life. I consider my time in Cubs fun, but it was because I was sharing that time with MY kid. I could not imagine doing that again. It would be like doing another tour in Iraq. ;)

 

Maybe when I have grandchildren or when my kids are gone and I am feeling that empty next and cannot move as well.

 

Hat's off to those who can do this. Right now I just don't have the patience.

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When my son bridged last year, I stayed on as the cubmaster.  Even before this, I regularly and frequently offered to step down and be a supportive ACM if any of the parents would like to step up to the position.

 

There were a couple of reasons I stayed on...

1. I like the job, and the satisfaction when the scouts have fun

2. While I am sure other parents would have stepped up if I left, it was lukewarm excitement to someone volunteering if not needed.

3. Being involved with the district, University of Scouting, Roundtable staff, and generally being knowledgeable about the new program changes, I didn't want to dump that into someone's lap.

4. I didn't want to crowd my son's boy scout experience - I wanted him to have more freedom.

5. I felt like I could do more to help my son's troop by helping to have plenty (recruiting) of knowledgeable (strong program and help for DLs) cub scouts crossing over than I would have as another ASM.

6. Honestly, I am sure I had some trust issues (i.e. who could do it as well as I could).

 

As it turns out, my son decided to become a den chief, so we were/are still involved in the pack, and I expect to be for at least one more year.

 

My ACM, after subbing for me one month, decided he could do the job, and liked it, so he and I switched roles at the Blue and Gold.  I miss being the CM, but the pack is in good hands - and there are many things he does better with the pack than I did.

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I think a lot of people don't understand what the Pack Trainer could be.  Initially my wife served as our Pack Trainer, basically making sure that everyone did YPT and Position Specific Training.  Also pointing out when upcoming District/Council training sessions were (University of Scouting, BALOO, etc.).  That's definitely part of it, but the position can be so much more.

 

First, the Pack Trainer is responsible for the new parent orientation.  This is a huge responsibility, set the stage right and the whole show will run smoothly.  If you mess it up, don't be surprised when nobody wants to help out.  My wife must have done well this past fall, three different people stepped up to be Tiger Den Leader the next week.

 

To me, the key between a good Pack Trainer and an excellent Pack Trainer is this line form the job description:  "helps leaders and parents understand purposes, policies, and procedures of the Cub Scouting program."  How many of us had any on-the-job training in our Cub Scout roles?  By this, I don't mean that we were handed a Leader Guide and told "Good Luck!!"  I mean, how many were mentored in our roles?  Probably not many. 

 

To me, as Pack Trainer I can use the position to sit in on Den Meetings, and offer feedback and advice to Den Leaders.  I can mentor the Cubmaster who is succeeding me.  I can mentor the Pack Committee on what responsibilities fall to the Committee, vs, which fall to the Cubmaster (long story short, before me the Cubmaster did everything, there was no active Committee.  When I came in, at the start I had to do everything, and over time have shed much of the roles that should have fallen on the Committee, but there is still a tendency to "Ask Chris" when in reality on some of these things it should really be the Committee "Informing Chris").

 

I'm really looking forward to the Pack Trainer role, and plan to make a nuisance of myself (but in a nice way).  My Pack is a million times healthier than it was when I became Cubmaster, but they still have room to improve.  I am going to challenge each of them to grow in their role, because I know we are 'this close' to being the model Pack.  Next year is the last year for the Committee Chair, so I want him to step down by early Fall and let someone else step up and succeed him.  Our Webelos Den Leader hasn't scheduled a single Den overnighter, I plan to push him on that point.  Not all of our Dens are letting boys and their parents help run an adventure, and use the Denner cords as part of it... I plan to push them on that.  None of these things are big deals, but likewise none take a ton of effort, so why aren't we doing them?  I'm going to have the documentation to back me up on each of these, but these are all little things that we can do to take us from a great Pack, to the best Pack in town.

 

Don't worry, I'm not going to be a bully, but a friend and helper.  I've got years of leadership experience through my job and my employees universally love me, so I must be doing something right.  I'm going to challenge my Pack, but help, guide, and lead them to all be better in their positions.  Plus, I know many of the little things I want to see change will make their roles easier in the long run.

 

I'm really looking forward to it, but I wonder if they realize what they have gotten themselves into by freeing me from the Cubmaster, Den Leader, and Committee tasks I was still performing.  Just through that process alone we've moved the Pack in a better direction, but I don't intend to stop when I swap out the patch on my left sleeve, they need to keep builiding the momentum to carry the Pack into its next 75 years.

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I am so torn on this. I've only been with scouting since 2012 but have always "giving it my all" whenever I could. I've been a den leader the entire time, along with fill in assistant cubmaster when we abruptly lost ours, pack trainer (although I don't consider myself worthy of that title knowing I haven't done nearly as much as some do), awards chair, camp coordinator, popcorn kernel, pinewood derby/cubmobile planner and other various positions. I was always told you'll burn out if you keep on and I just laughed it away.

Now with my son approaching his last year (he will be bridging next March), I find myself feeling very relieved. I've given up almost all of my days off for events, planning, training, meetings, etc. since we started this program. During the summer, we keep on going with planning and summer time events. There hasn't been a huge break for our family. My husband is also a volunteer and my younger son, for the most part, has always been there, too.

I started my current job right after we joined scouts so I've never really known what my days off could be like without being in scouts, lol.

That being said, I'm considering being a volunteer to help out where I can without being "connected" to one specific den after he bridges. My best friend has been a volunteer for two years now (she doesn't have a son of her own) and she thoroughly enjoys it.

It's a great idea, in theory, to stick around. Like Krampus, I just don't know if I will when the time comes.

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It was suggested to me, when I was faced with not being needed at the troop, that I should consider continuing to give to scouting and help the troop.... by sticking with the pack.  I was even asked to stay on as CC.... they needed one and I did consider it strongly.  

I figured it would be a whole lot easier thing to do now that the last of the old guard would be moving on..... by that I mean the old leaders that were still around although burned out from their time serving with their older sons....  It was just hard working with them I found, since they wanted to give up control but at the same time were set in their ways and very hard to work with.

 

In the end, I came around to the same thinking as Krampus.....As I wrote earlier, I think there is a place for an experienced non-parent leader or two

in my thinking that tiger position might be a key one... and I just do not have the interest or energy at this stage of life to take that on!  Perhaps if I were an empty nester and retired.... but not now.

 

But I personally think you need parents with "skin in the game" in the key positions CM, CC, most DL's since they have more motivation and interest in being at every event.

The other less influential position where I can imagine a non-parent I think would be general committee member....in an advisory role, and to jump in hands on from time to time when they can....

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I stayed on as Pack Committee Chair for a year after my eldest went to his Troop, then I took a year off of Scouting altogether... and got roped back in as a Tiger leader when my youngest joined up.

 

"Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in."

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