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Rapid growth, few volunteers, parent conduct, advice?

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Thank you all again, here's a quick update after tonight's meeting:   The previous cubmaster got back to me and agreed with my basic plan. Can't tell you how nice it is to have experienced ears to

@@qwazse is correct.  It is a matter of developing at Pack culture or faking that there is one until everyone believes the myth.  With our Pack, Troop and now Crew, the expectation is that EVERY adult

Explain to the adults that their kids are counting on them to step up, and nobody will do it better. Share a vision of two or three tiger dens, each with two caring adults and every parent part of te

To update your registration from den leader to assistant cubmaster, you'll need to fill out another application listing the new position code.  If you've already done that, perhaps it got lost on the way through the signature and approval process. 

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Why would anyone feel the need to run a program when there are no adults to work it?  One can run around like Chicken Little all they want, but until there are sufficient adults to step into the various roles, those roles don't function.  It's great that one has a ton of new scouts, but if the new parents don't step up, I'd drop the new scouts and keep with what's working.  Getting a bunch of new scouts with no adult leadership is NOT a good thing, it will backfire on the program and next year's crop of boys won't be joining because of the horror stories they have heard about that pack.  Get your adults first, then go after the boys when you have a program to offer.  Getting the boys and then not delivering on the program is a waste of time for everyone.

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Good advice all! :) 

I agree about breaking up the Tiger Den. I had 20 cubs once. Never again.


While the kids are off doing something explain this is not a drop off exercise. We used to:


1- Remind the Dad's how cool they will look in their boy's eyes. And you usually get some points with Mom.

2-The whole this time is fleeting speech. Spend the time now.

3-That no prior camping knowledge is required. I found this was a rather common fear among the younger parents we found. We recruited some campers/boy scout parents to give advice later in the year. 

4-Everyone does something. Even when we managed a den leader and a co-leader we tried to assign a meeting activity to a parent each week. This made it easier on the leaders and less of an ask for the parent. The smart parents jump on the easy jobs first but get the ball rolling. Make sure you thank EVERYBODY.

5-I agree about putting new scouts on hold unless someone steps up. I have seen this again and again with Tigers and solutions where a non-parent scouter steps in as a temporary leader just never seems to solve the problem, just kicks the can down the road.

6-Play up how this so good for some boys and a good alternative to school. Remember that parents of young children feel harried and often are hitting the confusing and stressful years of the public school system. They may be wary of new demands on their time.

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1- Remind the Dad's how cool they will look in their boy's eyes. And you usually get some points with Mom......

I've gotta chuckle.  In my case it was/is a constant tiptoe.  Mom often thinks that I am spending too much time and energy on Son, while not reciprocating with the girls and her.  It's a tiptoe along the highwire thing....



......Make sure you thank EVERYBODY......

and don't expect much thanks in return.....

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Stosh, are you in my head?


I brought up very similar concerns when our CM told us his grand plan for this huge recruitment. Namely, who is going to lead them, and what is step 2 if he has great success.


Its very frustrating.


Anyway, another den leader and myself have asked parents to run our meetings next week. So we'll meet with the big tiger den. I'm hoping we can get our other leaders to help as well, but so far she's the only one who responded. We'll split parents and scouts, and I'll talk to the parents using the ideas you all have given. And see what they want to do I guess.


Hopefully, we can turn this around and get 3-4 dens up and running with their own leaders and parents chipping in. Hopefully we won't waste snymore of their time, or mine.


But given the lack of response from my fellow leaders, and the parents I reached out to, I'm not holding my breath. Anyway, thanks again. In addition to the ideas to try next week, I've got a list of things to try and implement going forward.

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Split the tiger den up immediately. You don't encourage people to step up (heck I wouldn't with 23 kids!) neither is it a productive meeting for the kids.


Run the first den meeting for each tiger den to show the parents how simple it can be.

Break out a calendar at end of meeting and have each parent sign up to host and plan a meeting.

With 8 families and 2 meetings a month (keep it simple, they can up the number when they are more confident) that is

4 months done.


You can point out if no one hosts and plans the meeting then there simply won't be one, they usually gets parents motivated. And if they walk away, it's sad for the kid but the parent wouldn't have been a valuable asset anywys.

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Situations like this are why I really think more Packs should use Pack Trainers.  Technically, the Tiger Den Leaders should be picked by the Chartered Organization (see here and here, not sure what the difference is between the two versions of this process, or which is the correct and most up-to-date version, perhaps someone from the BSA can explain), not by picking the short straw in a room full of parents.  However, how does the Chartered Org and existing Pack Leadership get to know the Tiger parents before a Den Leader is needed?


In my opinion, this could be a place where the Pack Trainer steps in... or  in cases where there is no Pack Trainer, the Cubmaster or Assistant can step in assuming he or she isn't already acting as an unoffiicial Den Leader for a different den.  Have the Pack Trainer, Cubmaster, or Assistant Cubmaster run the first Adventure for the Tigers, while at the same time watching for prospective leaders.  Let the parents know that this is only for the first Adventure, and by the time the second month rolls around one of them *will* be the Den Leader.  See if any parents step up, and observe the parents to see which have a knack for keeping the boys in line and which have the energy to be a good den leader.


If more Packs did this, I think the Cub Scouting program as a whole would improve quite a bit.

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That sounds great. I had suggested that we actually hold an informational meeting with graduating kindergarten boys and their parents last spring, before school shut down for summer. Ideally, I had hoped we could have identified willing parents then, before fall recruitment, and used the summer to train new den leaders and have them ready to go.


I thought it was a good idea, but I never got the okay from our CM to go ahead and do it. I'm starting to feel like I need to work around him...still no response from him on my plan for the Tigers this week, though all the other den leaders are on board and will be helping.


Shifting gears... Did you say I need to fill out a new volunteer application to get my position in the pack updated?



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Yes, that is correct.  When you change roles, to make it official you need to fill out another application.  I've filled out the Adult Leader Application for each of these:


  1. Tiger Den Leader
  2. Cubmaster
  3. Pack Trainer
  4. Roundtable Commissioner
  5. District Committee

When I'm ready to take on a role in my son's Boy Scout Troop, I'll need to fill it out again.  You only need to pay the $24 registration fee once per year, but any time you change or add a position you need to fill out the application again.  I hear that electronic applications may be coming soon... I hope that's true because after the first half dozen times filing out the application it gets a bit repetitive.  :D

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I've thought about this, especially with School Night for Scouting coming up.  Eight is definitely the maximum I'm willing to handle in a Den.  If the above mentioned happens (lots of new Cubs) and you can't get enough adult leadership for another Den, what's the best way to handle it?  Have a waiting list and add a boy if one drops out?

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That is an interesting question.  I think a 'waiting list' is absolutely the wrong way to go.  That happened to my daughter when she tried to join Girl Scouts.  She was told that the Troop was 'full.'  Does anyone truly think we should deny a child the opportunity to participate in Scouting for a year because we (as adults) aren't doing our best to staff the open positions in our units? 


Yes, some of this has to fall on the parents of these kids, but I think in most cases parents don't step up because of reasons the Pack leadership could fix.  For example - if the parent's see that the Cubmaster and one or two Den Leaders are doing everything - that shouldn't be happening.  There should be a Pack Committee that handles things like the Popcorn sale, picking up badges at the Scout shop, collecting and proessing applications, etc.  If the parents see one or two Leaders doing all of that - no wonder they don't want to volunteer.  Yet time after time when I visit Packs as a Commissioner that is exactly what I see.


Or, we have Pack Committee Chairs and Cubmaster making a general appeal to a room full of parents.  Again, that shouldn't be happening (or shouldn't be the only method).  Look at the guides I linked above... you are supposed to wine and dine (figuratively) your candidate and ask them individually to fill a role.  How many of you can say that happened for you?  In a way it happened for me, but the outgoing Cubmaster didn't do a great job of selling the position to me... she's lucky that a Scout is Helpful and I try to live by the Law.  Her salesmanship definitely left something to be desired.


Or, we fail to think outside the box.  Do you have any colleges nearby?  Do you think there are any former Boy Scouts attending those Colleges who are looking for a way to stay active in Scouting?  Or perhaps students in the Education degree programs who want to gain extra experience working with youth?  Or retired grandpas or grandmas who were Scouters when their kids were young?


If you've exhausted every method for finding a den leader, and your Pack has a healthy Committee, then as a Scout be Helpful and find them another Pack.  Don't waitlist someone... somewhere there is a Pack that can take on additional boys, and that boy deserves a chance to experience Scouting from the day they first fill out an application until the day they age out.  Talk to your Unit Commissioner or District Executive if you don't know of a unit, I'm sure they can help you find one for those kids.

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