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Pack Meetings? And Leader Loads?

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As part of some notes sent and posted in December, about improving Cub Scouting through “Bobcat Activity Plansâ€, “Put All Den Adventure Plans Back Online for Freeâ€, and “Restore Camping Activity to the Requirementsâ€, I’ve been thinking with others about the elephant in the room, the problem no one function of a Council or District can solve: 


We Can’t Get Enough People To Be Leaders. 


Everyone “does their best†in their lanes or functions:  Membership mentions it.  Training wants to train, but isn’t tasked to recruit. Same with Commissioners.


The problem in part is that the way the BSA describes “what Cub Scouting is†-- a result of which is that being a Den Leader or a Cubmaster is an enormous job description.  


Like a Den Leader is told about “weekly†den meetings and monthly pack meetings and monthly roundtables and monthly pack leader meetings and then probably another activity and training and prepare for your “weekly†meetings … that’s a lot. 

--  So of course few people want to do all that …

--  … or if you don’t deliver as described by your DE you feel like you’re letting kids, families and the BSA itself down. 


But I think we can make progress by changing how we describe “what Cub Scouting is†in our Websites, parent handouts, training, etc., by paring down that description … to make it clear that:

--  If you don’t meet every week, you’ll be fine … do fun activities. 

--  If you don’t have Pack Meetings, you’ll be fine … do fun activities instead. 

     --  (Pack Meeting Fans:  Not that Pack meetings are banned or bad … but if it’s not fun in your Pack, why do it?)


So I’ve put together two thought pieces on this struggle with suggested website changes, to help us re-think how we describe “what cub scouting isâ€:


one about “Lighten Leader Loadsâ€, focused on the Den Leader, and how we might help them, at:


also posted with hyperlinks at Lighten Leader Loads


the other is about “Why Pack Meetings†or “Minimize Meetings, Accentuate Activitiesâ€, at:


also posted with hyperlinks at Why Pack Meetings? 


Now, I’ll grant that sometimes the ideal model works, usually in the perfect pack in the unicorn district of utopia council where everyone volunteers and follows through.  But that’s rare.



Improve Cub Scouting - Lighten Leader Loads.pdf

Improve Cub Scouting - Minimize Meetings, Accentuate Activities.pdf

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I like the cut of your jib,  bbender.   Things to remember and , perhaps, the windmills we tilt against:


 #1)  "The work is done by whoever shows up".   As is the way in most volunteer orgs, 90% of the deal is done by 10% of the people.   Doesn't vary much.  The challenge is ALWAYS getting that 10%   up on the line.  And, remember, it doesn't have to be the same 10%  all the time !


 #2)   What I call the "soccer syndrome".   Many (dare I say most?  Nah....)  modern parents  look for an "expert"  to do things with/for/to their kid(s).   Take the kid to soccer/Scouts/school/sunday school/karate  etc. and let "the expert"  mold the kid into a nice , well behaved, educated, knowledgeable  child "I can be proud of".  How to convince some parents that , yes, they do know what to do, and yes, we do have some training to help them do it.  Being a parent is something you can take pride in, but YOU have to do it, not just Mr. Scoutmaster/schoolteacher/coach/Youth Pastor/Ms Parole officer.......

" I don't know anything about this Scout stuff, but I want Jimmy to get the advantage of this camping/hiking stuff.  Here, do your thing, Mr. Scoutmaster."


#3)  Most of the folks I work with in Scouting and elsewhere, (church, clubs) if there is no paycheck dependent,  (I'm retired),  being personally asked is how folks get involved most often.  "Hey , I need some help here".  only works at Scout camp when the folks are already Scouts.  Broadcast emails?  Don't have to deal with it. Post cards, printed newsletters?  Might get more attention, posted on the fridge at home.   Phone calls,  and face to face are often the only way to engender cooperation and the jumping in that gets the Blue and Gold organized.  but most often, once they get their feet wet, so to speak, it is easier to enlist them in other projects (CSDC, Camporees, trainings)  


#4)  Sometimes, not having the B&G happen is the only way to get folks to realize that SOMEBODY has to step up and take the lead or things aren't going to happen.

Sometimes , after you have phoned every parent in the Troop, despite all entreaties and ideas on how to make it happen , there really isn't anyone to accompany the kids to summer camp.   Too bad, but sometimes it happens.  Sometimes you have to go over the head of the parents and make sure The Boys know what is or is not happening.  Then, you may be surprised how quick things can turn around .  Is it really "all about the kids", or not?


See you on the trail....

Edited by SSScout
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