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Eagle1993

Dividing a Pack

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20 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

That is interesting, as in our case the council is the one initiating the idea of splitting the Pack up... no one inside our Pack has even thought of this.   I’ll focus on adding adult leaders in various roles to improve our program instead of breaking the pack up.  Thanks for the insights.

That sounds like the right move. If you have the leadership and facilities for a pack with 100 Cubs, have a pack with 100 Cubs.  It sounds like your DE is just looking to create another unit, if only on paper.

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21 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

That is interesting, as in our case the council is the one initiating the idea of splitting the Pack up... no one inside our Pack has even thought of this.   I’ll focus on adding adult leaders in various roles to improve our program instead of breaking the pack up.  Thanks for the insights.

And we have a winner with the why...the council.

Challenge is you are coming at the question assuming that everyone involved is seeking the same outcome; quality product delivered to the customers.  In this case, BSA programs for eager cubs.  You want to have kids enjoying scouting, having fun, doing cub stuff.

The council and the professionals, while not evil in their intent can be viewed as franchise sellers.  As has been noted, they are looking to increase the number "doors" that are "selling" scouting.  Is it simpler to do a greenfield and build brand new OR take a successful franchise (i.e. pack) and split it?  Less trouble, already have a CO, likely there are some parents that want to do things their own way, so path of least resistance.  Split and (hopefully) grow.

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I tend to take a little more optimistic view of the councils.  I've gotten to know our DE and some of the council staff.  Yes, they have goals for new units started, but they also have goals for membership.  A successful unit like this one is gold to a DE and the council.  It helps make membership numbers, it helps make FOS numbers, etc  My gut tells me that this isn't the "Council" so much as it is the DE & maybe Director of Field Service.  

I'm thinking they are trying to figure out how to make a successful pack more successful.  They probably fear that the unit is getting too big to be sustainable under the current leadership structure.  Let's face it - many units struggle to get enough volunteers, so taking a big pack and then asking them to add 25% more volunteers to make it work is a big ask.  Easier to just try a split where it's more easily managed by a smaller group.  Also, if all goes well, you get two strong smaller packs which are well poised for future growth.

Me - I'd sit down with the core leadership team and figure out an organization that's sustainable for 120 cubs.  120 cubs is two boy dens and a girl den at each level.  That's very realistic for a large pack.  Define the jobs you need filled.  Don't worry about who is going to do the jobs you need done them, just start by figuring out what they are.  Once you have those defined, you can go out and recruit for them.  It may take a couple of years to fill them, but at least you've got a goal then.  

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40 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I tend to take a little more optimistic view of the councils.  I've gotten to know our DE and some of the council staff.  Yes, they have goals for new units started, but they also have goals for membership.  A successful unit like this one is gold to a DE and the council.  It helps make membership numbers, it helps make FOS numbers, etc  My gut tells me that this isn't the "Council" so much as it is the DE & maybe Director of Field Service.  

I'm thinking they are trying to figure out how to make a successful pack more successful.  They probably fear that the unit is getting too big to be sustainable under the current leadership structure.  Let's face it - many units struggle to get enough volunteers, so taking a big pack and then asking them to add 25% more volunteers to make it work is a big ask.  Easier to just try a split where it's more easily managed by a smaller group.  Also, if all goes well, you get two strong smaller packs which are well poised for future growth.

Me - I'd sit down with the core leadership team and figure out an organization that's sustainable for 120 cubs.  120 cubs is two boy dens and a girl den at each level.  That's very realistic for a large pack.  Define the jobs you need filled.  Don't worry about who is going to do the jobs you need done them, just start by figuring out what they are.  Once you have those defined, you can go out and recruit for them.  It may take a couple of years to fill them, but at least you've got a goal then.  

I agree with everything said here. However, I found that messing with units at the top of their game rarely brings more success.

Instead, and I pushed this to our district and council, learn what makes the unit a success and give their tips to other units.

Over the years I found that district and council leaders don't always understand why particular units standout, so their advice is most often out of place. Our troop grew to have the largest group of scouts between the ages of 14 thru 17 in the council. Council's response to us was to start a Venture Crew to split off some of the scouts. What we had to explain to them that the older scouts are the heart of the program and the reason for the success of the "whole" troop. Not that we didn't encourage adventure, we average 4 to 6 adventure treks a year. We supported and encouraged any scout who wanted to join a Venture Crew outside of the troop. But we were not going to upset the format of the program that made us successful.

Barry 
 

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4 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Our troop grew to have the largest group of scouts between the ages of 14 thru 17 in the council. Council's response to us was to start a Venture Crew to split off some of the scouts. What we had to explain to them that the older scouts are the heart of the program and the reason for the success of the "whole" troop. Not that we didn't encourage adventure, we average 4 to 6 adventure treks a year. We supported and encouraged any scout who wanted to join a Venture Crew outside of the troop. But we were not going to upset the format of the program that made us successful.

We have similar makeup.  Actually add 8th and 9th graders as new scouts each year recruited by friends.  Our District Commissioner kept pushing the Venture, that will keep the older scouts engaged.  Our pushback was they are in fact engaged, they come to meetings, go on outings, etc.  Most units that are successful do so because of outdoor program and a youth led program with leaders involved to train and let them run it.   

Nobody joined Scouts to track chores for 12 weeks, have family meetings, keep up with a budget, or track their pushups.  They want to camp in the woods without parents or siblings, tell racy jokes in the privacy of their tents or hammocks, burn stuff, and goof off on a nice weekend afternoon without anyone giving them grief.

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5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I tend to take a little more optimistic view of the councils.  I've gotten to know our DE and some of the council staff.  Yes, they have goals for new units started, but they also have goals for membership.  A successful unit like this one is gold to a DE and the council.  It helps make membership numbers, it helps make FOS numbers, etc  My gut tells me that this isn't the "Council" so much as it is the DE & maybe Director of Field Service.  

I'm thinking they are trying to figure out how to make a successful pack more successful.  They probably fear that the unit is getting too big to be sustainable under the current leadership structure.  Let's face it - many units struggle to get enough volunteers, so taking a big pack and then asking them to add 25% more volunteers to make it work is a big ask.  Easier to just try a split where it's more easily managed by a smaller group.  Also, if all goes well, you get two strong smaller packs which are well poised for future growth.

Me - I'd sit down with the core leadership team and figure out an organization that's sustainable for 120 cubs.  120 cubs is two boy dens and a girl den at each level.  That's very realistic for a large pack.  Define the jobs you need filled.  Don't worry about who is going to do the jobs you need done them, just start by figuring out what they are.  Once you have those defined, you can go out and recruit for them.  It may take a couple of years to fill them, but at least you've got a goal then.  

Good recommendation and thanks for the additional DE insight.  Our DE has been very supportive so I’ll lean to the side of him thinking down the road on ensuring a quality program vs padding the numbers.  I definitely appreciate the ideas and will focus our leaders on planning for a large Pack vs breaking it apart.  

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