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ladybugcub

Sports focused town

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I’m in a dilemma. Our pack is smaller (30 started and down to 18) and as much as I love it, we don’t have a lot of leadership beside me and a couple other inconsistent parents. I know that is a common theme, so the root of my issue.

i know my son did not get the full experience he could with Arrow of Light because he was the only one. We tried to do activities with the Webelos (who I also lead). I’m so worried that my daughter starting this year won’t get the experience. The pack we are part of encompasses two elementaries, one with 400-500 students and one with 125 students. Both towns are heavily sports focused, and students are often ridiculed by peers if they are not in a sport. Parents don’t have the dedication to scouting and let their child decide to just quit and play the sport for a couple year, and then not get back into scouting. As it stands, we don’t have every scout at den meetings until late October and then they all start sports in March. I’ve mentioned that if the parents are choosing sports over Scouts then maybe their Scout just won’t make rank. They can still have fun, work on stuff, and benefit from the program, but just not make rank. I was told that would alienate so many and maybe we should have two den meetings. But those parents don’t want to lead the meetings. I informed them that isn’t really fair to the den leader who volunteers their time to have to be there two nights because their scout wants to do both.

I worry my daughter will be the only lion and I don’t want her to have a negative experience. I am heavily vested in this pack. We were on the brink of dissolving when I stepped in and started to fix everything. I love that we can know everyone’s name. But should I move to a larger pack? My son is going to a troop 30 minutes away and the pack there meets on the same night also. I hate to leave this pack to flounder because no one wants to take over, but I also want to think of my children. It’s just hard to stomach that the scouts we have will probably quit if we do not have a local pack because the parents won’t drive 30 minutes to the next town over either. I want everyone to benefit from the values, but at what expense? Any advice would help.

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Welcome.

Sigh....many of us have been there. You can not be responsible for the whole world if other children's parents not step up. If you stay or go it should be based on what will be the best experience for your child, first IMHO. A few of us have produced Scout Widows do not produce Scout Orphans. It is tough because you care for the other little ones BUT the time you have at this stage with your kids is SO short. Mine did the full ride from Tiger to Eagle. A good unit makes a big difference. 

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Welcome to the forum @ladybugcub.

What's your main goal here? Is it to improve the pack or to make sure your daughter has a great Scouting experience?

If you want to fix the pack, then I think you've got a big project.  First thing I'd focus on is building a culture of three things:

- great den leaders

- good recruiting

- a few strong pack activities.

If you do those, the rest is much more likely to happen.

If your goal is your daughter's Scouting experience - I'd suggest that you'll make better progress focusing on building a great den.  A great den really only takes two leaders and 10 kids.  You could be one - now you need a second.  You don't need parents to run meetings- in fact, you probably don't want that.  To build a strong den, you need energetic leaders with a strong vision- not a committee of parent teachers.

From what I've seen you'll never keep 100% of the scouts.  But, the best dens retain the scouts who participate in scouts.  Usually when I see kids leave for a sport it's because the parent says to the kid - you're doing too much.  But, if the parent and kid see how much fun and value the kid is having in scouts, they often find a way to make an exception.  Don't create ultimatums, don't scale back your program, don't hold two den meetings.  Do the opposite - make that den's program outstanding.  Work with the families to find the best time for all.  Make it a community.

I've seen this repeated many times.

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9 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

From what I've seen you'll never keep 100% of the scouts.  But, the best dens retain the scouts who participate in scouts.  Usually when I see kids leave for a sport it's because the parent says to the kid - you're doing too much.  But, if the parent and kid see how much fun and value the kid is having in scouts, they often find a way to make an exception.  Don't create ultimatums, don't scale back your program, don't hold two den meetings.  Do the opposite - make that den's program outstanding.  Work with the families to find the best time for all.  Make it a community.

I've seen this repeated many times.

I agree. This is the suggestions I gave in training as well for both the pack and the troop programs. If the scouts enjoy the program, they will make an effort to come to the meetings. Many of scouts go strait to the bathroom to change from their sports uniform into their scout uniform. 

Barry

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Personally, I'd make the decision based on what you think will make the best and most exciting, inspirational experience for your kids.  If that's transforming your existing pack into a fresh, energetic, busy pack, then great.  If it means joining another pack, that's fine too.

A few notes

  • Your kids are only young once and their time in scouts is short.  
  • Scouts is best with friends.  
  • Socializing and working together is a key part of scouting.  It's not really scouting if your kid doesn't regularly interact with other scouts.   
  • You will spend a lot of energy fixing the existing pack.  
  • Cub scouts takes a lot of adult energy.  You will need help.  You won't succeed if others don't help. 
  • Driving a long way to another pack can be tiring and cause issues in itself.  
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Well, the point of Family Scouting was to make it convenient for families to participate.  If you're son is going to a troop 30 minutes away, and the pack meets the same night, so you could easily get both kids in the program, and focus your energies on the kids in those programs, then make the move.  You'll burn yourself to a crisp trying to save a pack with disinterested parents.  

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8 hours ago, ParkMan said:

 

If you want to fix the pack, then I think you've got a big project.  First thing I'd focus on is building a culture of three things:

- great den leaders

- good recruiting

- a few strong pack activities.

If you do those, the rest is much more likely to happen

For sure. Been there, done the above, and the results happened.

We are a small pack, and nothing wrong with that. Kids are not a number and the parents realize this.

Get parents involved, think outside the box for pack events (don't have boring run of the mill meetings) 

Get outside! Families join scouting because of the outside aspect. Don't let them down! 

Ask parents to do specific things, blanket "I need help" statements rarely work.

Its a long road, but its worth it.

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