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WisconsinMomma

A Den with Difficulty (the adults!)

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I've got a Bear den that is struggling for leadership.  A mom was the den leader but something happened with her family, new baby, move, etc.  They are not participating.  Then a dad was den leader, but he is struggling and wants to step back to assistant den leader this fall.  We have like nine scouts and no adult to step up at the moment.  Our secretary has a son in bears and complains about the guy saying he wasn't doing enough.  But to be fair, he'd try to organize an event and no one would get back to him with replies, and that's not easy.  

So, how would you invigorate this bear den?  I need to defuse the secretary who really has a strong dislike for the assistant den leader, like, I think she hates his guts right now. We want to keep him as an assistant den leader because we'll take what we can get, also, his wife is our new advancement chair, so they're committed, and I think good people, it's just a little wobbly.  Another dad is a candidate that we may be able to recruit as den leader but he travels a LOT so maybe we can get the two guys teamed up and working together.  The other parents, in the secretary's estimation, are not people who will step up. 

Any other suggestions or experience to add?  Thanks! 

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We have a similar issue with our Tiger den.    The Lion leader stepped down and we have struggled to find other leaders.  As a committee we went name by name through the den and identified a few possible candidates... try all declined due to other commitments.  I found 1 leader who is doctor and is responsible for a pediatric department at a major hospital (so he is busy).   I’m continuing to push to find others to help but so far no luck.  

Now, my daughter is in this den (the only leader is the parent of another girl) so I won’t let it collapse.  My wife has taken YPT and has reluctantly “volunteered” to be our other leader.   We will have the boy and girl dens meet together (otherwise the boy den has no leader and would collapse)... So, we are barely set.

I would recommend having a meeting with the parents and explain the need for two leaders to be identified within the Den.  Ask them to think of non parent options (aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends) who may be interested.  In the end, if you still see lack of two leaders someone else from the Pack would have to help out or you let the Den collapse.  

 

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57 minutes ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I've got a Bear den that is struggling for leadership.  A mom was the den leader but something happened with her family, new baby, move, etc.  They are not participating.  Then a dad was den leader, but he is struggling and wants to step back to assistant den leader this fall.  We have like nine scouts and no adult to step up at the moment.  Our secretary has a son in bears and complains about the guy saying he wasn't doing enough.  But to be fair, he'd try to organize an event and no one would get back to him with replies, and that's not easy.  

So, how would you invigorate this bear den?  I need to defuse the secretary who really has a strong dislike for the assistant den leader, like, I think she hates his guts right now. We want to keep him as an assistant den leader because we'll take what we can get, also, his wife is our new advancement chair, so they're committed, and I think good people, it's just a little wobbly.  Another dad is a candidate that we may be able to recruit as den leader but he travels a LOT so maybe we can get the two guys teamed up and working together.  The other parents, in the secretary's estimation, are not people who will step up. 

Any other suggestions or experience to add?  Thanks! 

If I had a dime for every.......

Let me just warn you that the real problem is on the other side of the hill, WEBELOS. 

As I've said, I've worked this issue many times and my first point is that each situation is different because the complexities of the adults involved are different. So, you have to be creative. And remember, you aren't just looking for a Bear leader, you are looking for a Webelos program leader.

Do you have another Den of Bears. How solid is that den? Are their any adults over there to consider? 

Consider combining Dens. The logistics are more difficult, but you can pull more parents in to help. One of our Webelos leaders who took over two dens in the same situation assigned each parent to lead one activity pin.  He also had two assistance to help in the meetings. The Den meetings were split into two 20 minute exercises. then each group switched exercises. That den only met twice a month for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

We have also reorganized whole grades to recreate new dens.

As I said, you have to get creative. 

I have done a parents meeting to explain the dire situation and ask for help. But, you need to have some ideas to drive that meeting or Nothing will happen. It's one thing to be asked to take over a den. It is something different to be directed to pick only one exercise to lead on some date in the future. 

Remember, the number one cause of scouts leaving the program is a boring program. So, your challenge is not just a matter of finding a warm body,  but creating a plan for a fun program through Webelos II. How far have I gone on this: I once made a deal with 16 families that if they would lead two Bear dens for a year, I would quit the CM job and take over as their Webelos den. Twelve of those Sixteen Scouts earned Eagle. Fourteen of the sixteen aged out at 18. It was a team effort for all 16 families. 

I know of another pack where the parents ran all the meetings, but nobody was a den leader. I honestly don't know  how they did it, but that pack handed crossed over 12 Webelos into our troop. I talked to their parents, and they were passionate to get their sons into the troop program, so they made it work.

We can help here, but you need to get a better feel for the parents. What are they willing to give to make this work for the next three years? Then work from there.

Barry

 

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Also, in the "Thinking out of the Box" part, forget about the standard den plan. One Den met twice a month for 1.5 hours. One den met at church on Sundays. Don't let the program restrict a solution. There are work arounds for just about everything, you just haven't thought of them yet.

Barry

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Bribes: flowers, chocolates, and the troop's best scout (or scouts) as den chiefs.

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9 hours ago, qwazse said:

Bribes: flowers, chocolates, and the troop's best scout (or scouts) as den chiefs.

I've discovered the value of a truly good Den Chief recently. Like I had no idea I had a really good one and only found out when I heard about how little some of the other Den Chiefs contribute to the other Dens in my Pack. A good Den Chief (or two) can be a lifesaver, I'd imagine even more so in a struggling Den where the adults need a lot of help. 

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I can testify to the immeasurable value of a good den chief. I have had the most wonderful young man serving as mine for almost two years now - he is respectful, thoughtful, good with the boys, responsible, and mature. He comes in his uniform, he takes direction but also leads successfully, he participates in our activities and leads his own well - I can't imagine trying to run my den of boys without him. A good den leader can make a night and day difference in the success of any den. 

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On 9/12/2018 at 7:01 AM, WisconsinMomma said:

Any other suggestions or experience to add?  Thanks! 

Fire the Secretary.  If she "hates" the Den Leader's guts, and the DL's wife is the new Advancement Chair, you've got the seed for way too much adult drama to play out.  If I knew someone on the committee hated me, I wouldn't be a Den Leader for one second.  Life's too short.  You may be working on the wrong problem.

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44 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Fire the Secretary.  If she "hates" the Den Leader's guts, and the DL's wife is the new Advancement Chair, you've got the seed for way too much adult drama to play out.  If I knew someone on the committee hated me, I wouldn't be a Den Leader for one second.  Life's too short.  You may be working on the wrong problem.

Not to sound rude, but a Den Leader is more important of a position to fill then a Secretary.  Either they work out their issues themselves, or you will have to do it for them.

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1 hour ago, scotteg83 said:

... Den Leader is more important of a position to fill...

👍

The Secretary dislikes the DL because he's not doing enough? Humm... how about some appreciation for DL's time and effort towards the youth.

Try working the team angle, as others suggested. Work with your DL a plan that delegate tasks to the parents, then get all the parents together, explain the situation and get them to buy-in to the team leadership.

Some of the Bears must have been in Cubs since Tiger so I gather they like the program. Even if the secretary is correct the other parents won't step up, they might if the den otherwise would ease to exist. Sell your program.

Maybe the Secretary can steps up... :)

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On 9/12/2018 at 7:01 AM, WisconsinMomma said:

I've got a Bear den that is struggling for leadership.  A mom was the den leader but something happened with her family, new baby, move, etc.  They are not participating.  Then a dad was den leader, but he is struggling and wants to step back to assistant den leader this fall.  We have like nine scouts and no adult to step up at the moment.  Our secretary has a son in bears and complains about the guy saying he wasn't doing enough.  But to be fair, he'd try to organize an event and no one would get back to him with replies, and that's not easy.  

So, how would you invigorate this bear den?  I need to defuse the secretary who really has a strong dislike for the assistant den leader, like, I think she hates his guts right now. We want to keep him as an assistant den leader because we'll take what we can get, also, his wife is our new advancement chair, so they're committed, and I think good people, it's just a little wobbly.  Another dad is a candidate that we may be able to recruit as den leader but he travels a LOT so maybe we can get the two guys teamed up and working together.  The other parents, in the secretary's estimation, are not people who will step up. 

Any other suggestions or experience to add?  Thanks! 

IMHO, anybody who thinks another volunteer isn't working hard enough, should be willing to take their place, or help them in their position.   

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The Secretary needs to either sort it out with the ADL herself or be quiet & take her child somewhere else.  

If Traveling Dad is willing to train up and be the DL, awesome!  He's Doing His Best.  I'm sure he and the ADL could plan a fine program and execute accordingly.

If no one wants to lead, or if you can't merge other Dens resulting in the magic 6 to 8 Cubs each, fold the Den.  The parents can explain to their child why they can't go to Cub Scouts anymore, or why they have to find a new Pack.  No leader available means just that.  

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