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dabears

Advice for New Cubmaster

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Hi all! As of one week ago, I'm the new Cubmaster for our Pack. I thought when I accepted the position that I had a good understanding of what the role would require but in the past week, after much research I've realized I know next to nothing. To clarify, I completed Cubmaster training last year when it seemed like our previous CM's resignation was imminent, though she ended up staying for 10 more months. I've done Wood Badge, BALOO, IOLS, the whole training shebang. I'm even the new Den Leader trainer for our district. But I'm reading a lot about the CM being the heart and sole of the pack and a lot of other things that make me so nervous and overwhelmed. I'm excited and enthusiastic and I want to do my best for these kids and their families, so what advice would you give me for how to be a great CM?

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First, welcome to Scouter, @dabears.  

You are the ringmaster of the Pack meeting!  Keep it simple, make it fun!

- A den does the flag

- A den (dens) does (do) the skit (skits)

- A den (dens) does (do) the song (songs)

- Your advancement guy and you give out all the patches.

- You be Akela and tell a story with a moral.

The Pack Committee does cleanup.

Theres a National Theme for the month.  Two months out, you pin the tail on the den leaders.

as Chief of Program, your task is program.  Your CC makes sure you have the support you need.

You get your den leaders to go to training.

You encourage Scoutmasters to pony up Den Chiefs.

I wish you well, KISMIF!

 

 

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As a former cub myself, I can only give you my memories which may or may not help guide you.

 

When I think back I remember next to nothing about pack meetings. I have a vague recollection about a dinner banquet (prob the B&G). All I recall is tables in the gymnasium, some adult stuff and us kids playing afterwards. All my memories are from the den meetings/activities. Even the pack campouts I have no memory except for what we did as a den. My memories of the pinewood derby are of my den working in a basement making our cars together.

Are my memories typical? I do not know. But if they are, then as CM, I would focus on helping the den leaders put forth a quality program at the den level and keep the pack stuff at the bare minimum. 

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A lot of what you do depends on your personality. I’m a big picture person and for me pack success depended on the den leaders. So I supported the den leaders by listening to them and helping get what ever they needed. Each has their own personality and style, so there isn’t a one size fits all answer. It sounnds like a lot, and can be the first month as everyone is starting. But if you nip problems in the budd, your pack will be on cruisecontrol by November.

As for pack meetings, make them an hour of pure fun. Move announcements to a news letter and never go more than a minute without giving the scouts (and their siblings) an opportunity to jump, scream, yell, cheer and laugh. The more laughs the better because parents love laughing too. If you see scouts talking to each other because the are bored, then you are doing it wrong. So change that part of your agenda. 

One last suggestion; have the CC find volunteers for all the pack activities like Pinewood, Blue &Gold, and so forth by the end of September and have them report their progress every month. 

Barry

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I agree with keeping pack meetings fun. There is a lot that can creep in that gets boring for kids. If advancements are taking too long, figure out a way to shorten them up. Don't let all those boring district or council people try and come give presentations to the parents, lol. 

I don't agree with constant noise though. They definitely need to move and be engaged but it can't be a maelstrom. I don't think that's what Eagledad is recommending but I just know that while some kids love to scream and be loud, there are also a lot of quieter souls who will just stop coming if it's too crazy. It's good to be mindful that there are usually all types in a pack.  

If you have access to a camp site, a park, a field, or a camp fire ring, try to have some meetings outside. We did corn mazes, flashlight hikes, camp fires, flag retirement ceremonies, rocket nights, etc.  You get your leaders to organize things like that on a rotating basis. Good luck and have fun! You sound like you'll be great!

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

As for pack meetings, make them an hour of pure fun. Move announcements to a news letter and never go more than a minute without giving the scouts (and their siblings) an opportunity to jump, scream, yell, cheer and laugh. The more laughs the better because parents love laughing too. If you see scouts talking to each other because the are bored, then you are doing it wrong. So change that part of your agenda. 

As a former Cubmaster who later moved on to a role in a Boy Scout troop - I really like this suggestion.

When I was a Cubmaster I didn't get it.  Our meetings had a formula.  Yes, I tried to keep announcements to a minimum.  Yes, I tried to add fun into the meeting.  But, we had a very traditional flow of announcements, a skit or two, some awards, a skit, and then an activity.  Watching a troop and realizing that a troop is "essentially" an older version of the pack, I'd get rid of pretty much all announcements.  I'd make awards short and sweet - only presenting cloth awards.  The meeting ought to be almost entirely Scouts doing stuff.  Working on a project, playing games, having an activity.  Opportunities for Scouts to do fun stuff - skits, jokes, etc. - but not so many as to have Scouts sitting the entire time.  Keep it active, keep it fun.

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

I agree with keeping pack meetings fun. There is a lot that can creep in that gets boring for kids. If advancements are taking too long, figure out a way to shorten them up. Don't let all those boring district or council people try and come give presentations to the parents, lol. 

I'd be interested to hear ideas of how people have still accomplished things like FoS presentations, but kept the meeting fun and lively.

Anyone ever tried sending the Scouts outside for a game while the district folks did the FoS presentation?  

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3 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I'd be interested to hear ideas of how people have still accomplished things like FoS presentations, but kept the meeting fun and lively.

Anyone ever tried sending the Scouts outside for a game while the district folks did the FoS presentation?  

We never subject the scouts, Cubs or older, to FOS presentations.  Yes, have them go do something fun while the parents listen to FOS.

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Thanks for the feedback folks!  I welcome more.

I know many look at FoS negatively.  As a leader in a big pack and big troop, I've come to understand that the council relies on FoS contribution to pay for services that we use, so we're happy to encourage our parents to contribute.  When I got involved, we treated FoS like an obligation and our families could tell.  As our leadership spoke more positively about it, we saw contributions go up dramatically.  I recognized that families that enjoy Scouting are often happy to financially support it.  So, I'm just looking for ideas how to do the presentations effectivly.

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Whoa..How did we get from "...how to be a great CM?" to "how to do FOS presentations effectively"?  :confused: 

 

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Posted (edited)

Mea Culpa.  My bad. 

I was following the conversation and it came to keeping meetings fun.  Read the comment about boring district folks and wondered what advice was out there for how a new Cubmaster deals with outside presentations like FoS.  That's all.

Edited by ParkMan
expanded the thought

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6 hours ago, DuctTape said:

is it just me? when someone types FOS, I initially read it as "Full of S..."

Same thing.

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As a Cub Master, you are the heart of the pack true. But that does not have to change who you are.

In my time in the pack, I have seen 2 CMs. 1 was in the role JUST to have the position filled. He did not do anything other than wear the uniform. The pack was unorganized and he was no help.

Our current CM is a former leader. He is a very outdoorsy type person. He goes to camp every summer with the boys and loves every minute of it. He is involved with the dens and makes it lots of fun.

The point being: There is no perfect answer. You do you. If you are a outdoor person, bring that to the pack. Bring your love to different things and experience to the pack. Make it fun. If you are a computer person, dig into those requirements and make fun plans. Science your thing? I think you get my idea :)

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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. I appreciate all the excellent advice! 

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