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Oakville Tim

Worth falling on the spear?

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Well, that's overstating it a little bit.

 

But have you ever accepted a key post in your unit without 100-percent eagerness? Is that enough of a 'red flag' to make you say, 'No'?

 

I am torn on whether to seek the CM post in our Pack, with the clock ticking on all of our hierarchy (CM, ACM and CC) ready to move on with their sons to a Troop effective at the B&G in February.

 

I am a Web1 leader, my son's Den, and have the most seniority among all the DLs, and yet I believe that our Pack's future success is based upon more people stepping up to do one thing rather than fewer people doing more things. Logical enough?

 

Plus, my wife REALLY thinks I don't need to take on any more jobs inside our Pack. Enough said there.

 

Still, the hierarchy's recruiting efforts, as far as I have witnessed them, have elicited nothing but folks looking down at their shoelaces. If there are behind-the-scenes talks that have been going on, I am in the dark. But no one speaks of any progress being made there.

 

Have any of you been in a situation like this before? How did you handle it? Can you lend an opinion? Thanks!

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Yes, so many times that it is no longer unpleasant. Here are some suggestions that I believe to be important:

The Titanic is sinking so....

*Remember you are not the Captain and you are not responsible for the iceberg incident.

Why- The Chartering Organization is the owner. The Unit belongs to them and the District. Others now have the responsibility for the problem- The Chartered Organization's Representative and the Unit Commissioner or her/his boss the Assistant District Commissioner and/or his/her boss the District Commissioner and/or his/her partner, the District Membership Chairperson and/or everyone's best friend, the District Executive.

1. Now, find the other survivors.

Why-people are more likely to join a group than being with the last one to go under. There might be other ADL's, DL's, Committee members, etc.-anybody that is left afloat.

2. It is not your responsibility to go under either, so don't act like it.

Why- people tend to shy away or run from a disaster and for good reason.

What to do-Communicate with the above listed people to make them aware of the situation.

Why- People are in Scouting because they love to drink coffee and wear red jackets and because they love to help and they enjoy the company of others like them.

3. Form a group to recruit more people to be a part of something that is absolutely the most enjoyable hobby anywhere.

4. Work with the group to form a list of possible candidates and then work the list, starting with the best choice and work to the bottom of the list. Also start with the most critical jobs first.

5. Take your time and visit with each person and their family. Let them know the truth about the job-their duties. Also add the thing about it being fun and all.

6. Everyone is recruited for one year only. This allows some off the hook because most can survive one year of fun.

6. Oh yea, where does the list come from?

The CO should have the most. The District people might have some. The survivors will know a few. Every Scout left has family members and their family might be an extended family.

7. So, this can be your new responsibility instead of taking on another full time Scouting job. It is time limited because recharter might be coming up and if the unit is to continue, then it needs these basic leaders.

8. What happens if none of this works?

Look for another unit. You will have done your best to make it happen without taking over. Your wife will be happier and your son will miss the old Pack but he will later be moving on into Boy Scouting, as professed by the Old Pack.

9. Others will not be too happy that their unit sunk. It was their responsibility and duty to make it happen. Your primary responsibility was to your Den, as you originally promised.

 

FB

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This is a tough decision for conscientious well meaning people. As a Webelos I leader, you already have one foot out the door. Additionally any parents that you might bring along will also have older boys in the pack. Ideally you want to have Tiger/Wolf parents step up.

 

My unit is just going thru this. They asked if I would be the CM, I said no. But, I was fortunate to have someone who would step up to the position. It happened to be one of my parents who have a younger son at home who will be a Tiger in two years. So next year while we are Web II, the dad will get his feet wet as the CM with my help, then the following year his younger son will be a Tiger. Sometimes you have to seriously take stock of the situation, and closely look at the families you have in the pack.

 

As for recruiting adults, some here in the forum are adamant about selecting adults via the published BSA process. We havent found that to work very well. In four years weve only developed one contact leader via this process. My unit and others in this area have taken to a more direct approach. In effect we corner the parents and tell them that the program needs adult volunteers. Folks if you want a CS program for your son, some of you will have to step forward. We have been successful with this approach, although we have had a couple of false starts with two adults. This approach is not an easy thing to do, everyone is uncomfortable with it. Me too! The key to making it work, is being able to have the discussion without coming across as being to bitter because no one stood up to volunteer in the first place. So take a deep breath, compose yourself, and go for it.

 

 

Some of us dont want to feel like takers, so we give as much as we possibly can. In the end something suffers. To often in this program to few of us are doing too many jobs. The result is that the kids get shortchanged. Its only December, spend a little more time working on this before you commit.

 

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While everyone would like for you to be a white knight (except of course for your wife and yourself), do not allow it to happen unless you are 100% committed. You stepping up will meet the immediate short-term need (interim CM for the next year) but will do little to establish a solid foundation for future pack leadership. I would suggest a mandatory parent meeting be held in early January so that everyone is aware of the dire situation and a framework for new leadership can be flushed out (of course, this should have happened a year ago). To make this hit home, consider not having the current CM, CMA and CC attend, so folks can see that they are gone and can contemplate the question..."what are we going to do now?" Your position as the experienced den leader could be as a facilitator of this meeting, but make it clear that you are a 'short-timer' as well and it is essential that the adult leader recruiting start with the parents of the younger ranks. Consider inviting your unit commissioner as well, who may be able to offer some insight and assistance.

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Thanks for your responses!

 

Fotoscout, your response rang especially true with me. It sounds a lot like our Pack.

 

Here's a tangent: In a Pack, is it standard or traditional for an outgoing hierarchy to recruit its successors? Meaning, their job's not done UNTIL they have recruited people to take over with the chain of command? Kind of a 'departing gift' to the Pack?

 

We have one new DL this year who's a go-getter and a good guy, but he also is a Type A-minus. I know him from another leadership setting and he's not one to wait around for a consensus before forging ahead. All our other DLs are great folks but 'look at the shoelaces' types.

 

I tussle back and forth with myself that, 'Heck, I can put up with anything for a year.' That kind of thing. At least I have something of an idea of what the Pack ought to be about. And yet, I'm already giving MORE than (LOL) my one hour a week to the program! Decisions, decisions!

 

Yes, it's only December, but I also think the time for SOMETHING to get done with this is now so that the transition can be smooth. I want my son and 'my other boys' to have a great Web2 year!

 

Do flowers work in coercing our wives? :)

 

 

 

 

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Tim,

 

Your less than 100% eagerness will soon turn into something like less than 50% eagerness. I speak from experience. My mom was a people pleaser, so I came by being a people pleaser naturally. I guess one way to look at it is an attitude of service. If someone asked me to do something, I felt a responsibility to do as asked. Plus, I didn't want to disappoint people. This led me to take on things that I really didn't want to do. I'm older, wiser and thicker skinned these days. The word "NO" actually rolls off of my tongue fairly easily. I know many many scouters who fulfill a number of scouting roles. One of my best buddies has come close to putting his marriage in jeopardy because he wanted to do it ALL in scouting. As a result, he has gone to the other extreme and will most likely be leaving scouting after he fulfills some commitments he made. If I recall, BSA prefers that a scouter do one job and devote their energy to that job. Yes, the reality is that sometimes in some situations, we have to do more because some people won't do anything. But, you have to do what is right for you first. My troop is made up of several go getters. They've tried to pull me into their universe. Our SM and my fellow ASM also serve on district committees, do district training, are unit commissioners, etc. We have had to arrange our monthly outings around their scouter schedule. They occasionally miss troop meetings because of other scouting committments. When asked to serve on training and as a unit commissioner, I said NO. I told them I had no problem with them doing the other things they did and actually appreciated their efforts, but I signed up to be an ASM and someone has to be there when they are not. If I tried to wear 3 or 4 hats, I'd do each job poorly and end up resenting each job and it's individual demands. Think of yourself first and the unit second. Do your job and do it well. Learn to say NO if you are less than 100% eager.

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It is my opinion that most outgoing leaders do try and recruit their replacement. Typically, a committed leader will try and groom their replacement over a year or two in order to ensure a smooth transition and future success fo the unit. It is not their job to do this (it is the committees and charter organizations role), yet most CM grow such an attachment to the pack (in some cases seeing it as an extension of themself) that they want to see their work continued by someone they trust.

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While the CO is ultimately responsible, I agree that most units operate in the "find your replacement camp". One problem I see is that they've waited a long time to find their replacement. When I left as CM, my replacement had been identified for nearly a year. Every time I did something for the last time, I passed it off to him.

 

Your committee needs to search the ranks of the Tigers and Wolves. Or, maybe even next year's Tigers, if you know of any current of former parents that will be coming back. Find someone, and promise them that you'll help with the transition. Your role, since you will be leaving in a year, may be to assist the new person in the transition process.

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"... is it standard or traditional for an outgoing hierarchy to recruit its successors?"

That is not the standard way. The committee chairman and Chartered Organization Representative have the responsibility for selecting all new leaders, for approval by the CO. The Cub Scout Leader book spells out the process.

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Hi,

I am one of those people in the forum that fotoscout describes as:

" some here in the forum are adamant about selecting adults via the published BSA process." You do need to follow all the steps in order.Of course it isn't magic. A friend of mine who is a board member was asked to help the nominating committee in another District help them select a new District Chairman, the guy they ended up with was the tenth person that they selected.

In your posting you don't say if you are the one that has been selected? Or if you think that you are going to be selected?

While the District wants every unit to succeed, the District does not in any way own the unit. I'm sorry Fuzzy, but I have no idea where you got that idea. There are times when asked that the district will help with explaining how the process works, but the selection of quality leaders is entirely in the hands of the Chartering Organization and the Committee.

Tim, I'm sure that you are a very nice fellow and do a great job with the Den you serve, however if I were part of the nominating committee that was looking for a new Cubmaster, I would be looking at people who have children in the Tiger or the Wolf Den. My thinking being that they would be around a lot longer than you will be.

Looking at your options (I of course don't know much about the pack or about you!!)

1/ You could volunteer to be the next Cubmaster.

2/You could make it very clear that there is no way that you will take on being Cubmaster.

3/ Take a look at the BSA material on the selection of Quality Leaders and offer your services to help select a new Cubmaster. You could read the material and just hand it to the Pack Committee Chair. Or offer to sit on the nominating committee.

I have at times gone against Her That Must Be Obeyed and taken on more responsibilities and more work, which has meant more meetings and more time away from home. I normally have done this because I wanted too. Of course there have been times when a change of position has meant less meetings and more time at home. I took the Cubmaster position because it involved less time than the Den Leader. I now as District Chair. spend a lot more time at home and doing Scouting "Stuff", than I used to spend when I was District Commissioner. If I don't take anything else on when my term is up and just serve on the Area Committee, I will spend even less. We do discuss what I will be doing and what impact it will have on the family.

If you are happy doing what you are doing with the Den and really don't want to do anything else and the CO along with the Pack Committee are happy to recharter with you as the Den Leader, I would just say "Thanks but no thanks".

Eamonn.

 

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I strongly support Selecting Leaders as the BSA has stated in its literature. Cornering people, twisting arms, begging, threatening are all techniques that give the individual little room for an informed choice. Can those techniques work? Yes, and Yes I have used them in the past and sometimes with success. I do not support using them now because I would rather work with a group of people that enjoy their pastime, so I prefer that the unit dissolve than to give people only forced choices. (NOTE: The last part of this statement is not popular with the BSA but if you give people real choices, there is a chance they will say no. I have made a decision to accept both answers (*yes and no). Note/Note-This method has taken me into some interesting places.)

 

By using the Selection process, you now have an extensive list of support for helping to find people and to make a very long list of possible candidates. This makes it easier and you may find some people that make a choice (to have fun).

 

On "owning a unit", I am wrong about the District owning the unit. Thank you Eamonn for the correction. I am not sure what happened to my thinking processes. It was most likely an abstraction that slipped in unawares.

 

My idea of ownership comes from the duties of the District volunteers that give SUPPORT to Chartering Organizations in running their program. One of those duties can be assistance in helping in the process of (recruiting) Selecting Volunteers to run a unit.

 

The CO still approves each of those Selected Leaders. The District volunteers do not approve but can assist in the recruiting.

 

Post note: Here is another reason for using the BSA Selection process. I am presently working with several District Leaders that are taking over the jobs of the retiring Unit volunteers instead of trying any of proven method of recruitment. I am not clear about what method they are using. It may be Setting the Example but I do not advocate using this method either. Some of the District people are now wearing several hats, thank the Lord for the cheap hat column recently written right here in this forum.

 

I stand firm until the next correction.

 

FB

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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I am not advocating against the BSA selection process, I have no doubt that it is effective for some people some of the time. Actually our new CM and CC, could well be attributed to this process. Not because we invoked the process, but because I, let me say that again, I, know the people and Im involved in the program beyond the 1 hour a week that most people put in. Yes this is an I thing, its about foto, because no one else cared to get it done before the outgoing people leave the Pack. The general sentiment was that someone always steps up to do the job, with an unspoken suggestion that it would be one of the existing leaders taking on still another responsibility. Since last May I tried to get these guys involved in getting replacements, they gave me not so much as a word. Yes, its in character with how theyve run there piece of the program and Im not surprised, but it does point out some of what happens in a real world Cub Scout Pack.

 

Our outgoing leaders took no interest in developing or selecting, or even in discussing their own replacements. In fact our outgoing leaders had virtually no contact with anyone outside of the outgoing Web II den. So, even if they wanted to, they would be at a complete loss to be involved with a selection process.

 

As for Eamonns situation; the selection process works differently at the District and Council level. For starters, you have a much larger pool of candidates, candidates who have already shown a willingness to be involved in the program. Most are probably already doing multiple jobs. Even then, Eamonn went through 10 individuals before he found someone willing to take the position. Most Packs and Troops dont have 10 people to cycle through as you fill each job.

 

Now we come to Ownership of the Unit. As Ive said in this forum many times before, I think the concept of the CO owning the unit is more technical / legal that it is real. Our CO has no interest in being involved with the unit activities, or the selection of leaders. I find this to be the case in every unit that I come in contact with. The COs pool of adults is not a resource for leaders. By and large, with an overwhelming majority the leaders we have today in Cub Scouts are parents of the Scouts, not good people from the CO who want to volunteer in the BSA program.

 

The next piece of this is how you would go about selecting Tiger or Wolf leaders. In all likelihood no one has much or any knowledge of these potential leaders. Its a free for all, starting with those who have shown an interest in becoming leaders.

 

So we come back to motivating the parents to step up. We didnt coerce or threaten anyone. However I would agree that they probably shuttered with a reality check, when I told them that there would be no CS program for their children without adequate adult leadership.

(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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An important note on leader selection is what happens at recharter time. You'd better be able to write a registered leader's name for a position.....and it can't be there multiple times for various positions....if you want to recharter.

 

John Doe can not hold the Cubmaster, Committee Chair and Den Leader positions on the charter roster.

 

I've seen registered leader's names jockeyed around on charter packages in order to get it done. Let's remember that a Scout is trustworthy.

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In response to foto,

 

In 100% of the cases over a period of many years, I never once bothered to ask the CO for any recruits because I always believed them to be totally disconnected and too busy.

 

When I first began to timidly ask our CO if there were any former Scouts or Scouters in their organization (Note: this was really done out of desperation), I found one and then two and then a whole bunch. One volunteered to be our CC that literally saved my bacon when things looked terminal on several occasions.

 

My point is to first ask and then to visit. Try hard not to believe there is a dead end when you have not traveled the whole street first.

 

The program can work.

 

The program does not work all of the time.

 

The program is not perfect but it is very good.

 

Kate Brown's Law: If this world were truly rational, men would ride side saddle and there would not be a metal bar running from the handle bars to the seat on a men's bicycle.

 

 

FB

 

 

 

 

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