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Due to the Pack that my two oldest sons were in has folded; I have been on the lookout for a pack to join when my youngest is old enough for Cubs. I have had the opportunity, though my Scouting connections, to meet some of the Adult Leaders involved with two of the packs that I would consider. These packs are both in the same town and draw from the same pool of kids with no other packs involved.


Here is the Tale of Two Cub Packs:


Pack 1 80+ cubs. They pretty much follow the program. They encourage training for their leaders and have most of their leaders trained with a couple that have taken Wood Badge. Every month I see at least the CC at roundtable and often there are other leaders from the pack there. They run a successful spring and fall recruitment program.


Pack 2 around 20 cubs. They have decided to do their own thing. I was told by one of the leaders that they decided not to be a model BSA Cub Pack. Not very much into training and I have never seen anyone from the pack at roundtable. Have a real problem recruiting new cubs into the Pack.


I actually had an adult leader of Pack 2 tell me that council has told Pack 1 not to do spring recruitment as they are recruiting all the cubs into their pack and leaving none for his pack.

I sat at the same table with the leaders of Pack 1 at the roundtable when How to run a spring recruitment drive was the monthly theme. I do not remember seeing any leaders from Pack 2 at the roundtable. Our District Cub roundtable attendance is small, usually around 15-20, so you get to know everyone there pretty well.


From these two Packs, I know what conclusions I can draw about following the program and attending training and which one I would select for my son.


How about you?








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"They have decided to do their own thing."


That says it all. Why waste time with a few mavericks that think they can invent a better wheel? Maybe they can but more likely they won't be able to deliver. The Scouting trail is littered with defunct Packs that had what they thought were better ideas.

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The problem with doing your own thing is that it's often done for the wrong reasons.


If a Unit actively evaluated a piece of the program and decided a different path was a better local option - then I'd love to discuss with them their thinking and understand their choice. I love Thinkers. I don't believe there's any piece of the Program handed down from the Heavens, so there isn't anything above being dissected and thought out. If you really do that much thinking about it though, IMHO, you'll end up pretty close to what the Program contains. (Check out the "wood shop layout" post from FB.)


The other problem with DIYers, is that you usually don't know what next year will look like. The CM changes and all of the sudden their are different plans and ideas -- everyone's back to reinventing wheels that are pretty round to begin with. Let me say it just one more time . . . Stewardship.


I think one of the most important aspects of following the Program is that it gives all the stakeholders a common language. We all come at this "game with a purpose" with different experiences and priorities - different "purpose". The Program gives us a way to meld all our individual selves into a cohesive, coherent (and successful for 75 years) group aimed at helping the boys grow.


I think CNY's choice is a no-brainer.



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Seems like a no-brainer to me as well.


It's one thing to have taken the training, understand the material, and then make a conscious decision to vary from the program a bit in order to best meet the needs of your Scouts. Like jd, I'd be interested in talking with them and possible learning from what might be an innovative approach.


It's quite another thing to not take the training and then not use the program without understanding why things are structured the way they are. That's a recipe for failure.

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While this is surely a no brainer - My question is how do large units manage the logistics. A pack with over 80 boys means or should mean around 200 people at Pack Meetings. Where do you meet that can hold that many people comfortably with boy activity?


Also if you have BS Troop that large - as a former member of the forum recently declared he had - can you really deliver a quality Boy Scout program?


Interestingly an old manual I saw stated a troop's max size was to be 32 boys - 4 patrols with 8 boys each.



Hope to have the problem of too many boys someday:)



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There are a few packs of that size in our district. They all meet in churches with large fellowship halls, so the space doesn't seem to be a problem. Our own pack is about 70, and we've decided to limit the size to 80, because that's about all our facilities can hold.


There are some packs and troops around here with over 100 boys. Some of them have pretty much stopped recruiting - just through word of mouth they get enough new Scouts.


Can you deliver a quality program at this size? Obviously lots of folks see the answer as yes. It does take more logistical support, but in order for the units to get that big in the first place, they probably had pretty good support across the board.


The feel of a large unit is definitely different from a small unit. Different boys might prefer different environments.


Oak Tree

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Pack size sorta reminds me of church size.


Mega-churches just seem to keep on growing. You almost wonder if it is only because of the quality of the church program (which undoubtedly is a part of it), or just the American tendency to assume bigger is better, or the desire to want to join things that appear successful, etc.


Really big churches have plusses and minuses. They can offer more programs in many ways because they have so many resources and volunteers. Most mega-churches have more social and small-study groups than you can shake a stick at. They often run schools and professional-grade counselling, trips overseas, and more.


On the other hand- there is often a real lack of an interpersonal touch. Few members really know one another- it reminds me of the article about volunteerism and bowling mentioned in another thread- you exchange close interpersonal relationships for a more impersonal 'membership'. Of course, there is also the huge logistical issue in every aspect from parking to passing out communion.



Is a big pack better? Not automatically. But- it IS a strong sign that they are doing something right- probably a LOT of things right! If these were the only two packs I had to choose between, I'd go for #1. However, I'd prefer Pack (or troop) # 4 or 5- the one with about 30-50 Scouts having a great time, in which everybody knows everybody.


(Oddly enough- that is almost the same situation my son was in shopping for a troop. Big and strong, small and dying, or mid-sized and OK. He chose the big strong troop, and I watched the thing limp along like a wounded elephant as it struggled under a micro-managing SM who followed a pretty strong SM and staff- who then quit and was followed by an enthusiastic but 'outsider' SM who tried to get things going the BSA way and could not overcome the inertia from the previous SMs years at the helm. I REALLY wanted my son to go to the mid-sized troop, which is still doing great. Sigh.)

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I'm interested in knowing about the COs of these large units. Are they more involved with the unit than what many here say their COs are? What type of organization are these COs (church, VFW, etc)

Do most of the families associated with these units belong have mmebership with CO. How do these units relate to other groups within the CO? And other questions such as these. Trying to determine what the co-relation might be if any between the CO and the unit.


It would seem that LDS units would automatically be large, dependent on the size of the congregation.



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Most of the activity in a large pack occurs in the dens. Pack meetings, pack campouts, etc. are important, but, in my experience, it seems that it is the den meeting that makes everything fun.


The best thing I heard about the large troop was the emphasis on the training. A well trained den leader will make the den meeting (and other activities) fun while getting the advancements taken care of (especially in Webelos).


Small or large, make sure the pack leadership is trained.



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