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Hi All,


How many hats do you wear in this game we call scouting? How and when or do you ever say "no"?


Currently I am committed to being my younger son's WDL for the

next 18 months. Also serve as Committe Member for older son's troop. I am working on ASM training, so that when my younger boy bridges, I can help out on the program side of things with the Troop. I see a lack of leadership in our Pack as current leaders move up with their boys. I have contemplated being a Pack trainer to try and help the Pack after I move on. (Though the training for this appears to be sparse to nonexistent.)


Recently was approached about being a UC. Also have been asked to join District training staff...


How much is too much? Part of me just wants to watch my boys grow up and become good men...


My spouse shakes his head, and says I am nuts to consider doing anything additional.

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I am a Cubmaster, on the District Commitee (Activites Chair) and a Unit Commisioner for 2 Packs. I am also on the district training team doing CLST and BALOO. I have also had the opportuity to serve on WB staff. Needless to say I am very busy with Scouting attending various meetings and activities, ( and yes I am a commisioner who visits my units on a regular basis)

How much is too much depends on how much time you have to spend on it and how much you enjoy it. I enjoy it and I make time for it. Spousal unit would like for me to cut back a bit, and per some suggestions from this forum. I am looking into stepping back some next year when my son crosses over into a troop.

I have had to say "no" several times. Basically they were for projects or events that I knew I do not have the bandwidth for. I also travel for business about once a month for a week a time.(I love my blackberry) So, Unless we can add more hours to the day and an extra month or so to the year, there are limitations to the amount of hats one can wear and do still do effectively... and still enjoy watching the kids grow up


Besides, when would we find the time to post on the scouter.com forum lol


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WDL Mom,


First of all, thank you for your work in Scouting. You sound like your very talented and people take notice. I understand your problem as I am currently holding two positions as a Bear Den Leader and Assistant Cubmaster and I'm busy enough at those two jobs.


What do you do best at Scouting? Program or Administration? What do you enjoy the most? Focus on those and say "NO" to the others.


Assuming you enjoy working directly with boys, I would focus my work on being a stong WDL. Your boys deserve your undivided attention to them with no distractions involving District work. I personally believe that Packs are successful when leaders are fully committed to them. As you probably know, boys quit scouting when leaders neglect duties at the unit-level. The boys don't care what we do for the District.


Keep in mind that people may ask you to volunteer simply because they see you as an easy target and are too lazy to try to find someone else. You may be the wrong person for the job and you need to tell them that.


You have to say "NO" to some positions for three reasons:


1) If you do too much, you will grow tired, become burned-out, and actually grow to dislike Scouting.

2) Saying "NO" will give an opportunity for someone else to step up and do it as good or better than you.

3) It will help your marriage and your family life.


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As Clint Eastwood said, " A man's (or woman) got to know his(her) limitations."


How much is too much? That's something only the individual can decide based on their own circumstances. Some key indicators may include:


Is there conflict on the homefront about time spent on scouting ?


Is your involvment effecting your real job? i.e. the one that puts a roof over your family's head and food on the table or if a stay at home mom, are you neglecting your own family's needs to serve scouting? See above.


Could you do a better job serving the youth in scouting by not wearing so many hats? i.e. Could you be a better CM or SM if you weren't a UC. Is the program of an individual unit suffering because you have over committed yourself to other scouting activities?


Just some of my thoughts.



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I know your dilemma to a certain extent. I am currently SM of my troop, which we are currently rebuilding. In the past couple of years, I have been approached to be a unit commissioner, an associate OA advisor, and an adult advisor for the NYLT staff. I have turned them all down. Although those are all things I would enjoy, my limited time has to be devoted to building up my troop. Short term, it would probably be a lot of fun, helpful to those groups, and a little bit ego-gratifying, to take on an additional position. However, in the best long-term interest of my troop, I need to focus on them.


My suggestion for the lady that started this thread would be to focus on building the pack she is with. She mentioned that the pack didn't have enough quality leaders. As the WDL, help develop the pack for the future by recruiting parents (especially in the younger dens or Webelos parents with another son coming up) to take on leadership roles. Most parents don't get involved because they see all the time and energy you put into it and feel they can't (or simply won't) do the same thing. However, if you get enough parents involved (make them the assistant of whatever at first) and get them trained, you will do more for the pack than you would by serving in those other positions. Once the pack is strong enough to where they don't need you anymore (which should be the goal of every great leader), then move onto another position where you can help other units.

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I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I humbly believe that I am best working with kids. It is what I do... teach. (Jr. High, they should be rolling into class here in a few minutes...)


The offers are nice, and yes, ego boosting to a certain extent. I think I will probably pass at this point. Focus on my den, and finding a niche in the troop when my youngest bridges over.


Our Pack is pretty strong right now. 70+ boys with all dens staffed and trained. Our upcoming issue is turnover. In the next 18 months we will "lose" the Web. I and II den leaders, the Committee Chair and a couple of key volunteers. We as a Pack need to start training the replacements now or our poor Cubmaster will be struggling for awhile! Thus the interest in being a Pack trainer, so that I could help the new den leaders and be a resource without being a "major" player in the Pack.


Anyone try the Pack Trainer route? How did it go? What was the time committment like? Probably whatever you make of it I suppose...


Gotta run


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Sounds like your pack is in great shape right now. Great vision on your part to realize the turnover coming in the next year and a half. I saw two packs back in the late 90's in a similar situation. The first one had about 50-60 kids and was well staffed by adults. However, the CM, both ACM, committee chair, committee treasurer, committee secretary, activities chair, and the Webelos II DL and ADL all had sons in Webelos II. The year after this group of adults left, the pack had about 20 kids and folded the year after.


The other pack in our area had a similar number of kids and the main positions were filled with the parents of Webelos. The CM recognized this a year and a half before his son crossed over. Although they didn't really need them at the time, they recruited parents of Tigers, Wolves, and Bears to be the Vice Chair of the Pack Committee, assistant treasurer, assistant secretary, and vice chair of activities. Basically, they took the existing jobs and split up the work between two people. No one had a ton of stuff to do, and people were getting trained for the future. Also, they got one of the Wold DL to agree to take over as Cubmaster the following year. To compensate for his den, they had three ADL (the den had 9-10 kids). The three ADL rotated between the three monthly den meetings (all came to the monthly pack meeting). They also recruited a second ACM so they would have plenty of backups when the current leadership left. That pack has continued to prosper ever since that time and they are still great about recruiting multiple people for the same positions and splitting up the work.


My best suggestion, if you haven't thought of this already, is to find small jobs for parents to do. Most are reluctant to be in charge of anything, but a lot of them wouldn't mind being an assistant and helping out a couple of times a month. Once they get into it, some will want to stay at that level. Others will really enjoy it and want to get more involved. Your cream will rise up to the top.

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Yah, the more capable a person is, the more she will get recruited to do more things, eh?


Stick with what you enjoy most and what you are best at. Scouters are generous people by nature; they don't say "no" easily. But I've seen too many who spread themselves too thin.


Better to do a great job at what you love than to do a mediocre job at a bunch of different things. And best to listen to your husband/wife, too, when they send signals that it feels like too much to them, eh? Seen plenty of strain at home when scouters don't read those signals right.



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As the old mantra goes, "if you want something done, give it to a busy person."


IMHO, there are certain jobs in scouting that should be given "full time" attention (i.e., no multiple hats). They are Unit Leaders (SM, CM), Den leaders and Commissioners, for example. We have a policy in our district that Commissioners may not hold a unit position, because we don't want to dilute their unit service. There are plenty of other potential volunteers who need to be asked.

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Only one for me


Only do what you feel you can do well, I would much rather do one or two jobs well than do five and my work is poor. Being a WDL is a lot of work if it is done right by the den, pack and district- 3 den meetings, a pack meeting, a roundtable, a distict activity, and a den activity every single month



scoutldr, It is a national policy that "Commissioners must not be registered as unit leaders. Although some commissioners may be registered on a unit committee because they have a son in the unit or because of previous personal history in the unit, their principal Scouting obligation should be with commissioner responsibilities." But this is rarely enforced.



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There is no answer regarding 'how many hats' can you wear. That is going to depend on you, your time, and your interests. I know of many people who have several hats, I have a few myself. I do have a few issues/guidelines on the topic.


* Be mindful of your time & interest. Don't get forced into taking a job you really don't want. Don't allow 'we need someone' as an excuse (see more on this below).


* Be mindful of others. Be sure this is something you really want. You may be taking a job away from someone else.


A big problem is of finding people to fill positions. I think too often they don't spend the time of really recruiting. There are many people who would probably be willing (and able) to do the job, but no one bothered to ask. There are some who are really uncomfortable of saying "I want that position". They feel they have to be asked first. I think too often councils/district look to already existing volunteers to fill positions, and not widen their circle to former scouts and scouters.


* Key unit leaders should NOT take addition 'key' positions in other units or above the unit level. They can be involved above the unit, but not in a 'key' position. What do I mean. A Scoutmaster, Cubmaster (or Den Leader), Crew Advisor, or Skipper, should not take on other 'key' positions such as Lodge/Chapter Adviser, Council/District Committee Chair (not just THE Council/District Committee, but the many subcommittees, such as Training, etc), Commissioner, etc. I don't have a problem with them being a training course director (WB, etc) or being an assistant leader or member of committee, but they shouldn't be a key leader. Their first focus should be to their unit.


The last is a personal frustration of mine. I don't have the time to be a unit leader, but I DO have the time to be a council-level person. Yet all the time I see unit leaders being made Chairs of various committees. Personally, I feel they should focus on their units, and have people like myself be the chairs.


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WDL Mom - Lot of great comments from good scouters. You asked about the pack trainer position. This can vary a little by council and district, but basically from my experiance you might want to help the district training team for a couple ( and let them know this) of trainings to see from the trainer side how it is done. Perhaps attend Trainer Developement Training (TDC) and then get a copy of the Cub Scout Leader Specific Training manual. The job just entails mentoring and nurturing new leaders to get trained, whether it is by the Pack Trainer directing them to scheduled training or by the Pack trainer doing it themselves. After they had a little experiance and are trained, do sensing session to see how they can tweak their skills by reviewing the training. Most scout training is like drinking water from a fire hose - you get a lot of good stuff real fast, but just can't absorb it all.


I have 3 hats right now. I think I'll start a business that makes hats with 2,3,and more bills with my position patches above each one.

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I agree with just about everything that emb021


I also happen to think that Commissioners should not belong to units.

We all know that a Unit Leader can not serve as a Commissioner, but I am of the opinion that Commissioners should not do anything other than serve as Commissioners.

It is very hard for someone in a unit to look at someone from another unit which might not be following the program to the letter and see what they are doing as being right.


Right now I wear two hats Skipper and member of the Area Committee.

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I agree with everyone else in that there is no limit on how many hats you can/should wear. It is up to you and what you feel you can do while keeping everything else in order.


I have been involved in Scouting for about 22 years straight, both as a youth and an adult leader.


Here is what I do/have done:

I am Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner

I am Committee Chair for a Venture Crew

I am the District's Family FOS Chairman for 2007 (and probably beyond)

I am coordinating the first of (hopefully) many District Crossover ceremony's

I have taught many training sessions.

I have taken many training sessions (including Wood Badge - Foxes Rule!)

I am one of several on our Life to Eagle Committee and regularly help to conduct Eagle Board of Reviews and Project reviews.

I may be planning our 2007 Fall Camporee

I try to be involved in Order of the Arrow

I am on the Finance Committee on the District Commitee

I am planning a Golf Fundraiser for next year (also first of many I hope)

I am looking to start 1-2 additional Venture Crews

I am working on setting up an informal Venturing Huddle (roundtable for venturing).

I will be taking Merit Badge Counselor training to become a merit badge counselor

I have joined our Council's Eagle Alumni Association (haven't found out yet what that means)

I will be one of the adult leaders on a Philmont trek next summer (which entails a lot of training/trips with the youth leading up to it - good bye weekends)


I think there is more but I just can't remember anything else.


I have been married for about 18 months and don't have kids (yet). While I do all of the above I still spend plenty of time with my wife and I do travel for work occasionally. I still get our 1/2 acre yard mowed and tripped every week. I still get to church (when I'm not on a trip) and I am on Church Council.


I do know that once we do start having kids I will probably slow down a bit but then I'm sure it will pick up more if we have boys and they are in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts.


The point is right now I have a lot of free time and my wife is okay with it (I even got her to be an Associate Advisor for the Crew). But I do realize that I will need to focus on other things later and will need to back off of Scouting.


I did have a DE tell me the other day he didn't want me doing something. Not because I couldn't do it or would be bad at it but he didn't want me to have to do it.


Do what you want and are comfortable with.

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