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oldhat

Why do leaders quit?

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I am working on creating a proposal to our Cubmaster to address the high turnover rate of leaders in our pack.

 

I would like a REAL picture of WHY DL's quit (or never show up to begin with).

 

Please share your experiences with losing leaders, the impact on the dens and any suggestions you can provide that might help us retain leaders - because without good leaders, we can't have a strong pack.

 

I am also looking for statistical data on leader turnover and consequently scout loss through the ranks.

 

Thanks so much for any insight or feedback you can provide.

 

Y.I.S.

 

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My son joined Cub Scouts as a Wolf. I ended up becoming the den leader after a couple of months when the first fella could not fit being den leader inbetween his time as little league coach and two full time jobs.

 

4 years as a Den Leader and I was very happy to retire when the den crossed over to Boy Scouts. Part way through my third year as an ASM.

 

The tougher job by far is being a Den Leader. Developing a lesson plan, pulling together supplies, and teaching a topic every week. Keeping parents up to date with den and pack events. Tracking advancement, monthly leader meetings, planning pack events. It is a lot of work. Having a Co or Assistant Den Leader is a necessity if you have a full time job. We did not get a den chief until the last 6 months of Webelos 2.

 

Man, if we had a den cheif earlier in the program that would have helped a bunch.

 

I would say the reason I considered leaving is the shear amount of work to put on a good program. The second reason would have been burnout.

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My son joined Cub Scouts as a Wolf. I ended up becoming the den leader after a couple of months when the first fella could not fit being den leader in between his time as little league coach and two full time jobs.

 

4 years as a Den Leader and I was very happy to retire when the den crossed over to Boy Scouts. I am now part way through my third year as an ASM.

 

The tougher job by far is being a Den Leader. Developing a lesson plan, pulling together supplies, and teaching a topic every week. Keeping parents up to date with den and pack events. Tracking advancement, monthly leader meetings, planning pack events. It is a lot of work. Having a Co-Den Leader is a necessity. We did not get a den chief until the last 6 months of Webelos 2. Man, if we had a den cheif earlier in the program that would have helped a bunch.

 

I would say the reason I considered leaving is the shear amount of work to put on a good program. The second reason would have been burnout. I was in a Pack with a functioning and staffed Pack committee with ample money. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been with a disfuntional pack committee and short funds.

 

That 1 hour a week thing. Yeah, 1 hour per scout per week. I only had 6 boys in my den so I never spent less than 6 hours a week.

 

I stayed because I love scouting and sharing the various skills. Had I been a parent with little or no previous scouting experience, I probably would not have stayed in the program due to the amount of effort it required.

 

Suggestions:

1- Go to nearby troops and request den chiefs for every den in the pack. 2 den cheifs per den would be better. That way the Den Leader gives den chief A a lesson plan for week 1 and den chief B a lesson plan for week 2. The den chiefs alternate weeks they are the lead. The den chiefs have 2 weeks to flesh out the plan, gather supplies, review the materials, etc. The Den leader is really only doing the planning and the Den Chiefs are doing the bulk of the information transfer. It seems like more work to work with den chiefs but in really is easier to TELL a Boy Scout to teach 3 knots than it is to TEACH 3 knots to a den. The cub scouts tend to listen to the Boy Scout more so than a boring adult who drones on.

 

2) Ensure there is a Co-Den Leader for every den. That way every one feels better if they have to miss an event because the other is there to cover. Worst case no den leaders but the den chiefs can run the meeting and be simply monitored by the parents.

 

3) Use Program Helps. Lots of great ideas for activities and projects that cost little or no supplies. Age appropriate and easy to hand to the Den Chief and say follow the book.

 

4) I found that moving the den meeting to my house helped. No more schleeping materials and supplies to the church and back. If I forgot something or needed something, I was at my house with lots of opportunties. The scouts could play in the backyard until everyone showed up. No more worry about kids running up and down the church hallways disturbing the AA meetings.

 

5) Give whinny parents a choice. Stop complaining or help. If you can't help and still want to complain, then find a different den/pack. Whinners forget that Den Leaders are volunteers not paid baby sitters. Removing whinny parents solves lots of headaches for the volunteers. Fortunately all the whinny parents were in other dens.

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My experience is only in Cub Scouts, but following are reasons why I've seen leaders quit:

 

(1) Tiger/Wolf den leaders ---Lack of information & support from senior pack leadership.

(2) Legitimate health reasons

(3) Feeling unappreciated and/or your opinion does not matter.

 

 

 

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I have a goldmine for you, although most of it concerns the Boy Scout program rather than Cubs.

 

When the District Commissioner asked me to become Scoutmaster for his son's Troop, I asked the former Scoutmaster why he was leaving. He actually sat down and wrote me a list of 86 reasons!

 

See:

 

http://inquiry.net/adult/burnout.htm

 

Our Council asked me to take the page down (which I did) ... but since I have now left the north forever I will put it back up until someone else complains (which they will).

 

Everyone will find some things with which they agree, and some with which they disagree with some anger. He stayed on as an Assistant Scoutmaster during the transition, so reasons #32, #74, and #76 were aimed very specifically at me!

 

#74 may come as a surprise to some folks :)

 

Kudu

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I posted this in the copy thread so I think that I will move it here.

 

I think that they quit because they get no support from most of the non-leader parents. And a lot of those non-leader parents expect the program to be free and/or the DL and other leadership to pay for everything. Then they get mad when everything is not done for them

 

I also think that the non-leader adults have no plans to do anything outside the meetings. There for the Cubs do not advance and earn rank. Then they get mad when some do earn their badges. But when they are told that their boy did not get rank because, he did not do all the requirements, the first response is usually, well he came to all the meetings.

 

I have a group of parents that think that I (the DL/CM) have to do everything in the Den Meetings. Well I have worked with my son in our spare time, which isn't much, and he has earned rank.

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I read that list that you posted. I can see that there are many things that I am dealing with or can have problems with in the future.

 

I have come up with one method of controlling the factor of parents calling me through the day right before the campout. Our pack will be camping on saturday night. but myself and a few other leaders are going up on Friday night. This make is easy to keep the cell phone calls down because, hehe, there is very little cell reception at camp, so I think that I will just shut my phone off. I plan on having a Q&A session on the meeting before we go camping. But that is it.

 

I have also come to the fact that I am only going to put out information a limited number of times. If you cannot use the methods that we have put ouot there for you to gather information, then that is your fault.

 

I will post more as I think of them.

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A few reasons: (and yes DL is a MUCH harder job than CM...)

 

1) Burnout - the same 5 families are alwyas the ones to show up early, set up and stay late / tear down. Their kids are also the ones to ask if they can help with anything... the others you have to keep from tearing the hall apart either before or after the meeting. After 3-4 years of this, it can get the most gung-ho scouter in a funk.

 

2) BSA does not equal "Babysitters of America" - too many non-leader parents expect a drop and go expirience, much like soccer practice or T-ball. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

 

3) Too much Monday Morning Quarterbacking - if I had a dollar for everytime I've had a non-leader parent state, "Yeah it was good, but in the future it should be x,y,z...." I could retire - even in this economy. Hey guess what? the committee mtgs and planning mtg's are e-mailed to everyone in the unit and you are more than welcome to come and provide input, but also expect that you will get tapped with some taskings too. Otherwise, have a nice cup of shut the ^&%**%% up and stay on th sidelines and let the leaders run the program. (not a very scout-like response, but I am guilty of thinking it, if not muttering it under my breath from time to time, as I suspect most adult leaders have been to that point a time or two) Everyday, it blows my mind how many parents really don't want anything to do with interacting with their children other than acting as shuttle bus driver from one activity to the next. The actual "raising" of the child is pawned off on the school system, the baseball coach, the piano teacher, the scout leader, etc... don't know if its always been that way - but it doesn't speak very well of my current generation of parents. No time to spend w/ Johnny b/c I work two jobs, but he gets to go to Europe w/ me for one week this summer - and mom drives him to school in a nice BMW everyday..... priorities WAY out of whack.

 

Those would be my BIG 3 - and I'm only in my second year of this stuff. Seems to me 10% of the adults do 90% of the work in the pack... all the rest are happy to ride the coat-tails of others. Funny, if something doesn't come off as planned, its always someone from the 90% that wonders out-loud, WHY we can't seem to get our act together.

 

Then again, I'd be doing it even if it was just myself and my son showing up as the entire unit. Ask me again when he's in WEB II, I might still have the same answers, I might be dead by then :) But, I'll die happy and at least know I did some good by my son.

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Since this is related to Cubs, I would say the reason leaders quit Cubs is because their son moves on to Boy Scouts or drops out of the program. Cubs has a higher turnover of adult leadership that Boy Scouts. They stay with the program as long as their kids are in the program & when their kids are done, so are they.

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Thanks to everyone who has posted thus far!!!

 

I too have been a den leader for several years and in the past two years I have seen my pack begin to dwindle and weaken. I see leaders leaving mid-way through the year and the leaders who are left being burdened with a den of 12-14 to take over a den for a leader who gave up. That's not good for the leaders or for the scouts.

 

I would really like to find ways to help support the leaders - especially the young ones (first year'ers). I think if leaders were given a dedicated person they could go to for help of all kinds (from resource to planning suggestions to maybe even filling in for a meeting from time to time) they wouldn't be so inclined to quit when they get overwhelmed and can't find their way in the dark. Someone who is a dedicated member of the pack who JUST manages Leader Relations.

 

I remember being a first year leader and having all kinds of "resources" thrown at me with no explanation of what they were used for or why. All I got was "look at this or look at that or go to this website". Well, that's great, but when you have no idea how to structure a successful meeting, what good does it do to drown in "resources"?

 

I really want to make scouting a positive experience for my scouts AND the volunteers who lead our children. It takes strong leaders to make a strong pack go.

 

Thanks to everyone for you input and please keep it coming. I appreciate your sincere thoughts and feelings more than you could possibly imagine.

 

Y.I.S

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Why our Pack has lost den leaders - Moving, son aging out, home/job needs. That's about it.

 

oldhat - You have been told a number of reasons why OTHER leaders have left OTHER Scouting units, and I am sure that information can be helpful in a general way. However, it will not tell you why YOUR Pack is losing leaders.

 

From your post it sounds like your Pack is having a real problem, with an unusually high number of den leaders leaving, or quitting before they even start. The only way to find out why YOUR leaders are bailing is to ask them. Call all of your former leaders and ask them for their honest reasons why.

 

You might be surprised.

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Oldhat - you have some good points. I think it's important for senior leaders in the to "mentor" the new leaders, and to really give them significant guidance. I'm planning on staying on as CC for a couple of years after my son crosses over to BS, which will happen next year, and because I won't also be a den leader at that point, I hope to be able to help out more with our newer leaders.

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Because, after 18 years, no other parents will step up and take over. Our sons aged out over 10 years ago, and we are just plain tired. The body ain't what it used to be. The only way to "retire" is to just quit showing up.

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