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New Cubmaster over committing themselves

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Our Cubmaster stepped down this spring and the WEBII Den Leader agreed to be our new Cubmaster.


He is continuing on as the WEBII Den Leader too.


A few months ago he was talking about starting a Troop with the 5 boys in his Den.


My advice to him was that unless he had 4 other adults willing to give 110% in starting up this new unit not to do it.


He said that he had other leaders and they were the other parents in his Den.


A few weeks later he asked me about improving his Den meetings because some of the parents are telling him they are boring. I suggested that he get his boys outdoors more. He replied that he couldnt get the parents to do even a day hike with him. None of these parents are even on the Pack Committee.


I just heard that he is moving forward on starting this new Troop.


I have to admit being selfish about this but being a parent of a Cub in the Pack if he is going to be Cubmaster (and a DL on top of that) he needs to put effort into that and trying to start a new troop along with these two other roles everything is going to suffer.


Even though he is fully trained as a SM he was not a Scout as a youth and has no experience (and neither does any of the parents in Den) at the Boy Scout level.


If these parents arent willing to do day hikes what going to happen when the Scouts go camping every month?


If the other parents in his den arent willing to be on the Pack Committee how much good are they going to be in a Troop?


There is no Unit Commissioner and as of tomorrow I am the new District Commissioner.

I am working hard to get people to fill our missing commissioner positions but right now Im it.


Due to health reasons the COR for this unit is hands-off with the day-to-day stuff and will not get involved. On top of this the CC for the Pack is new (took over in March), hasnt been to training yet and doesnt really understand their role in all of this.


I am pretty busy with Scouts myself being the District Commissioner, a DL and a parent of a couple of Venturers. However, I have a trained Den Chief and wife helping run the Den and I am only a parent in the Crew.

But being a WDL, CM and trying to start a new unit all at once is way beyond something I would even consider taking on.


I want to say that I am not against starting new units especially when a troop is needed in an area but I cant see putting time and effort into a unit that has failure written all over it.


Of course our DE is pushing for this unit to be started. Our DE has been actively involved with starting 3 units since he started. All of them failed within a year because there was no time and effort put into getting things going correctly and shouldn't have been started in the first place.


Ive started a unit from finding a CO to recruiting members to running the unit so Ive had experience starting a unit and know what its going to take.


I had little help or advise in trying to put it together and was almost in the same position as he is now.

I ended up burning out when I didnt have any support from a committee and parents.


In looking back I should have never started the unit unless I had an active committee and other leaders trained and ready to help out.

Although the unit is going after 4 years they are still having trouble getting enough people to be on the committee and most of the people on it are in name only.


Any advice for this leader about over-committing? And maybe Im not the one that should be giving it!





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Is there something wrong with the other troops in the area?


I'm just wondering why this guy wants to be a SM so badly.

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Of course he's over-committing himself. That's a given - the CM should not also be a DL. Starting up a troop is going to burn him out fast.


But this sounds like it's bigger than just one guy in one pack.


In the best of worlds, you'd be able to share your experiences, he'd listen, and turn to other options. But realistically, with the DE talking in this guy's ear and pushing him to start a new troop, *your* options are limited. If someone tells that you're going to make a great Scoutmaster and this new troop will be great and it'll be great for your boys ... well, you're probably not going to listen to the person uttering words of cautious advice.


One bright spot is that as one of the Key 3, you have your DE's ear - and maybe can work on him to change his mind and realize that this troop has the huge potential to fail. Five boys is the bare minimum needed to charter, so if one drops out, that's it. And while a new unit may look great on the DE's numbers this year, he's going to have to pull the same trick next year, plus one, to show improvement to his bosses.

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Although you didn't say so directly, may I assume the new troop will be registered to the pack's chartered organization?


This depends on your relationship with the DE, but if you are the new District Commissioner, I assume you have some juice in the district.


Creating a new troop at an existing chartered organization to serve the boys graduating from an existing pack is of greater significance than if this guy just wanted to go off and start a troop all by himself. There are several important relationships which need to be nurtured and several important bridges in danger of being burned.


Suppose the CM/SM starts the new troop and it crashes and burns. The chances of the CO and the pack parents wanting to start another troop in the near future are greatly dimished. And that's a great shame. The synergy between related packs and troops greatly improves the Webelos-to-Scout transition and increases the retention rate from Cubs to Scouts.


Now is the time the new Commissioner (you) sits down with the district executive and, if necessary, the field director (his boss) and explains why this troop is a bad idea. Not only are you the guy who has to sweep up after this little circus parade-- the commissioner -- but you also have pertinent insider information on the potential leadership of the new troop they need to know.


If the DE is worth his silver shoulder tabs, he will go slow with the new troop. While he may be hot to trot to register a new unit, he should realize burning a committed CO with a troop with a low chance of survival is very short-sighted.


I also think you need to try talking (again?) to the CM/SM and let him know why you think this is a bad idea. He's running on empty running as WDL and CM and he wants to add the responsibility of adding a poorly-staffed troop?


This is a bad idea on so many levels someone in the pack or district needs to pull the plug.

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