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Dedication to the Program

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Wasn't sure where to put this. I reentered what I put in the other post then added the rest of what I was going to say. Figured it went off topic.




"My unit functions this way now.


the Troop and Pack meet at the same time and location. The boy scouts are hosts and activity directors at the Pack camp outs, they help at the blue and gold and Pinewood. The 2nd year webelos are invited on 3 campouts or events with the troop. We have 90% join and are still members after their first year with the troop. "


We just started a Troop to go with the Pack and pretty much did it to operate much in the same manner. Over the 3 years I have been involved, I have seen some struggles caused by the fact that when kids leave the Pack, parents go with them with little care of what happens when they are gone. One of the things I have done to alleviate that was to become as knowledgeable about Scouting as I can. The next was to encourage others to do the same.


Committee meetings are held jointly. Keeps the parents involved with each other. Also, nobody gets left with paperwork that nobody has a clue what to do with. We decided that the two to three campouts a year the Pack has, the Troop will attend also to keep the familiarity with the boys and for teaching opportunities.


The current Cubmaster has agreed to stay on an extra year or two till we found someone suitable and willing to take over. After a discussion he realized that the survival of the Troop was directly related to the health of the Pack. As my boys age out, I plan on staying in the system somewhere usefull, that way nobody gets left in the cold when people decide to drop out.


At this moment, nobody has a clue who was in the Pack from 6 or 7 years back. If there was at least 2 people from the past 10 years still in the Pack somewhere, do you not think there would be a benifit? I realize there are times you may have someone like that around you would rather not see, but think of the wealth of knowledge. Imagine that with a program where the Pack and Troop have some kind of connection. That could run close to 12 years of experience for one person. Even if people dropped from that program like they currently do in Cubscouts, there would be more experience in there.


As I was typing this it made me think of something else. The Typical thought process I have seen in my area is this...


1:Scoutmaster cannot wait till son/sons/original Den ages out so they can get out of the Program because they have had enough/served their time/burned out.

2:Cubmaster cannot wait till son ages out/moves up so they can quit being Cubmaster because they seved their time/was forced into it/ tired of it/ or son is in Troop.

3:Den Leaders cannot wait till son joins Troop so they can get out of Denleader Position.


I could keep going, but to keep things short, what is the common theme? Everyone "cannot wait to get out" for whatever reason.

I do not understand this mentality. I do understand burnout, but you can alleviatte that through changing of responsibility roles. If one truly believed in any program, they wouldn't just stay around long enough just to see their children through it. They would devote their life to it.

I understand their are those with different beliefs/or no belief at all, but I use this as example. If those of us that attend religious service and work with that church in different areas treated this the same way people treat their service in Scouts, the Church would be greatly failing. There are men where I attend that have lived in the same place, attended the same church, helped in the same field of service most of their life. There are men who have moved in and not been around long that have brought in fresh ideas and vitality.

there are those that have come and gone. That Church is strong and healthy. Do you think it would be that way if you didn't have these combined?


Same ole people all the time and things could become stale/dead. Change of leadership all the time could lead to instability. That is why "Eldership" is made up of the "Elderly".


I say that because the history of our Pack proves that. As long as there have been people in charge that had experience of how things ran, it thrived(45 to 50 kids). Whenever those people would leave, having not trained others and leaving no idea of how to run things, it would decline till someone with vision or energy would come along to ressurect the Pack(15 to 20 kids). Makes you wonder if that is really why some beleive BSA is on the decline. I think that having one Unit could alleviate this problem, but I firmly believe the real problem is Dedication.


Getting your son through the program for whatever reason is not dedication, it is purely selfish. When you do things for selfish reasons, it works its way through everything you do. People notice in one way or another, whether it's actually seeing it or just getting bad vibes. When someone is truly dedicated to what they are doing, other people notice and want to be right there with them.


I firmly believe that if BSA wants to thrive (Not Survive), not only do the Volunteers need to "dedicate" themselves to the "Program", but also those that are paid. Any other issues would just be a blip on the radar as far as membership is concerned.


Sorry for Rambling, but my time at the moment is short and I wanted to get these thoughts out there. As I read later I may see something I didn't explain well or went off subject if you guys do not notice and tell me first. I will try to fix that at that moment.

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Nicely said. I believe that in a one-unit concept ... those parents of Cubs that move up in rank become the elders that can guide, advise and support the new cub parents that come into the program. I really believe that the lack of such support is a key reason for the repeated pattern of packs problems.

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Hello bigbovine,



I started as a Assistant Scoutmaster in 1981, and served as Scoutmaster for a Troop from 1992-1987.


These days I'm a Unit Commissioner for a pack and troop, Treasurer for a pack and District Membership Chair.


Frankly, I wouldn't judge any Den Leader, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster or Committee Chair harshly for being ready to go on to something else with their life ---- especially if they haven't been getting the help they ought to have from other parents.


Continuity of leadership IS a big issue for Troops and especially Cub Packs. I rebuilt the failed pack for which I'm UC eight years ago, and prevented it from failing this past summer when the grossly overworked Cubmaster had had enough.


Effective leadership is the big issue from what I see. Too often leaders aren't all that they might be, and aren't effective in getting parents and other to help. And the farther down a neighborhood is on the income/education scale the tougher it is to find effective leaders with the time and inclination to spend as leaders.


And speaking as a Unit Commissioner, good unit commissioners can be a help in providing that experience and continuity of leadership. I'd encourage experienced leaders to consider accepting an appointment as UC to help provide some guidance to a pack or troop or two.

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You'll have to convince me that it makes sense for me to hang around the troop/pack when I no longer have a son involved.


If I do a good job, the knowledge that I have will be passed down through scouts and scouters.


By lingering, I'd be enabling other dads to NOT step up to the plate.


I've been a Boy Scout. I feel no need to be a Man Scout. It's actually sorta creepy...

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I understand Seattle what you say about being too harsh, I try to limit that to the ones that talk about the day they leave, the day they started. Different than coming to a point that one realizes it is time to move on. Whole different attitude brought to the table.


And your other point is what I am talking about. So your boy has moved on, it is time to help somewhere else. Whether that means UC or a committe member of the Troop or Pack or wherever you are needed. Maybe even Cubmaster or Scoutmaster. That doesn't make one a Manscout unless your just doing it for knots or whatever. In fact, I believe a more effective Scoutmaster or Cubmaster would be someone without a boy in the group. More time to dedicate to the group without the fear of ignoring your own son too much.


"You'll have to convince me that it makes sense for me to hang around the troop/pack when I no longer have a son involved."


What about Grandkids, Cousins Kids, etc... Not to mention if all the kids in your community grow to be fine outstanding citizens wouldn't that benefit you?


"If I do a good job, the knowledge that I have will be passed down through scouts and scouters.


By lingering, I'd be enabling other dads to NOT step up to the plate."


Has anyone wondered that by leaving others with the job because your son is out, the new guys fear being dumped on and just stay out of the way anyhow. (I have been told that was the fear by two incoming Den Leaders)


"I've been a Boy Scout. I feel no need to be a Man Scout. It's actually sorta creepy... "


Which takes me back to the analogy I am familiar with. If I felt that way about My religion, as soon as my boys are of age, I might as well leave the Church. I am not needed there anymore, my job is done, I don't have a dog in the race, I've been a religious boy (Being a religious man is kinda creepy right?)



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Hello Big Bovine,


I've never been married and have no children. I was recruited by a friend of mine to volunteer with a troop because of my varied outdoor experience.


I started working with a Cub Pack that was down to a single boy four years ago. It's in a low income neighborhood and we're still struggling to have a good complement of leaders.


I spent two years as Cubmaster and additional years as a Den Leader. I'm the defacto Tiger Cub Den Leader this year until I can get some parents to take charge.


I'm always looking to motivate parents to take over jobs that I am doing. I've found Scouting rewarding, and I think parents who are leaders have a real opportunity to improve the relationship they have with their children, perhaps for the rest of their life.


Unfortunately, too often we trap people in leadership roles and they can become burdensome, especially when they aren't getting the support they deserve from other adults. I don't blame those folks for feeling resentful and anxious to get out. It's a shame, but the problem is that they are being taken advantage of.


I have feelings like that myself not infrequently, and for the same reason.



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The problem is burnout and differences in unit characteristics, due primarily to age. I was a parent only for one year, and a Den Leader for five years. I was a Tiger Cub Den Leader, a Bear Den leader (different den), a WDL for two and a half years (first year and a half with the group I was Bear Den Leader for, last year with the group I was Tiger Cub Den Leader for (at crossover of the earlier Den, I became WDL for the next Den). My last year I was counting down. Part of it is that our Pack met in a church gym. Four of the five dens in the same room. It could be chaotic. My last year, I was the grumpy old Den Leader staring down solemnly at the Wolf Scouts telling them to get back to their den, and giving the evil eye to the siblings, telling them to go back to their parents. I can't imagine having to still deal with all of that.


As a WDL, I passed down as much knowledge, etc. to the newer leaders as I could. The time to do so was limited by my priorities and theirs.

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Big Bovine, don't take this personally, okay?

You statement:


"Which takes me back to the analogy I am familiar with. If I felt that way about My religion, as soon as my boys are of age, I might as well leave the Church. I am not needed there anymore, my job is done, I don't have a dog in the race, I've been a religious boy (Being a religious man is kinda creepy right?)"


makes little sense.

I'm in scouts for my boy. I'm in church for myself and my God. Aging out of church means that I've died and gone to heaven, a course that should make Woodbadge look really weinie!


I devote time to scouts for my boy. I may learn a little and contribute a lot. But there's no reason to assume that I'm the only one who can fill those roles.


Stop taking logic lessons from some of our fellow posters. Be proud to be a Bovidae who plods towards rational conclusions, instead of a Cervidae who bolts from one thought to another! (Okay, I had to look up the Ungulate/Ruminatia family tree...)

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Sorry if I came off too harsh, just wanted to be sure I wasn't mistaken or having words twisted. Just want people to understand that I see things a little different, or not. Could be because my 5 children are adopted, or the fact that our family is very active in Foster Care. I deal with newborns to 17 year olds year round. I have been doing this for 20 years. Yes it can be bothersome and a strain at times, but the good that comes from it greatly outweighs that. I see Scouts as an arm of my ministry so to speak. Another avenue to reach young people in need. In the case of Scouts, teaching up and coming Men their rsponsibilities in life. Some of these boys may never get reached in a church setting, which is why I see Scouting in more of a long term sense.


Another factor in my thinking is that I expect a lot out of people, but mostly myself. Workaholic? Maybe. Used to hear people say that of my Father. I realize now that it wasn't that he was a Workaholic, but determined and dedicated. When things needed done you did it as best as one could, and saw it through. What I see now in Scouts, some churches in my area, people I work with, etc.. is that people just want to "take care of their own" not realizing that there is more to it than themselves.


You have done correctly passing along knowledge assuring those after you have the tools they need to do the job. It is those that cannot wait to get out and help nobody on the way that bother me. Part of that problem is they never took the time to learn what they were doing. They have no knowledge of what they do, they just go with the flow and get done so they can get out. The WEBELOS group my boys were in was like that. Out of the 14 boys in that group, my 3 and 1 other are still active. The rest either never crossed over or they quit when they saw that dad was done with scouts too.


"Stop taking logic lessons from some of our fellow posters. Be proud to be a Bovidae who plods towards rational conclusions, instead of a Cervidae who bolts from one thought to another! (Okay, I had to look up the Ungulate/Ruminatia family tree...) "

Now thats refreshing. Made me laugh to see somone that gets it. By the way, I aint really big but I do live in a field full of my udderly wonderful friends!

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Nice attitude Joebob


So your going to exit the second your boys quit, age out or Eagle.



I was involved in cub scouting for 7 years......I still sit on the Pack committee and expect to be the CC in the next year or so.......Why, I can offer advice, and guidance to the new cub leaders.


I expect to be SM for at least the next 10 years and probably till I can no longer camp and backpack comfortably. Why I enjoy the boys I serve. Scouting is the only safe haven for these boys.....


I find it very rewarding despite the games being played locally by the adults. The boys I serve are the only reason I stay......




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Could there be such a thing as over-dedication?


My SM, retired single with a part-time job and plenty of time to spare, was the straightest arrow in town. Perfect for the job which he held dutifully for decades until the Parkinson's got the better of him. The COR was also a great guy and passed shortly thereafter.


The troop didn't last after that. The plan to transfer leadership wasn't there. (The economy and subsequent job-flight didn't help.)


Sometimes an SM giving the group a "2-year warning" is the best way to get others to step up. And, frees the ex-SM to continue serving after his tenure "officially" ends.

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Don't forget there're great opportunities to continue BSA volunteer involvement with just adult interaction. If you prefer to have no direct scout contact, consider being a trainer to help all those new dads/moms learning to take over the troop/pack/crew support roles. Offer to share your wealth of knowledge from years of experience offering the BSA program at University of Scouting, IOLS, SM Specifics, or other adult training. That's a great way to keep the program exciting, healthy, and alive.


And, to bigbovine's OP - "cannot wait to get out" attitude is like a flashing billboard to the scouts. They know. The committee should have a succession plan in place, and be ready to use it for death, moving away, or "burn-out".


Scout On

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yeah, I understand there is a certain subset of folks out there that view anyone who wants to stick around without a youth in the program as being creepy... we can have a whole thread on the reasons why, but some of these folks are the best leaders, some are the worst... kind of like the adults WITH youth in the program.


I agree that a self-imposed "term limit" with secession planning is the best way to go. Then if a CC, SM, or CM... go find something else to do to serve BSA.


Two reasons I say this:


1) Even if the "old" leader steps out of the role, but stays with the unit... scouts and adults alike will still turn to them instead of the "new" leader for direction. This is especially true of adults, if they question or donot understand WHY the new leader is doing something a certain way. Happened to me as CM. I stepped down in my son's last year in cubs to be the ACM, while the new CM got his feet wet. I had to tell multiple folks, "Go ask / speak to XXX, I'm not in charge anymore." for a whole year. The new CM wasn't really a CM until I was gone. We have a similar issue in the Troop with an ex-SM still being in an active leadership role. The current SM gets second guessed, gets a ,"well, I'll go see if Mr.X see it the same way." when a youth might not like the response from the current SM, etc... If you've been around for 10 years, understand EVERYONE is going to expect you to be the subject matter expert, and you're opinion will likely hold more weight than it should.


2) No one will step up and volunteer, so long as someone else is still in the position doing a good or adequate job.


Transition planning is key, but set a date and stick to it. You can always be a phone call or e-mail away for the new leader, but by showing up at every meeting and outing, you are likely preventing the "new" leader from leading - even if you are not trying to do so and if your intent is not to take over as leader... by de facto and tenure... you ARE the leader.


Kinda like Clinton upstaging Obama at a join public appearance...


My 2 cents worth,



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"Nice attitude Joebob"

Basement, I'm glad you approve.


"So your going to exit the second your boys quit, age out or Eagle."


When I became a DL I was told that my first and most important job was to recruit and train my replacement. Did that. Same for CM.

My present position on the committee is 'Scout Parent Coordinator'; being courted for SM. (I could get fired first for pushing scout skills and refusing to sign off in BORs for one-and-done.)

If I accept SM in January, I'll give the troop 3 to five years and give ample notice and help recruit/train my replacement.


Why on earth is that not enough?


I have no need to tilt at windmills. Irving will never no I exist. Heck, my district barely acknowledged it when I walked out of their ITOLs class.


I'm not a Democrat; I have no desire to save the world. I'll just do the best I can to make my little bit of the world better for my family. After scouts, I'll invest my free time in following my daughter's basketball career and son's tennis. Maybe I'll even get re-acquainted with my wife, if she'll still have me. Family vacations after scouting can include the whole family and not just the men.


I care more about my family than scouting.

Your priorities may vary.



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