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MamaCM

In over my head?

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Hello all! I guess I will try to give a quick intro. I started yesterday as a mother going to sign her 4th grader up for scouts, his first year. After a meeting that was less than informative, and had zero parental participation, I went home the CM. I was a brownie for about 5 minutes until my parents decided they didn't want to invest the time or the money. That is the extent of my scouting experience. The outgoing CM is leaving because both of his boys are bridging over. He has agreed to give me a crash course next week, then he's gone. The DE was quick to point out to me that although this CM is very knowledgeable, he has not done much with the pack the last couple of years. So, I am diving in head first. I am trying to stay excited in spite of the task in front of me. My son looked so proud when I raised my hand to volutneer. The other boys looked relieved that someone was volunteering to do something. It was very clear that none of the other parents had any intention of doing anything. Sorry this was so long, I guess I got carries away. Any who, I am looking forward to learning from all of you. Thanks for reading this far. LOL

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Oh Mama!

 

Run. Run now. Find a different pack for your son. I started a pack 6 years ago, having been a Cub in the mid-'60s and a Boy Scout through the early '70s. I had to fold up the pack and move to a different unit after two years because no other adults were committed enough for it to have the critical mass it needed to be viable. If your new pack is so hard up for leaders that you were tagged as the Cubmaster at your first meeting with the pack you are doomed. A pack that is functioning even reasonably well will be developing leaders who are qualified and capable of leading the pack as CM or committee chair. It is not sustainable for you or anyone else to lead the pack solo, which is what it appears you would be signing up to do. Neither you nor your son deserve that fate.

 

Very truly yours,

 

NC Scouter

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First off welcome to the fun of scouts. When I started with the pack I just jumped in too. Time to get some training and ask questions. Find out about round table, you should find some info there from other leaders. There's a lot of knowledgeable people here too. And remember to have fun.

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Wow,

 

You jump in head first without checking the water often? You will be fine. As CMPA stated, get training from the District, attend Roundtable (once a month), and get the other parents involved in something (even if it is only to get snacks at a Pack meeting). Getting the parents involved is crucial for Cub Scouting success.

 

Build your comittee well. Scouting is NOT a one person run organization. As a matter of fact, we have a two deep leadership requirement. Talk to your comittee chairman, s/he should be able to help you as well. Your District Executive may have to intercede if you need to talk to the sponsoring organization. They may be able to assist with adult supervision (or not, delicate area).

 

Main point: If you are not enjoing it with your son, that is the time to either make it better or move to another Pack. I would not bail out before trying, but that is me.

 

There are a lot of knowlegable folks here. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The only real stupid question is the unasked/unaswered question.

 

My $0.02

 

YiS,

 

Rick

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Welcome aboard, Mama!

We're all in over our heads. And may God bless you for raising your hand!!

 

Good advice to find and spend time with other leaders at Roundtable. It will be hard to make time for that, but very valuable.

 

I also recommend doing some things quickly to reach out to other volunteers and potential volunteers in your Pack. Adults are more willing to give time and get involved when they're working with friends - same as for the boys. Consider hosting a cookout at your house with a key bunch of Pack parents and leaders. Fire up the grill and tell everyone to bring their own meat for the grill and a side dish to share. Or you provide the ribs and ask them to bring sides. Or just meet at a park for desert. Anything to get willing folks together. This shouldn't be a hard-core sales pitch - just a get-to-know-each-other opportunity. After you have shared bread together, you'll find volunteers are more willing and able in the future. Do something like this every few months to keep the adult fun going, too.

 

In the next few months, start quietly looking for some future candidates to take your place. Ask them to get involved in any way you can to start sharing the load and learning the ropes. (You'll actually be learning together, but that's OK.) It's very unfortunate your unit wasn't doing this before they had an emergency on their hands. You will want to do better.

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Welcome. My wife and I were in Cub Scouting for nine years. So my first advice is go to your council website. They should have a listing of all packs in the council. If not, call the council. Contact your neighboring packs and have the cubmasters over for cake and coffee. They are people you probably already know from school or church or the grocery store. Ask them for advice and support. Also, there are monthly topics in Scouting magazine. You can follow these until you get comfortable with planning your own pack meetings. Your pack committee should be taking care of the business end; your job should be running the program. Good luck.

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MamaCM,

 

Welcome!

 

I'm a little confused actually. As the CM you will be responsible for Pack Meetings (once a month) and the like for the Pack. Be the Committee and the Den Leaders are vital parts of the Pack Leadership as well. In fact the DLs organize, supervise, meetings every week. Does your Pack have DLs already? Was the only spot for the departing CM? If so, congrats on volunteering for one of the funnest jobs in the Pack. You get the privilege of handing out rank advancements, leading cheers, MCing the Pinewood and Space Derbies, etc. As the CM, you are the smiling face of the Pack that is run by the other leaders.

 

If there are no other leaders then your Pack is indeed in trouble. The Unit commissioner AND District Executive should be working with Pack and the Chartered Organization to save the unit. If there are other leaders, get to know them first.

 

BSA has lots of material available, start at MyScouting.org for the online training and your Council office/Scout Shop for handouts, flyers, books, etc. Don't be afraid to ask your DE for help until they have identified lots of supportfor you, aka Unit Commissioner, other Cubber as a mentor, etc.

 

And remember to have fun! The Cubs are there to ENJOY themselves, and if you're having fun so will they. For your willingness to help, even when all is unknown - Thank you. Your son and the other Cubs will remember the impact you've had on their lives. You will remember their smiles, laughs, and cheers. If isn't fun and rewarding, then something is wrong. But everybody is nervous when they start! Let us know how we can help.

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Can you give us some details as to how many Cubs, dens, den leaders and other volunteers exist in the pack?

 

My first step would be to do a quick inventory of the pack's other leaders. Even with a pack of only five Cubs, you must have four or five registered adult volunteers to have a legal pack. Your DE can provide you with the names. You need to determine if they are real volunteers or just paper leaders.

 

Two very important people you need to get to know are your Chartered Organization Representative and the Pack Committee Chair. You work for the two of them. Of the CM (you), the COR and the CC, you better have two of the three positions filled. The COR is your contact with the church, VFW, fire department or school which "owns" your pack. Unfortunately, the structure of Scouting is such that many CORs are fairly out of touch with their Scouts and think of the Scouts as a totally separate group that only meets at their facility. You need to know this and find out what kind of support you can expect from your chartered organization. Many large and successful packs operate with distant CORs, but shouldn't have to.

 

You committee chairperson is much more important. The two of you should operate the pack as a team. As CM you are responsible for running the program, the CC is responsible for administration. Your job is to plan and run pack meetings and to work with the Den Leaders to ensure they are delivering a good program. The CC is responsible for stuff like registration, fundraising and finance, tracking advancement and getting the badges and stuff for pack meetings, etc. If you have a small pack, say 10-20 Scouts and two or three dens, it is possible for the Cubmaster to run the pack with a CC-in-name-only IF (BIG IF) you have other volunteers handling these functions.

 

Here are the possibilities:

 

1) good COR and good CC -- GREAT!

2) distant COR and good CC -- still okay. I was CC and later CM of a very strong pack with 120 boys and couldn't pick my COR out of a police line up.

3) good COR and paper CC -- it is the COR's job to recruit a committee chair, AND FAST! But since the CC will be your partner in running the pack, I would want a hand in the process.

4) Paper COR and paper CC -- There's not really a pack there. The DE is asking you to start one. Unless you are willing to take on that responsibility, I'd find another unit!

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Wow, thanks for all of the responses. We live in a town of about 400 people, some of the boys come from the 2 towns on either side of us which are even smaller. Out of a total of 22 boys, only one is a returning scout. At the meeting, the DE basically had to beg for volunteers for den leaders and a cc. After the meeting he met with the new cc and myself. As he was explaining her responsibilities, I thought she was going to be sick. I tried to be encouraging and tell her we would help each other through, but I will not be surprised if I never see her again. He also said it is up to us to find a new treasurer. I am sure this will not be easy as this group of parents seems to want as little responsibility as possible. I knew before we arrived that I would be involved in some way, so as he explained that cub scouts was about family, I didn't flinch. I must say I was very disappointed to learn that one of our parents is an eagle scout and he would even raise his hand when the DE asked for volunteers to help with things like the derby.

 

I am going to stick this out for all the boys. The all were so excited. I have decided that I will make it fun for myself as well. I am going to do as much training as I can as soon as I can. I already found out when and where the roundtable is every month, so I plan to go to every single one. The most important thing to me is that each of these boys has a great scouting experience from beginning to end. I want them to remember these times for the rest of their lives.

 

Giving the awards is going to be one of my favorite parts. I have worked with kids before, so I have no problem making a fool out of myself on a regular basis. I think once I find my groove, we are all going to have a blast. They say fun is contagious, so hopefully the parents will see that and come around.

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Oh, I forgot to mention one more thing. The DE went around to the different den tables to get den leaders. We only have 3 webelos this year, one of which is my son. He got to our table and said we were covered, pointing at me. He said we needed an assistant DL. Neither of the other 2 parents wanted to do it. One of them finally accepted. So, I guess I am also the webelos DL. It should not be to bad with such a small group. I do wish we could recruit at least a couple more though.

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First lesson

Have fun. CM is the best job in scouting. Once you get the rest of the leaders you will see.

 

Second lesson, which you will not get in any BSA training.

You cannot ask for volunteers and expect to get one. The only way you will get help is by asking a specific person to do a specific job. Explain to them what it is and why they are the one that you need to do it. Give them an out, but many will step up when asked directly.

 

Third lesson

Look for the people that are already busy. They are that way because they do things and they tend to accept more. People with time on their hands tend to not do anything, so even if they say, "Yes" they will tend not to do it anyway.

 

Forth lesson

When the DE said it would only be an hour a week he meant only an hour a week per boy. ;-)

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Wow...are you brave.

 

Ok, now that you've jumped in...here's what you do:

 

Talk to your CC. The CM and DL execute the annual program, the CC runs the business end (finance, planning, recordkeeping, etc). Both of you need to get the "Cub Scout Leaders Book" and read it cover to cover...it will answer many of your questions. Start recruiting DL and ADL. And you should not have to be "dual hatted"...being CM is a full time job unto itself. I was a CM for 6 years.

 

Take all the available on-line training IMMEDIATELY. "This is Scouting", "Youth Protection" and anything else that's there. Find out when the next "Cubmaster Specific" training is offered in your District (it should be soon) and register for it.

 

Find out when monthly CS Roundtable is for your district, and put it on your calendar. The RT each month will have suggestions and activities for the following month's theme...plus you will get to meet others in your situation and others with YEARS of experience and advise. This is where you also get news of District and Council activities, such as district campouts, popcorn sales, etc.

 

Start fundraising! This year's popcorn drive is already underway...get the information and get started. Your pack will need a Treasury to finance activities and advancement badges. Nothing in scouting is free! During your annual planning meeting, a Unit Budget can be developed to finance the coming year, but you need something now for seed money. See the "Fundraising" threads here for other ideas.

 

Run??? No, not yet. There's hope for you, IF you don't try to do it all yourself...that's a formula for burnout, failure and frustration.

 

Good Luck and Good Cubbing!

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Aha... the Soccer Syndrome... I can drop my kid (not son, not boy..."kid") off at soccer practice and be free for two hours...The coach will teach'em good sportsmanship, skills and the rules. And I don't have to.

How sad.

The boys see the fun ahead, like being Cubs, but the parents don't see the need to be part of the Pack. While it is true that not every parent needs to be the Committee Chair or Cub Master, the boys do better if his parents have some role.

I like to say that there is an "invisible" last line in the Law of the Pack: "The Parents also help the Pack GO."

The talk I have given new Scout parents includes the following points:

* This is the only time your boy will be 7. Or 8, or nine, or ten. TRUST ME, the connection you make with him now will define your connection with him when he is 14 and 15 and 16. Make that connection the best you can NOW, with the values and fun of Scouting.

** And the fun includes (dare I say it?) "education". The Scouting program will show and teach your son so many things that regular school can't or won't teach him. History. Confidence. Skills. Cooperation. Satisfaction. Self confidence. Maybe even Right and Wrong.

***I see lots of news about boys in "gangs". Mostly bad news. All boys want to belong to "the gang". I know I did. How 'bout we make it easy for our sons to belong to a "gang" that will do some good in his life and the life of our families and communities and nation? All you have to do is be there and help point them in the right direction.

****And who do you want doing that pointing? Who better than your boy's mom and dad? Your boy will believe what he sees and if he sees his mom and dad doing the pointing, won't he want to be there all the more? If the Cub sees that it is important to the parent, it will be more important to the Cub.

***** " I don't have enough time for everything now. I don't know anything about this Scout stuff. I know Mr. XYZ can do a better job than me. Isn't there someone else you can ask?"

No one else can say what's important for you. No one else can tell you what is possible for you. But the folks that support their boy in Cub Scouts will tell you about their boy's success. And they will tell you that the grass can get cut next week, the boss will understand when you go and speak to him honestly about your Scouting time. And I've met many, many folks that have NO Scouting experience and pick things up easily because of the training and help available. Eagle? No guarantee of a good Scout leader, but a good start. Can't be Den Leader? Howbout one meeting a month? One project and that's all? Lead one hike, one tour of the fire station, one Belt Loop class?

 

All you can do is ask. Like the previous posters have suggested, get the parents and Cubs out to a picnic. Have someone (Commissioner? Neighboring Cub leaders?) take the boys aside for a hike, a ball game, some fun thing. You and the CCh and the DE (maybe) sit down with the other parents and lay it out plain. Have training days scheduled. A Cub Pack needs X,Y, and Q to operate. You are willing and ready to be CM and CCh, but if we don't have this, it may not happen, and our boys will not have a Cub Pack.

 

I Commissioned with a struggling Cub Pack. A Scouter I respected counseled me to tell the parents all the above, give a pen and pad of paper to the nearest adult and tell them I'll be down the hall. Come to me when you've decided whether or not your boys will have a Cub Pack or not, and then you will tell your boys. The Pack I was helping never came to that, (came together finally and thriving!) but it would have been a last resort, I quess.

 

I totally agree that you can not do this all yourself as CM. But you can rally the others to make it happen for your boys. YOUR boys.

 

Will you turn it around? Pray about it and "Do Your Best". That's all one can ask.

 

Good luck and God speed.

 

 

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Aha... the Soccer Syndrome... I can drop my kid (not son, not boy..."kid") off at soccer practice and be free for two hours...The coach will teach'em good sportsmanship, skills and the rules. And I don't have to.

How sad.

The boys see the fun ahead, like being Cubs, but the parents don't see the need to be part of the Pack. While it is true that not every parent needs to be the Committee Chair or Cub Master, the boys do better if his parents have some role.

I like to say that there is an "invisible" last line in the Law of the Pack: "The Parents also help the Pack GO."

The talk I have given new Scout parents includes the following points:

* This is the only time your boy will be 7. Or 8, or nine, or ten. TRUST ME, the connection you make with him now will define your connection with him when he is 14 and 15 and 16. Make that connection the best you can NOW, with the values and fun of Scouting.

** And the fun includes (dare I say it?) "education". The Scouting program will show and teach your son so many things that regular school can't or won't teach him. History. Confidence. Skills. Cooperation. Satisfaction. Self confidence. Maybe even Right and Wrong.

***I see lots of news about boys in "gangs". Mostly bad news. All boys want to belong to "the gang". I know I did. How 'bout we make it easy for our sons to belong to a "gang" that will do some good in his life and the life of our families and communities and nation? All you have to do is be there and help point them in the right direction.

****And who do you want doing that pointing? Who better than your boy's mom and dad? Your boy will believe what he sees and if he sees his mom and dad doing the pointing, won't he want to be there all the more? If the Cub sees that it is important to the parent, it will be more important to the Cub.

***** " I don't have enough time for everything now. I don't know anything about this Scout stuff. I know Mr. XYZ can do a better job than me. Isn't there someone else you can ask?"

No one else can say what's important for you. No one else can tell you what is possible for you. But the folks that support their boy in Cub Scouts will tell you about their boy's success. And they will tell you that the grass can get cut next week, the boss will understand when you go and speak to him honestly about your Scouting time. And I've met many, many folks that have NO Scouting experience and pick things up easily because of the training and help available. Eagle? No guarantee of a good Scout leader, but a good start. Can't be Den Leader? Howbout one meeting a month? One project and that's all? Lead one hike, one tour of the fire station, one Belt Loop class?

 

All you can do is ask. Like the previous posters have suggested, get the parents and Cubs out to a picnic. Have someone (Commissioner? Neighboring Cub leaders?) take the boys aside for a hike, a ball game, some fun thing. You and the CCh and the DE (maybe) sit down with the other parents and lay it out plain. Have training days scheduled. A Cub Pack needs X,Y, and Q to operate. You are willing and ready to be CM and CCh, but if we don't have this, it may not happen, and our boys will not have a Cub Pack.

 

I Commissioned with a struggling Cub Pack. A Scouter I respected counseled me to tell the parents all the above, give a pen and pad of paper to the nearest adult and tell them I'll be down the hall. Come to me when you've decided whether or not your boys will have a Cub Pack or not, and then you will tell your boys. The Pack I was helping never came to that, (came together finally and thriving!) but it would have been a last resort, I quess.

 

I totally agree that you can not do this all yourself as CM. But you can rally the others to make it happen for your boys. YOUR boys.

 

Will you turn it around? Pray about it and "Do Your Best". That's all one can ask.

 

Good luck and God speed.

 

 

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SSScout brings up good points. My boys are now 31 and 27, and we were Cub Scouts, hmmm, seems like last week. It was the best thing I ever did and we still talk about the outings and the other kids. My eldest, now a restaurant partner and general manager, was recently interviewed on the radio about "how did you learn to lead and motivate a staff like this" and his immediate response was "Boy Scouts". Brought a tear to my eye.

 

Remind the parents that Cub Scouting is designed to be a "family program"...unlike sports or karate. It's the PARENTS who lead the dens and pack...not the "Coach". Activities are familiy oriented...camping is FAMILY camping. That's the way it's designed, so if that's not going to meet their needs, perhaps they need to find another activity.

 

I like the line about "tell me if you're going to have a Pack or not, then you can tell your boys why." I'm gonna use that in the future.

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