Wed, 28 Oct 1992 16:04:45 EST
No, our pack is far from ideal. If it were, we wouldn't need to turn anyone
away for lack of leadership. Our parents also work, usually an hour or more
from home. Often they have other commitments as well. What should we do? Add
to the already busy schedules of our leaders by pressuring them to take on
more leadership duties in the pack? That would only serve to drive them away
and increase the leadership shortage.
How about a little reality check. Assume a pack of 50 boys (ours). For
leadership we need a CM, a CA, a CC, and at least 2 MCs, 4 DLs and 4 DAs.
Thats 13 adults, more would be nice (we have 15) but 13 is the minimum
required. For the purpose of argument, lets assume 50% single parents. That
means there are 75 parents associated with those 50 boys. We only need to
register one sixth of those. The ratio of adult leaders to boys should run
about 3-4 to 1. That by no means requires every parent to sign up, nor does
it mean that at least one parent per boy sign up. We certainly can and do
have boys with single parents in the pack.
As long as pack leaders are willing to take on more than they should, parents
will let them. What you risk by loading up existing leaders is the loss of
the leader which could lead to the loss of the entire pack.
There are a lot of problems with blindly loading up current leaders in the
interest of getting as many boys in as possible (regardless of parental status).
1. It will be very difficult to recruit new leaders. Parents aren't stupid.
They can see that you will get them to sign up and then load them down with a
lot of jobs. To them, the best way not to get over committed is to not get
committed at all.
2. It will be difficult to show a need for additional help. After all a bare
handful of folks are taking care of everything so you obviously don't need
3. The quality of program will suffer. It takes time to prepare a good pack
meeting. It takes time to plan a good den meeting. It takes time to organize
fundraisers and pinewood derbies. Then it takes time to do all those things.
If there is one person who is trying to fill all those jobs one or more
will either not get done or will get done poorly. The boys deserve nothing
less than the best program at both the den and pack levels.
4. Overworked leaders burnout early. Some may make it to the end of the year.
Some may even come back. But, at some point they will have had enough. Then
you are back to number one above.
5. Loss of a single leader has major ramifications. If one person is the
Cubmaster and a Webleos Den Leader and the Committee Chair, and he/she
moves/quits/dies, you now have not one, but three positions to fill. Two are
critical to the overall health of the pack. Lose one or two other multi-slotted
leaders for any reason and you will be rebuilding the unit from scratch.
Sure, most of us want to have as many boys in the program as we can get. We
don't like to turn any away for any reason.In many ways Scout leaders are
alot like missionaries. But, if we truly have the best interests of the boys
at heart, we will work to build healthy units for them to join. Units that
rely on overtasking adult leaders to survive are not healthy.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City