Re: Tiger Cubs
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Thu, 29 Jun 1995 13:34:22 EST
I'm glad the subject of tigers came up. Sorry in advance for the
longish post. This program has had a somewhat checkered history in my
pack. My son and I started as tiger cub partners in 1991-92, and
neither of us thought much of the program. We went on several
outings--a winter carnival during a snowy Saturday at someone's house,
and a trip to the Naval Museum in Washington DC, are two that come to
mind. But we had no cross-over, and no contact with the larger cub
I became a den leader the next year, and was focused on my den, and
thus don't even know if we had a tiger program or not. In 93-94 I
became cubmaster, and we had a total of three tigers that year, two of
whom actually crossed over. The one who didn't...ahhh, what a story.
The three tigers were invited to our pinewood derby, and received a
car kit as a Christmas present at the December pack meeting. Two of
them actually built their cars and showed up at the pinewood derby. I
had made it clear up front that the derby was a cub event, but that
they could attend and race their cars as an exhibition race, if they
wanted to. That was fine with them.
Well, with only two of them, the races were over in about two or three
minutes (and that was stretching it). The kids seemed fine, no
problem--but one of the dads got mightily ticked off! His son stopped
participating in scouts, and we didn't see him the rest of the year.
At recharter time I called, and the mom assured me that the kid would
continue and she'd drop off the registration fee. When it didn't
arrive, I called again just before I submitted the charter, and talked
to the old man. I got a real earful (and an icy one at that). It
seems the old man was upset that his son didn't get to compete against
the cub cars, didn't get a trophy, put all that work into the car for
a total of two minutes on the track, etc.
Well, we went ahead and crossed the other two over, but I took the
hassle with this dad as a wake-up call to start paying some attention
to the tiger program. I recruited an old scouting buddy of mine as
tiger cub group coach, he went to training, and so last September we
actually started a program with a trained tiger cub group coach (a
first for us). Our Join Scouting Night got us about 10 Tigers, and I
got a call from a mom at another school who had heard about our pack
and wanted her son and two others to join as well. Anyway, we had a
total of 15 tigers last year, and a vastly improved program.
We handled the pinewood derby this year by running a special event
just for the tigers, with matchbox cars. They seemed to like it, and
we had no hurt feelings at all. They counted coming to the derby as a
big idea, and those who came got a tiger paw for their shirts.
Still, our tiger program has its problems. Tigers in particular are
even more dependent on adult/parent help than cubs, and if you don't
have a good group leader and strong parental support, you don't have a
program. We divided the 15 tigers into two groups (dens?) with my
buddy as sort of the top guy and parents serving as group sub-coaches.
One group had two highly enthusiastic moms running it. Unfortunately,
the other didn't. That group was much less active, and it showed at
recharter time, when several of the tigers didn't reup. This may be a
temporary situation, however, as two of them didn't reup for highly
specific reasons not related to scouts (they will probably be back).
The only thing I would fault my friend for is not being more attentive
to the second group when it became clear that there were problems.
Still--it was his first year as an adult scouter, and he has a
learning curve to climb, too, just like all of us. Anyway, he's
continuing as group coach this year, we've both learned from last
year's experience, and we'll work on picking our parent coordinators
I think tigers are so important to the health and well-being of a cub
pack that one could argue that a pack's most enthusiastic adult leader
(after the CM) ought to be wearing the orange and black t-shirt of a
tiger cub group coach.
CMs, let the tigers participate in pack ceremonial and special events,
cross them over with a special ceremony just for them, award them a
yellow neckerchief and tiger cub graduate patch, and do other things
to make them feel special. I also strongly suggest showing up at a
tiger event occasionally, in full "christmas-tree" uniform, to let
them know you're out there, you care about them, and that there is
life after tiger cubbing. Wear the christmas tree uniform because all
those cool-looking patches and knots and neckerchief slides and other
paraphenalia make for lots of wide-eyed questions about scouts.
To end on a happy note, the kid who's dad got all upset at the
pinewood derby two years ago is now a highly enthusiastic bear cub (he
rejoined in the fall) and his mom is one of my best den leaders! Even
the dad has come around now, and speaks very highly of our pack and
cub scouting in general. Go figure....
CM, Pack 1515
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City