Re: CUBMASTER NEEDED IN LOWELL, MASS.
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sun, 14 Jul 1996 01:35:23 -0400
I am absolutely amazed that with a LARGE Pack of 60 boys that you can't
find anyone willing to be Cubmaster, Assistant Cubmaster, Advancement
Sounds like your Pack's committee needs to divide up the list of parents
and each member needs to go make personal visits to sign up each parent
to do something for the Pack with suitable explanations that the Pack is
a family organization that cannot operate without family support. A key
selling point is to help the parent realize that all of the Cub Scout
activities and programs are the sort of thing that almost every parent
would like to do for their child, but may not have the resources to do
all alone. by joining together and sharing resources as a Pack of
Parents and boys, the Pack can make those things a reality, but only if
Here are a few ideas from a previous posting where there was a problem
with recruiting parents for a Troop - Just substitute the word Pack and
the same ideas ring true:
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 14:56:01 -0500 (EST)
From: "Michael F. Bowman" <mfbowman@CapAccess.org>
Subject: Parental Involvement
Jim Kelland inquired about getting parental involvement. While their are
many things that could be offered on the subject, one thing that stands
out in my experience is "communicating the commitment."
Too often when everyone is busy we resort to newsletters, letters of
welcome to a Troop, and requests for help in meetings hoping that
everyone will catch on to what is needed and jump right in. If the unit
is lucky and some of the parents are expereienced in Scouting or oriented
towards participation anyway all goes well and nobody figures out that
the communication effort wasn't all that successful.
However, there are many units where this is not enough. Parents are both
working, some Scouts only have a single parent, there has been a divorce,
the family has just moved and is new to the area, their is a health problem,
the parents are newly arrived from another country, the parents are shy
and uncertain, or you find other challenges. In these cases parental
involvement starts to sound like a dream and really will challenge a
leader to the max.
What seems to work best is a one-to-one face-to-face session with the new
parent(s) over a cup of coffee. Face-to-face it is harder to say no and
easier for you to answer specific concerns and find unique ways for each
parent to help according to their time and talents.
>From among those who are participating; e.g. the Scoutmaster and active
committee members, divide up the parents you wish to target and:
* Make an appointment to stop by at their home or a local place that
serves soft drinks and coffee. Ask for about an hour of time and make
sure you keep things moving.
* Spend about five minutes really selling the Troop. Show what the
Troop has done. Explain how the Scouts really grow. Talk about
advancement for a minute or so. Talk about the really great activities
that the Patrol Leader's Council is planning.
* Ask how the parent's son is doing. How do they feel about Scouting?
* Do they have questions? Things they'd like to know?
* What are their hobbies? What special skills do they have? (Do your
personnel resources inventory on the spot without paper in sight, while
getting to know the parent.)
* Talk to them about parental committment and how important it is to
make sure their son has a good Scouting experience - hit home. Yes they
will have a hundred reasons why they are busy. But remind them that by
pooling talents with all the other parents it is a lot easier to make
sure all the boys have a lot more great opportunities than if only the
parent was trying to do it all alone. You do want the best for your son?
You want to see him grow and stay out of trouble?
* As you begin to learn about the Scout and the parent, ask leading
questions about how they could help in a particular activity - something
where they can get their feet wet and enjoy a successful experience. The
key here is starting them small.
* Start them out by just asking them to drive one way on a trip, helping
set up an activity nearby, or helping counsel a merit badge once or twice
with another counselor, but not in a lead position until they have
confidence. You probably know of at least a dozen small things that
could use a helping hand. Pick one that fits the parent, where they
can't hardly go wrong.
* Immediately recognize their success and help!! Present drivers with a
small matchbox type car with a Scouting decal on the top or something
simple to say thanks or some simple homemade recognition appropriate to
the task. Give a set of red and green cloths pins to somebody who has
helped dry out tents, a varnished mounted pancake to somebody that helped
with the pancake breakfast, etc. You get the idea.
* Now that you have the hook set, reel 'em in a little close with
another more difficult assignment and again recognize what they do.
* All along the way communicate the committment by explaining, selling
the program, and asking for personal help.
Some of these people will move on before you get them very involved and
you can't do much about it. But there will be some that will get the
fever and jump right in.
I always find that there are at least three parents out of a dozen that
would love to help, if only asked. They don't volunteer for cultural
reasons (hispanic), because of shyness, because they are not sure they
can do it, etc. But once asked they bloom and become the best leaders.
>From another posting:
Increasing parent involvement is always a challenge, you're not alone.
One successful strategy is to make a gigantic poster listing all of the
Pack positions, activity chairs, and other jobs that will need to be
filled throughout the year with a blank next to each. Fill in the ones
where you have a volunteer ahead of time. Take the poster to your Join
Scouting Night meeting and tell the new parents that each is expected to
take on at least one of these jobs, explaining that Cub Scouting is a
family organization and must have family; e.g., parent participation.
Similarly put the poster in the front of the room for your Pack Meeting
and give the same encouragements. This will net a few and help with a
little peer fear/pressure. Nobody likes being seen as a non-contributor.
Let them know that, if you don't see their names, you'll help them find
something. Then the Pack's leadership can divide the missing names
and follow-up with one-to-one invitations.
A great selling point, when you begin to hear excuses is to tell them that
what the Cub Scout program offers is what each parent would like to give
his/her child, if there was enough time and that the advantage is that we
can pool resources to see that each boy gets those things. This means that
you the parent have to carry your share, which is a lot less than if you
were trying to do all of these things yourself. Remind them that its not
fair to ask other parents to shoulder their own share and this excuse
maker's as well. You may lose one or two that don't want the commitment,
but would they have stayed anyway?
Another point is that there are a lot of folks that are hesitant
to volunteer, especially in hispanic communities. Some will be honored
be asked and to see your trust in them and will respond positively with
encouragement. One of the best Webelos leaders I ever had sat quietly and
never said a word at meetings for over a year because nobody every asked.
I saw enthusiasm in his eyes and asked. A week later he came to a meeting
in full uniform with every patch in the right place, brimming with ideas.
He took Webelos to camp each year and never missed an activity. His den
grew and had to be split twice.
While there is no best solution, consider making it a point to find the
positive attributes of each parent as you get to know them and then use
that as a reason you think they would be good at ________________.
Remember that they can't say yes, if you don't ask.
Speaking Only for Myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
a/k/a Professor Beaver (WB), ASTA #2566, OA Vigil Honor '71, Eagle
Scout '67, Serving as Deputy District Commissioner for Training,
G.W.Dist., Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA - email@example.com
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City