Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Newbie CM
Sun, 14 Feb 1999 11:39:54 -0500
Hi, Chris, and Welcome to Scouts-L, and a HUGE welcome to Scouting. You
remind me of me, jump in with both feet and just do it! I am on the
training committee and RT staff in our district and have just had a huge
blow-up in our pack, so I know wherefore you are coming from. I have
several comments and suggestions, some from my own experience and some from
others. I will just go down your posting and comment here and there.
Hope these comments and suggestions help, and please remember, this is free
advice and you will get exactly what you pay for.
snip>Our current Cubmaster will be leaving next week (his son crossed over at
>our B&G this week). I have been Assistant Cubmaster since September and
>am taking his place. In my (short) time with the pack, I've tried to
>get as much training as I could (Fast Start, Basic, Roundtable,
>Conference/Pow-Wow, YPT, Outdoor programs, etc).
This is the best thing that you can do. And you should contact each of
your committee members, den leaders, etc. and insist that they are up on
the training, too. Nothing makes it clear to folks that there are BSA ways
to do things than listeningto the discussions at the training sessions.
>Since joining, I've
>read the Cub Scout leader book through several times. This has provided
>me with what I believe to be a basic understanding of the program. Book
>knowledge aside, however, I only have 6 months practical experience as
You need to be patient with this. It really does take a while for the
book-knowledge to sink in. The first year that I was a wolf leader I
suffered from information overload. Then things sorted themselves out.
>I've tried to suggest a few changes to the way we've been doing things
>at the pack level. Some of my suggestions have met with vigorous
>opposition or people look down and make gentle references to my lack of
>experience ("We tried that and it didn't work", "In my four years of
Patience patience, patience. People abhor change. And you will have some
folks leave over it, too. I get the same from our pack "traditionally we
haven't done that" and I reply, well, maybe we need to retry it?
> I expect that the group dynamics of our committee
>will change once our Cubmaster leaves (he is quite vocal and seems to
>have a large impact on the committee's decisions).
This is most certainly the case. The most important thing to do is to get a
Committee Chairman that you can form a relationship with, or sit down with
the exisiting CC and seewhat his/her thoughts are. Find some new parents
(unpolluted with the 'traditionally we have done this' syndrome) that you
feel comfortable with and get them to volunteer to be on the committee.
>has very good, well-meaning people for leaders who genuinely want to do
>what's best for the boys.
Hey, these are THEIR sons! Of course they do! And I think that once the
old CM is gone many of the oppositions may fade.....if you have patience
and do not push too hard. Be the dripping water, not the rushing stream.
>* Have award ceremonies at our monthly pack meetings rather than
>holding most of the ranks and awards until the B&G.
As has been stated by the others, all ranks and awards are to be awarded
ASAP. See all of the rank books and the Leader's guides.
>* Eliminate the monthly 50/50 raffles. The Cubmaster established them
>to teach the Cubs that it is easy to give to charity (proceeds go to
>local charities). I believe we can provide a different method for
>teaching our boys how to give.
Is your chartering organization a church or a school? Have a food drive, a
cleanup day, make birdhouses and put them in the garden, paint a shed or
repair a walk. Plant a garden and have that be their charity. Invite the
local residents of a retirement home or the seniors in the church's
congregation to the pack meeting and have the boys play board games with
them and treat them as honored guests. Or have the pack meeting in their
community room and take the boys to them. Charity depends on action, not
just money. And raffles are a form of gambling that I believe is frowned
upon by certain councils. And it is, in my opinion, the lazy way to give.
(no flames, please, I give a goodly amount of my money to charities during
the year, too)
>* Provide some activities for the boys during the summer rather than
>shutting down from May (our graduation is in April) until September.
All packs should have year-around activities. Have one summer trip to a
local attraction (we went to a camping resort one year, etc), have a
raingutter regatta, take a contigent of boys to the district day camp
(great fun there, don't miss it!), swim party, fishing tournament,
miniature golf, picnic with traditional games (3-legged race,
softball....earn a belt loop....., attend a local park activity (our state
parks have great programs available to groups, call yours and find out),
etc. Ask some of the parents (especially the new ones) to help plan
these. Put the Outdoors in Scouting !
>* Have the dens perform skits and sing songs during the pack meetings.
Absolutely necessary. The boys need to have FUN!!!!!! And if the boys have
fun the parents will be more open to change and to suggestion. Entertain
them! Silly hats, serious themes for ceremonies, get the parents to help.
>During the last committee meeting, our Cubmaster told me, "If you run
>the pack by the book, you won't have a pack anymore."
I hate to be negative, but this CM needs to be on his way. The book is
such a good one and has weathered so many social changes. BP was one of
those gifted men that saw boys with clear eyes. His program and philosophy
is still the way to go. And there are hundreds of successful packs out
there that are doing it by the books, and they are truly delivering the
promise to their boys. Follow that book, get the others in your committee
to go to training, get them to follow the book, get other experienced
scouters in the area to help advise you (good thing about RT, many helpful,
friendly hands there), and recruit the new members to your pack whenever
possible and get them trained. Traditions are made by doing the same thing
2 years in a row. Break them. Try something different. Be gentle, but
persistant. Pick the one or two things to change and do those, then change
other things later on, in a few months or next year.
Hope these ideas help, remember that you have all of the scouters on the
list to help you and support you when you are feeling low.
Best of Luck, let me know if you need a shoulder to gnash your teeth on.
Lorie McGraw <email@example.com>
Webelos Leader and more in Columbia, SC
Etowah Creek District, Indian Waters Council
"If a bigger hammer doesn't work, your problem is electrical." --Dad