Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Mentoring Packs
Re: Mentoring Packs
Daniel D. Hammond, Sr
Sat, 26 Jun 1999 10:35:20 -0700
From: Karl Ward <krward@EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Mentoring Packs
"Quote from our SE: "The Unit Commissioner system does not
work anywhere, has never worked and will not
work here." Please, no angry responses! I know many, many
across the country. Regardless of his misinformed opinion,
hard-pressed to find volunteers to run the units, much less
Our thought is to select successful packs to act as mentors
struggling packs. We would ask each established pack to
work with a brother
pack to help them get going. The new leaders could attend
committee meetings; joint pack meetings could be held; packs
without all of
the materials and equipment could be invited to Pinewood
pack leaders could work with the new leaders to build
and the list goes on. The goal would be to have the new
self-sufficient within one year.
There are some obvious pitfalls, of course. Human nature
others to continue to do things for you because it's
easier. You could
develop a air of dependancy that would be hard to shake.
Cut the ties too
quickly and you're right back where you were.
Has anyone seen this or something similiar done
appreciate any comments pro or con and any constructive
District Training Chairman, Ecunchatee District
First, three cheers for Karl.
Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
Hip, Hip, Hurrah!
Great question. Yes, I was personally involved in just such
a situation. We had another local pack approach us to be
their mentor. We gladly accepted. Their pack had a few
committee members left, a couple of Den Leaders but no pack
leadership. We kept treasuries separate, but otherwise we
functioned as one pack for about seven months. That gave us
time to recruit additional parents and build the boy
membership of that pack. The boys from the other pack
stayed in their own dens and continued to wear their pack
numbers, but our committees functioned as one, and our
Cubmaster was essentially the CM for both. It worked out
When it came time to do Pinewood Derby in March, they were
able to once again stand on their own. We held our separate
Pinewood Derbies in the same gym at the same time. As the
conclusion of the event, we held a short ceremony where we
pushed them out of the nest and back out on their own. It
was one of the most rewarding days of my Scouting carreer to
As for your SE deriding the utility of UCs, I'm afraid I
can't help you there. SEs should be the staunchest
supporters of the Commissioner program, since it makes their
lives much easier. In our council we have a good supply of
UCs that are willing to help. In my District Committee role
as Membership Chairman, I am working on incorporating them
more into our CS programs to help out packs that are in
trouble. Unfortunately, not many commissioners understand
the CS programs as well as they do BS programs. I guess
that's natural. But I have been able to approach both the
DC and DE about this and have received their support. I
even attended our recent Commissioner Conference and had the
opportunity to have a good discussion about the links
between Membership, Training and the Commissioner Staff. I
believe that's the key to building and maintaining good
I'd say you need a new SE, but I know it's not that easy.
Don't give up on mentoring another pack if needed. It can
work. Don't give up on the UC staff. They can often be
effective despite the efforts of contrary SEs. Don't
overlook training. Many units have problems that stem from
a lack of training. Your District CS Training Chair should
be able to help out there.
Good luck, and don't ever give up!
Dan Hammond, Sr.
Pack 225 (CM) and Black Hills District (RT, O&E, Training)