How to get Eagle Scout dads to help Cubs


Question: The Eagle Scout dads in Cubmaster S.C.’s pack prefer to work with Boy Scouts, not Cub Scouts. An Eagle Scout himself, S.C. wants to persuade these men to get with the younger-boy program.

I was one of those Eagle Scouts. I was waiting for my sons to enter Boy Scouting so we could do the “real” stuff. But my smarter-than-me wife reminded me that if my boys did not enjoy Cub Scouting, they probably would not become Boy Scouts. She told me Cub Scouting is the “minor leagues” for Boy Scouting, and you don’t go to the top level without quality time in the minors. Reality hit me. I became a den leader, Webelos leader, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and father of two Eagle Scouts.

Former Scoutmaster M.K.
Johns Creek, Ga.

Lead by example. When other parents see that you are comfortable with helping and are having a good time, they are more likely to join you. Don’t focus on the fact that they are Eagle Scouts but on the fact that they are dads whose sons need them. You may find that the other dads (and moms) who don’t have a Scouting background will be the ones who help the Cub Scouts the most.

Troop Committee Member A.B.
Granville, N.Y.

Encourage them to take advisory or supportive positions within the pack. Helping with camping or pinewood derbies or helping teach Boy Scout skills to Webelos Scouts would be a start.

Park Hills, Mo.

Our pack has lots of enthusiastic, hard-working, and talented parents, but a lot of them are new to Scouting. It takes experienced parents, like Eagle Scouts, to make sure the program is strong. The best way to get Eagle Scouts active in the pack might be to point out that the pack needs their Scouting experience and skills and that their work in the troop will be that much easier—and more rewarding—with new Boy Scouts who come well-prepared from the pack.

Pack Committee Chair L.H.
Minneapolis, Minn.

Eagles love to help, but many are afraid to commit to a position because of professional obligations. I’ve found that by giving them Boy Scout-related tasks with clear goals and defined ending dates, the Scout inside reappears, especially when they work with their own Cub Scout. Before long, they broaden their sphere of influence to include the other Scouts and shortly ask for an adult application.

Colonia, N.J.

I have been in this position. What I did that worked was to find a specific task that needed doing and ask them directly to do it, one on one. It’s much easier to say no when you hear “would someone” than when you hear a direct “would you.” From the initial task, slowly ask for more—reeling them in!

Chartered Organization Representative S.T.
Matawan, N.J.

In my area, a lot of the dads’ work involves travel, so they are not there a lot. I travel massive amounts, too, and share that with the dads. I explain that I use Scouts as a way to schedule time with my son and, for many activities, with my daughter and family.

Cubmaster A.C.
Portland, Ore.

Ask them to be in charge of a pack camping event, a Webelos activity badge like Outdoorsman or Readyman, or maybe a belt-loop activity such as Hiking or Map and Compass for a couple of dens. Also, an older son might be a choice to be a den chief. This extra family involvement could get the Eagle Scout dad more involved with the pack.

Pack Advancement Chair C.H.
Carlisle, Pa.

Depending on when they were active as youth, they may still believe that Cub Scout leadership is a female thing. Prior to 1989, or thereabouts, most Cub Scout leaders, except the Cubmaster and Webelos den leaders, were females. They may not be familiar with the modern program. As to how to get them involved, find out about their interests and skills, and then see how you can incorporate them into meetings and outings.

Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner J.J.
Wilson, N.C.

Remind the dads that 25 or 30 years ago, somebody was there for them. Today’s youth need their own mentors, guides, and role models as they first begin to explore Scouting. Active Cub Scouts become active Boy Scouts, and disinterested Cub Scouts become uninspired Webelos Scouts. Then, they drop out of Scouting altogether.

Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Make Cub Scout events fun. Go camping. It amazes me how many Cub Scouts go through several years of only spending one night outdoors—and some don’t camp at all. Our Eagle dads help with den and pack events.

Round Lake Beach, Ill.

Make them realize that Cub Scouts are the life-blood of any successful troop. What may be wonderful today can go away very quickly if a strong foundation is not set beneath it.

Pack Committee Chairman M.A.T.
Toledo, Ohio

Invite them to do online training. They will see how gender roles have evolved since their Cub Scout days, and hopefully they will gain more open minds about leader gender roles.

Fredericksburg, Va.

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  1. As a “Female” Den Leader of Tiger Cubs, I was offended by a reply to the article “Batter Up”. The reply was “THE NEW ORDER”. I may not be familiar with the modern program, but I have given my scouts all of my dedication to make sure that they “Do Their Best”. I have learned a lot being a Den Leader and am appreciative of what Scouting has taught me. We have 3 Tiger Dens in our Pack. Our Den is the only Den that completed all of the Achievements required to be a Tiger Cub. The other Den’s lead by male Den Leaders cut corners and did not complete all of the achievements. What is that teaching the young scouts?
    The reason I became a Den Leader is because when our Pack Master was trying to have male parents volunteer to be Den Leaders, not one of the male parents came forward. I decided that the young scouts deserved a Den Leader that was there for them and I could and will be there for them every step of the way.
    Just because I can never be an Eagle Scout or a male, does not mean that I cannot do a awesome job being a leader for scouts. Our Den started out with 11 scouts and finished with 10 scouts. Which is a extremely high retention number. Out of the 10 scouts, I have had 9 recharter with scouting.
    Our Den was the first Tiger Den to receive their Bobcat Badge. Our entire Den of 11 scouts received their Bobcat Badges at the same time. So as for the person that wrote “THE NEW ORDER”, this should prove to him that I was able to find out the scouts interests and skills, and that I was able to incorporate them into our meetings and outings.
    The last time I checked “AKELA” means “GOOD LEADER”, which is not defined by a male or female leader.

    • Well, I agree that ladies CAN be VERY good Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leaders…I know more that a few…

      …but, what was meant by the response “The New Order” was not to be a slight towards ladies, it was simply that prior to 1989(?) most Cub Scout Leaders were NOT men, they were moms…in fact, they were called Den Mothers, not Den Leaders…I’m sure that the original author did not mean it to be a slight to the lady leaders!

    • Wow, why would you read something like that into his comment? He is simply stating that when we grew up, den leaders were moms. That may be why it’s hard to get men to step up to be den leaders. Nowhere did he say women weren’t doing a great job. we all know they are.

  2. Be careful what you wish for. I am an Eagle Scout dad who was pressured in to being a cub scout den leader. I am rapidly burning out and losing my desire to be a boy scout leader for my son. IMHO the classic model worked better where moms ran the cub scout program and dads ran the boy scout program. Moms do better with short attention spans, crying, and the general childish behavior found in first graders. However, the words of my OA Obligation constantly come to mind “[I] will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities, and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish in service and devotion to the welfare of others.” I WILL see my boys thru Webelos and cross them over to boy scouts. It breaks my heart, but then I’m done.

  3. Guilt trips like many of the responses to this question are not the way to go about getting leaders involved whether they are Eagle Scouts or not. As an Eagle Scout myself, I took an oath to give back to the program that which I received and when my son was old enough to start Cub Scouts, I didn’t hesitate to resign my position as Scoutmaster to go back to Cub Scouts and volunteer as a Tiger Den leader because I knew the boys needed someone who would be there for them. The Eagle Scout oath, which I have also had the privilege of administering to many new Eagle Scouts, does not say to only give back to Boy Scouts. As others have stated, the Pack is the foundation for a strong troop so to those dads who attained this lofty goal in their youth – quit making excuses why you can’t do it and live up to your oath! You cannot provide a better example to anyone that being a man of character and living up to your promises. Burn out is a cop out.

  4. Nikki,
    Congratulations. I don’t know about BSA, but here in Austalia we have both female leaders and youth members. We have found that the integration of females into what was once a “male only” domain as worked well. Being a scout is about abilities learnt, having fun, meeting people none of these I believe are gender based. Keepbupbte good work


  5. What would you do???
    My Story My Hopes
    I am a single mommy of 3 Great little guy’s. Two of them are new this year to the world of Cub scouts. It was a HUGE leap for me. Not only is money tight so is my time, with being a parent first, keeping our home, working, school activities, I also care for my disabled mom & then weekend visits for them to their dad. How could I do this. The answer came easy. Money will always most likely be tight. Robbing Peter to pay Paul seems to now be the way of life. As for the time….. Let me just say it fly’s. It is my responsibility to teach my children. To make memories that will last them a life time. To help mold them into one day being Great Young Men! The night we arrived at the school I was nervous. I was worried how would I fit in? When I was growing up Scouts was a father & son activity. Mom’s handled snacks & fundraising. With dad not participating could this really be the extra activity I should put them in. I think we all have doubts. I decided then that we were doing this…. Not they! I had to commit to be a Cub Scout as well. I am a sit back & listen to get the facts & to do’s kind of person. I never really wanted to be in the spot light. Our troop that we joined was new & small. For beginners that has it advantages & disadvantages. Thank Goodness there was a memorial fund left to our county Cub Scouts. Half of the Uniforms that each new scout was required to have was paid for as well as their first Handbook. Registering 2 boy’s for the first time was $60 & with the rest of the uniform another $100 all in the first Month. I was worried at what I might have gotten myself into. We had no Monies to use it was all out of pocket at first. I decided that it was my calling to be in charge of raising money for our troop. I went to the scouting site to look up activities that they do & the cost because now that we committed I want them to participate so saving to pay for activities was a must! The only way for them to be able to participate was with fundraising to help cover the cost not just for my boys but for each boy in our troop! Our first Fundraiser was a fail. I did not let that stop me. Less then a month later we had our second fundraiser. I worked day & night for 5 days…. Mixing, Cutting, Baking, Melting, Dipping, Decorating & Packaging for a Christmas Bake Sale that would be held in 2 different locations over 2 days. I loaded my car with the first drop off to the Church that sponsors our troop. I unloaded & went back to my home to load up for the second location. As I was leaving I got a call saying the first location was already almost sold out & needed more items because they still had 2 church services to go. I took all that I Loaded & delivered it to the Church & then rushed home to throw some more packages together to take to the second location. We made just over $500 that weekend. 2 months later we held our second Fundraiser another Bake sale. This time only holding it at the Church. Again after several days of preparation & lots of long hours & work we made just under $800. We have paid for many activities with our profits. Blue & Gold food, decorations & awards as well as purchasing derby cars for each Scout & all the Awards for the day of the Race! We have more fundraising planned in our near future. The point of my story is what if i decided it was to much on me to give my children this opportunity. My decision would have affected our entire troop. My next commitment to my children is to get more families involved to help our pack grow. To reach out to the many men…. with our without families of their own who were given the opportunity to be a Scout. I want them to know they are needed in our communities as role models, active participants in teaching & sharing positive experiences with our young boy’s, who in many cases do not have a positive male role model in their life to learn by. Do not misunderstand me. Many Great Mommy’s & even Grandparents have taken on this opportunity. As a woman I am Thankful to all the positive men & women I had the opportunity to learn from growing up. Yes today, life is much different from when I was young. Can you imagine the impact you might have on a young person? Our young people in today’s world have missed out on Great Opportunities to become positive well rounded respectful men & women. If we do not step up & encourage them to be all they can…. My question to you is….. Who will?

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