Answer the next question and your advice could appear in an upcoming issue.
Cubmaster J.D. needs help with a classic problem: Why bother to ask for committee support when it seems easier to just do things himself?
CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMISSIONER
Talk to your unit commissioner. His or her primary job is to help units and Scouters succeed! He or she can help get your committee trained and actively supporting you. If you don’t know who your unit commissioner is, ask your district commissioner.
Asst. District Commissioner G.W.
HAMILTON SQUARE, N.J.
THREE EASY STEPS
With people as busy as ever, this can be a common problem. I suggest three things: (1) find someone to be your pack committee chairman, a person who is good with people and can help you rally support, (2) encourage new parents joining your pack to serve on the committee (because you’ll have them for several years) and (3) reach out to your chartered organization for help. They may be able to suggest volunteers who aren’t currently involved in Scouting but would be great committee members.
Assistant Scoutmaster N.W.
NO VOLUNTEERS, NO GROWTH
Have a meeting with the committee and let them know that you need more support. Go to the parents and remind them that the BSA runs on volunteers, and without volunteers the pack won’t grow.
DO AN END RUN
Reach out at the district level and attend the district roundtable. You will be able to talk to leaders at other local packs to help generate new ideas and resources. There is also a tremendous amount of resources available online. Don’t give up! It’s worth the effort.
Den Leader T.K.
HAVE A TEACH-IN
Get the present committee members and as many parents as possible together, along with the pack trainer or someone from the district training or commissioner staff. (In some cases, the district executive might need to be engaged.) The parents need to understand the role of the committee, as well as that of the other positions. If parents don’t understand the role and importance of the committee, they are unlikely to step up and participate in it.
Part of the blame for weak committees is on districts that always go to the Cubmaster for information instead of the committee chairman. This gives the impression that the Cubmaster is in charge of the whole program and runs the pack, when in actuality it should be the committee and its chairman. (The Cubmaster is the “master of ceremonies” for the monthly pack meeting. That is his job.)
Pack Committee Member J.W.
CLIMB THE CHAIN
First, have a discussion with your committee chair and committee. If you still are not getting the help and support you feel you need, move on to the chartered organization representative. If you feel this still has not satisfied your needs, move up to your unit commissioner, the assistant district commissioner and finally the district commissioner. (If these individuals are doing their jobs, you should not have to go very far.)
Your request for support and help should be specific: How is the committee not supporting you? What are you looking for? It is easy to ask for support, harder to be specific about what your needs are.
Pack Committee Chairman G.B.
PARK HILLS, MO.
It sounds more like this cubmaster prefers to micromanage. We’ve all probably seen packs where one person wants to run everything, but I would discourage the cubmaster from thinking it’s easier to run a pack if he just does things himself. I guess I would need more specifics. Is he talking simply of how to run a pack meeting? The cubmaster should be in charge but others should help out. If he’s talking about planning a pack family camp out or outing, it sounds like maybe the committee came up with an idea and shared the responsibilities, but the jobs are not being done to the cubmaster’s satisfaction. Yes, he could just do all the planning and executing of the event, but it probably will overtax and annoy him when he realizes no one wants to “help” him anymore. Running a pack is not a one-man-show; packs have committees and den leaders and a committee chairman and a cubmaster, all of whom are supposed to be volunteering in their positions for one reason, to provide a great program for the boys. It doesn’t sound as if the cubmaster has untrained committee members, it just sounds like he wants to run the pack himself. This is, however, a volunteer organization, and no one person should think they can do it all. I would suggest he lighten up and allow each volunteer to “do their best” at the tasks they have been given, and for him to do the same.
And I have to agree with pack committee member JW. The committee chair is in charge of the program, the cubmaster is master of ceremonies. I am CC for our pack and my husband is CM. District often will contact him because of the skewed view that if they talk to the Scoutmaster, they pass on the same kind of info to the CM. What does my husband do? Immediately passes on the info for me, and I take care of it.
Start small. Ask for one specific task to be done by one person. It has to be measurable and attainable. Then thank them for doing it and ask for another task when the need arises. If you “wean” someone into a leadership role, they will be comfortable. If you stand up front and say “If we don’t get a Cubmaster, we don’t have a pack” then people will be intimidated and walk away rather than invest in the program.
Some packs have, or have had, one Scouter who is the Committee Chair, Cubmaster, COR (Chartered Organization Rep), den leader, chief cook, battle washer, and heads up two committees – in addition to holding down a full time job. Whew!
What’s the downside? It’s that many fewer people to recruit – right? Not so fast. What happens if that Scouter’s son (your son) drops out or they move? How about when your son ages out and moves on to Boy Scouts? How will those who come after you know which tasks go with each separate job? Does anyone else know how to do any of those jobs? How well are they doing these jobs?
How well could these jobs be done if several people were each focused on doing one job and doing it well?
That’s a lot of questions to ponder – and that’s a lot of vacancies to fill at once when you eventually move on, which can lead to a lot of floundering.
One person holding multiple positions also doesn’t encourage different points of view on the Committee, and gives one person – you – a great deal more influence than any other individual Scouter or parent, intentional or not. That is part of the reason that volunteer committees of adults support the unit. It isn’t just one person making all the decisions.