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Anybody had an attempted coup of the pack committee?


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#1 beaglelover

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:07 PM

Been doing the Den leader things since October.  The Wolf den leader and at the time pack secretary was pretty unpleasant since the beginning, trying to cut us out of stuff, not including us on emails, not putting our stuff in the newsletter, and generally trying to make sure we are clueless.  But we got our den on track despite starting late and an absentee cubmaster.  Weblos II now leaving and opens up CC and outdoor chair.  

 

Now, this group has been doing things in an unusual manner, mostly due to absentee cubmaster--planning pack meetings by committee, den leaders attend and vote on pack business, etc.  Anyway, wolf den leader gets herself appointed CC and another wolf parent outdoor chair.  The wolf den now holds 5 of 6 positions on the committee, and 3 of those are the same family (CC got 2 of her adult daughters put on committee last year, including 1 as treasurer).  We were concerned by this, but having den leaders "on" the committee helps balance it out.

 

Now absentee cubmaster is leaving due to a job move, and CC up and decides (is claiming that council is forcing it, though) that we are going to follow a more traditional model where nobody but the committee members get a say.  The committee (or should I say, the wolf den) elects a new cubmaster without even telling the other den leaders this is happening, and at the meeting the new CC supposedly tells everyone a version of that she is the boss and everyone is going to do what she says.

 

We had an assistant cubmaster that was not a wolf and was elected cubmaster, probably b/c CC thought he was going to roll over and take it like the previous cubmaster (a wolf parent was put in as the new assistant cubmaster).  Thankfully, it looks like he is not going to do that and is going to fight her.  Wants to expand the committee so every den has a represenative.  CC of course says new members are not necessary, despite the fact that literally her family has 50% of every committee vote right now.  I am almost 100% sure it is aimed at keeping us from joining the committee since we have demonstrated we will question her tactics.  As an Eagle Scout, an (inactive) arrowman, and having somewhat of a leadership position in the community, the CC has been hesitant to openly oppose our involvement.  Her modus operandi is instead to just keep us out from the beginning.  No idea where COR is in all this, have never even been able to get a name of who it is.  

 

Anyway, have no idea how this is going to shake out.  Would be lying if I said bolting had not crossed our mind.  But our den is AWESOME.  They are a great bunch of boys, the parents have been involved and supportive, and we have fun when the pack does not get in the way.  But we are worried if CC does get control.  An ineffective pack is different than one driven by pettiness and selfishness.  Add to that we are the only pack in town, and would have to travel to the next town over to find a new one.  Plus we hate the thought of abandoning the boys that couldn't move packs.  The Bear den lost its leader early in the year, did not get the support it needed, and went from 15 to 5 scouts.  Would hate for that to happen to the boys in our den.  

 

Any advice on this would be appreciated.  


Edited by beaglelover, 11 February 2017 - 09:08 PM.

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#2 DuctTape

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:15 PM

Focus on your den. The pack is mostly irrelevant for the boys. Sure, the pack does the big events and stuff, but it is the consistent fun at the den level that matters. I have many memories from my cub scout days, and all of them are from things we did as a den. I don't know if we ever interacted with other dens. I certainly have no memory of it.
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#3 Back Pack

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:39 PM

LOL...if they had attempted a coup we would have gladly handed them the keys to leadership and saved outlrselves 30hrs a month of volunteer time.
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#4 SSScout

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:59 PM

A minor feudal fiefdom.

 

Questions to ask/explore, all with a smile and persistence:   Who is the Unit treasurer, how much money is in the till, who is the Unit sponsored by/chartered to, who is the Institution Head and the Charter Representative (these you can get from the Council office),  .

Do all this with politeness and an offer of cooperation and gratitude for what others are doing on behalf of Our Youth and The Future Of America. 

 

See you on the trail...


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#5 David CO

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:12 AM

I am not exactly sure what you mean by a coup.  I hope I can be helpful by explaining a few things about how a scout unit works, from my point of view.  

 

The IH is the head of the Chartered Organization (CO) that charters a scout unit.  The IH appoints the Chartered Organization Representative (COR).  The COR recruits and appoints the Committee Chairman (CC) and the Committee Members. 

 

The IH is the person with all the power, but he/she will usually delegate much of it to the COR.  Together, the IH and the COR have total administrative authority over the unit.  They can, at any time, remove and replace anyone in the unit from any unit position, including the CC and the committee.

 

I wouldn't call this a coup.  But yes, I have seen it done.

 

If you are asking if the CC and the committee can be forced out by anyone else in the unit, like the parents or the unit leaders, the answer is no.  


Edited by David CO, 12 February 2017 - 01:20 AM.

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#6 David CO

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 02:24 AM

You asked for advice.  Here it is.

 

It is not your job to decide who gets to be on the committee. That is the COR's job.  So don't worry about it.  Let the COR worry about it.

 

You say that you have no idea where the COR is in all this.  Unless you actually know differently, assume that the COR is behind all of these changes.  You should not want to inadvertently cross the COR.

 

The CC is the boss of the front line scouters (CM, ACM, DL).  Accept it, acknowledge it, and work with it.

 

For your own peace of mind, try to believe that the CC and the committee are keeping you on as a leader because they well know that you are doing a great job with the kids, and not for any other political motives.  It may very well be true.

 

You say that you enjoy your current position working directly with the boys.  Keep doing it.  Keep enjoying it.


Edited by David CO, 12 February 2017 - 02:25 AM.

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#7 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 06:48 AM

I'm not as familiar with Pack operations as I am with Troops, but I do know it is much more adult driven. But at the front end they are identical; IH > CoR > CC > {Committee} > Unit Leader. In Troops direct contact leaders and committee are mutually exclusive, on paper if not in practice, meaning one cannot serve in both roles. I believe it is the same for packs.

First, adults doing battle is never a good thing for any Unit.

But I guess it all depends on your motivation.
If your primary concern is your sons den, the run the program laid out BSA and steer clear of the Committee as long as they are not detrimental to your dens program, and support your CM. Let the Committee have their illusions of grand power.

If on the other hand you are concerned about the Pack, and there is indeed monkey business going on then take action. Start by reading everything you can about Pack operations, do you the online training, go to Round Table meetings and take Den Leader Training, maybe even Owl/Baloo training. You could even go all out and take Wood Badge. I would suggest the training even if you are just going to focus on your Den. Training will help you understand the program and be a better leader for your Den and Pack.

That is a long term solution, if the situation is more urgent, ask around about who the CoR and IH are for the Unit. If no one knows then ask your Unit Commissioner or District Executive. The Council can supply you with the information on all four of those positions.

At the end of the day, the program is about the youth, not petty grievances or power trips. If you can keep the youth foremost in your actions and stay within BSA policy then drive on and take the necessary actions towards that end.

Edited by HelpfulTracks, 12 February 2017 - 06:51 AM.

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#8 Back Pack

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 07:09 AM

I'd leave. This is far more problem than it's worth and it's affecting the pack. Anyone who'd let a den drop from 15 to 5 does not have the boys' best interest at heart. Find another pack as a den. Let the pack die. It will anyway.
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#9 CalicoPenn

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:55 AM

In a Pack - program leaders (Cubmaster, ACM's, Den Leaders) are NOT part of the Committee (So your new CC is right about this). However, the Committee does NOT plan the Pack's program. The Packs program leaders do that. The Cubmaster (not the Committee Chair) is in charge of the Pack's program leaders - s/he recruits the Den Leaders). The Cubmaster sits on the committee in an advisory/liason position. He tells the Committee what the program plans are, and the Committee does what is needed to support that program. They don't get to veto the program but they are responsibile for making sure the program does not conflict with the chartered organizations policies and schedule. Of course, this assumes a perfect world. In your case, I would just do what is right for the boys - if you can find an assistant to help you, pull those 5 Bear Cubs in to your den and let the assistant help with Bear advancement. Run your program the way you and the program leaders want it to be run - and if the Committee interferes, tell them to either support you or go pound sand. If what you say is true about the Pack, it's going to die - there is nothing you can do about that except to make sure the boys in the program currenty are being served properly.
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#10 bbender

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:56 AM

I agree with the DuctTape advice of "Focus on your den", since the kids there are the number one priority.  

 

If you are ambitious and want to change the Pack leadership, yes, there are ways, but ... you will be taking on more.  Sometimes it's really worth it ... as to whether it is, the question would probably include whether you have a group of other families shut out who want to engage in a shared leadership open pack.   If so, there are ways to look into it, though it might or might not be:

 

  • Roundtable (depends on quality and approach of participants -- some might have a "stay in your lane" approach, others might have a "why can't we all get along" approach),
  • Unit Commissioner (depends on if you have one, and the same quality approach as above),
  • District Executive (can at least tell you who the Chartered Org Rep is)
  • Search the https://beascout.scouting.org/ site: it might reveal who your Chartered Org Rep is ... and neighboring packs.

It is super sad that folks get like this.  Sometimes I use this book to help understand that narrow controlling mindset.  Years ago we had a controlling person like that for whom I wanted to acquire a First Edition of the book to present as a "retirement present" to help exit the person from a role, but we decided to just use the tried and true "plaque 'em and sack 'em" approach instead.


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#11 beaglelover

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for the advice.  Just for some clarification, the committee has been voting in all the positions in the pack.  The committee voted in the new CC & secretary, the COR was not there.  From what we hear, the committee is also the one who voted in the new Cubmaster, though we did not witness this personally.  This is also the first year that we have been with this chartering organization, no idea why the change from the previous one.  

 

Generally we would have no problem just letting the committee do its thing, but it is starting to affect the den.  And if the new CC does get all the power she wants, we are worried about retaliation against both us and our den. We are very hopeful that the new Cubmaster will turn things around.  But also want to know if their is anyway to protect both our boys and ourselves (other than just leaving) if this goes south.    


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#12 qwazse

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 03:07 PM

All of the advice here is reasonable. Sounds like you have a "hands off" COR.
It's not clear how any of this will hurt your den.
But, maybe it's not a bad idea to contact a neighboring pack about your den and their den of whatever you all get together for kickball or to visit a ball game or something fun. Getting to know other scouters in your district is a great way to learn how to handle these kinds of things.
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#13 Stosh

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 03:34 PM

As the SM I am focused on the functionality of my youth leadership and those holding POR's.  What the adults do I don't even think about unless they are themselves dysfunctional in their support of the boys. Even then, when that happens I don't do anything to wedge myself into the issue.  It's not my problem, I don't get involved.  The COR needs to be doing his/her job.  When and if that happens, the only people being hurt are the boys.

 

This adult drama in a youth program just isn't worth the hassle.  Units don't fall apart because of the boys, they fall apart because of the adults.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#14 Cubmaster Pete

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 04:35 PM

 

This adult drama in a youth program just isn't worth the hassle.  Units don't fall apart because of the boys, they fall apart because of the adults.

 

Yes they do, seen it before.

 

I see two options. Take your den somewhere else that will welcome you. This sounds like a toxic environment. Convince parents who are have scouts coming up next recruitment behind you to do the same.  Let this pack die, like someone said earlier, it will anyway.

 

OR, just not say anything. Do your den stuff, attend pack meetings, etc. Have your own newsletter, do your own communication. Leave the committee alone to do their thing.

 

Personally, I'd leave. Not worth the aggravation.  


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#15 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 06:19 PM

Lots of great advice.

 

My thoughts are the following

 

1) Finances should not be in the power or one person or one family.  For whatever reason, I feel a disturbance in the Force.

 

2) When my pack was having problems, and it was CM related, I focused on my den, and only my den. Thankfully the CM was only there for 18 months, and 3 were summer. Disturbing and raised concerns, you bet. And it was extremely frustrating. But I focused on my den and took care of my Cubs. However, when he became SM of the troop, I had some reservations. Yes I camped with them 1 time, and my Webelos son told me point blank they are not doing Scouting. We went elsewhere.

 

3) David CO is spot on.  Only the IH or the COR can really remove people.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#16 David CO

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 07:06 PM

Thanks for the advice.  Just for some clarification, the committee has been voting in all the positions in the pack.  The committee voted in the new CC & secretary, the COR was not there.  From what we hear, the committee is also the one who voted in the new Cubmaster, though we did not witness this personally.  This is also the first year that we have been with this chartering organization, no idea why the change from the previous one.  

 

Generally we would have no problem just letting the committee do its thing, but it is starting to affect the den.  And if the new CC does get all the power she wants, we are worried about retaliation against both us and our den. We are very hopeful that the new Cubmaster will turn things around.  But also want to know if their is anyway to protect both our boys and ourselves (other than just leaving) if this goes south.    

 

Oh, your unit just changed CO's.  That explains a lot.  It is not at all unusual for a new CO to make changes in unit leadership.


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#17 perdidochas

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 10:04 AM

Been doing the Den leader things since October.  The Wolf den leader and at the time pack secretary was pretty unpleasant since the beginning, trying to cut us out of stuff, not including us on emails, not putting our stuff in the newsletter, and generally trying to make sure we are clueless.  But we got our den on track despite starting late and an absentee cubmaster.  Weblos II now leaving and opens up CC and outdoor chair.  

 

Now, this group has been doing things in an unusual manner, mostly due to absentee cubmaster--planning pack meetings by committee, den leaders attend and vote on pack business, etc.  Anyway, wolf den leader gets herself appointed CC and another wolf parent outdoor chair.  The wolf den now holds 5 of 6 positions on the committee, and 3 of those are the same family (CC got 2 of her adult daughters put on committee last year, including 1 as treasurer).  We were concerned by this, but having den leaders "on" the committee helps balance it out.

 

Now absentee cubmaster is leaving due to a job move, and CC up and decides (is claiming that council is forcing it, though) that we are going to follow a more traditional model where nobody but the committee members get a say.  The committee (or should I say, the wolf den) elects a new cubmaster without even telling the other den leaders this is happening, and at the meeting the new CC supposedly tells everyone a version of that she is the boss and everyone is going to do what she says.

 

We had an assistant cubmaster that was not a wolf and was elected cubmaster, probably b/c CC thought he was going to roll over and take it like the previous cubmaster (a wolf parent was put in as the new assistant cubmaster).  Thankfully, it looks like he is not going to do that and is going to fight her.  Wants to expand the committee so every den has a represenative.  CC of course says new members are not necessary, despite the fact that literally her family has 50% of every committee vote right now.  I am almost 100% sure it is aimed at keeping us from joining the committee since we have demonstrated we will question her tactics.  As an Eagle Scout, an (inactive) arrowman, and having somewhat of a leadership position in the community, the CC has been hesitant to openly oppose our involvement.  Her modus operandi is instead to just keep us out from the beginning.  No idea where COR is in all this, have never even been able to get a name of who it is.  

 

Anyway, have no idea how this is going to shake out.  Would be lying if I said bolting had not crossed our mind.  But our den is AWESOME.  They are a great bunch of boys, the parents have been involved and supportive, and we have fun when the pack does not get in the way.  But we are worried if CC does get control.  An ineffective pack is different than one driven by pettiness and selfishness.  Add to that we are the only pack in town, and would have to travel to the next town over to find a new one.  Plus we hate the thought of abandoning the boys that couldn't move packs.  The Bear den lost its leader early in the year, did not get the support it needed, and went from 15 to 5 scouts.  Would hate for that to happen to the boys in our den.  

 

Any advice on this would be appreciated.  

 

Scouting isn't a democracy in terms of how leaders are determined.  The CC and the COR determine who the Cubmaster is.  The question is, what is bothering you about them? Are they planning events you don't like? Ask the Council who the COR is.  What den are you the DL of? 


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#18 fred johnson

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 12:33 PM

Lots of good and bad advice here.  

  • "Focus on your den"  ... Great advice.  Make it the best it can be.  If you don't like how the CC or others are running things, then don't volunteer to help at the pack level.  They can't force you to help at the larger level.  Den leader is already a big enough job.  Focus on making sure your den has a great experience and gets chances to camp, explore and have fun.  In a way, it might free you and your scouts up.
    • My only added piece to this is be extra gracious, polite and show caring.  A little grace and a smile can solve lots of problems. 
  • "Scouting isn't a democracy in terms of how leaders are determined." ... Accurate per the rules and structure, but once it happens that way things are off the rails.  Committee voting on things is also not necessary.  IMHO, the best solution is working by consensus with the CC helping build consensus, soliciting ideas and opinions and healing wounds and growing relationships.  
  • "Finances should not be in the power or one person or one family" ... Fully agree with this.  It is best if finances and responsibilities cross families.  A good way to counter act this is with visibility.  Who else is on the check book?  Who else can see bank statements?  Are monthly statements and transactions published?  

There are lots of quirky people and people with agendas.  

 

My advice is #1 focus on your den and #2 build friendships with everyone.  Unit committees always always always work better when everyone likes seeing each other. 


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