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Ready to walk away from scouting


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#1 beaglelover

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:59 PM

Ok guys, I really need a pep talk.  Spouse and I are about ready to walk away from den leadership thanks to the pack committee.  The new CC/Den Leader has been slowly putting all her family & den parents into committee--There is currently only one committee member not from her Den.  She now is trying to control every aspect of the pack.  She chooses all the committee members, she gets to determine what the pack does and does not do, and just generally tries to boss everyone around about everything.  She hoards information so other leaders don't know what is going on.  Simple things like obtaining extra sign up forms or ordering B uniforms do not get done for months, if at all.  It is not just being ineffective, she is actively being an obstacle to doing things (she does not want the pack to be in the local parade--who is opposed to being in a parade??)

 

We heard the unit commissioner as well as a district rep was going to come in and straighten things out, and we had hope.  Yeah, they changed a few things, but basically rubber stamped most everything CC has done.  She still has her committee majority, still gets to be on pack bank account of which her lives-out-of-town daughter is treasurer, still gets to keep everything she does in the dark as the unit commissioner refused to let anyone who was not a committee member even observe the meeting.  She does have to give up being Den Leader (apparently on the charter we put down the name of parent who has not been involved, did not know his name was listed, but had wanted the job until the CC had taken it).  

 

We just don't know what to do with this.  We are honestly pretty disgusted by the whole situation.  We have a great den, both boys and parents, and we have fun and do fun things.  But part of us thinks life is too short to deal with a situation like this.  We have been supporting the den ourselves, as the pack does not provide any resources or materials other than a den leaders guide.  This has been to the tune of hundreds of dollars, since the pack also has no camping supplies or camp kitchen to help on outings.  We love working with our boys, but equally dread every time we have to interact with the Committee (which is anytime we want to do anything not at our building, as field trips have to be approved by the committee).

 

There is no other pack to join for 10 miles in any direction (rural area).  We have the resources to commute, but many in our den probably do not.  If we leave, we worry the den will fall apart--something similar happened to an older den when their leader quit without being replaced for months, and the den went from 15 to 5 scouts.  But dealing with the unit leadership is single-handedly causing us Hypertention and ulcers.

 

We are at a bit of a loss as what to do.  Can you transfer an entire den from one pack to another (any of those wanting to go anyway)?  Can you have den meetings in one city while having pack meetings in another?  We want to honor our commitment to the boys, but are beginning to doubt our ability to even do so here.  We really had hope the unit commissioner would help, but she would not even talk to anyone not in "leadership"  (apparently DL's don't count).  The new District executive is apparently buds with the CC, COR is very hands off, and probably only hears what CC wants him to hear.  Part of us would really love to get this situation fixed so he boys can have the scouting experience they deserve, but frankly, the deck just feels too stacked at this point.  

 

Anybody deal with a situation like this?  


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#2 Back Pack

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:01 PM

Do your Den. Pack is once a month. When done leave.
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#3 qwazse

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:48 PM

Bottom line: COR calls the shots. If he/she's not displeased with the CC, then it's a lock. DE has no say in the matter. The UC can educate, but has no real say in how adults organize their unit.

 

Not sure what your CC is doing that ruins it for the den. But ...

 

Yes, people are free to transfer to any pack that suits them. They are also free to stay in the pack and work with them. So, you may take action to relocate yourself and your family, and others (or none) in your den may follow suit (or not).


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#4 David CO

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:43 AM

You want to honor your commitment to the boys.  That is admirable.  

 

I think you also have made a commitment to your Chartered Organization.  Honor that commitment as well. You should not attempt to undermine the CO's unit by trying to use your position as DL to recruit your scouts to transfer to another unit.  That would be disloyal.

 

You live in a small rural community.  The last thing you should want to do is to prove to the community that the CC was right all along.


Edited by David CO, 01 March 2017 - 02:01 AM.

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#5 F-P

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:49 AM

You can absolutely transfer whenever you want. And tell people where you are going and why. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
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#6 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 06:55 AM

When my pack had some trouble, I focused on my den. I knew if I could put up with the situation for about 20 months, new leadership would take over and things would probably improve. It was frustrating, but by focusing on my den I provided my Cubs the best possible program I could. With the exception on 1 pack meeting that had no awards to give out, and a second pack meeting cancelled at the last minute, the Cub were not affected. The new leadership was a vast improvement.

 

If you see the leadership leaving, you may want to tough it out. But if you do not see the leadership leaving, it may be time to move on.

 

But be prepared for a lot of animosity, gossip, and overall negativity between you and the leadership if you do leave. My friend who was a DL with my pack was asked to restart his church's pack. How can you say no to your pastor? He left the pack quietly informing only the CM.  No one else realized he restarted a pack until Round Up season. That's when the animosity started. In addition to "stealing new Cubs" at Round Ups, over a 6 month period 1/2 of my pack transferred to the restarted pack.

 

Over time, the pack's leadership took over the troop. By the time my son was a Webelos, he knew what Boy Scouts was suppose to be like. When he camped with them, he saw so many problems, he made the comment "That isn't Boy Scouts." He made the decision not to join that troop.  Over an 11 month period, those Boy Scouts that were in his den either quit Scouting altogether, or transferred to my son's troop. Except for 1, and he quit once his brother got Eagle and quit Scouts. And the animosity continues to this day.

 

Regarding your question about going to pack meetings in one town and having den meetings in another, yes it is permissible. BUT as David CO stated, you also made a commitment to the CO, and you should not actively recruit from your den. If my experiences are the norm, the Scouts will follow you.

 

And be prepared for the hatred that will ensue. Sorry for the negativity, but better to be prepared fro the worst, and pray for the best.


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


#7 blw2

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:03 AM

yep, I sure have dealt with aggrevation in the pack....

this is sure sign you are getting too "close"  you've got to figure out how to let go of it and focus on the den, or move on.

 

If the entire den wanted to join another pack, it might be up to them but nothing says you can't have den meetings anywhere..... traditionally they would be held at the DL's house.  You could do that and only travel the 10 miles for the pack meetings once a month

     of course if the new pack was good with that.

 

The better approach might be to focus on good den meetings, do what you want to do.  Don't go to the committee meetings if it's getting your blood up....

 

I didn't catch what year/rank are you working?

 

 

and your username, beaglelover..... what is that about?  I raised a couple litters of beagles when I was in high school.  We hunted them and they weren't really pets, but they could be good dogs.....too high strung to be an obedient pet in my experience, but I know a lot of folks have them as house dogs,.....


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#8 mgood777

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 10:47 AM

I'm with qwazse.
But I do think you should consider the concerns brought up by David CO.

I'll add that yes, you can have a den in one town that is part of a pack in another town. It's one of the things that was discussed in a class on rural Scouting at a recent Commissioners College.

Mike
District Commissioner in a fairly rural district.
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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 10:57 AM

Is the pack leadership actually preventing your den from doing the things it needs to do for the advancement requirements (or whatever they are called in Cub Scouting these days, it's been a long time, despite my out-of-date user name)?  If so, how?  And when you say "field trips", are you talking about trips that are part of the advancement program, or other kinds of trips?


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#10 CalicoPenn

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 12:15 PM

The Unit Commissioner was wrong - very wrong - to not allow people who were not on the committee to observe - the BSA makes clear that all meetings are open to parents to observe.

 

You actually don't, regardless of popular opinion, have any obligation to the chartered organization, unless you are part of the chartered organization and it's part of either a calling (as is often the case in LDS units) or is part of your responsibilities within the chartered organization.

 

You have stated in this e-mail that this is now affecting your health.  While your desire to stick around for the boys in your den is admirable - at what point do you put your own needs health-wise above the needs of others?  I would suggest that this is that point.

 

This is a toxic atmosphere for you - you need to leave it - now.  I see two options for you - and both involve leaving this Pack.  Sticking around with this pack is NOT an option - not if its affecting your health.

 

In either case, you need to talk to the parents of the boys in your den so that you know what to do.  Option 1 is to contact that other pack and see if you can transfer your den and all the boys that want to come with to it.  This is one of the reasons you need to talk to the parents - get their agreement before you call that pack.

 

Option 2 is to leave the pack and den to it's own devices - maybe you take your own kids to a different pack - but if the other parents want to stay, then one of them is going to have to step up and take over the Den.

 

Either way, you need to step away from this Pack.

 

Now there will be people who will not like my next statement at all - they will think it's disloyal and Scouts are loyal after all.  But Scouts are also brave - and this will take some bravery.

 

There is a major red flag in what you wrote - you have a disengaged chartering organization and a committee chair that is controlling, in secret, the check book.  when you leave this Pack (and note I said when, not if) - you should contact the head of the chartering organization and let them know that the Pack Committee Chair is being secretive about the Pack's finances, which can also be considered part of the Chartered Organization's finances and that while you don't want to accuse her of anything nefarious, you would suggest that the CO does an audit of the finances of the Pack.


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#11 JasonG172

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:26 PM

 

This is a toxic atmosphere for you - you need to leave it - now. 

I have to agree, and the only way I would stick around is IF I knew leadership was close to turning over. 


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:40 PM

The nice thing I found out about the Cub program was the autonomy of the Den.  One does not have to toe the line with the pack.  It's not like the troop method of the Boy program.  In my view Cubs are adult run, patrol/den method.  If it weren't for the fact that the CM was my ADL, I wouldn't have any idea who was in the pack leadership.  I didn't interact with the CC and committee, nor the other DL's.  I just did my thing and showed up fir the pack events so the kids could get their awards.  I ran that way for 2 years.  Never had a problem.  If the pack had a problem, I never knew about it.


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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 03:21 PM

I think the degree of interaction among the Cubmaster/ other pack-level volunteers and the den leaders varies from pack to pack, and maybe how things are generally done in the district/council.  This is a long time ago now, but in my experience as a den leader and then Assistant Cubmaster, I think all the leaders and committee members met together once a month to plan the next pack meeting and whatever else was on the horizon (like the Pinewood Derby).  The den leaders definitely had more interaction with the other leaders than just showing up at a pack meeting once a month.

 

But whatever the differing experiences of people in this forum may be, we are dealing with the particular person who started this thread and his/her experiences.  He does not believe he is getting the information and resources he needs from the pack leadership in order to do his job.  (I used "he" there to avoid "he/she" every time; I don't think the post indicates gender.)  There also seems to be an unreasonable amount of secrecy in the pack.  I know it would irritate me (and it has, when it has happened in a unit in which I was a Scouter.)


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#14 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 03:23 PM

When I was a DL we met twice a month as a Den, once a month as a Pack. I could care less what the Pack did. Their meetings were boring not put the kids to sleep...literally.

 

The Pack was useful for the camp outs and getting bling. Other than that, they did nothing. Everything was done at the Den level.


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 03:56 PM

Our pack meetings were actually pretty good, or maybe it would be more accurate to say they varied in quality and probably averaged out around "more than adequate."  We tried to get the dens involved in doing skits at the pack meeting, with mixed success.  We tried to have guest speakers and/or demonstrations at the pack meetings 3 or 4 times a year to keep the kids and parents interested.  The only one I remember after these many years was the drug-sniffing dog who worked at Newark Airport and his handler from U.S. Customs.  They were a big hit with both the kids and adults.  (Thinking about it some more, I vaguely recall one other animal visiting one of our pack meetings - on purpose, not just one that wandered in from outside - but I don't remember what it was.)

 

Which I guess ties in somewhat with the original post:  The more that is going on at pack meetings, and the more that dens are involved in the pack meetings, the more the pack leaders and the den leaders have to communicate with each other.

 

 

(Edited:  I fixed "3 or 4 times a month" to "3 or 4 times a year".  That would have been a LOT of pack meetings.)


Edited by NJCubScouter, 01 March 2017 - 04:30 PM.

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#16 SSScout

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 04:58 PM

""The Work Is Done By Whoever Shows Up"".  The Institution Head and Charter Organization  Representative , whoever they are, have sway over the choice of Unit Leaders. 

1)   No one can deny access to the Committee meetings. Even the Committee Chair, which, now that I think about it, how was she chosen?  Did the IH and/or COR choose her?  Was she the ONLY one who raised her hand when the job was first discussed?  Was there any kind of election?  And hey, what if someone is  Not a listed Committee member?  Fill out a Adult Volunteer form, take it to your COR for signature, give him the check for dues, voila, you are a committee member. 

Now, basically, in our Troop and Pack, if you show up at the Committee meeting, you are , ipso facto, a committee member!  You help decide! You will be given responsibility for an event!  Don't show up?  you have no cause to complain. 

2) Make sure the IH and COR know who is the "Treasurer" of record.  The CO owns the Unit, legally, and the assets thereof.  They should know this.

3)  As has been said, concentrate on your Den.  Make sure the boys have the Scout fun you can provide them.  Get them dirty. Get them active. Go places. See things.  Earn awards.  Enlist the parents and make sure they get the Scout experience they deserve, too! 

4)  "In you spare time",  take training in other areas, take your Den parents with you.   Anyone can take the Cub Leader Specific training, not just the "CubMaster" types.   The education will be eye opening for them.   Oh, by the way, are your Pack and Den Leaders "fully trained?"   Just thought I'd ask.

5)  If you see the necessity and have the spare time (!!), take Wood Badge.  Take your other Den parents with you.  Yeah, it's time off work, but the money can be found thru Council Scholarships, Union scholarships, Church scholarships.... 

6)  The only way a Scout unit can go bust is if folks let it.  Is it worth the effort to try and save it?  Should you "abandon ship" and jump to a better run Pack?  Only you can decide that.   You and your spouse and Cub.   If he is having fun and learning some from the Cub program, that is all the impetus you need to do one of those two choices.   Your efforts will be an example for others , regardless.

 

I wish you and your family smooth trails.    Good Scouting to you ! 


Edited by SSScout, 01 March 2017 - 04:58 PM.

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#17 Stosh

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:56 PM

When I was a DL we met twice a month as a Den, once a month as a Pack. I could care less what the Pack did. Their meetings were boring not put the kids to sleep...literally.

 

The Pack was useful for the camp outs and getting bling. Other than that, they did nothing. Everything was done at the Den level.

 

Yep, that's what happens in my Pack.


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Stosh

 

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


#18 blw2

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:15 AM

I will say this about the idea of den leaders not showing up to committee meetings or to support the pack generally...

While not part of the committee formally, I hoped our DL's would participate.  We were short staffed and needed all the help we could get....

folks to take on pack level events as chairperson

to get in the loop regarding prepping for the pack meetings  maybe take a roll in facilitating a skit

or even if for nothing more than to brainstorm

 

When I was CM and basically CC too, I had a few DL's that would barely if ever show up.  They ran their dens, for which i was thankful, although a few didn't meet nearly enough in my estimation.... but it really left us short handed.  A lot of things I wold like to do at the pack meetings either didn't get done or were very uncoordinated because folks were never available or participating in the planning

 

For what it's worth, I always looked at the DL's to be the hardest working scouters in the pack, and I really did try to shield them from taking on too much extra stuff, but I needed them too sometimes...and I ended up feeling abandoned on more than a few occasions.


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#19 blw2

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 11:18 AM

When I was a DL we met twice a month as a Den, once a month as a Pack. I could care less what the Pack did. Their meetings were boring not put the kids to sleep...literally.

 

The Pack was useful for the camp outs and getting bling. Other than that, they did nothing. Everything was done at the Den level.

yeah, we went through many of those boring meetings too.  Some of mine I'm sure were too, but I really made effort to get the scouts up and having fun as often as possible.  I tried to move things from "announcements to the parents" to "let's recognize and then have some fun".


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#20 Stosh

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

I will say this about the idea of den leaders not showing up to committee meetings or to support the pack generally...

While not part of the committee formally, I hoped our DL's would participate.  We were short staffed and needed all the help we could get....

folks to take on pack level events as chairperson

to get in the loop regarding prepping for the pack meetings  maybe take a roll in facilitating a skit

or even if for nothing more than to brainstorm

 

When I was CM and basically CC too, I had a few DL's that would barely if ever show up.  They ran their dens, for which i was thankful, although a few didn't meet nearly enough in my estimation.... but it really left us short handed.  A lot of things I wold like to do at the pack meetings either didn't get done or were very uncoordinated because folks were never available or participating in the planning

 

For what it's worth, I always looked at the DL's to be the hardest working scouters in the pack, and I really did try to shield them from taking on too much extra stuff, but I needed them too sometimes...and I ended up feeling abandoned on more than a few occasions.

@blw2

 

Here's the rub, the CC and CM dump all over the DL's and then wonder why they don't participate in the pack planning and activities and stick to themselves in the den activities..... I don't.

 

Over the years I have faced many situations like these mentioned on the forum.  Some to the point where I just walk away and never look back.  Did it to my first Boy Scout troop where my son was a scout, and when the politics took over my Venturing Crew I just walked away.  The Venturing Crew collapsed within 2 years as the people aged out and no one wanted to get involved with the hassles going on.  My first scout troop I walked away from is under new leadership and those who were causing the problems are now gone.  They were able to survive, but it got really ugly before it got better.

 

What people don't realize is the people in the trenches are all volunteers.  They are not captive audiences for one's own aggrandizement, they aren't getting paid, they are plenty busy enough anyway, and most of those to rise to CC or CM/SM positions are 1) in over the heads or 2) have an ego to soothe that promotes an unhealthy climate for the program.

 

Lemme see.  I can stay and put up with political bickering, arguing and ego posturing or I can go do something else more productive.  It's an easy choice for me.

 

I never volunteered for any position higher than SM in the BSA.  Too much "politickin'" going on up there. Yet in another organization I hold training on the "trenches" level as well as holding a lead position on the regional level.  Some of my activities have been on the national level.  I have training tomorrow because the regional people want me to take on a promotion to the supervisory level.  The training is free and they told me to take the organization's vehicle to the training 2 hours away instead of my personal vehicle.

 

Who out there gets that kind of treatment from the BSA?


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Stosh

 

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





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