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Regreting recruitment

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My son met a buddy a few years back. Eventually my wife and I met the parents of my son’s friend. As the father and I got to know each other, we talked about putting our boys into a cub scout program. We received some information that the church this other family attended had an upcoming recruitment night. We decided to check it out.

Knowing nothing about modern-day scouting, we soon learn that our boys would be Tiger cubs. The other father and I are sitting there to hear the scouting pitch. We look over to see the Tiger cub group. The cubs look like kindergartener in size. Our boys are 3″ to 4″ taller than this group. Strike one.

We’re still not sure what was happening other than the cubs and leaders were grouped up front while we sit in the back. The leaders give an hour long presentation. Our boys are restless. The leaders are holding what we later put together is a recruitment night slash Pack meeting. The problem is they are moving in and out of both without explanation. One minute we are the audience, the next we are left as spectators. What are they doing? Strike two.

The meeting ends with no information or close. Close as in closing the sell of recruitment night. The close that commits us as cub dads. Our sons as Tiger Cubs. The meeting simply ends.  I’m interested in more info. Our boys would be ‘tall’ Tigers. We get that the Cubmaster is creative enough to combine a Pack meeting with a recruitment night. I wanted more information to join up so I approach a tan shirt leader whose head is buried in the screen of his Mac.

One quick inquiry leads to another and we learn what should have been announced at the very beginning of the meeting. Ready? He says, ‘This meeting was an in reach. Not an outreach.’ In other words, if you are not a member of this church, you cannot be a member of this Pack. My friend was a member. I was not. Strike three.

We decide to sit out a year, but the other dad and I continue to talk about getting our boys into scouting. A couple of months ago we joined another Pack in the same town. Our boys are well received as Wolf Cubs. Not a perfect intro, sell, or even close, but we are well received. We’re also height appropriate. We don’t have to join the church which charters the Pack. Can’t wait to meet the other pack at the community Derby.

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  1. John C
    November 30, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Good luck with the new pack! I would encourage you to get involved and have fun with your son and the other families in the unite. You will have many exciting experiences!

    My 21 year old Eagle Scout son and I still reflect on the fun we had over the years.

    • November 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm

      John, I did become involved. The Committee Chair asked a parent to step up as assistant den leader for the Wolf pack. I’ll post more about that soon. I still want to keep a heavy foot on the cub dad side though. I can see how involved leadership can get. I want to remain objective to see my role as a dad first, volunteer second. Thanks for the kind words. ~ Maury.

  2. Ric
    November 30, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for this blog. I had similar experiences as a new scouting parent, and I hope your writing will help make me a better leader as I transition into the role of Scoutmaster in my son’s Troop.

    It’s sometimes hard to focus on those new faces in the back of the room during a hectic meeting. We Scouters need to remember what it was like to be at our first meeting, and work to create the best first impression that we can.

    • November 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      Ric, how true. Hey, I’m still new. Still remembering names of cubs and dads. It’s been a few months now since all those first steps, but we’re getting there.

      I looked for a blog simply talking about the father’s role as a new cub dad. Not finding one, I started this one. Having spent a number of years in men’s ministry, I remain a student on what makes men tick. Or, what ticks men off. I’m just going to post what makes me tick and trust that at least one other person continues to support scouting knowing that 100 years later, it’s still awesome and a bit awkward at the same time.

  3. rob
    November 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    just a bit of encouragement as an ex-den leader, but still active scouter – keep it up because it will be fun. It was neat to go to Northern Tier (a boy scout thing) with a fair chunk of my ex-den on the crew, and it is rewarding to watch them mature and advance.

    I’m glad you gave the pack that required that you be a member of the charter organization a pass. That is actually against national policy. For example, my sons are at a unit chartered by the local Catholic church parish, but they are not “Catholic Boy Scouts” – though they are Catholic and scouts (while most of the scouts in this unit are from the parish not all are – including one who is a local protestant minister’s son). There is a great site for these sort of questions – askandy (google will find it). Units that try to “wing it” or have their “own special rules” are generally trouble.

    The adult run program is another real loser. Cub packs can sometimes end up with frustrated adult performers hogging the stage – but having the dens put on skits etc at the pack meeting, even if imperfectly (and it will be imperfect), is something that will always work. Even though the adults have to do many more things in a pack than with a troop or crew – it still is the scout’s pack.

    best wishes

    • November 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm

      Rob, thanks for the advice. The Pack we decided to skip was large. I don’t mind large. I was eager to join, but the hoops to jump through kept getting smaller. The Pack we’re in now is a good size with a laid back atmosphere. While not being Lutheren, we were welcomed. Many of the leaders attend other churches.

      I hope someone has that Barnabas quality in this Pack to both encourage and be bold to stop and speak up when the experience stops becoming about the boys. The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. It’s for the boys. Not the dads alone. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. CA Scouter
    November 30, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Hello Cub Dad,
    Sorry to hear about your recruiting problems. Our pack is chartered thru a Catholic Church and we meet at their facilities. However we always tell people that we’ll take anyone who doesn’t mind rubbing shoulders with Catholics. It amazes me that you encountered a unit with such exacting admittance standards. Such a pickiness does not bode well for that unit.

    Did you and your son participate in Scouting for Food?

    • November 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      Hey CA Scouter, we’re chartered through a Lutheran church. We are believers and not one person has snubbed us because we don’t attend.

      I learned many great qualities of scouting through last year’s recruitment night. Some not so good. We were determined to wait out a year. As for Scouting for Food, the girls in our home were sick with the crud. We stayed home to help them. We’ll get out as Bears next year at the local Albertsons.

      Thanks for the encouragement. ~ Maury

  5. CA Scouter
    December 1, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Hey Cub Dad,
    I think we share the same first name. I’ve been involved as a leader for over 11 years now and have 2 sons who are Eagles. Youngest is a first year Webelos Scout. I am a big believer in the program, so feel free to email if you have questions. You have my email.

    • December 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm

      So is it Maury? If so, does the CA Scouter indicate that you are in California or Canada? Thanks for the offer for help. Congrats on leading your sons to Eagle Scouts as well. I would be a very proud scouting dad to see my son become Eagle, but I’m just as proud right now to see him as a Wolf.

      Thanks again,
      Maury

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