Where do you go find answers to Cub Leader questions? During the years I spent as a Cubmaster and Webelos Den Leader formal training sessions helped , but the most valuable advice I received at the time came from those long talks in the parking lot with folks who had been there and done that. Wm. David Levesque’s new book, “For the Love of Cub Scouts”, contains the hard-won ‘between the lines’ sort of information and advice that can only come from an experienced Cub Scout Leader.
Levesque provides reassuring, friendly, direction that will help any Cub Scout leader deliver on the promise of Scouting. Passages like this demonstrate the author’s keen understanding of challenges you are likely to encounter:
I hope that in your pack, this process of volunteers coming together and working effectively as a team seems simple and straightforward. In the event this is not always the case— it may be important for you to know that this is perfectly normal …
Many packs suffer from a lack of understanding of how a pack should be structured. This can lead to two types of outcomes:
1. Role confusion which leads to weak program design, poor program delivery, and ultimately stagnation.
2. Failure to differentiate that there are many roles within the pack— so while it is clear what is to be done, there is too much for each available leader to reasonably do.
Both outcomes can be avoided.
Chapters on Cub Scout Program Basics, Pack Structure , Pack Program Planning, Budgets and Fund Raising, Recruiting Scouts, Developing Volunteers, Program Ideas, and Running a Pack lay out the program and your place in it in a way that new leaders will find reassuring and will help experienced leaders deal with some of the bigger challenges we all encounter.
Levesque shares how to work though some of the more difficult issues every Cub Scout Leader encounters:
In cases where you find a particularly reluctant group of adults— take some encouragement that, in spite of their expressed busy lifestyles, they have all decided to make some time in order to bring their sons to the den meeting. So, the issue is a lot less about time and a lot more about comfort zone and trust. They are not yet comfortable with or feel they fully understand the added scope of the den leader role and/ or they are not yet sure they can trust your assistance should they find that they need help.
I have witnessed joining events across many packs. I am convinced the difference between a pack experiencing a tremendous response of new Scouts or a trickle is the active support it receives from its leaders and packs families. My observations tell me that when a joining event is held by only a leader or two— turnout will generally be light. When a majority of the packs leaders, Scouts and families attend the joining event, there is almost always a huge turnout of new Scouts who wish to join.
Practical program advice:
Another consideration when selecting content for a den or pack meeting is the overall energy level for the meeting. If the main activity burns up a lot of energy, the gathering activity may want to be a quieter selection. If the main activity will be quieter, do yourself a favor and begin the meeting with a gathering activity designed to consume some of their youthful energy.
If you are working with Cub Scouts, or think you may like to take on the challenge, ‘For The Love of Cub Scouts’ is an essential resource.