Five Keys to Successful Pack Administration
For detailed job descriptions for each member of the Pack, see Cub Scout Leader Book, Chapter 4.
The Chartered Organization is your sponsor. They should provide meeting facilities and support. They approve all leaders.
The Chartered Organization Representative is a member of the Chartered Organization and acts as a liaison between the Pack and the organization.
The Committee Chairperson conducts monthly Pack leaders' meetings, leads Pack program planning, works with the Cubmaster to ensure leaders are recruited and adequately trained, that the Pack complies with BSA policies and that the program is successful.
Committee Members: A successful Pack organization is not a one or two-person "show". Make sure every member of the Pack Committee has an actual job title (not just Committee Member) and use these people to accomplish a piece of the job. "Many hands make light work."
Cubmaster/Assistant: Conducts the Pack program, leads monthly Pack meeting, works with Pack Committee on program ideas, leader recruitment, finances, guides and supports Den Leaders, and coordinates all aspects of Cub Scout program.
Tiger Cub Organizer: Organize and orient Tiger Cub Den(s), serve as a resource person for the Den(s), encourage and support shared leadership, the follow-up to ensure graduation.
Den Leader Coaches: Help new Den Leaders get going or when moving up to a new rank, help with special problems. This position needs people with experience. "Retired" Den Leaders make great coaches.
Den Leaders/Assistants: The front-line of the Cub Scout program. Working with the boys in weekly Den programs makes sure every Den has either two co-leaders or a leader and assistant. Get good Den Chiefs too if you can - Boy Scouts need service and leadership positions to advance.
Encourage every leader in your Pack to get initial training, supplemental/refresher training, and advanced training from your Council. Use Pack Leader meetings to offer training within your unit. The more leaders know about how Cub Scouts "works" and the more "good ideas" they can collect, the more successful your program.
Initial Training: Fast Start Video and Cub Leader Basic
Supplemental/Refresher Training: Roundtables, Outdoor Webelos Leader Training, Den Leader Coach Seminar, and Pow Wow
Advanced Training: Wood Badge
Den Chief Training: for Boy Scout helpers
Ways to encourage training attendance:
The pack should pay registration fees
Go as a group and carpool
Cubmaster/Committee Chair set the example by attending
Emphasize how important it is at leader meetings
Specifically ask people to attend
Recognize time given by leaders at Pack meetings
Present Leader awards (all require training) - Cub Scout Leader Book, Chapter 12.
Plan early and often. The Pack's calendar should be planned out before the first Pack meeting in September. Integrate Council Cub events with your own Pack calendar. Distribute it to everyone. Try to stick to the dates you have set. Start working big events (outings, Blue & Gold, etc.) 3-4 months before they arrive. Get facility, transportation, and entertainment reservations even earlier if possible.
Divide big jobs into small pieces and DELEGATE!
Don't be afraid to try something new, but hold on to some tradition for the comfort it brings.
Encourage Den Leaders to develop Den meetings plans/themes at least a month in advance. Don't fall into the trap of planning for the next meeting.
Trips and outings take some extra planning, but they are often the most memorable and enjoyable events.
Hold regular monthly leader meetings.
KIS, MIF - Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!
Pack Financial Planning - see Cub Scout Leader Book, Chapter 10.
Elements of Planning:
- Objective - Provide opportunity for physical, spiritual, mental, and/or social growth
- Theme - Provides continuity
- Fun - For boys and families
- Variety - Don't fall in a rut!
- Action - Boys need to "do" not just watch
- Appeal - For boys and families
- Achievement - Recognition, and accomplishment
- Resources - Make good use of people, facilities, materials, equipment
- Flexibility - Have a backup plan, adapt to changes and surprises
For more on planning, see Cub Scout Leader Book, Chapter 6.
A quality program will help you retain your members, but you will always lose some to competing interests, transfers due to family moves, and cross-over to Boy Scouts. Successful Packs have strong year-round recruitment programs.
Set goals -
- How big do you want to be?
- Pack meeting facilities
- Small dens
- Dens too large for one group, but too small for two
- "Ideal" Pack is 60-80 boys (permits individual recognition)
- Consider leader recruitment needs
School Night is generally where you will get most sign-u[s. Can make extra effort to target ages your Pack needs. Visit classrooms/assemblies. More energy invested almost always equals more boys.
Go where the boys are - baseball, soccer, football, parks - hand out leaflets, place posters, set out information table, talk to boys and parents.
"Bring a friend night", Recruiter awards
Prepare and have available a "Parent Information Sheet" for your Pack. Identify your sponsor, key leaders (with phone numbers), membership fees, policies, etc. Include a description of the Cub Scout program, objectives, and "jargon".
Leader Recruitment - Most adults are involved because their sons are. It is inevitable that when their son graduates from the Pack, the leaders will too. Leader recruitment is a continuous effort. Develop one or more assistants. Ideally, a trained assistant can step in when a leader is lost. Don't limit recruitment to parents of boys in the Pack. Many times a former leader, grandparent, relative, or member of the National Eagle Scout Association is willing to help. Recruit for one year at a time - it gives people a chance to get out gracefully when the year is up and permits the Cubmaster/Pack Committee to release a leader who is not performing satisfactorily without embarrassment. Don't force decisions under pressure, allow some time to think it over. A leader who joins under pressure may not do a good job.
How do people know where and when your next event is? If they miss a meeting are they "out of communication?" Do parents know Pack policies? Do parents know what is expected of them?
The best organization, training, planning, and recruitment can still be a failure without good lines of communication.
HAVE A PACK NEWSLETTER AT EVERY PACK MEETING with information about future events. Make sure families and leaders who miss that event get the Newsletter in the mail. Use it to keep your Chartered Organization informed about your activities. Post on bulletin boards.
- Encourage Den Leaders to use Den Newsletters
- Use "Parent Information Sheet."
- Develop a "telephone tree".
- Follow-up with boys who miss meetings.
- Use local newspapers and cable stations to announce or report special events.
Develop clear policies for your Pack which integrate the critical BSA policies and help parents and leaders know what is expected and what to expect. Some issues:
- Two deep leadership
- Tour permits and permission slips
- Medical forms and emergency release
- Family camping
- Parental expectations (pack meetings, Wolf/Bear books, Not "Babysitters of America")
- Registration fees and dues
- Meeting cancellations
- Smoking at Den and Pack events
- Sunday/Sabbath meetings
The Paperwork - Den and Pack Records
While not necessarily a key to success - this important part of Pack Administration can not be overlooked.
- Individual Cub Scout record - attendance, dues, achievements
- Medical forms and emergency release
- Advancement reports - when rank badge, arrow point, or activity pin is earned
- Cub Scout and Webelos advancement wall chart - good incentive and recognition
- Leader/Member roster (telephone tree)
- Parent Talent Surveys (copies to Den Leaders)
- Planning calendar
- Rack Record Book - Membership and advancement records
- Treasurer records (Can be kept in Pack Record book)