I’ve always considered enthusiasm to be contagious and it has been to some extent. The parents in our den are usually the first to sign up for anything in the pack, we’re at every event the pack has, out of 20 kids in the pack the only 4 that went to day camp were in our den, the den started with 5 scouts and we’ve picked up one a year since then. When our treasurer’s son crossed over this year, someone from our den volunteered to be our new treasurer.
I have someone in mind that I’m going to try and recruit as a New Member Coordinator, something that our pack hasn’t done before. I’m hoping that if the incoming tiger/lion den(s) will have a fun and smooth joining experience, they’ll be more excited in general. I’m also going to offer help to any new den leaders to get them started, including possibly helping plan and run their first few meetings.
I’m also going to ask parents for help throughout the year with smaller tasks at Pack Meetings. I think part of the reason we don’t have more parents involved is because we’ve never asked them to be. We have a pack of about 20-25, but we don’t run our Pinewood derby, the troop does it for us. When I said something about running it ourselves last year, I was told we didn’t have enough parents to run it. We’re larger than the troop, so I’m not sure how that works, but my reply was that we never asked anyone to help run pinewood, or anything. I’m hoping that baby steps will work here. I’ll ask for volunteers to run a game, or help build a crossover bridge (something we don’t have), etc. Then next year I’ll ask for bigger things.
I registered for Wood Badge as soon as I could this year! I’ll be taking it in August! I’m very excited. I don’t think I can get anyone else to take it this year, since I think it might a struggle to even get someone else to take Baloo, go to roundtables, attending ScoutingU, etc… but I do have a few ideas of parents that I think would be open to getting more involved. I’m hoping to do that this year.
I also made Eagle as a youth. I wanted to join Cub Scouts but it never happened, I joined Boy Scouts when I was in 7th grade. My younger brother joined as a Tiger though. My dad was Cubmaster for a couple years and later Scoutmaster for a couple years, and he was a scout as a kid as well. My maternal grandfather was a scout as a kid too.
My wife constantly refers to me, affectionately I think, as a big kid! I’m just as eager as my 8 year olds to do that fun thing that will end up making a mess or getting my clothes soaked or whatever. I love taking things I loved as a kid and applying adult-level resources to them. For example, one pack meeting I planned for the coming year I’m calling “Fort Night”. The plan is to collect a ton of blankets and socks to donate, but have some fun first. I want to use rope to make 2 giant blanket forts in the gym we meet in and then have a “snow ball” fight using the balled socks. I have no idea if it will work, but making a giant blanket fort sounds like a lot of fun to me.
When I said “do better” I didn’t mean have more activities. The only 2 things I’ve proposed that would be an additional activity are having a Blue & Gold, our pack doesn’t have a Blue & Gold, and having an activity in August so we could earn the Summertime Pack award (we already meet in June and July). We’re still not having a Blue & Gold this year, but we are having summer activities, so baby steps.
When I was excited about using Scoutbook when it became free, I was told it’s too much to ask parents to install an app and then I couldn’t even use it for my own den because no one would make me den admin. I got the same reply when I was excited about the Trails-end app, I was told it’s better to just use paper and do what has worked in the past. So we’ll be using Scoutbook this year for advancement and event sign up I think, and I’m still trying to get the popcorn people onboard for the trails-end app.
I think I just have to be patient. I can imagine what an active pack of close-knit friends having loads of fun and adventures looks like, and I can see all the ways we need to grow to get there. I guess I just have to do my best to make it fun for the scouts and wait to see how it goes.
I imagine most parents taking their kids to scouts probably feel the way I feel when I take my kids to gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, taekwondo, etc. It’s fun to watch them grow and get better and have fun, but I’m not invested in it. One of the methods of Cub Scouting is family involvement, so I’ll be trying my best to demonstrate the benefits of getting involved to everyone this year. I imagine I’ll be cubmaster for 3 years until my kids crossover, so I have 3 years to try start the ball rolling on greater involvement and enthusiasm and then hope it’s rolling fast enough to keep on going and growing.