We have a small Pack, which means fewer adults to fill the Committee positions & we have to combine some of them. As CC, I identified the essential positions (beyond Cubmaster & Den leaders - which aren’t considered to be Committee, but they will usually help with Committee functions) as: Treasurer & Fundraising Coordinator, Pinewood Derby Coordinator and Blue & Gold Coordinator. These I can usually get filled. Other Committee Positions that usually go unfilled: Advancement Coordinator, Secretary/Publicity Coordinator, Welcome/Lion/Training Coordinator, Membership & Recruitment Coordinator, Outdoor Program Coordinator, Duty to God & Service Project Coordinator. Usually handled by me. Returning adults “know” that I have done it in the past, therefore they hold back when asked. Any suggestions for getting the new adults to step up and take a Committee position?
When I was in that boat in the past, I had to put on my eyepatch and raise the black flag.
Told the parents at the first parent meeting that each family HAD to take on a volunteer position to make the Pack Go. At the second parent meeting, I outlined the positions that nobody signed up for, and explained what their kids were going to miss out on because we didn’t have enough volunteers… No outdoor program chair meant no field trips or camp outs. No advancement chair means kids might not get the recognition they deserve… You get the idea.
I’ve even stooped as low as pitching positions to parents in front of their kids. “Hey, Mr. Smith, would you help out by organizing our Raingutter Regatta for the next Pack meeting? I’m sure Jimmy here would be thrilled to help you out…”
A couple possible solutions.
- partner with a troop for redundant positions - committee chair, fundraiser and any other you can.
1a) have each den own a part of the pack program. Our 4th grade webelos den runs the PWD. The bears run an advancement picnic. AoL does the B&G. Wolves run a collection service project ( like toys for tots). Lions and tigers have summer recruitment activities - pop bottle rocket ice cream social and kickball movie night. Each den gets to experience the event before they run it except for the lions but there are clear instructions to follow in those events.
- raise the cost of the Pack program and give a discount to parent’s who own a position. Before the recent price increase we figured our pack program plus national costs figured out to be $200/Scout ballpark average. We then said the annual program cost is $300 but if you fill any of these open positions we’ll take $100 off. Some parents wrote a check some got involved. We used the extra money to train the volunteers - 2 shooting sports, 1 wood badge, 2 BALOO, 5 university of scouting even one chainsaw training was covered.
Great ideas. I think we have done some of that in the past. Our dues were $120/year & there was a $20 discount if paid in full by Nov 1. And we paid for adult registrations. With National increasing dues 2 years in a row, we have to increase the Pack dues anyway. I like having each den “own” part of it - but we only had 3 dens - no lions this year - had Tiger, Wolf/Bear & Webelos/AoL dens. The same people are doing everything. I have “voluntold” in the past, but the results were hit & miss.
Our Cubmaster is a FIRM believer in personal ask. He will mention positions that are open or will be open after Bridging at Pack Meetings.
He prefers to speak with the Den Leaders to figure out who can help. When we have a Pack Family Camp, PWD or Raingutter Regatta he takes the opportunity to get to know families and talk to them about what they do for work/hobbies.
He does look for parents of the younger scouts so they have time to shadow/ask questions before they need to take over. And they will be around longer. He is also a big believer in “many hands make light work.” We always ask people to get their friends to help as it will be more fun and be easier for all.
Our current Cubmaster is better at delegating, but often looks to me. For a while there, we had a new CM every year. Some of them did not even plan the Pack meetings at all. I have used the Oreo test (ask a new parent to bring Oreos to the next meeting) Works sometimes.
When we have our Pack planning meeting we have Den leaders sign up to plan a Pack Meeting. Our Pack Meetings have the themes based on the Scout Law. Some of our meetings are pre-determined such as our Popcorn Kick-off in September. An activity for the scouts is planned for every meeting. Our CM or Committee Chair handles being the MC. About a month before our Pack Meeting our CM sends an email reminder to the Den Leader. He reminds them about timing, set-up and asks for their agenda for the meeting. He also did this for our Zoom Pack Meetings.
If your pack is not paying the volunteers dues, you should. There is nothing worse then asking someone to join the committee then ask for them to pay $30 check for their dues.
Personally ask someone to do a job. Blanket asks for volunteers rarely works.
In the long term start small. “Hey Bob, can you coordinate raingutter regatta?” “Hey Bob you did such an awesome job with the regatta, you’d be awesome about being our committee chair for next year.”
When asking for a volunteer position give them a finite amount of time. “Sally, will you be the cubmaster for the next year?” This gives the committee an out for any volunteer who isn’t working out and the volunteer to follow through on their commitment." Sally, the kids loved what you did as cubmaster last year, will you do it again?"
The Pack pays the volunteer registrations. Some contribute it anyway. You are quite correct about the blanket asking. Never works. Nor does marking Committee positions as unfilled on the agenda/parent letter. 90% of the parents will help with den activities & short term events. But don’t want to “wear the hat”. We do have a Lion Coordinator - but had no Lions this year. One of her tasks was to look for leadership. If no one steps up to take the Tiger den, they have cooperative leadership. Someone usually emerges (but not always). I’ll have to think about ways to apply that model to committee positions
As a commissioner I see pack succession issues continuously as an issue. It’s just the nature of packs. Average time in a pack is less then a troop. Way more volunteers are needed as well.
One thing that was suggested to me that our unit might try is to ask all the parents at the first meeting to put on sticky name tags. Then, after pulling the parents aside and pitching the importance of parent volunteers and describing the open positions, ask the parents to stick their name tag to a signup sheet for the position they would be interested in volunteering for on their way out. It seems like a good way to emphasize the expectation that every family should volunteer if they can, and use a little positive peer pressure.
Job descriptions! As a CM, I always had a folder with a job description for each position. When one was vacant I approached a potential candidate with the JD in hand. Advancement chair is not well defined; collecting reports from each den and picking up badges/pins from the Scout Shop is something a person might be willing to do.
That’s a pretty good idea. We’ve done that for all of the Troop positions of responsiblity, and even dedicate a Troop meeting after each election to make sure the Scouts understand the expectations of the position. We’ve never done that with the adult positions, though…
Of course, that might also result in adults running for the doors as fast as they can…
You just need to designate some existing leaders to block the exits.
I agree that it’s way more effective for folks to agree to do (or not do) a well-defined job. The more nebulous, the more work involved is imagined.
See, that’s another job description I have to write…
Delegate it to some scouts. They’re always willing to get under foot for a purpose.
I don’t think adults would run away as fast as being asked to do a job for which they don’t have a job description! I’ve had people say no but I’ve had more say yes when I have a job description!
I pass around a couple of clipboards. with the job descriptions at the first parent meeting. Try to keep it at 3-4 bullet points.
Check in with the Den Leaders and see if a parent has offered to help and just did not know who to talk to.
We have unfilled pack positions but a CM and PCC that want accept volunteers help.
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