Pack Committee Challenge 2016
By Karen Thomas & Patch Henderson
The format for this training will follow the five parts of a typical pack committee meeting:
- Evaluate the Previous Month
- Finalize the Current Month
- Planning Ahead
- Unit Leader Enhancements
- Social Time and Fellowship
EVALUATE THE PREVIOUS MONTH
To understand the role of the pack committee, it is important that new leaders understand how the Cub Scout program is delivered and organized.
Delivering the Cub Scout Program
The Cub Scout program can be extremely rewarding for the boys in the program and their adult leaders. At the same time, it can be challenging, especially for new leaders. Part of the inherent strength of the Cub Scout program is its organization. At its most basic, Cub Scouting consists of:
- A boy—The individual boy is the basic building block for Cub Scouting and is its most important element. It is only when each boy’s character, citizenship, and fitness are enhanced that the program is successful.
- A den—Each boy belongs to a den of similarly aged boys. The den is the boy’s Cub Scout family where he learns cooperation and team building, and finds support and encouragement.
- A leader—Adult leadership is critical to achieving the purposes and aims of Scouting. By example, organized presentations, and one-on-one coaching, the boy learns the value and importance of adult interaction.
- A pack—Each den is part of a larger group of boys of different ages and experience levels in Cub Scouting. The pack provides resources for enhanced activities, opportunities for leadership, and a platform for recognition.
The Chartered Organization
Every Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout team, Sea Scout ship, and Venturing crew belongs to a community organization with interests similar to those of the BSA. This organization, which might be a religious organization, school, or community group, is chartered by the BSA to use the Scouting program. This chartered organization provides a suitable meeting place, adult leadership, supervision, and opportunities for a healthy Scouting life for the youth under its care. A member of the organization, the chartered organization representative, acts as liaison between the pack and the organization. The chartered organization representative may be a member of the pack committee.
The Cub Scout Pack
The Scouting unit that conducts Cub Scouting for the chartered organization is called a pack. The pack is a group made up of several dens—Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Scout dens. While dens usually meet weekly, most packs meet once a month, usually in a room provided by the chartered organization. The pack meeting is the pinnacle of the month’s den meetings and provides a place for dens to showcase their skills and projects. It also provides opportunities for parents and families to be involved with their boys, and it is a chance to recognize boys, parents, and leaders.
The Pack Committee
A pack committee must consist of at least three members, although most committees are larger. With a committee of three, members must assume responsibility for more areas of service than with a committee of seven or more. Point out that while each pack divides up the work a little differently based on the number and talents of the adults who volunteer, understanding the BSA’s model for a pack committee and striving to fill all of the positions make for the healthiest pack.
The Pack Key 3
The pack Key 3 consists of the pack committee chair, the Cubmaster, and the chartered organization representative. This group meets once a month to discuss the pack, its challenges, coming events, and progress toward completing their action plan and Journey to Excellence goals just like any other Scouting Key 3. It is a time for the Key 3 to learn how to spot early warning signs and work together toward continued pack success. The unit commissioner serves as an advisor to the Key 3.
The strongest pack committee is one that has individual members assigned to such areas as record keeping and correspondence, finances, advancement, training, public relations, and membership and registration. These committee members will be called on to assist, make reports, and provide information at committee meetings. During this part of the committee meeting (and/or pack planning meeting), den leaders will be asked to report on last month’s activities, attendance, and advancement. The Cubmaster will review the pack activities and everyone will suggest ways to improve.
FINALIZE THE CURRENT MONTH
The second part of the meeting is when the final preparations for the current month’s pack and den activities are finalized. The Cubmaster will confirm assignments for the pack meeting and den leaders will turn in advancement reports to the person on the committee responsible for procuring the awards. Activities and awards require money, and proper budgeting and record keeping are critical.
Planning Your Pack’s Annual Program Budget
Another important function of the pack committee is to ensure the pack will have the necessary financial resources to pay for all the exciting activities and programs the committee has planned for the year. Successful packs use a unit budget plan. When adopting a unit budget plan, a pack committee implements the elements of a complete annual Cub Scouting program for youth, commits as a unit to incorporate these elements, and then provides adequate funding for them. Even more, it commits to implementing the plan with the entire pack—Cub Scouts, leaders, and families—by raising enough dollars to fund the program. The result is a well-managed, well-financed unit.
The steps to planning your pack’s annual budget are:
- Plan the pack’s complete annual program.
- Develop a budget that includes enough income to achieve the program.
- Identify all sources of income (den dues and any traditional pack activities), and then determine the amount of product sale and the sales goal per youth member that will be needed to reach the income goal.
- Gain commitments from parents, leaders, and all Cub Scouts.
- Registration Fees. Part of joining the BSA is the required annual registration fee. This is true for youth and adult members.
- Unit Liability Insurance Fee. Packs are required to pay an annual unit liability insurance fee. This fee is submitted with the pack’s annual charter application and helps to defray the expenses for its general liability insurance.
- Boys’ Life. Boys’ Life magazine, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, is available to all members for a discounted rate. While this is an optional expense, Boys’ Life has a direct influence on membership retention so every boy should be encouraged to subscribe.
- Unit Accident Insurance. Protecting leaders and parents from financial hardship due to high medical bills from an unfortunate accident is a must for all involved in Scouting. Insurance may be covered in the fees your pack pays to the local council. Specific details on insurance programs are available from the local council.
- Advancement and Recognition. The cost of recognition and advancement needs to be factored into the budget. Every Cub Scout should earn and advance a rank and receive the patch and pins for that rank each year. Additionally, many packs budget for the immediate recognition devices (adventure loops, pins, and certificates) boys earn as they progress toward earning their badge of rank. For some units, this is a family responsibility.
- Activities. Well-conceived and well-planned activities are critical to a successful annual program plan. Traditionally, such activities as Cub Scout pinewood derbies, field trips, and district or council activities are financed by the Cub Scout and his family over and above the dues program. It is suggested that the complete cost of these outings be built into the unit’s budget.
- Cub Scout Day Camp, Cub Scout Resident Camp, Family Camping. Central to Cub Scouting is a summer camping experience. Local council opportunities abound for Cub Scouts and their families to have exciting, program-rich summer experiences.
- Program Materials. Each pack needs to provide certain program materials. Depending on the type of unit program, these could include den meeting supplies, a U.S. flag, pack and den flags, camping equipment, videos and books, or ceremonial props. Your den leaders’ annual plans will guide what den meeting supplies are needed.
- Training Expenses. Trained leaders are key to delivering a quality and safe program. Adult and youth leader training should be considered an integral annual pack expense.
- Full Uniforms. Traditionally, the individual pays for the uniform, but it may be figured into the budget as the total cost of Scouting.
- Reserve Fund. A reserve fund should be included for unexpected expenses. A new member’s initial expenses may be met from the fund.
- Other Expenses. These could include a gift to the World Friendship Fund, meeting refreshments, and/or contingency funds.
Sources of Income
- Fundraisers. One fundraiser per year, such as selling popcorn, will help prevent having to ask families for extra money every week. It is better to figure the total cost for the complete year up front. Ideally, all income would come from den dues and one fundraising program at the beginning of the program year each fall. A spring fundraiser could also be included.
Except for council-sponsored product sales, all other money-earning projects require the submission of this form to the local council at least two weeks before the fundraiser. To ensure conformity with all Scouting standards on money earning, and to help protect the pack and leaders from potential problems, leaders should be familiar with the points listed on the back of the application.
- Dues. Paying your own way. This is a fundamental principle of the Boy Scouts of America. It is one of the reasons why no solicitations (requests for contributions from individuals or the community) are permitted by Cub Scout packs. Young people in Scouting are taught early on that if they want something in life, they need to earn it. The finance plan of any pack should include participation by a Cub Scout in a regular dues plan.
- Chartered Organization. In some cases the pack’s chartered organization may provide a portion of the pack budget.
It is possible for some packs to acquire significant funds in the course of a year, and it is important that the pack committee operate in a fiscally responsible way.
The pack’s program calendar and budget information needs to be communicated regularly to families, especially at the start of the program year. By sharing the pack’s program plans and budgetary needs, you can help newly recruited Cub Scouts and their parents gain a greater understanding of just what fun is waiting for them during the pack’s entire program year.
One of the most important functions of the pack committee relates to planning the pack program. This portion of the committee meeting is when pack leaders and committee members look one to three months ahead to ensure upcoming pack events are on schedule and next month’s activities are fine-tuned. Although additional events may be suggested, the schedule for the year should already be set. As part of the monthly pack committee meeting, upcoming events and pack meeting plans are fine-tuned.
Pack Program Planning
There are two types of program planning that are critically important to the overall success of the Cub Scout pack: annual and monthly.
- An annual pack program planning meeting should be held after the local school calendars are made available and before you start the fall recruiting process. At this meeting, the major pack activities are determined and dates are set. Den leaders should also present their schedules of den adventures and coordinate with the pack calendar.
- The committee meets monthly to review plans for upcoming pack meetings
Step 1: Create the pack’s master calendar.
Step 2: Review what the pack did last year.
Step 3: Brainstorm activities.
Step 4: Assign the person who will be responsible for each event.
Step 5: Put that calendar in writing and distribute.
Step 6: Review the plan each month.
Communication of the annual plan is essential to the success of the plan. Today’s busy families need plenty of advance notice to fit the activities into their calendars. Many methods must be used to reach all of their families, including social media, email, written newsletters, and handouts at meetings, events, and other activities. The BSA provides resources to assist packs with their planning. Pack annual program planning materials are available at http://www.Scouting.org/CubScouts in the “Pack Committee” section.
Some of the best things about Cub Scouting are the activities you get to do; Cub Scouting means “doing.” There are many tried-and-true activities, but packs can also use their imagination and resources to come up with new ones. Encourage them to consult the Guide to Safe Scouting and Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities
UNIT LEADER ENHANCEMENTS
Learning is a continuous process, and Cub Scouting is no exception. Anytime you have all adult leaders together is a potential learning opportunity. Monthly training is built into the committee meeting to ensure that pack leaders take part in the learning process.
Unit Leadership Enhancements
Unit leadership enhancements are short training discussions intended to help better equip pack leaders to conduct a quality Cub Scout program. Conducting these enhancements should result in immediate improvement in the area discussed. Each month the designated leader, such as the pack trainer, uses one of the unit leadership enhancement outlines to lead a discussion with the other leaders. Before the meeting ends, choose the topic and designate the leader for the next month’s meeting. All leaders should have input on the choice. All leaders then read the preparation assignment prior to coming to the next meeting. In some cases, a topic is more appropriate for discussion at a particular time of the year, so review them all before deciding. They can be found in the appendix of the Cub Scout Leader Book pages 167-175.
There are 15 topics:
Annual Program Planning
Cub Scout Camping
Planning Special Events
Policies of the BSA
Point out to the participants that unit leadership enhancements do not replace, but complement, the more formal leader training, as well as roundtables, pow wow, university of Scouting, or other courses offered in the district or council. These training experiences are a vital part of each leader’s personal growth and effectiveness and should be included in his or her individual learning plan.
Recruiting Quality Leaders
The pack and its program are enhanced when the highest quality leadership is recruited. The pack committee should recognize that new leaders must be selected when new dens are formed, or when a den leader, Cubmaster, or other leader moves away or is no longer able to serve. Successful packs make sure their leaders are trained and equipped to handle their position, knowing that leads to leader retention. But they also do succession planning to cover the unexpected.
The BSA provides step-by-step procedures in a publication titled “Selecting Cub Scout Leadership, No. 510-500.” A representative from the council or district can also help guide the pack committee and its chartered organization through the selection process. This representative could be a unit organizer, a unit commissioner, a member of the district committee, or a Scouting professional.
SOCIAL TIME AND FELLOWSHIP
It is common to allow time for leaders to enjoy refreshments and fellowship. The committee can be strengthened by socializing.
- Saves leaders time. Instead of extra phoning, meeting at the last minute, and struggling to sort out details, one meeting a month takes care of many needed details at one time.
- Encourages teamwork and is an efficient way to pool talent. When all leaders are brought together regularly, abilities and talents can be exchanged in a way that could not otherwise be achieved.
- Provides in-service training with new ideas for all leaders. Time is available for leaders to share problems and learn new techniques.
- Makes the pack strong and healthy by involving the leaders in the plans and using their help to implement the program.
Anyone who needs to leave, however, should feel free to do so.
In addition to what the district and council provides, the BSA provides many resources to help their committee through online training on my.Scouting.org, CubCasts, www.Scouting.org/CubScouts, and written materials.
Evaluate the Previous Month – Organization
2016_JTE_Pack_Scorecard – This could be the basis for your monthly agenda
JTE compilation 2016 – All four families on one page
Finalize the Current Month – Finances
Fiscal Policies & Procedures – From BSA National
Fundraiser application – To be used for all none council fundraisers
Cub Scouts Minimum Award Costs – How much does Scouting Cost?
Planning Ahead – Calendar
Summertime Pack Award – Earn this by holding pack meeting in the summer months
Bobcat Requirements – All scouts must earn this
Wolf Requirements – See the new adventures