by Sharon Richins, Tracy Portrey & Tara Marshall
Critical positions on your
Cub Scout Committee
Committee members work together in each role towards a common goal: to help boys develop and understand their duty to God and Country, to explore new things, and to work together in a group and to have fun. Committee members help each other out; no one works alone, all roles are important.
Cub Committee Chair
The Cub Committee Chair makes sure the pack is well-coordinated, that they have a common purpose and a plan to get there. The chair leads the committee meeting and makes sure all members feel valued and important.
The cubmaster is the heart of the pack committee. The cubmaster works with the committee chairman to coordinate pack meetings and den meetings. The cubmaster plans pack meeting and gives committee members and parents assignments to help with pack meeting. All committee members should be involved at each pack meeting; it is not a one-man show.
Each den leader should be familiar with the rank advancement requirements for their den. They are in charge of their den, there should be a minimum of 2 leaders for each den, they plan and carry out den meetings.
Den Chiefs are older scouts assigned to help in a den. These boys work under the direction of the Den Leader and serve as a leader and role model to the members of the den.
The COR makes sure the pack is functioning well. This person gives direction, support and relays information between the Chartered Organization and the pack.
The unit commissioner functions as a resource to the pack. They can offer additional training and clarification and support to the entire pack. They also carry information between the district and the local pack.
Committee Members/ Parents
In Cub scouts, the committee consists of all the pack members listed above as well as parents or anyone else asked to help with specific responsibilities. These committee members are there to back-up and support all everyone working with the scouts.
Primary Leaders (LDS units)
A member of the Primary presidency works with the pack, she takes recommendations for leaders back to the COR for approval. She is familiar with scouting and attends committee, pack and roundtable meetings.
How to fill committee roles
Packs have different ways for filling positions. Some units hold an opening social, with displays, food and activities to attract new scouts and to recruit parents. This is a good way for all boys in a neighborhood or community to come together, to have fun and to recruit. LDS units usually are divided by neighborhoods, and recruiting can help you get to know those not of the same faith, but interested in joining a scouting unit. Boys turning 7 or 8 during the year should be invited to a recruiting event.
In some units some people may be reluctant to fill scouting positions or want to move on when their cub “graduates.” Committees who hold on to their leaders support each other and develop friendships and bonds with each other. Leaders are trained and understand what scouting can do for boys and their families. Good leadership and support from COR, commissioners and primary leaders (in LDS units) can help committee members feel valued and want to stay.
When recruiting leaders look for those who have high ideals, have cub-scout-aged boys, who have scout experience, appreciate the outdoors, have experience in leadership, are willing to invest time, or those who express interest in serving. Even those who have never been in a scouting position can be very successful cub scout leaders, it is the enthusiasm to look for and willingness to be trained.
Elements of a successful committee
Successful committees communicate and coordinate plans and activities between committee members, parents, and other leaders. If you want to have your boys come regularly to den and pack meetings, keep the day of the week and time consistent from month to month, be on time yourself and let the parents know your plans every month. An informed parent will support you and make the extra effort to get their cub to the meeting each week and will more likely be available to attend and help at pack meetings.
Each pack should have a monthly committee meeting, communication may also be done electronically to further coordinate den and pack meetings.
Parents come with each cub, successful committees communicate and coordinate plans and activities between committee members, parents, and other leaders. If you want to have your boys come regularly to den and pack meetings, keep the day of the week and time consistent from month to month, be on time yourself and let the parents know your plans every month. An informed parent will support you and make the extra effort to get their cub to the meeting each week and will more likely be available to attend and help at pack meetings. Utilize parents to be den leaders or to cover for den leaders when they can’t be there and also for pack meetings, especially if they have an exciting talent or hobby. Parents often have resources which a pack can use, like helping build pinewood derby cars, they may help make dinner for the blue and gold – the possibilities are endless.
A measure of success in the pack is the awards the boys are receiving. Is each boy earning a belt loop every month, are they getting a rank advancement each year? Are they earning the faith knot?
Are your den and pack meetings fun and “adventurous?” Scouting, according to Baden-Powell, “is a game with a purpose.” Boys should have fun, but should also learn about building character and faith at each den and pack meeting.
Each pack and den should have a general 12 month calendar, so everyone can plan for big events like the Blue and Gold and a derby. A 2-3 month detailed plan is best so parents can be aware of what is coming up and den leaders will be prepared for weekly den meetings.
Yearly parent/ scout leader meeting
Hold a yearly meeting to coordinate pack and den meetings, field trips, and camps. You may not have all of the details planned a year in advance, but you can plan themes and dates, get parent’s input and coordinate resources at this meeting. Remember this is a family program, discuss ways to involve families in the pack.
This is best done in the monthly committee meeting. If a leader is unable to make it for a den meeting, the can be coordinated in the meeting for another den leader to cover or a parent.
No cub leader should feel like they are on their own, the committee is there to support them.
All cub leaders should complete Youth Protection training and submit an adult application as soon as they become a scout leader. After that there are on-line trainings available for all cub scout positions. Many districts also hold live basic trainings a few times each year, plan to do both of these training for your position, they will both be very helpful. The council also has a BALOO training for a least one person in the pack. Woodbadge is available to all scout leaders at every level. Woodbadge will give you a vision of scouting and how it all fit together, it will also help you to be a more effective leader. Every boy deserves a trained leader!
Keep your records up-to-date. Records can be kept on paper or electronically. Electronic, shared record keeping keeps everyone in the loop, the parents can see where their boy is at, as well as the committee chair when they go to pick up awards. Electronic records are also good when leaders change, the records are shared so they are not lost. When a boy moves make sure he takes his records with him.
Cub Scout and committee links
- http://www.scouting.org/ – This is the official BSA website.
- http://www.slcubs.com/ – All sorts of information for cub scouts from the Great Salt Lake Council.
- https://cubscouts.org/ – Another cub scout website; this one is new.
- https://www.saltlakescouts.org/ – This is a council site with links to your district and awards.
- https://www.saltlakescouts.org/advancement – This is the awards link, you will need to record your awards, and to print out the authorization to purchase awards at the scout shop. It is also helpful if you have a boy new to your pack who has moved from another pack, hopefully you can see what awards he has previously earned.
- http://www.ldsbsa.org/ – Link for LDS units, explains how scouting functions in wards and stakes.
- http://usscouts.org/bbugle.asp – Great reference for ideas to run your pack.
- https://my.scouting.org/ – This is a site where you can track all of your training, or take a new training.
- http://www.netsmartz.org/scouting – this site has training for kids about how to safely use the internet. Cubs and scouts can earn an award for completing this each year. Don’t stop with boys, girls can also benefit from the training on this site.
- http://www.sugardoodle.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1240&Itemid=200511 – this site is geared to LDS units.
Some award tracking software sites (some are free, some cost)
The benefits to online tracking is that parents and leaders can see a boy’s progress. You can customize the program to allow den leaders, parents or other leaders to update progress or just allow parents to view the progress. The best thing is that when leaders are changed, the information is still online, so it is never lost or misplaced. Some programs interface with the official BSA awards site.