What Does A Cubmaster Really Do?
Anyone who answered "nothing" goes to the back of the class. There are many things a Cubmaster must do to be an effective leader of the pack. There are so many specific things, that there wouldn't be room enough in this section to cover them all, so instead, we will try to simply lay a foundation to help you understand how to get started.
There are some things you need to understand as a Cub master, whether you are brand spanking new at it, or have conducted many pack meetings. Not in any special order, they are:
* Be enthusiastic
* Be organized
* Have lots of help
* Be trained
None of these things is more important than any other, but it is necessary for a good Cubmaster to be able to do them all. Let's look briefly at each one.
Be enthusiastic Always remember that your attitude will greatly affect the attitude of the boys, the other leaders, the boys' parents, and (most importantly) how well YOU do YOUR job! If you enjoy being a Cubmaster, you will do a better job, and you will look forward to the pack meeting each month. You will enjoy working with the other leaders and learn to love the boys and do your best to provide them with a terrific program and a positive Cub Scout experience.
The Cubmaster has many duties in the pack, but his/her main responsibility is to conduct the pack meeting each month. Others on the committee should be assigned to help, but it is mainly the Cubmaster's job to ensure that all goes well at the pack meeting. It's easy to be excited about the pack meeting if you are prepared and have lots of help. If the Cubmaster attempts to "do it all" and doesn't have lots of help, he/she will soon tire of the job. So, to stay excited about Cub Scouts you need lots of help. There will be more about that later.
There are lots of things to get excited about in Cub Scouts. The most important things are the BOYS. As a Cubmaster, you will get to help them learn new things about the world around them and about themselves. You will get to help them grow and develop self-confidence. And, even though you don't ordinarily help them earn their advancements, the way you treat them and present their awards to them, can affect whether they advance and how quickly. An impressive ceremony by the Cubmaster for one boy can inspire the others to want to receive the same kind of recognition. Conversely, lack of proper recognition can cause the other boys to feel the effort isn't worth it. Make your ceremonies exciting for the boys, and you will see big dividends in advancements by the boys.
In addition to helping the boys, you also get to work with the other ADULT LEADERS in the pack. This can be fun, rewarding, and challenging. Sometimes it's not easy getting to agree on an approach to a problem, but by working together on a solution, you will develop respect and lasting friendships with the other leaders in the pack. Remember, a good program is not always easy, but it is always WORTH IT!
THE CUB SCOUT PROGRAM is really easy to get enthused over. There are lots of fun things for the boys to learn about and do (with emphasis on the "do" part!) And while they are having fun, they are learning and growing and developing into young men right before your eyes! You will see how much they change as they earn their Bobcat, then Wolf and Bear. You will watch them grow, as they become WEBELOS Scouts and earn their Arrow of Light award. Then they will become Boy Scouts when they leave the pack and you will receive a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you have had a part in their growth.
The program has as one of its goals helping families grow closer. Be sure that the whole family is invited to every pack meeting. This includes brothers and sisters as well as parents. Even Grandparents should be invited to special advancement ceremonies, or special events. Remember: "the more the merrier!" is a great motto when it comes to pack meeting attendance. When there are a lot of people at the pack meeting, there are a lot to help too.
There a lot of things you can do to get enthused about Cub Scouting. Tops on the list are to get trained. You will enjoy what you are doing if you know what to do and how to do it. At training sessions, you will associate with people who have experience where you don't. Later, you can help some new leader learn how to solve problems by sharing your knowledge with him/her. Training should be continuous to be most effective. We will discuss training in more depth later.
Be committed to doing YOUR best as a Cubmaster. No one would deny that it takes a lot of time to be a good Cubmaster, but that can be said about anything you want to be good at. The more practice you get at doing something, the better you get at doing it.
Try to get the parents of the boys involved in the pack's operation. And get to know them on a first name basis. The more you know about them, the more you will care about them and the better you will be able to meet their needs.
Don't be afraid to do Cub Scout things things like songs, cheers, and run-ons. The boys enjoy doing these things more if you do and do9ing them with the boys gives them a chance to show off in a constructive manner in front of their families and friends. Always remember that Cub Scouts are not short adults. They are kids. Let them act like kids. They will have to act like grown-ups soon enough!
Develop a genuine love for each boy. Care about them and think about them often. If you call them by name, they will think they are important to you and then they will be important to themselves.
Traditions are an important part of Cub Scouts and you should learn about them. Read The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling to get a deeper understanding of many important Cubbing characters. Songs, cheers, skits and run-ons are all important Cub traditions. Be generous with their use. Know and use lots of them and your pack meetings will be fun and exciting. In addition, start your own traditions. You'll be surprised at how quickly a good new tradition can catch on with other Cub Scout leaders. Be careful though that your traditions don't get stale.
Be organized As a Cubmaster you are one of the main leaders in the pack and so it is most important that you are well organized. For some of us this is not easy. Just keep in mind that there are only a few areas where you need to have good organization to be successful as a Cubmaster. You have to have control of YOURSELF, YOUR MATERIALS, and YOUR OTHER LEADERS.
The first thing to organize is YOURSELF. You must manage your time as well as you can in order to be a good Cubmaster. Learn to do things in their order of importance, first things first in other words. Learn to break big jobs into little segments then tackle the small segments according to a schedule you have pre-planned. Remember the story of man who ate the elephant; He couldn't do it in one bite, but did it over a period of time. Some things you will have to do will be like that. To try to do them all at one time would take up all of your spare time, but by working on them a little each evening, they will get done. But you must then, plan far enough ahead to give yourself ample time to accomplish all that needs to be done to give the job your best effort.
Don't procrastinate important things. You'll only worry more and enjoy it less!
Next you need to organize your MATERIALS. It is amazing how much "stuff" you can acquire as a Cub Scout leader! Be careful you don't let it take over. Keep it organized and under control. You'll find that the longer you are involved with Cub Scouts, the more "stuff" you will collect. If you are careful, much of it can be useful but you can quickly lost your storage space in your house to items you will not be able to use.
You may have inherited a lot of training materials, old Pow Wow books, handbooks, leader books and Program Helps. These can be very useful if you look through them and pull out the items that will be helpful to you as a Cubmaster. Write the things you want to keep on 3X5 cards or in a notebook or anywhere else you can have easy reference to. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find some thought or cheer or other "tidbit" from a cardboard boxful of unrelated information. Set up some kind of system that you can use. You'll be more efficient and you can pass it on to the next Cubmaster.
Once you have yourself and your materials organized, you can begin to organize your OTHER LEADERS. This is not your job alone. You should have help from the Committee Chairman and from the Den Leader Coach. Hopefully your committee is already organized so that it runs mostly with just a little help from you. Some people feel that it is the Cubmaster's responsibility to make sure that the committee functions properly. In reality, that is the Committee Chairman's job. The Cubmaster is to "plan and carry out the Cub Scout program in the pack. This includes leading the monthly pack meeting, with the help of other leaders." There are many other responsibilities a Cubmaster has that are listed in the Cub Scout Leader Book and you would do well to review them occasionally.
If, however, your pack has been lacking in leadership for any period of time, it may fall mostly on the Cubmaster to get things rolling again. Go to your sponsoring organization and tell them you need LOTS of help. This brings us to the next thing we will cover
Get help There is no way one person can effectively run a pack program for an extended period of time. A Cubmaster may be able to do it alone for a short while, but it gets real old real fast. You need help to run a good pack for a long time.
If you have come into a pack that has little or no leadership, make sure that your chartering organization knows you will not try to do it by yourself. A minimum requirement for leadership must include:
* A Committee Chairman plus two members of committee
* A Cubmaster
* A Den Leader for every 4-8 boys
* A WEBELOS Den Leader
When people are available, then you can have people to serve as secretary/treasurer, advancement, training, public relations, outings, membership and re-registration, assistant Cubmaster, Tiger Cub Coach, assistant den leaders, and assistant WEBELOS den leaders. See the Cub Scout Leader Book, chapter 4, for detailed job descriptions for each committee member.
With a good committee you can then proceed to plan your pack's program. This should be done on a monthly basis at a regular Pack Committee meeting. It is usually best to hold this meeting at a regular date and time. A regular meeting place is also important. The Pack Committee Chairman presides over this meeting, but you - as Cubmaster will have to implement many of the decisions made by the committee at the planning meeting, so be sure to make your thoughts known during the committee meeting. You should participate in all the important decisions made by the committee.
In the Cub Scout Leader Book is a pack meeting planning sheet that you can use to plan your pack meetings during the monthly planning meeting. This works very well, but if you want to do something different by all means, do it the way that works best for you. That philosophy, by the way, is one of the things that help make Cub Scouting work so well. If it works for you, DO IT YOUR WAY!! The only exceptions to this have to do with the safety and welfare of the boys. Always keep in mind their well being when planning any activity and always follow the Boy Scouts of America procedure.
One of the best reasons for having a committee to plan pack activities becomes apparent at a planning meeting. With a diverse group of people, you also get diverse ideas that will make for more interesting pack meetings and activities. Also, you will have more people to follow-up on assignments that will lessen the burden on any one committee member.
A strong committee will help the pack be strong even if the Cubmaster or Committee Chairman leave or are unable to fulfill their responsibilities for any amount of time.
Get training It isn't possible to emphasize in these few pages the importance of training to you and to all the pack committee! You can learn by reading about the responsibilities of your position that is good because you will learn WHAT to do. But training will show you HOW to do it.
There are many kinds of training available to Cub Scout Leaders and you would do well to take advantage of all of them. There are different levels of training available starting with FAST START.
Fast start training is basically for new leaders who have not had any training and need help now to learn what they need to do.
Roundtable is held each month. At Roundtable you will learn more about your job and about the theme for the following month's pack meeting. By attending Roundtable on a regular basis you will become more familiar with the people and resources the district/council have to offer you and you'll have fun doing it.
BASIC TRAINING is the next level of training you should attend. At Basic Training you will be taught more in-depth ideas and activities to help you be a better Cubmaster. You will learn what Cub Scouting is, about pack organization and leadership, how to protect the boys in your pack from abuse, and how to have the proper planning for a good program. You will receive ideas on activities and resources, and proper uniforming for your leaders and the boys. You will receive intensive training on what you can do to be a GREAT Cubmaster, taught by people who can really help you.
The Cub Scout Pow Wow will help improve your ability to DO. Pow Wow is basically designed to SHOW how to be an effective leader in your pack. Ideas are shown and examples giving on crafts and Cub Scout skills. You will see skits and sing the songs that will make your pack meetings sparkle. You will see examples of ceremonies that will encourage your boys to advance in Cubbing, plus other activities too numerous to mention. And the Pow Wow book is an exciting resource that will be of use to your pack for years to come.
Training is something that you need regularly. To keep your edge as a Cubmaster and to keep up on all the changes that affect your performance as Cub master, you need to have constant training. When you feel you have had all the training you could ever use, then you might want to volunteer to help train other leaders by helping at Pow Wow or on the District Training team. Please don't just "retire" and let all your wonderful experience be forgotten. Use it to help others.
You want to be a good Cubmaster, right? If you didn't, you would not be reading this.
So as a good Cubmaster YOU WILL.......Cubmaster
Learn to lean - You won't try to run the whole show. You will consider all suggestions and offers to help.
Recruit Den Leader for a least one year - When you and the Den Leader Coach recruit a Den Leader, you will have him/her agree to serve at least a year. Dens need stable leadership. If assistants can be recruited from the parents, they can move naturally into the Den Leader office each year.
Plan well - Successful packs use this program planning procedure:
* Annual program planning conference in the spring.
* Monthly pack leaders' meetings.
* Regular Den Chief's meetings. Recruit an assistant Cubmaster to train Den Chiefs or have them attend a Den Chief Conference.
Promote real-boy crafts - Don't scare off Den Leaders with complicated handicraft items. Keep projects simple, but avoid childish busywork and cut-and-paste projects.
Plan regular opportunities for recognition - Plan so each den is recognized at every pack meeting.
Emphasize family participation - Cub Scouting is a family program. Involved the parents. Ask them for specific help. Make sure parents know what is expected of them before they join.
Make yours a year-round pack - Don't let your pack fold up in the summer. Boys want Cub Scouting the year-round. With a slight change in you summer meeting pattern you can offer informal, outdoor activities for the dens and pack. Your pack can qualify for the National Summertime Pack Award by conducting three pack activities - one each during June, July, and August.
Develop strong WEBELOS dens - Recruit strong WEBELOS Den Leaders. Give them an opportunity to use their initiative to develop challenging WEBELOS activity badge projects and outdoor program for their boys.
Plan a fall parents' meeting - Set aside a part of your first open-house pack meeting in the fall to discuss the coming year's plans with them. Emphasize the part they play to help their boys advance; review their obligation as parents to participate in den and pack programs with their boys.
Insist on proper uniforming - Set the example for leaders and boys by being properly uniformed yourself.
Establish a sound budget - Follow the suggestions for the pack thrift plan in the Cub Scout Leaders' book
Stress physical fitness - Promote and encourage den leaders to teach simple skills, stunts, and contests that will help the boys achieve agility, strength, and coordination.
Take training - Take advantage of all training opportunities and encourage your pack's leaders to do so, too.