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Baloo's Bugle


January 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 6
February 2004 Theme

Webelos Engineer & Scholar
  Tiger Cub Achivement #



Working with Challenging Adults

Commissioner Scott

Hudson Valley Council

A few weeks ago I went to the Hudson Valley Council Pow Wow and attended a great session on this topic.  Commissioner Scott was well organized and thoroughly knew his topic and graciously sent me a copy of his outline to share with you.  Let’s give him a big Heap How!!  CD

Step 1 - Be Proactive vs. Reactive

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The best way to deal with a problem is to avoid having the problem.  Proactive actions are usually seen in a positive light. Where as reactive actions are often seen as negative. 


Here are nine proactive actions you can take to prevent problems with adults -


Is the essence of being proactive


Remember the 5 P’s


Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance


Always have plans B, C, D, E, F & G and more!


Get as much input from those affected as possible


Give as much advance notice as possible – avoid calendar conflicts, etc.


Make sure to communicate your plan to those who need to know (see below)


Hold meaningful Annual Pack Planning meetings, Den meetings, Pack meetings, etc.

Know the program


Go to Training (see next item)


Follow established policies  found in resources such as the Cub Scout Leaders Book, the Guide to Safe Scouting, and other Scout Handbooks, …


Follow the procedures – file that tour Permit two weeks ahead of the trip


Regulations – have two adults at every event


Understand the Rank advancement requirements.  Learn the scouting vocabulary used in the requirements and what it means.  E.G. – Show or tell means for the Scout to show or tell you something, not you to show or tell the Scout something.



A well trained leader is better able to adapt to problems as they occur and to address issues as they arise


It will build your confidence –


It will help you to know the program (see above)


Go to all levels of training - New Leader Essentials, Youth Protection Training , Cub Scout Leader Position Specific Training, BALOO / Webelos Leader Outdoor Training


Attend Roundtables, Universities of scouting, and Pow-Wows to meet with other Scouters, share information, get ideas and new resources.

Communications (The Big “C” Word)


Don’t ASSUME people know what’s going on or that they understood what you said –

Be clear / get feedback.


Talk with people (face-to-face)


LISTEN! (Study showed that over 95% of all people listen with the intent of responding versus understanding)


Watch! – Body language can tell you how well you are doing


Newsletters / meeting programs / announcements all are one way communications – follow up to be sure the message was delivered.

Know / embrace the things that create the most “issues” with the adults and address them before hand:


These are usually competition-related

Communicate (see above)


Who’s in charge? Leadership (see next item)



Using Pinewood Derby as an example -

Giving Ribbons vs. trophies – less competition


Set rules way before hand


A Race for adults could eliminate Dad’s need to show off with his son’s car

Selecting Leadership

Use the process in the publication, Selecting Cub Scout Leadership published by National Council.  It is Bin Item 13-500 or is available on line at www.housatonicbsa.org.  Click on Cub Scouting under site index and then Selecting a Cub Scout Leader.


Be selective, Take time to talk with prospective leaders,

Get to know them; they have significant impact on the boys

Check references


Nurture an atmosphere that makes leadership special, valuable and valued


Apathetic leaders will create problems


Nurture leadership - start them off slow – working on a committee or event team (Blue & Gold, trip, overnighter)

Parent Involvement

Get them involved!


Use the “Parent and Family Talent Survey Sheet”

When you’re part of the team it’s harder (not impossible) to criticize.

Have fun (see below) – when you’re having fun it’s harder (again, not impossible) to be a problem

Make sure everybody participates at Pack meetings, etc.

Be clear about/communicate your needs

Face-to-face / one-on-one

Be specific as to you needs when asking – Tiger program, activity needs (drive, phone calls, etc.)

Start “small”/slow, ease them in to things

Don’t forget to thank them – publicly and privately

Everybody needs a pat on the back and it costs nothing

Keep at it

Don’t get discouraged

It’s work to keep people involved

What didn’t work yesterday may work today

Don’t take today’s involvement for granted tomorrow


Have F-U-N


Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, defined Scouting as “Fun with a Purpose”


KISMIF – Keep It Simple, MAKE IT FUN!


It’s hard to be “a problem” (not impossible) when you’re having fun.


Avoid routine / boredom – don’t use the same ceremony twice, always camp at the same place, see the same team in action.


Get everybody involved (see above) at Den meetings, Pack activities / outings, and Pack meetings


Never act your age! People will respond and have fun, as long they don’t feel obvious.  The more active the


Cubmaster (Emcee) is, the less obvious the audiences feels, the more they will respond.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Laugh hard, loud and at yourself

Corny joke time, hats, horns,

I love that part!! Commissioner Dave

Sing! Yes definitely – a good, active song leader can get even the most self-conscious person to sing out!!

Appreciate the wonder of being 8 years old…

And always remember –


IT’S ABOUT THE BOYS! (4 words / 15 letters)

If you’re in Scouting for any other reason,

You’re in it for the wrong reason!!


Focus/always keep coming back to “Why am I here? – The BOYS”


This attitude will help make issues with adults not look too big or seem too important.


It is why the Den Leader is the most important leader – without a good Den Leader; there will not be a quality den program.  Without quality den programs, there will be NO BOYS.  Without boys you don’t need Cubmasters, Roundtable Commissioners, District Execs and Commissioners or Councils!! 


Ask yourself - Why am I a Leader??

Read the poem in the Prayers and Poems section!

Then read it aloud to your adults, they’ll get the message

Constantly remind people why you’re there – the BOYS (including their son)


Step #2 - But remember -

Problems will happen

So there will be times when you need to be Reactive

These are usually negative and problem based.  With so many people/personalities in a unit they are unavoidable – expect them, accept them

Six hints for handling these are -


Again, 95% of people listen with the intent of responding NOT understanding (try and be one of the 5%)

Empathize – put yourself in the other persons shoes

Be sensitive


The problem may not be with you or Scouting. There may be issues at home (i.e. divorce, laid off from work, etc.)

The problem/issue/concern may be valid


Try to focus on the facts and NOT the emotions.


Be big enough to admit when something is/you’re wrong – it may be simply a misunderstanding or bad communication


Remember you’re only human – we ALL make mistakes.

“I’m sorry” goes a long way

Be responsive / Take responsibility


Don’t let things slide. People want to feel as if they’ve been heard and understood


If something’s wrong – FIX IT!


If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT - when you say you’re going to do it.


Learn from mistakes – they’re great teachers!

Don’t hold a grudge


Let things go




You may have to agree to disagree


Not every problem is resolvable


Not every “challenging” adult can be turned around

Use Other resources


Other leaders – maybe you know someone else who has been through what you’re going through and can lend a different perspective.

Be careful that resentment doesn’t fuel the fire


Unit Commissioners, Commissioner staff, Professional staff,  District Executive, etc, all are there to help you!

and please remember…




If you want to reach Commissioner Scott, you can E-mail him at pemaquid@frontiernet.net




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