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Baloo's Bugle

February 2006 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 13, Issue 7
March 2007 Theme

Theme: Baloo Skies
Webelos: Athlete & Engiineer
Tiger Cub


Selecting Quality Leaders

I would think that the most effective way to have a successful Cub Scout program is to get the best leaders for your pack or your den. When we see leaders who are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and confident – who command the respect of the boys, the parents and other leaders – who are committed to reaching the goals of the Cub Scout program – then we also see packs and dens operating at their best.

There’s no doubt about it. Good packs are led by good leaders.

Now the national council has a wonderful pamphlet:

Selecting Quality Leaders (#13-500)  that provides step-by-step instructions on how to do just that. It works. I have seen it used dozens of times and used successfully. It almost seems like magic when a well qualified leader is chosen, how she or he can produce results. It’s a real joy to see these folks – some quite young and brand-new to Scouting take this program to new heights.

However, much more often, I have seen the hunt for leaders in October go totally wrong. There was no selection. Quality was a non issue. It consisted mostly of a desperate organizer – Cubmaster, Commissioner or DE – begging someone – anyone – to step forward and take over this band of ruffians in blue. What we get then is a mixed bag. For most people, this plea for a sacrificial volunteer is the signal to sit on one’s hand and not move a muscle.

So, you may well ask, why don’t they use the method that National advocates?

Two reasons: first, hardly anyone has ever seen that pamphlet. I would guess that only a few of you have a copy of 13-500 sitting along side your copies of the Cub Scout Leader’s How-To Book and Program Helps. It just doesn’t seem to show up at Roundtables, Pow Wows or UOS very often. I rarely see a DE toting a bundle of them or a rack full in a service center.

Secondly, the steps in Selecting Quality Leaders can only work if you really know the individuals in the group you are selecting from. If you are trying to zero in on the best potential leader from a bunch of strangers, you are operating from a position of distinct disadvantage.

Just look at the list of qualifications in 13-500 to which we should rate each candidate as: Yes, No or Don’t Know.

  • Accepts the ideals and principles of the BSA
  • Sets a positive example as a role model
  • Has the ability to delegate tasks
  • Advocates youth development and growth.
  • Appreciates the outdoors
  • Has some experience in group activity
  • Wins the confidence of parents, youth, and the community.
  • Listens and builds rapport with others
  • Is willing to invest time for training leadership.
  • Is an active member of the CO

How can we make a fair selection unless we know a lot about the parents of our Cub Scouts and others associated with the pack? Chances are we will end up with a lot of Don’t Knows.

Yet selecting leaders is our job. I know most of you are involved because you want the best for boys. But you can only get the best if you have the leaders and involve all the parents at some level. It’s our job – no matter what your position is in Scouting -  to work with parents and leaders as well as boys. It’s also our job to ensure that the future of our pack lies in good hands.

Whenever I hear the comment: Well I ‘m in it only for the boys.  I wonder if that gang of Tigers will ever make to Webelos or even get to trade in their orange neckerchiefs for the yellow ones.

It’s my job, it’s your job, it’s everybody’s job

In order to know them, you have to care about them. Here are a few ideas on how Cu Scout leaders can care about parents and others and get to know them.

Parent Parties (let’s not call them meetings)

Throw a party for the parents of your den, or the whole pack – or maybe the kindergarten class at your school. This can work for any group of parents. Make it informal and fun. Use refreshments, prizes and especially name tags. Get to meet as many as you can. Find out a little bit about them. You don’t need to push Cub Scouting at them – the object is to make friends and learn a bit about each one.

Local Organizations

Get involved with local groups at your school, your church, sports or recreation committees where you can see these people in action. PTA, RE committee in your churche and Home School support groups are often excellent good places to meet dedicated and talented adults. You may find that members of your pack are already in some of these groups. Enlist their aid when you select leaders.

Survey Sheets

The Parent Talent Survey Sheet provided at training and others like it are great tools. I have found a couple interesting examples available on MSWORD. Just building a data base of what parents can do and are willing to do can be very helpful when you search for help.

The main point here is to select leaders rather that beg for volunteers.

The Six Steps to Select a Leader

This is the method outlined in 13-500.

  • Appoint the Leadership Selection Team: You can do this right now. You don’t need to wait until the boys are standing there waiting for a leader. It might even help to form a separate team for each leader you may need.
  • List and Appraise Prospects. Never assume anyone will refuse. Put their names on your list.
  • Make an Appointment with the Prospect.  Don’t try cornering you prospect at a meeting.
  • Call on the Prospect. Go with someone the prospect knows and respects.
  • Welcome the New Leader. Make a big show out of it.
  • Fast Start Training. And, of course, New Leader Essentials, and Job Specific.

When you call to make the appointment, it is usually best to not reveal the specific request you will make. You may say, “We would like to talk to you about a situation in our Cub Pack that needs some help.” rather than, “We want you to take over the Webelos den next week.”  This approach gives your selection team the opportunity to first tell the prospect why they think he or she is the best person to do the job.

Do Your Best

Remember, these boys are precious. They deserve the best leaders we can find. And these leaders deserve the best training and support that the rest of us can supply. Make sure that both boys and leaders get the best. That’s our motto.

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