Cub Scouting and the Commissioner

John Fooks, Past Council Commissioner, Longs Peak Council

It is my pleasure to pick up on one of Rick Cronk's key points—a special emphasis by commissioner leaders on Cub Scouting.

Cub Scouting is our entry-level program. First impressions are pretty important to a boy and his family. Tiger Cubs gets families initially involved. We as commissioners want to see that a boy's first experience in Scouting is a big success. Cub Scouting is a five-year program; that's an awesome opportunity to influence a boy—so Cub Scout retention is important. Eighty-seven percent of Boy Scouts have been Cub Scouts, thus healthy packs also influence Boy Scouts. Yes, a boy's first year in the program is critical!

In a moment, I will share a few very basic action ideas for commissioner service to packs. But first, let me suggest several steps that council commissioners may want to take with respect to this emphasis:

First—get together with your staff adviser and/or Scout executive to plan how to best carry out a Cub Scouting emphasis with your council's commissioners.

Second—discuss the specifics of service to packs at your next monthly council commissioner meeting.

Third—ask district commissioners to give a Cub Scout focus at their next district commissioner meetings. Be sure they support it.

Fourth—ask your staff adviser to review this topic at the next council staff meeting. Be sure they also support it.

Fifth—give each district commissioner key Cub Scouting resources.

And Sixth—Give your next council commissioner conference or "college" a Cub Scouting focus.

Now for some Cub Scouting action ideas for commissioners:

  1. The den meeting. Fellow commissioners, let's start with square one—uno—first—foremost—let's set aside every other aspect of Cub Scouting for a moment and start exactly at the point where boys really receive the greatest values of Cub Scouting. That's in the den!

  2. Have your pack leaders do a den health check.
  3. Are den meetings fun and attention grabbing?
  4. Do all den leaders plan meetings in advance using the Cub Scout Den Meeting Program Sheet, No. 33826A?
  5. Are the dens retaining their youth members?
  6. Talk with the Cubmaster to be sure each den leader is the best kind of person to work directly with boys.
  7. Is every new boy quickly assigned to a den?
  8. Promote den visibility outside of homes and church basements in uniform. Good visibility helps boys feel good about being Cub Scouts and encourages other families to join.

  9. Suggest age-appropriate community service projects to den and pack leaders.
  10. Discuss with pack leaders the kinds of den activities and trips that are fun and exciting for boys.
  11. Give priority to packs that need the most help. Identify the "hurry cases" that are unit life-threatening. Then quickly administer the correct "first aid." These include:

  12. Dens not meeting
  13. A pack with missing den leaders or Cubmaster
  14. A pack with no committee
  15. A pack with no new Cub Scouts
  16. A pack in conflict with its chartered organization
  17. A den or pack with weak leadership
  18. Dens that are continually losing youth members
  19. At district commissioner staff meetings, be sure adequate time is set aside for ADCs and their respective teams of unit commissioners to review the health of each pack and plan who will help meet specific unit needs during the month ahead.
  20. Be sure all den leaders and Cubmasters have Basic Leader Training.

  21. This is a big priority.
  22. Check the record—who still needs training?
  23. If the pack has a pack trainer, help the Cubmaster or pack committee chair guide the pack trainer in his/her training promotion responsibilities.
  24. As a last resort, take leaders to training.
  25. As a last, last resort, bring training to the pack.
  26. Boys who advance usually stay in the pack!

  27. Be sure pack leaders show parents how they help their sons advance.
  28. Be sure den leaders fill den meetings with activities that help boys advance.
  29. Are advancement records kept and displayed in den and pack meetings?
  30. Help pack leaders give boys prompt recognition in colorful ceremonies.
  31. Packs with summertime activities usually have a high boy retention rate!

  32. Be sure your packs plan a pack outdoor activity and/or pack meeting in June, July, and August that will encourage dens to meet all summer.
  33. Encourage packs to earn the National Summertime Pack Award.
  34. Help your packs take advantage of the wonderful world of resident Cub Scout camp.
  35. At charter renewal time during your help with the membership inventory, help pack leaders give attention to why any Cub Scout has been left off the renewal form.
  36. Unit commissioners should periodically visit pack leader meetings as well as pack meetings to determine how well packs are delivering fun and meaningful program to boys.
  37. Here are four tools to help commissioners serve packs:
  38. Commissioner Helps for Packs, Troops and Crews, No. 33618D, is chock-full of handy tips on helping packs upgrade pack program. It suggests specific commissioner actions to help pack leaders meet specific program standards.
  39. Unit Commissioners Worksheet (Pack), No. 34125A, helps commissioners identify those parts of pack operation that need help.
  40. Cub Scout Program Helps, No. 34304E, has complete plans for den and pack meetings.
  41. Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221B, is an essential reference for Cub Scout leaders on program planning, activities, forms, and guidelines on every aspect of Cub Scouting.

These are a few priority actions for commissioners in serving Cub packs. Follow up and follow through. Expect your commissioners to be thorough. I am convinced that if as commissioners we carry out these key actions, we will help Cub Scouting thrive. Pack leaders will be successful. Boys will have fun and stay in the program. And, most important, Scouting values will become a part of the lives of America's youth.