Becoming a Leader
Cub Scouting relies on volunteers to be pack leaders. Volunteers come from all backgrounds and experiences. Plumbers, lawyers, homemakers, teachers, doctors, janitors, and scientists—people from just about every occupation imaginable—are involved in leading youth to become responsible, caring, and competent citizens. They also quickly discover that Scout volunteering lets them learn new skills and build lifelong friendships while having fun.
Some of the roles you might fill to support a Cub Scout pack are these:
- Cubmaster. The Cubmaster's most visible duty is to emcee the monthly pack meeting. Behind the scenes, the Cubmaster works with the pack committee to plan and carry out the pack program and helps coordinate the efforts of the den leaders. A Cubmaster may be assisted by one or more assistant Cubmasters.
- Den Leader. The den leader conducts weekly meetings for a smaller group of boys and helps coordinate the den's contribution to the monthly pack meeting. A den leader is typically assisted by at least one assistant den leader.
- Pack Committee. The pack committee works with the Cubmaster to plan and carry out the pack program. The committee also coordinates major events and secures support for the pack. The committee consists of a chairperson and other members who may have particular functions, such as finance, marketing, advancement, or outdoor program.
- Function Committees. Some pack events have special-purpose committees. Holding a Scouting for Food drive, pinewood derby, blue and gold banquet, pack graduation, or field day requires more planning and coordination than a typical pack meeting.
- Parent Helpers. Some events need extra adults to help the pack leaders. A parent can pitch in by driving a vehicle for a field trip, helping prepare lunch at a day camp, supervising an event at a field day, or supporting unit leaders on an as-needed basis.
The Benefits of Leadership
Volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America is a way for adults to work with youth to build a better future for everyone. Besides giving valuable service to youth in their communities, volunteers find that they reap many personal benefits from being a leader in Cub Scouting.
- Parenting Skills. Scout volunteering helps adults develop closer connections with children. Volunteers agree that their experience in leading youth has helped them learn to relate to young people and inspire them. Almost nine of 10 volunteers say Scout volunteering has helped them become better parents.
- Ethical and Moral Character Development. Scouting promotes ethical and moral character development in youth. Volunteers become role models for these traits as they lead and participate in activities with youth and other adults. Through their leadership, volunteers enhance their own ethical and moral decision making. They feel the experience makes them more honest and trustworthy.
- Management and Leadership Skills. In member recruitment, fund-raising, leader recruitment, and program planning, volunteers get opportunities to set and achieve goals. Volunteers say these experiences carry over into their work life, making them better managers and employees.
- Conservation. Scouting teaches young people and adults to live by the Outdoor Code: Be clean in one's outdoor manners, be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation-minded. Many volunteers come to Scouting with a strong commitment to the environment, and most indicate that through volunteering they have heightened their environmental awareness and developed or improved their conservation skills.
- Community Spirit. Volunteers agree that Scouting encourages them to become involved in other organizations. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Scout volunteers also volunteer for other youth groups. Scout volunteers give time to religious youth organizations, youth sports associations, parent-teacher associations/organizations, Girl Scouts, 4-H, YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
- Citizenship. Volunteering leads to greater participation in community service activities that range from collecting food and clothing for local shelters, to planting trees, to picking up trash in local parks. Scout volunteering also builds leaders' pride in their communities and in being Americans. An overwhelming majority (90 percent) feel that volunteering for Scouts has helped them become a better citizen.
- Communication Skills. In their many roles, volunteers are called upon to communicate with Scouts, other volunteers, community leaders, and parents. Not surprisingly, many volunteers say this experience has helped them become better listeners and communicators.
- Physical Fitness. Scout volunteers believe the activities they do in Scouting help their overall physical health. Volunteers report that they have developed or improved their camping, hiking, and swimming skills because of Scout volunteering.
- Enjoyment. Scout volunteering is just plain fun: "you get to be a kid again in a way," said one volunteer. More than a fourth of the volunteers agree that their Scouting activities help them reduce the stress and anxiety in their lives.
More than 1.2 million adult volunteers give their time and skills to the development of youth through the Boy Scouts of America. An overwhelming majority (96 percent) of these volunteers say their experience has been so positive that they would recommend volunteering for the Boy Scouts of America to others.
Any parent or chartered organization member is usually welcome to pitch in and help with the pack, and there are no formal requirements for periodic or temporary assignments. But to serve in an ongoing role, you must register as an adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America by submitting an adult leader application.
This application must be approved by the pack, the local council, and the national office. The requirements are fairly straightforward:
- You must be 21 years of age or older. (For some positions, such as assistant Cubmaster or assistant den leader, the minimum age is 18.)
- You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
- You must agree to abide by the Scout Oath and Law and subscribe to the Declaration of Religious Principle.
- You must be a person of good moral character and satisfactorily pass a criminal background check.
In some cases, being highly active in the pack or chartered organization, having experience working with youth, and having specialized skills can also be beneficial, but are not strictly required.
How to Volunteer
If you are highly active in the pack or its chartered organization, a time may come when the pack approaches you to fill a leadership position. However,you may wish to make your interest known to the pack leaders (the Cubmaster or committee chair). Or, if you wish to volunteer to help the district or council, contact the local council service center or speak with your district executive.
There's no guarantee that you will be selected for a leadership position right away. The selection process is fairly competitive, and you may be competing with a large number of candidates for a small number of positions. But packs and councils are always grateful for volunteers and should be able to find a place where you can help out until the exact position you're interested in comes open.