Tuesday Talkback: How do you get more dads involved in Cub Scouting?

Tuesday-TalkbackMoms do Cub Scouting, and dads do Boy Scouting.

For the longest time, that was mostly true. Just look at the now-defunct position of Den Mother (there was no “Den Father”) for proof.

Fortunately, times have changed.

At roundtables and camporees these days, you’ll see dads wearing blue epaulets and moms wearing green ones. And that’s a good thing.

But there are still some dads out there, many of them Eagle Scouts, who prefer to wait until their son crosses over into Boy Scouting before getting involved.

“I was one of those Eagle Scouts,” former Scoutmaster M.K. says. “I was waiting for my sons to enter Boy Scouting so we could do the ‘real’ stuff. But my smarter-than-me wife reminded me that if my boys did not enjoy Cub Scouting, they probably would not become Boy Scouts. … I became a den leader, Webelos leader, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and father of two Eagle Scouts”

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, let’s figure out how to find more men like M.K. We already know there are countless examples of outstanding women in Scouting; you’ll find them in every pack, troop and crew in the country.

But today I want your ideas on how to get more dads involved earlier in the program.

Share your thoughts below. For inspiration, read this 2012 Scouting magazine piece called “How to get Eagle Scout dads to help Cubs” that shares tips including M.K.’s idea I pasted above.


Photo from Flickr:  Some rights reserved by Jim Larrison

52 thoughts on “Tuesday Talkback: How do you get more dads involved in Cub Scouting?

  1. My kids mother refused to do anything related to Scouts. I did Joey’s (we lived in Australia) and Cubs with my sons. Moved back and one son (now an adult) and I are still doing BSA

  2. In the first pack we were in, the den meetings were held at night. All the dens met together for flag ceremony and then split off to separate dens. The male/female leader ratio was about even.
    The next pack, den meetings were held in the afternoon on the day when most of our schools get out early for “teacher prep”. Those den leaders were mostly women, with committee and Cubmaster more likely to be male.
    Now that I’m a den leader, I do it in the afternoon as well on the day the schools let out earlier. I suppose I could do it in the evening but that means that some cub scouts would be going home in the dark during the winter. I prefer to let the kids that walk home go home in the light. Our pack is female with a male cubmaster.
    I think it boils down to “who is home without toddlers to take care of”.

  3. I am an Eagle Scout. I earned my Eagle at age 16. When I turned 18, I just filled in the form and I was an Assistant Scoutmaster. I was never a Cub Scout, but I did want to join, but my parents were unwilling. We moved to a different State (my parents’ home state) and my father’s classmate happened to be a Scoutmaster of a Troop not in our area. As chance would have it, I went to a private school and quite a number of the boys were at the same school, so I knew quite a number of other boys. We went, I joined. Later we moved to where it was close.

    Fast forward a few decades, I tried to get my son into Cub Scouts for quite a while. Finally, his best friend, who joined as a Tiger, got my son to join. He got in when his age and grade would put him into Webelos I. I re-joined and became Assistant Cubmaster. Later I moved to become the Chartered Organization Representative, so I had to also connect with the Troop since I was a board member of the PTA who was our Chartered Organization. For the Crossover camp, Webelos I are invited to the camp, but focus was on Webelos II, so the first year of joining, my son and I went. I had a got to know the leadership. There are 14 ASMs one of them a mother. For our pack we had three fathers as Den Leaders, the other two were mothers. After the Cubmaster’s son got his Arrow of Light, and crossed over, he left since he was already ASM because his older son is a Boy Scout. Since I had only about a year, and not a good cutoff time, the Bear Den Leader became Cubmaster so she was getting ready to take over, but now needed another Den Leader, who would be taking them to Webelos. A mother immediately stepped up. When my son got his Arrow of Light, the Cubmaster remained, everyone except the Tiger den leader moved up with their Den. The Tiger Leader stayed as Tiger Leader for her next son. This left Wolf with no leader, but a father quickly stepped in. No void. We are really lucky. Did it take a while to convince him, not really. But when he was a Tiger Parent, he took over when the Den Leader could not be there. So, he already knew how to run a Den. So, we lost one father when his Den crossed over to the Boy Scouts, but we gained one a father for Wolf. So, net, three fathers and two mothers. That father said he’d be willing to follow his son, as Den Leader all the way to Arrow of Light.

    Except for the “field activities” we have the Dens meet once a month on a Sunday and we have the Pack meeting right after. So, parents meet other parents. So being a Den Leader is actually not a difficult position to fill. I attribute this to having the Pack meeting right after the Den meetings. So the non Den leader parents are there and the socialize during the Den meeting times, but need to be there for the Pack meetings where we do our announcements. The Den Chiefs get the Cubs moving in some kind of activity, so we meet with the parents. The only position we have a hard time is Cubmaster. We had someone who was willing to be, but he goes out of state for three months of the year (he is in the military) and has to go to Virginia. We were all set, until, he now has to spend 4 months of the year away, so he rescinded his offer saying he cannot commit to the duties of Cubmaster since he is away so much. I can’t take that position in the Pack (nor the Troop) since I am the COR. So, we are actively seeking a Cubmaster as the current ones term ends this Summer. Her husband is an ASM for the Troop, we just had our Arrow of Light, so the Cubmaster’s son is now a Boy Scout. We also have parents who have sons in the Troop and the Pack. So, Pack/Troop ties are very strong. Although my son is the Boy Scouts, I still go to all the Pack meetings.

    Also, I really liked being an ASM, so I rejoined the Troop where I got my Eagle as an ASM, but not the same troop that my son is in (where I am COR). The Pack of the Troop where I am ASM was floundering, so I became it’s Cubmaster. I am starting the monthly Pack meetings with Den meetings preceding the Pack meeting just like the other organization. Here we have huge problems finding Den Leaders because the Pack meetings are few and far between, everything is left up to the dens. This leaves anyone who could or would be Den Leader if they felt like they had some help. Instead they feel left to their own devices, but the strength of the Pack where I am COR, is in the constant, at least once a month on a Sunday late afternoon, Den then Pack meetings, so no one has to offer up their homes for Den meetings, also you meet with other experienced Den leaders who help out the new leaders. Pack meetings drive a lot. We have had a National Yo-yo Champion, Police, Fire and once even had a police SWAT team give presentations to the Pack, on what SWAT does and what they use for equipment (not just the guns, but the electronics). A father (my son’s Den Leader) is a First Aid,CPR, AED trainer as his job, we always have several doctors (MDs), engineers, contractors they all help with belt loops. Thus we miss out these opportunities when we don’t do so much as a Pack. Sure Pinewood Derby, Rain Gutter Regatta and Space Derby (we also do rockets), but parents are virtual strangers to each other. Not having regular Pack meetings makes it hard to nail down the charter, because everything feels disjointed.

    I think regular Pack meetings are the key, but they must be interesting and fun. Get the parents to meet one another.

  4. I ask them to come to the meetings and help out. We typically have 2-3 dads come to our Webelos 1 meetings still. I say “When they turn 18, you won’t regret having spent an hour a week with them in Scouting.” I see sons hug their dads all the time and thank them for coming or spending time with them. I have never seen a dad frown when that happens.

  5. I don’t know if it was because my den had a lot of active parents, but I was able to get parents of both genders to volunteer a lot. While I asked for a Talent Survey from the parents, I did not always get them back but found out what people did for a living thru various methods.

    Once then, I asked for help in particular areas. I asked the Bike Riding Fathers (2 of them) to lead our Bear requirements for bicycling. With a dozen Scouts, we set up 4 stations with the 2 parents, the Asst DL & myself at them. The Scouts were in twos or threes & rotated through the stations to complete the requirements–hands on–of course.

    I ask the Engineering Dad to help out on the Webelos Engineering Pin. I had the physical fitness Mom who worked out every day take the lead for those activities. Whatever their talent, I made sure I ask them to help out. People like doing things that they do for a living or for a hobby.

    My asking went even further than the parents. I ask the local state legislator to come in to help out with my Citizenship requirements, a local music teacher for the Showman Webelos pin, the principal for scholar pin, and several of my friends to take care of many of the other requirements.

    I don’t think I ever had anyone say “no” but sometimes had to adjust my schedule to fit theirs for their activity. That was no problem as I did something I was good at & swapped it on the calendar for the date my expert was available.

    As the video suggests, ask for something small and then move up from there.

  6. I am the Cubmaster of a Pack with 38 boys (we have 27 families, as some of the cubs are brothers).

    Within these 27 families there are 9 with both a mom and dad in the kids’ lives (either mom and dad are married, or there is a step-parent, or the parents are divorced/separated but both are local enough and connected to the kid’s life with shared custody or involvement). There are 13 single-moms, 1 single-dad, 2 families with same-sex parents (who aren’t welcome to be leaders in the BSA); 1 cub being raised by his grandmother (his parents are both decided), and 1 cub in the foster care system.

    Out of 38 boys there are only 10 dads…and 8 of them are registered and engaged volunteers in the pack already.

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