Turning Parents Into Leaders

Leader Recruiting Topics on this Page (click to jump):

Review of Great Ideas for Recruiting Leaders

Recruiting More Leaders may be the hardest Recruiting Step – sadly, there is no single “Silver Bullet” to solve this, but we have lots of “Silver Buckshot” that you can use and something will hit the target!

  • See this Video for a Rundown of Leader Recruiting Really Great Ideas:
    • From Creating a Culture of Leading to Organizing Your Job “Help Wanted” List,
    • covering How to Communicate the Need to Lead
    • plus Recognition to Reward Leaders and Helpers
    • Right-Sizing your Roles and Program to make it easier for Parents to Participate as Leaders.
  • This video follows the “50 Ways to Lure a Leader” list posted in the Downloads below.

  • See also this Video Playlist for the recent “Cub Scout Engagement Series – Tips for Building Your Pack Leadership Team”:
    • “Create a Culture of Leading”
    • “Activities as a Lure for Leaders”
    • “Communicating With Adults About Leading”
    • “Resources to Turn Parents into Leaders”
    • “Recognition of Helpers and Leaders (Show Appreciation)”
    • “Legacy: Succession Plans and the Future of Your Pack”

Turning Parents into Helpers, and Helpers into Leaders

Do You Want – Or Do You Need – More Parent Involvement?  If you get a lot of youth to sign up you need even more adults to deliver the program. 

A fully functioning Cub Scout Pack must have the following: (1) a Cubmaster, (2) Den Leaders or Co-Leaders for each den (of 6 to 8 Scouts in the same grade), (3) a Chartered Organization Representative, (4) a Committee Chair, (5) several Committee Members performing key support functions, and, ideally, (6) Assistants for Cubmasters and Den Leaders.

  • Many Packs don’t have all those roles filled with engaged active leaders.
  • Or some Packs have enough now, but if there is a big influx of new Scouts, a Pack that used to have 45 Scouts with 6 Den Leaders and now has 90 Scouts will need 6 more Den Leaders and more help overall.
  • Every Den and Pack needs help doing parts of the leader jobs and the support of Den and Pack operations and activities.
  • Most Packs benefit from constant leader recruitment effort. Be aware of how parents might help.

Ask The Right Question – in the Right Way! 

One way is to First Turn Parents into Helpers – Then Turn Helpers into Leaders.  Most people, when asked to “be” the Den Leader or Cubmaster or Committee Chair, will say “no”, or “I can’t do all that” or “no, I don’t know what that involves“.

  • The bad news: not enough are really eager to “be the Leader” without the right request.
    • A “group question” of “who wants to be den leaders” usually doesn’t turn up enough volunteers, and maybe not the right ones.
    • But there are many ways to ask, and many ways to structure the roles you want to fill.
  • The good news:  most parents are “willing to help”, but they worry about taking on too big a job and not having enough help from others.
    • Current leaders should find ways to help turn Parents into Helpers.
      • As parents get engaged, find ways to turn those Parent Helpers into Leaders.
      • Showing that most of the parents in a Den are willing to help can free one of the team of helpers to be willing to lead those helpers.
    • Having “co-leaders” or a team is a good approach too (just be sure someone steps up to coordinate everyone on the team).
      • An optimal "co-leader" approach is to have the team include someone from each family.  (It takes a village, right?)
      • Then they may decide who will take the lead on each Adventure (meeting) or other activity.
      • Or what team of "co-leaders" will take the lead.
  • Don’t Aim Too High (Right Away).  Don’t ask people (right away) to be Den Leader or Cubmaster or Committee Chair – unless you really know they can say “yes” and do it well – because that role will seem too hard for most people.
    • Instead, get to know them and ask how they’d like to help.
    • Once you get to know them, you can give them suggestions about the right role for them.
    • Maybe start them out as a helper on an event team.  Maybe an “Assistant” Den Leader.  Got a team?  They can each register as a Den “Co-Leader”.
    • Encourage general “Committee Member” registration because the more parents who take “Youth Protection Training”, the better for them and the better for your Pack.
  • Group Asks?  Tell A Group You’re Going to Ask – But Ask One on One!  If you ask a group for volunteers, each individual may think “not me”.  They may think that you meant to ask “somebody else” – so when you ask, also ask each individual one on one for something they can do.
    • But ... how do you get people to say “yes, I’ll help” ... and then “yes, I’ll be a leader!”
    • A key to recruiting helpers and leaders is:
      • Did you ask?
      • And did you ask a question that they can answer “Yes” to?
  • Small Task Ask.  A small request, like “here’s an Adventure Plan … could you lead the Scouts and Parents in <this small part>?  Don’t worry, what you need to do is printed right there!
    • That should be a pretty easy question for a parent to say "yes" to.
    • More ideas on getting parents to say “yes” follow below.
  • Some other good news is that the Atlanta Area Council is making Cub Scout program tools readily available through resources like atlantabsa.org/CubScoutAdvance – so any parent can “lead and succeed”. 
    • The job of the Den Leader can be different if more parents “share the lead and share the load”.
    • Instead, the Den Leader can lead the parents, by sharing with parents resources for parents to lead their own Scouts like atlantabsa.org/CubScoutAdvance and fun ideas like atlantabsa.org/FunActivities
  • Celebrate your helpers as “Heroes” – because they are!
    • When you recognize and applaud your helpers, their kids will be so proud.
    • That will help parents turn into helpers and grow into Leaders!
    • Recognize every parent who is "getting it done" for their Scouts – do it live, use emails, Pack newsletters and eBlasts.
  • Celebrate, Part Two: Make Being a Leader Fun!
    • If you’ve been in Scouting for a while, you’ve probably got great friends you’ve made “along the trail” in your Cub Scout Den or Pack or Scouts BSA Troop.
    • Make some time for parent/leaders to get to know each other … you’ll enjoy it, they’ll enjoy it, and you’ll have a better team in place for your Unit.

↑ Back to top of page

Show Organization, Set Expectations, Extend Invitations.

To turn parents into helpers – then turn helpers into leaders – first you need to get organized – and slice and dice your big jobs into small portions that can attract help.

  • Identify what roles you want to recruit for, figure out ways that parents can understand how they can help.
  • But don’t just recruit for Cubmaster and Den Leader and random unassigned committee members.
    • Ask for specific kinds of helpers, so that people who might be Cubmaster and Den Leader see that people will help them and how they will help.
    • Examples below.

Ways to help your Den Leader or Co-Leaders

Support Your Local Den Leader! 

  • Den Leader is the hardest job – and the most rewarding, as a youth facing leader.
  • Below is a message you should share with all your families:

In Cub Scouting, you’re either a Den Leader – or your job is to help your Den Leader.

They say “many hands make light work”.  To make the work light, someone needs to break down the “big roles” into “little jobs” that are “light work” – so it takes work at the outset, but it will pay off.  Because if “many hands” each take on a “little job”, it all gets done – and not by you!

  • Slice and Dice Den Meeting Roles.  You can split up responsibility for the parts of a Den activity or meeting – and share those jobs around.  In a Den activity or meeting, you can divide these parts:
    • Coordinating a “Gathering” activity.
    • Leading the “Opening” ceremony.
    • Sharing segments instructing parts of the Adventure skills
    • Leading Games
    • Putting on a Closing Recognition Ceremony

To make that easier, the Atlanta Area Council makes Cub Scout program tools readily available through resources like atlantabsa.org/CubScoutAdvance – now, any parent can “lead and succeed”. 

  • The Den Leader can lead the parents by sharing those resources and assigning parts to parents. 
  • Every time you get a parent to lead a part, it helps the overall (and long term) health of the Den, because more parents know they can lead.


  • Rotating Den Meeting/Event Leadership.  Another way to organize is to use “rotational leadership” to share the lead of Den Adventures – maybe divide up your Rank’s Adventure choices like this, using Cub Adventure resources:
    • Bobbie and Ben to lead the Bobcat Adventure early on.
    • Hank and Hermione to lead the hiking adventure activities.
    • Carla and Chris for the camping adventure.
    • Steve and Susan for the service project outing adventure.
    • Geri and Gary to do game adventures.
    • Pat and Peter for the citizenship (Duty to Country) adventure.
    • Curt and Clarissa to put together the cooking adventure activities.
    • Nate and Natalie will take the nature adventure parts.

Get people to say “yes” to leading activities, leading games, organizing trips, and building stuff – or use “rotational leadership” of Den Adventures – and you’ll have the leader team your den needs.

  • Plus the job of Den Leader will not be a drag.
  • As you engage these Assistants, get some registered as Assistant Den Leaders too.
  • To engage helpers, use the Cub Scout Pack Skill Survey found in the downloads below.


  • Slice and Dice Den Support Roles.  You can split up “after hours” support roles for the Den – jobs that don’t necessarily require attendance at the activity or meeting – but that shouldn’t have to be done by the Den Leader – are:
    • Sharing pictures and video and your den’s activity story with the Den families and the Pack (and maybe beyond).
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Paparazzi team?
    • Circulating emails about what the next activity is, what to bring, how to prepare.
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Communication team?
    • Bringing snacks for a meeting or organizing food for a weekend activity.
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Snack/Cook team?
    • Updating advancement records and making “badge buys” for loops and pins and other awards that will be earned at an activity or meeting and can be awarded with immediate recognition.
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Advancement team?
    • Making reservations/arrangements for fun field trip activities.
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Activity Planning team?
    • Coordinating product sales (popcorn, camp cards) or other fundraisers.
      • Maybe team up with parents in other dens as the Pack Fundraising team?

You may sense a theme in the phrase “team up with parents in other dens as the Pack <Insert Name> team”.

  • Because that’s a way for the whole Pack to work more effectively …
  • … while everyone still just has a “small role” of what they like to do. 


  • Find the Right Roles for Your Team.  Keep your eye out for how someone can step in and step up and share the lead – find how they want to help!
    • You will see parents in action at activities and get a sense of their interests – who is into nature stuff, who digs arts and crafts, who is a game leader or sports coach, who likes singing and performing, cooking (and eating!) … when in doubt, ask!
    • Then ask for specific help with a small task tied to what they like or can do … and build on that.
    • When someone helps – even a little – make a big deal of how they helped.  (Their Scout will be so proud.)

↑ Back to top of page

Ways to Help the Cubmaster and Committee Chair

Support Your Local Cubmaster and Chair! 

  • The same “Slice and Dice Roles” approach to make “light work” for “many hands” applies to Pack events and Pack support of the Scouts. 
    • Once again, it takes a leader to come up with how to “slice and dice” roles.
    • And be flexible when you find new ways to engage parent volunteers. 
  • Slice and Dice Pack Support and Event Roles.  Rather than looking to the Cubmaster to do everything for a Pack event, you can share the load and lead in many ways:
    • You can split up responsibility for the parts of a Pack activity or meeting – maybe by “Den” (be sure the Den Leader team is on board) or by individuals. 
    • A Pack family campout might  “slice and dice” roles like:
      • Reservations (with the campout location) and Communication.
      • Registration (of Pack families) and Collection (of costs).
      • Cooking Coordination – depending on the size of the Pack, maybe you’ll split that up by:
        • Dens sharing (alternating) the cooking of the 4 or 5 meals (including snacks) that you need to eat on the campout.
        • Dens cooking all their meals for themselves, with maybe different families taking the lead on each meal.
        • Your best cooks doing all of the cooking – and none of the cleanup!
      • Campfire Program
      • Campfire Building
      • Activity Leaders
      • Cleanup and Checkout Coordinators
    • You can “slice and dice” support roles and event leadership for the Pack and Pack functions and activities, and create a team by having volunteers from each Den help with the support or the event – examples are:
      • Pinewood Derby – overall leader and team members from each Den (separate teams could “slice and dice” into track setup, scoring/scoreboard, check in, “welcome” team, repair shop, concessions/food, trophies and awards, Master of Ceremonies, “artistic” judging, driver’s license creation, adult race organizers, public relations … what else do you want to do at your derby?)
      • Back to Pack (Back to School) Event – overall leader and team members from each Den (separate teams could “slice and dice” into event reservation, “Pack packet” creation, “welcome” team, food/cook team, game leaders, public relations, craft leaders, lifeguards, bike repairs … what else do you want to do at your fun event?)
      • Blue & Gold Banquet – overall leader and team members from each Den (separate teams could “slice and dice” into décor team, “welcome” team, program organizer, program design/drafting/printing, food, award organization, Master of Ceremonies, photo array creation/presentation, public relations, VIP invitations, cake!, … what else do you want to do at your Blue & Gold?)
      • Follow the same approach with each event or function of an overall leader (other than the Cubmaster or Committee Chair, though they need Assistants and Committee Members), using (for the bigger events and functions) team members from each Den
        • That would work for fundraisers, advancement (badge buys), big trips, spring camping, field trips, and more.
        • Again, you won’t get volunteers for every event, so Cubmaster and/or Chair will need to step in and run some events, but every time you get someone else to lead, it helps the overall (and long term) health of the Pack.
    • Use these specific roles to identify what Committee Members do – and register those helpers as Committee Members where possible.
  • A Slice and Dice Job Sign-Up Chart.  To help with the process of splitting up jobs so that Den and Pack Leaders don’t do it all, attached below is a Pack Job Sign-Up Chart in a Word Document format that you can revise to fit your Calendar of Fun Activities and Pack Program, and how you organize – and display who has volunteered to lead or help.
    • As you get volunteers, you can complete that, and share it with your Pack.
    • This includes a note that you’ll need to “scale up” your number of Den Leaders if you end up with more than around 10 at any rank level.

↑ Back to top of page

Set Expectations of Parent Helping.

  • Create a culture of parent helpers and parent leaders.  Only a very small Pack can operate with just a couple of people leading the Scouts.
    • Even that approach is hard on those leaders.
    • It is also not fair to the youth, because the Scouts need to see their parents being leaders.
    • The best gift for a Scout is: Get Their Parents Involved.
      • Never do for Parents what Parents can do themselves for their own Scouts.
      • That will help us build “Stronger Families Through Scouting”.
  • The Best Approach is “Every Parent Helps".  Many Packs use a policy called “Every Parent Helps” or “Every Parent Leads”, so that every parent is making a commitment to be a leader and help the leaders.
    • It’s only fair that they know that from the start that every parent helps, and many hands make light work.
    • Cub Scouting is a family program – it shouldn’t be a “drop off” program.
  • Make that policy into “a promise”.  A promise by families signing up, where they see ways to help and can commit to help.
    • With enough "light work" roles on the Pack Job Sign-Up Chart, every parent can help with something.
    • Some Packs use a “point system” to encourage volunteering, so that someone who doesn’t want to lead an event or function can help with several and contribute their fair share.

↑ Back to top of page

Use All Ways To Ask For And Get Volunteers

Consider all ways to get help – one or more will work for your Den and Pack. 

Paper Surveys, Group Pitches, ask for a Show of Hands, surveymonkey.com, signupgenius.com, emails, texts, phone calls, one on one personal asks for a specific job, take a prospect for coffee, remind a parent that it is their time to help – there are lots of ways to get this done, and it is an ongoing process as a Pack plans for a coming year, receives expressions of interest and youth applications, and engages families at events.

  • The Den or Pack “Talk”: We Need Leaders.  At some point – whether a parent planning meeting before back to school “Meet and Greets” start, or at a Sign-Up Event, or as a “breakaway” from a Fun Den or Pack Joining Event – many Packs will need to have “The ‘We Need a Den Leader’ Talk” with parents about Dens, Den Leaders and how your Scouts need more Den Leaders.
    • Attached below is a word document for Den Formation Discussions, with script ideas.
    • This has a script for “the whole Pack” (if you have no Den Leaders at all), as well as scripts for “den by den” discussions to try to get Den Leader and Assistants for Dens with no leaders.
    • As part of that, you might do the “Yardstick/Timeline” demonstration attached below.  Here’s a YouTube video of one way to do it.
  • Parent Socials.  Parent and leader social events are good to do, and good for leader recruiting.
    • Not "meetings", just social events.
    • No “agenda”, maybe a cookout where friends who happen to be leaders can relax and unwind and get to know each other better.  Or a swim party at a lifeguarded pool where the parents do what parents do: hang out by the pool.
    • No “uniforms”.  Just be people.  Maybe relax and enjoy as you like, responsibly.
  • Surveys.  We’ve updated the BSA talent survey see the Cub Scout Pack Skill Survey found in the downloads belowyou can also make your own, tailored to current needs and how you slice and dice your jobs and functions into small portions.
    • This is a good tool, but don’t forget:  ultimately, as you get to know parents, you’re going to ask face to face, because a “one on one” ask is usually needed.
  • Demonstrations of Jobs … and Juggling.  If you have too few leaders doing too many jobs and/or wearing too many “hats” for all the little jobs they do?  Demonstrate that they have too many jobs, but it will work if we share those jobs.  Here’s five ways:
    • Deal Out The Job Cards. In the downloads below is a word document called “Role Cards of Pack and Den Jobs” that lists common Pack Jobs and Den that have to be done by someone – you might have more you want to add.  To make this demonstration work:
      • Free Market Trading of Job Cards?  Maybe let people trade cards to find a job they would like to do.
      • Deal the cards out among the parents attending to show how it might become fair.
      • If it isn’t fair, how can we share?
      • You can deal all of those cards out to the Cubmaster or Den Leader (plan the meetings, lead the meetings, bring snacks, record advancement, coordinate popcorn, buy the badges, run the derby, cut the cars, write the newsletter, etc. etc.) – and ask if it’s fair that all of the cards are held by the Cubmaster or Den Leader.
    • “Too Many Hats”.  Same idea, but attach the cards to “party hats” and show “who wears the hats?” right now.  Yeah, Cubmaster probably wears too many hats.
      • Let everyone see what it looks like when one leader is forced to “wear so many hats”.
      • Move from “wear” all the hats to “share” all the hats so that everyone is wearing one.
      • You can do the same with balloons for each job – show how it is impossible for one person to juggle all of those jobs. 
    • Jobs on the Wall.  In a room where you’re having a parent meeting or social, use painter’s tape to put paper on the wall with each sheet showing a key leader or helper role, like “Assistant Den Leader” or “Pinewood Derby Car Cutter” or “Braves Game Coordinator” plus lead roles like “Tiger Den Leader” and “Campout Coordinator” and “Blue and Gold Host” and other jobs you need to fill or see on the Job Cards in the downloads below.  Maybe have a few words about what the job entails.  Then:
      • Give everyone a few minutes to look at the wall, take a job, put their name on the sheet, and turn it into a leader.
      • When time is called, collect the sheets that have the signups.
      • Then circle the wall, and show what’s not been picked up.
      • The message for anything without a volunteer is:  “We have no “Braves Game Coordinator” – are we saying that we don’t want to get together to go to the Scout Night at the Braves?
  • For More: Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader.  See our resource in the downloads below called Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader, with now over 80 tips and tricks to recruit, recognize, retain, and replace leaders, so that you can have a strong program.  Ideas are from the field – find some that work for you.  These are put into categories of Leader tips, including:
    • Communication with Adults – strategies to set the table, and make the ask
    • Activities as the Lure for Adults – drive Adult interest into Adult leadership
    • Recognition of Leaders and Helpers – never estimate the power of a “Thank You”
    • Your Local Org Chart or Wish List – be sure that your menu of jobs is known, and attractive
    • Right Size Your Jobs – like above, slice and dice jobs into “small portions”
    • Right Size Your Program – if your leaders are stretched too thin, maybe scale back some

There is also a PowerPoint version of this for discussion and training purposes as well as this video version.

↑ Back to top of page

The Key To Leader Recruiting: Start with a “Little Task Ask”

Ask a parent for a big thing, like “will you be the Cubmaster?” or “will you be the Den Leader?”, and they’ll say “no”.

Ask a parent for “Help with This Little Thing” (something specific), they can say “yes”.  For example:

  • If you ask: “can you help lead this small part of a simple den meeting?” and hand them specific instructions, most will say “yes”.
  • We will link plans in our Cub Adventure resources that can be adapted so that a different parent can lead each part of the Adventure.
  • That’s the essence of creating “small portions” of jobs at Den or Pack events, so everyone can be a part of leading the event.

Using Activities as a Tool for Asking for Help and Leadership

Use the steps of “Make a Calendar of Fun Activities and Pack Program” and “Promote Your Pack Program!“ to find helpers and leaders.

  • When you tell a family about the Pack Activities you’ve dreamed up, you’re likely to get a positive response:
    • You might hear “I love that place” or “I always wanted to go there”.
    • Maybe also: “here’s something else we can do”.
  • When you hear that, use your fishing skills and “set the hook” – find out more about what they like and why.  Depending on the parent, you might find yourself with someone who can:
    • Be your assistant at the event.
    • Organize or lead part of the event.
    • Maybe even organize it all and step up to be a leader hero.
  • Repeat this step every time a new family shows interest or attends an event.
    • Keep on the lookout for how to turn parents into helpers and helpers into leaders.
  • For parents who “like” Scouting, but are not yet ready to “lead” Scouting, another “little task ask” might be joining your “Welcome Team” of parents who greet families at events and help new families meet others in your Den and Pack.

↑ Back to top of page

Plan Your Events for Adult Engagement

Consider how a Fun Den or Pack Joining Event could use some help from parents – if Den and Pack leaders are ready to engage parents and give them a task:

  • Instead of planning how “you” will run all parts of the event, figure out how you can delegate parts of it to others.
    • Maybe give choices (but not an “out”):  “would you be able to grill the burgers, or would you like to organize cleanup?”  (They’ll probably grill.)
  • For program parts where you’ll ask a parent to “lead”, be sure they have the tools:
    • If you’re asking them to lead the Cub Scouts in the Scout Oath or Scout Law, be sure to give them a copy of it.
    • If you’re asking a parent to cover the “Six Essentials for Cub Scout Hiking”, be sure to give them an Adventure Plan that includes those.
    • Asking them to lead a game?  (Share the materials and rules).  Lead a craft?  (Share the materials and instructions). 
  • And recognize, recognize, recognize:  be sure to thank the parent for what they did.
    • Their Scout will be so proud, and will encourage their Mom or Dad to help next time too.
    • (Giving away extra/overstock patches or similar free items as part of the recognition will get the Scout’s attention.)
  • For more ideas, see this Cub Scout Ideas page about Getting Parents Involved.

↑ Back to top of page

Advancement as a “Gateway” to Adult Recruiting

Consider how a Fun Den or Pack Joining Event could use some help from parents – if Den and Pack leaders are ready to engage parents and give them a task:

  • Doing a swimming event?
    • Maybe set up some parents to do some simple instruction in water skills or water safety – perhaps something from handbook adventures, like Tiger “Floats and Boats”, Wolf “Spirit of the Water”, Bear “Salmon Run” or Webelos “Aquanaut”.
    • If you have copies of the simpler, Family-Led Plans from those Adventure links (also found through our Cub Adventure resources and in Scouting on Demand), you can give different parents different small parts of the Adventure to teach and lead.
  • Doing a hiking event – even just a short hike with families around a local park?
  • To show all of the parents in a Den that each of them actually can be a Den Leader, see the First Bobcat Adventure Plan found at this First Meeting Plans Page.
    • That plan is full of one “Little Task Ask” after another and could be used at “breakout” gatherings at early Den Fun Activities, or as a first Den Meeting.
      • One parent can lead an opening of the Scout Law.
      • Another can lead the introduction of everyone during “Talk Time”.
      • Another can lead the “Talk Time” discussion of a Den Name.
      • Another can lead a “Code of Conduct” chat.
      • More can share the instruction and testing on the Cub Scout basics.
      • Another can be a Game Leader.
      • Maybe you’ll do some family information scrapbook pages.
      • Asking one parent to “lead it all” can be “too much” – but slicing and dicing the activity like this allows every parent to “lead a little”.
        • Some will realize they can “lead a lot”.
      • This can be guided by another current or former leader, as a mentor who helps the team of new parents succeed.

↑ Back to top of page

Get to Know Your Prospects, Personally.

For key roles like “Den Leader” and “the next Cubmaster”, if you ask a group for volunteers, each individual may think “not me”. They may think that you meant to ask “somebody else” – so when you ask, also ask each individual (who could do the job) one on one for something they can do.

  • When you do ask personally, it’s easier to find the right role for the parent.
    • It’s harder for the parent to say “no”, because if you’re in a one on one talk, you can find something for the parent to help with.
  • For key jobs where you think you have a good chance of success, ask “two on one” or more:
    • As you confirm your engaged leaders, have more than one of you target your next key prospective leaders to “join the team” because “we need you”.
    • Eventually your team of one or two can become a team of ten or twenty.
  • See this “Selecting Quality Leaders” brochure put out by the BSA for Cub Scouting.

Using a carefully planned process like this is very valuable for the larger roles, like Cubmaster, Committee Chair and Den leader.

↑ Back to top of page

Not Enough Leaders Now?  Maybe Less is More?

A pack that is:

  • Swamped with new kids …
  • but short on leaders …

will find it difficult to deliver the Cub Scout program. 

Maybe Less is More

  • Did you know?  Dens don’t have to have weekly events, and Packs don’t need to do monthly pack meetings – “activities” are often more popular than meetings.
    • Few Dens meet weekly!
    • Most Dens (but not all) meet twice a month.
    • Many Dens only meet once a month!  Usually a bit longer than those who do weekly or bi-weekly meetings. Often as weekend events.
    • Some Packs have no “Pack Meetings”.  They just have “Pack Activities”.  Or Den Meetings at the same time and place with a common “Opening Ceremony”.  
  • Sometimes “Less is more”, or “less now may lead to more later”:
    • It may be possible for a smaller group of leaders to start with a reduced schedule, and grow as Scouts and Parents find what you do exciting and appealing, and helpers and leaders emerge.
    • Whatever the size of your leadership team, you don’t want your leaders to burn out.
  • If you don’t have enough Den Leaders, engaged and ready to go with enough helpers, leading dens of about 8 Scouts of the same age (not more than 10): maybe don’t attempt to have Den “Meetings for those Dens right away.
    • Instead, do fun, simple, easy activities.
    • You have great options, like Do Fun, Simple, Easy Family Activities, not “Meetings”.  A hike.  A swim party at a lifeguarded pool. A bike ride.  A field trip.  A cookout.  Make S’mores.
    • While you do “easy” Den or Pack Activities, you can have “The ‘We Need a Den Leader’ Talk” with parents.
      • Get parents to tell you what events they and their Scout would like to do.
      • If a parent likes an idea, they are probably more willing (or more able) to help!
  • For Some Packs, You Need to Know When to Say “When”:
    • If you’re going to be a Pack with only a couple of engaged Youth Facing Leaders, don’t recruit more than the 15 or so Scouts you can actually lead.
      • Not unless you also get the necessary able and engaged adult leaders to support more Scouts.
      • If you only have enough adult leaders to serve 15 Scouts, don’t disappoint new families by acting like you can handle 30 or 50 or 70 or more.
    • If you want 30 or 50 or 70 or more, your “message” at any Sign-Up Event needs to be that able and engaged adult leaders must sign up and commit to getting trained in order to start any Den or Pack activities.

↑ Back to top of page

Stay Successful: Use Succession Planning.

You don’t want to look back at your Pack and say “too bad they folded”. 

One way to make sure they don’t fold is to ease people into roles using active succession planning. 

Start early so that you can ensure that your successors succeed.

  • This can be a great way to get the reluctant volunteer to step up. 
    • If they say “well, I’d like to, but I really don’t know enough now”, you can let that person “shadow” a leader for a year (or for half a year) as an assistant before taking over the role.
    • And if you make this “the norm” – and everyone knows that “someone comes after me” – it can be easier to get people to volunteer.
  • Remember that parents of your fifth grade Webelos Scouts are “short-timers” and most (maybe all) will “check out” by crossover in winter or early spring.
    • If any of them have Pack roles, you’re going to need their successors right away to get up to speed.
    • You’re actually much better off having them step back “just to assist” the new person, so that the new person really “owns” the job, but has active help for that first part of the program year.
  • For more ideas, see this Bobwhite Blather Blog and this   On Scouting Blog on Succession Planning.

Be helpful, friendly, courteous and kind with your parents: let them “do their best” and join you.

↑ Back to top of page

The Importance of Patience.

Don’t be discouraged if you ask for help but don’t get volunteers right away.

You have to be patient as you recruit helpers and develop leaders from the parent ranks.

  • That means some things won’t be done as well as you might do them.
  • But if you want to develop parents into helpers, and helpers into leaders, there will be struggles on the way – but that’s how these new leaders will learn.
  • When you do grow, and let a new den leader lead a den, the goal shouldn’t be just “do it like I did it”, but let that parent do it using their strengths and resources.
    • If you are a friend and counselor and enable the parent to be successful in their own way, you’re helping that den and family succeed in Cub Scouting.
    • If you put too many limits on the parent, and hold them back, they are not going to be happy helping.
  • So have patience and be helpful, friendly, courteous and kind to all your parents and let them “do their best”.

More ideas are in the downloads below.

↑ Back to top of page

Click to jump to other Recruiting Resource pages: Recruiting Resources (Home)Step One: Make a Calendar of Fun ActivitiesStep Two: Promote your Unit! (and BeAScout / Online Apps), Step Three: Recruiting LeadersStep Four: School and Community PresenceStep Five: Sign-Up EventsParent Orientation, and Scouts BSA Troop Recruiting

File Name Description
A) Every Parent Helps Commitment | Word Doc A Pack Policy to Encourage Leading and Helping – download and edit to fit your Pack Download
B) Den Leader Recruiting Scripts For when you have to have “the talk” with parents when nobody steps up to lead Download
C) 50 Ways to Lure a Leader Now over 80 ideas about many facets of leader recruiting and tools you can use. Download
D) Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader | PPT Presentation A PowerPoint version of some of the ideas in that Document – useful for Roundtable or other training. Download
E) Motivating Parents | PPT Presentation From University of Scouting 2021 Download
F) Pack Leadership & Volunteer Roles | Cards To help visualize the “small jobs” of running a Pack, use these cards. Download
G) Pack Leadership & Volunteer Roles Chart | Word Document Use to show possible leader, assistant and helper jobs, plus event leaders – fill names as volunteers arise and broadcast to the Pack to show opening Download
H) Troop Pledge Cards You get a Friends of Scouting Pledge Card, why not create your own “Be a Leader/Helper” Pledge Card for the key roles you need to fill Download
I) Yardstick Timeline Pack Family Recruiting Script As a motivational pitch to parents, you might use this demonstration. Download
J) 100 Point Participation Commitment Form | Word Document As a way to collect parent commitments, you might use this piece – revise to fit your needs and small jobs. Download
K) Cub Scout Pack Skill Survey Updated from earlier BSA forms to be more user-friendly and tie into new Cub Scout Advancement topics Download