The District and Your Pack –
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
Your district is led by a Key Three: a District Chairman, a District Commissioner and one or more District Professionals, who lead a team of volunteer Scouters.
The Local Council and your district are there to keep your Cub Pack healthy and capable of providing a quality Cub Scout program to boys and their families. If you think of it in medical terms they provide the services of a General Practitioner – a good family doctor – and an array of Specialists – experts in various Scouting fields.
The General Practitioner –
Your district should assign an experienced, knowledgeable Scouter as your Unit Commissioner (UC). His or her mission is to ensure that your Cub Pack is healthy and successful: that the pack leaders and the Chartered Organization are achieving their Scouting aims.
Your Commissioner should regularly check up on how things are going in your pack: observing pack meetings and outings, or a pack committee/leaders meeting, or a phone conversation or coffee-visit with the CM or CC. Every leader, committee member or CR should feel free to contact their Commissioner.
Your Commissioner will on occasion, offer advice on how best to use the resources of the BSA or the council to achieve your goals. When I served as a Unit Commissioner, the first questions I asked a CM or CC was: What do you want to accomplish with your pack? Where would you like to see this gang be next year? Answers varied. Some wanted more boys or more leaders, some wanted more outdoors stuff, some more badges or better meetings. No matter what the answers were, I did my best to see they had the where-with-all to get it.
The most valuable service your UC can provide is at rechartering. Then he/she can really help to ensure the necessary records, finances and instructions are available to smoothly process and register every boy and leader in time and help you become a Quality Unit.
Cub Scout Leader Book p9-3
Occasionally a Unit Commissioner sees a need so serious that some specialist help is required -
Training – The District Training Team should be made up of experts on every Cub Scout leader position. In most cases, they were successful leaders of packs, committees and dens. They know how to make meetings and activities effective and fun and they have the abilities to demonstrate and spell it out for you.
They can make Fast Start training available for every leader as soon as they are recruited. They should regularly schedule New Leader Essentials and Cub Scout Leader Specific training so that no leaders of your pack are left to fend for themselves without this support. In an emergency, they should even be available for personal coaching to help a leader or committee member in difficulty.
Your district training team also takes an active role in supplemental training such as Pow Wow and University of Scouting and advanced training which is Wood Badge.
Roundtables – These are monthly meetings pack and den leaders of the whole district. They are led by a Roundtable Commissioner and a staff of several fun-loving, experienced Cub Scouters. Their specialties are to provide you with program ideas for the following month.
Pack Leaders should expect Roundtable meetings that provide program help for pack leaders, den leaders, Webelos leaders and pack committee members. Each Roundtable should provide at least an hour's worth of help specifically aimed for the den and pack programs in following month. It should feature games, ceremonies, projects and other fun activities.
Membership – This district team has experts on how to recruit boys and leaders. They know where the boys are and how best to reach them. They also have access to all sorts of recruiting materials and will make sure that you have lots of flyers, posters, applications, and yard signs.
They can also help you with your packs relations with your Chartering Organizations and especially in getting more parents to participate in your program.
Camping – These are the outdoors people. They provide B.A.L.O.O. and Webelos Leaders Outdoors Training so that your pack can safely and effectively put on its own camping program. They can provide you with the council list of approved campsites for pack camping and the best locations for Webelos overnights.
Most district camping teams actively participate in their council Cub Scout and Webelos Day Camp and Resident Camp programs. They should be a valuable resource for your pack to schedule and prepare for summer camping.
They are also a link to the Order of the Arrow who often are available for stunning Pack-to-Troop graduation ceremonies.
Activities – The district Activities Team can provide advice on spectacular ceremonies, pack activities such as sports days, outings and service projects. They can also be a great source for Where-To-Go lists and Go See It places for your Tiger dens.
Often districts provide activities where all packs are invited to participate. District award dinners and service projects like Scouting for Food or tree planting are common and provide better opportunities than most packs or Chartered Organizations could come up with on their own.
District sports days and even and even a pinewood derby can be fun to attend. I have seen dozens of these but I have never seen a single one that provides better Cub Scouting than I have experienced at those put on by the many Cub Packs I have visited.
Cub Scout Leader Book pp 7-3, 9-3
I hope that your district is providing these and more such services to you and your fellow Cub Scouters. The quality of our program depends on these volunteers continuing to work long after their own boys have long left Cub Scouting behind.
When your own stint as Akela to your Cub Scout is over, please consider joining your district team and extend this valuable tradition for the next generation of Cub Scout leaders. It’s a rewarding experience.
Remember for your new leaders – Fast Start training and Youth Protection training is available on-line -