Any cub volunteers out there?(6 Posts)
I've been helping at my local cub pack for the past few months, mainly because they were going to close unless more helpers came forward.
There's a mix of 8 girls and 25 boys approx. with 1 leader and a few parent helpers according to ratios.
My query is this - the Cubs tend to chatter away themselves when they ought to be listening to the leader. This is always at the beginning of the session circle time, attendance checking and awaiting instruction for the evenings activity. It's really frustrating constantly telling them all to listen - the leader is very forthcoming with planning out the evening but with 20 mins wasted there's then less time for the activity.
I feel for all the ones who do listen - it's the louder ones that spoil it for everyone.
They just don't want to sit, not fidget and listen to what's been said.
Any feedback from other cub helps would be much appreciated - not sure if it's just this pack!
Brownie volunteer here. Are the ones not listening older? We usually find as they get older and 'out grow' the activities they pay less attention. They still come because they get to see their mates, but have no actual interest in Brownie activities!
Bronwie leader here. I wait, with my hand up, until mine are listening. I explain all the things we have planned for the evening. I often say we will play an extra game at the end. If we don't get time to play because they took so long to listen, I tell them why we're not playing. I also, if we are doing a more 'risky' activity, I explain the consequences that will happen if they don't do as I say (generally all having to return inside and sit in the hall instead of doing what we should have been doing). That one I only ever needed to do once! I hated doing it but they got the hint and encourage each other to shut up and listen.
Another technique to try is to talk in a quiet voice, regardless of their chatter. If they want to be able to hear, They all need to shut up ;-)
I’m a cub leader. My pack have a habit of doing this. If I need them to be quiet and listen, I put my hand up. The cubs should then also put their hand up and be quiet. It usually takes about 30 seconds for everyone to notice and be quiet.
Sometimes they continue to chatter even after putting their hand up, or they ignore me completely. If this happens , they are given a warning. If it happens again, the ones still chatting have to sit out of the activity for 10 min. I only have to do this occasionally, because once they realise I mean business, they tend to be pretty good for the next few weeks.
It’s not easy, 33 cubs is quite a big pack, and it can sometimes feel more like crowd control! It must be very difficult if there’s only one main leader. Do you help every week? If you do, don’t be afraid to discuss strategies to the leader, or to join in with quietening the cubs.
Another Cub leader. We also do the hand up - making the Scout sign - and waiting for silence. We also tell them the consequences of less games at the end if we can't get through the session without chatter.
We also, occasionally, practice "freeze". This is important to have them doing properly for anytime we are out (on the water (Sea Scout unit), or on a hike or whatever) or possibly doing something indoors that we may need them all to stop where they are while we sort something urgently or do a headcount or whatever. It's rarely needed for emergency situations, but good for them to be in practice (freezing exactly still, and no talking until the leader says "unfreeze"). The first few times we practice it involve just walking around chatting in the Den, and sometimes they jump and have to fall down to the floor (a leader might do that on purpose!), in 1 session, and then a reminder the following week, and occasional reminders after that.
I'm not surprised they are chattering though, if they are being expected to sit for that long.
My suggestion would be to have one Leader 'on the door' whilst the other(s) run a game at the beginning of the night. Get them engaged and active from the off. Then do whatever opening ceremony you do (flag break, etc.) and involve the sixers - get them to do inspection... issue points to the six who are 'ready' soonest, etc. Use those older ones and use their competitive spirits.
Get the Leader to contact the District (if you don't have an Explorer Unit attached) or the local ESU and try to find some YLs to help run some of the games. Or ask the parents if there is someone who would stay for 10mins at the start of each meeting to run the game whilst the Leader sorts any registration. (There might be people who could do this without too much planning or effort, who don't have the time to sign up to be a full Leader).
I would also be suggesting the Leader be asking the GSL what their plan is to recruit more Leaders - again, maybe contacting the District for support.
Then, any instructions for the activity need to be kept short. They've been in school all day, they don't have the capacity to be sitting still, listening for a long period of time.
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