Den Leader Getting Started Guide
First of all, Welcome! Thank you for volunteering to be a Den Leader.
Your son, nephew, or grandson may be one of the boys in your den. What fun! These are the "good old days" you will always remember. As he grows up, his friends may change. But some day if they work hard, they can be Eagle Scouts! The friends with him that day might very well be these buddies from your Cub Scout Den.
Here are the three most important things: Keep It Simple, Make it Fun, and Keep Them Safe.
Applications & Roster. Make sure that your Pack has turned in your Adult Application and has each boy registered in your den. Share a roster of the boy's names, addresses, home numbers, and names, cell numbers, and emails for their parents or adult partners. Include your Cubmaster and [[Assistant Cubmasters' names and phone numbers on the roster information.
Online training. Your online training is really good and you can have it done today.
- Take Fast Start Training first for information and examples for planning and conducting the first meeting.
- This Is Scouting comes next highlighting the values, aims, history, funding, and methods of Scouting.
- Youth Protection Training will help provide additional security.
Leader Specific Training. The last part of your New Leader Training is Leader Specific Training through your local council or district. A class should be coming up that will be designed specifically for your level: Tiger, Wolf & Bear, or Webelos. You will learn a lot and make great contacts.
Den Leader Meetings. Each month your Cubmaster will host your Den Leader Meeting. You will review previous and upcoming events. Your Cubmaster should provide a list to you of all of the other leaders' names, position, and phone numbers. Do not hesitate to call with any questions! Find out about Uniforms and monthly Roundtable meetings for Cub leaders from your whole area share ideas.
Den Meetings. Work with the parents or adult partners to set up a weekly hour-long Den Meeting time and location. You might meet at your Chartered Organization, a church, school, or boy's home. The location must be safe and have plenty of room for workspace and games. The Welcome New Den Leader has great ideas. Also, make sure everyone knows dates and times for your Pack Meetings and activities.
Fast Tracks. Wouldn't it be great if a past den leader left you their notes? They did! They are called Fast Tracks. Fast Tracks are great lesson plans and ideas for to help you with your first 16 den meetings each year. New Cub Scouts always earn Bobcat first. You can cover Bobcat in two meetings using the Fast Tracks for Tiger Cub Scouts.
Belt Loops. Your rank requirements and electives often they lead right into Belt Loops!
- Tiger & Belt Loop tie-ins - Electives & Belt Loop tie-ins
- Wolf & Belt Loop tie-ins - Electives & Belt Loop tie-ins
- Bear & Belt Loop tie-ins - Electives & Belt Loop tie-ins
- Webelos Badge & Belt Loop tie-ins - Activity Badges & (Worksheets)
The Belt Loops are a part of the Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program. Each belt loop has a Worksheet with whatever diagrams, charts, maps, and other resources you need. The Academics Belt Loops tend to be indoor activities and the Sports Belt Loops outdoors. For instance, Cub Scout Collecting makes for a great Show & Tell night.
Parents. Parents are the key. In Tiger Cub Scouts, a parent or adult partner has to be with the Tiger at all times. Every Tiger needs his own "handler!" But parents are important at every level. "Drive-by" or "Drop and Dash' parents will drain your resources. Sadly, these boys are often the one who drop out. It is hard to convince a boy that something is important if the parents show each week how unimportant it is.
Involve your families right from the start. Ask families to look at the list of meeting topics and Fast Tracks and divide up who will coordinate each one. If you need a trip to the fire station, does anyone have a contact at the fire department? Police department? Local park?
Denners. Each meeting his family coordinates, let the boy get to be the Denner! Being the Denner is the best! The Denner helps lead Pledge of Allegiance. The Denner gets to pick the treats he will bring that night (typically something easy and cheap like granola bars and water or juice boxes). The Denner and his adult partner also help with setup and cleanup.
If each boy and his family have important jobs coming up, they stay in Scouting. No boy will drop out if he knows he is going to get to be Denner! And you will not end doing everything yourself.
Assistant Den Leader. It is just as important to share the load with your Assistant Den Leader. Some Packs register Assistant Den Leaders as Den Leaders with all of the same training. This way you can both earn your Cub Scout Leader Awards. Make sure you have someone who will help share the load.
Fun Nights. Have at least one Fun Night each year. Ask each family bring their favorite board games and soft drinks. Order pizza and you have a party! Fun Nights are also a chance to help boys catch up who have missed meetings. Consider doing a fun Belt Loop.
Belt Loop Day. Also consider having at least one Belt Loop Day each year. Your den can do your own but it can be more fun if other dens or the whole pack is involved. See the National Summertime Award for a list of great activity ideas. In one day, your Cubs could have a hike or bike ride, a picnic lunch, and earn fun Belt Loops!
Take it one day at a time. You just need to be one meeting ahead in your handbook. Get every family and boy involved. Ask for help. Get trained. And never forget KISMIF: Keep It Simple! Make it FUN! (And always keep them safe.)
That is a lot of information! And this is just the beginning of the resources. There is information on Day Camp, Resident Camp, Skits, Songs, Cheers, Pinewood Derby, Blue & Gold, and Roundups. And as you might guess from the name, (MeritBadge.Org), there are just as many resources for Boy Scout Leaders. But that's another day...
Go have FUN! Did they tell you? "It Is Just an Hour A Week!" ☺
- Nameplates - Official BSA Name plates for your uniforms.