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Baloo's Bugle


May 2004 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 10, Issue 10
June 2004 Theme

Theme: Cub Rock
Webelos: Artist & Traveler
  Tiger Cub:




Santa Clara County Council

There are many good resources available for Den Leaders and Pack Leaders. We provide some of these resources in this chapter, plus some useful tips for running the Den and Pack meetings.  As a Cub Scout leader, you serve an important role in the character development of the boys. You are their role model, so make sure you set a good example, from good citizenship to good sportsmanship and community service.

  •  Plan your meetings far enough ahead to allow time to gather materials needed. Set goals that you want to accomplish during the year. Outline your program for the year and plan ahead to involve as many people as possible. Plan each meeting ahead of time. You might find it valuable to plan next weeks meeting after just completing a meeting.  Share your plan with your Assistant and Den Leader.

  •  Always have a plan B, each group will be different and activities that thrilled one den may bore another, and when they get bored they get rowdy. If they are showing signs of boredom drop the activity and go to plan B and you will rarely have discipline problems.

  •  If you plan an outdoor activity, always have an indoor alternate planned.

  •  Transitions from one activity to the next are easiest if the meeting is planned so that the next activity is always preferred to the current one. For example we begin with opening ceremonies that reinforce the values of Scouting (boring) then go to advancement activities (less boring but not as much fun as games which come next), after games we go to snack time (they are always willing to stop what they are doing for snack!). Use the fact that they have their hands full and their mouths full as the best opportunity for announcements and reminders. Their parents are beginning to show up, and it doesn't hurt that parents are also hearing the announcements and reminders; it also helps to keep those impatient parents from grabbing the Cub and leaving before the closing ceremony, since they intuitively understand that they should not take their child away during announcements.

  •  Don't try to carry the entire load yourself. In Tiger, Wolf and Bear dens the family unit is central to the forming of the Cub Scout and activities revolved around the family unit. Get other parents involved. Help them realize it is their program and then depend on them to lend expertise on aspects of the program. Invite them to attend by determining their interests and using them.

  •  Leadership is developed and learned. You can become an effective Cub Scout Leader if you will prepare yourself and take the time to learn. Remember to be flexible in your planning. There are no set answers to handling boys. Don't be afraid to experiment.

  •  Get trained! Start out with the Cub Scout Den Leader Fast Start video. It is very short and enjoyable to watch. After you get settled in, attend the Cub Scout Den Leader Basic Training at your District. It is the best place to go to learn your Cub Scouting fundamentals.

  •  Understand the Cub Scout program so you can help the boys grow throughout the program. There are a lot of resources available to help you. One of your best resources is the monthly district Cub Leader Roundtable, where you can exchange ideas with other Cub Scout Leaders.  Also look inside the various BSA publications, search the web or simply ask another Scouter.  Experienced leaders are more than happy to share their knowledge and skills. Check with your Unit Commissioner or District Executive.  Just ask!

  •  Keep the boys occupied at all times; not just with busy work, but also with activities that fulfill the Purposes of Cub Scouting.

  •  Be fair and consistent with discipline.  Don't permit one boy to do something you would discipline another for doing.

  •  Treat each boy as a very special individual.

  •  Establish your rules and stick to them.

  •  Set a good example by wearing your uniform.

  •  Use the Cub Scout sign to get attention...don't shout or yell.

  •  Give the boys a chance to let off steam.  Plan den meetings to alternate quiet activities with active ones.

  •              Be firm in a friendly way.

  •              Do your best, and, above all, have fun!

More Den Leader Tips from an Experienced Den Leader

Lisa, a 5 year veteran Den Leader

Santa Clara County Council

I have been a den leader for 5 years and have led dens at all the ranks, Tiger through Webelos. I am currently a den leader for Tigers and Bears. The tips come from my experience and that of my co leaders and other den leaders.

Den Meeting Structure – The Cub Scout Meeting Plan (from Program Helps) is a great structure to follow. Start the meeting on time. Before the meeting have a gathering game for the boys to join in as they arrive. We always start the meeting with a Flag Ceremony. We then give the boys recognition for their achievements by handing out a bead for every achievement or activity badge that they finish. The boys hang these on the den doodle (see the Cub Scout Leader Handbook). We also award the Tigers the beads they earn at every meeting. Then we do the program. At the end of the meeting we hand out the belt fob beads (see below). We have closing flag and then we have a snack.

Fun – Remember Scouts is not an extension of school. It should be a fun learning experience. Rather than lecture on some of the achievements, think of how you can make a game out of them. Charades, Jeopardy, Red Light/Green Light, Name that Folk Tale…

Outings – Plan at least one outing a month. (Don’t forget to file a Tour Permit). We have been to Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge, Santa Clara University, a high school football game, the fire station, the police station, the library, hiking, bike riding in Bayland Park, San Jose Historical Park, Fallon House, Peralta Adobe, Sunnyvale Water Treatment Plant, the beach fossil hunting, etc. Remember, with all the budget cuts the boys don’t get to go to a lot of these places unless you take them. (Look in the Field Trips section of this book for more ideas)

Games, Songs, and Crafts – Have at least one of these elements at every den meeting. Your “Gathering Time” activity can be a game, a song or a simple craft.  Check out the crafts section of this Pow Wow book. Use the BSA Program Helps. Check out www.macscouter.com for games, songs and skits.

Den Flag – We design a new den flag every year. The flag stand is made so that the flag is stretched out horizontally (it does not hang down). The boys sign their names on the flag. We add awards to the flag. We also pin on mementos of the outings and den meetings. We usually have the boy whose parent planned the outing or meeting pin on the memento at the next den meeting. The mementos are simple things. For example, a small foam football shape was pinned on after we attended a high school football game.

Discipline and Motivation – Each boy has a belt fob that they made (get them at the Scout Shop). At the end of every meeting, they get a yellow bead for being on time, blue bead for being in uniform, and red for attending the den meeting. They also get a white bead for attending the pack meetings. These beads are very important to the boys.

For the younger dens, we use a behavior candle. The boys are told that when the candle burns down they will get a special treat (we do ice cream sundaes for snack). The candle is lit at the beginning of the meeting and will stay lit as long as they listen and behave. If they are not good listeners the candles will be blown out for 5 minutes the first time, 10 minutes the second time and for the rest of the meeting for the third time.

Boy’s Notebooks – We give every boy a 3 ring binder with a cover that you can insert a sheet in. The boys make covers for their notebooks at the beginning of the year. The boy keeps the den schedule, the den phone list and any program materials that are given out in there. It is sort of a den scrapbook.

Administrative – Maintain the following records for the den:


Phone List

Attendance, Dues and Expenses

Awards listed by the month awarded (rank, arrows, belt loops and pin, summertime award, goodwill/good turn, etc)

Advancement Tracker – We use the Excel spread sheets that you can find at www.geocities.com/Yosemite/9152/cub-tracker.html

Belt Loops and Pins – We use an Excel spread sheet from the website listed above.

Splitting Duties between Den Leaders – We split the duties between 2 leaders. The split we use is one leader is responsible for the Calendar, Phone List and Dues and Expenses and the other is responsible for attendance, awards and writing the articles for the pack newsletter. We both feel that the other den leader is doing more than their fair share. Do whatever works best for you but do share the load.

Parents – Parents are a wonderful resource. The Tigers require that each Adult Partner host some of the meetings. We continue this concept on through the Wolf, Bear and Webelos. Each family in the den is responsible for preparing and presenting the program material for 3 to 4 meetings during the year. We also have a planning meeting in June to plan the next year, where the parents sign up for the Achievements and Electives that they would like to do. Remember, BSA stands for Boy Scouts of America not Baby Sitters of America.

Outside Resources – Use outside resources to present program material. We had a police office come and talk to the Wolves about making choices. We visit museums and arrange for docents to do presentations.

Dues – We collect dues ($10) twice a year, in September and January. It is too time consuming to collect them on a weekly basis. Not to mention the record keeping is too time consuming.

No Announcements – Keep announcements short and only use them to inform the boys of what is coming up. Either email or telephone the parents with the details.

Remember -

KISMIF (Keep It Simple Make It Fun)


All Den Leaders should have a Pack information sheet, listing important data on your Pack, and contact information of the other leaders. Your Cubmaster should be able to provide you with most of this information.

Pack Info:

I am a leader in Pack ___________ , Den_____________ .

The chartered organization that operates our pack is

____________________________________________ .

We are in the ____________________ District, which is

part of the ______________________ Council.

Our monthly Pack Leaders’ meeting is held on

____________________ (day) at______________ (time)

 at__________________ (place).

Pack meetings are held on

____________________ (day) at______________ (time)

 at__________________ (place).

Our den meetings are held on

____________________ (day) at______________ (time)

 at__________________ (place).

Pack Leadership:

Cubmaster: _________________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Pack Committee Chair: _________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Pack Trainer: ________________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Tiger Cub Den leader:__________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Cub Scout Den leader: _________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Cub Scout Den leader:_________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Webelos Den Leader: __________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

Unit Commissioner: ___________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________

District Executive: ____________________________

Phone:_______________ E-mail:________________







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