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Need an extra set of hands at your den and pack meetings?

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Silly question. Who couldn’t use some extra help corralling a bunch of rowdy Cub Scouts?

Say hello to your new best friend: the Cub Scout Den Chief. This older Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer co-leads weekly den meetings, assists at pack meetings and meets regularly with adults to find out when and where he can help the most.

Don’t have one for your den? Let the October 2013 CubCast be your first step in changing that. In the latest installment of the monthly podcast, you’ll hear from Sherry Herzog, a terrific volunteer who set up a den chief training course with the Three Fires Council in St. Charles, Ill.

She’ll explain what a den chief does and why your den needs one ASAP.

11 Comments on Need an extra set of hands at your den and pack meetings?

  1. I served as a Den Chief as a youth and I loved working with the Cub Leaders and scouts.

    As a Den Leader, I had to personally recruit a scout to serve. I am glad that this topic has come up. I feel that not enough Troop leaders communicate that a Den Chief does allow a great oppurtunity for leadership developement expecially in a troop with large patrols and/or scouts that are rotating through the troop leadership roles but currently does not have a position open to them.

    The Packs tend to rotate out of Pack leadership frequently and many new Pack leaders are not aware that this resource is available from Day 1. This should be on a standard resouce list hended to every new Pack Leader.

    Thanks YIS

  2. Our biggest issue hasn’t been knowing that Den Chiefs are helpful, it’s been getting Den Chiefs at all. Most Boy Scouts seem uninterested (or too busy) to devote extra time to help out a Cub Scout den, regardless of the importance. The troop that is at our CO meets on the same nights we do, so that means a Den Chief would have to miss Troop meetings to be a Den Chief in our Pack.

    I’ve also heard of Scoutmasters in our council discouraging their Scouts from becoming Den Chiefs because, as one put it, they were getting frustrated that these Cub Scouts that they were working with would not end up joining their Troop come bridging time.

    • Good feedback. Any strategies for improving this situation?

      • Our troop’s boys were in a rut not even considering DC. This was having an obvious negative impact on cross-overs, etc … So this year we offered to waive all weekend camping fees for boys who volunteered as den chiefs.
        We had to accept that no matter how you cut it, very busy boys in this economy had to work extra hours to afford camp expenses. We wanted them to be working those hours cutting their teeth on a new position of responsibility.
        So far we have four seriously considering it. One boy is finally hustling up to make First Class so he can be properly qualified.

  3. It is very frustrating to have a Den Chief serve in a den for a year, maybe 2 years, and work with a large group of boys, and for some reason they end up not crossing over into your troop. With proper follow up, and will be able to see if the Den Chief is doing a good job, and if so, having him there should be a good recruiting tool for your troop – I believe that one main reason a troop works closely with a pack is so that come cross over time, that troop would benefit from the boys crossing over into that troop. The frustrating thing is that often, so many boys do not cross over, and then those that do, go elsewhere, sometimes because the Den Leader doesn’t appreciate the Den Chief or his Troop, for whatever reason, and also, often, boys will follow their Den Leader when it comes to choosing a troop, regardless of how much time, how many hrs that Den Chief has worked with those boys.

  4. Scouts in high school usually need to do high school community service hours. Being a Den Chief is a great way to earn these hours.

  5. H. David Pendleton // October 1, 2013 at 7:30 am // Reply

    A Den Chief should be one of the Troop’s best Scouts, outgoing, organized, and good at planning gathering activities. This way the Cub Scouts sees the Boy Scout & wants to emulate him. The Scoutmaster needs to make sure they do not send any that might make a bad impression on the Pack.

    If a Troop is providing Den Chiefs to Webelos 1 & 2 Dens & none of these Webelos are crossing over to the Den Chief’s Troop, the Scoutmaster needs to try to find a reason. Is it the wrong type of Den Chief? Are the Webelos looking for a Troop that does different activities than they do? Just deciding to not even try by not sending any Den Chiefs to a Pack is giving up on recruiting Webelos from that Pack. When car sales go down for one of the Big 3, do they stop advertising or stop selling cars? No, they try to come up with a new car model that the public will buy.

    That being said, Scouts might go another direction despite the presence of a Den Chief. I had 13 Webelos 2s in my Den. 7 of them went with my Assistant Den Leader who was a Scoutmaster in another District (we sit right on the border between 2 districts in the council). 5 of them went to another Troop that the Pack had a good relationship in the past. At least 2 of those went because their brothers had been in the Troop or Eagled in it. Another 2 went to it because they are the closest “traveling troop” who always do summer camp out of council and the parents want to see a variety of camps. My son was the only one that went to the Troop chartered by the same church as the Pack, but the 2 units do not interact as the Troop meets at the church & the Pack at the elementary school. My 13 Webelos also visited 2 other Troops in the area, but none chose them this year. In the previous year, 6 or 7 of the Webelos a year of mine chose one of those Troops because of the wonderful recruiting activities they put on (sock wars, amtgard, pen turning).

    There could be a number of reasons that Pack Members are not chosing a particular Troop, but choosing not to allow their Scouts to be Den Chiefs is “cutting off one’s nose to spite their face.”

    • Bob Basement // October 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm // Reply

      More often than not Troops use Den Chiefs to give boys who will never be leaders of their Peers a position of responsibility.

  6. I agree with David’s comment that more or less says that the Scoutmaster has to carefully select a boy that is an ambassador not only for his Troop, but Boy Scouts in general. Scoutmaster and ASPL oversight of the Den Chief’s performance is very important and the SM needs to be in frequent contact with the Den Leader to assess if things are working out for them.

    When my Troop was sending Scouts to be Den Chiefs, they had been through JLT, Den Chief training (if available) and held a significant leadership position. We also limited Den Chiefs to serving as Webelos I and II dens, mainly for them to keep their sanity. We also made sure that the Scout had the time to do the job. If it was a high schooler beyond the age of 16, forget it.

    Our Pack was in the same CO, and our Den Chiefs were generally successful with teaching and implementing an age-appropriate version of the Patrol Method in the Den, which increased crossover to a Troop of their choosing. The goal was to keep them in Scouting, not necessarily our Troop. There are six Troops in our immediate area, all offering different takes on the Patrol Method and their Scouting experience. It was fun for the Scout and the Webelos to do things as a Patrol during their 18 months together and most of the Webelos earned the Arrow of Light.

  7. One reality check: we have had mixed success with cross-overs (when we had them). Over half of our boys who stick around are friends/family of other scouts in our troop. Although we do want the Webelos II in our sister pack to think highly of us, we really want our boys to be Den Chiefs because it gives them skills that make them develop into better young men and more helpful scouts. And, because we see how hard those den moms/dads are working, and they deserve a little extra love!

  8. Reblogged this on Patrick Lynch and commented:
    As a former Den Chief myself, I know the benefits of this to a Den Leader. They serve as a mentor to the boys and show them fun that sometimes the adults can not demonstrate.

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