How to ask for help as a Cub Scout leader

cubcast-logo“Who wants to be den leader?”

About three minutes after raising his hand, Danny Heitman knew he was in trouble.

He was flipping through some Cub Scout materials — handbooks, den leader guides, etc. — when he realized that a lot of the skills these Cub Scouts were supposed to learn he didn’t know himself.

“That’s when I knew, gosh, I’m really going to need some help,” he said.

Sound familiar?

The September 2015 CubCast has your back. In the latest episode of the monthly podcast, the hosts speak with Heitman, a journalist in Louisiana who is a self-proclaimed “Unlikely den parent.” He explains how to ask for help as a Cub Scout leader.

Heitman is no stranger to asking for help. As a journalist, he’s constantly turning to experts to use as sources in his stories. It’s what journalists do.

He approaches Cub Scouting in a similar way.

To teach the boys about recycling, for example, he invited the local waste-disposal company to bring a garbage truck to a meeting. The boys loved it.

For a lesson on safety, he invited someone from the local energy company. They set up a live wire — “in some very controlled circumstances” — and threw hot dogs at it to show the kids just how dangerous electricity can be.

For first aid, someone from the Red Cross showed the boys how to put on a bandage, and the Scouts practiced on each other.

“Half of them looked like mummies,” Heitman said.

What was the takeaway?

“We had a great time, but it really reminded me, this experience, that if you just ask for help, that there’s a world of help out there for you and lots of folks that are really willing and able to help your Cubs reach their full potential,” he said.

For more of this enlightening discussion, go here to listen to (or read a transcript of) the September 2015 CubCast.


  1. I try not to ask for ‘volunteers’ for two reasons. 1)People are less likely to step up unless specifically asked. People who are specifically asked to help out have a tough time saying no. Most people will be flattered that you ask them for help. 2) You might get a volunteer who is not qualified or is unreliable. then what do you do?

    • I don’t see the problem with asking for volunteers…to a point. While some people may be flattered that you ask them to be a leader, others may feel obligated to help if you specifically ask them. That could lead to the leader not giving his/her full effort. That being said, I do realize that it does become necessary to ask for help.

  2. I did a presentation for our District RT on the Cub Scout side about this topic. Good points about asking for “help” & not getting someone to volunteer. “Help” sounds more temporary for an adult new to Cub Scouts.

    I have been asked to teach a class on the same subject for the Council’s University of Scouting. I am going to use basically the same material that I used for my district presentation.

    Scoutmaster CG has some great ideas about the subject that I also incorporated into my presentation.

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