Let’s give a giant Scout salute to the den chief. When entrusted with enough responsibility, this young person can be a Cub Scout leader’s best friend.
A den chief is a Scout, Venturer or Sea Scout who:
- Helps plan and conduct den meetings.
- Suggests games and activities the Cub Scouts might enjoy.
- Serves as a role model for the Cub Scouts.
- Guides Webelos Scouts as they transition into Scouts BSA.
I can hear Cub Scout leaders everywhere saying, “that would be a handy person to have around!”
Walter Carroll, committee chairman for a pack and troop in the Northern New Jersey Council, had den chiefs on the mind when he sent me these two related questions:
- Can a Scouts BSA boy be a den chief for a girl Cub Scout den?
- Can a Scouts BSA girl be a den chief for a boy Cub Scout den?
The answer to both questions is yes.
We asked the expert
For confirmation, I checked with Anthony Berger, national director of Cub Scouting.
“The answer is yes,” he says. “Since den chiefs are never alone with the Cub Scouts, and there is always two-deep leadership, the gender of the den chief does not need to be the same as the den they serve.”
Berger also points out that den chiefs can be Venturers or Sea Scouts. Both of these programs are fully co-ed, and members of either program can serve as den chiefs for any Cub Scout den.
Den chiefs across the programs
Scouts BSA members who enjoy giving back to Cub Scouting make excellent den chiefs. The role also fulfills the position of responsibility requirement for Star, Life or Eagle.
Venturers who serve as den chiefs gain an important connection to Cub Scouting and complete work toward the requirements for the program’s second-highest and highest awards: Pathfinder and Summit.
Sea Scouts who serve as den chiefs gain vital leadership skills and check off requirements for the Quartermaster award, Sea Scouting’s highest rank.
How to get the most out of den chiefs
- Recruit them. Pack leaders should visit Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews and/or Sea Scout ships to explain the role and find prospective den chiefs. Remind these young people that the position counts toward advancement requirements.
- Show them you depend on them. A den chief who feels needed and important will be more likely to show up meeting after meeting.
- Train them. The BSA’s den chief training, delivered online or in person, sets your den and its den chief up for success.
- Award them. Have an active den chief who has served for at least a year and met other requirements? Reward them with the Den Chief Service Award.
- Understand their role. Just because your den chief is a “go-getter” doesn’t mean you should use them exclusively to go and get things. Instead of asking your den chief to run errands, ask them to run activities or entire segments of the den meeting. Let them lead, and watch them shine.