So, you’re a new den leader? Congratulations, and thanks for volunteering to make a difference in the lives of some really great boys. We know you’ve got a million questions and concerns, which is why you’re here. We want you to feel comfortable in your new role, so below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions of new volunteers. Relax and rest assured that in just a few minutes, you’ll know enough to do an outstanding job.
What is my job as a den leader?
As a den leader, you have the privilege of working directly with a small group of typically six to eight boys called a den. Using the program materials developed by the Boy Scouts of America, along with your own imagination and talents, you will plan and carry out the weekly den meetings. During this time, you and the pack's committee will provide fun opportunities for boys to learn and grow, as well as providing them with a great role model of a concerned, caring adult. You will also have an opportunity to work with other adult volunteers as you coordinate your efforts within a larger group called the pack, which is made up of multiple dens.
Outside of your den meetings, you will be a part of the monthly pack committee meeting. Here you will join with other adult leaders and parents from the pack to help coordinate any upcoming pack outings as well as the monthly pack meeting. Your boys will have a great time as you prepare them to participate in the monthly pack meetings with things such as skits and songs.
What does a den meeting look like?
Although the term meeting may sound dull and boring, the fact is your meetings will be filled with fun and action. By following the seven steps of a den meeting, you’ll be organized and accomplish a lot. The seven steps are:
- Before the Meeting (This is your time to prepare and set up.)
- The Gathering (An activity to keep the boys engaged while arriving at different times.)
- Opening (An official opening ceremony sends the message that it’s time to begin.)
- Business Items (Time to prepare for pack meetings and other special events.)
- Activities (This is the fun part, full of games and achievements.)
- Closing (Announcements, reminders, and a short closing ceremony.)
- After the Meeting (Time for cleanup and review of what went well.)
Den meeting plans are available online. You can download samples here:
These meeting plans will walk you through each step of your first meeting, as well as each den meeting thereafter. You’ll never have to worry about not having great activities for your boys.
How much time will this take?
Most dens meet weekly, with a meeting of the entire pack taking the place of one of those meetings each month. Den meetings will last about an hour, and the time will fly by. Of course you will want to spend about another hour each week planning and preparing, but feel free to minimize that time by enlisting the help of an assistant den leader or parents of the boys. Learn to delegate things, like providing treats, to the parents of your Scouts. You don’t have to do it all yourself. The amount of time you spend in your Scouting role will likely grow as you learn more and become more excited about Scouting, but that’s all up to you.
Do I need a uniform?
Wearing a uniform gives youth and adult members a sense of identification and serves as a good reminder of the values of Scouting. Check out the fun, interactive uniform builder at www.bsauniforms.org. When you’re ready, you can order online or shop in person at your local Scout shop.
What about the cost?
Like most sports teams or other youth activities, you will likely incur some expenses in Scouting, but these costs can be minimized and won’t necessarily happen right away. The most obvious expense is the annual registration fee of $15, which was due with your application. Aside from the uniform mentioned above; any equipment or materials needed and whether or not they are provided for you will vary from pack to pack. Before you rush right out and buy anything, check with the leaders in your pack. It is likely they have acquired quite a library of books full of songs, skits, fun games, and activity ideas, as well as other resources.
What activities can or can’t I do with my den?
The BSA knows that a safe environment and program for every boy is paramount. That is why we have designed our programs to follow a strict set of rules and policies that can be found in our Guide to Safe Scouting. Become familiar with this booklet, as nothing will ruin a fun activity faster than an accident or serious injury.
Is training available to help me?
Yes. The Boy Scouts of America has some really great training. To begin with, you’ll want to take Youth Protection training. This needs to be completed within the first month following your registration. Combined with the Guide to Safe Scouting, this training will help make your den a safe environment for our Cub Scouts. Youth Protection training, along with all other Cub Scout leader training, can be taken in person or, if you prefer, online anytime. Ask your local Scout office for the next available training opportunities or go online at MyScouting to set up an e-learning account. Once you have established an account, you can log in and click on the Cub Scout tab to find Youth Protection training and a whole lot more. Don’t forget, some of the best resources are other volunteers. Ask questions of those who have been in your pack for a little while. They’ll be happy to help. Each month your local Scouting organization holds in-service training for all its volunteer leaders. This training is known as roundtable and is open to all volunteers. Ask the person who recruited you when and where your next roundtable is. Last, don’t hesitate to contact your local Scouting professionals. They can be a great resource. Find your local Scout office.
Are other resources available to help me?
Of course! Perhaps the most important tools you will need are the Cub Scout Leader Book or Webelos Leader Guide and the Cub Scout Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide. Your pack may already own these or you may purchase them at your local Scout shop. Find your local Scout shop. You’ll also find some great online resources by looking around the Cub Scout area of this site. You’re starting on a wonderful new adventure, and you’re going to have a great time. Of course you’re a bit nervous now; that’s normal. Don’t worry, you’ll be awesome. How do we know? Your desire to make a difference in the lives of some terrific kids makes you a success already.