Recruiting Den Leaders (was Advice Needed...)
alan houser (houser@CEDR.LBL.GOV)
Wed, 14 Sep 1994 11:51:17 PDT
Yes, I urge you to recruit additional parents for your over-sized den.
You practically have an entire classroom of boys, and that's too much
energy to try to manage at one time.
I doubt that your District or Council will do anything to jeopardize the
Cubs' registration, as it could easily be the case where a single Den Leader
and Assistant DL would have separare den meetings on separate days, thus
keeping the den size down to manageable levels. But that's the least of
The important thing is to make sure there is a quality program for the boys,
and that's almost impossible with a group that size. I was a Wolf Den Leader
for 11 boys, and that was hard enough, even considering the experience I had
of going through with my older son AND GETTING TRAINED. If your husband
thinks it will be a piece of cake, have him be the Den Leader and you take
over as Cubmaster (a much easier job in my opinion).
As I see it, you have several tasks facing you:
1) Dividing the boys into separate dens (I would go for 3 dens of 7 -- I
believe it was Frank Lloyd Wright who said there is nothing so permanent as
a temporary building -- that also applies here -- if they see you handling
a den of 11 boys, the problem is solved in their minds). There may be some
friendship bonds that get stretched, but you can do a lot of joint planning
for outdoor programs where they can all be together. When 4 more boys
joined my Den at the Bear Level, we did exactly that. Our formula was two
indoor den meetings a month, with a joint outdoor activity the third week
and the pack meeting the fourth.
2) Get TRAINED. Both you and Jan should get Cub Scout Leader Basic Training
ASAP, if you haven't already. Go to monthly Roundtables.
3) Try to talk Jan into becoming a Den Leader, offering to support her as
much as possible and to do a lot of joint planning. After all, as Den
Leader, her group would be only about 7 seven-year old boys. Someone else
can handle anything that needs to be announced in front of the pack.
4) Lay the heaviest GUILT trip on the other parents that you can. Tell them
they are convinced that Cub Scouting is a fine program for their boys, so
why don't they want to be a part of it, too? Offer support (joint planning),
training, encouragement. Offer to take their boys for a consulting fee
(let's see, my fee is $65.00 per hour, 3 hours per month, 9 months.....).
Tell them that you are volunteering your time and energy to make this
program work for your son. What are they going to volunteer in kind?
Set a maximum that you and Jan can handle (I would say no more than 8 boys
per den, maybe 10 if they're real quiet), then say, if you want your son
in this program, you will need to do something to make it happen because
we just can't deliver a quality program to more than 8-10 boys.
Start with the Tiger Cub parents. They have been with the program for a
year now, and they have seen how it works. I have heard the Tiger Cub
program referred to as a training program for Cub Leaders... a bit harsh
perhaps, but it has some merit.
Consider BSA's Guide to Alternative Den Leadership. We have a lot of
single parent and double working parent families in our area, so the
traditional den with a full-time Den Leader is pretty hard to come by.
A lot of our dens use rotating den leadership -- a different parent is
responsible for holding the den meetings each month, assisted by the
parent who will be holding the next month's meetings. Again, you can
offer support through joint planning. This does mean that you should
register all of the parents -- something our pack did as a routine -- it
gets Scouting Magazine and the council newsletter into every home.
5) Try to recruit Den Chiefs from neighboring Boy Scout troops. These are
often Boy Scouts who have been Cubs themselves, who now have the perspective
of looking back at the program they came out of, and who will be able to
relate to the Cubs at closer to a peer level.
Best of luck to you, Cindi. I don't envy your task, but believe me, the
results are worth it! The most personally rewarding thing I have done
in my life is to get involved with my sons in Scouting.
Alan R. Houser
Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City