Re: Managing Den Chiefs
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Sun, 16 Jul 1995 02:03:20 -0400
Sorry to be answering almost a week after your original posting. I think
your ideas for helping the Den Chiefs sound great.
One of the toughest things for Scouts at this age is good time
management. And being a Den Chief, doing a good job, is very time
demanding. Scouts in this position are apt to burn-out quickly from
time demands and it gets worse, if they are not recognized or teased by
their peers for noting making the grade for a "real Troop Leader" job.
Here are a couple of thoughts on the subject:
Try a leadership contract. Some units have found that a short job
description listing expectations that is signed by the Scout, the
Scoutmaster and the Den Leader is a great help. It can do the following
* Make clear that the Scout's primary duties are with the Troop,
attending activities and Troop meetings.
* Make clear what is expected of him in his conduct as a leader with the
* Help the Den Leader understand that the Den Chief is a limited
resource and not a servant.
* Place limits on Den/Pack participation. Some have limited the Den
Chief to 1 Pack Meeting/Activity and 3 Den Meetings/Activities per month
to avoid burn-out.
* Limit the term of service to what is good for all concerned. In some
cases it is necessary to limit the term of Office to part of a year and
rotate another Scout into the position. One of the dangers is that a
Scout can feel cast away with a one year sentance. That's pretty hard on
a boy of this age. As a former Den Leader I understand the desire to
have the same Scout help all year because of the raport with the Cubs,
but we have to remember that this is a leadership experience for this
Scout as part of his growth and advancement. We need to tailor our
expectations accordingly. My own Den Chief attended every other Den
Meeting and no Pack Meetings. The Cubs looked forward to his visits, he
didn't burn out and was always fresh.
It is important that the SM or an ASM monitor the Den Chief's role. You
have to be careful that he is being given leadership jobs and not merely
treated as a go-fer helper. If he is not being given leadership duties -
pull him out NOW! Nothing is worse than boredom and a feeling of being
useless or unneeded. If you do pull out a Den Chief, use discretion to
create a new Troop Leadership post for him - you can be creative; e.g.,
Scribe responsible for newsletters, ASPL for advancement, etc.
Try to make sure that the Scout is treated like a part of the Leadership
Corps of the Troop.
* Is his name listed with the other Troop Leaders like the SPL or his
name buried in a Patrol on the Troop Roster?
* At Courts of Honor when SPL, ASPLs, etc. are recognized for leadership
with a warrant certificate, certificate of appreciation, etc., is the Den
Leader treated the same? Same goes for ceremonies with leadership charges.
* Is he invited to PLCs?
* Has he been given Den Chief Leadership Training?
* Has he been given the chance to attend JLT like others?
The latter comments are intend to be the start and not the end of an
evaluation of how to set the stage for other Scouts to see the Den Chief
as one of the Troop's valued leaders. This recognition will help in many
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
DDC-Training, GW Dist. Nat Capital Area Council mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City