scouts-l Mail Archive for February of 2000: Den Chief Training
Wed Feb 16 2000 - 08:44:09 CST
The biggest favor you can do to the Cub Scout leader that you are "helping"
with a Den Chief is to make sure that his den doesn't go from, e.g., 6
unruly boys to 7 unruly boys. The would-be Den Chief is just getting used
to a boy-run program, where the notion of "fun" or "orderliness" are
somewhat -- shall we say -- "different" than in the adult-run Cub Scout
program. If he brings these notions of "fun" and "boy-run" to the cub
scout den, it will likely be a disservice to the hapless den leader(s).
Impress on them that, although the Boy Scout program calls Den Chief a
"leadership" position, in actuality it is a "followership" position, wholly
subservient to the den leader(s). Of course, if the boy shows maturity and
leadership, then the den leader will probably let him take on more of a
leadership role in the den meetings. However, if the boy shows maturity
and leadership, then he is already Patrol Leader or SPL or something
similar, and doesn't need to be a den chief.
You mentioned that this will be for Webelos dens; this is probably better
than for younger cubs, since the Webelos program is a transition into Boy
Scouts. HOWEVER, the boys are still younger, elementary-school kids under
the leadership of adults, and this difference in age, however small, needs
to be impressed on the Den Chiefs. Age-appropriate games; age-appropriate
skills training; etc. As Den Chief, they are likely to be called on to
organize a game or teach a skill: these should be taken from CUB SCOUT
resource materials, not from boy scout resources. E.g., the
rough-and-tumble games that he plays with his troop are probably inappriate
for cub scouts, and (for instance) the first aid skills that he had to
master for First Class are way beyond the requirements of the Readyman
badge, and probably beyond the abilities of most Webelos scouts to digest.
It would probably be beneficial to provide each Den Chief with some cub
scout resource materials: the Den Chief book is a good start; obviously
they should have a current copy of the Webelos (Bear, Wolf, whatever) book
that the den is using; plus one or more of the song/games/skit books that
are available online in the usual places. This all depends on what the Den
Leader will be expecting the den chief to be doing; obviously he won't be
taking over the program, but it is always good for him to have a game up
his sleeve, and a song or a cheer up the other sleeve.
And remind them: the Den Leaders are in charge of the den, not the den
John A. Pershing Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ACM Pack 36 / ACM Troop 36, Westchester-Putnam (NY) Council