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  • Making Tiger Cub Den Shared Leadership Work

    I've been a Tiger Cub Den Leader twice during a year.

    I'm getting a new Tiger Cub Den started now as a pack leader, and I want to get the "Shared Leadership" idea working if I can.

    Monday I asked for parents who would manage the October and November Den program, and offered to help them with that task.

    My idea is that I will temporarily be acting as the Den Leader to help get the program off to a good start and to identify a likely prospect to be the permanent Den Leader.

    One parent, an attorney, offered to lead the Oct 1st den meeting as I requested, and a second parent of a Bear Cub offered to lead the second October Meeting and Go See it.

    My theory of how the Shared Leadership should work is for the Den Leader to make the overall plan for the den for the year, to insure that the Bobcat requirements and achievements and such are completed in a timely and effective manner, with other parents expected to organize and lead den meetings and go see its according to the plan of the Den Leader.

    The parent leading the activities for the month would be a partner to the Den Leader for that time, generally carrying out the plan of the Den Leader and counting on the advice and assistance of the Den Leader if needed.

    Does that sound like the right idea? And if you made the Shared Leadership idea work another way, I'd be glad to hear about it.


  • #2
    My first year as Cubmaster I believe I totally messed up how the Tiger Den got started off. Last year, the process I used worked fantastic, and I'm getting to try it out again this fall. I'm even tied in to do a University of Scouting class next February on launching a Tiger Den.

    My general premise is that long-term Pack success is very dependent on a strong and successful Tiger Cub Program. The Tiger Den sets the very best conditions for building Cub Scouts as a family program, by actually requiring that family members participate.

    When working toward Tiger den Leadership, you have several choices: 1) go with an experienced den leader; 2) focus on recruiting a Tiger Den Leader early (maybe through Spring recruiting); or 3) launch the Tiger Den to focus entirely on the "shared leadership" concept, actually reducing the den leader focus in the beginning, to allow the Tiger parents to find their place in leadership. This can easily be done just like you are planning, with an experienced leader (I do it as Cubmaster) as a facilitator at the beginning.

    As much as I love the idea of an experienced (or even trained)leader(EDL) stepping in to take over, it becomes far too easy for new parents to defer to the EDL rather than discovering how easy and fulfilling it is to use the uncomplicated resources to engage and have fun with the boys.

    Implementing shared leadership in the Tiger Den is extremely difficult, because our normal "Scout Leader" mode is to get things done, quick, in an hour, and 1st graders make it like herding cats. Also remember, implementing shared leadership is not only about getting the parent to take on a den program, but about getting the Adult Partner/Scout team to take that on - this is about starting a kind of leadership development for our very newest Scouts. It can be amazing when I got that realization and saw it happening.

    I let a den leader emerge from this process, more as a coordinator than someone the other parents would immediately defer to, and as a result there was more parent involvement. While den leaders effectively run Wolf, Bear, and Webelos programs, I think you are short-changing your overall Pack leadership, and the shared leadership that's required to run a pack, if you allow the Tiger Den to fall into a Den Leader run program.

    I'm going to continue exploring this - I've already decided that after my boy moves to Boy Scouts in the spring, and I go too, I'm going to come back for at least the next couple Tiger Den launch times to help this process along.

    Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hell drmbear,

      I agree with you on the importance of getting an effective Tiger Cub Den started each year!

      Failed Tiger Cub Dens are all too common, and they can easily lead to a failed Cub pack.

      Towards that end, I tried doing Tiger Cub Den Leader training in June. All new Tiger Cub Partners registered in the spring were invited to do Den Leader training to learn how to make the Tiger Cub program work. Unfortunately, I only got one person one year and two the second --- mostly from my own pack.

      Second, this was my 3rd year as Tiger Twilight Camp Director (Cub Scout Day Camp for new Tigers) I used that program to show new Tiger Cub partners what an effective Tiger Cub program should look like and feel like --- and learn some things about how to run it. The attorney who stepped forward to help Monday was at the Tiger Twilight Camp with his son. We had twelve Tiger Cubs and their partners at the Tiger Twilight Camp this last summer.

      I also did the Tiger Cub Den Leader training at our annual Council training event last fall.


      Furthermore, the Tigers are the MOST FUN! of any boys in Scouting, in my experience! You can't beat their enthusiasm for almost anything.


      But I'm still learning about how to make the "Shared Leadership" idea work. Thanks for your very helpful comments.

      Comment


      • #4
        My focus my first year as Cubmaster was to find a TDL early, get them trained, and have them ready by the time things kicked off in the fall. There was a huge problem with that, because I've found that spring recruiting picks up far fewer Tigers than does fall recruiting. So the numbers of Tiger parents is smaller. And even if there is interest, motivation, etc., they may not really be the very best person to be the TDL once full program starts in the fall.

        A new Tiger parent, clueless to the workings of the program, even if they get trained, probably just won't be ready to deal with 8 first graders, won't have the easy knowledge of the Bobcat requirements and how they relate to the Pack, and probably won't get the spirit of "being a 9yo" that say a CM should have - to be loud, and silly, to sing songs, to be completely fun, to connect with each of the boys. How about having supplies on hand and an ability to deal with everything that comes up.

        The parents that show up to those first meetings are used to dropping their kids off to school, dropping them off for sports or other activities, etc., not engaging in a "family" program that requires them to be involved. A clueless person (newly trained TDL) trying also to be an "adult partner," will have a great deal of trouble engaging the other parents in the shared leadership concept of participating in what's going on. And all their initial inclinations are to find a way to avoid participating.

        An early assigned TDL will only encourage all the other parents to allow that person to take on everything so they can step back. If allowed to step back in the Tiger year, it raises the likelihood that they will stay stepped back in the following years, and when the parents are less invested in the program, then the boys can end up less invested in the program as well.

        How many stories have we heard about the kids made to take music/piano lessons where the kid really didn't like or want to be there? Years later they are either glad their parents stuck with them to have them do it, or they are disappointed their parents caved and allowed them to quit, for the most part. Involved, excited parents, lead to involved, excited boys. Indifferent parents can lead to indifferent boys - if they don't see Cub Scouts as something valued in their family, then it will be harder for them to value it.

        My solution is to encourage all the parents to gain knowledge and experience on the workings of the Tiger Den. A new interested parent in the spring I just send to the TDL training online, send them other information links, etc., so they are clued in. If they want to register as a TDL, that's great, I'll register them. I just don't expect them to take on and actually DO and TDL things until after the shared leadership mode is set for the den, getting all the parents involved, getting them participating and engaged in the process.

        I'm able to be the TDL at first, as Cubmaster, as a parent of a 5th grader and Web. leader with interests there, and get them in motion without them counting on me to be there all year so they can avoid responsibility. I can engage them into the program concerning how things work, Bobcat, and all then. I focus on making it a blast for the boys and the parents, involve everyone, and make sure the boys are talking about it at home. Den leaders emerge to be able to keep up with things, tracking, coordinating, representing the den for leader meetings, etc. I move back to my CM and WDL activities (there are actually a couple other WDL's so it's not like I had been trying to do both).

        Comment


        • #5
          Last year, I made up a schedule for each week, and then sat down with all the Tiger parents and they took turns signing up for the items. We did not have anyone that would sign up to be the Den Leader, though eventually I did get one parent that agreed to remind the others of when it was their week, and kept track of awards (essentially being the den leader!). It worked out great...parents were involved, and the kids loved working with the different parents every week.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello MarinesWife,


            Did people sign up for pack meetings like other meetings?


            It seems like you need to structure meeting and to have a plan for people to carry out. Did you supply that structure or deal with it some other way?

            What about Go See Its?

            What about leadership of the den this year?

            (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

            Comment


            • #7
              There is no need to give the Tiger Teams a den meeting program that is pre-planned-written by the den, or Pack, leader (or anyone other than the Tiger Team itself).

              The Tiger program is VERY SIMPLE, and requirements are fairly well laid out in the Handbook. If the Tiger Team needs extra ideas/help there is the BSA Den Meeting Guide (that SP hates so much). You can print off the meeting guides for the specific achievement/elective the Team is covering, and give them to the Tiger Team. You can also give the Team a list of websites that might be helpful.

              The key is for the den leader (CM, CC, misc person helping the den, etc) to be in close contact with the Tiger Team. To talk about what they are planning, offer help, support, ideas, etc.


              Comment


              • #8
                Hello Scout Nut,


                I don't think the Tiger Cub program is simple at all. Indeed, it's fairly complex.

                A parental grab bag of program is the kind of thing that leads to a failed Tiger Cub Den in my opinion.

                >


                I don't hate the Program Helps type approach. Indeed I hand it out to program leaders and look through it myself for program ideas. But I can do BETTER than a one size fits all program.

                And the Program Helps approach IS carefully planned. It belies your claim that the random grab bag parents will put together left to themselves is a substitute for planning.

                I'm working on identifying a new Tiger Cub Den Leader and making the Shared Leadership concept work. It seems to me that the reason for having a Den Leader is to plan a road map of the program so that the Bobcat and Tiger Cub Badges can be earned as part of a fun program. Once that road map is in place, I would suppose it would be a lot easier for parents to carry out parts of it at meetings and Go See Its as part of the Shared Leadership concept.

                That's the theory I am testing this year anyway. But if your methods work for you, help yourself. You haven't actually said what practical experience you have had with the Tiger Cub program.

                In addition to running Tiger Cub Programs for a year in two different packs, I describe my other efforts to promote effective Tiger Cub programs on the district and council level in a post earlier in this thread. My personal experience is that the program is a challenge to make work well, and that too often Tiger Cub Dens fail because pack leaders are unable to make them work. I had that happen in my own pack three years ago.

                Comment


                • #9
                  >>"I don't think the Tiger Cub program is simple at all. Indeed, it's fairly complex.">"And the Program Helps approach IS carefully planned. It belies your claim that the random grab bag parents will put together left to themselves is a substitute for planning.">"But if your methods work for you, help yourself. You haven't actually said what practical experience you have had with the Tiger Cub program."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Scout Nut,


                    I appreciate your comments, but they just don't strike me as being especially workable.

                    I don't have the opportunity of consulting with a committee of Tiger Cub partners to decide on the program. There simply isn't the opportunity to do so, nor do the Tiger Cub partners have the experience with the program nor the interest in designing the program --- as far as I can see, so far.

                    So far, I have one Tiger Cub Partner new to the program and another parent of a Bear Cub interested in helping with the Tiger Cub program.

                    What seems practical to me is to provide them with some structure and program for the next couple of den meetings and see what they can do about leading the meetings.

                    We've had an excellent recruiting night and a good 1st den meeting so far, and we're having the 1G Go see it hike tomorrow:
                    1G
                    Go to a library, historical society,
                    museum, old farm, or historical
                    building or visit an older person
                    in your community. Discover how
                    family life was the same and how
                    it was different many years ago.

                    The structure I have planned for the next den meeting is

                    2D Practice the Pledge of Allegiance
                    with your den, and participate in
                    a den or pack flag ceremony. using this achievement for an opening ceremony and learning the Cub Scout salute as a Bobcat requirement.

                    1D Make a family scrapbook. and

                    1F Think of one chore you can do
                    with your adult partner.
                    Complete it together.

                    Tiger Cubs and partners will have the 1F achievement described, and will have time to decide on a chore to do with their Tiger Cub partner, and will be invited to tell the den what their chore will be as a "sharing" activity.

                    Several of the Bobcat requirements will be covered, including story telling to complete some of the difficult #8 Bobcat requirements.

                    My aim here is to provide the structure and planning for the meeting for the Tiger Cub Partner to use in planning how to carry out that program content.

                    I think that should be a help to the person getting started leading meetings.


                    I share the reservations drmbear expresses in his post that new Tiger Cub parents are likely to have as program leaders:

                    >

                    By providing some structure and program content, my aim is to maximize the likelihood of potential new leaders to understand how to make the program work, with the expectation that they will then be ready to start making their own plans for the rest of the year.

                    In the past I've had good success with the program, but haven't made the shared leadership concept work. This year, making that work is one of my primary aims and I've just described the methods I'm planning to use to try to make that work.

                    Drmbear's comments and suggestions are very close to my own in how to begin making the program work for parents new to Cub Scouts.

                    With fourteen years of experience running the Tiger Cub program, your experience dwarfs mine. It may well be that you have developed methods that allow you to do things as you describe. But if so, I don't understand what your methods are in detail or how to make them work.(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Our method is really rather simple, but it does take a lot of work.

                      We use an experienced leader as the Tiger den leader (me), and develop a leader from within the den for the Wolf years, and older.

                      As den leader, I ran the first den meeting. The Teams learned how meetings were set up, and how much fun they could be.

                      During that first meeting I explained Shared Leadership, and had the Teams spend some time looking thru their handbooks for the achievements, and/or electives, they were interested in doing, and signing up for those activities on the den calendar.

                      We never ended up with Tiger Teams doing every single meeting. Every Tiger Team did at least one meeting/outing, often more than one. However, there were still open meetings I ran as den leader.

                      At the end of every meeting I would sit down with the next two Tiger Teams up on the calendar to discuss their plans, offer ideas, and find out what, if any, help they needed from me. I did not just hand them a pre-done plan and tell them to follow it. I worked WITH my Tiger Teams to help them to learn how to plan activities/meetings themselves.

                      It does take more time, and effort, however - for us - it worked, and was worth it.

                      By February of each year we had a close knit group of Scouts, and it was usually pretty clear to me who the next year's leaders would be. By June we had two new den leaders (often more), and a bunch of families "hooked on Scouting", and used to helping out, and working together.

                      This is how we make the Tiger program, and Shared Leadership, work for us.

                      However, I am not saying this is the only way to do this. Circumstances, and attitudes, differ in every Pack. Your methods might be the perfect answer for your particular Pack.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When I first became Tiger leader, it was the result of the cubmaster at the time talking to the group of new parents at recruiting night and asking "who wants to be the tiger leader?" Since I had to be there anyway...

                        Fast forward a few years and we realized there had to be a better way. So I talked to the other DLs who had been tiger leaders and created a "HELP!" document unique to our Pack.

                        I then run the first tiger meeting, and the first two go see its are scheduled by utilizing some recurring community and district events that happen in October and November.

                        At the first meeting, we play a game, do an activity, and have a snack. We also cover Bobcat stuff and other scouting essentials. I give the den a blank flag and we come up with a den cheer.

                        I then explain to the parents that this is how they will run the meetings from now on: game, activity, snack. I pass out a sign up sheet with four columns--game, activity, snack, and go see it.

                        I then ask for a "coordinator." This is the person who finds meeting locations and is the point of contact between me/the CC/the advancement coordinator. In other words, this is the den leader but we give them a few meetings to grow into the role to be sure it works for them. By that time we've usually identified a co leader as well. Coordinators/leaders are also the stewards of the den's copy of the meeting resource guide and the "how to" games and crafts book, Tiger advancement chart, etc. They see to it that these resources make it to the parents handling the next activity.

                        I should also point out that our district did something different in roundups this year in ones they conducted. They gave every family a youth app AND an adult leader app. I had always stressed adult involvement in my recruiting, but having the district do it this way took it to the next level. I worried it would be heavy handed but it actually worked well.

                        The idea is not that you charter 15 new adult leaders, but that you have the forms on file to be signed and turned in when you do identify that leader. More important, it instills the idea of shared leadership to all the adults. It works well for us, though I suspect there's going to be some criticism of that approach.

                        So in summary--lead the first meeting, have a sign up sheet for future meetings, and get a coordinator. I agree with ScoutNut that it is a simple process if you don't over complicate it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hello Scout Nut,


                          Thanks for going in to more detail on your methods of leading your Tiger Cub Dens.

                          I like the idea of letting parents pick the achievements they want to lead. In general I like the idea of people picking things to do that they want to do or are good at doing. Your method accommodates that aim.

                          My hope and aim is to find a Tiger Cub Partner who will get trained and will act as the Den Leader, coordinating the shared leadership method with other parents in the den. And that may prove to be practical.

                          >


                          Of course the Tiger Cub Handbook recommends that each Tiger Cub Partner run a month of meetings and activities. But that very likely sounds intimidating to a lot of parents, so your method of Tiger Cub Parents taking charge of a single meeting sounds more realistic for a lot of parents.

                          The who are more able might take charge of a month of activities or do multiple meetings over time as you suggest.

                          >


                          I didn't do this during the first den meeting. Instead I asked for parents willing to lead a meeting or meetings, and this was the subject of an e-mail to those who agreed to lead meetings explaining the methods of Tiger Cub Den leadership.

                          Thank you for taking the time to explain your methods in more detail. That's very helpful and gives me some useful methods to consider for the future.

                          Also Scout Nut,


                          Did you use "Denners" in your program, and if so, how? That's another part of the program I haven't used to date, but would like to figure out how to make it work.



                          (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            >>"Of course the Tiger Cub Handbook recommends that each Tiger Cub Partner run a month of meetings and activities. But that very likely sounds intimidating to a lot of parents, so your method of Tiger Cub Parents taking charge of a single meeting sounds more realistic for a lot of parents.">"My hope and aim is to find a Tiger Cub Partner who will get trained and will act as the Den Leader, coordinating the shared leadership method with other parents in the den.">"I asked for parents willing to lead a meeting or meetings, and this was the subject of an e-mail to those who agreed to lead meetings explaining the methods of Tiger Cub Den leadership.">"Did you use "Denners" in your program, and if so, how?"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              >"My hope and aim is to find a Tiger Cub Partner who will get trained and will act as the Den Leader, coordinating the shared leadership method with other parents in the den.">>"My hope and aim is to find a Tiger Cub Partner who will get trained and will act as the Den Leader, coordinating the shared leadership method with other parents in the den.">


                              We recruited two Tiger Cubs in the spring, signed up another over the summer ( the father participated in my Tiger Twilight camp in July, and this was the person who agreed to lead the next meeting.) and we recruited eight and counting Tiger Cub with our fall recruiting.

                              I agree that having a generous number of Tiger Cubs makes it a lot more likely that you will find a competent and willing leader.

                              "Did you use "Denners" in your program, and if so, how?"

                              Comment

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