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Is there a LIMIT imposed by National on Den Chiefs?

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  • Is there a LIMIT imposed by National on Den Chiefs?

    Hello Seasoned Scouters,

    I am a Den leader in a larger pack (we have 6 or so dens with near 50 boys). Many of our previous Cubs matriculated into local troops and want to give back to their "Cub Community" helping out as Den Chiefs.

    One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star. Unfortunately the SPL (and I am assuming SM) is telling us that a PACK can only have one "official" Den Chief who gets credit and the rest could do it but would receive no credit for their service.

    My question is this, does this fall in line with National Policy or is this just Troop Policy?


  • #2
    I recently went through the Den Chief training, and I have not seen any such rule, nor have I heard of it in the past.

    In fact, there are several places in the official BSA literature where it describes a pack with multiple den chiefs, in different dens.

    I would respectfully ask the SPL or SM to show you that rule somewhere in writing from the BSA.


    • #3
      There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

      I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

      Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

      I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

      It is a no responsibility, position of are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.


      • Brewmeister
        Brewmeister commented
        Editing a comment
        First of all, it's a POR, not a POL. Responsibility. And while I hesitate to dump on any PORs in blanket statements, being even a mediocre Den Chief would require WAY more responsibility simply by virtue of showing up at Den and Pack meetings than the troop bugler, librarian, or other positions.

        I will agree with you that "they need to actually hold the position and fulfill the responsibility before it gets checked." After all, isn't that supposed to be the way it is? The Den Chief takes on the role; the DL/CM and SM communicate to make sure the responsibility is fulfilled. That's why all those signature areas are in the Den Chief Handbook, after all. (You do have that, right?)

        Your typical mode of operation is to throw a wet blanket of sarcasm over everything that doesn't live up to your personal expectations, but in this case, the fault is that the Den Chiefs you have experienced are not living up to the position as it is written and designed. Den Chief is decidedly NOT a "minimal responsibility" position, and if it is being treated that way by Den Chiefs and units they are doing a disservice to the position, as well as the boys.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        I Agee that when done properly it is probably on Par with a PL for the amount of work....but is different....with an adult looking over your shoulder

        But again I have not met the scout who has put that much effort into it......

      • Brewmeister
        Brewmeister commented
        Editing a comment
        Well, you have hit on the exact problem then, haven't you? If you do not have scouts who are willing to put the time into the position--in terms of training, planning, enthusiasm, and overall responsibility and effort--then the problem is with the scouts (which ultimately falls back to the units--Troop and Pack), not with the position. Hopefully some day you will work with a den chief who fulfills the position of responsibility as it is designed and trained.

    • #4
      Posted an incomplete thought.

      If you want more den chiefs simply go to another troop and ask for some......

      No big deal....


      • #5
        Troop policy. I'd wager there's some history behind it. Maybe packs weren't giving feedback when a DC wasn't measuring up to expectations, and the boys were starting to use the position (maybe not in that pack, but others) as a way to do little but get credit for rank advancement. Maybe there was a time when every so many boys were DC's and none of them were free to be PL or QM.

        Anyway, you would do well to talk to the SM and ask why that's the troop policy.


        • #6
          Troops can make their own policy, and Scoutmasters approve POR's. But let the troop know that its not a National policy. I had to fight my troop, who insisted that the Den Chief had to attend the council training session before becoming a Den Chief (which was annoyingly scheduled the same weekend as the district camporee). I showed them they were following the rules for the "Den Chief Service Award", not the rules for becoming a Den Chief.


          • #7
            Since old piper never came back....

            Let me speculate that the scout in his discussion was his son, how has probably been in the Troop 18 months or so and currently stuck in the log jam of boys looking for POR at first clase... So dad is going to intervene and force the scoutmaster to make his son a den chief so he can continue to advance.

            Sure it slows down advancement....But honestly most lads aren't ready for PL at 12 years old...

            A bad Den Chief can do more damage to recruiting than 5 great den chiefs do to improve it.


            • #8
              The only limit I would suggest is one DC per den. They are not PACK CHIEFs, they are DEN chiefs. Every den is entitled to one. Every boy that wanted to be DC in my troop was 1) expected to do the job, 2) take and pass the DL training, and 3) earn the DC service award for 12 months of service, not just the 6 months for advancement.

              The DL was responsible for insuring the DC earned his DC Service Award and was told up-front the requirements. If the boy was not meeting those expectations for their den the DL was to notify me immediately!

              Of all the boys agreeing to this arrangement, they ALL served 12 month or more and all got their DC Service Award and I never got a call from a DL. Boys who did not want to fulfill those expectations up-front always chose a different POR for advancement.

              By the way, every boy that served as DC and got their DC Service Award made fantastic PL's and SPL's. They did not need to be a PL or SPL prior to doing DC. I always found that being a good DC laid the foundation for being a good PL/SPL and TG! not the other way around. It is far more challenging to be a good DC to a bunch of little guys than being a PL of your buddies.



              • #9
                I have den chiefs placed with our feeder pack. Sometimes 2 to 3 per den, but then they have 10-23 boys per den and that's a different story, and these boys earn their chops. Firstly they are placed for the cub scouting year, many go on to staff summer day camp, and most continue on for 2 years or more.

                These boys get great exposure to leading a group and receive fantastic support and mentoring from the den leaders. We truly do have a really good pack! Every Den Chief is expected to complete the training and all do. These are the boys who become our best PL's. I know of no restriction on the number of den chiefs per pack or den.

                And everything that Stosh said, ditto, diito and ditto!


                • #10
                  When our Troop started getting intentional 10 years ago about sending the best and brightest Scouts "downstairs" to serve as Den Chiefs to the Pack, it was a total game-changer. Happier Cub leaders, and a super high crossover rate. When that high crossover (boys and parents) occurs Troop membership levels stay constant and Troop program improves which also makes us more attractive to folks from other Troops and Packs. Recruiting doesn't seem to be an issue for us.


                  • #11
                    Just make sure that the Den Cheifs are quality. That's the key. You can have one for each Den. Though, as Cubmaster I would really only want one for the Webelos I & II Dens since they are moving over sooner. The DC's could help out at Pack Meetings or Events as needed. If the DC was very fun and cool and wanted to hang out with the Tigers, that would be fun.

                    And, just to confirm...there isn't a rule from National.


                    • #12
                      I would add, Training is critical - For the Den Leader too. A Den Leader should sit through the Den Chief training, to understand how to use this new person during den meetings the right way.

                      I'd place them in Webelos dens first, but If I had enough, I think every den could use one.