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  • Bear Den Advice

    Hi everyone,

    Love coming in here looking for advice, everyone is always so helpful.

    This year we are moving up to being Bears, and I am so glad my son and boys love scouts and have came a long way.

    So what is some advice you can give me for running the Bear meetings, or certain things you would have done differently that you learned from past experience?

    Do you make the boys wear Class A or just Class B to the meetings?

    How long do your meetings last?

    ANY advice is greatly appreciated even if I didn't ask it


  • #2
    Bear was one of my favorite years as a Cub Scout leader because you have so many Achievements to choose from and the kids' attention spans are a little longer. Choose the most fun Achievements, try to find out what they are doing that year in school and see if you can piggyback on any of their field trips or school events. Our pack didn't have Class B uniforms, so they were expected to wear Class A. We only met once or twice a month for den meetings, so our meetings were pretty long, ranging from 1.5 to 2 hours.

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    • #3
      Yes, I love how there is so many options to chose from. We meet every Monday, with one Monday being a Pack meeting. So many Mondays they do not have school this year I have already seen, so I will be speaking with the parents about doing as they were called as a Tiger "go see its" on those days. Thanks Didn't think about piggy backing off the schools field trips.

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      • #4
        Hello, nice to meet you! My son is also moving up to Bear this year (I'm their den leader and always looking for ideas and suggestions here!)

        I love the idea of piggy backing off school events. Here my son only had two field trips in 2nd grade and one in 1st, so hopefully there are more this coming year. Looking through the book, it seems we have a lot more to choose from this year which is awesome.

        We also meet on Mondays (1st and 3rd of each month, the last being our pack meet.) Our meetings are anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half long each time.

        We have class A & B uniforms. Whenever we go out in public or attend a pack meet, I ask them to wear their class A but for all the other events we normally ask they wear their class B uniform. A lot of the time our den meets are outdoors and they always manage to find some dirt

        Sorry rattling on, love to meet others who are pretty much in the same position as I am Do y'all do any events over the summer?

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        • #5
          We are trying to do activities over the summer. But getting some parents together is like pulling teeth.

          This year we didn't have many field trips either, I am going to contact the school and see what they say in August if they have field trips for this year.

          I know we will be doing a water park in town, also going to the local news station for a tour, and our calendar event which is a movie night. So we get the award for doing summer activities. I would like to get the boys more involved over the summer though.

          I am going to try and have the boys wear their Class A more next year, because it seems that if we do not in force it someone will forget when I have all the boys up there for awards.

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          • #6
            That's a challenge for us too. We do day camp in June, a water day in July and a pack meet in August. Then our meetings start back up in September. I believe the Webelos meet up during the Summer but that's it for our group.

            Sounds like y'all have some great ideas already, I hope you can get a good participation number!

            Getting the boys to wear their uniform can definitely be a task. We have a lot of low income families who are unable to purchase the full uniform. We do try to help as many of them out but even then, a lot of them come straight form work/school/etc. and don't have on the uniform.

            I saw in the beltloops thread someone posted about doing a giveaway using tickets each pack meet for those who wear their uniform. Not sure if that would be something our group (or yours) would be interested in but I'm gonna suggest it later on this summer and see if maybe we can try it out.

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            • #7
              Firehouse, police dept, city hall etc are all nice but they have likely been there before. I like doing things like water and sewage treatment plants, power plant, quarry, industrial plants. Like the show How Its Made.

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              • #8
                In Cubs, the Scouts depend on the adult leaders to set the pace. The ideal is that the Den is the boy's "gang", hopefully they live close by, and friends out of Scouts too.
                Den Leader: Be in close, good contact with the other parents. Run ideas by them. Do any dads/moms work some place cool? A fleet garage? The airport? A museum? A donut shop? Almost anywhere can be special to your Cubs! A farm? The back of the Safeway?

                Take them out hiking, if not camping (check into being BALOO trained). Three or four miles is not too much for your bears. Carry water, snacks, binocs, a jacket (dress for the weather). Rain? Go anyway! Thunderstorms? Well, no. Get'em dirty. Look for crawfish. Find that Beaver dam in the local park. Even if you are not a naturalist, you can get them to LOOK at the woods, ferns, Poison Ivy (!) AND, find your local Scout Troop and recruit a Den Chief, your junior assistant. Nothing better than a "big brother" type to brighten the Cubs' day. Let him lead the hike, he might be working on his Nature Merit Badge!

                Find the local Model Railroad club. You will have a bunch of happy Cubs, believe me. I once led our Den to THREE model RR displays in an afternoon (walked between two then to the diner!), and the local diner gave everyone FREE ice cream cones! Be creative, the words "CUB SCOUTS" will open many doors.

                Schedule the activity. You can't please everybody, but you CAN appear to be making the effort to accommodate other concerns. But nothing happening is NOT as good as SOME things being possible. Life is full of choices, yes? Give them good alternatives to soccer and karate.

                Someone has a garage that you can set up in to make those bird houses in. Share the snack duty, and ASK each family to host a Den meeting, don't be shy. ASK. If you wait for someone to volunteer , it ain't likely to happen.

                Unlike regular school, Scouting can train the boy to SEE, not merely look. HEAR, not merely listen. PARTICIPATE, not merely wait....

                You can be the difference in some boys' young lives. Remind your Den parents that their boy will only be 8 or 9 years old ONCE. If they don't make the connection with their son by the time he's 12, they won't have it when he's 18....

                And remember the Cub Scout Mantra: Kis Mif, Kis Mif Kis Mif..... (keep it simple, make it fun!)

                Thank you for your service and..... Good Scouting to you!


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                • #9
                  long time since I was in cubs but the thing I suggest with troops/packs/dens with the class A & B... always wear class B under class A. If class A is what is needed then ready to go, and if going to get messy take off class A and put somewhere safe and poof in class B ready to go. encourage to marker names on tag of shirt!

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                  • #10
                    Class A's are to be worn to ALL meetings, Here is what I tell my parents. " Assume you are wearing your Class A's unless I tell you different" No need in asking unless I tell you other wise.

                    Drive me nuts parents always asking do we wear class A's. We are going to a Memorial service, what do you think?

                    An Hour or as long as the meeting isnt boring is a good amount of time

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                    • #11
                      Try to pick achievements that you haven't done previous years. There is a lot of overlap between ranks on certain subjects. I love the flexibility that Bear year offers in that respect.

                      Definitely do the Whittling Chip. The boys will love that. Be advised that the official Cub Scout knife with rubber grip is very difficult for the boys to close themselves. I would not buy those again.

                      In our pack, almost every boy gets the tan shirt for Webelos, so earning a lot of arrow points that won't transfer over seemed like a waste. Instead, after earning rank, we focused on earning the (now defunct) Leave No Trace award, Cyber Chip, and another district-specific award. Having the whole den on stage during a pack meeting getting an award that no everyone achieves was special for the boys.

                      We wear Class A uniforms to all den and pack meetings. If doing certain outdoor things, we may wear class Bs.

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                      • #12
                        When I was in Cub Scouts as a DL, it was Scout uniform unless, the activity required it to be set aside temporarily. As long as there is no such thing as Class A/B uniforms, the boys either they wore the uniform or they didn't. What they wore when they were not in uniform is of no concern to me.

                        As to the partial uniforming that 99% of the Pack think is "full Class A uniforms" that's a joke as well. We have bling and patches all over their shirts, neckers, hats, etc. and then they wear pajama pants with a ninja print. Give me a break, it looks rather,... well, ... stupid.

                        I would rather the boys all showed up in blue jeans and white t-shirts. At least they would all be uniform.

                        Stosh

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                        • #13
                          I like the idea of wearing pack t-shirts under the scout shirt. My sons always wear a t-shirt under their uniform anyway, might as well make it count!

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                          • #14
                            I like the idea of wearing pack t-shirts under the scout shirt. My sons always wear a t-shirt under their uniform anyway, might as well make it count!

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