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  • Becoming a den chief

    Hello- I"m not sure if this is the right thread to post this in but I'll ask here.
    My son wants to be his younger brother's Webelos Den chief, and also have that count for his 4 months of service
    for Star Scout. He just passed his BOR for Second Class and he's very close to First Class.
    Besides the den leader and Cubmaster for that den in Cub scouts, who else does he need to ask? Does he ask
    our Troopmaster and his SPL? In the book, it just says "adult leader." In our troop, ASMs also can sign off rank advancement
    in addition to the Troopmaster. thanks alot!

  • #2
    ROFL. Welcome to the forums! He could ask Troopmaster but he should upgrade to the latest version first and even then I suspect there will be no response. Sorry, I just couldn't resist, "Troopmaster" is a software program used by Troops for advancement tracking, your son will have more success talking to his Scoutmaster. Alternatively he could talk to a ATM. Sorry, couldn't resist again.


    • #3
      What is the age gap between the brothers? Mine are 3 years apart and I wouldn't consider it for a moment. The Den Chief position is one of the most important in a troop if done by a mature Scout and done correctly. If not, it can damage the Troops reputation in the eyes of a Pack and the parents. Most on this board would consider 13 still to young. It is also one of the most time consuming. The Den Chief needs to be a help to the DL not another cat to herd. If the SPL, SM and DL all believe he has the maturity, skills and time to do the job, why not pick a a different Den than his brother's?


      • #4
        Swimmer21, I gently suggest your son ask his SPL. He needs to know how to get answers to questions himself.

        His time won't "count" until he is First Class, so there is some time for him to figure this out on his own.


        • #5
          And.... DCh can be a long dedication. I agree with KDD, why not ask to be the Tiger Den Chief? He can "grow up" with them, and, if he's good at it and enjoys it, he can be a "big bro" for these Cubs right on up thru to crossover. AND... he will be the de-facto DCh for his real lil' bro anyway, count on it!

          There is no requirement that his PoR change every year, he could be a DCh for as long as he is welcome! I helped in the Eagle investiture of a young man who had served as a DCh for a least three of his Scouting years.

          And yes, check with his SPL. He will need the approval of the DL, the CM, and the SM. And welcome to the forums!


          • #6
            Originally posted by SSScout View Post
            I helped in the Eagle investiture of a young man who had served as a DCh for a least three of his Scouting years.!
            Wow, really? I wonder what new Leadership lessons he learned in his third year in the same POR?


            • #7
              Originally posted by scoutergipper View Post

              Wow, really? I wonder what new Leadership lessons he learned in his third year in the same POR?
              Just because a Scout is doing a job does not automatically mean he is doing it for advancement purposes only.

              My son was a Den Chief for 7 years - 6th thru 12th grades. He brought 1 den from Tiger into Scout (all of those boys crossed to the Troop), and worked with a number of others.

              He did not get ANY of that time recorded for a POR, however, he did learn a LOT about leadership.


              • #8
                Swimmer, goo to hear form you, however I have some concerns.

                Why are you asking this, and why here? Should the scout not be asking this, and asking this of his ASPL (not SPL for Den Chief)? I'm also concerned about the fast track advancement, remember advancement isn't the purpose of scouting, just one of many methods. In my opinion having a scout be DC for a siblings den is a bad idea; I'd suggest he request another den.

                My suggestion is have this young man bring this up during this next SMC, he'll get pointed in the correct direction.

                Has this young man taken Den Chief Training?


                • #9
                  I think it is great Dad is asking about it here! Isn't guidance what adults are supposed to provide? Even parents? The OP is obviously new to this game. His troop could be as bad as mine with a rather passive SPL who would just say "sure, whatever". Where is it written this is the job of the ASPL? Do you know his troop has one? Where is the fast track advancement evidenced? Did Dad say he just crossed over in March? We have several scouts that have been with the troop for 18 months and just got 2nd class. Old Ox your are light years more polite than BD, but are making some of the same assumptions he would with new posters. If he were around right now I know exactly what he would have said, "Back off Helicopter Dad, stop managing your sons scouting career! ....... Just exactly what is Your position in the Troop? .........Stop interfering with the Troop Program! Damn Millennials, can't stand them! ........Shaking my Head!"


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by scoutergipper View Post

                    Wow, really? I wonder what new Leadership lessons he learned in his third year in the same POR?
                    A lot more than struggling through the learning curve waste of time most go through with their advancement POR's for 6 months.

                    All my DC's are expected to commit a full 12 months on the job and earn the National DC Award. Every boy that has done that has remained DC for a year or two afterwards as well.

                    Wow, really? I wonder what new Leadership lessons he learned in this 12th year of high school in the same school district? Kinda makes one wonder how their grandparents were able to learn anything in the one room school house where it was the same teacher for 8 years....

                    I'll guarantee you one thing... Any boy that has put in 2-3 years as a DC is going to be your next TG until he ages out! That is if he doesn't go back to being a DC in the meantime. Most of my best real leaders have started out as DC's. It's a natural for servant leadership, "take care of your boys", training.



                    • #11
                      Swimmer21: Don't get discouraged. Truth is, we don't know what the norm is in your troop, however you can't go wrong with your son asking these questions and you helping by coaching him along teaching him how to escalate until he gets an answer.
                      Remember you're dealing with boys and not customer service based in a foreign country and you'll do fine.

                      All you'll need to know is the order your son needs to go in: Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, then Assistant Scoutmaster and/or Scoutmaster.

                      (Shaking my head at KDD. I know he misses BD dearly )


                      • #12
                        I do Koolaidman. My favorite Sesame Street character is Oscar the Grouch as well. Basement/Garbage Can distinction without a difference.


                        • #13
                          scoutergipper, my son is in his 3d year and what he is learning is mainly that leading Bears is a lot different than leading Tigers! Long-term DCs are wonderful IMO. The Boy Scout does indeed learn a lot. I am about to have a Come To Jesus conversation with my own DC and I hope it goes well and he will shape up. Whether or not it is a sibling is immaterial IMO- as long as your DC has the right maturity level he will do well. That's what my issue is right now, my DC isn't anywhere near as mature or helpful as my last one was and I am regretting him. Last week a Scout in my Troop asked if he can DC my new Tiger Den and I said NO because he is just not DC material.


                          • #14
                            In general, a Den Chief is an older Boy Scout - most SM's will put that at age 13 but will consider a 12 year old who has shown he has transcended the Cub Scout program and is firmly following the Boy Scout model. An 11 year old in the first year program is probably a bit too close to being a Cub Scout to be an effective Den Chief (and frankly, IMHO, the first year program is more like the old Webelos program which used to prepare Cub Scouts to transition into Boy Scouts - now the Webelos Program is 2 seasons, and both dedicated to earning rank or the Arrow of Light instead of letting those come naturally as part of the transition - but maybe that's a rant for another time).

                            A little history - When Cub Scouts was first created, there were no adult Den Leaders (fka Den Mothers and Webelos Den Leaders) - the people who led the Dens, with no interference from adults other than the Cubmaster, were older Boy Scouts given the title Den Chief. Eventually the Cub Scout program changed to put "Den Mothers" in charge of Dens with Den Chiefs acting as assistants.

                            To become a Den Chief, a Scout approaches their SPL (in some Troops, they may have delegated that to the ASPL, but that's not all that common) and Scoutmaster. Both need to select the Scout to the position (one of only 2 positions that the Scoutmaster must give affirmative consent for the SPL appointment to hold - the other is Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster). Once the SPL and Scoutmaster approves, the Cubmaster for the Pack and the Pack Committee needs to approve and recommend the Scout for a Den - the Den Leader may accept the recommendation and the Den Chief or may turn him down. Sounds complicated but don't fret - what usually happens is a Cubmaster or Den Leader asks a boy (often the brother of a Cub Scout) to be a Den Chief for one of their Dens and then they get approval from the Troop, often while the Scout is acting as a de-facto Den Chief without official title.

                            If he does become a Den Chief, he should do so for the right reasons - yes,he can use it for POR but if that's the only reason he's doing so, then it's probably not right for him. It's a bigger committment - he'll be attending more meetings and needs to be prepared - if he's really interested, have his ask the Scoutmaster to get him into training (a lot of Councils and Districts start offering Den Chief Training right about now). He should commit to at least one full year - it's not fair to the Cub Scouts in his den for him to do 4 months and then leave.

                            If he loves it, he may be a Den Chief for the rest of his time in Scouts - I was a Den Chief from age 12 to the time I aged out, I earned the Den Chief Service Award, and I used the POR for Life and Eagle Scout.

                            For those who wonder about where leadership comes in, it depends on the Troop culture. My Troop embraced the Den Chief program - it's a great recruiting tool. My last two years, my Troop considered me a "Senior Den Chief" and part of my duties included training and mentoring new Den Chiefs - both the ones from my Troop and the ones in the Pack I served from other Troops.


                            • #15
                              Thanks Calico

                              As a Cub Scout Leader, I didnt have a lot of respect for Den Chiefs as a result of our experiences with them in the pack. There was no training back then and our Pack simply did not know how to use them. So when I became a Scoutmaster, I neither encouraged nor discouraged scouts to take on the responsibility. However, another adult who came from a different pack experience convinced me that with the proper training, Den Chiefs were quite valuable to dens and packs. She wanted to guide the Den Chief program in our troop. She told me she would insure our scouts and the Den leaders would be trained together to learn of each other expectations. So we got into the business of Den Chiefs. I also felt that first year scouts were too immature for the responsibility, so we waited until the scouts were 12.

                              Anyway, from our experiences, I started to notice that Patrol Leaders with a Den Chief experience were initially much better leaders of their patrol. I observed Patrol Leaders with the Den Chief experience work side by side with PLs who didn’t have the experience and I found that the Den Chief experience gave the boys confidence in dealing with groups as well as individuals for working as a team. Nothing scared them and they had their patrols functioning quickly. After a couple years of watching the advanced leadership skills from scouts with Den Chief experiences, I started encouraging scouts to consider the responsibilities and I took their experiences a lot more seriously in the leadership development. Enough so that I included the value of Den Chiefs in our Council Youth Leadership Development training when I became the Council Youth Leadership Chairman.

                              One of the advantages a Den Chief gets for practicing leadership is he is automatically respected as the dominant scout simply by his age and stature of being a boy scout. New Patrol Leaders often struggle to get footing when they start because they are suddenly leading peers who are older and more experienced or are their best friends. Den Chiefs struggle less encouraging the Cubs to follow direction where as a new Patrol Leader sometimes lack any confidence. By the time a Den Chief gets a Troop POR, he has developed the confidence to lead without the fear of lacking respect of the peers. As stosh says, leading is serving and Den Chiefs learn that rather quickly.

                              Of course there are also the benefits of Den Chiefs bringing in new scouts and all that, but I’m more anal about scout growth and I grew to find the Den Chief experience to be a very good step in a scout’s growth.