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Splitting dens

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We have a huge pack with two or three dens at each level. For a variety of odd reasons, we only one den now going into their Bear year. They started with a small class of Tigers two years ago, but has grown a boy or two at a time until they now have 14 boys.


With Roundup coming in the next couple weeks, I'm sure we will gain a few more Bears, but historically not enought to form a new Bear den. Fourteen boys in the current den is too big so adding the new boys is really out of the question.


Good news/bad news is that the current den has a really great father/grandfather leadership team and none of the current families are willing to split off to help form a new den.


What if we split the den into A and B teams with an ADL in charge of each? The dens could meet at the same time, share programs and planning, but go to two separate areas for their activities. The original DL could still be responsible for the overall program.


The problem with a huge den is that the noise, distractions and discipline problems created by 16 boys is exponentially greater that those of 8 boys. So while officially and in the eyes of the parents and boys they are still one den, we're splitting them up for activities.


Wadda y'all think? Anyone have a better idea?

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Sounds good in print to split.But it also occurs to me that 2 cub has a problem with leadership.Which pack gets the leaders? Who's going to choose who goes where?More parents need to step up to help.You say you have a really great team

of leaders for this large den,but it's a good chance they are going to burn out.I had 9 and 10 member dens and it was a challenge (I did have a good dose of ADD boys).

Someone needs to have a heart to heart with the parents and let them know that if they want their boys to have a quality

program they need to help.

might be a thought to do your nonsplit split,but each of the 2

needs an assistant from the ranks of parents.This would allow for a mentor to develope new leaders.I think that this needs to lead to an actual Den split.

Splits are always a crap shoot if you do them without some preperation.Even then,who knows?

Ive seen unit and district splits that have created 2 weak

organizations needing help.You need to have a trained and prepared leadership core for each unit.The numbers will look great for the DE until both units fail.

Note: I've seen it work out to all's benefit as well.

I know you are in a bit of a fix with the reluctance of any one to step up to fill leadership gaps.Approach likely candidates individually and impress on them the need for help to keep a viable program.The likely hood of getting volunteers

through a group request is not good.

Good luck.



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My question related to splitting a single den within our pack not the whole pack. But still, Woj has outlined some of the issues well. We could probably recruit another DL and asst. out of the group, but the problem is getting other families to voluntarily leave a good, strong den to form another. Unfortunately the dynamics of a den like that is that the parents who are involved, active and would make good den leaders themselves are the ones who are the most invested in the current den and least interested in splitting off.


My thinking is that with the non-split split I described earlier that over a few months the two dens would begin to operate independently, but who knows. That's why I'm looking for input.


Not to get off subject, but my experience with splitting units to create new ones is not good. New units need to be formed the old-fashioned way by finding an interested CO, leadership and pool of boys. If a few boys are drawn from other units, fine. But if a new unit is relying on pulling resources from an existing unit I question if there is really enough commitment there for a stand alone unit.

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2CD,I shouldn't of bothered addressing scoutldr's response since it didn't address your issue.


I think you are on the right track.The only suggestion I'd make is be sure to give each leader of the sub dens a helper.

you could avoid using any official title.It's amazing but asking some one to be a den leader or assistant will some times scare them away but I've gotten good results when I asked

a person to take on a specific defined task.Strangely enough that task was exactly what the position would of called for.

After they've done the job for a while I'd point out to them

that they might as well be wearing the patch since they are doing the job.


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The reason I suggested splitting the Pack is because he said "we have a HUGE pack". My original pack grew to 150 boys. We had 15 dens and 4 Webelos dens. It took 2 hours to give out all of the arrow points and badges at a pack meeting and we had no time for songs, skits, or anything else. The Pack meetings became tedious and no fun for anyone. Yes, you will need to do some preparation, and it can be done. That's much preferable to the Packs that say "we're full and not accepting new members."


BSA recommends 6-8 boys per den. More than that, and you should split it.

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I think the A and B den idea is a good one. It is just another way to get more parents involved. That way if something happens to the DL team (a move out of the area or something unpredicted) you will have backup in place.


And Den Chiefs!!! Get some Boy Scouts from the Troop you feed into to be Den Chiefs to help out. They need the PORs and you need the help.

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Having a den size of 6-8 boys is certainly ideal but it may not be a reality for many of us.


My Tiger Den started out with 8 boys then we grew to 12 boys as a Wolf Den. We had a heart-to-heart conference with the parents and managed to get a fantastic scout parent to volunteer to serve as the den leader when we split mid-year. However, only 4 boys transferred into the new den and promptly 2 of those quit. The fantastic scout parent preferred Pack leadership positions over that as a den leader so we dissolved the 2nd den. Last year we were a Bear den with 12 boys. Yes, the meetings were loud. We lost one boy (an ADD/ADHD) who had difficulty coping with a large group but he found a smaller den within the District.


I had a couple of boys move away, so now we're a Webelos den of 10. We've accepted the fact that we're a big, happy den. I am the den leader. I have 2 assistant den leaders, 2 den chiefs and each month we elect 2 denners and 2 assistant denners. Since the Webelos program is centered around the activity badges, I have recruited many of my talented parents to lead the different subjects each month.


When the den meeting gets rolling we meet in my livingroom for opening pledge & brief announcements. Then the boys are typically split into 3 different groups which gives me a chance to break up any buds who are too disruptive. The boys will either rotate among different activities or they are all working on the same activity that's stationed in 2-3 different rooms in my house or backyard. The loud volume in the livingroom is thus reduced to a loud hum in each room. This strategy has worked very well and we get lots accomplished!! (Yea!) The den chiefs are fantastic helpers and I always have parents willing to lend a hand.


One thing we'll be trying out this year is to have a "board of review" style meeting at the end of each month at which time the Webelos handbooks will get signed off. Boys will be assigned to one of the assistant den leaders, the cubmaster (who happens to be one of my den parents) or myself to sign off on Webelos achievements.


So, if you continue in a big den fashion you may want to consider regularly splitting the boys for the activities. Another suggestion is to keep any announcements brief. If you need to explain more, tell more, etc., then put it in a newsletter or e-mail to the parents.


And as someone once mentioned in an earlier posting on this forum concerning den size, the downloadable Excel tracking charts are already set up for 15 scouts. That may be saying something??

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You have two problems, 1) too large a den, 2) not enough adult leadership.


Splitting the den solves problem one, the sub Den ignores problem 2.


Your greatest chance of delivering a quality program would be to select and recruit adequate leadership (4 adults) to lead two dens. Then you operate the program in a format that has been proven successful rather than trying to create a new type of den administration.


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Bob is correct, the best solution is to find the leadership and redistribute the membership in the dens. It's difficult to do. It can even cause enough friction to cause a boy to drop out. And we certainly would hate to see that.


If you can't do that, there's another similar solution I've seen work. It will only work if you have a place large enough for the whole group to meet and the dens to meet indivually(perhaps your CO's building). You split the den into two dens, each with it's own leader. The current den leader works with both. The groups do den meetings seperately, on the same night, and come together for some type of activity or game. I have seen this work in a situation similar to yours.

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The real problem I'm trying to address is separation anxiety.


That the den is too big is a given. Creating a second den of course creates the need for a second set of leaders. The problems is that no one is volunteering to join the new den, especially if it means they may be asked to be its leader. Frankly, if my son were in a strong, sucessful den with a leader he likes I wouldn't offer to to move him either.


the ideal outcome would be for the two dens to begin to function independently after a few months. I'm trying to find a way to ease into the new set up without the friction EagleinKY notes that a cold-turkey split may cause.

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"The problems is that no one is volunteering to join the new den, especially if it means they may be asked to be its leader."


Actually the problem is the approach being taken for the solution.


The make-up of the dens and selection of leadership is the Cubmaster and Committee chairs responsibility. If they are waiting for people to volunteer or expecting parents to run up and ask to be leaders, then they will wait forever. That's now how to make it work.


The Cubmaster and committee chair with input from whomever they want to include, select and recruit the leader ship needed to operate whatever number of dens they have or want to have in the pack. Then the Cubmaster and Den Leaders work to gether to determine the membership of each Den. Parents are then informed of who the Den leaders will be for their child (or children). It is recommended that the Den leaders then confer with the parents to find a meeting day and time that is the most doable for the most people.


This is something the pack leaders make happen, not something they wait to happen on its own.

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Well, TwoCub, it seems to me that if I am going to post a response here, I have 2 choices, 1) Tell you things you already know, which doesn't help you much, 2) Evaluate the situation you are actually facing and your proposed solution.


Since Option 1 has been ably handled already, I will go for Option 2: I think your proposed solution is creative, and a good solution.

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