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Den leader John

Large Den Managment

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I am shocked that your CM and CC have not addressed this earlier.

 

If it continues, then not only will you get disillusioned andmaybe burned out, but families will leave if they don't think the boys are getting a quality program.

 

Split the den. Take out a map and make a dot on each family's home. Draw line through the middle of the group to split it. DO NOT pick and choose who goes with who, stick to geographical splits, less feelings get hurt. Then the CM and CC should take the second group aside and have them decide who will become the group leader. Only move outside the group if no one will accept any responsibility (haven't seen that happen yet). Now in case of one Tiger den we had, itwas decided by a couple of the parents that they would team up to do the den leadership. I accept that as long as one of them agrees to be the point person, i.e., the den leader (note that this person will typically slowly move into the traditional role in most cases).

 

Good luck!

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Thanks for everyone's help.

I plan on getting the parents togather, before school starts, and let them know about the split.

Our School District and pack is spread over a large rural area. It may be easier to split the Den by geographical location. My ADL is a friend of mine and our boys are good friends, but he would a logical choice for a DL, since he is on the other side of the School District from Me.

How many activities, and what kind, do you do with the other Dens of the same rank?

 

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Have you alerted the CM, CC and committee that there is a problem with den size? Sometimes problems that are out of sight are out of mind. It may not be that they don't care but that if you haven't voiced your own concerns they may think that you think you can handle it.

But definitely split! I have 6 boys that come faithfully and if it weren't for a couple of great assistants I would pull my hair out.

 

Our pack is so small we only have one den for each rank with the largest being 10 in number (Wolf den). If they get a bunch of new recruits from fall sign-up they will have to split up as well.

 

Good luck!

 

Cub Scouts ROCK!

 

Carol

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At the beginning of last year I did not know any better. As far as I knew It was not uncommon to have that many in a Den, the CM just kept adding Boys to my Den. I do not know what would have happened if had not become the DL, since as far as I knew no one else wanted to be a DL.

Our Pack also has only one Den per rank, with my Den being twice as big as the others.

I told the PL that I wanted to split the Den, after I found out about 5 new boys that were being added to my Den(Wolf Den). I have not herd anything about our Pack having a Pack Committee. As far as I know we have a PL, and a Treasurer.

 

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"How many activities, and what kind, do you do with the other Dens of the same rank?"

 

Depends on your situation. If you end up with 2 other dens scattered over a large area, you might not be able ot hook up very often.

 

I think the better question is 'how often do the Den Leaders of the various dens meet up, even if only by phone, to coordinate plans?' You ought to be working off the same annual planning calendar (a great tool for year-around planning) so you ought to be on about the same page most of the time.

 

However, there is nothing to stop you from joining forces when it makes sense- Pinewood Derby workshops, trips to 'Cub Day' at a local sporting event, coordinated assault (er, I mean VISIT) to the zoo or museum, a big Webelos Picnic, etc.

 

 

 

As for splitting them up, I think geographically sounds right in your situation. Any youth on borders can be dealt with by a simple meeting of the DLs.

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"How many activities, and what kind, do you do with the other Dens of the same rank?"

 

John I can think of very few. Pack meetings, family camp and Day camp.

 

The whole idea is that snall group activity at this age is better. There is no point in dividing dens only to bring them together frequently for combined activities. Keep them separate except for pack activities.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for everyone's Comments, it definitely gives me some ideas for my Den.

I spoke with my ADL, and he didn't like the idea of spliting our two boys up, any more than I did, because they are good friends. I know he would be a DL, if we have no other alternative.

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Well, this does come up fairly often, and I'll add my 2 cents.

 

First, as others have said, get to training as soon as you are able. It really does help, especially if you're new to the program.

 

Next, as painful as it might be, you need to split the den. 16 is WAY too many. How you split it can be a challenge. 2 dens of 8 doesn't give you any room for growth, but protects your den size if you expect guys to drop out. 2 dens of 6 and a den of 4 will probably only work if you know you'll be getting more Scouts for those dens. If not, I'd probably go with 8 and 8. If you have good parental support, it'll work and you can probably add 1 or 2 to each den, although that will make them kind of large.

 

Also, how you split the group can be a challenge in ways other than size. If these boys know each other at all, you should try to keep the friends together if at all possible. If you split too randomly, you can start to lose Scouts who joined because their friends joined. So, give that some thought and get some input from the parents. Also, if I remember my Cub Scout Leader handbook, the CC is responsible for den assignments, so provide what input you can, but it's the CC's responsibility to do the splitting. As some others have said, geographic splits can work as well, but doing some thinking about who knows how can be helpful and cause less problems later.

 

I think you said something about having 5 boys added to your den? Your CC should never have done that. Those 5 could have been the start of another den.

 

Know that finding leaders is not your job. Your committee chair and your CM should do that.

 

Good luck. Don't let anyone railroad you into thinking that you've got to do all this yourself. As a DL, it is not your job to set up dens and find leaders. And as quickly as possible, get back to the fun stuff. :)

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You must split this group. Your CM and CC have failed the boys and you as the leader. Having run into this problem as a CM I can tell you that it is not always easy telling parents what must be done. But the 3 times I had to do this the DLs came back to me later and thanked me for making them split. It wont be easy at first but everyone will realize in the end that the program works much better with a den smaller in size. You have 16 boys and only one parent willing to take on a leadership role. This will be a problem in the future as well. That means you have 15 sets of parents unwilling to support not only the den but the pack as well. I think if the CM or the CC were unable to split them, as a den leader I would do the splitting myself and tell the other 8 sets of parents if they want to have there son in scouting they will need a leader. I know this sounds harsh but the way it is now is not fair to any of the scouts or you as the leader.

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As it is the Cubmaster's job to organize the dens (not the CC, not the Committe, not the DL), I would recommend to him/her the best arrangement. As with any group, you should be able to tell which boys work best together. Perhaps some live in the same neighborhood or in the same class at school.

 

From your postings, it seems that the CM also has a den? This tells me that your Pack is weak in Leadership recruitment. The CM should be on the phone to all affected parents trying to drum up leaders. If he needs help, have him turn to the Unit Commissioner. It is part of their responsibility to help recruit leaders if the Pack is having difficulty. It may take awhile as parents who don't want to jump in feet first often don't even want to dip their toes in. But you will get them.

 

Jerry

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Our Pack tried large Dens once a couple of years ago because no one would step up. We had one Wolf Den of 11 and a Bear Den of 13. Utter disaster. Den meetings were total chaos because the DLs could not control so many boys, and by the end of the year we'd lost about 50% of the boys (dropped out), one DL, and the other DL (a gentleman with 8 yrs DLing experience) threatening to quit. In hindsite, this was my failure. I was the CM, and I let it happen.

 

We now strictly limit Dens to 8 boys (with the Pack Committee's blessing), no exceptions. Having learned a hard lesson, we realize that large Dens are not fair to the DLs and, most importantly, not fair to the boys. On a few occasions since then, I have had to be the bad guy and tell parents that if someone doesn't step up, we will be forced to draw names & turn boys away. (We feel that drawing names is the fairest method; only the DL's son is exempt from the draw.)

 

Is it harsh? I guess so, and I live in fear of the day no one steps up and I actually have to turn boys away. But this is a case where the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I believe it is far better to turn away a few boys than to deprive the entire Den of a quality program.

 

mark

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Sorry Cubmaster Jerry, but I think you are mistaken.

 

It is the Pack Committee Chair that is responsible for "recognize[ing] the need for more dens, and see that new dens are formed as needed". - Cub Scout Leader Book page 23-4.

 

The Pack Committee Chair with the help of the Pack Committee and the Charter Organization Representative select the leadership.

 

 

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Thanks again for everyone's input. After spending much time trying to decide if and how to split the den. I ended up not splitting the Den. I did not want to take the chance of losing any scouts, since after repeated tries, I could not get any other parents to be a Den leader. I did have a parents meeting, and split the Den into three groups of five, and required two parents from each group to be ADL. I now have six ADL, and in Den meetings and field trips the boys stay in their own groups, with their ADL. Maybe next year I will be able to split the Den, but for now it makes it easier for me to manage.

Our Pack has currently has 33 boys, 9 new Tiger Cubs, 15 wolf cubs and 3 in each of the other dens.

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Contact a local boy scout Troop to see if any of their scouts would like to serve as den chief. Athough not as good as parent involvement, it is better than nothing.

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