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Yikes! Asked to be ADL - what am I in for??

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Hey, all - new here! I got asked this evening by my son's Den Leader (he's a shiny, newly-minted little Tiger Cub...my son, not the DL) whether I would be willing to take on the position of Assistant Den Leader.


Hold me.


I think I'm going to do it, but I'm wondering about several things: I should probably plan on getting a uniform, no? Do ADLs typically wear them? Will there be books and manuals and such that I'll need to shell out for also? I'm sort of looking for a ballpark monetary expenditure here. I'm kind of tapped after outfitting my little guy, and would definitely need to do some creative budgeting. Our pack doesn't have a uniform closet, so that's not an option for me. And what about the roundtables and all that? How do the rest of you in leadership positions manage it, since the vast majority of you have kidlets at home that you're (we devoutly hope!) not chaining in the basement while you're gone? I just can't afford to pay for childcare that often. For that matter, how long do the roundtables usually run? Will I need anything besides FastStart, Basic Leader Training and Youth Protection Training, which I've already taken since I'm doing the next den meeting?


I'm a working mom who's already active with the PTA, classroom volunteering, etc. I'm pretty sure this is something that I want to do, but I want to go into it with my eyes open and knowing what's involved. Any pearls of wisdom that those of you who are less green than I am could pass along would be much appreciated!





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I will give you some idea's. Thank you for stepping forward, that shows that you want to have a quality program. Take as much training as you can, it just helps you out, plus it gives you contact with other leaders. If you have time, attend District Roundtable once a month. We have several parents bring the kids to Roundtable. It will help build you knowledge. You should have Youth protection, New leader essentials, and Leader specific. These are done through out the fall. Check with your Cub Master, Pack Trainer, or local Council. At the top of this Website, it give you a link for E-bay auctions. You can pick up a uniform for as little as half the retail price. A lot depends on your size. I am a 2x, so its a lot more. Check with your pack about litature and training. My pack pays for all of those items. There maybe a leader that has left the program that no longer needs there uniform.

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WELCOME TO CUB SCOUTS! You are a brave soul and to be commended.


You are asking the right questions. I started as an ADL and it gave me a chance to learn the Cub program without taking on too much. Really, what you need to do first is talk to your Den Leader and ask him the questions you are asking here. Your primary role as an ADL is to give the DL the support he/she needs. As Briantshore mentioned, check with your Den Leader and your Pack's library of leader books before you go out and make any purchases.


Wear the uniform. You're not just a "parent", you're a leader in the Den and the Pack. The uniform shows your commitment and sets a uniform example for the boys. I understand about cost and I've been there. If possible, purchase at least a uniform shirt for now. Yes, there are great deals on E-Bay for used uniforms (I have found some myself). Also, Thrift stores, Army/Navy stores are known to carry good used scout uniforms.


Training and Roundtables? You can never take too much and go when you can. I recommend University of Scouting (aka "Pow Wow") for some fun and helpful classes. In any case, the best training you will receive is the one you will get from your weekly Den meetings.


Enjoy and Have Fun!!



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As a DL, thank you. Thank you for being willing to help with the Den & Pack program. Thank you for being willing to be a part of your son's life (as well as the lives of the boys around him). That might sound like a no-brainer but you would be amazed at the number of parents who don't even want to sign him up for Tigers when they find out that they have to participate with their child. You will find that you will get as much out of your time as a Leader as your child will get out of his time as a Scout.


Absolutely wear the uniform. The 2nd biggest regret I have back to my days as an ADL is not getting the uniform. I didn't think it was that important...I was "just" the ADL. Well, perception is everything. I didn't make it important or feel like I was really part of leadership...so I wasn't. Does that make any sense? Ebay is a great source for used uniform parts.


My biggest regret as an ADL? Not getting training until later in the winter. By then I was frustrated with the boys, the den, the pack, the whole thing. Get training and don't get stuck in the mind set of "I'm JUST the ADL". To at least one little boy you are a Goddess, a World, a Rock, a Teacher (in addition to chef, maid and chauffer).




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TS: welcome to the Forum, and welcome to Scouting! Let me echo the good advice you've gotten so far.


Each Pack and den is different, so the question of the time involvement should best be answered by fellow Scouters in your Pack & Den, especially the den leader (DL) with whom you'll be working.


Do Ass't Den Leaders (ADLs) wear the uniform? Yes, but again, your Pack may have its own policy re: how "much" uniform to wear. I've always worn the full uniform, including pants / shorts and bolo, but cost wasn't a major issue for me. I know it can be for some -- you might check your Round Table to see if they have a uniform closet of "experienced" uniform parts since your Pack doesn't have one.


You can use your son's Tiger Book, but it won't explain the job of an ADL. For that, you'll need a copy of the Cub Scout Leader Book, or you can rely on the copy in your pack library (assuming your Pack has a library, and that its copy of the manual is current).


You can spend as much or as little on literature as you want -- but as ADL, you might want to rely on your Pack Library copy or borrow the copy from your DL now and then.


Things like the belt-loop books (Academics & Sports), "Sparklers", Pack & Den Ceremonies, "How To" book, etc. You can browse the titles at your Scout Shop to decide how much you want to invest in. If you think you'll become a full DL down the road, you might want to bite the bullet now and get your own copy(ies) for reference.


Assuming your Pack uses the monthly "themes", get yourself a copy of the annual "Program Helps", which lays out a full month of Pack & den meetings, for every level except Webelos, for a full twelve months. It costs about $5, but as others have said, your Pack might pick up the tab.


I always made it a point to attend Round Table, but honestly, I didn't go that often as a DL (I wish I had). When I became CC, I went religiously, then realized how much I'd been missing. In my case, child care wasn't an issue because my wife was at home to watch our two kids.


In my current district, the RT staff sponsors an activity room so single parents can bring their kids. We want RT to be as accessible as possible. RT usually runs about one to 1-1/2 hours, but I suppose that can also vary by council & district.


Best of luck to you -- looks like you're well on your way to being a great Scout Leader and a mentor to the boys in your den.

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I'm curious how many Tiger dens out there actually have/use assistant den leaders. I did not think there was a need for assistant DLs if shared leadership is used, and I don't think the National Council recognizes an assistant Tiger DL position.


My understanding of the program is that all the parents should be helping the Tiger den leader, and over time they will identify themselves through their actions which would be good den leaders, assistant den leaders, committee members, etc. That is how I came to be a Tiger den leader. During my older son's Tiger year, I was the most involved parent (except for the Tiger DL, of course). Last year, I was the assistant DL for the Wolves, and this year I am the Tiger DL for my younger son's den.


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As others have stated, YES to the uniform. At least the shirt to start with.


You said that you have already taken Fast Start, Youth Protection & Basic Training? By Basic Training, do you mean New Leader Essentials & Tiger Den Leader Specific? If you have indeed taken these 4 trainings then you are pretty much up-to-date with training.


As mentioned, Roundtable is a good monthly, supplemental training put on by your District's volunteers. This is a great place to meet leaders from other Packs (& Troops) in your area. Most councils also offer a yearly Pow Wow or University of Scouting. This is generally an all day Saturday event with lots of different "classes" you can sign up for. Well worth the time & cost (varies from council to council) involved if you can make it.


Since you asked about books you must not have received your Cub Scout Leader Book when you attended New Leader Essentials training. Some councils include the book in the cost of the training. Check with your CM & CC to see if your Pack will cover any costs for training or books. While you are talking to your Cubmaster (CM) & Committee Chair (CC), ask when/where your monthly Committee / Leaders meetings are. It is a good idea to attend those so that you know what is going on in the Pack & at the next monthly Pack meeting & how it affects your Tigers. Maybe you could alternate months with your Den Leader (could work for Roundtable too!).


Babysitting can be a problem, however maybe their dad can watch them? How about a friend or relative? Maybe you could share with your Den Leader. Find out if there will be babysitting available at the event.


Meanwhile, the BSA National site has a lot of info -



Current & next month of Program Helps -



BSA Online Learning Center -



Good sites on the Web -










That should give you a little bit of reading!


Also, for the Tigers, don't forget to use SHARED LEADERSHIP!! The den leaders should NOT be doing everything!!


Remember - KISMIF (Keep It Simple - Make It Fun!)

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Wow...thank you all so much! I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed by this now. Still rather freaked out, but manageably so. I've never even been to a "real" den meeting (the first one was mostly introductory for the parents).


ScoutNut, I'm sorry, now that I reread my post I see that I was unclear...I meant that I've done Youth Protection Training already, because of the fact that I'll be leading the next den meeting. Not the rest of them, though. I'm still puzzled as to how much training there is to go through. On our pack calendar, there are several evenings of leadership training, but I don't know whether they're all different and I need to attend all of them, or whether they're all the same and just on several different nights to make scheduling easier.


Tonight's our first pack meeting...looks like I'll have lots of questions for the DL and CM when I get there! And I'll be buying my uniform as soon as I can.


Thank you all again - what a great bunch! I'm so glad I found you!


- TwoSirius

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Hi TwoSirius,


I think you'll have a lot of fun with your Tiger Cub!


As for the training, You'll need faststart which you can do online at http://olc.scouting.org. Then there's "New Leader Essentials" which takes ~90 minutes. A lot of times that's offered at Roundtable. After that, there is "Cub Leader Specific" for your position. It takes ~2.5 hours. That's it, that's all that is left for you to be trained.


Beagle brought up a good point. Tiger dens only have a Tiger Den Leader (TDL), there is no Assistant Tiger Den Leader. This is because Tiger dens use what's called "Shared Leadership." That is, den leadership is shared between the TDL and the Tiger cub Adult Partners. Basically, the adult partners should be planning the meetings and go see its and the TDL is coordinating all that and recording advancement. Usually, an adult partner will plan the meetings and go see it for one month, then another will take the next month, and so on. The Leader Specific Training for TDLs will cover this.


With that said, I think it's great that you want to help with the den! It's a great time, I know; I was a Den Leader and Webelos Den Leader for my son's den. I had a great ADL too and that really helps.



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TwoSirius, if possible, do the online Cub Scout Fast Start training before your Pack meeting tonight. It is a great overview of Cub Scouts & gives you an idea of how a den & a Pack meeting should look.


You will have to register with a name & password & info on your council, but it is painless. Then, after you are officially registered & have received a membership card, you can go back in & enter your membership number so your council will get the records of the trainings you have taken.


Have FUN!


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I looked it up, and it's true - Assistant Tiger Den Leader doesn't seem to be an official position. I guess if that's really an issue, the CM will let the DL know...the DL is the one who asked me to do it in the first place, and I'll be handing in my leadership application to the CM this evening.


It doesn't really bother me that the role isn't officially recognized, though, and I don't see that as a reason to take it less seriously, either. I don't think the DL's idea is for it to replace Shared Leadership - more like I'll be the one doing things like recording advancements, calling parents with info, etc. Which is perfectly fine with me. Either way, if I'm going to help out, I feel more comfortable getting registered and trained...if it were another parent, I'd hope they'd do the same in order to help keep a high quality level in our den, even if it wasn't an officially recognized leadership position.


After looking at some of ScoutNut's faboo links (holy cow...good stuff there!), I'm guessing that maybe the best thing to do would be to take the Leader Specific Training classes for both Tiger Den Leader and Assistant Den Leader. That should cover the bases. I'll definitely talk to DL and CM tonight and see how they think I should proceed, though, and get that Fast Start training under my belt, too!


- TwoSirius

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TS - There is no Level Specific Training for Assistants. Assistants & reg leaders are pretty much interchangeable & should know the same stuff.


Take NEL & then Specific for Tiger Leaders. In the spring you can take Specific for Cub Leaders (Wolf & Bear). Then you will be all ready for next year!



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Two Sirius,


You have already been given some great advice, so I won't echo it all over again, however, I will mention 2 things that I didn't see mentioned.


1. Don't forget to retain your receipts for your uniform etc. You may claim them on your taxes.


2. Most importantly, please look at this not as something scary, you can always find answers through someone, whether on here, or through the already established pack leadership, and if they can't find it, they should know who to ask, but look at all of this as great scheduled time with your son! I only have sons, and I love the fact that I can be so involved in such a character building program with them!!! Someday when he is grown, he will so appreciate that in your very busy life you took the time to be his den's ADL. You will be so grateful that you had the opportunity to be as well.


Lots of great advice on this post!



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