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Requirements for Den Chief?

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There are two different things here - Den Chief and Day Camp assistant.


Den Chief: The Den Chief is requested by the Cubmaster (usually after a Den Leader has requested one) and appointed by the SPL/Scoutmaster from any one interested in being the Den Chief. The Pack Committee, in consultation with the Cubmaster, assigns the Den Chief to a Den. The Den Leader may request a specific person, which is often how a person becomes a Den Chief in the first place, but it is still up to the Pack Committee to assign that person. At this point, the Den Chief takes on a rather unique role within the Pack - he is not a member of the Pack, and is not registered with the Pack, yet he becomes part of the Pack's leadership team. He is not just another Cub - he is a leader and takes on leadership responsibilities.


The Den Chief is an official POR - no Scoutmaster may decline to count a Den Chief's service as a POR for Rank Advancement - IF the Den Chief has been properly appointed (If a Cub Leaders son becomes a "De Facto" Den Chief, without appointment by the Troop, his service doesn't count since he isn't officially a Den Chief - Packs may not make a Scout a Den Chief, only that Boy Scout's own Troop may do so).


The qualifications for Den Chief are simple:


Den Chief Qualifications: Is an older Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer. Selected by the senior patrol leader and Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, or Venturing Advisor at the request of the Cubmaster. Approved by the Cubmaster and pack committee for recommendation to the den leader. Registered as a youth member of a troop, team, or crew. (From

the BSA's own website - Scouting.org).


Webelos Den Chief Qualifications: Is an older, experienced Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer. Selected by the senior patrol leader and Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, or Venturing Advisor at the request of the Cubmaster or Webelos den leader. Preferably a former Cub Scout; ideally at least First Class rank. Approved by the Cubmaster and pack committee for recommendation to the Webelos den leader. Registered as a youth member of a troop, team, or crew. (Also from BSA's own website).


As you can see, the First Class Rank is mentioned only for the Webelos Den Chief - and only as an ideal - not a requirement. There is also a preference for the Webelos Den Chief to have been a former Cub Scout - but again, not a requirement.


All that being said, it appears that Troops have wide discretion on who they'll appoint as Den Chiefs - if your son's Troop will only appoint Den Chiefs that are at least First Class, then you'll have to accept that - with the "First Class in first year" emphasis, it shouldn't be hard for your son to get his First Class and express interest in becoming a Den Chief. If the Scoutmaster doesn't like the program for some reason, this is a good opportunity to remind him that the Den Chief program serves as one of the best recruiting tools for his unit, encouraging Cubs to cross over and join his unit. You state you live in a one Troop town which makes it more difficult, but if I were the Cubmaster wanting Den Chiefs and not getting any cooperation at all from the Scoutmaster of the only Troop in town, I would be seriously considering starting up a brand new Scout Troop with the next batches of Webelos from the Pack - and making it a point to tell the Scoutmaster that I will be strongly encouraging the boys in the Pack not to consider joining his Troop in favor of the new one. But that's just me being feisty (because I can't stand officious Scoutmasters who take opportunities away from the Boys because of their own ego or ignorance of the program).


As for Issue Two - Day Camp (and by extension - Webelos Woods). You're the Day Camp Director - is there a requirement by YOU or the COUNCIL that Boy Scouts assisting at Day Camp be Den Chiefs? If so, why??? Aren't you limiting your recruitment pool with such a requirement? Or is this the Troops idea? Is it YOUR or your COUNCIL's requirement that a Boy Scout assisting at Day Camp be 14 years old and First Class (no "hearing rumblings - if you are the Day Camp Director, you should KNOW the answer to this) or is it the Troops idea? Is it YOUR or the COUNCILS requirement that they take Den Chief training? Or is it the Troops idea? Any Boy Scout can take Den Chief training without being or becoming a Den Chief - and, by the way, that Scout does NOT need permission from his Scoutmaster to take that training. It sounds like your Council is giving Den Chief training in March - you have every right to send your son to this training without getting permission from his Scoutmaster - and any Scoutmaster that would refuse permission in the first place should be placed on immediate furlough until he gets his head out of his ....


Now here's the best part - for you as Day Camp Director - as long as you are following the Council's policy on Staffing, you can bring anyone you want in as staff - the Scout does not need any approvals, permissions, etc. from his Scout Troop or Scoutmaster - he is working as a member of the staff, and is representing the Day Camp - NOT as a member of his Troop. His Troop and Scoutmaster gets absolutely no say in the staffing, or staffing requirements, of Day Camp, Summer Camp, Webelos Woods (sounds like a District or Council event), etc.


If your son, and any of his buddies in his Troop want to work at Day Camp, and are otherwise qualifed by your Council's Day Camp Staffing policies, the Scoutmaster can't stop them - and you don't even need to ask him.


At Day Camp - do not call them Den Chiefs - they aren't Den Chiefs - Den Chief is a specific position of responsibility in the Boy Scouts - find some other position name for them - in fact, find some other name for the "Dens" at Day Camp - unless they are comprised of the actual Dens of a Pack, they may be mixed with boys from other Dens and even Packs. At the Day Camp I worked at many years ago, each group of Cubs were given an Indian Tribal Name (Kiowa, Souix, Crow, etc.) and we called these groups by the generic Tribes - the Boy Scouts assisting the Tribes were called...Tribe Chiefs. Be creative and stay away from "Den Chief" to describe the lads at Day Camp.




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In our Council we use the term Den Chief inter-changeably for Day Camp and working with the Pack.


For Day camp any boy scout is eligible to work, from Scout all the way up to Eagle. Frankly we struggle to get Boy Scout help at Day Camp. The title of DC while they are at Day Camp is a 'convienence' because without the grunt work they do Day Camp would be a flop. The job lasts a week and the boys get service hour credit. Its been an accepted practice that we call them Den Chiefs.


We also have many boys who act as Den Chiefs for a Cub Scout Den. These boys usually stay with the Den for 10 months. The boy must be 1st Class and the SM/SPL must know they are looking for the job to get leadership hours for Rank. The Den Leader makes a selection and the boy has to come to one Committee meeting to be talked too (sort of an interview, but not an interrgation). We (the Pack) also pays there Den Chief class fee, usually $20.



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What CalicoPenn said.


Additionally, though any boy can take the den chief training, but that does NOT make him a den chief. (Why would a boy want to take den chief training if he isnt a den chief?) A den chief is appointed by the troop, and accepted and assigned to a den by the pack. Like LisaBob said, the troop and pack need to be in agreement for this to be successful. A pack or den cannot DEMAND a den chief, nor can a troop force one on a den. There needs to be a mutual understanding.


None of this den chief business has anything at all to do with a day camp.

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I developed the following in response to a request from some local units. There is probably a lot of information you don't need or care about, and some I'm sure is from my personal bias and/or from the area viewpoint. However, this is how Den Chiefs are handled around here. In the end, Den Chiefs are appointed or approved in some manner at the troop level. A Pack can't "appoint" & if a Scout serves in this capacity without the approval of the troop, it is not official & shouldn't serve towards time in office, etc. You are welcome to cut & paste and use any of the following. Good Providence.



Den Chief Guidelines

An Overview for Cub Scout Leaders


Den Chief Pledge

I promise to help the Tiger cubs, Cub Scouts, or Webelos Scouts in my den to the best of my ability; to encourage, guide, and protect them in all den and pack activities.


I will strive to be prompt and dependable, and to cooperate with the leaders in carrying out the den program.


As they become eligible, I will encourage boys in the den to join a den of the next rank in Cub Scouting or to become Boy Scouts


What is a Den Chief? A Den Chief is a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer assisting a Cub Scout or Webelos Scout den.


How do boys become a Den Chief? Cubmasters request Den Chief help from Scoutmasters, Varsity coaches, and Crew Advisors. The Scoutmaster will appoint the Den Chiefs. Scouts cannot become a Den Chief without approval from the Scoutmaster.


What if you have someone in mind for a Den Chief? A den leader may, through his/her Cubmaster, request a specific Scout for a Den Chief. This occurs sometimes with siblings or family friends. The procedure is very similarThe Cubmaster passes the request on to the Scoutmaster. In most instances, the match will be made.


Why do boys want to be a Den Chief? Most older boys want to be a Den Chief because they enjoy working with the younger Scouts. This gives them an opportunity to demonstrate and practice their leadership skills with younger boys. Serving as a Den Chief is not a specific requirement for advancement, so they are not helping because they have to.


Who provides supervision for a Den Chief? The Den Chief first looks to the Den Leader for guidance, then to the Scoutmaster.


What happens if a Den Chief isnt working out? If you are having problems with a Den Chief, you need to explore the reason. Does the Den Chief not fulfill your expectations? Are your expectations realistic? Are you communicating them well? Does he know your expectations? Does he understand his job description? Talk to your Den Chief. Speak to his parents or his Scoutmaster. You may talk to your committee, also, but to be fair, be sure to include the Den Chief and his Scoutmaster in those discussions. This gives the youth a chance to offer his point of view with an adult leader present who is supporting him. If it simply is not working for some reason, the Cubmaster may ask the Scoutmaster to remove the Den Chief from that position. (Bear in mindyou requested a Den Chief from the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster selected the youth he/she thought would be a good fit. The Den Chief did not come to anyone asking for the job.) This should be done discreetly and politely. Remember, our purpose in Scouting is to build young men up, not to tear them down!






What is the job description for a Den Chief?

The Den Chief:

Holds a leadership position in the troop, team, or crew. Leadership is a requirement for many steps in Boy Scout and Venturer advancement.

Knows the purposes of Cub Scouting.

Helps Cub Scouts advance through Cub Scout ranks.

Facilitates and encourages the transition of Webelos Scouts into Boy Scouting.

Assists with activities in the den meetings helps lead activities, games, and ceremonies.

Is a friend to the boys in the den.

Helps out at weekly den meetings and monthly pack meetings.

Is a model for the boys in the den, as well as the entire pack sets an example, wears the uniform correctly, lives by the Scout Oath and Law, and shows Scout spirit.

Promotes Scouting in general and the local troop in particular.

The Den Chief IS NOT the primary planner, nor is he in charge of correcting behavior.



How can you utilize a Den Chief in the different portions of a den meeting?

Make sure you have reviewed the procedure for these before the den meeting begins! If you want the Den Chief to teach a skill, tell a story, or bring materials, you need to let him know at least a week in advance!

Before the meeting: Review the meeting plans with him to be sure everything is ready, have him help set up the room.

Gathering: The Den Chief can check achievements, lead game time, work on puzzles, conduct uniform inspections, teach boys skills, or collect paperwork.

Opening: The Den Chief can assist Cub Scouts with the Pledge of Allegiance, flag ceremonies, reciting the Cub Scout Promise or Law of the Pack, recite the Boy Scout Oath or Scout Law (for Webelos), or teach or lead ceremonies.

Activities: The Den Chief can assist the Den Leader with games, crafts, storytelling, tricks or stunts, skits or songs, or practice for the pack meeting. He can prepare the materials for the activities, or you may want to request him to work with some of the boys who are having difficulty. Perhaps a Cub Scout missed a meeting where you covered an advancement requirementyou could have the Den Chief work with that Scout.

Business: Webelos Den Chiefs might help a den prepare for an outing by teaching them how to pack for a campout, make a list of things needed for a campout, or plan a menu. Den Chiefs might record advancement, update Cub Scout handbooks, or help plan for a special activity.

Closing: The Den Leader is primarily responsible for the closing, but may ask the Den Chief to assist. He might have a closing thought, help with a flag ceremony, help recite the Cub Scout Promise of Law, or lead a closing activity.

After the Meeting: Discuss how the meeting wentespecially the good points and any problems, discuss plans for the next meeting, assist with cleanup.


You need to give him direction! Dont expect a boy to show up and just start doing things. If he is there, he wants to help. Let him know what he can do. As the Den Chief gains confidence, you can have him help you more and more. Eventually, you might ask him to plan to teach the rules for a belt loop you wish to work on, share his Scout skills, or more. Adult leaders need to make sure the job is seen as important and necessary. At first, you may have to work at this process, but before long, he will be a great help to you!



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The Den Chief position is near and dear to me. Older son served for 3 years as a Webelos Den Chief and younger son is just starting his 1st year as a Webelos Den Chief after serving one year as Den Chief to a Wolf Den.


Perhaps because I truly know the value of the Den Chief position, ours is the only Troop in town that will provide one if asked. Other SM in our District will not supply Den Chiefs because almost all of the packs and troops in our District meet on the same night. Those SMs feel that their scouts need to be at their meetings and will not allow them to miss in order to go to Den meetings.


Very sad indeed. The result - I have three packs asking me for Den Chiefs from our Troop. I know of two Scouts in our troop that would serve very well in that position (other than my son who is already helping a Pack) and have asked them to consider the job.


The problem I'm facing is that while I would love to supply the Den Chiefs to these packs, our troop is so small that with the repeated absence of up to three of our Scouts, we'd have very small meetings.


The Cubmasters in these packs certainly understand and came up with an idea that the Den Chiefs only come to half of the den meetings and then half of our troop meetings - kinda of an every other week thing. At the very least, two of the Cubmasters have asked if our troop could provide a few Boy Scouts for assistance at a couple of their Pack functions (pinewood derby, campouts, etc.). Again, they've asked other Troops and other troops are not interested.


Another positive side to supplying Den Chiefs to Packs is that it gets your troop's name out there to folks who may otherwise not even know you exist and help in the long run in recruiting efforts.





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  • 11 months later...

OK...I have looked and cannot find, in authoritative written form, if there is any minimum age or rank rank requirements for Den Chief. I want a scout, who is interested in being a Den Chief, to take the Den Chief training. I just receive a training flier that has a specific age and rank requirement. I called the training leader and he said it was a "national" requirement.


So, again is there any "National" minimum age or rank requirement to take the training or be a Den Chief? If yes, can you lead me to the link/source/authoritative language?



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DC's in my previous troop were always assigned by request either from the boy or the pack. If the pack needed a DC we got it one. If a boy wanted to be a DC, we found him a pack. I don't see all the need for SM getting the SPL to assign one, etc. etc. etc. Just make it happen. I have had several boys acquire the DCAward working through this process. When I left the troop, they had 3 DC's on their roster, 2 of them members of the Honor Patrol. They had all earned the DCAward and were still functioning as DC's.


As far as training? 1) have fun with the boys and 2) listen and do what the DL tells you to do. It seems to work pretty well for the boys that I've seen doing the job of DC.


Stosh(This message has been edited by Jblake47)

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If there any BSA recommendations as to age for a den chief, they would be found in the Senior Patrol Leader handbook or the Scoutmaster Handbook, both of which have long discussions about boy leaders in general and positions of responsibility specifically. The Cub Scout Leader book would be another place with guidance. You might try asking the trainer person for a page number in a book so you could read more about it and become more informed. You could also ask him his recommendations on training the den chief yourself. Perhaps he would loan you the training syllabus. Or, you could attend the training yourself.

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There are no minimum age or rank requirements for being a den chief.


As FScouter suggests, if you ask for documentation, you'll find that there is none that specifically states a rank or age. The BSA national site does say that a den chief is an "Older Boy Scout", but that would seem to be subjective.

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There is no National written requirement that unequivocally sets a specific age or rank requirement for DC.


Ask the Course Director to show you the National requirement. Remind them that every boy deserves a trained leader and that includes a Den Chief and that you have a boy who actually WANTS to take the training and do the job and it would be a shame to leave the Cub den without a DC.


That being said, if they will not budge on the training, purchase the boy a copy of the Den Chief Handbook($4.99) and tell him to read it. Purchase on for the den leader too so that he/she will know how to utilize their den's DC.

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If my memory serves me correctly, I think the requirements for the national DC Award requires the BSA training OR training designed by the DL. We have given dens boys mature enough to handle being instructed to the specific needs of that DL and den. Whenever the DL training is offered, we strongly encourage our DC's to make use of the opportunity.



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Echoing what Oak Tree and ScoutNut have said - there is no minimum age or rank requirement to be a Den Chief or to receive Den Chief training. The BSA states in the job descriptions for Den Chief that they are an "older" scout (without ever defining what "older" means) and for Webelos Den Chief, recommends (but does not require) that they be at least 1st class and have once been a Cub Scout.


This is what I would do (because I really dislike officious adults who use such terms as "national requirement" without pointing out the exact "requirement" to hold back interested Scouts). Ask the training leader to point out, in black and white verse from an official NATIONAL BSA publication that states a requirement of age and rank for Den Chief Training - and when he can't produce it (and he can't), hand him the Scouts registration for the training and tell him your Scout WILL be at the training, he WILL be treated well by the training staff, or you WILL go to the District/Council training chair and District/Council Chairman to file a formal complaint about his actions, and lack of Scouter Spirit.


Or, if you'd rather not be confrontational, just register the Scout anyway and bring him to training.



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I have been the course director for several Den Chief Trainings. The flyers put out by my council does state First Class or 14 years old. I will NOT turn any Boy Scout away from the training, regardless of his age or rank. If I get a call from a troop or parent, I tell them to register the boy, and write on their registration form that they talked with me and I ok'd the boy.

I have found that often an 11 or 12 year old Boy Scout is more willing to be a Den Chief. As they get older, they get busier and being a Den Chief isn't just important to them.

My son started as a Den Chief shortly after his 11th birthday. He was the only one in his troop interested. The rest of the boys were 14 years and older.






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  • 2 years later...

First: The Boy Scout handbook, Scoutmaster handbook, and Venturing Manual does not state that a Den Chief needs to be at a certain rank to serve that position. However, as the Leadership Training Committee Guide states, The den chief is selected by the Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, or Venturing Advisor upon request by the Cubmaster, and approved by the Cubmaster and pack committee for recommendation to the den leader.


Second: Packs, Troops, Crews, Ships, Districts and Councils must stop implementing their own rules or defining positions so it better fits their needs. National spends alot of time and effort making the rules so that all can enjoy the program. According to National their has never been a Rank Requirement. This is a Requirement many Packs, Troops and Districts have imposed.


Third: When this type of "Urban Legend" happens only the youth suffer. For instance, 25 boys were seperated during training at a POW-WOW last year because they were not First Class. Trainers start to enforce these false requirements as if they were real.



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