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Requirements for Den Chief?

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Have you looked into Lone Scouting? Contact your District Director and ask what it would take to register your son as a Lone Scout. Tell the District Director flat out that the local Troop is not an option as long as current, and ignorant (and don't be afraid to tell the DD that the leaders are ignorant) leaders are still in charge, and neither is traveling 45 minutes one way.

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Under your line of reasoning, Scoutmasters cannot use any criteria not listed in the requirements to turn down a boy interested in being DC, no matter how unqualified. Since there are no requirements except approval by the pack and troop, they cannot be turned down - which would turn DC into a free-ride position, open to anyone who can find a willing pack or den, regardless of qualifications, skills or maturity. How much sense does that make?


Whether it's a unit-level across-the-board rule or the SM's discretion and judgment - it doesn't really matter how you phrase it. The SM has that ability.

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Ok. Shortridge you are completely lost. The fact that you can not change the rules set forth by National. Den Chief is a Position of Leadership and therefore falls under the Guide Lines of Rank Requirements. So, with that being said, nobody has the right to make a blanket decision that states that a Tenderfoot or Second Class cannot be a Den Chief. I never said you cannot have standards or internal guides; I said you cannot use Rank or change Requirements to fit your needs. Nobody has the right to make that decision, sorry. If you have a youth who would be disruptive as a Den Chief you have an obligation as a Scoutmaster to explain that to the youth. Making a judgment based on an individual's ability is different than changing a Requirement. To say you cannot be a Den Chief because you are not First Class is wrong. We are suppose to be training future leaders and that means helping them mature and grow. Instead, we make up our own rules so we can make our own jobs easier. Sorry if this seems harsh but all you have talked about is the "power" a Scoutmaster has and you have ignored the responsibility. First Class can be obtained in 1 year, so really how much mature are they? Some boys are natural leaders, some need help.


And the statement you made about "Scoutmasters cannot use any criteria not listed in the requirements to turn down a boy interested in being DC, no matter how unqualified" that is correct. If the youth is unqualified, he should not be considered. A blanket "Requirement" does not fix this. Being a Scoutmaster and understanding the youth and encouraging the use of the Patrol Method does. Youth must be reviewed on an individual basis. And if the SPL feels the youth is qualified, and the Cubmaster and Committee agrees what gives the Scoutmaster the right to disagree? It sounds like an ego issue.


I never said that their is no guidelines for selection. The youth must be able to fulfill the Requirements of Office.


Responsibilities: The Cub Scout den chief's responsibilities are to


■Know the purposes of Cub Scouting.

■Help Cub Scouts achieve the purposes of Cub Scouting.

■Serve as the activities assistant at den meetings.

■Set a good example through attitude and uniforming.

■Be a friend to the boys in the den.

■Help lead weekly den meetings.

■Help the den in its part of the monthly pack meeting.

■Know the importance of the monthly theme and pack meeting plans.

■Meet regularly with the den leader to review den and pack meeting plans. Meet as needed with adult members of the den, pack, and troop.

■Receive training from the den leader (and Cubmaster or assistant Cubmaster) and attend Den Chief Training.

■Encourage Cub Scouts to become Webelos Scouts when they are eligible.

■Help the denner and assistant denner to be leaders.


They can be found at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/AboutCubScouts/ThePack/csdcf.aspx


So, if the Scoutmaster, Cubmaster or the Committee cannot select a Den Chief with these guidelines and feel the need to enforce their own rules than maybe that individual needs to figure out if it's about the youth or their own power trip.

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First, a tangent: Den Chief is a Position of Responsibility, not Position of Leadership. There is no such thing as the latter.




You seem intent on creating an argument where none needs to exist. The Scoutmaster and SPL have a great deal of flexibility in appointing troop leaders. None of the troop PORs - den chief, scribe, historian, librarian, bugler, instructor, troop guide, etc. - are open-ended jobs - you can't just stick your hand in the air and get it. It doesn't make sense to make a Tenderfoot a troop guide or instructor, does it? Yet your line of thinking suggests that if a boy is interested in the job, he must be appointed. See how that falls apart?


Therefore, if a Scoutmaster and SPL decide that all den chiefs - the young men who are representing their troop to the next generation of Scouts - must have a basic level of Scout skills and outdoor experience, as exemplified by having earned the First Class Rank, that's their choice - part of their responsibility to their troop and the pack. You will find nothing - nothing - in BSA literature saying that they can't do this.


Your touchstone appears to be the line throughout the literature which says (and I'm paraphrasing) that a leader cannot add to or subtract from rank or MB requirements. Fine. That completely overlooks the fact that service as a DC - or in any other POR! - can have nothing to do with advancement. A boy can serve as a den chief outside the advancement "system." Perhaps he's an Eagle who wants to give back to a den. Or maybe he just doesn't want to advance any more. Maybe he just wants to serve!


I am not defending such rules. I am defending a SM and SPL's right to put them in place as a way of carrying out their troop program.


- - - -


You wrote: "First Class can be obtained in 1 year, so really how much mature are they?"


Let's flip this around. First Class can be obtained in 1 year, so why make such a fuss over nothing? Den Chiefs are supposed to be older Scouts, not boys who've just crossed over themselves, anyway. So it's not that big a deal.

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I am just pointing out that the List of Responsibilties are enough of a guideline for selection. If a youth can carry that out Rank does not matter. That is all I am saying. For anybody to put more into it than that is wrong. And interest in the position was never suggested, it is an appointed position not one you volunteer for. Actually, to me you seem more argumentative, you are right when you said "SM and SPL's right to put them in place as a way of carrying out their troop program." That is correct. 100%. What isn't is that they can tweak the requirements to fit their program. They have every right as long as it complies with the actual rules that are set forth ... not personal opinion or tradition.


Sorry if I seem argumentative but from my own experience when SM and others flex their own rules the program falls short. Like the earlier thread about the troop that does not "do" Den Chief's, that's just crazy. The reason why we should not add or subtract from the program without the appropriate supervision is the fact that 1 units rules are adopted by another, and eventually it snow balls into something ugly. Like 30 Tenderfoots and Seconds Classes being seperated and being told that they have no right to be at Den Chief Training during a POW-WOW. If 30 years ago, or whatever, some Scoutmaster did not think it was his or her right to make this alteration to the program it never would have snowballed to that event. I know that this is also a blanket statement but it happens and I have seen it. And yes, every position of responsibility has guidelines that need to be followed, I agree.


I never said any job was open ended, nor did I say that just because the youth wants it they should get it. It is a JOB. So, if the youth is not being considered there should be real reason. Not a made up Rank Requirement. If the youth ever asked "why am I not being selected" it should be explained in a positive matter why they weren't. I think we owe it to them.


So I am not misunderstood. There is no Rank Requirement. The SM and SPL selects a DC based upon ability to carry out the responsibilities of a Den Chief. The proposed DC is presented to the Committee and CM for final approval. This not a postion that a youth volunteers for but if the boy/girl requests a reason why they are not being considered, they should recieve an honest reason so they can see where their weaknesses are so they can become a better scout.


This selection process can be carried out without making up additional guidelines or requirements. And being chosen or not chosen can both be positive experiences if handle correctly.

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Ok, let me turn the question around. Instead of using rank as a requirement, should we be using older as a requirement?


What is an acceptable definition of an older Scout? I would think it would typically rule out first year Scouts that just crossed over from Webelos.


Nevertheless, I just appointed an 11-year old first year Scout as a den chief and I expect he'll do a great job. I would not call him an older Scout. The requirements don't define older, so I'm taking it as more of an advisory requirement than a literal requirement.


Scoutmasters can definitely add requirements like having to be First Class to be a den chief. You can argue all you want that they can't, but they can. They do it all the time. I don't - but I can see why some might. I'm not a big fan of tweaking rules to make things harder for the Scouts, but there is certainly a place for judgment in interpretation.

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What you listed are RESPONSIBILITIES, or DUTIES, that a Scout must preform once he is in the position of Den Chief - NOT - REQUIREMENTS needed to obtain the position.


Big difference.


You seem to really have a bug about Den Chiefs.


The BSA rule that you keep mentioning, as quoted from the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures book, is as follows -


"No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from advancement requirements."


The actual advancement requirement is as follows -


"While a XYZ Scout, serve actively for # months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the troop): Boy Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, Venture patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, troop Webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer."


This means that it is against the rules for a council, district, unit, or individual to state that the position of Den Chief can not be used to fulfill this requirement. It is also against the rules to require that a Scout serve for a complete year, in order to get advancement credit for the POR of Den Chief, or any other POR.


There is nothing, in writing, from BSA, that states that a SM MUST allow any Scout, of any rank, to hold the position of Den Chief, or any other POR.


There is nothing, in writing, from the BSA, that states a SM can NOT restrict the position of Den Chief to First Class and above Scouts.


BSA does state that a Den Chief is an "older Scout". However, BSA leaves the definition of "older Scout" COMPLETELY up to the discretion of the SPL and SM.


Also, your position that restricting the POR of Den Chief to First Class Scouts is changing advancement requirements is, not to put to fine a point on it, baloney.




A POR, Den chief or any other, held by a Tenderfoot, or Second Class Scout, does NOT count toward any BSA rank requirement at all.


Do I agree with a blanket unit requirement that Den Chiefs be First Class Scouts?




However I do acknowledge that a unit is well within the BSA rules to have such a requirement in place.


BTW - A Den Chief CAN, and often DOES volunteer for the position. His SPL, SM, the Pack's CM, and the den leader he will be working with, all have to agree to it however.


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OK. We all agree that tweaking rules are wrong. We all agree that rank is not a requirement. We all agree that blanket rules are wrong.


What we do not agree on is that local authorities do NOT have the right to make these kind of requirements up. Again, I say that local requirements regarding certain POR cause confussion and does not do anybody justice. After multiple conversations with Trainers, Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, DE's, and National Program Planners DC's should be selected on an individual basis based on the youth's ability to carry out the responsibilties of the office not rank. Yes, I know a Tenderfoot cannot get credit towards rank for this; but it maybe a good learning experience for a youth that has natural leadership ability. A rank Requirement would prevent this youth from this experience early on. And once you make it a Requirement that is what happens.


And yes, it is a peeve of mine. As I stated earlier, last year at a POW-WOW I saw 30 Tenderfoots and Second Classes seperated from First Class and above; repramanded in front of their peers because they did not belong there due to their rank. They were selected based on ability and need by the SM and had already been approved by the CM. 15 of these boys quit scouting after this embarrassment. So I ask you, how important effective is a local requirement when it causes us to loose scouts?

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"So, if the youth is not being considered there should be real reason. Not a made up Rank Requirement."


A sufficient and valid "real reason," in my mind, could include that the Scout has not demonstrated sufficient mastery of Scout skills to represent the troop to a group of Cub Scouts. How do we judge mastery of Scout skills? By attaining First Class. It's very logical to me.


I'm sorry for the boys you cite in your example of the idiotic trainer at the Pow-Wow - but that was the mistake of a trainer, not a rule imposed by a Scoutmaster! And there were other options for those disappointed boys even if the district screwed up. What was the reaction of the SM and CM when told that the boys they selected and approved as den chiefs were turned away from training? Did they fight it? Did they set up training themselves in conjunction with the den leaders? Seems to me it's those leaders you need to also be having a chat with about backing up their boys and sticking to their guns.




OK - hypothetical situation here. You're a trainer. You're running some sort of module on local unit leadership, and you outline the position you've taken here as a fact. I ask you for the citation in the BSA literature that says a Scoutmaster may not require a den chief to be a certain rank. What book do you hand me?

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Ok I think I got your beef now and the key to your argument. You are, to put it mildly, upset that 30 scouts couldn't attend a training and were publically humiliated.


I'd be steamed too. While I am a big advocatefro scouts fighting hteir own battles, and I would encourage them to do so, sometimes an adult needs to step in. Embarrassing folks is not called for.


Questions I would ask at that point would be the follwoing


1) where in the literature the council put out for the training did it state rank and age requirements? If it is clearly stated in the flyers, then you may not be able to go to step 2 as it was published and should have been followed. OR someone should have called PRIOR to the event to point out #2


2) Where in the BSA literature does it state that DCs must be a specific age and rank? As you know you won't find one. Now once upon a time someone 13 and First Class was considered an older scout as they could go to Jambo and do HA activities. Don't knwo about HA activities, but at 12 they can now jo to jambo.



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"...the Scout has not demonstrated sufficient mastery of Scout skills to represent the troop to a group of Cub Scouts."


This wording seems oddly specific, yet does not appear in the job descriptions or requirements for den chief that have been previously cited. Where did it come from?


"I wonder how the Scout would feel if he was assigned to a Den which wasn't led by his parent?"


I felt OK with it...


"older Boy Scout"


As has been previously stated, this is highly subjective. I would intrerpret this as being mature enough so as not to be lumped in with the Cubs by the den leader or other Cubs' parents. The same type of consideration might be applied to how a GAS would be utilized in a troop. It requires real judgment, not the application of some made-up rule.(This message has been edited by sherminator505)

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"...the Scout has not demonstrated sufficient mastery of Scout skills to represent the troop to a group of Cub Scouts."


This wording seems oddly specific, yet does not appear in the job descriptions or requirements for den chief that have been previously cited. Where did it come from?


Oddly specific ... I like the sound of that! ;) No, it's not an official anything - just came from my brain.


Here's my thinking. If anything, a den chief needs to be the superlative Scout, able to easily handle a group of young boys, teach Scout skills, lead spur-of-the-moment activities, assist the den leader with anything and help plan program. That requires a substantial degree of maturity and experience.


The DC really is the public face of the troop, more so than almost anyone else in the unit. He's the first introduction to Boy Scouting that many Cub parents will get. He has to be on the ball with everything. If he doesn't know basic Scout skills - how to start a fire safely, how to tie the basic knots, how to pitch a tent - or have enough experience to spin tales about how great Boy Scout adventure is, he's not going to be much good at his job.


First Class may not be an appropriate hard-and-fast rule, but in my mind, it's certainly a good first hurdle that a den chief should be able to jump with no problem. If you put a young, inexperienced Scout into that position, odds are that you're setting him up to fail.

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Ok, here is clarification for those who think they have the power to change the rules ....


From the National Youth Development Team...


As stated in the previous e-mail to you, there is not a particular rank level required to be a Den Chief. Also, no one can add to or modify national policy and if someone is adding a rank requirement in order for a scout to become a Den Chief, then they are adding a requirement which goes against national policy. I have attached the page from the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures book.(It is page 23)


And for those who said I should be focusing on the boys, I am.


And a thank you to ScoutNut for correcting me on the Scout volunteering for DC position. That is true and I was incorrect there.

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The problem you have is that you are citing a rule that relates to advancement, not positions of responsibility. Grant you in the upper levels PORs are needed to advance, but the selection of who gets a POR is not covered by the source you are citing, as PORs are not advancement. They are leadership roles.


As I stated a charter organization can make stricter rules in some cases, i.e. who serves in what positions of responsibility. They can also make rules and regs for the unit that may be in addition to BSA rules EXCEPT in certain things that require a national standard like advancement. For example a CO can require a leader to take their own version of YPT in addition to the BSA's version. They can set requirements for who can be a PL, SPL, DC, and any other position including adult roles. This is stated in the charter agreement. From this website http://cubmaster.org/charterpartneragreement.pdf


The chartered organization agrees to

Conduct the Scouting program according to its

own policies and guidelines as well as those of

the Boy Scouts of America.



The council agrees to

Respect the aims and objectives of the organization

and offer the resources of Scouting to help in

meeting those objectives.


I'll give you a few examples. In the troop growing up, the CO had the requirements for being ASPL and SPL were First Class and a minimum of 6 months as a PL. The rationale was that the troop needed someone who had mastered the basic scout skills, and had expereince running a patrol so that he could assist the PLs. In my current pack, the CO wants the CM to have had prior scouting experience as a youth. I'm working on that one.

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