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New Den Leader, need help please!!

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Ok, this is probably going to be a little long so I apologize now. I am a brand new den leader for not 1 but 2 bear dens and need some help. I have no resources yet, I have ordered some books from the scoutstuff.org though and hopefully they will be in soon.

I kind of fell into this position, I do not regret it but I was not planning it. It was either I volunteer for it or there would not be a bear den.

I have completed the fast start online training and am going this weekend for my specific training. I need to know what else I have to do training wise befor I can take my boys on day trips. I understand the rules on how many leaders on need on outings and all but I need to know exactly what training I need and how to get it.

Also, what do I have to do to be able to take the boys and families camping, just for a over nighter on the weekend from time to time. Is this even possible? I know these are all questions that need to be adressed locally but I am afraid that my CM is also new and seems to be to busy to answer my questions or have the resources that I need.

Our first den meeting is tomorrow night, I believe that I am planned for it, at least I pray that I am!!

There are several great day trips available to us but the dates are all fast approaching, most being middle of October and beginning of November, after that I will not have many oppurtunities until around Feb.

I want to keep these boys and their families interested and motivated, after all, adventure is the main reason that they joined. I have not been involved in the scouts since I myself was a scout and that has been quite some time.

All help is greatly appreciated!!


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Back in the day when I was a Bear Den Leader one hour a week with the boys was all that I could handle and the thought of camping with them would have been just scary. So other than the council organized parent/son events I did not worry about camping until we did it with scout troops as second year Webelos.

The most important thing that I remember doing with Bears was organizing a one year meeting calendar based on the requirements in the book, recruiting parents or others with some expertise or stuff that would enhance the requirements, and finding fun meeting places or occasional day trips.

Games that end without serious injury are also an important part of each meeting and so it would be great if you can get a Den Chief who is at least 12 or 13 years old from a local troop.

Remember that although you had fun doing a lot of adventurous stuff as a scout, Bears are quite happy building giant heads out of paper sacks, collecting bugs, cooking pancakes on a buddy burner and pounding nails in wood, so dont go beyond the basic Bear necessities.



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Make sure you get youth protection training too. That is another one you can do online.


If you plan to take them camping you now have to have BALOO (I think thats whats it called now) Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation or something like that .. sorry been a long time since I did cubs ... Before they went to the new training system I was the OWL trainer Outdoor Webelos Leader ...


As far as running the den ... plan, plan some more... and yet plan more ... over plan, you can always take stuff out or move it to a different week. The more you keep things fun, and moving the easier it will be. If you give them time to tie there shoes you are also giving them time to cause you problems.


Make sure you are working through the Pack to get a den cheif from a Troop. You will find this young man will help you so much and make it so much easier for you to remain sane.


Don''t just look at the official BSA resources. Resources are everywhere, you will find tons of wonderful websites, groups like the park service, or maybe your local archers club ... and of course the parents.


I hope my wacky 2 cents helped you ... also you may find good resources at my site (see link under my name)....


Scott Robertson


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Bears (with or without their families) can NOT camp as a den. This is against BSA policy.


Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Scouts are allowed to camp with the whole Pack as a group and to camp at council events such as summer camp. That''s it. Webelos are the only Cub Scouts that can camp on their own as a den.


This should all be covered when you go to New Leader Essentials and Cub Leader Specific training.


BALOO training is required to take a PACK camping. To take a Webelos den camping the Webelos den leader should take Outdoor Leader Skills for Webelos Leaders, however there is currently no training that is required.


For your Bear den(s) you need Fast Start, New Leader Essentials, Cub Leader Specific and Youth Protection. Youth Protection can also be found online.


If you plan on taking your boys on any outing that includes water activities you will also need to take Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense. These can both be found online, but some councils prefer they be taken in person. Check on your council policies at training.


Also ask at training about your council''s policy on Local Tout Permits. It varies greatly by council. Some require a Tour Permit be approved for every trip away from your normal meeting place. Some require it only if you leave the boundaries of the council or district.


Now a question - 2 bear dens?? How many boys in each den and WHY are you leading 2 separate dens?


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There is an exception to what ScoutNut said. Bears in a 1/1 environment, may participate in council-operated family camps:


Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts may participate in a resident overnight camping program operating under BSA National Camping School-trained leadership and managed by the council. (Boldface denotes BSA policy)




Between Scott and ScoutNut, you have the right training mix. I will suggest attending your District Roundtable, it''s designed to give you a months'' head start on the program.


I will also suggest attending a supplemental training either called Pow-Wow or University of Scouting, put on by your Council. It''s an opportunity to receive specific skill training on lots of activities Cubs do!


Finally, the six letters of Cub Activities

K eep

I t

S imple

M ake

I t

F un!

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I have a total of 22 boys, 10 in one den and 12 in the other. They had absolutely NO volunteers, and I was not planning on volunteering myself until I found this out.

I do believe HEAVILY in training, I am a firefighter and have been in the service for 11 yrs now so I guess it is just in my blood lol.

I am fixing to walk out the door now headed to my first meeting!! :o)

Hopefully the boys will not tye me up and beat me or anything.

I will keep you all posted and thanks greatly for the help!!

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The best two tools in your toolbox:


A SMILE on your face (even when you really want to frown).


The Cub Scout Sign held high, whilst you stand quietly. Please, please, teach your young men that when you do the sign, they are to come quiet and focus on the person raising the sign. As much as you can, make the sign a prelude to something FUN, be it the game, the project, or the snack.


AT THE SAME TIME, please teach other leaders around you not to yell "SIGNS UP!!!!" The screamers really do violate the MIF of KISMIF. ;)

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  • 1 month later...

Wow....Brave guy...2 bear dens!

The program helps are a great way to plan out your meetings to make sure they get all the requirements out of the way, as for activities and games and such...you already found the best source (this website)and the forums great contributors. Like everyone else said keep it simple and fun....oh and don''t show any fear...they''ll eat you alive! Just kidding, now that you''ve taken control of the dens you NEED to have some of the other parents belly up to the table to help out, whether it''s leading an activity/project, printing out handouts, bringing a snack, whatever...just because you took the leadership role does NOT mean you have to do it all! Talk to the parents and make it VERY clear that if you do not have their help that you will not continue to run the dens. Just my 2 cents.

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I saw something at University of Scouting that might be helpful to you couse of the large group. There's an organization in Detroit called Arts and Scraps (artsandscraps.org). They take industrial castoffs and put oddball stuff together to make projects out if them. It sounds kind of wierd and it is, but, they have an entire year of craft projects for cubs that are tied into the monthly theme. Here's the direct link.



Bears are pretty cool too. They're a perfect age cause they can do more than the little kids and have an overabundance of energy. I've got ten in my den and it's the second time around for me.

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