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Should we keep the den at 13 if no parent steps up?

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I am a first time den leader of a group of 16 Wovles. Our Tiger leader from last year dropped out and after many pleas for someone to step up, no one did so I volunteered. I have no official assistant but my husband is cubmaster of our pack so he does come to all of my meetings. I also have two parents who are very helpful but didn't want to formally volunteer. My first meeting was a bit of a disaster. I decided to cover the Our Flag achievement. After having the kids complete an elective as a gathering activity and opening ceremonies we got into a big circle to discuss the flag achievements. What I learned was that 7 year old boys have about a 5 minute attention span. They need to be kept busy with a craft or physical activity or they quickly become bored. I will limit my circle time in my future meetings. I also provided a sign up sheet at my first meeting for parent volunteers. I asked for two at each meeting. Don't be afraid to assign parents responsibilities at the meetings. Keep the boys busy and as you learn about their personalities you will get a handle on who needs to be seperated when you break down into groups. Good luck.

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dordor1,

 

Welcome to the Forums!! :)

 

Keeping 8 year olds down for more than 5 minutes is almost mission, impossible. Keeping 16 of them down that long IS mission, impossible.

 

Barry had a really good idea waaay up above about dividing the den into smaller sections for activities like this. To do that, he required parental involvement.

 

You're a volunteer, most emphatically not their babysitter. You do not have to accept un-helpful behavior from parents. Ask for specific help at specific meetings (can you do the Den snack? It means something for 16 kids, and you need to be here by XX PM..... Can you lead the Den game in 3 weeks? Game involves half the den at XX time for 20 minutes, then the other half of the Den for 20 minutes).

 

If they say NO, then ask your hubby the CM to talk a bit more bluntly about help. The fact of the matter is there are two full-sized dens in your den. Several leadership psych books discuss the number of foks 1 can directly supervise as being 5-11. Scouting, from B-P's days onward, took the 8 to be a fairly firm number.

 

Good Scouting!!

 

PS: Barry, yes, you were right about 2-deep and meetings. It's, as you said, 2 deep for sanity!

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I have 10 Webelo 1''s ,and have been working with these boys since they were Tigers. One of the first things we did as a den (tiger) was write up a code of conduct. We still use this code, and the boys have made ammendments to it throughout the levels of scouting, but it states clearly what behavior is expected during the meetings, and what happens to a scout who violates the code. The first item on the code is "if the sign is up, the mouth is closed, and ears are turned on" (the boys wrote the code..not me) so they understand that when I give the sign (I don''t yell "signs up") they do the same and settle down, this keeps things to a more mild level of chaos. As for parents helping out, I have sign up sheets that I pass out for different activites...such as "lead achievement XX class", "bring snack on date XX","bring supplies for meeting date XX (see list A)" (provide a supply list), "coordinate trip to XX with XX", "lead game XX" (provide game rules), ETC. you get the idea. Since I started doing this, I have had the lists filled up, and parents asking me if they can do other things for the boys. I also have 2 assistant DL''s and a Den Chief, and we all take turns leading things. But it did not start out this way..it started like you are now...so have faith and keep asking for the help! You are doing a great service for the boys, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, it''s a great feeling when the kids see you outside of scouting and proudly tell their friends "that''s my scout leader" (which has even resulted in new boys joining the pack when the parents overhear this and approach me.)

YIS

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There are three keys to a successful meeting...

 

1) preparation

 

2) preparation

 

3) preparation

 

The beauty of this is that if you lose one or two keys, you still succeed!

 

I have bought the cubleader's book and read it a lot. I find that many of the problems I read about and experience have already been addressed and resolved in that tome.

 

Whatever happens...stay after it, keep looking for answers, and never ever give up.

 

One of the unanticipated benefits of being a scouter as an adult are the things we get to learn also. You will be stronger and better for getting through this.

 

At this level just keep repeating the Law of the Pack.

 

At the next level the Scout Oath.

 

The answer is to get parent involvement, split the den, employ den chiefs, etc.

 

 

 

 

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