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CD_Ranger

Code of Conduct

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As a 1st Year new Tiger Cub DL with 20 bright eager and energetic new Tigers I need help establishing a Code of Conduct. We meet in the school lunch hall with all the other Dens. As you can imagine it gets very loud with 80 or so boys leaders and adult partners. The SM doesn't see the need to make 2 or 3 Tiger Dens since the last 2 or 3 Tiger groups have had equal numbers without problems. I have been using the Cub scout sign to get quiet and attention, but it seems like I am running meetings with my hand in the air for 90% of the meeting. I need some ideas on creating a code of conduct. What has worked for you? Thanks for any help.

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I can say that with as many boys that you have 2 dens of 10 would be more than enough.

 

As everyone here will tell you. Get trained. Fast Start, NLE, Tiger DL Training. THis will help. If the CM and them won't split down the group, you could go the firm route and tell them that you will lead 10 boys, and that is it. But we are all adults and I think that you shoudl be able to work this out.

 

As for the Code of Conduct. First have the boys come up with a set of rules. Let them decide, that way they cannot say the rule are silly or too much. a good 4-7 rules should be fine. Then use a behavior candle/jar. If using a candle light it at the begining of the meeting, if the boys act up, put it out. When they are behaving again, light it. When it burns to a certain point, reward them. If using them a jar, use marbles. Have the boys put marbles in or remove them based on behavior (Have the offenders remove them). When the jar is full find a reasonable reward. Boys like rewards.

(and I secretly like sending them home hopped up on sugar...Just kidding)

 

Hope this helps.

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If I were you, I would insist on dividing this group into two or possibly three dens, each with a leader and at least one assistant. (If it is 10 boys to a den, at least two active assistants.) I do not see how one leader (and we don't know how many assistants you have, if any) could possibly handle 20 first-graders, not to mention their parents! (Well, teachers do it, but that's a full-time job with a salary.) I am not sure what the BSA guidelines are on den size these days, it is probably either 5-7 or 6-8, personally I think 10 is do-able (with two assistants), but 20 is really out of the question. That's a small pack, not a den.

 

As for "conduct", I don't think a set of rules is what is going to save you here. You already have the rule that (as my father used to say when he was CM/SM when I was a kid, but I guess you can't say this to kids anymore) "when the sign goes up, the mouth goes shut." You've tried that, and they're still not listening. The key (especially at den meetings which is what I think you are talking about) is to have them involved in hands-on activities as much as possible rather than "listening." They are 6 years old and they have probably already been in school all day, their attention span is about 10 seconds. Plus, the last time I was a Cub Scouter (about 5 years ago, despite my account name), in Tigers the parents were supposed to be with the boys at all meetings and activities, at all times. If that is still the case, the parents should be helping to keep order. Even if not, I think a well-planned program to keep the kids busy, is the plan. I hope you have the "program helps" or whatever they are calling it now. Some of the things in there may seem hokey, but 6-year olds don't necessarily know what's hokey if it's something they have never seen or done before. And it requires preparation, you should probably plan to spend a couple of hours in the space between each den meeting making or preparing things for the kids to work on.

 

There is also "fast start" training (maybe online on your council's web site) for you and your assistant(s) and you should take New Leader Essentials and Den Leader Specific training within the next couple of months. There may be a Tiger Den Leader Specific course (it would be a couple hours), I'm not on that end of things, but the point is that there is help and training and advice for you out there, please use it.

 

But first please consider getting that den split up, and good luck!

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I think you should split the den up as well, but regardless of whether you do that or not, you should GET YOUR DEN OUT OF THE ZOO in the cafeteria. There's no reason to have all the dens meet at the same time/same place, and lots of reasons not to, as you've discovered. Claim your own space (and/or time) and a large portion of your problem may resolve itself when you no longer have to compete with the rest of the dens.

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WOW, that sounds like a headache-in-the-making. For starters, holding 4-5 seperate den meetings all in one room is nuts. Second, 20 kids and 20 adults plus misc. sibs is to much for a den meeting anyway!

 

I would suggest moving to another room, or another night in the same room for starters. THEN recruit your most willing parent to lead den #2, and tell the SM that a. YOU don't want 20 kids, b. you have dad X willing to take half the den, but he won't take the whole 20. and c. parents are complaining that it's too crowded/noisy/whatever you have heard any of them say, even in passing.

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1) You need to split the group. I don't care WHAT the CM / SM or ACM says... BSA guidelines say 20 is too much. I'd advise at LEAST 2 dens of 10 and would recommend 3 dens of 7, 7, and 6.

 

If you don't split up - what are you going to do if you pick up more scouts along the way this year (or next)?

 

1a) Get a seperate meeting place. Hard enough to control your den. Trying to talk over someone else's den - forget it !

 

2) Get trained (as others have stated)

 

3) Get a poster board. Have the TIGERS make up rules that they want THEIR den to have. Keep it short (5 to 6 max). Then ask them what the "punishment" should be for breaking the Den rules? My Tiger den came up with a "5 minute time out"... I have never had to use it. In fact the boys will call each other on the 'rule list' - and say "You'd better stop x,y,z... or you'll have to sit out 5 minutes...."

 

Post the poster at EVERY den meeting. Spend 1-2 minutes at the start of the meeting reviewing the rules and WHY you have them.

 

4) GET YOURSELF A "TALKING STICK" !!! - Our den made one out of a 9 inch dowel. We wrapped leather around it, tethered some feathers to it and each Tiger got to tie a lanyard with their name in beads to it. I explained at our 1st meeting that in many Native American tribes, ONLY THE PERSON WITH THE TALKING STICK is allowed to talk. It must be passed from one person to the next so that everyone gets input, but you must LISTEN if you don't have it.

 

When its the DL's turn to talk - I ask for the stick.

 

Its like the conch shell in "Lord of the Flies"..... and you won't believe how well it works with a bunch of 6-7 year olds. Especially if you put some well spun "Indian" meaning into it.

 

5) Use a positive reinforcement reward (i.e. a stick of gum, or a small candy / eraser / match-box car) for the scout that responds to the scout sign FIRST in the den. Do this only ONCE a meeting and tell them you don't know which time will count for the "prize".... They'll be quieting down in no time when your hand goes up with the sign.

 

Best of luck - be consistent - and SHOW NO FEAR ! They smell fear like a pack of hungry wolves - thats why they're called DENS :)

 

YiS,

 

DeanRx

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A Cub Scout Follows Akela

 

A Cub Scout helps the Pack GO

 

The Pack helps the Cub Scout GROW

 

A Cub Scout gives goodwill.

 

Beyond that, I like the idea of a talking stick.

 

Beyond that, I also endorse getting your Tiger Den away from the others. 8 kids with parents is more than enough for one room.

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For Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts I use the exact same rules, and I only have three

 

1) You may do nothing which hurts someone else.

 

2) You may do nothing which hurts yourself.

 

3) You may do nothing which damages or misues someone else's property.

 

If you follow those rules and apply the Cub Scout promise (or Boy Scout Oath and Law), I have yet to find a "wrong" which they can commit.

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I remember the Cub Scout sign being used pretty generously, without a growled "Signs UP!"

 

I also remember Mom having a talking-to with me when I wasn't the greatest, but she was still Den Mother. That wasn't fun...

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Maybe it's just me, but it seems that the one that usually is the hardest to get to listen to me shares the same address!. My son when listening to another adult leader is the picture of calm, cool, attentiveness, but with me the mouth starts running, I guess he figures "it's just Dad" but I digress....

The talking stick works well in a group of 6-8 which is the most you "should" have in the den, but you will find your number growing over the coming years, so splitting up your group of 20 is a priority at this point. If the CM gives you a hard time you could always offer him control of the boys for a couple weeks, he would most likely wave the white flag after the first meeting.

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I completely agree with the others that 20 is just TOO MUCH. It is too much for the leader and it's too much for the boys. There's no way they will get what they are here to get in this type of environment.

 

Maybe I missed this, but have you talked to the CC? It is my understanding that the CC is responsible for the leaders in a pack, not the CM.

 

Additionally, thinking a year or two ahead, I can't imagine 20 wolves, 20 bears, etc in a den. The activities as the progress get more and more and I doubt that anyone could effectively manage that.

 

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