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Too many crafts??

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I'll be a new Tiger DL beginning in June. Prior to this, I've been very involved with the Pack (ACM) and my older son's den's (ADL).


At least from what I've seen, it seems like there is an over emphasis on crafts and less emphasis on games and the like. Part of this may be a disconnect (on my part) with what kids like, as they seem to have a decent time on the crafts. However, I can't help but feel that more time on games (both quite and active) would be an improvement, and much more time with Character Connection type activities, respect for the flat, etc.





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A Tiger den meeting should not be all crafts, but it should not be all games either.


A den meeting should include different activities. A game, or song is a great ADDITION to a den meeting.


Games are often used for the gathering activity, to keep the boys involved until everyone is there, and the meeting can start.


Your Tiger Teams will have Tiger Den requirements that they will be working on in den meetings. There are also a lot of Tiger Electives which your Tiger Teams can decide to do in den meetings. These can incorporate aspects of both a craft and a game, or outdoor activity.


For instance, you can do a craft, and make paper cup string telephones. Then use those telephones to play the "Tell It Like It Isn't" game for requirement #4D. You can make different kinds of paper airplanes (craft), and then take them outside to see which ones fly better for elective #17.


Songs are a great for after you have cleaned up, and right before you do your closing ceremony.



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Thanks for the input.


I wasn't meaning to imply that I thought den meetings should only be about crafts or games. There are obviously numerous achievements to work through and the suggested den meeting outline is clearly laid out in the leaders guide.


I was specifically referring to the balance between crafts and other activities such as games, time permitting. To expand on my initial question, consider the following (based only on my observations in two dens):


1. There seems to be too many crafts for MY taste (doesn't make it right or wrong...that's why I'm seeing input and perspective). I've seen some other posts that indicate that people have seen some of the kiddos drop out of scouts once they tire of sissors, glue and crafts. While crafts certainly have a place, I suspect it can be overdone. I really want to make the biggest impact I can in the kids while fulfilling the purposes of scouting, teaching them the core values, etc.


2. I didn't mention this in my first post, but I've also noticed an overemphasis on "checking off" the achievements, almost going through the motions to make sure everything is done (by B&G in our case). While I don't think this is the intent of the leaders doing this, I think it is best to slow down and really try to convey the meaning of the 12 core values, for example. One thing that comes to mind, in particular, is when my older son's den (Tiger then) prepared to do the flag ceremony for the B&G a couple of years ago. We ran through the ceremony a couple of times during the den meeting prior to the B&G. No mention of respect for the flag or the meaning of the flag. There is, of course, an art in the way to do this, as the kid can't handle a 10-20 minute formal lecture on respect, what's really behind the flag, etc. However, the actual flag ceremony was just a tad bit disrespectful.


Again, just looking to insight and perspective. I want to do the best job possible with the new Tigers and my natural inclination would be to make sure all the boxes get checked...want to make sure that doesn't happen. Again, while I realize the younger boys can't handle long lectures nor understand some of the nuances of the various values we're trying to teach, I think the values (i.e. respect) should be program drivers while the methodologies (i.e. crafts, games, ceremonies, achievements, etc.) are just that. Sometimes I think we get this backwards.



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I am not sure if you are a mom or dad or your Den leader is male or female as I believe that makes a difference (and I am a died in the wool Feminazi as Rush would call me).


Last weekend my daughter helped with a Brownie sleepover and their activites were face painting, dress up, freeze dance, crafts and hair braiding. These were kids 7, 8, 9. I think somewhere we expect that boys will always like something different but at this age kids like pretty basic stuff. My son would have loved the freeze dancing.


I think mom's are more comfortable with crafts a lot. Maybe some of the dad's could come up with some things like building (the derby is a good outlet for this), nature walks, knot tying, etc. Based on my experience if you are willing to step up and lead a project especially if you can tie it to the achievements, people will be more than happy to let you.


Our Den is run where we rotate who leads the activity and we all do stuff. I have to say we have been LIGHT on crafts as there are a lot of dad's involved.


Also I know the Home Depot in our area on weekends sometimes does kid stuff like building a bird house. You may be able to go somewhere like this if you cant host it.


good luck. Tigers are a fun age.



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I like to get craft materials from nature or do a craft out in nature. Tree and leaf rubbings, collecting stuff to make forest buddies/eleves/gnomes, etc.


Now, my Tiger does like crafts, as long as he can then throw it, toss it, shoot it, launch it or play a game with it.

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Hi Thoover,


Im nearing the end of my stint as a Tiger Den Leader so Ill just throw out my experiences.


Ive found that boys of Tiger age do like crafts. Ive also taught 1st and 2nd religious education classes and have found that to be the case there as well. You know when your oral presentation has run too long when a boy raises his hand and asks can we do our craft now? That being said, Ive tried to balance my den meetings between a craft, advancement activity, and a game. For my gathering I usually let the boys run around and play a game of tag, which seems to help getting some of the energy out before they have to get serious for the opening ceremony. I may also have a game at the end


I try to have most of the crafts serve a purpose. Ive had the boys make thank you cards and drawings for Pack Meeting guests and the hosts of our Go See Its. As it was said you can have crafts that satisfy elective requirements. I gave the boys copies of photos I took of the Den and they assembled foamy picture frames for them (elective #4). One craft turned into a game. The boys and their Tiger Partners assemble pre-cut Marshmallow Shooters (a blow gun for mini-marshmallows made from PVC) and then had contests of who could shoot the farthest or the most marshmallows. Even the leaf rubbing craft, which I thought was lame, was put to good use as we discussed the form and function of the leaf, how it fit into the life cycle of the tree, and leaf identification (oak, maple, etc.).


I try to add a little meat to the advancement requirements. As part of planning and conducting a fire drill I asked the boys and their Tiger Partners make maps of their homes showing the escape routes which we went over at the Den Meeting. I didnt make this an additional requirement, just something extra to help the boys get a little more out of the exercise.


My Tigers also performed our Blue and Gold flag ceremony. We practiced following the proper format and I tried to work in bits of information, such as it is disrespectful to allow the US flag to touch the ground. You right in thinking that the boys wouldnt get much out of a lecture, but keep in mind the boys will encounter flag etiquette in the later ranks when they are older and better able to absorb the information. For the record my Tigers were quiet, respectful, and didnt goof around. I think they did a great job with the flag ceremony for boys their age.


So, to your points, I guess you might say the crafts issue is subjective. If the crafts always serve no greater purpose than just keeping the boys busy with crayons and glue then yes, I might agree with you. If the crafts help to fulfill a requirement or elective or if they help teach something then I think of them more as projects or experiments. As for ticking off advancements, again I guess that depends on the den leader. From what Ive read and what Ive found to be true is that at Tiger age in order to keep the boys engaged and happy you need to keep the den meeting moving. The learning is done almost in passing as you move along from activity to activity. These boys have five years to absorb the Core Values and come to understand the meaning of the Cub Scout Promise. In my humble opinion the most important thing, especially at Tiger age, is to make sure the boys have fun.







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I served as my sons Den Leader throughout his time in Cubs and now serve as his Scoutmaster (poor kid!). As Tigers, they have no idea what they like and will do pretty much whatever you say, as long is there is more doing than talking. So, I did like my Mom did when she was my Den Mother in 1969; I focused on crafts.


But by the time Bears came around, I was clearly losing the boys interest, especially my own son. Every week on the way home he complained how boring our meetings were. We went on outings and "go see its", and those were "great", but the den meetings were "boring". So I took a step back and figured it out. And he was right! As soon as we started doing more activities and putting the emphasis on fun, they all became interested again. Hardly any crafts unless it related to a badge. More emphasis on going places to work on badges. Even just holding our meetings outside rather than in one of the school classrooms made a difference. No more complaints of boring.


So, two pieces of advice learned the hard way. First, keep as much of your meeting active, especially as the boys get older. If you meet in the evening, remember they have had to sit still in a classroom all day. That's hard enough, but to ask the boys to do that for another hour and a half at night is brutal! Second, as the boys reach Wolf and Bear age, let them make some of the suggestions and start taking ownership. What better way to get them ready for "Boy Leadership"? Some ideas may sound silly to adults, but try to go with some of them. Let yourself be an 8 or 9 year old boy sometimes.


By the way, our entire Webelos 2 Den crossed over into Scouts. Two years later we have lost only one of six boys. The rest are still very active in Scouts.

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"Let yourself be an 8 or 9 year old boy sometimes"


Crap... you've discovered the VERY reason I do this scout stuff !! My cover is blown !!


Everyone has made good suggestions. Let the boy's response be your guide. Plan the meeting, but don't make it tight or too ridged that you can't shift gears if need be.


Scout Mom SD has good insight. Her Den was one of two Tigers when I was the other Tiger DL. I honestly thought our pack was going to loose that Den of boys about a 1/3 of the way into the Tiger Year. The parents in teh Den came together and since then have really "team taught" for all there meetings. It works for them and they have a great den to show for it.


I am surpirsed by the gender role examples given by 'Scout Mom SD' - just knowing her personality and view on things, but she's right - each leader is going to have their own style and own strengths and weaknesses. Gender does tend to play a role in what you might be strong in or feel uncomfortable doing. Figure out what YOU are strong at and indentify other parents that can help you with other activities that might not be your strong points.


You can trade off running the meeting - OR you can plan the majority and maybe have two other adults help. One to bring the snack, the other to have a craft / game / song ready to go.


Make it goofy, make it fun. Self depricating humor goes over big with Tigers and Wolves. Having an adult play the fool or be the target of the joke is absolutely hilarious to boys this age - and it shows them how to take a joke without getting their feelings hurt.


Mostly keep it fun.


One quick example then I'll shut-up:


We had our B&G a couple weeks ago. It runs LOOOOONG (as they tend to - every one wants their rank and every other award given at B&G). The scouts were getting restless and I (as CM and MC) was about to loose my audience to talking and inattention. So what did I do? The scout sign to quiet them? NO. Lecture about being respectful of others when they are getting their award(s) - OK maybe a short reminder.


BUT - what I did was stop the show... asked ANY scout that wanted to to come up on stage with me, we were going to sing a song, BUT they HAD to sing and do the actions... well we did the "Grey Squirel" song and shook our "tails" at the audience. The boys roared, and then roared more when I required ALL parents in the audience to sing it and do the acitons too.


Funny thing - once they finished and took their seats, I was able to get enough attention / quiet out of them to complete the awards and finish up the B&G program on time.


If I hadn't made that program adjustment on the fly, the crowd would have been very restless - the scouts at the end getting awards wouldn't have felt respected and I'm sure the memory of the B&G would have been less positive than it was.


Bottom line - don't be afraid to improvise to burn off the "wiggles and giggles" and grab the attention of your audience with something fun. Best way to keep them engaged is to keep them guessing at whats coming next - fast transitions equals not getting bored.


GL - its exhausing and fun at the same time.



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