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Making Tiger Cub Den Shared Leadership Work

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At all the join nights I tell the parents that regardless of the year that their boy is in, we require that they take charge of at least one den meetings.


With Tigers there are 16 suggested meetings but the program only really needs about 10-12. So with a den of 8 boys, the den leader only has to do 3-5 meetings. I also suggest that the den leader volunteer for the go-see-its.


I also try to make sure that we have 2 den leaders per den on paper. With that reduced work load its a lot easier to recruit the den leader(s).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was contacted a couple of days ago by a pack Committee Chair who asked for help to get their Tiger Cub Den started for the year. Four new families recruited, but no leader identified and no program in place other than the pack program.


Since I feel that launching a good Tiger Cub program each year is an essential skill, a feeling shared by others posting on this thread, I was casting about for a method I could use to get things started and then leave to the regular pack leaders.


A couple of comments on this thread have led me to the plan I intenbd to use:







And Scout Nut:





While I don't agree that the Tiger Cub Program is simple, I'm planning to use a canned BSA Tiger Cub program. It cans the complexities of the program in a recipe a new leader can follow, I hope.


So my plan is to lead the first Tiger Cub Den meeting Wednesday, to show Tiger Cubs a fun time and show the Tiger Cub partners what a quality program should look like and feel like, so they will have a model for future meetings.


I'll be asking for a Tiger Cub partner to take charge of the meeting the next Wednesday, and someone to plan the first go see it the following weekend.


I'll see if I can get someone to take charge of the den at the pack meeting two weeks from Wednesday.


And with this start, I'm expecting that the Cubmaster or Committee Chair (an experienced Tiger Cub Den Leader) will step in to provide some guidance and support to the new people leading the den.


While I'm confident I can design a better Tiger Cub program than the BSA cans, there no denying that takes time and skill to do. I'm hoping the canned program will allow Tiger Cub partners to take charge of meetings since they will have a reasonably detailed guide of what to do.


So I will be giving the methods suggested by drmbear and Scout Nut a trial ,to see if I can make them work.





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  • 5 weeks later...

Our new Tiger Den is about to take off on their own this evening. I have two parents that stepped up to take on the TDL role, and they've already been taking the initiative to set up fun adventures and Go-See-Its in the coming weeks and months. The other parents are involved and they are working the shared leadership concept. I am certain it wouldn't have happened like this without me stepping in and being the TDL for the last six weeks or so. These parents have become engaged in the den and engaged in the pack, even attending our Parent and Leader (PAL) meetings. This is the way it is supposed to work.


There has been some discussion here about the Den Meeting Plans. I say that if you are not using the Den Meeting Plans, you are wasting your time. They lay out sixteen (16) meetings for you to get through the Tiger Badge, and it is a fairly simple path to get from the beginning of the year to February or so to earn the Tiger Badge. That is one of the great selling points for the new parents - that it is simple and essentially "done-for-you." Trying to get them to figure out what to do for an hour with 1st graders, even if they know the requirements in the book, is beyond what most new parents want to get into. It may be a no brainer for me, as a Bear or Webelos leader, to go online and find all sorts or resources and other fun things for us to do that go far beyond what's in those meeting plans, but not for a new Tiger Parent.


In those initial meetings where I wanted to get the new parents involved, that's what I would do - hand them the meeting plan for next week and say they had it. When that next week came around, I'd launch things with loud craziness, pledge, promise, and law, etc., but then I'd help the responsible parent take charge through the activity.


The one thing I wish with the meeting plans is if they were less connected to a set schedule, one feeding into the next. We tend to rip things apart and mix them up - for example, if you follow the sequence, by the time you get to the meeting where you go watch the weather and collect leaves, etc., then the leaves have already fallen off the trees. Most have already earned their Tiger badge by the time the leaves sprout out again next spring. We always do that one right away. We also make shifts to work with various Pack and community activities: our Magic & Treats at Halloween, local area sporting events, the holiday parades we participate in, the Pinewood Derby preparation, our newspaper's open house for Scouts, and the Ten Commandments Hike we participate in each February. So I wish the Den Meeting Plans were essentially self-contained. The pre-requisites or homework that needs to be done beforehand needs to be built into the top of the one plan. Homework for afterward also needs to be on the one plan. That way, when they are sifted out of order, you don't lose the flow or miss requirements. It is perfectly okay if not everything for an achievement is completely finished, but the one meeting plan needs to have everything in it so you don't have to be flipping through previous plans in order to figure out where you are. Maybe that is a project for someone to take on.

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First rule of the Tiger den - Adult Partners MUST sit next to their Tiger. They MUST participate WITH their Tiger.


Adults are not allowed to sit in a corner by themselves and simply watch/chat.


This is easy for the den leader to do. Get there early, and set the room up with all of the chairs in pairs. Take out any extras completely. As the Tiger Teams come in direct them where to sit. If the adults try to move their chairs into a corner away from the boys, politely tell them no, to go sit next to their Tiger.


When you do your opening ceremony do not start until everyone is on their feet doing the Scout Sign/Salute/whatever. If the adults are not participating try doing your opening twice. Once with just the adults (so they can "demonstrate the right way") then again with everyone.


You need to get your Adult Partners engaged from the get go. If you let them sit in a corner together, and chat, that will never happen.


One of your main goals as a Tiger den leader is to get both the boys, and the adults, "hooked" on Scouting.


These adults are the future leaders of your Pack!


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In my experience, the key to getting Tiger Cubs and Tiger Cub partners working together as a team is to have program that NEEDS that participation by the Tiger Cub partner.


I look for activities that are a little too sophisticated for Tiger Cubs to do by themselves. If the participation of the Tiger Cub partner is needed, they naturally step into that.


Other activities Tiger Cub partners are invited to participate. When doing a flag ceremony or Law of the Pack ceremony, parents are invited to participate in holding the American flag or den flag right along with the Tiger Cubs and the Den or meeting leader. They get in the HABIT of participating, starting with the first activity and meeting.



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