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Newbie! looking for advice on being Denmother to Bearscouts that has newBie Den leader

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Hello everyone- i am new here- wanted to pop in and say hello - i am going home shortly but wanted to ge tthe topic out there. I am in pa - and my son is in Bear scouts-

the den leader is pretty new himself and doesnt have a whole lotta control over the boys- so i offered to help by being the den mother- anyone have any hints or tips- i wanna make the experience fun for the boys:)


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Welcome, Denmom3!!!!!!


I think you offered to be "Assistant Den Leader". Not that we have anything against motherhood, but "denmom" was making it hard on us male Den volunteers!!!! :)


Every DL needs a good (if not GREAT) ADL. At the very least - another adult needs to be there just so the DL can safely and appropriately have meetings. Get on the same page with the DL - be a part of planning, be a part of organization, get trained together if you can, get your own copy of "Program Helps" and the Cub Scout "Leader Book". Use them!!!! You're going to have tons of fun!!! So, too, will your Cubs, but fun's not enough. Give them a great program and they'll keep coming back!!!!


Enjoy, and keep coming back here. These forums and this website are PACKED with TONS of information, good wishes, creative thinking, Scouting resources and not-so-gentle-reality-checks (which we all seem to need on occasion!). ;)


Again, WELCOME!!!!!!

Keep it simple, Keep it Fun!!!!



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denmom, you dont mention training..get as much as you can you'll also be in contact with other dl's and tap into them for advice on den meetings and the best way to deliver the program, another idea is to work with the local troop maybe a den chief can be of assistance to you. Good luck and good scouting

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Hi and Welcome!


You mentioned that the den leader doesn't seem to have much control over the boys. As mentioned before, training is the key. Some tips to help until you get trained:


Have a plan for the meeting and stick to it.


Have a gathering activity for the boys to do as they assemble. This will eliminate the "free for all" as you wait for everyone.


Have snack/game time at the end of meetings. If you run out of time because of bad behavior, you don't have snack or game. Let the boys know this is how it will be. They will change quickly.


Another great tool to control behavior is a behavior candle. At the beginning of the meeting, you light 3 candles. You tell the boys that whenever someone misbehaves, a candle will be blown out. When the last candle is blown out, no snack.


I got these ideas from training and roundtable meetings. Great forums for information and ideas.

I also liked the above idea about both of you going to training together. That's how my son's DL and I did it (I was the ADL).


Good Luck!

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Thanks so much for you input and suggestions- i have had some training i was very involved when my son was in Tiger scouts, as it stands right now there is an assistant Den leader for the den- unfortunatly for as much as the den leader doesnt have control over the boys the assistant more or less just has scream bouts(and i mean scream to scare the boys) when the boys dont listen - i was always under the impression that the hand sign should be used to settle the boys? any way - i am hoping that i can incorporate a "gathering activity" for the beginnign of the mtg to get them settled while waiting for all the boys and hopefully incorporate snack into the end of the mtg:)

i jsut dont want to step on toes or seem like i am taking control - i just want the den leader and assistant den leadder to be able to effectivly work with the boys - and i think having a "den mom " there to corral them in the beginning and to keep them in line with the thought of maybe a snack at the end of the mtg should help:)

thanks again for all the advice - this site seems like a wealth of information!!!!

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"the den leader doesnt have control over the boys the assistant more or less just has scream bouts(and i mean scream to scare the boys) when the boys dont listen"


This is very concerning..in no way should he be SCREAMING at these Bear ScoutsI think if you use the ideas you mentioned candle etc should work better also the marble jar is another one, as each boy arrives give them 3 marbles and at the end of the meeting if they dont have any taken away they put them in a jar, when the jar is full a special treat.

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that is what i am thinking a reward system - i want the boys to have fun - the actual den leader is not yelling at the boys or giving the sign and acts like he doesnt mind when they turn into lord of the flies- then the assistant shows up and (i mean no offense to this it is just a thing to relate his behavior too) and acts like he has turrets- it is disturbing to me and scares the boys the way he yells i suppose i am most interested in running interference with the boys- keeping them occupied so that they can learn adn participate..


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How many boys do you have in the den? Were they this wild last year or is this new behavior for them? If this has been going on for the last year it might be a little tougher to nip in the bud, especially if you have a lot of boys.


Consistant actions is the key. The marble jar is a good idea because it rewards good behavior not punishes bad. Try a meeting with both leaders and tell them what you plan on doing. Let them know that there are better ways to handle disruptive behavior then what they have been doing (or not doing!).


BTW - SM Ron had a GREAT idea of getting a Den Chief. A Den Chief is a leadership position for an older Boy Scout. They are part of the Den leadership team and can help in many ways. They can plan and lead the gathering activites, games, and songs. They can teach the boys about first aid, knots, nature and lots, lots, more. Also, they set an example of what a Scout is, and can be, for the boys. They are a living example of what is waiting for them when they get to a Boy Scout Troop. Ask your Cubmaster to contact your local BS Troops.




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With all due respect, I've become more and more concerned as the conversation goes along. You're getting lots of good ideas and all of them will help - with the boys behavior. The issue that seems to be rising to the service is the behavior of the adults. Sounds like you need to use the candle or marble jar for the DL and ADL!! And, I'm only being half facetious. I'd be concerned that if you step in the way this seems to be heading, no one is addressing the adult behavior issues.


There is no "denmom" role - unless you invent one because you are concerned about what's going on in the den. I applaud your concern and plan to intervene. But, again I think you're addressing the wrong issue. If it's the DL and ADL who need training or counseling, your marble jar will only be mildly successful and only because the boys will be smart enough to realize you are "running interference" between them and Denzilla.


Perhaps for good reasons,--- but you're undermining the roles of DL and ADL. It resembles the mother who helps kids hide "bad" things from their father, it may feel like helping but in the end, you damage all the relationships in the family. Granted, these two adults need help. But I'm no longer sure you're moving in the right direction. I'm concerned that your efforts will have the effect of condoning and supporting the behaviors of the DL and ADL.


I'd be cautious and think on this awhile. See if my comments jog any ideas from others in the forum. I'm inclined to see this as a Pack issue and not just a Den issue.


Good luck,


jd :((This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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John~ I agree this is a problem that the adults have the DL and the ADL- her eis the thing- i am new to this pack we just moved to this area- and the pack we were in ws very VERY nice and very well organized - and now well - the DL is new and kind of in this cause his son just started and i am not sure how much training he has had-

his son is the same grade as mine they are around each other alot- so i dont want to come off as a know it all jerk - that approach just isnt me-

i think since he is open and willing to the idea of a "den mother" i will just try to help out along the way - and give tidbits of advice - and thanks for the concern - they are concerns that i have had:)

i will keep you all posted- this site is great- thanks for the wonderful feedback i have been getting

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"The issue that seems to be rising to the service is the behavior of the adults". . . .Yo, jd, that would be rising to the "surface" . . . right?????


Anyway, aren't we sending her down the wrong road??


If I were denmom3, I'd be closer to calling the Council (YP training) than making plans for the marble jar or snacktime. She's not the DL, and we seem to suggesting ideas as if we were talking to the DL.


She gets it -- we need to be having this talk with him. Since that doesn't seem likely, perhaps she needs to contact the CM/CC/COR??? Or maybe she just needs to think of the ADL's behavior as abusive and call the Council??


I don't think we want to encourage parents, or any Scouter, to redefine leadership roles. Her Den and Den Leadership need her help, yes, but is this the way??? I applaud her thinking, her interest, her wisdom in coming here for help ;),... but, am I the only one uncomfortable with the direction this is headed? :( With all due respect, "den mother"???? :(


jd(This message has been edited by johndaigler)(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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