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PiperTim

Is there a LIMIT imposed by National on Den Chiefs?

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Hello Seasoned Scouters,

 

I am a Den leader in a larger pack (we have 6 or so dens with near 50 boys). Many of our previous Cubs matriculated into local troops and want to give back to their "Cub Community" helping out as Den Chiefs.

 

One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star. Unfortunately the SPL (and I am assuming SM) is telling us that a PACK can only have one "official" Den Chief who gets credit and the rest could do it but would receive no credit for their service.

 

My question is this, does this fall in line with National Policy or is this just Troop Policy?

 

Thanks!

PT

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I recently went through the Den Chief training, and I have not seen any such rule, nor have I heard of it in the past.

 

In fact, there are several places in the official BSA literature where it describes a pack with multiple den chiefs, in different dens.

 

I would respectfully ask the SPL or SM to show you that rule somewhere in writing from the BSA.

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

 

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

I have to agree with BD here. I have seen several Den Chiefs who do nothing constructive. In theory it is a huge position of responsibility, but in practice not many scouts are willing to put the time and effort into it. Being a true DC is probable more work and shows more leadership than most Eagle Projects out there.

 

Transportation is a major hurdle and as is the unreliablity of most younger scouts. In many troops by the time they have the maturity do actually do the job, they don't "need" the POR or are being pulled in so many directions with other activities that they just won't put in the time.

 

Unless you find that remarkable youth that is very outgoing and highly motivated all you are doing is adding another scout to your den and creating more work for yourself.

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Troop policy. I'd wager there's some history behind it. Maybe packs weren't giving feedback when a DC wasn't measuring up to expectations, and the boys were starting to use the position (maybe not in that pack, but others) as a way to do little but get credit for rank advancement. Maybe there was a time when every so many boys were DC's and none of them were free to be PL or QM.

 

Anyway, you would do well to talk to the SM and ask why that's the troop policy.

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

It's difficult because the Den leader often has no idea what is expected, and what type of responsibilities the DC should be expected to handle. And the SM or other Troop leaders don't have a good way of knowing what's going on there. I was very fortunate to have an amazing DC with my younger son (older son's DC was a big brother who just came and hung out with us occasionally). He set a great example and now younger son is a successful, respected DC. He is very involved in running activities and meets with the DL a couple times a year to plan... and yes he takes the opportunity to use his work with the Den for his own advancement sometimes. Now I have absorbed another Webelos Den (leader quit unexpectedly) which came with a DC... he is terrible. Never in uniform, barely shows for anything, mostly goofs with the boys when he does show. I am annoyed at the thought of him receiving time credit for his ranks whilst not really being the DC I need and am working up my nerve to replace him.

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Troops can make their own policy, and Scoutmasters approve POR's. But let the troop know that its not a National policy. I had to fight my troop, who insisted that the Den Chief had to attend the council training session before becoming a Den Chief (which was annoyingly scheduled the same weekend as the district camporee). I showed them they were following the rules for the "Den Chief Service Award", not the rules for becoming a Den Chief.

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

"It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility."

 

Wow...seriously? That comment displays either ignorance or a lack of understanding of how the position should be implemented. Either way it's pretty dumb. Have you even looked at the criteria for achieving the National Den Chief award, or looked over the Den Chief Handbook to see what the responsibilities are?

 

In the interest of full disclosure my son has been a Den Chief for a year. He started with a day's worth of in-person training through the council. He attends not just troop meetings with the rest of the troop, but also ALL Den meetings and ALL Pack meetings--in other words, twice the amount of time that other PORs who just come to troop meetings spend. He prepares activities for meetings. He coordinates with the Den leader via phone or email in between meetings. Sounds pretty responsible to me. In fact, I'd put it second only to the SPL in terms of the amount of responsibility--and more than SPL in terms of time.

 

Read the handbook, look at the training, and if the position isn't being done right, follow your own advice for a change and "fix your own unit."

 

Jeez...

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

Brew, Rare is the Den Chief you describe...I am not alone in this belief. So how many scouts were at that council provided training compared to the number of den chiefs out there?????? I bet that one in 50 or 100 actually get trained.

 

As a cub den leader, I was given the responsibility of a den chief.... The lad showed up, enjoyed himself, but could not complete the simplest of tasks....It was more of a burden than just doing the program myself....I had to figure out what he could do or not do.....He was 12 I believe.....The boys did not respect or look up to him.... He was a just like the older sibling to fight with gang up on and tease.

 

 

So looking at my current troop, since you called me out, There are no extra boys with the maturity to be sent to the Pack as den chief.....the scouts who I would send are all tied up with duties with in the Troop. The rest are 11 or 12 year olds.

 

My SPL went to Summer camp with the Webelos den.....He was 14 at the time....He did an excellent job.....No training required.......But he also has a couple of years as PL and SPL under his belt.

 

So you have a strange little dude who is just 12 years old who needs a POR.....For the adults it is too easy to ship him off to den chief training and then check the box in a couple of month....He shows up to the den meetings and may or may not help......

 

But what is the cost to the Pack, Troop and the lad for this nonsense. He didn't learn a darn thing.....

 

Maybe I expect too much from my boys, they need to actually hold the position and fulfill the responsibility before it gets checked.

 

 

So I stand by my statement......For most who are Den Chief it is a POR with No or minimal responsibility and very little leadership.

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Since old piper never came back....

 

Let me speculate that the scout in his discussion was his son, how has probably been in the Troop 18 months or so and currently stuck in the log jam of boys looking for POR at first clase... So dad is going to intervene and force the scoutmaster to make his son a den chief so he can continue to advance.

 

Sure it slows down advancement....But honestly most lads aren't ready for PL at 12 years old...

 

 

A bad Den Chief can do more damage to recruiting than 5 great den chiefs do to improve it.

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

First of all, it's a POR, not a POL. Responsibility. And while I hesitate to dump on any PORs in blanket statements, being even a mediocre Den Chief would require WAY more responsibility simply by virtue of showing up at Den and Pack meetings than the troop bugler, librarian, or other positions.

 

I will agree with you that "they need to actually hold the position and fulfill the responsibility before it gets checked." After all, isn't that supposed to be the way it is? The Den Chief takes on the role; the DL/CM and SM communicate to make sure the responsibility is fulfilled. That's why all those signature areas are in the Den Chief Handbook, after all. (You do have that, right?)

 

Your typical mode of operation is to throw a wet blanket of sarcasm over everything that doesn't live up to your personal expectations, but in this case, the fault is that the Den Chiefs you have experienced are not living up to the position as it is written and designed. Den Chief is decidedly NOT a "minimal responsibility" position, and if it is being treated that way by Den Chiefs and units they are doing a disservice to the position, as well as the boys.

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

I Agee that when done properly it is probably on Par with a PL for the amount of work....but is different....with an adult looking over your shoulder

 

 

But again I have not met the scout who has put that much effort into it......

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The only limit I would suggest is one DC per den. They are not PACK CHIEFs, they are DEN chiefs. Every den is entitled to one. Every boy that wanted to be DC in my troop was 1) expected to do the job, 2) take and pass the DL training, and 3) earn the DC service award for 12 months of service, not just the 6 months for advancement.

 

The DL was responsible for insuring the DC earned his DC Service Award and was told up-front the requirements. If the boy was not meeting those expectations for their den the DL was to notify me immediately!

 

Of all the boys agreeing to this arrangement, they ALL served 12 month or more and all got their DC Service Award and I never got a call from a DL. Boys who did not want to fulfill those expectations up-front always chose a different POR for advancement.

 

By the way, every boy that served as DC and got their DC Service Award made fantastic PL's and SPL's. They did not need to be a PL or SPL prior to doing DC. I always found that being a good DC laid the foundation for being a good PL/SPL and TG! not the other way around. It is far more challenging to be a good DC to a bunch of little guys than being a PL of your buddies.

 

Stosh

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There is no rule at the National level that says one den chief per pack. But I would not tell the SPL or SM how to run his troop either.

 

 

I am concerned by your posting "One local pack has several of our boys who have reached first class and would like to serve as Den Chiefs to gain credit towards Star."

 

Why is this any of your concern? They will get elected or appointed a position when they are ready.

 

I would hope that the SM or SPL would have a reason such as maturity or other obligation. But I won't let a lad be den chief till at least 14, having served as APL or PL first.....

 

It is a no responsibility, position of responsibility......how are they to show leadership when the den leader runs the meeting and all they are there to do it hand out papers or help cut stuff out.

Well, you have hit on the exact problem then, haven't you? If you do not have scouts who are willing to put the time into the position--in terms of training, planning, enthusiasm, and overall responsibility and effort--then the problem is with the scouts (which ultimately falls back to the units--Troop and Pack), not with the position. Hopefully some day you will work with a den chief who fulfills the position of responsibility as it is designed and trained.

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