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Den getting too big

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We've got Packs out there smaller than this den. Steps needed to be taken to avoid this in the first place. Once you let the cat out of the bag, it's really tough to rein it in.

 

If everything is "for the boys", I wonder what kind of programming these boys are getting when such a large group is attempted to be handled all at the same time?

 

Now that the den has been created, who in their right mind would jump in and help out with such a large group?

 

A lot of questions going on here and the answers aren't all that good for the boys.

 

Stosh

I admit it is a bit of a risk, but out of my 16 Webelos who moved into troops, 12 got eagles and 14 aged out. So it's not a matter of can't, it's a matter of how. And that is what these forums are for. Barry

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While other Den Leaders would help greatly. I would grab the parents and have them help as well. Do not let them sit on the sidelines surfing their smartphones.
This very thing is something we had to deal with early on this year. Lack of parent attentiveness and some out of hand kids was a challenge. The Den Leader(s) sent out an email identifying the problem and requiring more one-on-one participation. We also instituted a Den code of conduct that the boys created (with some steering by leaders). It was only a few points long- simple. We try to reinforce this Code of Conduct at each meeting. It made a huge difference. Still, people need to be reminded (parents and boys included).

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anotherguy .... wow, 24 is a big den for sure! Why don't you just have three separate dens? ~~ and how do you all handle the inevitable issue of cubs not happy with being split form friends, or not getting into the den with Leader "A", or whatever..... I just forsee a lot of disappointed scouts either way you split it.

 

Pack18Alex..... I'm interested in the patrol idea for WEBELOS. I'm sure we can get through this year since it's mostly over, no worries.... and Patrols seem like a great intro to Scouts. It's right along the lines of what the DL was thinking with "co-leaders". I'll have to study up on that for sure to be able to make good suggestions to the DL. I'm just not that familiar with WEBELOS and Scout Patrols yet.....

 

..... but what is everyone's thought on how best to affect the split and avoiding disappointed scouts? I can surely imagine my son being very turned off and likely even wanting to quit if he was split away from his best bud(s)

 

 

3 dens would make sense numerically for the boys, but we'd need a few more leaders to make it work. Right now, we have 4 "shirted" leaders that handle the 24 in two dens. We do have the help of parents though which is key.

 

The boys don't seem to be upset that a friend is in the "other" sub-den. We try to keep the program interesting so they don't have a chance to think about that stuff. ;-)

 

Most of the boys know each other from school. We do some things together as one big den group, like games, bike rides, cookouts, etc. It's just easier to do the quieter things in smaller groups. (Like learning about first aid, etc.) In fact we often divide the sub dens (12 each) into 6., and ask parents to lead the program.

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I don't think there is any set number on how big or small a den should be. Factors that would govern it are the ability of the den leader to manage a large group, the amount of parent helpers, and the behavior of the boys. Even if your DL is capable of taking on the new boys, I'm not sure that is such a good idea. Depending on the boys, it could totally change the dynamics of your den, and not always for the positive. Is it worth 3 new boys when it could result in a possible meltdown of your DL and the existing den? If it were me, I would welcome the 3 boys and their parents into the pack and tell them you will offer them support to form their own den and make one of the new parents be a DL. We have had to turn boys away from our pack because a den was too full and no one wanted to split up an existing den and the new boys' parents didn't want to step up and become a DL. A strong program is not measured by how many boys you have in your pack or den, it is measured by the experiences you provide for the boys. If that level of service decreases by adding more boys, then I wouldn't do it.
Good points and well said. Adding boys can be tricky if not done carefully.

 

But also consider that by turning away those three, you might be turning away the opportunity to have an engaged parent that can contribute to the den. I'm thinking of a former Eagle Scout, an EMT, carpenter, veterinarian, camping enthusiast, entrepreneur, etc.

 

With a large group it's important to require more parent involvement. Make that expectation clear from the outset.

 

I may be wrong in my assessment, but it seems that the boys with more involved parents will likely stay with the program longer and get more out of scouting. They have the potential to contribute to the health of the den too.

 

It's the parents that you need to "remind" of their responsibilities who will be the ones who will likely eventually stop showing up.

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Well, I think Webelos Patrols might avoid the "split from friends." They can all wear the same Den Number on their sleeve, and be assigned to 2-3 patrols that they can pick the names for. In the 1 Den, 3 Patrols (if you are up to 15 now, I'm guessing they'll grow in the fall to 18+).

 

I would assign patrols in the fall, AFTER Day/Resident Camp. One option, put the boys that went to Camp in a separate patrol, since they'll have 2-4 pins done at camp. That way if the other patrols are doing the pins that they did, they can work on a different pin.

 

Webelos Den Leader is responsible for planning/managing the Webelos Program to rank advance by Blue and Gold.

Each Patrol has a Assistant Webelos Den Leader assigned to the patrol to supervise the activity.

 

If your Dens meet separately from your Pack Meetings, I'd start pretending that you have a Webelos Troop. Call the meeting to order as one Troop. One patrol does the flag ceremony. Then break into the activity. End with a game/competition, then reconvene for a Den Leader's Minute and retire the colors.

 

Carrying on this theme, I would, in the fall, meeting 1, Den and Patrol Flags. There should be a Webelos Den flag and each Patrol has a flag. At Den Meetings, post the colors of the Den and the USA, with Patrols at their flags. At pack meetings, patrols line up with their flag, one Scout carries the Den flag in the front. That way you can reinforce that they are One Den, 3 Patrols. They get instruction on activity together, work in patrols, and the patrols compete.

 

This is all theoretical, I'm Committee Chair and Wolf Leader. :)

 

I really thought we were going to be able to have two Webelos Patrols this year, but a bunch dropped out fast.

This is very close to what we do in practice. One Den number, separate patrols (with different names and flags). Works great.

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We've got Packs out there smaller than this den. Steps needed to be taken to avoid this in the first place. Once you let the cat out of the bag, it's really tough to rein it in.

 

If everything is "for the boys", I wonder what kind of programming these boys are getting when such a large group is attempted to be handled all at the same time?

 

Now that the den has been created, who in their right mind would jump in and help out with such a large group?

 

A lot of questions going on here and the answers aren't all that good for the boys.

 

Stosh

Assigning parents tasks in small chunks of responsibility works well. A first come- first serve "volunteer" sign up sheet at the beginning of the year is used for this purpose. Those that don't "volunteer" are assigned a task that may (or may not) suit their interest. For example, a dad that works in a medical office talks about first aid and staying healthy. A mom who volunteers at the local historical society can set up a den visit to an important community building. A dad who has carpentry experience can lead the kit building. All of this in support of the DL and the ADL, who in turn support the parent with a plan and a structure carry out the program that week.

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We've got Packs out there smaller than this den. Steps needed to be taken to avoid this in the first place. Once you let the cat out of the bag, it's really tough to rein it in.

 

If everything is "for the boys", I wonder what kind of programming these boys are getting when such a large group is attempted to be handled all at the same time?

 

Now that the den has been created, who in their right mind would jump in and help out with such a large group?

 

A lot of questions going on here and the answers aren't all that good for the boys.

 

Stosh

The original post does not indicate the # adults involved, but to avoid burnout it would be a good idea to have a few on hand.

 

While it is not impossible to run a good program as Barry indicates, for the "average" DL the large group might be too much and unfortunately the #1 thing that often times takes a hit is quality of program. Yes, a good DL can do a great job and provide the exception, but for a newbie DL with basic training it might be an overwhelming task right from the get-go.

 

My sincere appreciation goes out to the DL who can handle it, but for those that can't it can be a disaster for the boys.

 

More adults, or break the group up, I would surely hate to lose a good DL to burnout without some help from the concerned CM.

 

Stosh

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I don't think there is any set number on how big or small a den should be. Factors that would govern it are the ability of the den leader to manage a large group' date=' the amount of parent helpers, and the behavior of the boys. Even if your DL is capable of taking on the new boys, I'm not sure that is such a good idea. Depending on the boys, it could totally change the dynamics of your den, and not always for the positive. Is it worth 3 new boys when it could result in a possible meltdown of your DL and the existing den? [/quote']

 

Size of the space where you meet also is one of the limits on the possible size of a den.

 

When dens are as large as classrooms (17-20 boys) one of the things that the young scouts miss out on in the small group experience where they can work on their social skills and long term friendships. For some boys this is the main thing they need out of scouts (others need other things like getting dirty, going camping...).

 

Interesting what can be done in a pinch, but I have learned from trial and error that the old fashioned way the BSA has done things typically has some wisdom.

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