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Den getting too big

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Just had contact form 3 more boys that want to transfer to our pack. All Bears.

Currently have 12 boys on the roster in that den

Usually 8-10 show at any given meeting,

+3 makes 15 boys.

I know the "book" says a den is usually 6-8 boys. We like 8-10

 

8 of our boys have been together since the beginning of Tiger

one of the others joined at the start of Wolf, and goes to school with most of the others at our CO's school.

2 joined at the start of this year...... I think 1 as an existing friend of the other boys.

 

I was talking with the DL. He feels that where we are now is workable, but around 12 or more at any given meeting might be too much.

Talked about splitting. Seems that it'll be hard friends want to stay with friends, or a boy might prefer the old leader vs the new....

Also talked about having a formal assistant DL or even a "co-DL". We could join for the opening and closing, but split into two groups for any activity.

I feel like we should see how the rest of the school year goes since we're through most of it..... But I certainly want to do anything I can to not over load a good DL. the other part of me thinks that if we're gonna split, now is the time so the 3 new boys don't get settled..... and we might be able to tap one of the new parents to lead it.

He wants to stay the course and see how it goes.

 

So the questions:

How big is too big?

How have you handled splits of existing dens?

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I think your best bet is to get an Assistant DL, and keep it to one den.
Yeah, through all my rambling thoughts.... that's how I'm leaning.... I think that probably makes the most sense......

but I'm not the DL in question.

and if not know.... what if we gain 2 more boys, or 3... or? There has to be a point when it's just too big.

 

I used to be his ADL before I was tapped to help the CM, but I honestly never felt I did a very good job at it. Partially because we never really worked out a mutual 'plan', and partially because what he really needed was a cat hearder & I just wasn't all that good.at it.

 

He made a good point.... the big problems really come when there's turns to be taken..... like the den carries the flag at pack mtg. all the boys want to carry and there's no way that all of them would ever get a turn. Or some skits when it simply would mean that they all can't participate. The rest of it is manageable with a good parent or two helping and herding....

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The school year is almost over. You have maybe 7 meetings left. Get three parents to agree to be ADL for the rest of the 7 den meetings and split up for the activity. Next year, as Webelos, run them as two patrols. I wouldn't shuffle the existing scouts for the last few months. Buy the DL a good bottle of bourbon for after the meetings... :)

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For the skits, do two skits for the mega den, and put half in each skit... That'll help them organize into the groups you'll use for Webelos.

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Congrats on a successful program. No room for further growth as you are now. Heading into the end of school year is a great time to solve this problem. But this is something to be educating the parents and scouts on now. I support the idea of 3 ADLs. In fact, perhaps they all could be stepping up and planning some events and meetings as training ground for spring / summer / fall. That way your DL could be mentoring them and scouts could see them in action.

 

We used to cap our dens at 8 or 9. I particularly like 6, big enough for relays, and small enough that every scout knows he is important to the den.

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We have a large Wolf den with 24 boys. We are lucky to have a very organized Den Leader with a clear plan, who has the support of 3 ADL's. I'm one of them. We also have a bunch of really helpful moms or dads. We require parent participation. "Drop offs" are rare.

 

We split the 24 boys into two sub-dens/"patrols" and meet at school in two separate nearby group areas on the same day/time. The programs in each 12 boy sub-den are the same. Most of the boys show up most of the time. Usually, we have at least 10 show up in each sub-den. Sometimes we get together for announcements or group games- that way the boys who are split up can reconnect with each other.

 

Honestly I think 3 sub dens might be optimal for us to be able to manage the activities better for a group our size. I think roughly 8 boys per sub-den would be the best proportion. But we'd really need another one or two more ADL's.

 

In August, the DL and the 3 ADL's met to plan most of the meetings leading up to earning the Wolf rank at Blue & Gold. We planned it so that parents could choose (or be assigned) a specific den meeting to be the "Adult Coordinator". Each meeting has a pair of Adult Coordinators (two for each sub-den) When it's the Adult Coordinator's turn, they carry out the DL's overall plan, with the support of the ADL's. And that's the meeting where their son is the Denner and/or flag ceremony leader.

 

With as many Wolves as we have, we require active 1-on-1 parent participation. With boys that age, that's the only way it works for us.

 

You may want to implement something like this next year. It requires prior planning and buy-in from the parents. I don't see why you couldn't start introducing the concept now, of breaking your large group into multiple smaller groups with parent help. Just make it official next year.

 

 

 

 

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We have a large Wolf den with 24 boys. We are lucky to have a very organized Den Leader with a clear plan, who has the support of 3 ADL's. I'm one of them. We also have a bunch of really helpful moms or dads. We require parent participation. "Drop offs" are rare.

 

We split the 24 boys into two sub-dens/"patrols" and meet at school in two separate nearby group areas on the same day/time. The programs in each 12 boy sub-den are the same. Most of the boys show up most of the time. Usually, we have at least 10 show up in each sub-den. Sometimes we get together for announcements or group games- that way the boys who are split up can reconnect with each other.

 

Honestly I think 3 sub dens might be optimal for us to be able to manage the activities better for a group our size. I think roughly 8 boys per sub-den would be the best proportion. But we'd really need another one or two more ADL's.

 

In August, the DL and the 3 ADL's met to plan most of the meetings leading up to earning the Wolf rank at Blue & Gold. We planned it so that parents could choose (or be assigned) a specific den meeting to be the "Adult Coordinator". Each meeting has a pair of Adult Coordinators (two for each sub-den) When it's the Adult Coordinator's turn, they carry out the DL's overall plan, with the support of the ADL's. And that's the meeting where their son is the Denner and/or flag ceremony leader.

 

With as many Wolves as we have, we require active 1-on-1 parent participation. With boys that age, that's the only way it works for us.

 

You may want to implement something like this next year. It requires prior planning and buy-in from the parents. I don't see why you couldn't start introducing the concept now, of breaking your large group into multiple smaller groups with parent help. Just make it official next year.

 

 

 

Wow, nice organization. You have a great volunteer/parent/scout thing going.

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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)

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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>>This is all theoretical, I'm Committee Chair and Wolf Leader<<

It may be theoretical, but that is almost exactly how I handled my Den of 16 Webelos. Because of the size and planning required, I also change from three 1 hr den meetings a month to two 1 hr and 30 minute meetings a month to give me more time to plan and allow more room for program. I need more time because I planned two activities at the same time and had the switch after 20 mintues. On top that, I required two parents become assistant den leader, and two other parents to run the monthly theme activities that they planned. It was a close group so it worked out very well. I would not recommend it to anyone unless that is the absolute last option. As to the original question of Den size, I tried to keep dens to about eight scouts. Barry

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