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splinter17

Max number of cub scouts in a Den.

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According to an e-mail I received recently, there could be 21-23 Bear Scouts in my sons Den this year. Is this considered to many? If there are 23 kids in the Den, would the sheer amount lead to less interaction per meeting? Last year there were 12 in the Den, and we had a hard time getting on track every meeting (ex: meeting scheduled @ 6, but it would take 10 -15 min to actually start the meeting).

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I'd target more towards the 10-12 per den. 21-23 people of that age in the room is difficult for a professional teacher to handle. A volunteer scouter is going to get eaten up and spit out. 21-23 boys - 2-3 dens.

 

Stosh

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Yes. That is too many. Put your foot down and do the boys a service and get the den size down. I liked 8 as a top number. I think BSA recommends 6-8. (You must have been running a good program last year that so many signed up.) I see 3 dens with a little room for growth.

 

Resist the urge to be the Bear den leader for this crowd with 4 or so assistant leaders. This makes you a project manager and curriculum planner. I'm sure you are not volunteering in scouting to do that. Instead offer to mentor the other bear den leaders and co-plan some group outings.

 

Remember that the den is the small group where the scouts can form and maintain friendships differently than school. 23 boys is a classroom!

 

23 is a pack size for many many packs.

 

Keep us posted.

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I would probably go with 3. As you said 12 is a lot. Personally I like 8 to 10, below 6 has other issues if you have attendance issues.

 

But here is the decision, how do you split up the previous 12? Part of the decision depends on how you recruit, are the kids from the same school, church, neighborhood? Do you keep the kids that know each other together or do you split them up. Are you all planning on meeting the same day? If not you may split based upon expected meeting times.

 

Assuming you are going to be a den leader. I would pick with the CM two of the parents from last year that you thing should be den leaders. They understand the program and can step in with little learning curve.

 

What i would not due is create 2 12 scout dens one made up of the experienced ones and one for all the newbies. It is a different conversation if the new ones are from a pack that has folded but Istill think I would mix them up.

 

As far as the program the CM should be giving direction on how much he wants the dens to stay in synch. Do other ranks have this situation and the CM has an existing plan? I was in a mega pack of 170+ we had 46 tigers, spread across 6 dens. The CM treated the independently he made sure we would meeting and progressing towards rank but he never said you need to go this like the other den. The den leaders would share info (usually around the go see it) but the dens were really allowed to direct their own dens asl if there was only one den of each rank.

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I would consider the question of "how active are the boys?". Den meetings work best when you've got 6-8 boys there, so if they all show up all the time, then split into 3 dens. If attendance is more hit-or-miss, then split into two dens.

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Another thing to consider is with 2-3 dens you will end up reaching more boys, because you can have meetings on different nights. If Johnny ends up with a sports conflict on Tuesday he can move over to the den that meets on Thursday.

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According to an e-mail I received recently' date=' there could be 21-23 Bear Scouts in my sons Den this year. Is this considered to many? If there are 23 kids in the Den, would the sheer amount lead to less interaction per meeting? Last year there were 12 in the Den, and we had a hard time getting on track every meeting (ex: meeting scheduled @ 6, but it would take 10 -15 min to actually start the meeting).[/quote']

 

Needs to be at least two dens. My observation is that in Cubs, 12 Cubs on the den roll, means you'll typically have 8 actually present. Your area attendance may vary.

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Splinting Den has been a headache in our Pack for years. We tried it five times in the last dozen year. The one and only time it worked well was when we had a parent who wanted be a Den Leader and asked for the position and the two leader had very different opinions on what Cub Scouts should be. Each of the parents pretty much knew who would be the better leader for their boys. The other four times we should not have bothered. Parents whose kids change soccer teams and baseball teams every year go ballistic when you suggest that their Den be shuffled-up. More than once, the current Den Leader wound up with the kids who attend regularly and the new Den took in the less dedicated boys. I had one Den Leader who wanted to put all the boys with special needs in the new Den. We had another Den Leader who always insisted we should force one of the parents of the new boys who was completely new to Scouts to be a Den Leader and put the new boys in their Den, while all the returning boys enjoyed the leadership of a trained and experienced Den Leader and one or more trained and experienced Assistant Den Leader.

 

I've taken the "never again" position. We now use the “super Den†approach – one Den with multiple Assistant Den Leaders, with a maximum ratio of 5 Scouts for every leader. Most Den meetings include multiple activities. When the Den gets large enough so that there are too many boys to do an activity, the Den Leader sets up a station for each activity, assigns one leader to the activity and then rotates the boys through the stations. Only the opening, closing and game are done with the full Den. It’s more work, but it works.

 

I’ve never been in your position – we’ve never had more than 18 boys in one Den. Ideally, if you do find another Den Leader who genuinely wants the job I’d go with two Dens. If this was your Wolf year, I could see three, but in my experience, most Dens cap out in size in the Bear year, so you should be fine with two. As for how to split the Den, in hindsight, unless there was a CLEAR divide created by schools, I’d have the Den Leader pair up the boys with their best friend and then pull names from a hat.

 

But understand that no matter how you split the Dens, someone is going to be upset and you will likely lose at least one Scout in the process.

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I agree that splitting can be tricky. As a den leader that has had between 10-12 scouts in a den - it is way too many. You can not do all the fun things safely if you only have one den leader and that many boys. I would definitely say no more than 6 to 8 kids in a den. When there are more than that it is very hard to get everyone through the requirements and help each individually if they need it.

 

When breaking up the den make sure you don't break up good friends into different dens. It will make one or the other drop out. Talk with the current den leader and see who they recommend keeping together. They are the best judge of who will work well together and who has issues with other scouts. Also recruit den leaders BEFORE you split and make sure they are definitely agreeing to take a den and know the scouts are counting on them to hold to that decision. We've had those who say ok they will lead a den and when we go to split they back out.

 

Good luck!

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.... I think BSA recommends 6-8. .....

 

Based on my experience, I personally think 6 is a bit small

8-10 seems like a good range to me

10-12 is ok, since you will usually have a few boys that can't make any given meeting.....

more than 12 seems like too many.

A lot depends on how active the boys are..... if every boy has perfect attendance, then yeah, maybe 6-8... but I'd still lean towards the 8 as my target den size.

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I personally would aim 8-10, only because of what's mentioned many times here - the numbers fluctuate so much. Den splits, every year, have been a thorn in my side.

Tiger year, before I took over our den, we had 25+ signed up. The den leader ignored half of the parents when it came to contacting them (she didn't have the time) and by the time I took over in December, we were down to 9 regulars. After re-charter, 4 due to 5 leaving with the den leader and her son. If we had of split early on, I think we would have kept quite a bit more in the program.

Our wolf year, we started out with 25 or so. When I mentioned a den split, we abruptly dropped to 12 scouts (within a month or so's time.) At re-charter, we had 15 scouts. It was quite overwhelming those last three months but since no one was volunteering to take over that late into the year, I pulled the extra weight with my assistant den leader to try and not lose anyone.

As Bears (with a recent recruitment session at the schools), we are at 25 registered with roughly 17 coming to meets. I and the CM plan on a split within the next month or so to try and keep as many as we can without killing me this year. But I'm worried when it comes up, we'll have more drop out. Always a sticky situation for us as I do my best but like most, I still hate to see them go at the mention of 'help.'

So long story short, even though that's my ideal number, obviously I have trouble keeping my den around that total :p Good luck!

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