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Becoming a den chief

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I think it is great Dad is asking about it here! Isn't guidance what adults are supposed to provide? Even parents? The OP is obviously new to this game. His troop could be as bad as mine with a rather passive SPL who would just say "sure' date=' whatever". Where is it written this is the job of the ASPL? Do you know his troop has one? Where is the fast track advancement evidenced? Did Dad say he just crossed over in March? We have several scouts that have been with the troop for 18 months and just got 2nd class. Old Ox your are light years more polite than BD, but are making some of the same assumptions he would with new posters. :) If he were around right now I know exactly what he would have said, "Back off Helicopter Dad, stop managing your sons scouting career! ....... Just exactly what is Your position in the Troop? .........Stop interfering with the Troop Program! Damn Millennials, can't stand them! ........Shaking my Head!"[/quote']


Swimmer, King's correct, and pretty darn funny; I did come across as a bit harsh, and did make some assumptions. I apologize.


The key here, and what I have told parents with similar questions, is the youth needs to want, and own this situation. Yes, I assume your in a Troop that's running mostly right, I say mostly because no troops perfect. The scout needs to either bring this up in his up and coming SMC, or go to the "youth" responsible for Den Chiefs in your troop. As a parent, your role is to point your scout in the correct direction, and let him handle this. If and when your scout has issues with this seek direction form the CC.


To answer why I say the scout should deal with the ASPL, that's because the SPL is directly responsible for the ASPL, PL's, and Guide only (found in the SM's Handbook, Senior Patrol Leaders Handbook, and Patrol Leaders Handbook). The ASPL is responsible for he balance of the officers (the administrative officers).


Where you may be going with here is Den Chiefs aren't actually defined as part of either officer group, and BSA (the last time I checked) recommends they be supervised by an ASM. I don't run, or teach the program that way (which doesn't make me right). In our unit, and the others I've worked with, the ASPL is responsible for Den Chiefs, but they answer to the Den Leader they work with.



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Once upon a time I was a dispatcher for the Transit System. I was responsible for closing up the garage after all the busses came home at night. If all went well, I locked the doors and went home at about 1:15am.

One friday night , about 11pm, I answered the phone and the conversation went something like this:

"Good evening, this is Busses Are Us, how can I help you?"

"Can you tell me about the Subway system?"

"Perhaps. What is your question?"

"Well, my son is attending a special class downtown tomorrow ((*tomorrow would be Saturday*)), and I'd like to know how to get to the XYZ University at Muddy Bottom Station".

"Are you going with him?".

"No, he'll be going by himself".

" (??) Ahh, how old is he?"

" He's 15."

"And he is attending a class at a university?"


" Shouldn't I be speaking with him, then?" There was a noticeable silence on the other end. The male voice said "Wait a minute...."

A younger voice came on: "Hello?"

"Are you the student going down to XYZ University tomorrow?"

" Yes..."

" Do you know where you're going? Ever been down there before?"

" Oh sure, I went down there before to sign up for the class!"

" And do you need to hear the directions on how to use the Subway to Muddy Bottom Station?"

"Nah, I'm Okay. " and here he recited how he would board the subway, buy his farecard, and transfer at Midtown Station to the line to Muddy Bottom.

"That sounds about right. Is that your dad I was speaking with? Do you think he knows that you know? Could you maybe let him know that I know that you know that he should know you know how to get there? "


I spoke to the adult voice again, and assured him I thought the young man knew how to get there. I suggested he review it with him, but let the boy do the reviewing.

He thanked me and we said goodnight.

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  • 1 month later...

My sons are 5 years apart, so my youngest became a Tiger 6 months after my older one became a boy scout. They are now bears and he has basically been their den chief the whole time (although he did not need it for advancement at first.) It has helped him learn leadership and it is very helpful to my husband who is the den leader. We thought it as a natural fit for him since he was going to be at the meeting anyway. We did confirm this with our Scoutmaster. He keeps a journal each week of what he did in the meeting and I am sure to take pictures in case there are every any questions in the future of whether he has actually done any work at den chief. I will say he has much more responsibility and work to do as den chief than he did when he was patrol leader. In addition, as a patrol leader, he had to deal with several other scouts that were deliberately uncooperative and told him they would be to his face. That was nearly impossible situation for a 12 year old, although it would be a good challenge for an older boy. Den Chief is much more helpful to his development since he does have a bit of natural authority over the younger kids.

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Wow, really? I wonder what new Leadership lessons he learned in his third year in the same POR?


Maybe he learned how to get really, really good at it, and was so effective at it that his Den was thrilled to have him around for 3 years. Maybe he encouraged other scouts in his troop to be Den Chiefs as well. Maybe he was instrumental in helping those boys bridge over to the troop too. Maybe he even earned his Den Chief Service award, which takes more than a standard "6-month POR" to earn. Just maybe, eh?


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