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How do you convince a parent to step up and be a den leader

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We just had our join scouting night and got 14 boys and 1 leader.  Obviously we need at least one more but none of the parents will sign up.  Other than begging for the sake of the boys, how else have you had success to get a leader?


I have told them the positives of the role but they all want someone else to do it.....

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Do what you can to identify who you think might me good (reputation, have seen him/her involved at school, word of mouth, etc) and then ask point blank.  Public pleas for volunteers fall on deaf ears.  Make someone say no.

.... and based on my experience most folks have no problem saying no.


Our pack has always done with just one leader

In my 4+ years with the pack, we've only had two Assistant Den Leaders but that was only for one year for each person.

I was an Assist DL only because I wanted to volunteer to get more involved and help the DL.... then last year we had and ADL in Tigers since as CM I tried to encourage the pack to produce one for each den.... (i really made an effort to support the DL)

And now I'm ADL again, since my son's new DL is getting burned out and asked me to help him again.... since I now have the time, not doing the CM thing anymore.


And we've had big dens like that


None of the other dens have had ADL's.... ever.


My point is, while i agree not ideal, the den can function with 1 leader.


I assume we're talking Tiger den

Strongly Encourage that Den Leader to work under the shared leadership model

I have no idea how this would fit in with the new program, but I'm sure you can make it work.....

We never practiced this.... although i really encouraged the Tigers to do this last year....

The old program was set up for this....

each den meeting (or each couple meetings, or maybe each month's worth of meetings) is run by a different parent/boy team.  The DL still has to get involved in setting or approving which adventure you do, etc...  and the register Den Leader must attend and monitor every meeting, but the work is done by them.

Then in the process of going through this first year, the DL can really be watching for the likely candidates and starting to hint or "groom" them towards the idea of formally recruiting them as Assistant Den Leader in the spring, in preparation for the Wolf year.

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One of the things my husband did with new Tiger dens (he was the pack Committee Chair) was to talk to a parent about being a den leader and explain that he'd help get the den started.  So, he'd go to the first few den meetings and attend and be there for the parent leader.  That can help to reassure parents b/c otherwise it's very daunting to ask a neophyte parent to start leading a program about which they probably know very little.


The second thing that we've done over the past few years is to ensare them by good company, food and friendship.  We happen to own an electric boat and it's really nice to take the boat out and have hors d'ouevres and wine in a beautiful setting and then they're also stuck on the boat so when we ask them, oh so casually, if they'd like to take on [x, y or z], how could they possibly say no when we've wined and dined them?  OK, so this might be considered outright manipulation but the truth of the matter is that what we're really doing is establishing connections and relationships and once there is a relationship, people feel a LOT BETTER about saying yes.  By using the method above, we were able to get a new Cubmaster and Pack Committee Chair!   And then we made sure to mentor them for the entire year.


So, maybe you don't live by a lake but you could have a backyard BBQ, go to a fun place at the beach or just a local fun restaurant.  Be creative but get to know your potential leaders.


If all else fails, you can, as Slow Derby Racer said, ask in a public forum so that it's hard to say no!


Good luck!!!

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Plan out the next three den meetings with great detail.  In every situation that you can have an adult step up and lead the section/activity mark it and give it a "name" ie. "game time"   Have 14 of these. 


Next meeting have all the parents attend.  Don't let them dump and run!


Announce that "Scouting is a Family Run Organization".  Welcome to the Family"  Having all 14 of your activities/sections explained/laid out on a sheet of paper.  Ask each parent to take/sign up to manage/run that section.  Have a clip board to pass around.


Let them know you as the leader are there to help if they have questions.  Also, if they have a better idea for activities, you are open to change.  Open the book and see together how it can fit with the program.


Cream will rise to the top.  Other parents will also appreciate the work of the leaders

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You need two dens.



My theory is that the thing to do is to find one person who will DESIGN each den meeting, and another person (two is better)  who willpresent the program as planned.


It takes less ability to presnt a program than to design it.  And it's a lot easier to have two dens of seven boys each than one den of 14.  For o0ne thing,  with two dens you can easily design competitions between the two dens,  and low stakes competitions between dens make for easy program and a lot of fun for boys.




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For a while the thing that worked was to have 1 completely planned meeting for me to run, 1 completely planned meeting for someone else to run, and an outline of at least a month of other meetings, with a main idea for several months after that.  So a beginning structure.


The 1 completely planned meeting for me to run I would drag along a son/boy scout/older webelo, and my husband if possible.

I would show them the parts of a well put together meeting, gathering, take attendance/dues if you collect them, very simple flag ceremony, announcements of what's coming up, a main activity and then game time of some kind where the older webelo or boy scout  and husband would take all the kids to the hallway or not too far away but far enough we could talk.


while I had done some explaining along the way, I would then take the time to explain how cub scouting is a parent/son activity, I would show them the book they work out of, the leader info about how to make the book fit into the upcoming months, where to find fun activity and game ideas. Talk it up as soo much fun, so easy to do, and how we are all in this together.  but then I'd have to tell them that I can't run your den for you, I need to go help run my own child's den so one of you needs to be den leader.  And make it so every single other parent has a task to do so it all comes together and not just one person is in charge.   And let them know that the first 6 months or so one person takes the role of den leader, but their job is actually to help identify who is the natural born leader the person the kids gravitate toward and listen to. 


And then help them figure out how they want to share the responsibilities. In some dens they broke things up so someone did gathering activity or main activity, someone came up with games, someone tracked attendance and advancements, someone went shopping for supplies and someone brought snacks and they traded those jobs around like a grown up chore chart.  others broke it up by month, or by theme.


Of course when my son moved to boy scouts they'd see me come in and not really believe me that I wasn't going to just run their meeting for them, cause why else was I hanging around.  The parents were quite content to just drop off, and when I told them they couldn't drop and leave they would just sit in the back of the room and not want to participate at all or participating meant taking the kids project and doing it for themselves. That attitude seems to be more and more prevalent and harder and harder to deal with each year.  

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You need two dens.



I agree if most or all 14 stay,. and most or all 14 are active


Fairly safe bet though that a couple will drop, and a few others won't be overly active


My son's den has always had more than 10 on the roster.... a few years routinely 10 or more active.  Some come, some go....

It functions ok as is, last year I suggested to the DL that he might want to split the den after we had several new boys join, but he held out ok.

Personally, i think 10 or more active ones are too many.... but if you split 14 into two 7 boy dens, then IF several in a den are not at all active, there's not enough energy in the den for it to be fun.  

based on my experience, you need at least 5 or 6 for the meeting to feel right.....

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