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Den Flags

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I always liked den flags and find them useful in developing den spirit and solidarity.

 

Pretty frequently,  I had den opening ceremonies where each den member had their left hand on the den flag,  helping to hold it up,  while doing a Cub Scout salute with the right hand and repeating the Cub Scout Promise or Law of the pack.  So I looked for ways to USE the den flag during activities.

 

 

At out June Pack Overnight camp,  I promoted den flag making as an acticvity during the camp.  Each den made a new den flag to go along with their new den level.

 

Our district day camp made den flags,  but it was a poorly planned activity and used pieces cut out of old Scout Camp tents as flag material. Not too good in practice.

 

 

This year, as Day Camp Program Director,  I bought good quality, colorful fabric for each of our twelve dens to make their own den flag.  I also made up colorful symbols for each den that were printed off on a color copier and which dens could use on their den flag if they wished to do so.

 

Other printed up Cub Scout symbols and images were provided as raw material for den flags if the dens members wanted to use it.  That went pretty well,  in my opinion.

 

However,  since I haven't been flogging den flags in my Cub Pack,  other den leaders no longer bother.

 

 

SO:

 

Do you find Den flags useful,  and what is your experience with den flags in Cub Scout packs?

 

 

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I tried to get the pack to adopt them a couple of years ago.  I made the 2'x3' blanks, I got poles, made stands.  One of the Dens made one, and brought it to the pack meetings, but that was about it.

 

Now to be fair, (after a fashion), our Dens do not meet as often as I think they should, and so the extra time to decide upon and decorate the flag would have negatively impacted the planned den schedule.

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Unless one understands the functionality of a den flag, making a den flag ends up just another arts and crafts project.

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I too tried to implement it.... but didn't go so far as to buy the materials..... I just suggested.

 

I think it's a good idea..... but like @@gumbymaster, most of the leaders don't get it or buy into the idea.

I did buy one of those store bought ones for My son's den leader.  he had already bought a US flag on short 6ft staff.  I bought a matching staff for the den flag, and I threw together some flag stands with some scrap lumber.  We ended up opening and closing almost every Bear meeting with the full flag march ceremony..... I think that ended up being great practice for the boys and wish that we would have continued taking it even more seriously.

But on the Den Spirit end, that never took off.

 

In some ways, i like some of the spirit stick or totem ideas better than a den flag.  A way to show the progress of each boy along the advancement trail.  It might be something that might motivate them.... to catch up and so on....

I would have loved to see each den have their flag or a spirit stick of some kind at their tables for every pack meeting....

along with a den yell verifying that the den is present!

 

Sadly, I think most folks think it's nerdy or something and I even get the sense from the boys that it's not cool.

But I suspect if it was successfully implemented it would join the den into a tighter group

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This is a fun topic for me I am doing the My scouting adventure with my webelos and they needed to make a patrol flag and have a patrol name.  I took one of my wives white table cloths (do not tell her) and got some fabric markers and let the boys go they had a blast the flag looks like they made it and they are very proud of it.

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We have had a den flag every year since my son was a Tiger. Each year, we buy a navy blue pillow case. We decorate one side of it and put three curtain-type rings on the top. At each pack meet, we hang ours up on a provided pole (all dens do.) This is usually our very first project of the year, it helps the boys get to know one another (when we were still accepting new ones into our den) and is always fun. I incorporated hand prints into every one we've made. We only have 4 boys who have been with us all 4 years but its awesome to see how they've grown. We also hang up all our ribbons on it with a clamp and some string (summertime ribbon, the ribbons we make for each twilight camp day, etc.)

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So, when I was first asked to be the Webelos leader, I had a fun contest of wits with my Webelos over our Den Flag as we worked on the Scouting Adventure adventure (I laugh every time I write or say that). It was a fun process though, and it taught me a lot about working with Webelos-aged boys AND about why this little item, the Den (or Patrol) Flag, is such a valuable resource in creating that elusive entity known as Patrol Spirit.

 

We had just started the Scouting Adventure adventure (haha!). I told the boys that after they chose a patrol name and yell, they would need to create a Patrol Flag, and that THEY were in charge of making it. Knowing I have a passion for crafts and design, they retaliated by voting for me to come up with the design and general look of the flag for them. So I struck back by making them choose the design and colors based on a huge collection of drawings and photos I have accumulated of patrol flags through the decades of Scouting, and some books of heraldry I own. I thought my work was done, until they countered my little scheme by ELECTING (by unanimous vote!) that my father (a professional tailor and seamster) and I create the flag. Mind you, this was all in good spirits, and these little battles of wits define much of how we accomplish things in our Den. :rolleyes: SO as a final check to their sinister plot, I added an element to our final flag design - every boy has to create a streamer or pennant with their name on it that will hang off one side of the banner - this item MUST be completed by the boy alone, with minimal parental assistance. And as each boy earns his Webelos and Arrow of Light, I pin an embroidered Webelos/AofL pin to their streamer to symbolize their accomplishment, to which the boys now eagerly look forward. On the other side I add doodles they earned in day camp, or feathers/trinkets/small crafts that represent their accomplishments at the Den level, such as having perfect uniforms every meeting for two months, or all the boys completing a certain number of adventures at home by a certain date. The Webelos work really hard to earn them!

 

Now that it is complete, our flag is something we are all really proud of. My dad was happy to be involved, the boys are proud to have an amazing looking flag, I am happy to add awards to their Den symbol, and the parents are grateful to see a visible sign of a good program. If you haven't gotten around to making a Den Flag, I HIGHLY recommend it! When used right, it unites and motivates the boys as few other tangible things can.

 

When I figure out how to do so, I will post pictures of it!

Edited by The Latin Scot

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I can't wait to see a picture, that flag sounds awesome!  You've already mentioned den flags at the Arrow of Light level (and why not start the Scouting Adventure when they start Webelos?), but unfortunately other than that den flags aren't really a part of the new advancement system (and with the intensity of the new advancement requirements, most den meetings are fully given over toward working through the Adventures required for advancement).  However, it makes a great project to do in those first few weeks of the school year, before your Pack holds its Fall Recruitment night.  That's a great time of the year to do some non-advancement team building, and Den Flags are a perfect way to build team spirit.  For the Tigers (most of whom join after Fall Recruitment), there is the Good Knights elective Adventure in which the boys make a Den Shield, this could easily serve as their Den Flag.

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Well, I am TRYING to post a picture, but it's turning out to be very difficult! Once I figure out how it works, I will post it here!

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Yes this the age where you get the most bang for the buck on the Patrol Flag and that boy identity. Just make sure that the adults don't take over too much.

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Finally! I figured out how to post pictures here; this is our den flag, as you can see. The design process was a battle of who's doing what of course, but I showed them a book of medieval banners and flags, and they chose the shape and colors they liked, and what they wanted on the front, along with its dimensions. Then my father sewed it up and embroidered it for them while the boys constructed a pole out of PVC pipes and copper paint. On the back, though you can't see them in this picture, are the jumbo patches for Webelos rank and the Arrow of Light, which we found at the Scout Store. Once the main ensign was completed, each boys had to make his own streamer to go along one side with no adult interference, and these are hung on the flag's right. On its left, which you can't see on this picture, are dozens of doodles they have earned at day camp and as a den, along with their ribbons for the Summertime Pack Award, the National Den Award, JTE, and all that good stuff. 

 

The flag is now really something, but its unwieldy for activities, so we made a simpler version of it, somewhat like the long streamers knights would carry on the end of a lance, and this is attached to our Den Hiking Staff. That way our ceremonial flag can be kept in pristine condition while we still have an emblem to take on our many adventures. :cool:  

 

49f2d804-3efb-427d-9ab5-8de76435a8ab_zps

Edited by The Latin Scot
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Nice. The typical patrol flag around here is somewhat leaner and meaner. It often doubles as someone's walking stick. The dirt and smoke that it collects is part of the mystique. Less swag, more brag, I guess.

But you have definitely given your boys the right idea.

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That's how they were when I was a kid, and how I had envisioned it. That's why we have a second flag for "field use" that's smaller, lighter, and attaches to the end of a long pole. I will get a picture of that one when I can today, now that I know how to work pictures here. :-)

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Here we go! As you can see, our "field flag" is much easier to carry and can take a good beating in the outdoors (that's a coarse linen we made it out of). It still has our den emblem and the Arrow of Light on it - that's the yellow blur on the bottom -  but it isn't covered in all the doo-dads and ribbons which bedeck our ceremonial flag. The most important thing to the boys was that they both look "medieval," and I think they succeeded! 

 

The boys have their own names for each flag. The primary ensign is our "Parade Flag," while the smaller banner is our "Battle Flag." They definitely grasp the purposes of each one. ;-)

 

den%20field%20flag_zps7yaeisbk.jpg

Edited by The Latin Scot

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Finally! I figured out how to post pictures here; this is our den flag, as you can see. The design process was a battle of who's doing what of course, but I showed them a book of medieval banners and flags, and they chose the shape and colors they liked, and what they wanted on the front, along with its dimensions. Then my father sewed it up and embroidered it for them while the boys constructed a pole out of PVC pipes and copper paint. On the back, though you can't see them in this picture, are the jumbo patches for Webelos rank and the Arrow of Light, which we found at the Scout Store. Once the main ensign was completed, each boys had to make his own streamer to go along one side with no adult interference, and these are hung on the flag's right. On its left, which you can't see on this picture, are dozens of doodles they have earned at day camp and as a den, along with their ribbons for the Summertime Pack Award, the National Den Award, JTE, and all that good stuff. 

 

The flag is now really something, but its unwieldy for activities, so we made a simpler version of it, somewhat like the long streamers knights would carry on the end of a lance, and this is attached to our Den Hiking Staff. That way our ceremonial flag can be kept in pristine condition while we still have an emblem to take on our many adventures. :cool:  

 

49f2d804-3efb-427d-9ab5-8de76435a8ab_zps

 

Those both look amazing! I love that you have two - ours we drag everywhere although it is closer to this one's size. Great job. :)

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