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Frequency of tiger den meetings

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Current Bears in a Cub Scout Pack I've been part of for many years started with a large group of Lions.  As Lions, they met once per month.  This was a pack committee decision that was intended to start the kindergarteners out slowly.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, they've kept that once-per month den meeting schedule through Tigers, Wolves, and Bears.  Ours is a typical suburban public school pack with kids involved in multiple competing sports and after school programs.  Most of our dens meet twice per month plus a pack meeting.  The Council's reccomended course includes Cub Scouts activities once per week. (3 weekly den meetings plus one pack meeting, plus 3 or 4 Council camp options throughout the year). For the reasons others have stated, low den meeting frequency (once per month) may lead to:

  • Lowered interest.  That den has proportionally low pack meeting participation too.
  • Very long meetings. 2+ hours.  Kids get bored and restless.
  • Multiple adventures covered in one meeting.  How good can a program or activity be if you're just doing the Cliff's Notes version of it?
  • Any absences become very problematic.  Miss one meeting and you're way behind.  
  • I know that advancement isn't a goal, but for a Cub Scout to earn adventure loops, they must allow shortcuts.

I've been raising the alarm and mentioning these things literally for years to the den's leaders and the committee.  The irony here is that this particular den has one of the highest membership retention rates of any in the pack.  They started out big, and they still are.  A few Scouts have left, but a few others have joined and taken their place.  So, what's the secret to their high membership numbers?

  • Involved & interested parents.  This absolutely must be the key to this den's retention. While some sit in the back of the room on their phones the whole time, this den has a dynamic den leader and multiple adl's. Other parents help at the pack level as cubmaster, committee members, fundraising chair, treasurer, and outdoor/camping chair.  
  • High council camping participation rates.  This den goes to our council's weekend summer camp.  They also attend other council-based fall, winter and spring day-camp events.

Sorry for the mixed message, but I mention all this to not advocate once-per-month den meetings.  But if it can't be avoided, there are a few key factors I've noticed which may mitigate some of those problems.  Bottom line is that a succesful Cub Scouts experience originates with engaged parents & adult volunteers. 

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My Tiger Den meets once per month, with an activity thrown in on a random weekend day usually monthly as well. 

We’ll have 7 belt loops done by June, which I know is the bare minimum required but I’m ok with that. We really didn’t even get started on Bobcat till October, and even with the late start we can still easily finish up by June. My point being that you can very easily get the Tiger reqs done with once-monthly meetings, as long as your meetings are well-planned and make good use of the time. 

The way I see it, this is Tiger Scouting, it’s not Troop level and is just the first year out of 5 they’ll spend in Cub Scouting. Weekly meetings I think would put us on a path to early burnout for the scouts and parents. And me too for that matter. I’d rather we never get up to weekly meetings, not even at Webelo if we can help it. Unless there is just no other way to get it all done. 


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This is a very old thread, but I will throw in a few things.   

At the beginning of the school year, there is a lot going on, and sometimes dens don't really get rolling right away in September.  Everyone is adjusting to back to school, etc.   Den leaders should have a plan and a calendar for the year, but the calendar also gets some input from the families in the dens.  I would always check with the families to see what nights they're available, and this took a little while to work out. 

With my dens, we tried to meet 2x a month plus a monthly pack meeting.  But sometimes it varied.  

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