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New Den Leader - Returning to Scouting After 15+ Years


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Hello!

I enjoyed Scouting as a youth and am excited to see the program through my son's eyes this Fall when he begins Cub Scouts.

While I've been away from Scouting, I've kept tabs on the program by occasionally visiting my council website and this forum. Thank you to all who have posted over the years. I've enjoyed the good-natured dialogue and some of the frankness that can't be found in official BSA outlets. I hope to contribute to the discussion.

As a kid, I had the good fortune of belonging to a strong Troop in a strong District. This lead to an unbelievable number of program opportunities for the boys in my neighborhood. Many of us earned our Eagle badges, staffed the local council camp, and held offices in our OA Lodge. Those experiences were all made possible by an unusually high concentration of quality volunteers in our area.

In joining this forum, I hope to find ideas and guidance to help put on a top-notch Cub Scout program at my son's elementary school. I'm also looking forward to chatting about Scouting and some of my past experiences. My wife is probably sick of hearing the same stories. 🙂

Best Regards,

BetterWithCheddar

 

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@BetterWithCheddar, welcome to the forum. 

I really enjoyed scouts with my son. Having never been a cub myself, I was looking forward to the scouts part. I would have been a much better den leader if I had read some of the discussions here.

Anyway, it's great to see enthusiastic new parents.

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Waaaay back in Paleo Scout days, I had two , no three Den Mothers .  My mom, in our newly rebuilt rec room in the basement  and our across the street neighbor, an old farm family with a hundred year plus old house, we met in their "usual" parlor, we would've called it a "living room" (our house had that). The "polite" parlor, all the furniture had clear plastic fitted covers.  Webelos Den (after Lion !) we had (I say "we",  because just about the same bunch of kids went thru Cubs together) a mom whose husband was a scientist/diplomat. He was overseas alot, their house, we met in their BIG kitchen. When that dad was home, he acted as our Pack Cubmaster, often. Back then, I don't think I paid much attention to the Pack Organizational Adult Leader Chart. O mostly remember building stuff, going special places, playing softball (we had a Cub Scout Softball league !), and hanging out with my friends, "on purpose". 

As a nascent Den Leader, I think you could do alot worse by aiming for  similar goals....

Welcome to the virtual campfire...

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1 hour ago, SSScout said:

I don't think I paid much attention to the Pack Organizational Adult Leader Chart

This is a passive thought I had too.  Get in there, enjoy your time.  One of the great things about Den Leader vs. Pack Committee is you get to focus on YOUR SCOUTS.  You'll need to pop your head up to Pack level now and then, but I talked the outgoing Cubmaster into joining me in Den Leadership (we had both been on Committee / Pack Leadership to then) and we had an absolute blast.  You're right in it with the Scouts and they are so much fun. 

As with SSScout I was a prior youth, I had no concept of the power structure or struggles of the adult leadership.  As a parent and a Den Leader - you will invariably encounter it.  Try to keep it a mystery to your Scouts and don't let it get you down if there is drama.  For me, it was the worst part of it and I found that at times the more established folks did not always appreciate a "fresh perspective" :) It's good to ease in and the best way to encourage change is to set an example and hope others will follow.

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Do get training (much of it online). The district roundtable meetings are designed to help you with program ideas. I had a bunch of fun as a cub leader but was surprised how much I had forgotten.

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18 hours ago, wearrepair said:

Do get training (much of it online). The district roundtable meetings are designed to help you with program ideas. I had a bunch of fun as a cub leader but was surprised how much I had forgotten.

Will second this.  Get Baloo, get IOLS, do position-specific online.  I recall thinking I knew my stuff and being humbled on several occasions since re-engaging with my sons :)  Between what you've forgotten and what has changed, there's plenty to learn. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had an interesting first blush with Scouting this week (after returning as a dad):

The Good Stuff: Last winter, I reached out to the Cub Scout Pack at my son's soon-to-be elementary school to inquire about meeting dates, times, etc. I knew COVID and the membership crisis had decimated Scouting in our area, and I wanted to make sure my son would be part of a stable Pack. I'm glad to do my part as a parent, but didn't want to get saddled with running the entire Pack. The initial contacts I made were helpful and the Pack seems stable with 30 kids and some returning leadership. We're fortunate to have this option nearby. 

The Bad Stuff: We live on the fringe of an MSA with over 250,000 people. Our council headquarters is in a smaller community that is closer to the center of the council footprint. There used to be a Scout Shop in our area (as well as one adjacent to the council office). That is apparently no longer the case and now it's a 45-minute drive to buy scout supplies in-person. I contemplated ordering my son's uniform and handbook online, but I wasn't sure how fast National could fill the order and I thought my son would enjoy picking out his uniform together- WRONG. There were at least 4 other families crammed into a small shop while one employee (whom my wife deemed "creepy") struggled with the register. My son eventually grew bored (he's 5) and my wife got mad and took him to wait in the car. Nice job, BSA. Great first impression (sarc).

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5 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

There were at least 4 other families crammed into a small shop while one employee (whom my wife deemed "creepy") struggled with the register. My son eventually grew bored (he's 5) and my wife got mad and took him to wait in the car. Nice job, BSA. Great first impression (sarc).

If your council is anything like most, the Scout Shop is a National Council shop and probably struggling to find enough people to work.  Our shop is also an hour drive from me, but everyone who works there is very friendly and I have never seen anyone not be able to be helped in a prompt timeframe.

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Similar story here! Earned rank of Eagle in 2003, and went on to spend a couple more years involved with my troop, then pursued Outdoor Leadership activities through other associations like NOLS. I was in the Scouts since Tiger age (we started in 1st grade back in my Day) and it was a big part of my upbringing and shaped who I am. Loved summer Camp the most but then got real into the High adventure world and never looked back...

 it's been 15+ years since my last time doing anything Scouting related! Excited to be back in Uniform.

My oldest is also 5 and starting as a Lion. I just spent $350 at the local scout store to get ready for the season, Lol

 sounds like we have some things in common!  So OP, where abouts are you / what council are you in?

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