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Scoutfish

A Good Time Frame?

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I'm fairly new to scouting. Last year, my son just started as a Wolf. This year, as you would assume, he is a Bear.

 

Now, I'll be completely honest, up until a month ago, my involvement was just "accomidating my son". That pretty much sums it up, It was something I did for him.

 

Now, don't get me wrong...I helped out as much as I could. I was involved. I cut wood patterns for 28 boys. I toted, copied, printed, dug, nailed, sawed, chopped..... you name it, I helped out.

 

Same thing this year. Helped out any way I could. But then we went on a camping trip ( last year, previous plans had been made before joining scouts).It was a family camp out, so moms, sisters, brothers and the like were all there. Each Den had it's duties...Wolves had breakfast duty, Bears had lunch, and Tigers had supper (biggest group).

 

Somehow, I helped to cook pancakes and bacon for over 175 boys. I helped cook lunch and chop pig for supper too. I also helped teach the the archery and rifle(BB gun) range. Basically, I worked my butt off!

But you know what, I had a blast! There is nothing like seeing a kid who has never been camping , smile and act excited about this new adventure. There is nothing like having a kid who never ever shot a BB gun - give you a high five right after he hit the bulls eye.

Seeing the boys faces after learning something new, or when they discover that they are brave enough to go on a night hike after all, is just an awesome feeling. And us adults had a great time laughing and joking the whole trip.

 

Okay, there wasn't any boyscouting available to me as a child, so I had a skewered way of looking at it.

 

So, long drawn out story short.....PHEW! I just turned in my adult application and have taken ten online courses so far. I plan to be a den leader, but first want to put in some time as an assistant den leader.

 

Now after all that rambling, my question is: How much time does it take to become an honest to goodness , yet effective den leader?

I know I could jump in any time, but I want to do it right, not fast!

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First of all - Welcome to the campfire. Pull up a log and sit a spell.

You have already started your training - don't stop. I am in my 33rd year as a Scouter and still am learning. Online training is good. Go to the classes your Council holds. Go to roundtables as most have subjects that you will be using the next month.

Talk to people, we all started out without any training. Your knowledge will grow very quickly.

Back many, many moons ago when I was a den leader I got home late and had forgotten that I had a den meeting that night. I held my den meeting at my home and I had not been in the house more that 10 minutes when the first Cub arrived. No plans had been made. Soon I had nine Cubs in the family room. We had our opening - No plan yet. We played a game - no plan yet. I went over what we were doing for Pack meeting - no plan yet. Well it was now time and by accident I looked at the fireplace. I asked the boys if they had ever started a fire. No one had. We had a good sized fire place and I had two boys at a fire start a small fire in the fire place. For all the boys it was the first time they had ever been allowed to start a fire. The boys talked about that den meeting for months. I even had some comment on it when they were in Boy Scouts.

It was the best den meeting I ever held.

You are going to do great.

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I appreciate any help. I want it to be fun, yet I want it to be productive too. I don't want to be too harsh and militant, yet again, I don't want to be too much of a "fun slacker" either.

Know what I mean? I want to find a good balance, and do something good for these guys.

And maybe somewhere along the way....everybody has a great time!(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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Welcome, fish! Glad you've joined us, here on the forums and also as a registered leader. Everyone progresses at their own pace. Some Den Leaders never really "get it" and others are delivering quality program to their cubs within a few weeks. A lot depends on how much preparation time you are willing to put in. It sounds like you have the enthusiasm to be a great DL!

 

In general, the more training your get, the better leader you will be. Start with Cub Leader Basic, but set your sights on the Philmont Training Center and/or Wood Badge. You'll have a terrific experience!

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It could take a day or it could take 4 months or more.

 

When I went to Den Leader school (what seems like a LONG time ago) the woman teaching the class said never be afraid to admit you got something wrong. You can plan it to be perfect but sometimes things will go wrong or take a lot more time than planned.

 

The one mistake I made for a few months was I practiced on my son, then in front of the den it was clear my kid saw it first and the other kids didn't like that. Then I started practicing on my wife.

 

Don't be afraid to give the kids a task to do at home either related to the monthly theme.

 

Because the kids in my den all were in the same class with the same teacher many times the monthly themes covered stuff they did in school, so this made it easier and I accepted the work. I was amazed how the Bear program for that year followed school stuff about 2 months behind.

 

Plan for motor skills, both the fine and gross skills, to be different among the boys. It took me a few months to see the differences and figure out how to plan it.

 

The one thing I never got used to was collecting the den dues every month. Finally I just asked for it in advance so I didn't have to chase people down. The stuff costs money and although free stuff can be found it takes time to get it. All the parents had jobs and very little spare time to look for free stuff.

 

Good luck. My son remembers the Bear and Webelos year as the best time we had together.

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