Overview of Cub Scouting
The Cub Scout den leader guide for each rank is designed to have everything a leader needs to plan and conduct den and pack meetings. The activities found in the den leader guide are designed to support the purposes of Cub Scouting and are chosen to help promote the overall aims of Scouting:
- To develop a boy’s character,
- Train him in good citizenship,
- And encourage him to become more fit—physically, mentally, and morally.
Purposes of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting is a year-round, family-oriented part of the Boy Scouts of America program designed for boys who are in first through fifth grades (or are 7, 8, 9, and 10 years of age). Parents, leaders, and organizations work together to achieve the 10 purposes of Cub Scouting:
- Character Development
- Spiritual Growth
- Good Citizenship
- Sportsmanship and Fitness
- Family Understanding
- Respectful Relationships
- Personal Achievement
- Friendly Service
- Fun and Adventure
- Preparation for Boy Scouts
All the activities leaders plan and boys enjoy should relate to one or more of these purposes.
The Methods of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting uses eight specific methods to achieve Scouting’s aims of helping boys and young adults build character, train in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develop personal fitness. These methods are incorporated into all aspects of the program. Through these methods, Cub Scouting happens in the lives of boys and their families.
1. The ideals: The Scout Oath, the Scout Law, and the Cub Scout sign, handshake, motto, and salute all teach good citizenship and contribute to a boy's sense of belonging.
2. The den: Boys like to belong to a group. The den is the place where boys learn new skills and develop interests in new things. They have fun in den meetings, during indoor and outdooractivities, and on field trips. As part of a small group of six to eight boys, they are able to learn sportsmanship and good citizenship. They learn how to get along with others. They learn how to do their best, not just for themselves but also for the den.
3. Advancement: Recognition is important to boys. The advancement plan provides fun for the boys, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding. Cub Scout leaders and adult family members work with boys on advancement projects.
4. Family involvement: Family involvement is an essential part of Cub Scouting. When we speak of parents or families, we are not referring to any particular family structure. Some boys live with two parents, some live with one parent, some have foster parents, and some live with other relatives or guardians. Whomever a boy calls his family is his family in Cub Scouting.
5. Activities: In Cub Scouting, boys participate in a wide variety of den and pack activities, such as games, projects, skits, stunts, songs, outdoor activities, and trips. Also, the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program and Cub Scouting’s Fun for the Family include activities that encourage personal achievement and family involvement.
6. Home- and neighborhood-centered: Cub Scouting meetings and activities happen in urban areas, in rural communities, in large cities, in small towns—wherever boys live.
7. The uniform: The Cub Scout uniform helps build pride, loyalty, and self-respect. Wearing the uniform to all den and pack meetings and activities also encourages a neat appearance, a sense of belonging, and good behavior.
Cub Scouts: A Positive Place
The Boy Scouts of America emphasizes a positive place in Cub Scouting. Any Cub Scouting activity should take place in a positive atmosphere where boys can feel emotionally secure and find support, not ridicule. Activities should be positive and meaningful and should help support the purpose of the BSA.
Delivering the Cub Scout Program
The Cub Scout program can be extremely rewarding for the boys in the program and their adult leaders. At the same time, it can be challenging, especially for the new leader facing his or her first group of boys. The purpose of the den leader guide is to break down how to deliver the program, beginning with the den meeting, such that the planning and execution are simplified and new leader confidence is increased.
Part of the inherent strength of the Cub Scout program is its organization. At its most basic, CubScouting consists of:
- A boy—The individual boy is the basic building block for Cub Scouting and is its most important element. It is only when each boy’s character, citizenship, and fitness are enhanced that the program is successful.
- A den—Each boy belongs to a den of similarly aged boys. The den is the boy’s Cub Scout family where he learns cooperation and team building, and finds support and encouragement.
- A leader—Adult leadership is critical to achieving the purposes and aims of Scouting. By example, organized presentations, and one-on-one coaching, the boy learns the value and importance of adult interaction.
- A pack—Each den is part of a larger group of boys of different ages and experience levels in Cub Scouting. The pack provides the resources for enhanced activities, opportunities for leadership,and a platform for recognition.
While there are other parts of the Cub Scout organization (districts, councils, etc.) which are important administratively and to support adult leaders, they are more or less transparent to the boy in Cub Scouting.
Responsibilities to the Boys
All Cub Scout leaders have certain responsibilities to the boys in Cub Scouts. Each leader should:
- Respect boys’ rights as individuals and treat them as such. In addition to common-sense approaches this means that all parents/guardians should have reviewed How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide, and all youth leaders must have taken the BSA’s Youth Protection training.
- See that boys find the excitement, fun, and adventure that they expected when they joined Cub Scouting.
- Provide enthusiasm, encouragement, and praise for boys’ efforts and achievements.
- Develop among the boys a feeling of togetherness and team spirit that gives them security and pride.
- Provide opportunities for boys to experience new dimensions in their world.
Den Leader Responsibilities
In addition to the leader’s general responsibility to the boys in Cub Scouting, the den leader has certain other leadership responsibilities that may be summarized as follows:
Work directly with other den and pack leaders to ensure that their den is an active and successful part of the pack.
Plan, prepare for, and conduct den meetings with the assistant den leader and den chief (if Wolf, Bear or Webelos den leaders) or adult partners (if Tiger den leaders).
Attend the pack leaders' meetings.
Lead the den at the monthly pack activity.
Ensure the transition of their Cub Scouts to a den of the next rank (or to a Boy Scout troop if Webelos) at the end of the year.
Role of Training
Core to succeeding with these responsibilities is the concept that every Cub Scout deserves a trained leader. Being a trained leader helps you deliver the program in a way that is effective and efficient with a focus on the core objectives for the boy.
Becoming a trained leader requires completion of the following training:
Consult with your pack trainer or visit www.myscouting.org for training options.
The den meeting plans for each adventure are designed to be conducted in sequential order. Certain activities are partially completed in one meeting and finished in another. Adventures may be completed in any order to best fit the needs of the den and pack.
Local conditions (weather, events, etc.) or your den’s schedule may make altering the order of the den meetings attractive. As a den leader, you may change the order so long as you make sure the change does not jeopardize the boys' opportunity to earn their rank in the allotted time or disrupt the logical order of the activities and requirements. When there is any doubt, the planned order should be used. Discuss with your Cubmaster any changes, as they may also affect pack activities.
Why the Method Underlying the Den Leader Guides Works
Success of the Cub Scout program, defined as developing character, building citizenship, and developing personal fitness, is demonstrated by a cascading process of outcomes.
These are the foundation of the Cub Scout delivery method. As such, the den leader guide offers, for each rank, the following:
Throughout the den leader guide, leaders will find many ideas for helping them capture the moment and gently give boys a glimpse of the deeper purposes within the fun of Cub Scouting.
Cubmaster's and Den Leader's Minutes: A den or pack meeting may close with a den leader’s or Cubmaster's Minute—a one- or two-minute story that emphasizes values, Scouting ideals, or character. It relates to everyday life encounters of Cub Scout–age boys and ends the meeting with a thought-provoking moment or challenge.
Reflecting: Reflecting is a method for leaders to guide Cub Scouts to their own understanding of the deeper purpose of an activity. Open-ended questions guide boys into discussing their thoughts, feelings, and actions about an activity and its effects. Guidelines on leading a reflecting session are found in the Cub Scout Leader How-To Book, No. 33832.
Character Compass: Character development is a part of everything a Cub Scout does. Character Compass discussions relate an activity, project, or event to one of the 12 points of the Scout Law. The focus is on knowledge, commitment, and practice. Guidelines on leading a Character Compass discussion are in the Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221.
Awards Cub Scouts Can Earn
Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award: Cub Scouts have an opportunity to earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award. Boys may earn the award in each of the program years as long as the requirements are completed each year. The first time the award is earned, the boy will receive the pocket flap award, which is to be worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt. Each successive time the award is earned, a wolf track pin may be added to the flap. Complete requirements are in the CubScout Leader Book.
Cub Scouting's Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award: This award may be earned by Cub Scouts and Cub Scouting leaders. It acquaints them with frontcountry guidelines for being gentle with Mother Nature. Complete requirements are in the Cub Scout Leader Book.
Cub Scout World Conservation Award: Cub Scouts who have participated in a den or pack conservation project and have completed requirements based on their rank may earn the World Conservation Award. This award is earned only once while a boy is in Cub Scouting. Tigers do not earn this award. Complete requirements are in the Cub Scout Leader Book.
National Den Award: Cub Scouting happens in the den. The National Den Award creates an incentive for a year-round, fun, quality program in the den. The National Den Award may be earned only once in any 12-month period, as determined by the pack committee. Complete requirements are in the Cub Scout Leader Book.
Den leaders and Cubmasters (with supporting unit committee members) represent the leadership team that makes the pack go. In general, the Cubmaster (sometimes referred to as the unit leader) is the guiding hand behind the work of other pack leaders and serves as program adviser to the pack committee. He or she is a recruiter, supervisor, director, planner, and motivator of other leaders. The Cubmaster’s main responsibilities are:
Work directly with the pack trainer, den leaders, den chiefs, and pack committee chair and members to make sure that all dens are functioning well.
Plan the den and pack programs with the help of other leaders.
Lead the monthly pack meeting with the help of others, involving all dens in some way.
Coordinate pack membership, recruiting, and transition.
This Is Scouting
The longer a boy stays involved in Scouting (Cub Scouts AND Boy Scouts), the more the attributes of character development, citizenship, and fitness are demonstrated.
Boys who advance with their peers are more likely to stay involved in the program than boys who do not advance.
Delivery focused on increasing the likelihood of advancement increases retention and tenure of boys.
Den meeting plans: plans designed around the school year which, if followed, will result in all boys in the den advancing in rank. The plans are developed around the following:
- In most cases, two den meetings per month in addition to an outing and the pack meeting or other activities
- Beginning the Scouting year in September
- Resulting rank advancement by the annual blue and gold banquet, usually in February
- Continuing den and pack meetings through the school year and summer
- The plans support other start dates. However, if starting later than September, it may be necessary to have more than two den meetings per month if rank advancement by blue and gold is the objective.