A den is a group of six to eight youth, within the pack, that meets several times a month between pack meetings. The youth in a den are the same grade and gender. The den structure allows Cub Scouts to build relationships with leaders and other Cub Scouts their age. The den provides opportunities for activities that would be difficult with a large group. The den also provides leadership opportunities.
The Den Meeting Location
The location of den meetings will vary, depending on the resources of the Cubmaster or den leader. An ideal meeting place is the home of an adult leader, if there is enough room for everybody. Meetings can also be held in a basement, garage, backyard, park, town square, or the activity room of an apartment building. Some dens meet at the chartered organization’s meeting place or at a local school.
Den Meeting Attendance
The den leader and assistant den leader (or another adult) attend all den meetings with the Cub Scouts. (At least two adults must be present at all meetings.) Lion and Tiger den meetings are also attended by each child’s parent or adult partner. Wolf, Bear, and Webelos den meetings are often attended by a den chief, a Scout, Sea Scout, or Venturer who assists the adult leaders.
The Den Meeting Agenda
All Cub Scout den meetings have the following parts:
Preparation and Materials Needed. Before the Cub Scouts arrive, leaders gather to make preparations and handle last-minute details.
Gathering. As the Cub Scouts begin to arrive, they join in an informal activity or game, often conducted by the den chief to keep everyone interested and active until the entire group has arrived.
Opening. The Opening is the official start of the den meeting. It usually consists of a formal ceremony, such as a flag ceremony, a prayer or song, or a group recital of the Cub Scout Promise.
Talk Time. This is where the business items of the den take place. Business items can include dues, recording advancement, notification of upcoming events, introducing a new adventure, and other items. Talk Time should be brief so the den can get right to the fun of the meeting.
Activities. The Activities part of the meeting will vary by the age of the Cub Scouts, and may be broken into two or more parts. Generally, most of the meeting consists of craft projects, games, and activities that are all based on the current adventure.
Closing. The Closing draws the meeting to an end. It’s usually serious and quiet. Den leaders could present a thought for the day or give reminders about coming events.
After the Meeting. The leaders review the events of the meeting, finalize plans for the next den meeting, and review their progress toward the upcoming pack meeting.
Planning Your Den Meetings
As a leader plans the den’s program for the year, there are a few important points to consider.
Required adventures. These adventures are required to advance from rank to rank.
Elective adventures. These add to the fun and adventure of Cub Scouting. At lease one elective adventure is required for Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and the Arrow of Light badges of rank.
Coordinating your planning. Some of the adventures require coordination with other dens. A pack meeting is an ideal place to do this. There are some suggestions made in the Cub Scout Leader Book, but however your dens and pack wish to do this, work together with the other leaders in your pack to build this into your annual program. When working out your annual program plan, seek to deliver an entire year of fun programming. It is important to seek input from the Cub Scouts in the den to find out which adventures they would like to explore with the members of the den. Elective adventures that are not selected may be earned by boys at home, working with their families.
Audience for requirements. Many of the requirements state that a Scout should demonstrate a new skill or share something they have learned with during a den meeting. We all need to recognize that not all Scouts are able to make each meeting. While we recognize that the best approach is to carry out sharing tasks in a den setting, it may be necessary to allow Cub Scouts to share what they have learned while working on Cub Scout advancement requirements in other settings, such as in front of their family.
The duty to God adventures are primarily done with the family and, for some dens, may not be included as part of the den meeting planning. If that is the case, the leader should notify families that they will need to help their Cub Scout complete the adventure at home.
Read through the adventures for your rank, and give some thought to which adventures will work the best for your location and climate. Write in the adventures you will use and the corresponding month that will work best. Check with your Cubmaster to see if some adventures need to be coordinated with other dens or for upcoming pack meetings.
Rank adventures can be awarded at any time within the boy’s rank year by age or grade. Once a boy has moved (graduated) to his next level den, HE MAY NOT EARN THE RANK OF HIS PREVIOUS DEN LEVEL.
Den Meeting Plans
The den meeting plans are your guide to bringing the adventures of advancement to life for your den. These plans will, if followed, help a Cub Scout advance in rank as they experience all the FUN of Cub Scouting. It takes 45–60 minutes to read through and prepare for each den meeting.
The den leader guide for each rank provides leaders with a series of engaging and fun activities for each den meeting that will also move Scouts through the requirements of an adventure. Activities can include a combination of games, crafts, songs, skits, science investigations, physical activities, and other hands-on opportunities to explore the adventure’s theme.
Each type of activity included in the den leader guide serves a purpose both in the larger context of Scouting and in the more immediate context of the den meeting. An active team-building game might help build positive relationships within the den while also fulfilling an adventure requirement and providing balance to a more focused craft activity.