In the PTC Media Forums the subject of Den Chiefs came up. There were some questions from a Cub Scout leader that was looking to have a Den Chief for her Den in the coming year.
Here is my response:
From a Scoutmasters perspective, Den Chiefs are a fantastic asset to your unit.
Having said that.. lets focus on the Scout (s).
The Den Chief position is a great way for a young man to develop leadership. It is a great way for him to develop self esteem and better yet, it is a better way for him to hone his Scout Craft. Teaching knots, building fires, showing how to pack a pack and what to take, how to cook and clean and live the Scout oath and Law.
Now some of you may think this is fantasy.. and it is IF…. YOU FAIL TO TRAIN THE DEN CHIEF.
I have two young men in my Troop this year that are in Den Chief positions. They both are doing a great job within the Dens that they are assigned. One of them has been with the same den for two years now… He started with them as First year Webelos and is assisting with their Second year Webelos year.
The other is assigned to a Bear Den.
Both of these young men… like previous Den Chiefs attend the official Den Chief training.. and then they attend Scoutmaster Jerry’s Den Chief training. They are constantly being coached throughout the year as well as kept tabs on in conferences as well as feedback from the Den Leader.
The role of the Den Chief is an important one. They are the link between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. They are role Models and your best recruiters.
Do you have to pick the cream of the crop? NO.. Leaders are not born.. they are made. So let any of your Scouts try this out. Some may need more coaching than others.
Another bit of free advice… Scoutmasters.. help the Den Leaders out. Go to their meetings and get to know them. Find out what their needs are and then teach your den Chief the specifics.
Den Chief is not a substitute Den Leader.. he is a boy that is there to help and he can be when given specific tasks and goals.
I highly encourage an active Den Chief program within Packs and Troops.
Oh yeah.. did I mention recruiter. I have found that a good Den Chief is your best recruiter. Not only for the Cub Scouts.. but more important.. their parents. When they see this young man doing his best, being a good role model and teacher.. they will flock to your unit.
The Den Chief position is not and should not be used as a “Filler for rank” job. This takes away from the program and destroys the relationship between Packs and Troops.
I may have to do a whole show in this too.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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