Don’t do it halfway!

denleaderhalfCommitting to become a den leader (or other adult leader in Scouting) means not doing it halfway, otherwise the boys don’t benefit as much, and the adults don’t have as much fun either.

Sure, accepting a leadership role is a big step, but it’s not usually something you can do just a little bit. It’s normally a one-year commitment (unless something unforeseen comes up, like moving out of town or changing jobs) and there are specific responsibilities of leaders in various positions. Sometimes, these can be shared with others, but it rests on you to ensure that they are taken care of.

The good thing is that once you get going in your position, you’ll establish a rhythm and things will fall into place, so you don’t have to keep figuring out how to do new things. This is especially true for returning leaders, who with a year under their belt are much more comfortable in their roles. Yes, the roles will change, but you’ll have the rhythm to keep you moving.

Training, of course, is key to knowing what to do, but taking the time to read the handbooks is just as important. It’s all been laid out there – you need to know what the boys (your son included) and their parents are expecting! Read the “trail book” for your den’s rank level and get to know what the boys are expected to do. And while it’s probably not necessary to read it cover to cover, at least not right away, the Cub Scout Leader Book answers most of your questions, including ones you didn’t know to even ask. Furthermore, recent changes to the den program have made being a den leader less complicated than ever. The den advancement program lays it all out for you! It’s so much easier than when I was a den leader.

And know that you are not in this alone! There’s over eighty years of Cub Scouting experience out there, some of it right in your own neighborhood. Monthly Roundtable, Pow-Wow or University of Scouting, and even your pack committee meetings give you a chance to interact with others and learn how to make Scouting better for the boys. That’s where the fun comes from!

Cub leaders should also know what lies ahead in Boy Scouts. One of the purposes of Cub Scouts is preparation for Boy Scouts. Once you know what Boy Scouts is all about, you can do a better job getting your boys ready for the day when they cross the bridge. Keep giving them more choices and more say in the den program, especially in Webelos, and always reinforce that Scouting doesn’t end with Cub Scouts.

And always remember that in order for the boys to have a 100% experience in Scouting, you need to be 100% committed to seeing that they do.

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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