Our council holds 2 den chief trainings per year-one in November and one in
March to kind of catch up with scouts earning rank. We use the current
syllabus and it is a cub scout-boy scout training team. The only thing we
add is a little extra youth-protection for the boys info, like not being
alone with the den leader or with individual cub scouts, what to do if you
are having problems in the den or if you don't get along with the leader,
etc. We have grown from 6 scouts our first year to 12-20 per session.
The thing we emphasize most is having fun although to get the scouts to sing
can be difficult! We have a lot of give-aways for the scouts to take back
to their dens. Many of the puzzles can be made very inexpensively, we give
them ropes (after teaching them the trick session), easy crafts and a lot of
helpful websites they can get songs, skits, etc.
I keep a box of webelos crafts just for DCT because that is always the same
for Webelo Den chiefs. We are very specific about where exactly the den
chiefs can help the most with Webelos-the outdoor group of course,
citizenship, sportsman, etc.
For the wolf and bear den chiefs, we give them some of the crafts and ideas
from the program helps coming up this year. I am a unit leader and den
leader, so I use my stuff. See who can provide you that on your team. We
show them the wolf and bear books and go through some of the achievements
and electives that they can help with like flag-folding and ceremonies.
Point out other things they can be involved in such as the pinewood derby
and whittle and chip.
We take both groups through actual den and pack meetings to refresh their
memories from cub scouting or introduce them to it if they never were cubs.
We always leave time for Q & A because many of the scouts have a lot of
questions about handling younger boys. Having interesting speakers can be
challenging, but you do what you can. Having a lot of snacks and a great
lunch and dessert helps them feel really special and keeps them into it.
The midway is always the most fun and we break out all our recycled games.
We have a whole bunch of candy treats that the "hawker" tosses to the boys
as they win a game. We try to bring some of it outside, weather and
facility permitting to break up the classroom dolldrums. Races and physical
challenges are good outdoors.
We encourage the den leader to accompany the scout as well as the
scoutmaster so the adults in the loop know what the den chief's job is. Get
scout leaders to help with the training to get that perspective and to
remind the scouts that they are leaders, not cub scouts anymore. Our exit
poll always have the participants going away full of great ideas, having had
a great time and not minding that they spent the whole day with us! I hope
national doesn't cut DCT down to 4 hours. I would not feel that we could
teach the scouts everything in that time.
While it is probably the most labor-intensive of all the trainings we hold,
it is the most fun and definitely my favorite.
Cub Scout Training Chair,
4 Rivers District