Cub Scouts are the youngest Boy Scouts, ages 7 through 10. They meet in small groups of 6 to 8 boys, known as dens. Den mothers have been an important component of Cub Scouting since the earliest days of the program, but it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that den mothers assumed control of their dens. Today, the Boy Scouts calls den mothers “den leaders,” as men may also take on this role.
The Role of the Den Leader
Cub Scouting includes 12 core values, from citizenship to responsibility. Den leaders should incorporate the 12 values throughout the program. In addition, the den leader serves as a positive role model and adult friend to the boys in her den. You will also be responsible for such practical matters as running den meetings, collecting dues, fostering relationships with your den’s families and working with leadership at higher levels of the organization.
Cub Scout Levels and Changing Responsibilities
Tiger Cubs, age 7, are the youngest Cub Scouts. Tiger Cubs need direct attention from adults, so they participate in the program with an adult partner who is usually, but not always, a parent. As a Tiger Cub den leader, you will share leadership with your boys and their partners. At this age, the focus is on learning the basics of Cub Scouting and developing a sense of accomplishment by working through the Tiger Trail. At the opposite end of the Cub Scouting spectrum are the oldest Cub Scouts, the 10-year-old Webelos. As a Webelos den leader, one of your major goals is to prepare the boys in your den for the transition to Boy Scouting. Webelos focus on learning to be good leaders, earning badges, and participating in outside activities such as overnight campouts and service projects.
Den meetings make up the majority of the den leader’s job. You can hold your den meetings in any space that provides adequate room, privacy and freedom from distractions. Den meetings are typically an hour long. Tiger Cub dens meet twice a month, while older boys meet once a week. Den meetings specialize into specific segments, depending on the age of the boys and their current projects. Tiger Cub den leaders are responsible for running each meeting, while Webelos leaders act as facilitators rather than directors.
Beyond Den Meetings
Den leaders attend monthly pack meetings with their dens. Your den will also receive invitations to special events such as field trips and banquets throughout the year. Depending on the age of your boys, you might need to be available for service projects, campouts and other den activities. You will also attend monthly planning meetings and other administrative events with other den leaders in your pack.