A letter to new Tiger Leaders

From Frank

Hello Tiger Leaders:

Where were you when you volunteered for Tiger Den Leader?

Think back, was it a deer in headlight moment? What have I done now? What do I do?

How many Packs have Tiger Den Leaders ready for duty?

With the Spring  recruiting drive approaching, this is also the time to start scouting out, or maybe I should say, signing up new adult leadership. When parents submit applications for their boys & girls, why not slide them an adult application at same time? Start recruiting in the Spring. Kindergarten graduates can attend Day Camp. An excellent opportunity to welcome new Cub Scouts to fun activities.

Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct. The Scout Oath and Law help instill the values of good conduct, respect for others, and honesty. Scouts learn skills that will last a lifetime, including basic outdoor skills, first aid, citizenship skills, leadership skills, and how to get along with others. For over a century, Scouting has instilled in young men and women, the values and knowledge that they will need to become leaders in their communities and country.

How should new adults provide leadership skills in carrying out the pack program within the den? Here are some suggestions:

Get Trained

  • Complete Youth Protection. Certificate must be submitted with Adult Leader application.
  • Complete den leader position-specific training ASAP.
  • Attend the monthly District Roundtable Meeting.
  • Lead the den in its participation at Pack Meetings.
  • Work in harmony with other den and pack leaders.
  • Help the Cubmaster (or assistant Cubmaster) and pack committee to recruit new youth.

Coordinate shared leadership among the Tiger adult partners in the den.

  • Engage the other parents: For Tigers especially, all of the parents should be involved. Ask each to take one of the adventures and lead it. Play to their strengths. Ask about their occupations and hobbies. If one of the rank Adventures is related to that interest, ask them to help. Also, why not invite grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and colleagues who have skill in a particular area to be a guest at a meeting.
  • Use a Tiger & Akela team to plan and present a den meeting, (host activities) rotating responsibilities monthly.
  • Make pack and den resources available to the host team, ensure the plan relates to Tiger advancement requirements at a Den meeting
  • Use Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines, Cub Scout Program Helps, the Tiger Handbook, and other Cub Scouting literature as sources for program ideas. Scouting.org, MeritBadge.org. Attending Roundtable is an excellent opportunity for ideas.
  • Keep accurate records of den dues and attendance. Collect weekly den dues (optional) and turn them in to the pack treasurer at the monthly pack leaders’ meetings.
  • Maintain a friendly relationship with the Tigers and their adult partners.
  • Start leadership roles, look for leaders in youth. Use of Denner and Assistant Denner leadership roles. These youth become future Den Chiefs so that they can learn responsibility and gain satisfaction from their efforts.
  • Encourage Tiger Scouts to earn advancement awards. Important for Akelas to understand advancement. Akelas will be responsible for ensuring advancement at home. Keep accurate advancement records and see that the boys receive immediate recognition for their achievements. Very important.

Stimulate the Tiger Scouts’ imaginations on the program theme for the month, and work with Akelas to prepare boys for participation.

Attend Roundtable for ideas & information 

Keep It Simple, Make It Fun

Cub Scouting doesn’t have to be elaborate. It is often better just to do a few simple activities and leave plenty of time for goofing off and socializing. You will find that many of the requirements are not that complicated.

Remember, Parents love to see their children laughing, having fun. Cultivate the inner child of the parent. Goofy songs & skits.  Include them in games & activities.

  • Keep scouts active all year.  Be mindful of other activities & schedules. It’s important to balance lifestyles. Do your best to keep Scouting in forefront.
  • Help the den and pack earn the National Summertime Award & National Summertime Pack Award.
  • Take part in pack committee meetings or the annual pack program planning conference.
  • Help set a good example for the boys through behavior, attitude, and proper uniforming.
  • Help the Cubmaster or assistant Cubmaster provide a meaningful recognition ceremony for the transition of Tiger dens as they enter Wolf dens at the end of the Tiger year.
  • Throughout the year, keep in mind the transition goal of moving the boys to the next level in Cub Scouting. & on to WEBELOS

Remember the Cub Scout Motto “Do Your Best”

Don’t stress. Just do the best you can and nobody will be “let down”. If one of the requirements seems difficult, ask about it. You can check with more experienced leaders in your pack or ask at roundtable.

Communication with the parents is important. Let your parents know well in advance of events. Then send a reminder a few days beforehand.  Don’t assume they know anything. They rely on the den leader to keep them informed. Also, let them know what the upcoming topics are and see if they know anyone who can help. (See #5 above.)

Have Fun!!!

Support the policies of the BSA. 

  1. Be a Mentor– Talk to the other den leaders in your pack. They have been where you are. Even though the requirements may be different than what they did in the past, they will have ideas and resources to share with you. Even more important, they can help you learn the ropes and answer many of your questions.
  2. Go to Cub Scout Roundtable– At roundtable, you will meet Cub Scouters from other units in your area. You will also receive practical ideas for your program and learn about upcoming events in your council or district.
  3. Visit usscouts.org and cubsource.org often – Of course use Scouting.org for monthly meeting plans. Use the Cub Scout menu or the search box to find resources and den meeting plans.
  4. Get a Den Leader Guide– There is a den leader guide for each level in Cub Scouts. This expands on the ideas found in the Cub Scout handbooks and includes detailed den meeting plans for each level.  You can pick this up at your local Scout shop.
  5. Have Fun!!!!– In many ways, this is the most important. If you are not having fun, the parents and the Cub Scouts will probably not have fun either. And if nobody is having fun, participation will drop off. Relax and enjoy this time with your son and his friends. You are creating memories which will last a lifetime.

Frank Matthews, Tiger Leader Mentor


Author: RJ Wilson

Improving Scouting in the Kansas City area on volunteer at a time.