Helpful Hints for Den Leaders

The following are some hints that will help you better plan and execute your den meetings.

Plan Your Meetings in Advance

Plan your meetings ahead of time with emphasis on the flow of activities. Pay special attention to “After the Meeting” sections of den meeting plans for preparation and materials needed for the next meeting. Alternate between quiet and more vigorous activities. Children have a lot of energy to expend, so be sure you have an active game or other activity to help channel some of that energy.

Den Rules and Code of Conduct

At the beginning of the year, establish the rules that the den will follow and the consequences for breaking those rules. Children should participate in the decisionmaking process. By helping decide what can and can’t happen in the den, children will feel a sense of responsibility toward how the den is run. They will feel that the den is “theirs.”

Have them sign a poster on which the code of conduct is written and display it at your meeting place. Or make two copies: one that children can keep at home and one to be displayed at the den meeting after both the child and his parent have signed it.


Ceremonies are important for marking the beginning and end of each meeting. They are also a time for reinforcing the aims and purposes of Scouting and bringing the children together. As children finish achievements toward their badges, simple ceremonies during the den meeting will serve to congratulate them on their accomplishments.

Immediate Recognition Kits

Use of the immediate recognition kits for Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts is a method of encouragement along the advancement trail. Set aside time in den meetings to award beads representing completion of achievements. Congratulate children enthusiastically for their efforts.

A den doodle is an object for the children to use to show off their accomplishments and achievements. The Cub Scout Leader How-To Book has many ideas for den doodles. Your den of children can design and create their own den doodle as a den meeting activity at the start of the year. Use the den doodle to keep a visual reminder of activities the den has completed and shared.


Children love goodies! Simple nutritious refreshments add a finishing touch. Give everyone a chance to share his favorite treats with the den. Discuss food allergies with families and share the information with the den if appropriate.

Den Scrapbook

Fill the scrapbook with sample artwork children do as den activities, stories about their adventures, and pictures taken of children with their completed projects. The den scrapbook will be a treasured memento proudly displayed at the children's Eagle Scout court of honor in just a few years!

Your First Den Meeting

The tone you set at the first meeting will determine, to a large extent, the success of your year. Key to setting the right tone is to consider the following

Ask the host team (Tiger Cub and adult partner who will assist at the meeting, your parents helping and assistant den leader(s)) to arrive at least 15 minutes before the starting time of the meeting. They can help you with final preparations before the rest of the children arrive.

A snack at den meetings is optional. Set the example with healthy, nutritious snacks. Be aware of any food allergies of den members and communicate these to adult partners who may be assisting with the snacks.

One best practice to facilitate communications and involvement is to distribute a family information letter at the conclusion of each meeting. The letter tells families what was completed at each meeting and provides information on upcoming den and pack meetings and activities. A sample family information letter can be found at here.

Field trips are an important part of the Cub Scout experience. They are a time not only for fun but for learning. And they are critical steps in your children earning their badge of rank. It is important that you plan in advance for these field trips. Planning should include the following, at a minimum, for each field trip:

A field trip as a first meeting over the summer can be a good way to break the ice for a new den.

You could, as a den, have an outing to complete Elective 22: Picnic Fun; Elective 29: Safety in the Sun; and Elective 35: Fun Outdoors. (See the Tiger Cub Handbook, No. 34713.) Have a den family picnic, use sunscreen, and play an outdoor game at the picnic. This is a great way for the Tiger Cub families to get to know one another. It is also an optimal time to recruit new Cub Scout adult volunteers.

Distribute the Family Talent Survey Sheet to the parents, asking them to complete it and return it to you at the next meeting. (The Family Talent Survey Sheet can be found at here.) The survey serves as a useful tool for you to identify family resources within your den.

Beyond the Basics

Open each den meeting by saluting the U.S. flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Then, while showing the Cub Scout sign, recite the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. See Cub Scout Ceremonies for Dens and Packs, No. 33212, for detailed guidelines and ceremony examples.

Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America

and to the republic for which it stands,

one nation under God, indivisible,

with liberty and justice for all.

Cub Scout Promise

I, (name), promise to do my best

To do my duty to God and my country,

To help other people, and

To obey the Law of the Pack.