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Den Doodles

Brian sent this question:

I am looking for ideas for recognizing boys for attending any activity outside their den meetings and pack meeting. For instance, going camping with the pack, helping at a popcorn show-and-sell, a council activity, etc.
I’m hoping it will encourage other boys to attend more because they see everyone getting recognized but them. An incentive.
At 1st I thought a patch, but those are harder to find for every activity, plus those get expensive.
My thought now is to start belt totems with beads. Make a different color bead for each kind of event. But I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this, so I’m looking for advise. See if anyone else struggles with attendance at these activities and if they reward their boys for joining in and participating or helping. Or are we not supposed to reward for everything??

Den Doodles

Brian, I think what you are looking for is a den doodle. Many Cub Scouters use these to recognize Scouts for participation in activities and any other behavior which needs encouragement. Typically these involve each Cub Scout having a string of beads, with each bead representing something specific.

For ZM’s den, I had a den doodle made from a hoop with some leather stretched on the inside, sort of like a mandela. Then we hung beads from the lower side of the hoop. Unfortunately I can’t find any good pictures of it. We displayed it at den meetings, pack meetings, and campouts. By the time they crossed over to Boy Scouts it was pretty worn out, but they liked it because it was a record of sorts of everything they did.

We gave out beads for all sorts of things. Many of the ideas were suggested by the den members themselves. “Can we have a bead if we ….?” I also had a variety of colors and shapes of beads. For example I had some red, white, and blue star shaped beads. These were earned by participating in service projects. Here are some of the things they got beads for:

  • Den meeting attendance
  • Pack meeting attendance
  • Remembering their book  - we had some who needed encouragement in this area :-)
  • Have a parent come to a den meeting and do something special
  • Service projects (special bead)
  • Earning their rank badge (special bead)
  • Campouts (special bead – different for each campout)
  • Pack hikes and other events (special bead  - different for each event)

See the images from my Den Doodle Pinterest board below for some ideas. They don’t have to be fancy. I have even seen coat hangers decorated with feathers used as den doodles.

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4 Responses to Den Doodles

  1. Erin November 4, 2013 at 12:15 PM #

    Yay! You found my den doodle. I’m really very proud of it. It’s quite a bit more elaborate than most. It is a replica of the totem pole outside the elementary school where we have our pack meetings. The boys really like filling up their strings, and it provides a quick opportunity to check in with each of them before the meeting starts; however, our den has grown considerably since I made that doodle. I had to add eight more eye holes in order to include all the strings, so checking in with each boy takes a lot of time, and it has become the perfect job for the assistant den leader. :)

    • Scouter Mom November 4, 2013 at 1:57 PM #

      Yes, that’s a great den doodle! And having your assistant help is a wonderful idea. We used to let our Den Chief hand out beads. He was very capable and it gave me a few minutes to get the next activity organized.

  2. Brittany December 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM #

    We use “rounders” in our pack. They are pieces of leather the boys have stamped themselves (during one of the first pack meetings), and then hung from a leather thong. They receive beads for each thing they do, including pack and den meetings. Some of the boys have had to make more than one rounder to hold all their beads!

  3. Nina February 18, 2014 at 3:53 PM #

    We use our den flag as both a flag and a den doodle. Each boy has a cut out handprint, and a special lanyard for his beads, all attached to the flag. They earn a bead each for attendance, uniform, conduct, and special ones for other activities. One week we were snowed out and missed the meeting. They got a white bead for that one! The boys take turns taking the flag home.

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