Den Leader Patch

New Leader Orientation

Tom sent in this question:

The New Leader Meeting for our Pack was basically, read the hand book and ask us any questions. As an Eagle Scout I was able to figure a bunch out on my own and our Den is running strong. However, I see other new leaders that are new to Scouting are having a tougher time. I am putting together a Leader Orientation for next year and was wondering what you would include, especially with the upcoming program changes.

It is great that you are thinking ahead, especially with the significant changes coming to the Cub Scout program next year. I’m sure this will be a great help to new den leaders.

Here are some things I would include:

  • An overview of your pack structure: List the names and contact information for the adult leaders in the pack, including Cubmaster, Committee Chair, other chairs like advancement, Blue and Gold banquet, Pinewood Derby, etc. Include a brief description of each of the positions so new leaders will understand who they need to contact with questions. If you don’t know who will be in these positions, leave blanks so leaders have a place to fill in this information later.
  • If your pack has a Pack Trainer, emphasize that this person is a resource for den leaders and they should contact him or her whenever they need to.
  • Who is responsible for purchasing recognition items? What is the process in your pack?
  • Which expenses will the pack reimburse? What are the reimbursement procedures?
  • A list of how dens typically operate in your pack: What is the normal den meeting schedule in your pack. Do dens meet once, twice per month?  Weekly? Where do they typically meet? How long is a typical meeting for Tigers vs Webelos? Remind them that Tigers work with adult partners. Encourage them to get parents involved at all levels though.
  • Explain how the new Cub Scout adventures work. Explain the difference between requirements and electives.
  • List some resources where they can find ideas and help. Don’t forget to include my site! List when and where Cub Scout roundtables are held for your district and encourage them to attend. Also list any district or council training opportunities.

If these leaders are completely new to Cub Scouting and to your pack, then there might be other items to include such as

  • An overview of your pack program: Describe when and where are pack meetings. If you have a list of dates and the scheduled activities, include it. If not, a description of what typically goes on at a pack meeting would be helpful. List special events like pack hikes, Blue and Gold banquet, Pinewood Derby, etc.
  • How much are pack dues?  Who should they pay?
  • Where do they get uniforms and which patches do they need? What are the uniforming expectations in your pack?

There are probably other items I am not thinking about right now. Readers, what would you add to these lists?

8 Responses to New Leader Orientation

  1. Tammie November 19, 2014 at 3:04 PM #

    I include Youth Protection Training and how to become highly qualified. I, also, talk about den awards (National Den etc) and leader/scouter knots and how to earn them. I missed out by one event my first year as a den leader on the leader knot. We also have an experienced leader plan and visit their first meeting, so they are comfortable.

  2. Katie November 19, 2014 at 5:53 PM #

    – Encourage them to sign up for Council/District newsletters.
    – Find a mentor
    – Create a den meeting box that ALWAYS goes with you….paper, scissors, tape, paper plates, coffee filters, plastic spoons, balloons, plastic cups, ping pong balls, pennies, pie plates, (it’s amazing the ideas that come from just those simple materials), cut out words for Promise or Law, copies of typically needed health forms etc, joke book, song book
    – Explain the importance of tour permits, what the Chartered Organization requires, how to do it …show them online!
    – CLOSED TOED shoes at all events because you never know what the kids will be doing

    Side note, a great article would be too for expectations for the parents. You know, in case you are ever stuck for inspiration sometime 🙂

  3. Jim R November 19, 2014 at 8:24 PM #

    It took me a few years to realize that many of the things I took for granted as a leader were lost on many others, especially if those leaders had no previous Scouting experience. I created a new leader orientation powerpoint that I review with all new leaders now. It has resolve many issues. Here is a link to a posting with the powerpoint:

    http://ocscouter.org/contributions/2014/new—leader—orientation/

    • Greg July 16, 2015 at 12:49 AM #

      Jim I followed your link and the video looks like a great presentation. When i click on the PowerPoint Link however it seems to link to a calendar rather than the powerpoint?

  4. Justin November 20, 2014 at 5:19 PM #

    Include the cost of the Uniform. And what piece to buy when. I tell our scouts. First is the book. a month or two later is the shirt. a month or two later is the badges/additions. That will get you to Blue and Gold in full uniform without the layout at the beginning. I also have extra shirts that new scouts can rent for $10 until they get their own.

  5. Christine November 26, 2014 at 11:09 PM #

    I strongly suggest that you use the official training materials provided by the BSA, which can be found at http://www.scouting.org/Training/Adult.aspx

    In addition, you could encourage them to complete the trainings available on myscouting.org (or facilitate this).

    Those two things are the most important things leaders can do to get trained (along with Youth Protection of course!), and we should be using the official BSA trainings.

  6. Laurie January 3, 2015 at 4:17 PM #

    I would include Leader information specific to YOUR Pack. For example, the Dens take turns doing the flag ceremony at monthly Pack meetings. They start 5th grade Webelos and go backwards. As the new Wolf Leader, you’d need to know that your boys would do the flags at the 4th Pack meeting of the year. Or things specific to special events- the Tigers are always responsible for table favors at B & G, Bears always bring food for the Pinewood Derby, etc. Whatever your Pack’s “traditions” are for dividing up Den responsibilities. There’s nothing worse than being the new guy and finding out at the last minute that you Den has an extra responsibility. Plus, it shows new leaders that we all have a part in making the Pack go.

  7. Tabitha K July 19, 2015 at 7:56 PM #

    I would include the Age appropriate Guidelines as well as encourage them to download the Guide to Safe Scouting or purchase it.

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