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Den Meetings in a Very Small Pack

Cindy asked this question on my Facebook page:

Hi, all! I am in need of some advice. We are in the process of starting up a new Pack. At this point, it will likely only have the minimum number of required scouts (5) and they will be of various ranks…1 Tiger, 2 Wolves, 1 Webe 1 & 1 Webe 2. Den meetings for 1 scout seem kind of lame, but combining Webes and Tigers isn’t much better. Any ideas on how to run den meetings for these guys while we wait on building in the fall?

I would consider running concurrent den meetings if possible. One of the main reasons boys join Cub Scouts is the social aspect. They want to do fun things with other boys. If you can have them meet at the same time, you can do some of the activities together and some separate.

Pick a “theme” for the meetings. For example, Tigers, Wolves, and Bears could all work electives related to art at a meeting and Webelos could work on Artist.  That way they could do an opening ceremony together and maybe one or two of the other requirements and do the parts that are different in their “dens”. Then they could all get back together at the end for a game.

If you expect to add additional Scouts in the fall, you want to stay away from anything which is “required” for the rank. For Tigers, Wolves, and Bears, anything in the electives section will work. For Webelos, Citizen and Fitness are required for the Webelos badge and Outdoorsman and Readyman are required for the Arrow of Light. They will also need to do some (but not all) other activity badges. So it might be good to decide which activity badges you will do to meet the rank requirements now and then work on the “extra” activity badges over the summer.

Another option is the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program. This supplemental program can be used for any of the age levels and has a lot of fun activities. Some of them can be used as requirements for the Webelos activity badges, but these are often options. If your Webelos breeze through the requirements for one of the belt loops, you can challenge them by having them work on the pin.

Even if you run your den meetings together, I’d recommend you have a clear distinction between den meetings and pack meetings. Your den meetings should be focused on age appropriate activities related to their rank advancement while pack meetings should be your more typical family events.

I’d recommend you try to get a Den Chief or two from a Boy Scout troop. If your chartered organization has a troop, ask them first. Otherwise, just find a troop in the area and ask them if they have any Scouts would would like to be a Den Chief. In this situation, a younger scout (11 or 12 years old) will work fine. They will help inject some fun into the program.

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13 Responses to Den Meetings in a Very Small Pack

  1. Cindy June 10, 2011 at 7:53 AM #

    Thank you for the ideas. We do have a Den Chief, 2 actually. My plan is to have the DC’s work with the older boys while the adults work with the younger ones. We’ll all be working on similar things, as you suggested, but the application will be slightly different.

    This week, we all made a gift for father’s day. At our next meeting, I hope to have a speaker (dental hygenist) talking to the boys. They actually called and offered their services, so I think that we’ll take them up on it.

    Thanks, again1

    • Scouter Mom June 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM #

      Sounds like you are off to a great start!

  2. Heidi June 12, 2011 at 10:13 PM #

    This is a full year of how to do combined den meetings, all planned out for you. It would be perfect in your situation.

    • Suzanne November 4, 2012 at 11:10 AM #

      This is exactly what we need for our small Pack! How would we go about purchasing 3 copies? Thanks!

    • Terry September 28, 2013 at 3:46 PM #

      Heidi, thank you a million times over for sharing this link. I had no idea this existed but it’s exactly what we needed. Thank you, Thank you!

  3. Melinda November 14, 2011 at 5:45 PM #

    Thank you so much for this information! We have only 6 boys in our Pack and 5 are wolves, but only one is a bear. We dodn’t want to have him in a solo den, but were running into so many trials with the combined. Your resources are wonderful! Thank you Scouter Mom and thanks to Cindy for asking the question.


  4. Lea January 19, 2012 at 6:22 AM #

    I have been running combined Den Meetings for six years. You just hit all the important things I’ve learned. Wish I had found your website years ago, but it’s really giving me a lift – I’ve been getting bored and you have lots of new, easy ideas. THANKS!

  5. Sandi January 21, 2013 at 8:46 AM #

    Oh my goodness, this is so helpful!!! Thank you so much for putting out this sites for the planning manuals. We have a small unit too, only four boys, 1 wolf, 2 bears, 1 webelo and this is exactly what we needed to get everyone doing what they need to do!

  6. ScottyK March 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM #

    I’m the Cubmaster for a small pack here in Oklahoma City. If I understand the article correctly, you are suggesting planning the meetings so everybody can work on the same electives/belt loops? If so, how to you accomplish the requirements for the various ranks since the requirements between Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear & Webelo vary greatly.

    This is the situation I’m in. I have 6 Tiger Cubs, 2 wolves, 1 bear, and will lose my 5 webelos in the summer due to age.

    • Boyce February 3, 2014 at 3:32 PM #


      If you flip around through the requirements, the key is to find requirements that are related. For example, “first aid” happens through every age rank. You can find things that are age appropriate, such as having Tigers wash an “cut” and put a band aid on it, while Webelos tie a splint. You may need to tweak or substitute some on the requirements, but that’s the landscape for a small pack — it’s better than having separate activities that end up being so difficult to coordinate everybody’s frustrated or bored.

  7. Eric November 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM #

    We are a small pack with about 12 boys, 5 of them are webelos. we find doing combined den meetings beneficial most of the time. As previously stated, just have to find common themes between each den and start from there

  8. Kristen January 24, 2015 at 11:17 PM #

    The link that “Heidi” posted on 6/12/11 was SO HELPFUL. We have a very small den and I have almost no experience being a den leader. Trying to figure out how to combine the Wolf, Bear, and Webelos (on my own) was :-(. Now I feel equipped to do it. Thank you, THANK YOU!!

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