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Hands On Activities at Den Meetings

A reader sent in this question:

My son is now a Webelo I, been in cub scouts since the end of kindergarten he signed up. Our den leader does 90% paperwork and talking at den meetings on the items in the handbook. Is this they way it is or are there other packs and dens that do hands on activities to accomplish same goals? My son is very bored – along with 2 other kids there – and want to quit. Have been begging to since last year. I would like to know if there is a possibility of finding another pack that operates differently so they are not so bored. Thanks for your help!

Cub Scouts is meant to be a hands on program. The material is “taught” through activities. The Webelos program is particularly activity based. There could be a number of reasons why the den leader is spending a lot of time with paperwork and talking.

First of all, does the den leader have enough help? Den leaders can  become overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done. In a small den, all of the parents will need to be fully involved. One parent could be in charge of collecting and checking paperwork. Are the parents helping the Webelos do the “paperwork” things at home? If not the den leader must cover everything during the meeting time, instead of doing more of the fun stuff.

For Webelos, it helps to have “experts” come in and help with the various activity badges. This makes the talking parts much more interesting. For example, an actual engineer can come to a meeting where the Engineer activity badge is being worked on. Perhaps you and the other parents involved could meet with the den leader and brainstorm a list of people you know who could help. Then you could offer to be responsible for contacting some experts and arranging for them to come to meetings.

If the parents are offering to get more involved, but the den leader doesn’t want help, then it is a more difficult situation. But the answer to the question is, yes, they should be doing hands on activities. And if the parents of all three Webelos are fully engaged, you should be able to find a way to make that work for you.


3 responses to “Hands On Activities at Den Meetings”

  1. blackmangopit Avatar

    Webelos II den leader here,
    I split my meetings up into 4-5 sections. The opening ceremony, announcements, do they have anything they want to share with the den?, badge activity work, and a game if we have time. Not always in this order. If the den leader has a room full of boys and they are sitting there listening to someone read off a paper, they will be bored. This isn’t supposed to be school – it’s supposed to be fun, hands-on learning. Last week my kids made quick fire starters with rolled paper, twine, and melted wax. They won’t forget they did that or our discussion on fire safety. I always ask them questions during the badge work and they learn from each other, not just me telling them the answers. Find another pack that is more fun for the boys otherwise they will miss out.

  2. Veronica Avatar

    I try my best to have specialist come in. I’ve had an art teacher, Forest Ranger, and an Engineer come to our meetings. I’ve also received assistance from Boy Scouts and Venturer Scouts. The dads of my Webelos II had fun working on the Handyman and Craftman badges with the boys. You can also check with your local college. They have an auto department and they may be willing to have the scouts there to do some work on the cars.

  3. Lora Avatar

    Starting in Bears, we assigned a lot of the talk-heavy stuff as homework for the children to do before the meeting. They’d bring in what they prepared and discuss it in small groups. It was way more interesting for them to do the research themselves and then hear their friends talk about what they’d learned. Great community building as well, and it was part of our overall plan to foster independence as they work toward Scouts BSA.

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