Cub Scouts - Strong Values - Strong Leaders - Character Counts

Working With Large Cub Scout Packs

Barbara asked this question recently on the Facebook page:

Just found your page and I’m anxious to poke through it. Anything on how to handle huge Packs? We currently have 88 registered Cubs and we’ll probably hit 100+ by the fall. I’ve just signed on as the committee chair and I want to help continue our legacy of crossing over enthusiastic Cubs into Boy Scouts. How do we keep boys from feeling lost in the shuffle?

So, a few weeks ago I answered a question about very small Cub Scout packs. This is the other side of the coin.  I think the answer here is in the dens. Ideally, the size of each den should be six to eight boys. So if you have 30 Tiger Cubs, you really need to divide them up into four or five dens. Den meetings need to be run independently of each other and at pack events, boys and their parents should stay grouped in their dens.

So what is the reason this is not always done? Not enough den leaders! You have all of these kids and only one or two parents have volunteered to be leaders. It is easy for the other parents to say, “Why can’t we just put them all together?” The reason is that it isn’t fair to the Cub Scouts or the Den Leader. The Den Leader will get frustrated and burned out and the Cub Scouts won’t be getting the attention they need and deserve.

So, how do you come up with those other leaders you need? I would go ahead and divide the boys into dens. Tell the parents in each den to get together and figure out how they will provide leadership for the den. It might seem a little harsh, but usually somebody will step up. Then, make sure the reluctant leader gets lots of training and support. You will probably have to invest a lot more time and energy into this leader than the one who volunteered right away. But in the end, you will have a better program and hopefully you will end up with another adult who is excited about Scouting.

5 Responses to Working With Large Cub Scout Packs

  1. Kathy July 1, 2011 at 12:33 PM #

    Communication!! Communication is the key, it needs to flow up, down and sideways. We had 88 boys last year in our Pack and discovered communication was vital. As Committee Chair you need to communicate with the Den Leaders and the Den Leaders need to keep you informed about their Den. The Den Leaders need to communicate with the parents and the parents need to communicate with their leaders.
    We also embraced many different forms of communicaiton this year: newsletter, email, facebook, website and phone calls. The more the parents are connected to the Pack the more they feel apart of the Pack.
    My husband as Asst. Cubmaster made a lot of phone calls to new parents and to parents who were not showing up for Den meetings. He found the personal call made the difference in the boys staying active. Of course my husband did not mind making calls. If you are not comfortable find someone who is in you Pack, let them make the calls for you.
    It is also important for the top leaders (Cubmaster, ACM, CC and others) to learn the boys names. My husband, now CM, has made it a priority to attend at least 1 den meeting for each den in the fall and the spring. He can interact with the boys in a smaller setting and also spend time with the parents.

    • Amy Tongate January 9, 2012 at 2:43 PM #

      We have 63 boys in our Pack and are struggling on how to do our B&G Banquet without it being 3-4 hours long. How does your group handle it?


      Amy Tongate
      Asst. Cubmaster
      Pack 1322 in Gallatin, TN

      • Scouter Mom January 10, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

        One thing we noticed with Blue and Gold was that the awards were taking forever with the kids getting up one at a time to receive them. So we called them up by dens instead. Then the Cubmaster read off each Scouts awards as the Asst Cubmaster handed them out. You don’t want to short the kids on their moment of glory, but on the other hand when it was going really slowly, people started talking and not paying attention.

        The best thing to do is to look at each part of the evening and see what you can do to make it run smoothly without a lot of wasted space between stuff – sort of like an efficiency expert. You need to have a good balance between keeping it a reasonable length while making sure the kids get recognized.

      • Rhiannon February 2, 2013 at 10:46 AM #

        In our pack the blue and gold is all about the webelow II’s. They pick the theme, food, and entertainment. The rest of the dens only provide the centerpieces & drinks for their own designated tables. We only move webelos II’s to boy scouts and move the web I’s to web II’s. Anything else waits til the next pack meeting.

  2. Staci June 12, 2013 at 9:49 PM #

    My pack just went from 12 cubs to 56 cubs and we moved the belt loops, pins, arrow points, and patches to special den award ceremonies and leave pack meetings for the really special things like rank, crossover, and advancment. Last year our B&G was all about the Webelos crossing over, this year we are doing a talent show.

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