For those unfamiliar Cub Scouts is organized by grade. Tiger Cubs is the program for 1st graders, Wolf for 2nd, Bear for 3rd with 4th and 5th graders being WEBELO Scouts. You have all school year to work on projects, do activities and earn the rank specific to your grade, though it is not required to do so for participation.
This year I am leading two Cub Scout dens.
Just over a year ago it was unfathomable for me to think I would be leading a single den, let alone two.
I never was a leader for August during his years as a Cub Scout, but was involved as much as I could be. During his second grade year he did not earn his rank because there was a switch in den leadership and I wasn’t as involved as I should have been. Thankfully he was very self-motivated to continue with Cub Scouts and was not deterred by his lack of progress that year.
Ciaran is not the same. Yes, he is self-motivated in many respects, but when it comes to scouting he did not have the same drive his older brother did.
Do not get me wrong, he enjoys being in Cub Scouts. Well, now he does. At first he wasn’t terribly excited about it but went along with it. Towards the end of first grade it was apparent he was not going to be getting his Tiger rank – this was due to a number of circumstances such as his den starting up a few months late. Ciaran and I worked together to make sure he did earn it by the start of second grade when he transitioned into the next den – Wolf Cub.
During that summer between 1st and 2nd grade it became apparent the adult leader of the Tiger Den was not going to be returning which meant there would be nobody to fill that role for the Wolf Den.
Not wanting what happened in 2nd grade for August to happen again and lose any ground with Ciaran. This was a crucial time, and I really wanted to build on the progress made and not go backwards with the real possibility of Ciaran losing interest is Cub Scouts.
So I did what I never set out to do – become a Cub Scout Den Leader.
This past year has been good. It was tough moving up from “involved adult” to Den Leader, but ultimately rewarding. And I’m glad to have done it.
In becoming the Den Leader this sort of sticks me in that position for the next few years as Ciaran moves up the ranks each year before transitioning to Boy Scouts. I am fully prepared for this.
When Xavier becomes ready for Cub Scouts it would also more than likely fall on me to become the leader for that den. I just wasn’t quite expecting it to happen as soon as it did.
This year with Xavier in Kindergarten traditionally he would not have entered Cub Scouts. Our local council is participating in a pilot program for Lion Cub Scouts, the program for Kindergarteners. This means Xavier is eligible to participate in Cub Scouts, and since I have already committed to leading Ciaran’s den and possibly Xavier’s in the future it was only natural that I would volunteer to step in and lead the Lion Cub den.
As the Den Leader I am able to set the schedule. We meet on Monday evenings, which is already “scout” night as August’s Boy Scout troop meets every Monday night. Thankfully the Cub Scouts don’t meet every week. Bear Cubs will meet every 2 or 3 weeks and the Lions once a month. The Boy Scouts meet at 7pm, so I have the Bears meet at that time as well. When the Lions meet I have that set for 6pm. Sure it makes for a long night, but it is infrequent enough to not be too much trouble.
Next year, however, will be another matter when I lead the WEBELO and Tiger dens so I am glad to get the practice of handling two different dens this year with the stakes lower with regards to the Lion Cubs. The requirements for Lions are minimal so I don’t need to get a lot accomplished for the Kindergarteners to earn their rank.
If you had said a year and a half ago I would be leading two Cub Scout dens I would have though you were crazy. Look at me now.