My first day as a Den Leader

When it comes to scouting some may say I am an expert in the field. I have led a long and distinguished volunteer career in various positions. I have been honored by my district. I earned the highest award an adult leader can earn, then came back and taught the course, and trained hundreds of youth and adult leaders. But I had never been more freaked out than when I stood before five six-year olds in one of the school’s science labs.

Last spring one of the other dads in my son’s class approached me about possibly starting a Tiger den for our sons and their classmates when they started first grade. I was very enthusiastic about the idea, I had always imagined that my son would follow my footsteps in scouting and hopefully surpassing my success, but most importantly making friendships that are everlasting. I was very clear that I would only be a den leader and was not at all interested in running a pack. With my experience and local reputation there were a lot of places that would want me to run their pack. I'm not saying people running up to me a sewing patches on my sleeve, but definitely interest. 

We created a flier to gauge interest and found that we had at least six who were interested. That would make a great den. After several weeks of looking for a place, at the right time (when half of the den’s sisters would be in choir practice), we had a spot and let people know when our first meeting would be.

I had snacks. I had applications. But I had no idea what I was going to do with the kids. Through the use of a die we chose a Denner for the week, it happened to be my son. I had him line the boys up and we did the pledge of allegiance and I introduced them to the Oath, Law, Motto, cub scout sign, salute and hand shake. Little did they know when they were laughing at the word “duty” they were beginning to learn a set of values that would last with them for a lifetime.

As I stood behind my son, with his hand extended in the air saying the words I had repeated for decades. I was filled with emotion. Scouting can be something we share until he is way too old to want to hang around with his dad. So I can’t screw this up. Once I got past my notes, we played games and I talked about some of the fun things we will be doing this year. The boys were on board. The parents in attendance were onboard.

The kid’s ate a “healthy” snack of pretzels and sugary cookies, while I chatted with the parents. There is still so much to do and set up. But we are all learning ytogether and I will follow the Cub Scout motto and I will Do My Best.

Note : A version of this post appeared on Great Moments in Bad Parenting.  


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