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Den leaders- They are like the first note of that school band concert.  If that note is intune chances are the remainder of the concert will be enjoyable.  Our Den Leaders set that tone for many of our families when they join Scouting.  The challenge is that we don’t have enough of them.  In our council, the average number of registered Den Leaders is less than 3 per Pack.  This can be interpreted as many of our Pack’s volunteer leaders are pulling double duty, which is less than ideal.  In addition, this could lead to volunteer burn out.

Where do we collectively find these Den Leaders? Do we, as Cub Scout Pack Leaders, talk about succession planning on a regular basis? 

The quote that I believe speaks volumes to this process, is “We don’t plan to fail, but we fail to plan.” 

How many of us were recruited into adult volunteer roles at our child’s Join Scouting Night?  Serving as a volunteer Den Leader was not even on our radar prior to that September Join Scouting Night. 

How many of our Pack committees gather in August to plan the Cub Scout year and realize that there are significant leadership gaps? 

The search for Pack volunteer leaders should be a monthly agenda item at Pack committee meetings.  As early as January, Pack committees should confirm who will be the Den Leaders for the upcoming Scouting year starting in September and identify the gaps especially, in Lions and Tigers. 

At the committee meetings in the Spring, the Pack leadership should be talking about who they know within the charter organization/school that might have a child interested joining in Lions or Tigers.  Can we ask them now in the spring to be a leader?  Also, review the Pack roster for existing families who might have a younger sibling joining in the fall.  The Pack leadership should also have a conversation with the leadership and other members of the units charter organization to prospect for volunteers.  The same should be done with the school that your Pack serves and has a relationship.  The school leadership has the same vested interest in the youth as we do, and Scouting is an extension of the development of the children that the schools are working to foster.  Also, don’t forget that the reason we have adult partners in both Lions and Tigers, using the shared leadership model, is to help identify future leadership as well.  “Many hands make light work”.

Once you have identified your top 3 to 5 candidates, identify the individuals to visit with them in person, not over the phone, and certainly not by emailAsk them to serve in the role.  This process will take a little bit of time but if done right, it will make your Pack operations less stressful.  A good additional resource can be found at this link . Remember that your Pack is a youth program of your charter organization using the Scouting program, so get them involved.  Today’s Den Leaders are the farm team for future Committee Chairs, Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, District and Council level volunteers.  But most importantly, our Scouts today, deserve the best possible Den Leaders running those weekly Den Meetings. 

Your efforts make the difference in the youth that we serve in the Scouting movement! 


Marc D. Kogan has been serving the Boy Scouts of America as a commissioned professional since  1998 and currently the Scout Executive/Executive Director for the Black Swamp Area Council.  As a youth in Scouting, Marc earned the rank of Eagle Scout. In addition, he was bestowed the Vigil Honor from the Order of the Arrow and completed the Wood Badge training.  Marc also currently serves as the Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 309, where his son is working on his Bear rank.  He resides in Findlay, OH with his wife and their son.  

Black Swamp Area Council
2100 Broad Avenue, Findlay Ohio
(419) 422-4356