Are you wondering what to do at your first Cub Scout den meeting? Whether this is a brand new den of Lions or a returning Arrow of Light den, these suggestions will help your first meeting run smoothly.
Before we jump into the plans for how to run a Cub Scout den meeting, I want to tell you about something that's pretty cool!
Upload Photos to Scoutbook
This first meeting is a great time to take the Cub Scouts' photos to upload to Scoutbook or any other tracking program that your pack uses.
That's super easy to do with your smartphone. Here's how:
- Go to Scoutbook.com.
- Go to My Dashboard.
- Click on Administration (if you don't see “My Account” right below it).
- Click on My Unit.
- Click on a Scout's name.
- Click on the photo box.
- Click Choose File.
- Either take the photo or choose it from your photo library. I recommend that you take the photos first and upload from your photo library. I'll explain why in just a bit.
- After you've chosen your file, click Upload.
- You can move the photo around or zoom in.
- When you're finished, click Save Profile Photo.
HP Sprocket Printer
Since you've taken photos of all the Cub Scouts, why not give them (or their moms) a little souvenir to take home?
Use the HP Sprocket Printer to print a photo sticker of them!
The HP Sprocket is a portable printer that lets you print 2″ x 3″ photo stickers directly from your phone!
It's actually smaller than my iPhone, so it's easy to take with you anywhere you go.
Sprocket doesn't use ink. Instead, the ink is embedded in the photo paper.
Want to see the Sprocket in action? Keep reading to the bottom of this post to watch my Sprocket spit out a photo sticker!
Your phone connects to the printer via Bluetooth. Use the Sprocket app to edit your images or to add super cool embellishments like borders, text, and virtual stickers.
You can even make your own “sticker!” I made this fun sticker for our Cub Scout pack.
There are so many ways you can use Sprocket photos. My friend Lynsey puts photos of her family in her daily planner as inspiration.
I printed photos from my sister's 50th birthday party to put into a small album for her. We hung them from ribbon with mini clothes pins on my mom's mantle.
If you purchase it through my affiliate link, I'll customize my Cub Scout sticker (like the one in the image above) with your pack number!
Forward your receipt to [email protected] and include your pack number. I'll send you the image with instructions on exactly how to add it to your pictures.
How to Run a Cub Scout Den Meeting
There are seven parts of a Cub Scout den meeting:
- Preparation & Materials
- Gathering Activities
- Talk Time
- After the Meeting
Your first den meeting of the year will include all of these, but the parts may work a bit differently than they will when your year gets into full swing.
Preparation & Materials
Before that very first den meeting, make sure you spend some time planning it out. That way, you'll know what you need and can have all your supplies ready.
It's always a good idea to have one or two extra activity ideas in your back pocket. This is super helpful for those times when activities take less time than you anticipated. You definitely want to keep the Cub Scouts busy.
Gathering activities are designed to give the Scouts something fun to do before the meeting starts. You can read more about gathering activities here.
For this first meeting, you'll want a simple gathering activity that your assistant den leader, den chief, or another parent can easily facilitate.
Try one of these three suggestions:
After everyone arrives, it's time to get everyone's attention for your opening ceremony. For your first meeting, a simple flag ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance is probably best.
As time goes on, your opening ceremony can become more elaborate.
Note: If you don't have a flag available, you can always us the flag that's on all of the Cub Scout uniforms except for Lions. Have one of the Cubs stand at the front of the group with his or her right arm turned to the audience.
This is the time for taking care of your den business. At the very first meeting, your Talk Time will be a little different, especially if this is a new den.
You might want to create a Den Code of Conduct. This is a list of expectations that the Scouts come up with on their own, with your guidance, of course.
It shouldn't be long– only a few points. Here's an example for younger Cubs.
- Be kind to others
- Wait your turn
- Listen when the Scout Sign is up
- Do your best
- Have fun!
Bring a piece of poster board and a Sharpie so that you can write down the den rules as the Scouts come up with them.
Note: Don't use “No” in your Code of Conduct. Instead of “no talking when others are talking,” use “wait your turn.” Another example is “keep your hands and feet to yourself” versus “no hitting.”
You may want to use some sort of positive reinforcement. One idea is to use a glass jar and marbles. Any time someone is exhibiting good behavior, drop a marble into the jar. When the marbles reach a certain level, the den gets a treat.
My younger son's den used “Cub Bucks.” They got a Cub Buck for bringing their handbook and wearing their uniform. Throughout the meeting, their good behavior would be rewarded with another Cub Buck.
At the end of the meeting, they could redeem their bucks for treats. The den leader kept a bin with candy and small trinkets that they could “buy” with Cub Bucks.
This is the time that your den will do an activity related to advancement.
Lions working on Fun on the Run may learn and demonstrate exercises.
At your first meeting, you may not to jump right into an adventure. Instead, a get-to-know you activity like Beach Ball Buzz is a good option.
Beach Ball Buzz Get to Know You Game
Blow up an inexpensive beach ball, then use a sharpie to write several questions on the ball like favorite toy or favorite ice cream flavor.
Toss the ball to each Scout and have them share their favorite from the category that is under their left thumb when they catch the ball.
- Favorite TV show
- Favorite game
- Favorite cartoon character
- Favorite animal
- Favorite toy
- Favorite color
- Favorite food
- Favorite superhero
- Favorite ice cream flavor
- Favorite movie
- Favorite sport
- Favorite song
Earning the Bobcat Rank
With the exception of Lions, all new Cub Scouts must earn their Bobcat rank first.
Personally, I like to have the Scouts earn it quickly–in just a meeting or two–because it gives them a sense of accomplishment. And they have a badge to wear on their uniforms. 🙂
Use some of these fun activities to help the kids earn their Bobcat badge.
Even if all of your Scouts have their Bobcat rank, use these activities to refresh their memories–especially of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
At the end of the meeting, you'll want to have a simple closing. Share an inspirational thought with your den. I like this one about saying thank you.
Hold up a sign with the words THANK YOU written on it. Then say:
“The words ‘thank you' are two simple but very important words. They tell people that you appreciate what they have done. We do good things for others, but do we remember to take the time to thank others who have done something for us? Remember to say, ‘Thank you.'”
Make any announcements that you have. You may want to share what the den will do at the next meeting. Give them information about any upcoming pack events.
After the Meeting
Before they leave, have the Cub Scouts help put your meeting room back in order.
Review how your meeting went with your assistant den leader, and discuss your plans for the next meeting.
Be sure and celebrate because you made it through your first den meeting!
What activities do you think you'll do at your first den meeting?
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. Don't forget to hop over to the HP website and check out their fun Sprocket Printers. Watch this video to see the magic!