What Do Den and Pack Leaders Do Under a Plan "B" Pack Program?

The Den Schedule and Den Leader's Role.

Under a Plan "B" parent-led program, the schedule for a Den and role of a Den Leader evolves from "lead meetings" to "lead parents", and may look like this:

1)  Check-In With Parents -- How Are They Doing. 

  • At the start of a year, you'll want to have a group parent meeting anyway to pitch Parent involvement -- under a Plan "B" Parent-Led program, this is more important, and Parent-Check Ins will need to be repeated regularly.
  • When you schedule a time for a group Check-In, don't assume that time will work for all -- people's schedules will be in flux during regular times, and more during physical distancing times.
    • Friendly follow up by phone (plus text, email) is key to getting families on board.
  • Part of any Check-In session will be to describe how Handbook Adventures and other Cub Activities can be done by a family.
    • For "virtual" participation events, like Social Check-Ins, you'll want to get a sense of how "wired" the family is.
    • Do they have reliable broadband and Wi-Fi, and computer screens or tablets to join a Zoom session?
    • Or will that be a barrier for some -- do they need to rely on phone communication.
  • During the course of the year, you'll want to have regular follow up Check-In sessions, especially before events that may need an explanation, like how to do a virtual campout or just "talking through" how to do an Adventure at Home.

2)  Gently Share Cub Scout Resources - For Parent-Led Adventures.

  • In any Handbook, you will want to have a plan for completion of the required Adventures, and while there is no requirement that every family does each Adventure at the same time (or day or week or month), there is community value in sharing similar experiences in (relatively) real-time.
  • So as part of Parent Check-Ins, as well as follow up texts and emails, you'll want to look at your list of adventures and share the link of the Adventure that's coming up next.
    • Your schedule of when to do Adventures may be informed by your Pack's virtual activities.
    • So if the plan for September is to do a "virtual hike" over a weekend (each family picking their hike location and the time that works for them), you might share with your Den the hiking Adventure for your Handbook
    • If your Pack decides to promote activities like bike riding or fishing, you would want to share with your Den the Adventure that lines up with that skill or hobby:

3)  Brief Den "Social" Check-Ins -- Just For Fellowship.

  • One element that is during physical distancing, people desire social connections.  Cub Scouting can deliver a way to make connections -- with both parents and Scouts.
  • Having brief "Social" Check-Ins can allow Scouts to talk to each other (if you do it over Zoom or another screen, they can see each other too) -- and that may be as important as "doing an Adventure".
    • After all, "belonging to a den" community is a key method of Cub Scouting.
    • Key Tip For Den Leaders:
      • Other than setting up the connection, you don't have to plan anything!
      • Just keep order (the "mute" control is the Host's friend) and let the Scouts be Scouts.
      • "Social" Check-Ins can be for Adults in the Den and Pack.
        • They need social connections too!

4)  Brief Virtual Den Meetings -- Like Show and Tell Talk Time.    

  • Planning and running a Den Meeting (Den Adventure) seems hard even when you're "in person" and you can have running around time in playgrounds and parks.
  • Planning and running a "virtual" Den Meeting over Zoom or other connection is a lot harder, for several reasons:
    • All "hands-on" group games are either impossible to do virtually or are difficult to replicate.
      • If it's difficult and comes off as "not fun", that going to be a turnoff for Scouts and their Parents.
      • In any Cub Scouting event, we want to keep them coming back for more because it is fun.
      • Note:  there can be fun games done over Zoom, but you have to know your audience and practice (it can be a good idea to get "buy-in" from other parents by doing a practice with them).
  • Other "hands-on" group activities are also difficult to replicate over Zoom when you're trying to do the same activity at the same time but in different places. Not impossible -- just difficult.
    • This is one reason why for best results a Den or Pack Leader will lead the Parents in how the Parents can lead their Scouts.
    • If a Scout is online but a Parent isn't leading them or isn't fully attentive, maybe the Scout will get frustrated.
    • And if you make the "hands-on" group virtual activity too simple, it won't be fun or challenging to the families who are really engaged -- they will want to do more.
  • To keep virtual meetings flowing, you might abbreviate them, do what will work best to keep your Den audience (Scouts and Parents) engaged. 
    • One route that should be interesting is family "show and tell" of what they did working on the Adventure they did at home -- especially if there is a lot of show, either live or with pictures and video.
      • Under this approach, the family does the Adventure activity on their own time.
      • Virtual Den meeting time is to share what each did.
    • That way, the family can do the Adventure activity when it best fits the family schedule -- maybe with all siblings and parents -- and they can take pictures and video to share.
    • This will allow each Scout and family who did an Adventure element to shine, and spark ideas in the heads of other families about how they too can do Adventures at and from home -- and then get their chance to shine.
      • Be sure to confirm in advance to families what you will do at the Zoom meeting so they have a chance to present and succeed.
      • And if you will have "live during Zoom" activities, be sure families know what to do to prepare.
    • Den Leaders can still do an Opening and Closing, and have a "Den Leader Minute" to recognize everyone who did something great since the last time you Zoomed.
  • One other limit of Zoom meetings is that you can't really see everyone and even then, you don't see what they are doing.
    • Any it's very hard for leaders and parents to coordinate in real-time during a Zoom meeting.
    • Even private messages will take time to send and absorb -- and risk breaking the meeting flow.

Den Leader Resources

Running a Virtual Meeting

Ideas for Running Den Activities at Home

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