I have been a Cub Scout leader for over 13 years, but I have to admit I really didn’t know much about the National Den Award. As I think back to the three years I was a den leader, we probably earned this award at least once or twice, but I didn’t know about it. The requirements are not really hard, but they do require some consistency and participation in a year-round Cub Scout program. It’s another reminder not to take the summer off or skip lots of meetings near the holidays.
Purpose of the Award:
According to the BSA’s website, the National Den Award is to “encourage dens to or that have a quality, year-round program”.
Requirements for the award:
Requirement A is where the consistency comes in. Your den needs to have at least have 50% attendance at two den meetings and at the monthly pack meeting all 12 months of the year. So not only do you need the cooperation of the boys and parents for attendance, you also need the pack’s help too. If your pack does not hold a pack meeting (or pack activity) every month, you are out of luck.
Requirement B. Complete six of the following during the year:
❑ 2. In a Tiger den, use shared leadership and rotate the boy/adult host team.
❑ 3. Have 50 percent of the den go on three field trips per year. A field trip may be used in place of a den meeting.
❑ 4. As a den, attend a Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout or Webelos Scout resident camp, or a council family camping event with at least 50 percent of the den membership.
❑ 5. Conduct three den projects or activities leading to a discussion of the Scout Law.
❑ 6. Have 50 percent of the den earn at least three elective adventure loops or adventure pins.
❑ 7. Have 50 percent of the den participate in a patriotic ceremony or parade.
❑ 8. Have 50 percent of the den participate in a den conservation/resource project.
❑ 9. Have 50 percent of the den participate in at least one den service project.
How to earn it
I think the easiest thing to do is to decide which three requirements will be the most difficult to obtain. Then, make plans to ensure completion of the others. (Not that you can’t aim to complete all nine. But, if you are an LDS pack, #2 won’t be possible.) Notice how many of these requirements require 50% of the den to attend. It doesn’t have to be the same 50%. Most likely, boys in attendance for any given meeting will vary, especially in the summer or near holidays.
Plans for many of these items may already be in place if you used Journey to Excellence to help you plan your program year. Day Camp attendance, Service projects, advancement, as well as number of den and pack meetings are a part of both awards.
The pack committee determines which 12 month period is used to earn the award. Program year? Charter year? Calendar year? The den leader fills out the application for the National Den Award, has it signed by the Cubmaster and committee chair who then arranges to have the award picked up and presented at the next pack meeting.
So, while earning the National Den Award does not require anything super spectacular, it does require a well-planned, year-round, quality Cub Scout program which is what we all want for our boys anyway. Take a look at it. Plan to earn it!
Author: Annaleis Smith has been a Cub Scout leader (Cubmaster, Den Leader, Pack Trainer and Cubmaster again) Since 2003. She loves Cub Scouting and how it can help a boy grow into a fine young man. She currently serves as the Cubmaster in her ward/pack and as the Utah National Park’s Council’s Vice President of Membership.