Den Leaders

No single person, no matter how talented, can make Cub Scouting work. Instead, it takes a team made up of each Cub Scout’s parent or guardian and other caring adults who agree to take on roles that best fit their individual talents. These positions include the Cubmaster, assistant Cubmasters, pack committee chair and members of the committee, chartered organization representatives, new member coordinator, den leaders and assistant den leaders, den chiefs, and more.

Each leader has a specific role to play, while all share responsibility for recruiting, training, and planning. In this chapter, we’ll introduce the details of each role to help you identify the positions that you may feel best match your talents. Not all leadership positions require wearing a uniform or meeting with youth. Just about everyone has a skill or talent that can help the pack.


Each den is led by an adult den leader and an assistant den leader, or a den may have two co-den leaders. They plan and carry out a year-round program of activities for the den. Lion and Tiger dens use a shared-leadership model, which means that the den leaders work with a different Lion/Tiger adult partner each month to plan the den’s program. This team hosts that month’s den meetings as well as the den’s part in the pack meeting.

In Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Scout dens, the den leader works with an assistant den leader and, potentially, a den chief (an older Scout from a troop). The den may also elect a denner and an assistant denner, who are Cub Scouts in the den, to work with the den leader and den chief.

Also involved in Webelos Scout dens are adult leaders in a Scouts BSA troop who coordinate the use of troop resources to help prepare the Webelos Scouts and their parents or guardians for joining the troop.


Successful leaders share some common traits:

  • Character

  • Honesty

  • Ability to guide and influence youth

  • Energy

  • Patience and tact

  • A sense of humor

  • A sense of purpose and direction

Successful leaders also share commitment. Being a Cub Scout leader means more than an hour a week at a den meeting or an hour a month at a pack meeting. In addition, den leaders spend more than an hour in preparation for some den meetings. Planning meetings, training courses, and monthly roundtables also take time, but they are critical to delivering a quality program.

Lastly, successful leaders share a good attitude. Showing confidence and enthusiasm inspires children to believe and follow. Be optimistic and perform your Cub Scouting responsibilities wholeheartedly. Plan your work, and then work your plan. You’ll be successful, and you’ll make a difference in the lives of the Cub Scouts you’ve committed to lead.

Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers.

For more information about BSA Youth Protection policies, go to


All Cub Scout leaders have certain responsibilities to the Cub Scouts. Each leader should:

  • Respect the children’s rights as individuals and treat them as such. In addition to using common-sense approaches, this means that all parents/guardians should have reviewed How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide. All youth leaders must be current with BSA’s Youth Protection training.

  • See that Cub Scouts find the excitement, fun, and adventure they expected when they joined Cub Scouting.

  • Provide enthusiasm, encouragement, and praise for their efforts and achievements.

  • Develop among the Cub Scouts a feeling of togetherness and team spirit that gives them security and pride.

  • Provide opportunities for Cub Scouts to experience new dimensions in their world.

  • Become a fully trained Cub Scout leader.


Scout leaders naturally become role models for youth in the program. Here are some suggestions to help leaders set a good example.

  • Be fair and honest to earn respect. No amount of ability, knowledge, or wisdom can make up for a lack of respect.

  • Don’t hesitate to admit when you don’t know something. Offer to help find the answer, and then do it. Children respect honesty and learn from it.

  • Be on your best behavior at all times. Follow the Golden Rule.

  • Be courteous. Good manners never go out of date. Good manners show that you care.

  • Be punctual. Start meetings on time; everyone will be encouraged to arrive on time to not miss any of the fun.

  • Be well-groomed. Appearance is important because it shows self respect. Fully uniformed dens and packs have fewer behavior problems and operate more efficiently than dens and packs in which Cub Scouts and leaders don’t dress in the full uniform.

  • Be dependable. Keep your word. Let the Cub Scouts know that they can count on you to do what you say.

  • Live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Do your duty to God and country. Be faithful in your religious duties, obey the law, be appreciative, and—like a good Cub Scout—always do your best.


The BSA has a deep assortment of resources designed to support our volunteer leaders. Understanding what you need is as simple as “painting by numbers.” Each program level has a corresponding color to identify resource materials for that level. Lion is yellow-gold, Tiger is orange, Wolf is red, Bear is light blue, and Webelos is identified with olive green. Program items that are meant for all levels—such as this guidebook—use blue and gold.