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CUB SCOUT CORNER Conduct Unbecoming?


Nip it in the bud with these simple techniques that encourage good behavior.


WHEN CHRIS MINNIEAR, Cubmaster of Pack 998 in Mason, Ohio, was filling in as his son’s Tiger Cub den leader, he tried a simple craft: making Kōnane (Hawaiian checkers) games. The cloth boards the boys made used flattened glass gems as game pieces. Things went well until near the end of the den meeting, when a pair of twins started throwing the glass gems. “Getting that under control was fun,” he says. Fortunately, the incident hap-


pened at the end of the meeting. When he got home, Minniear real- ized the twins had managed to break every single game piece. Incidents like this taught Minniear how easily the controlled chaos of a den meeting can slip into uncontrolled anarchy. How can you stop that from


happening in your den? Here are some tips from Minniear and Caren Tamkin, a veteran San Diego Scouter who co-facilitated this summer’s Strictly for Cub Scouters conference at the Philmont Training Center.


Know Your Boys Step one, Tamkin says, is to know your Scouts. Learn what they like and what makes them lose control. When in doubt, ask a parent. Tamkin says she once had a boy in her den whom she suspected of having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, although he hadn’t been diagnosed. To get some insight into one boy’s energetic personality, Tamkin asked the boy’s mother to attend a few den meetings. “She observed what he was doing,”


Tamkin says. “She didn’t discipline him or anything, but she did give me some tips to help me.” For example, the boy was able to concentrate much


22 SCOUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2012


better when he was chewing gum or playing with a pencil, things Tamkin wouldn’t have guessed without talking with the mother.


Establish Some Rules Early in the Scouting year, establish some simple den rules (e.g., no hitting, no leaving the meeting room, no vid- eogames). Put them on a poster that you display at every den meeting and refer to them often. Many den leaders involve their


Scouts in creating their own code of conduct, which works especially well with older boys. “I found that the Wolves were so black and white in the way they viewed the world that they weren’t really capable of coming up with a code of conduct that was loose


enough for our purposes,” Tamkin says. “When they got to Webelos, then they were really good at coming up with a den code of conduct.”


Be Flexible Of course, rules are not enough to keep boys in line. You need a program that holds their interest and can require a good deal of flexibility. “I am very big on improv,” Minniear


says. To that end, he always has a backup plan he can quickly put into place. At the same time, he will let


activities run long if the boys remain interested. “I’m not going to stop


SHARE YOUR TIPS for maintaining order during pack meetings at scoutingmagazine.org/control.


DAVEWHEELER


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