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Den Chief program implimentation & management

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Any ideas for improving den chief management and den leader training?

Communication flow and management disrupted?

  • New den leaders apparently do not know how to get or ask for den chiefs. I do not know how extensive this problem is.
  • I found it difficult to find den chief training information even when I knew what I was looking for.
  • Den leaders do not appear to know that it is a Scouts BSA Senior Patrol Leaders responsibility to manage den leader training. Or is it? Where is this documented?
  • With the pandemic I suspect the unit performance model is not a solution for many council
  • It looks like BSA needs a separate “Den Chiefs” online training module with an introduction to Den Chiefs, how Den Chiefs requests are communicated and managed, and how Den Chiefs are trained before the first meeting with a den leader, then Cub Scouts in a den. - Added to Den Leader, pack key-3, Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader (and assiistant senior patrol leader?) training.

Den Chief program information

Here is a recent (29 Jul 2021) reply with den chief information sources:

There is information and training for den chiefs. The training can be done before the Scout assumes responsivities of being a den chief in a pack.

I assume it is still appropriate for the scoutmaster to remind the senor patrol leader about the need for den chief training if it is … not being done.

I recommend that the prospective den chief be given a copy of the den chief handbook by the scoutmaster before they start being a den chief. Online training is also available.

Previous Scouting Forums discussion

Search Scouting Forums for “den chief service award”.

Thank you for this resource. I think Den Chiefs are probably one of the most underused positions in scouting.


Good information, Bill. I believe the Den Chiefs are requested by the Cubmaster and approved by the Scoutmaster.

How den chiefs are chosen

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The Den Chief Handbook (2019), 33211, Copyright 2018, Boy Scouts of America, 2019 printing, chapter 1, “The Den Chief”, page 1, introductory section, states:

Congratulations! You have been chosen by your Scoutmaster, Venturing Advisor, or Skipper to serve as a den chief. … The position of den chief is one of the listed positions of leadership responsibility. …

I suspect the rest of the section was written before Sea Scouts BSA returned to being an independent program not under Venturing BSA

“approved by” may be more correct than “chosen by” for some BSA programs. This needs to be investigated further.

Assistant Scoutmaster - New Scout Patrol

The Troop Committee Guidebook (2018), model troop organization chart on page 11 shows the “den chief” under the “Assistant Scoutmaster - New Scout Patrol”. Under youth leader positions on page 12 the den chief responsibility is described as

Den Chief - works with a Cub Scout or Webelos Scout as a guide

That definition appears to exclude a Scout in the Scouts BSA program from working as a guide for a Lone Cub Scout.

The Den Leader Resources | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org) (downloaded 2021-08-03) states:


Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Den Leaders may ask a scout in a local Scouts BSA Troop, Venturing Crew, or Sea Scout Ship to serve as a Den Chief. This youth leadership position is designed to assist the Den Leader with simple tasks such as gathering Cub Scouts for a game or assisting Cub Scouts with a craft or activity.

How can commissioners link unit needs to resources?

At the bottom of the post is a chain link that says “share a link to this post”.

Den Chief Service Award

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Den Chief Service Award. This award recognizes Scouts who attend Den Chief training, understand Cub Scouting, and serve as den chiefs for at least a year.

per Troop Leader Guidebook, vol. 1, page 102, “Chapter 20, Other Awards, Awards for Scouts”



Den Chiefs who qualify for the Den Chief Service Award wear the special Den Chief Service Award Cord and may continue to wear it as long as they Scouts, Venturers or Sea Scouts, even if no longer a den chief. …

per Den Chief Handbook (2019), page 50.


Supply Item Description and Uniform Placement

Special red, white, and blue Den Chief cord; worn on left shoulder, under the epaulet, and certificate.

per Awards Central

Supply/BIN Item No.

Cord, No. 389; certificate, No. 33726.

Per Scout Shop

Availability: This is a restricted item. Available only in your local council trading post or Scout Shop with required paperwork.

NOTE: Guide to Awards and Insignia, Scouts BSA Insignia, (2018), page 43, has two cords which are not the award. The award cord replaces these when the award cord is earned.

  • Webelos den chief shoulder cord, cloth, blue, gold, and red
    cords, No. 457; Scout and Venturer, over left shoulder.
  • Den chief shoulder cord, cloth, blue and gold strands, No. 388; Scout and Venturer, over left shoulder.