KISMIF is a valuable tool for the Den Leader: Keep It Simple, Make It Fun.
Boys are easily entertained. Give them a stick and a piece of string and they can occupy themselves for hours. It’s up to you, the den leader, to make sure that your scouts are having a good time, and a good way to do that is to keep things simple. When I started out, I overplanned every meeting, trying to pack in as many activities as possible, scheduling the hour down to the minute. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that was just not going to work.
When the scouts are having a good time with an activity, extend the amount of time you have to work on it, even if you won’t be able to get to the other activity you had planned — you can get to that next week. If something is too difficult or boring (yes, it happens!) try to adjust and make it more manageable. A simple trick that always works for me is to stop an activity and ask if anyone has a funny story or a joke to tell. The quick change of pace can do wonders for the den.
The worst thing you can do as a Den Leader is make the den meetings feel like an extension of school. These boys have spent all day in class — the last thing they want is another hour of it! If you’re teaching scientific principles like levers and pulleys, don’t break out a textbook, get some levers and pulleys, and let the scouts figure out how they work.
Den meetings should be action-oriented, hands-on, exciting displays of awesomeness, and if you keep things simple and fun, everyone will be happy. Easy enough, right?