Sunday, October 2, 2011

Responsibility Tips for Den Leaders

By Alice, Golden Empire Council

Check out these activities suggested by teachers and creative Den Leaders. They can help boys practice being responsible and also reward them!

Interpersonal Responsibility: Have Den Rules!
One teacher talks about classroom rules, letting her students help decide on rules and consequences. As a Den Leader, you can do the same – just make sure you have only a few basic rules that everyone understands. Post your list at the front of the den room each meeting – if a rule is being broken, just point to the list and ask “What’s the Rule?” No need to get into a discussion with an individual boy, since the den all worked on the rules and consequences together. (You might even have to check the boy’s ideas when they decide on consequences – they are often far too severe)

Behavior Journals: Send home Positive Reports!
Teachers often have students write in their own personal journals about their week’s behavior and how they handled problems that came up. At the end of the week, they take their journals home to share with parents.

As a Den Leader, you can help boys with behavior issues to take personal responsibility by having them write down what happened, and how they think the problem could be solved.
You can also give out “Positive” reports to take home to parents. Baden-Powell said “A pat on the back is a stronger stimulus than a prick with a pin. Expect a great deal of your boys and you will generally get it.” Set a goal to say at least one good thing about each boy at every den meeting. But don’t give undeserved compliments – boys know when the praise is genuine! Remember, “It’s better to build boys than repair men.”

A Taste of Responsibility:
Check this out under Gathering Activities

Responsible Service:
Have each boy make a coupon book to give to his parents or teacher exchange for service from the boy. Each boy can include things such as “sorting the recycling” or “sweep the back porch” or “pass out materials.” Then have the boys turn in their completed coupon books when they have taken responsibility to do each promised task. A word of warning: these tasks should not include regular chores or assignments – they should be for extra things each boy can do.

“Caught Being Good Coins:”
One Den Leader I heard of uses special plastic “coins” – when a boy is “caught” doing something good – helping without being asked, cleaning up after an activity, helping another boy with a project or craft. Boys cannot ask for a job to earn a coin – they are rewarded for choosing to be helpful and take responsibility for themselves and their materials, books, candy wrappers, whatever. Coins are redeemed for simple toys, stickers, party favor type stuff, sometimes a patch.

Assignment Organizer:
Teachers often have their students record their assignments in a special notebook, so they can check off what they do in class – whatever isn’t done becomes homework, which they take home. Both parents and students initial the list before it returns to school.

As a Den Leader, have a process for “homework” – things that must be done at home. Make sure there is some kind of check-off for the boy to do – you could have a chart to post at the Den Meeting, so that boys can initial or put a sticker when they have completed the homework. Some dens have an email system – so parents can be reminded. But it’s important to have some way for each boy to keep and mark off his OWN record as well, especially with assignments that require more than one week.

Money Matters:
To help students understand budgets, teachers often use play money, provide each student with a list of necessary expenses, and have them figure out how to use their “money.”

As Den Leaders, we can work on the scout or religious award requirements that involve learning how to use money. One possible “field trip” might invlve a visit to the grocery store where boys help find the best value, compare not only cost, but price per unit, and also nutritional value.

We can also let the boys take an active role in planning the expenses for a den or pack activity, so they get a realistic view of how much things cost. Every scout should have an opportunity to earn at least part of the money for Day Camp – encourage parents to offer chores for hire, or use a den or pack project, such as a car wash or popcorn sales – where the boy himself can be responsible for part of the cost.

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