The Den Doodle – Motivation and Reward System for Cub Scout Dens

The Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Dens will be implementing a new system within Pack 802 this year to motivate our scouts and provide immediate recognition/rewards for desirable behavior.  This system, referred to as a Den Doodle, uses a variety of beads, feathers, and other trinkets to symbolize the various achievements the scouts will complete over the course of the year.  The scouts will have numerous opportunities to earn beads at every Den meeting, Pack event, and for demonstrating elements of the Scout Law outside of scout activities.

While I hope to put an original spin on the concept, including opportunities to earn custom 3D printed tokens for some of our more significant outings/events, the practice of using a Den Doodle is not an original idea.  I first came across the concept while reading about it on the Cub Scout Volunteer Facebook Page.  I also found references to the idea in the Cub Scout Leader Handbook.  The following is what the handbook has to say about Den Doodles:

“Den Doodles. A den doodle is a clever way to record advancement progress and other accomplishments of the boys as well as a colorful decoration for the den meeting place. It can be something as simple as a chart, much like the den advancement chart, or it can be a simple structure consisting of a cutout mounted on a stand. No two den doodles are alike. Each one is distinctive and may have the den’s number, a place for each boy’s name, and a cord or thong for each boy’s advancement record. When additions are made to the den doodle, it is nice to have a short ceremony in the den meeting. Cub Scouts love to help make their den doodles. They like to see their string of achievements grow. Let them help decide what type of den doodle fits their own den best and what kind of trophy will mark their accomplishments.”

In the spirit of the Leader Handbook, I’ve asked my scouts to consider the types of activities they would like acknowledged.  To get them started I suggested a few ideas including attendance, timely arrival, wearing a scout uniform, event participation, community service, and participation in fundraising.

To kickoff the project, the boys in the Wolf an Tiger Dens created personalized emblems during our first meeting of the year using a cut-off section of a downed tree.  Next week the boys will be given a length of paracord to hang from their emblems and collect the beads and tokens earned.  We will display the Den Doodles in our meeting space each week as a reminder of everything the boys accomplish and hopefully provide motivation to earn more.

I am very excited about using this tool in my Den and hope it can be implemented successfully within other interested Dens in our Pack.

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