Occasionally, we all come across an idea that makes us think, “Wow, wish I’d known that a long time ago.” You know the ones – those little nuggets that made life easier. Like the idea of putting wheels on luggage – not exactly worthy of Jonas Salk, but oh, so helpful. Here are a few of my favorites especially for Den Leaders:
- Dollar/Discount stores are tailor-made for Den Leaders. A dollar’s worth of QTips can fill multiple roles; they make great paintbrushes or glue applicators for crafting. They’re cheap, fit small hands, and are disposable for easy clean up. Win-win-win!
- Another Dollar Store gem – those uber-thin plastic table cloths make great single-use covers for table tops and floors for surface protection and easy clean up after a craft project. Use one under the sawhorse when cutting wood to collect sawdust.
- Rescue a handful of men’s t-shirts from the ragbag. Pull over the Scouts’ uniforms to protect from paint, glue, or mud, depending on the activity. Once done, you can either launder or toss – depending on the size of the mess.
- If glue needs to dry, place on wax paper for ease of separation.
- Tired of spending part of every meeting hunting for neckerchief slides that slid off? Make your own! Buy a candy mold from the craft store. Mix a small amount of plaster of paris in a paper cup with a plastic spoon (again, easy clean up). Fill the candy mold with plaster, and insert a pipe cleaner into the back while the plaster is still wet, making sure the pipe cleaner is covered with plaster. Let harden before removing from the mold. Paint or color with permanent markers.
- Not sure how to communicate the snack schedule to the parents effectively? Have the Scouts decorate an ice cream bucket or other food container. Attach a card on the lid that says, “A Scout is helpful. If you’re holding the snack bucket, it’s your turn to fill it with snacks for the next den meeting. Den ____ has ____ boys and ____ leaders. Due to allergies, please nothing with _______________ (peanuts, chocolate, or whatever restrictions are present within the den). Thanks for sharing!”
- Do you spend 30 minutes before each meeting frantically searching for uniform parts and books? Get a reusable grocery bag, and have your Scout personalize it. Attach it to a clothes hanger. After each meeting, the Scout should practice putting his hat, belt, book, neckerchief, and tie slide into the bag and hang his shirt on the hanger. They are all in one place, ready for next time.
I hope you find an idea one the list that will make your job as den leader a little less stressful. I’d love to hear from others on helpful things that keep us sane from week to week.
Remember: If you’re not having fun in Scouting, you’re not doing it right!