Like most of the other dens around the country (hopefully), we are using the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide this year to help keep us on our path toward advancement. This guide evolved from the Fast Tracks pilot that had been available for the past few years and has since replaced the Program Helps for den and pack meeting planning. Our pack had used the Program Helps extensively and followed the monthly themes to a “t.” Our council offered up the use of Fast Tracks program two years ago and our pack jumped at the opportunity. At the time, the biggest piece of feedback I received was that the Fast Tracks and Program Helps were not integrated. Fast Tracks suggested one activity or outing for a particular meeting/month and Program Helps would sometimes contradict what advancement stuff the dens were working on.
Now with the “Guide”, everything is integrated so that dens in their meetings work on items that coincide with the new monthly themes (Core Values). However, that synchronization can only happen if all the dens start at the same time and work relatively at the same pace hitting the same den meeting number at roughly the same time. The Webelos den my son is in started early as I will explain. But it has not been an issue staying with the monthly theming.
My son’s den agreed not long after they crossed over from their Bear den that they would like to earn all 20 Activity Badges and thereby earn their Super Achiever award. The incoming den leader and I agreed that by using the Resource Guide (since most advancement work is now suggested to be done in den meetings rather at home as the old delivery method encouraged), we should be able to help the boys accomplish their goal.
Our pack has always encouraged dens to meet over the summer but rarely has that happened. We do however plan a year round pack calendar to earn the National Summertime Pack Award as a pack and allow the boys the opportunity to earn the individual pins. In looking at the plans in the Guide, we decided that it would be beneficial get a head start and have den meetings over the summer. That was the end of May. It is now the end of October. All but one of our boys have now earned 8 Activity Badges (with the one planning to play catch up now that football has finished).
In a future post, I hope to lay out our plans that got us to this point and provide some insight as to what has worked for us and what opportunities there may be with the program so that others can take and use the plan and path we used.