How To Plan A Cub Scout Den Meeting: 6 Steps For Success

Cub Scouts will spend much of their time in Den Meetings but do you fully understand their purpose and how they’re run? Very soon, you will! While den meetings may just seem like fun activities to Cubs, behind the scenes there’s a lot of planning and lessons involved. In this article, I’ll teach you how to run a Cub Scout den meeting successfully!

What Happens at a Cub Scout Den Meeting? Den meetings are where Cub Scouts have fun with same-aged peers and learn skills to fulfill requirements for each rank. These meetings last around an hour and occur every one or two weeks. It’s up to the den leader to plan each meeting, taking into account the general Scouts BSA and pack guidelines!

PS. This article is a guest post collaboration with Eagle Scout and AOL recipient, Jonathan K🙂

Being a den leader is a lot of work, but helping young people is a reward in itself! That’s why, every Cub Scout volunteer leadership committee is filled with people who want to serve the community and help guide the next generation. If you’re one of these exceptional individuals, get ready to learn some useful tips to help you to be the best den leader you can be! 

How To Plan A Cub Scout Den Meeting

Agenda for a Cub Scout Den Meeting

First, you should know that no two den meetings are identical. When I was a Cub Scout, I never knew what each meeting would bring — I only knew I was going to have fun! However, den leaders have to keep things running smoothly and make sure Cubs are progressing in their ranks. This is why you need a standard meeting agenda like the one below:

  1. Before the Meeting: Before any Scouts arrive, the den leader and any assistants will discuss the plan and set up crafts, games, or the activity. 
  2. Gathering Activity: Not every Cub Scout will arrive at the same time, so having a small activity ready to go keeps the early arrivals from getting bored. This can be a simple Cub Scout game or a small craft. 
  3. Opening: Each den can choose its own opening tradition, from a flag ceremony to a prayer, or a simple recital of the Cub Scout promise. 
  4. Program: The program part of the meeting depends on the rank of the Cub Scouts. This can be a skill-based activity, a craft, a game, or sometimes, even a field trip into the community!
  5. Closing: The closing should be quiet and thoughtful, reflecting on what the Cub Scouts learned during the meeting. This can also include a preview of what they will be doing at the next meeting. 
  6. After the Meeting: The leaders review the events of the meeting, finalize plans for the next den meeting, and review their progress toward the upcoming pack meeting. 

In the sections below, let’s break down each part of the agenda in more detail! That way, you’ll have some great ideas and tips to modify this structure for your own den meetings. Afterward, you’ll be the den meeting planning pro within your pack!

What To Do Before a Cub Scout Den Meeting

Before the day of the meeting, you want to have a plan in place, every supply purchased, and know how you will explain the activity/game/lesson to the Cub Scouts. If this sounds like homework, that’s because it is, but being prepared is the best way to ensure the den meeting runs smoothly! 😉

The den leader should be the first to arrive at each meeting and the last to leave. They should make sure, prior to the meeting, that the assistant den leaders know what the program is, what they will be doing, and how they can help the den achieve its goals for the week. 

Want a little boost of enthusiasm before you get started? This super-informative video (12:46) provides five helpful tips for den leaders! 🙂

Cub Scout Den Meeting Gathering Activities

As Cub Scouts arrive, you’ll want them to be busy and engaged in an activity. Coloring sheets, knot-tying practice, or a small craft are perfect. Some dens will play games, from tag to Red Rover, but those may get the Cub Scouts too excited before the meeting even starts!

This helpful video (5:02) below gives some simple and creative den gathering activity ideas to try:

If you’re feeling ambitious, set up an activity that ties into what the Scouts are learning. Ask the Cub Scouts to tie a neckerchief or briefly demonstrate a tool, such as a compass. What works for one den may not work for another, so some trial and error will be required! This video (2:28) shows another fun game example.

Some den leaders like to have a moment of calm before going into the opening ceremony. This can be done by gathering the Cub Scouts together and doing some light stretching or breathing exercises. Calming exercises like these can bridge the gap from as fun activity to the more serious meeting. 

Cub Scout Den Meeting Opening

The opening of each meeting should, just like the closing, be solemn and respectful. This can help Scouts transition to focus on the day’s program after running around playing. Different den leaders can choose different openings, and there’s no wrong way to start a den meeting! 

Scouting Memory: When I was a Cub Scout, my den’s opening was always the same: the pledge of allegiance, followed by the Cub Scout promise. At each meeting, a different Scout would be chosen to lead, giving everyone a chance to participate!

Also, different adventure requirements for Cub Scout ranks ask Cubs to lead parts of a flag ceremony. Luckily, your meeting opening each week is a great opportunity to complete these requirements or get some flag practice in! To learn more, check out our article on running a Cub flag ceremony. 😀

Cub Scout Den Meeting Program

The program part of the Cub Scout meeting is key, as this is where Cub Scouts will learn new skills and meet rank requirements! Scouts BSA provides resources at for meeting rank requirements, but there’s a lot of room for den leaders to make it fun and special! Let’s break the program section into manageable pieces:

  • Length – Aim for the main activity to be 45 minutes long. If needed, you can run two short lessons instead of one long one! 

As an example, a local Cub Scout den once brought in a librarian as a speaker. Instead of talking for the whole time, he was scheduled for only thirty minutes, with the rest of the time devoted to learning about how to tie a tie and how to tie a Cub Scout neckerchief. Some topics may take multiple meetings, like knots or first aid, but others can be done in only 20 minutes! 

  • Bring in an expert – Den leaders and assistant den leaders don’t have to handle every program themselves, as shown in my example above! Bringing in someone from the community to talk can be a great experience.

One time, my den brought in two teachers from the local school for the deaf to talk about the deaf community, American Sign Language, and more. It was a fantastic experience, since even today, as an adult, I still think about it! Another time, a parent came in with a knife collection to talk about knife safety and earning the Cub Scout Whittling chip

  • Take a field trip – Is there a local business that will conduct a tour? A historic site nearby? Those can be great opportunities to educate Cub Scouts about their community! 

During my time as a Cub Scout, I went to a mincemeat factory, a greenhouse, and a local department store. These trips were fun and something I never would have been able to do without being a Cub Scout! Learning about the community is a requirement for different ranks, so this can be fun, educational, and help with advancement.

Helpful Link: Want more fun ideas for what to do with your den? Check out our article on Cub Scout meeting activities!

Cub Scout Den Meeting Closing

As with the opening, the closing is entirely up to the den leader but should remain consistent from week to week. Current den and pack leaders suggest that it be solemn and contemplative, a chance for the Cub Scouts to relax and calm down after a fun time with their friends before going home. This is a great time for an invocation, a prayer, or reciting an oath. 

This is also when the den leader can hand out take-home material or talk about any upcoming news, from trips to fundraisers. Every closing should end with a reminder about when the next meeting will take place. Parents can be present for the closing, even if it’s best that they leave the meeting itself to the Cub Scouts. 

What To Do After a Cub Scout Den Meeting

Once all the Cub Scouts have gone home, the den leader and assistant den leaders can start planning the next meeting. This should start by discussing what went well during the meeting and how to improve next time. If a pack meeting is coming up, this is when the adult volunteers can decide what the den will do, from a skill demonstration to a skit or a song!

Helpful Link: Not quite sure what the deal is with these two different types of Cub Scout meetings? Check out our article on what to expect from a den meeting and a pack meeting, along with their key differences!

The post-meeting discussion doesn’t have to take long — five to ten minutes seems to be the average. If needed, leaders can call or email between meetings to plan out the next week. Be sure to clean up, and enlist the Cub Scouts in helping. No matter where the den meeting is being held, it’s good manners! 😀


I hope these tips and hints will help you to plan your next epic den meeting! Remember that every den is different, and so what works for one won’t always be the best for another. When seeking advice from other Cub Scout leaders, keep that in mind and always feel free to get creative!

Above all else, it’s okay if your meetings don’t go exactly as planned! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn for the next time. No den leader is perfect, and there is no perfect method to ensure the best possible den meeting. What’s important is that the Cubs see you being positive and making the most of things!

Well, that’s all for this article. Thanks so much for dropping by! If you enjoyed learning about planning engaging and educational den meetings, I’d highly recommend also checking out any of the following articles:

I hope you’re now prepared to run some incredible den meetings of your own! Remember that you’re helping create character-building experiences for the next generation of Cubs, so what you’re doing truly matters. I salute you for all the work you do and, until next time, I’m wishing you and your pack nothing but the best!🙂


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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