Keeping track of behavior helps a boy and his leader know how he is doing. Here are some suggestions.
Use the same candle each week. The denner lights the candle at the beginning of the den meeting, and the candle is allowed to burn as long as all den members show good behavior. But if a boy misbehaves or breaks the code of conduct, the candle must be blown out for the rest of the meeting. As soon as the candle burns down, the den is entitled to a special outing or special treat.
Buy tickets at teacher or party supply stores, or make them yourself by hand or with the use of a computer. Give boys a ticket when they do something good. (Try to give each boy an opportunity to receive a ticket during a meeting.) They write their names on the back of their tickets. The tickets are placed in a jar, and a drawing is held at the end of the den meeting for a small treat (gum, candy, stickers, small toy, etc.). At the end of the month, hold a drawing for a “big” winner.
Use a glass jar so it makes lots of noise when you put a marble in. Draw a line on the jar high enough so that it will take the boys six weeks or so to earn enough marbles to fill it to that point. Explain that when marbles reach the line, the den will get a treat. Drop a marble in the jar when someone in the den does something good. Make a production out of it. Celebrate with the den when they reach their goal.
Stickers and Certificates
Give big flashy stickers to boys for good behavior. Use them only occasionally, or they lose their appeal. Make certificates by hand or with a computer. Use gold seals or other decorative stickers. You can also purchase certificates at teacher supply stores.
Super Star Pins
Decorate clothespins, one for each boy, with stars. As you notice a boy’s good behavior, pin one on him. At the end of the meeting, boys with pins on can pick something from a “treat bag” filled with food items (candy, granola bars, popcorn, bags of chips or cookies, etc.) or inexpensive items that appeal to boys (baseball cards, small toys, pencils). Vary the items in the treat bag often.
Super Star Notes
These notes to parents and guardians are good for praising the boy when he gets back home. You can make your own by hand or with a computer or buy them at a teacher supply store. The boy will know you really appreciate it if you tell his family how well he did.
Some American Indian tribes used coup sticks (“coo sticks”) as a way to display accomplishments. Items such as beads, feathers, bear claws, or eagle claws were awarded at tribal meetings for deeds of note (not unlike the adventure loops and pins Cub Scouts earn!). These were attached to the coup stick for display, bringing honor to the coup stick owner. Make a den coup stick by drilling a hole through a wooden dowel at the top and bottom. Loop a long piece of heavy-duty string or leather cord through the holes so it runs the length of the dowel. Award small items at den meetings for good behavior. Use beads, feathers, stamped leather pieces, stamps on posterboard pieces, etc., and attach them to the string on the coup stick. Take the coup stick to pack meetings to bring honor to your den!