Open for debate: To snack or not to snack at den or pack meetings

Here’s a question to chew on: Should you serve snacks at den meetings? Why or why not?

And if you do, what is served?

I posed that question to our Facebook friends and got an array of answers.

Read a few of my favorites below, and then sound off with your own thoughts on the subject.

Munch on

  • “When I was a Den Leader, my Scouts decorated a bucket to hold the treats. Each week, treats were assigned to a different Scout, who was to bring a healthy snack and drink. The Scouts loved it, and it gave them the opportunity to work with their parents to discuss healthy snacks and drinks. We always had snack after our meeting; it was the reward for a job well done during our meetings.” — Shelly R.
  • “We have our snack at the end since most just had dinner and it doesn’t distract from our meeting goals. We have a parent and son team responsible for each month. We try to pick healthier options. Examples include apples, popcorn, etc.” — Tamara C.
  • “We’ve used [snack time] to talk about healthy eating, water safety, fair trade, and charities. Biggest problem is having a few gluten/allergies kids means it’s tricky to make sure it’s fair.” — Joanna B.
  • “Their minds are focused better when their tummies aren’t growling! Usually something simple and quick — a slice of cheddar rolled in ham, peanut butter and Ritz crackers, a cheese stick, trail mix, etc. Little effort with big results.” — Corina M.
  • “If we have snacks it’s normally rolled into another activity such as building with marshmallows.” — B.A. A.

Munch off

  • “I don’t do snacks. We only have an hour and 15 minutes — they can survive without food for that long. If we break for snack, it’s too hard to end snack time and get them back in the swing of the activity.” — Dana L.
  • “Our intent was to have the kids back home an hour before their usual bedtime, so parents could handle the snack. Too many kids with allergies, so we kept any food events to special occasions only.” — Letitia F.
  • “I am so glad our Den Leader doesn’t do snacks. I think it makes it much more work for everyone. There’s way too much to do at the meetings, and it’s just way too much added work to incorporate a snack.” — Christy B.
  • “We did away with snack time last year. No matter what it was, there was always a mess. … If we do longer meetings — like our race days, or when we do park clean-up — we’ll provide drinks and granola bars or graham crackers.” — Denise B.
  • “I found that meetings ran more smoothly without snacks.” — Jennifer R.

OK, you’ve heard arguments by both sides. Now it’s your turn: What is your den’s approach to snacks? Leave a comment below.

17 thoughts on “Open for debate: To snack or not to snack at den or pack meetings

  1. I think this is a context dependent question. For example, if you know you are doing a lot of Physical activity, like say the webelos Athlete or Aquanaut pins, a snack after that activity could be useful to them. I don’t always bring snacks otherwise, because of one main reason. Finding low priced refreshment to go with the snacks is a problem. So we moved away from it most of the time. (Plus, snacks are an added expense that can quickly add up for a unit)

  2. After our Tiger year, we stopped doing snacks at Den Meetings and didn’t really miss it. Every once in a while we would bring in something as a treat if it was a holiday week, or the boys had filled the good conduct marble jar (or the good conduct candle burned down).

  3. I’m struggling with this question, as I’m on tap to be a Tiger Den leader this fall for my youngest son. (My oldest joined Scouts as a Bear, and just recently reached First Class with his troop.) Not sure we’ll do snacks for the den-focused activites, but I think snacks make sense for the “go see it,” events. They generally take a bit longer than a normal den meeting, and the snack time gives us a chance to discuss the things we’ve seen and done so we can make sure we’ve got the requirements covered off on.

  4. In Tigers, Wolves & Bears, we had snacks. This encouraged the boys to stick with the activities because they knew there was something tasty toward the end, and it got the parents involved by rotating who brought the snack. I also used middletownscouter’s marble jar, and when the jar filled up I bought the pizza (and forewarned the parents to adjust dinner accordingly).

    Once we got into Webelos, we did away with the snacks. There wasn’t really time, with all the other activities, and the older boys aren’t as motivated by a treat as the younger ones.

  5. its funny you ask, our Webelos asked last night “Wheres the snacks”. We stopped after tigers. The snack was an activity and also to teach scouts about the healthy snacks. As they got older we did what Tim Western mentioned for example, teaching an activity to Webelos about fire safety and afterwards we let the scouts make pineapple donut cakes using foil packs. cooked over a bed of coals.

  6. We do snacks for our Tiger den but we do them very last. I try to have a scout and his parent volunteer to bring a healthy snack. The snack is the motivation for the boys to behave well and pay attention while we complete their activities, and it helps the parents feel involved when they contribute a snack.

  7. No doubt snacks can and should be served at den meetings. Make it a competition between the boys. Keep it fun. Have an advancement activity where the building materials are made out of edible products. After the activity is over, DIVE IN. Yes there may be a scout with special needs. Do what is right and Improvise, overcome, adapt. In other words, don’t let that stop you. Incorporate this challenge to show the boys how others can be included SAFELY. Now, go do the right thing.

  8. We used to do them, but it took up too much den time, or we had to keep a constant backup just in case the “it” family didn’t show up or just forgot to bring the snack>>Sometimes, the scouts would think of nothing during the whole den meeting but the snack.

    We meet from 6pm til 7pm ish, so most of the scouts already have had an afterschool snack or have eaten supper already

  9. For Tigers, stopping for snacks (most often something sugary) ramped the kids up and shut down the meeting.

    My WEBELOS will fire down some beef jerky or a fire-charred hotdog or burger and be feuled up for more activity.

    I agree with Tim that it’s context driven for us. We do what’s economical and makes the most sense for the meeting/activity.

  10. When I was an SPL, our troop had real issues with uniforms. My solution was to have a surprise uniform inspection each month, with the winning patrol getting cookies, and the losing patrol being put on flag ceremony duty for the next week. After two months, nearly everyone brought a class A shirt, with most of the rest in at least a class B.

  11. I am a Bears Den Leaders. We do snacks at our weekly Den meetings. We have the Denner prepare healthy snacks and the Assistant Denner brings healthy drinks/ refreshments. After our physical activities, the snacks are a great way to get the boys to sit down and listen. Sometimes the snacks are in the middle of the meeting, sometimes at the end. If you follow the Bear Den meetings plans, all these things can be accomplished in one hour. I have been doing this for three years.

  12. T-W-B, we have snack every Den meeting brought according to a sign up sheet. Webs, we have snack at the next meeting if they catch me out of uniform, and occasionally they do some cooking and baking and get to eat that. Our Pack awards $ to the “Den of the Month” that is intended for snacks, and we try to make it creative. They have made fudge, pizza, and tacos.

  13. I do not like den or pack snacks at a regular meeting. Too often kids would open up the snack while still at the meeting and leave a trail of mess o the way out. Our den meetings are at 5 or 6 pm, so a snack interferes with dinner times.

    Now, for a go see it, a hike, a rain gutter regatta, we plan drinks and snacks.

  14. My wife was the Webelos den leader and she had her meetings after school so the kids got out of school at 3 PM and arrived at our house about 4 PM on the Bus. they would work on activities for about 20 minutes then break for snacks as she found out some of the boys were going home to no food in the house. after that she started teaching them to cook simple meals and would send them home with all the makings for a meal to show their parent(s) and families what they learned. no child ever went home hungry again and as for snacks at the Pack meetings it helped to break up the meeting and was used as a chance to learn about good nutrition and fun with food.

    On another note my son’s scout troop is having a meeting / Non-meeting fun night for the 5th Monday of the month it will include a movie and Pizza, popcorn and drinks the boy’s voted to meet on the extra Monday and just have fun. Remember Scouting is supposed to be fun first! or we will loose the boy’s to something else that’s more fun so build in what the Boy’s want and if snack or food will help promote Scouting all the better!

  15. We have a treat bucket that we pass around. We ask for healthy snacks but we’re not gonna go all “snack police” on them if it’s cookies or cupcakes. We have the snacks last. If the kid who took the treat bucket home the week before forgets to bring it back, there’s no snack that week. Simple consequences.

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