handbook-prototypes

Better activities, simplified advancement coming to Cub Scouting in 2015

Improved activities, easier-to-understand advancement and some sweet-looking handbooks — yes, Cub Scouting is about to get even better than before.

After finding that current achievements are overly passive in nature, activities lack connection to the missions of Scouting and the advancement model is too complicated, the Boy Scouts of America’s volunteer task force created a new and improved Cub Scout program that will debut in May 2015.

By the 2015-2016 Scouting year (which, for most packs, begins in August or September 2015), all packs will use the new requirements.

The new requirements coincide with the retiring of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. As part of the One Oath, One Law initiative I first told you about in 2012, all packs will switch to the Scout Oath and Scout Law beginning in May 2015. Cub Scouting will keep its current Cub Scout motto, sign, salute and handshake.

Not everything is changing. Follow the jump to see what will and won’t change come May 2015 (and thanks to Bob Scott, Russ Hunsaker and Debbie Sullivan for the info).

What’s not changing
  • Cub Scouting’s family focus
  • Ranks or approach
  • Age (or gender) of ranks
  • Den/pack meeting structures
  • Outdoor program
  • Delivery model
  • Current Cub Scout motto, sign, salute and handshake
  • Fun, though there will be even more than before
What is changing
  • Switch to Scout Oath and Scout Law, retiring of Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack
  • Tiger Cubs becomes simply “Tiger” with new image
  • Arrow of Light will no longer require earning Webelos
  • Activities will be more active, more aligned with Aims/Mission
  • Advancement will be simplified
  • Academics & Sports program will be discontinued (as of May 2015)
  • Current immediate/elective recognition devices will be replaced
  • One Den Leader Guide per rank
Cub Scout Adventures

New Cub Scout content will be broken into a series of “adventures,” which Cub Scouts (individually and as part of their den) will experience while working on their badge of rank.

Once a Cub Scout has completed the six core adventures, including one Duty to God adventure, and one of his/his den’s choosing he will have earned his badge of rank.

In addition to the adventures required for rank advancement, there will be 13 additional elective adventures that members of the den may earn. Each adventure is designed to take roughly three den meetings to implement, one of which may be an outing, ranging from attending a sporting event as a den, to taking a hike, to visiting a museum or going on a campout. At the conclusion of each adventure, a recognition device is awarded.

Presently, the recognition device is under development.

The authors also created a series of elective adventures in addition to the adventures required for rank advancement. This allows dens to create and customize a program for the interests of the boys in the den as well as create the opportunity for a year-round Cub Scout program.

To see the adventures, check out this PDF.

New Cub Scout handbooks

What’s a new program without new handbooks? The volunteer task force used considerable research with parents, adult leaders and, most importantly, Cub Scouts themselves, to create new handbook covers that are inspired by the concept of wood-burning. They look great and, just as important, look like one cohesive design throughout all four ranks in Cub Scouting.

Parents and leaders the BSA consulted said the designs reflect the heritage of Scouting and are solid and warm. Cub Scouts, on the other hand, found them exciting and different and said they suggest things they’ll do as Scouts.

Details of the covers are not yet complete but the concepts below will remain in tact as development moves forward. This new look will also be reflected in the interior pages of the handbook. If you ask me, these prototypes are awesome.

tiger-handbook-prototype

wolf-handbook-prototype

bear-handbook-prototype

webelos-handbook-prototype

Get trained on these changes

Take the “Get the 411 on the NEW Cub Scout Adventure Program” courses at Philmont Training Center this summer during one of these weeks:

  • June 22-28
  • July 20-26
  • July 27-August 2
  • August 10-16

Cub Scouting isn’t the only program getting a makeover. Boy Scouting and Venturing will see big changes in 2014 and beyond. Find more about all that’s new and how you can get the latest training at this Program Updates page or this PDF.

410 thoughts on “Better activities, simplified advancement coming to Cub Scouting in 2015

  1. How do I stop getting updated from this thread? The comments are ‘becoming’ un-helpful and un-professional, and are wasting my time to filter them out.

    • bsaleadershipLSM, at the bottom of the emails you receive notifying you of new posts, there should be links to unsubscribe or to modify your subscription options. Following those will let you opt out of further comments on this thread.

  2. MT_Momma You can see things anyway you want to . I believe it was a bad statement and no need to clarify anything. I still respect your choice to say it. Trenton Spears

  3. mikemenn,

    I agree with you to some extent but would also add that I think there is a tendency of people on the internet to read personal animus into writing where none was intended. That is particularly the case where comments are written and/or read by those who don’t have superior control over the written language. And I mean no disrespect by that at all. I applaud Trenton for giving 30 years to scouting and, at 76 years old, being committed enough to put forth his opinion here or anywhere else. However, it’s also clear to me that he suffers from frequent miscommunications brought about both by the lack of clarity in his own writing and his perception that people are attacking or ganging up on him. It’s the latter that causes frequent reliance on experience as a basis for merit. I’d like to think we all, Trenton included, recognize that experience alone does not ipso facto make one’s opinion (one scout changes or almost anything else) more or less correct. I’d also like to think that with limited exception no one is on here intentionally taking personal shots at one another. So to that end, I don’t think I’d characterize Trenton as a troll because I think trolling requires intent. I’d characterize Trenton’s comments as impassioned and frequently communicated poorly in writing. We all have opinions and we’ll all agree with some of Trenton’s positions and disagree with others. But I think it’s somewhat of a shame to suggest outcasting someone due to their poor communication skills as easy a choice as it may be. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt online, especially in situations like this where there is a failure of clear communication.

    • Well worded. I agree. I, personally, am not good with the written word. :)

      I’m also unsubscribing from this thread since it’s no longer helpful. Thanks to the many scouters who had helpful opinions.

    • Nutmegger Your comment is very confusing and lacks some substance. I have never accused anyone of ganging up on me. You talk of superior communication skills as if there is a set standard of communication requirement’s before you can blog on Bryans website. I base my opinion on experience and I have been a avid supporter of Scouting and its mission to the youth of America. I will not mention my achievement’s in scouting because I believe that it would not serve any purpose in convincing anyone on this website. We all have to live with our conscience and our contribution’s in our lives. I have always loved scouting since I was a boy scout in 1949 that is why I am still in scouting today and Lord willing spend a few more years supporting time less values that I have experienced. There is no bitterness’s in my soul only love for the greatest youth program in the world. I have no intent to rub people the wrong way I only respond as I see things hopefully right and I will always stand by them. I use my real name on this website because I have trust in people and no need to hide anything. Thank you for your partial support. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • OK, folks – I think I speak for many of us when I say the usefulness of this thread for coherent discussion has been reached. This started as a great exchange of useful ideas and has now deteriorated into something much different than intended. In the interest of returning to a civil discussion, or simply just letting this die a long overdue death I would like to make the following points:
      The new Cub Scout program was conceived, layed out, and developed by hundreds of dedicated scouters across the country from all walks of life and levels of experience. It was further tested last summer in over 10 councils – probably one just like yours, by people just like you, who validated the majority of the program, and made some additional improvements.
      That program, the product of 3+ years of work, by hundreds of volunteer scouters is now being polished up and made ready to go to press. You have seen some snippets of it. You have not seen all of it because it is simply not ready yet!
      Similarly, the BSA has released parts of the program. All of it has not been released, because, it to, has not been finalized. For those of you who have picked up one point or another, and passed judgment on the whole process based on a statement or two, I encourage you to wait until you have all the facts, and then decide.
      There will be 4 sessions presented at the Philmont Training Center throughout this summer. These will not be the only “official” national level trainings released to our leaders who are understandably hungry for the information. Plans are being made to help present the trainings in Areas, Councils, and Districts. Please encourage your District and Scout Executives to ask their Area Directors when and where the trainings will be presented.
      For those of you worried about the transition from one plan to another, let me throw this at you:
      • Any award ever earned by your son in the Scouting Program is still “legal” to be worn on his uniform. So, if your son has a belt full of belt loops already earned, he can continue to wear them until he bridges into Boy Scouting. He can also wear the any awards he earns under the new program.
      • There seems to be some idea that the content of the belt loop program was been eliminated. Many of the loop programs have been built into the new award structure – the fun is still there! No one is going to tell you you can’t play basketball, tennis, chess, with your den, or take them on a map and compass hike. The recognition for this event may or may not be specific to that event, but there will be plenty of opportunities for recognition!
      • The transition plan from a 2 –year Webelos program to the upcoming (2) 1 year programs has been carefully designed and will be well documented. Don’t worry about it. Remember those “Super Achiever – 20” patches are just a patch from Supply – it’s not an official rank, right?
      • For those of you who are concerned about how much time you will have to assimilate the new plan and develop your den plan, consider this – remember when you were a new den lea leader? You said “YES!”, picked up a book, attended a training, and hit the ground running – probably within a couple of weeks. The new meeting plans will be more help you in developing your program than current material, plus with your years of experience now it should be an easy process.
      So, bottom line: It’s a great program, give it a chance – wait for the release, do whatever you can do to be trained and have fun! There’s still lots of fun and room for everyone.

      Dennis Kampa
      CAT team

      • Dennis Kampa Well said and your comments have brought clarity to the changes like no other comment on this website my respect for you goes back years. Thanks for your many years of service and dedication to scouting. Trenton Spears

      • I am most worried about the Webelos program. I want to send boys into Boy Scouts with the right kind of skill sets that will help them be successful during their journey to First Class. I don’t want to see a Webelos program that doesn’t focus on all the current skills. I am hoping that the new Webelos “Adventures” are more mature in nature than those designed for the younger Cubs. I wish we could see what each program’s Adventure requirements are. I still have copies of Program Helps and the Webelos Leader Guide that came out before the current version (the one that matches the boys books). I will most likely still use them as well as the belt loop book and how to guide for den and pack planning. I am also worried about Arrow of Light. I disagree that it can be earned without earning Webelos. There should be something special about earning it, the highest award in Cub Scouts.

        • Jennifer:

          As Dennis noted, “The transition plan from a 2 –year Webelos program to the upcoming (2) 1 year programs has been carefully designed and will be well documented.” The requirements for the Arrow of Light award were designed to create a quality transition from Cub Scouting into Boy Scouting. There are no “gaps” in the process, and all boys who earn the AOL will find a smooth and effective transition into Boy Scouting.

        • Ken,
          But what about the Webelos Scouts caught in the middle of the transition? Our current Bears will be transitioning to Webelos 2 in the summer of 2015. I have seen several people bring up this concern, but no answers, or suggestions of an answer. If I missed it, please let me know.

        • SarahBeth–

          Transition guidelines will be shared well in advance of the actual transition date.

          Best,

          Ken

        • I have the same question and have only found the answer to be a vague “it will be a great program”. I would like to see that group (of which my son is one) be able to finish the old requirements, since when they became a webelos, it was (is) considered an 18-month plan. If a boy enters webelos under the old plan, he should be able to have the same amount of time to finish requirements (including super achiever if he wants, as I know my son does) as the boys a year before him. Saying that he can do one year of the old standards and one year of the new denies him one complete program.

        • Ken, any chance that will be before May 2014? The way you are sounding is as Elizabeth describes where they will have one year old and one year new, and that leaves the leaders not knowing what of the old to emphasize since we don’t know what to expect for the new. For the one year programs (Tiger, Wolf, and Bear) it is not a problem phasing in a new program with a rank change. I have to agree with Elizabeth and say that the Scouts caught up in the change should be able to hold to the old program.

        • I have yet to see the actual requirements for each Webelos adventure but I am pretty certain that in my dens we will continue to hold to a two year program and we will decide when to do each adventure or parts of them as time, weather, seasons and other scheduling permits. That is what is great about the current program. The autonomy to set our den schedules as we see fit for the needs of our boys. As I’ve stated before I have never ran a den the same way each time. So if I have Web 1s and I see an opportunity to complete requirements for an adventure listed under Web 2, I’m not going to pass it up. Another concern I have is the fact that outside orgs will not be aware of the program changes. When Girl Scoutd changed their programs 3 years ago the outside org programs were no longer in line with the new program requirements. Orgs in my area have struggled to get onboard and are just now ready to start providing programs. If BSA rolls out training earlier, then once local councils have sufficient training , they can start notifying outside orgs so they can be ready as well.

        • That’s another reason I am going to Philmont. I oversee and develop all the scout programs for a local children’s museum. The girl scout changes drove us crazy and cost us a year’s worth of bookings, mainly because we couldn’t get our hands on the books. The scout shop was back ordered for months!!

        • I agree with Jennifer that earning the Arrow of Light without earning the WEBELOS badge is wrong. How can you look any scout or adult in the eye and say, “The Arrow of Light highest award that a WEBELOS (Cub Scout) can earn…and BTW….you don’t have to complete all ranks in order to earn it.” It is simply contradictory and undermines the “highest award” concept. For those of you old enough to remember, the overall jist and rationale behind these “improvements” look very similar to the tremendous backslide and disaster the BSA went through in the late 70s and early 80s. In trying to become “all things to all people” the BSA made a series of mistakes in compromising principles and practices for the sake of increasing membership. It took nearly two decades to “undo” those blunders and get the program back on course. The pendulum swings again….in the wrong direction.

        • So is it better to tell a Scout who for some reason didn’t get to join Cub Scouts until he was in 5th grade that unless he kills himself for the next 6 months he is a failure? Why is there such a focus and whining on the “fairness” of one boy coming into a program and having the same opportunity as his fifth grade peers to feel successful and cross over into Boy Scouts?

          It is not as if we are telling him that if he hangs around for these next 6 months he can earn all the ranks Tiger through Webelos.

          You say it undermines the “highest award” concept? Then change the silly concept. It only undermines it if you let it. Our Scouts will never feel that way about a fellow Scout unless we somehow plant that notion.

      • Thank you Dennis, this is the most information I have received thus far. I am not totally against the change was just shocked at some of the information. My den will be becoming Weblo 1′s this year in June and I am just concerned how it will affect us. I am right now the Committee chair and I have thought about staying in that position after my son goes into boy scouts so I like to be informed on changes because I am usually the one who needs to update the pack and it’s kind of scary when they are all looking to you for answers and you have nothing to give them. I am also the one who usually makes sure the boys have a few outings or other events besides the district events to do and earn some other recognition that the leaders may not have time for or know about.

      • Thank you for the additional information and reminder on the importance of being trained. As a “trained” leader at both in both Cub and Boy Scouting, I’d like to point you in the direction of the BSA’s Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities. You may note that the restrictions on eligibility for map and compass hikes. Additionally, the WEBELOS program has never been 2 years in length as you indicated. Under optimum conditions, it has been 18 months or a half-year shorter than your may have thought and indicated. Those may seem small points to you and I do respect the effort that appears to have gone into these changes. I point them out as a reminder not to arbitrarily down play the opinions of others.

  4. All–

    We are developing a comprehensive set of answers through a Frequently Asked Questions document. We will provide answers to key questions in a timely manner. In the meantime, enjoy the current program with the Cub Scouts you support.

    Best,

    Ken
    CAT Team

  5. Philmont is a fabulous family experience. My husband and I attended some years ago and our sons went into the Tiger and Webelos dens for the week. We always wanted to go again but flying grom NY is pricey. We had planned a special trip this year for our 35th anniversary. Our volunteer (and my work) priorities made the “Philmont this summer” decision for us. So I am just a tad bitter over decision-making. I just have to suck that up!

    But a roll out by Sept 2015? I barely get new leaders trained by the end of October! And with changes this big, a lot of “old-timers” need to be trained as well. Regardless of the debate on the quality of and need for changes, this is a tough time frame for us as trainers.

    • Fuan Philmont is a great experience I believe that every leader needs to have at least a one time experience at this advanced leadership training facility. Like most changes in the BSA it will be the responsibility of local leadership that will get the job done. The need is great the job is not always easy and some good things will be tossed aside in the transition. We have to remember it is for the boys and if some changes do not work out the boys will soon let us know and we must listen to them. Sincerely Trenton Spears

      • Any suggestions on how the average Webelos leader can teach the Video Game Design and Animation adventures? These seem to involve a lot a specialized knowledge and equipment that frankly I don’t see the average leader possessing. Obviously, these 2 should be done with outside orgs who specialize in those subjects. With the release of specific requirements and program training taking place so late already for leaders, I can see it will take quite a while more before those outside orgs will be ready to present these programs. Any thought about having the BSA partner with colleges or universities that offer these programs as majors so that they can develop programs for scouts, Boy Scout merit badges included. I am having a really hard time finding programs and counselors for my Boy Scout as well. I like that there are tech badges available but having the means to teach them to 5-10 boys at a den meeting is not reasonable for most leaders.

        • Without seeing the requirements yet it is hard to say, but seriously how hard can it be? I mean we are talking 4th and 5th graders here. I mean most of them know more than the “average leader”.

        • Recognition is NOT the same as rank. Recognition is exactly that. Being recognized for achieving something. No sequence of events in special order need apply.

        • I am aware of that. The point was (and still is); how can you award the higest recognition to someone who has not completed basic requirements. The concept is par with the idea that “everyone gets a medal for being a winner.” If we are to truly teach scouts the value of working hard, we undermine the idea that everyone gets the prize.” Not everyone comes in first place. A good winner becomes that through learning how it feels when you don’t always win.

        • If the requirements no longer state that the Webelos badge is necessary and all of the “basic requirements” are done, the Scout who came into the program in 5th grade deserves to be recognized as much as the Scout who was lucky enough to discover scouting later in life.

          How are we encouraging hard work if at the end of 6 months of unreasonable expectations, a Scout hears too bad so sad you didn’t work hard enough. And do you truly believe that that discouraged boy is going to go onto Boy Scouts? What good does that do anyone? And if you say well that means he couldn’t overcome a life lesson, can we remember the age please?

          I am the last person who wants everyone to get a trophy. But I do believe that reasonable expectations and hard work to get these done, does deserve recognition.

        • I think you forget that a boy can still cross-over into Boy Scouts at the end of their fifth grade year or when they are 11. No boy who work doesn’t get rewarded. They earn their Webeloes badge and many do get their Arrow of Light because they are motivated to do it. I think the problem is that the boys who have been in will lose motivation because they will say why try when anybody can get the highest award now.

        • Why try? Because it is fun and it makes them proud. The only reason there would be a why try? type of attitude is if the adults have it.

        • Connie – Having a history of being a District WEBELOS to Scouts Transition Chair for several years, I do remember the age of the scouts at the time and look at the big picture. I also remember the 12 Core Values of Cub Scouting and that the goal of every leader is to teach and instill these values in scouts. Removing the WEBELOS badge as a requirement for AOL in an effort to make scouting more appealing defeats the purpose of: (a) having the AOL as the highest award (it would become nothing more than a patch similar to what you may get for attending a Cub Scout event such as Pinewood Derby), (b) undermines Cub Scouting Core Value 4 (Courage), 8 (Perseverance), 9 (Positive Attitude), 10 (Resourcefullness) and 12 (Responsibility). Your example of a scout who might leave scouting because he did not earn the AOL is indicative of a scout who already had one or more other risk factors or leadership that had not worked diligently enough to instill the aforementioned core values. The AOL is not a requirement to crossover to Boy Scouting. Failure to crossover to a troop due to not earning the award is only a mask of other larger issues. The majority of WEBELOS who crossover to Boy Scout do not earn the AOL and still thrive as Boy Scouts. Putting all previously mentioned items aside, removing the requirement to earn the WEBELOS Badge on the path to AOL not only “lowers the bar” needlessly, ti devalues the significance of the AOL to the point that it is in a de facto “trophy for everyone” status. If that becomes the case, it may as well be handed out with the t-shirts when a scout joins the pack.

        • Agreed!!!!! New adventures or not, I will be making every effort to make sure each scout in my dens actually earns AOL the right way. Yes even new 5th graders. It is possible. Been doing it for a while now. Then we preserve the special distinction of the award by holding a special AOL ceremony. If by chance a boy should fall short then at least he still earns Webelos.

        • We can agree to disagree I guess. I too have been in Scouting for over 20 years and know the Core Values and know the Aims and Methods and everything else that gets quoted as wonderful and important………

          What I have never understood and never will is the ADULT importance placed on what is deemed “the highest award”. Why does there even need to be one? Don’t get me wrong I don’t feel that way about Eagle. But I do believe the age of Cub Scouts gets lost in the rush to make sure he is persevering or has courage or resourcefulness or a positive attitude. He is still at the mercy of his parents.

          I haven’t seen it written that AOL is being dumbed down or that the Webelos badge being removed is to make it more appealing for everyone. Of course a Cub can get AOL in 6 months, I have done it too. But not as often as not.

          Making AOL “just another patch” is again an ADULT determination. And when the new requirements come out and if old school leaders who think they know what is best for the program continue to mandate the Webelos badge then I maintain that the principles that are held up so high are being ignored and a bad example set.

        • We need to waif for all the final requirements before we get too upset about all the changes.

          Please remember though that currently, in order to receive the Arrow of Light a cub must earn Webelos, NOT “all the other ranks” as many are stating.

        • Yes, Webelos rank included. Is that so hard to accomplish? It’s not if planned correctly.

  6. Did you really need to make it easier for them? I’m a current First Class Boy Scout, and with the original ways they still barely prepared you for the big boy days. And no Arrow of Light? Really? The Arrow was one of the fun things to do when you were done with Cub Scouts, because it helped you start looking at troops.

  7. I am the Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner for my District. I know the new program starts May 2015. For the current Bears – that will be Webelos in the 2014-2015 school year. What happens for the 2015-2016 school year – do they follow the old program or have to change to the new requirements?

    Also for the LDS units that are Webelos for one year not 18 months – how will the new program effect them, Since there will 14 achievements that need to be completed in one year. I have a unit that is an LDS that uses birthdays.

  8. Question: my son is a Bear right now. So at the start of the 2014 school year in Aug/Sept, he will be going into the Webelos. So, he will do the 1st year under the current format, but then what happens for the 2nd year in 2015??? Does he go into the new handbook and format??? Will it be too confusing. Are the current and new format so different that we may be doing the same things over or rushing thru the 2nd year cause everything is different????

    • Elgringo49 In the LDS church 11 year olds do not participate as second year Webelos they bridge over at age 11 and become full Boy Scouts this has been very successful and maybe the BSA needs to promote this in their programs. I believe that this would be the good change for the BSA. One of the thoughts has been the transition to Boy Scouts some have had trouble with the transition to the Scout law and Oath. I believe that the Cub Scout promise and laws should be left as is from Tigers to Bears and the change to the Boy Scout Oath and Law should be made at the 1st Webelos age 10 boys. Just a thought Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  9. I don’t have access to computers, software and other equipment for 5-10 boys. Therefore doing these in a den meeting is not feasible. Outside orgs that specialize could do it but until they become aware of the program and requirements I can see that these two in particular won’t be ready to go for quite some time after roll out.

    • That is where a proactive leader can help speed things up. If we know right now that potentially this is going to be an issue start looking around. Start with your local library or community college.
      Go to your local Troops and see if any of the merit badge counselors have any resources. Maybe even older scouts who are studying that in college.

      Don’t wait for these resources to get up to speed, ask for it to happen.

    • When the Artist activity badge was modified to include using the computer to draw, my then den chief “hooked me up” with his middle school art teacher. He also connected me with his technology teacher for an assist with Craftsman. See if someone in the pack has older children in the local middle and high school for an assist!

  10. Earlier today, Connie Knie indicated……….”What I have never understood and never will is the ADULT importance placed on what is deemed “the highest award”. Why does there even need to be one? Don’t get me wrong I don’t feel that way about Eagle. But I do believe the age of Cub Scouts gets lost in the rush to make sure he is persevering or has courage or resourcefulness or a positive attitude. He is still at the mercy of his parents.”

    You could have just stopped at “never understood”. Your position was very clear then. Having the 12 Core Values and de-emphasizing them as your full statement does speaks for itself.

    • I watched this discussion disintegrate before and don’t want to be part of it happening again. My views are my own and I don’t have any desire to be misunderstood or have anyone believe I disrespect their views.

      There is so much that is unknown and I truly believe that everyone who has posted opinions here has what is best for the youth they serve and the program that serves them.

      • Bravo Connie. I was just personally attacked – on my work email account – by a “gentleman” who did not like my post pointing out that some people (including him) have been implying in many of the different threads here that “All ranks must be earned” for “the highest award in cub scouts – arrow of light.” Since I subscribe to this blog from my home account, this “gentleman” hunted me down to find my email. He has now become a stalker. Extremely un-scoutlike.

        Folks – get a grip. Conversations are difficult enough without a face-to-face dialogue (see the old Wood Badge communication presentation for a list of barriers). What you may be misinterpreting is due to a typo, not picking up on punctuation, or simply not phrasing our comments as clearly as we might like. Asking for clarification of a point raised, asking open-ended questions, trying to engage in real communication is what these responses should be — not attacks and insults.

        What are we teaching the boys??!!

        • That’s a great question, Faun, and one that bears repeating. What ARE we teaching the boys? Through my work in Scouting and my job, I have come to realize that there is some point in time when we no longer hold ourselves to the standard of behavior, manners, and courtesy that we hold children to. Children would be put in time out or given some other sort of discipline for the same behavior that has become “the norm” for adults. And I find it disgusting! As Scouters, especially, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. The Scout Law dictates how we should act and those 12 words together equal 1: RESPECT.

          How much better would this world be if we all just practiced courtesy and respect?!

          I have two employees, both over the age of 50, who do not get along and the way they interacted was ridiculous. I finally took them aside and told them that if their daughters came home from high school complaining about a problem with a peer, this is the not the way they would tell their daughters to handle it.

          At what point does it become okay for adults to act worse than children?

        • Very well said. Through too much of this discussion, it’s – mostly – been the moms who understand this.

        • You have just identified yourself as one of those who doesn’t “get it.” Hence, the “mostly” moms since you are one of the key people who has been attacking and insulting both publicly and privately.

          And I will be reporting you to National as the person who searched for me via the internet to attack me thru my work email. You are not a client – you had no business contacting me that way. You are a cyber-stalker. Fortunately there is a BSA program that teaches about your type.

  11. I think it would be great if we could bring more “game with a purpose” to the handbook and leader guides. Instead of discussing character, let’s recommend games that the boys can play with their dens or families. Let’s do everything we can to keep Cub Scouts from feeling like school.

    • Nate- I 100% agree! I found there was way too much art in the cub program and after a full day of school the boys had very little interest doing more school.

      • Yes, I have noticed Scouts have their program book with a big volume on Games and Activities, but Cub Scouting has me always looking on the internet and not all I see is tired and validated by use. WE could use a little help with tried and true things to do with our younger scouts.

      • I teach “Cub scout science” at University of Scouting, and I up officially call that Art for cubs. From my experience as a mom and den leader, I know the boys don’t really like the crafty stuff but they do like the hands on stuff. You can turn many art projects into science experiments, which are more fun. I have found that the only time they want to do something labeled an “art project” is when they are making a Mother’s Day or fsther’s day present!

  12. Page 13 of the program change overview slide show says that regional & area training sessions will be held in fall 2014 and spring 2015. Does anyone know if that’s for the professionals or for ALL Scouters?

  13. It’s summer camp registration time and that got me thinking of another issue with the timing of these changes and their accompanying training.

    Our council camps work on rank advancement and belt loop requirements. Scouts can knock out a few achievements and earn a fistfull of belt loops in one or two weeks at cub day camp.

    These camps rely on parent volunteer den leaders. Next year, camp will start just a few weeks after the new materials are launched. When are these parents going to be trained on new requirements? How will camps plan a program effectively on short to no notice of the specifics? I’ve been troubled with the idea of training leaders at the unit level (those who will actually be doing the program delivery) in the fleeting summer months but the camp issue seems even more troubling.

    • Nutmegger:

      Several of the authors of the new program materials work closely with developing program for the Cub Scout National Camping Schools. Those needs have been identified and the syllabus will be revised to support the new program model. Day camp and resident camp staff who attend NCS will be prepared to support the new program model.

      We are preparing a comprehensive FAQ document to answer many of the questions that have come up here – and more.

      In service,

      Ken

      • I’m glad the issue is on the radar and look forward to the FAQ. It sounds like you’re conditioning volunteering at day camp for a week on attending NCS, which seems impractical. When will that training take place? It, too, would have to come before printed materials I would think?

        As an aside, I think a lot of the chaos in this thread is rooted in an ill-advised release of a half-baked product. The documents posted provide an incomplete snapshot filled with holes and issues that dozens of folks have commented on here to various degrees of alarm. We may all have been better off without this blog post until after the FAQ or more concrete information was prepared. I’m certainly appreciative both of the time spent by volunteers to consider and draft these changes and of the willingness of some to engage in discussion here and am all for transparency in process but if a firestorm can be avoided by creating more detailed documents for general distribution, I think it’s worth the additional time.

        And finally, generally, there have been a handful of comments from folks on the 411 group to the general effect of “don’t worry about it” and “you’ll learn about these great things we’re working on in due course.” I tend to think that’s a good way to turn people with constructive ideas and interest off to the committee and the process. You can’t on one hand say “we have this great program, come look at the basics” and when questions on specifics shut down. A fairer tone is always “we understand your concern and it has been factored into the process. The specifics of XYZ are still being finalized and we hope to share them with you soon.” I think that’s generally the tact you’ve taken, Ken, and I appreciate it and look forward to further updates so I can be as prepared as practical to transition my unit in the coming 18 months.

        • Having attended and been a trainer at NCS I don’t think Ken was saying that in order to volunteer at day camp you needed to go (unless I misread your statement). Now all program directors and camp directors have to go.

          I am not sure that the folks working away on this new program could have won no matter when they rolled out the news. I mean if they wait until it is totally bulletproof (which nothing ever is) or did what they ultimately did, concerned and involved leaders were going to find reasons to not be happy. I mean if they had waited longer to turn our a more informed and complete info there would have been a hue and cry that not enough notice was given. I like to be informed early so that I can follow the progress and keep my leaders as up to date as possible.

          All of the questions raised, while legit, after while become wild conjecture and all that is needed is a bit more patience. Firestorms will never be avoided when leaders and parents have a passion for a program. Which is what all of the ” don’t worry” answers are trying to say.

          I don’t feel that any of the answers hear have turned anyone off as far as the process or the committee. I mean other than “tone” (which this type of communication is so terrible for) I don’t see a difference between, please be patient and we will get you the answers you seek and your concerns have been factored in and we hope to share them with you soon. Both answers indicate that more is coming. I am just cynical enough to read placation into “we hear you and care”.

          And even if they did try to address as many of the concerns as humanly possible there are going to be huge factions of leaders who are going to be upset and some will even disregard these changes until they are forced to make them. No one likes change and this is a big one.

          Disclaimer (since this discussion has been a hot bed) I am not pointing at anyone or their opinion. These opinions are simply mine. Submitted respectfully and hopefully treated as such.

        • I agree completely. I have many concerns about a program that really hasn’t been shown to us, the den leaders, up until now, and we’ve only seen a glimpse, with the “don’t worry”. The planning committee has said they’ve worked on this for 3 years, and it was tested last summer. So this program was tested over one summer (when hardly any boys attend scouting events), maybe a full year, and it’s a done deal? And we, the people who will have to change our whole plans to lead meetings (the DEN leaders) really will only have about a month between receiving the info and using it with the kids? (an aside, I’ve never liked the “delivery” term. I’m not a postman delivering new and exciting mail to the kids; I’m actively engaging with the kids to help them learn and earn their badges). In contrast, the Lion cub kindergarten program, of which I was a leader for 3 years in the Longhouse council out of Syracuse, has been a pilot program for over 8 years, with no feedback asked by the cub leaders running the programs, and no end in sight (when I left in 2011) for making a decision on adding it to the cub program or not. So to me, this roll out seems very fast and not well-tested. Yes, I would have loved to receive an invitation to be on the planning committee, yes, I would have loved to fill out more parent/leader surveys (I’m signed up for all of the ones I’m eligible for on scouting.org).

          I think a vague preview would have been better than a vague preview with the info that belt loops are going, AOL is a new separate award, without any specifics.

        • I really wish that, if national already tested this program, they could give us more specific info on adventure requirements. Just what will the boys need to do to complete the adventure. Give us that info and us volunteers can at least start preliminary planning of program content as early as this coming summer. I would love a more proactive approach. Give us more details please.

        • Jennifer I also wonder about the tests of the new cub scout program. Can anyone post where the tests occurred, how many Councils involved, name of Councils. A complete report of the results of the tests and what was tested. I see a lack of transparency at this point. I see a pass this change and then we will find out what is in it [sound familiar]. This test lasted three years for heavens sake. The most we know at this point is that everyone will like the new program because it has changes that will simplify the Cub Scout program. I hope that someone will be able to post more information there are to many changes that still have to be worked out. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

        • But if they are ready to deliver training this summer at Philmont, why can’t they post that information online for everyone to see. This would be a great proactive step to get volunteers the much needed info in advance of official local Council and District trainings which, from what I am understanding, won’t happen until after May 2015. Volunteers around the country would get ample time to review the program content, become familiar with it and identify areas that are unclear or what their specific questions may be when they finally get access to training courses. Why should only those fortunate enough to make the trip to Philmont get an advance look at the new program?

        • Jennifer and all:

          In process:
          (1) Additional FAQs to address concerns shared in this and other social media forums.
          (2) We are in the process of developing the training to be delivered at Philmont this summer; a conference at Philmont is very much about the experience, and simply posting the training materials online will not communicate the information as effectively as taking part in the conferences. We realize that not all volunteers will have the time or resources to make the trip to Philmont during the summer. For that reason, other training opportunities, closer to home, are being designed.
          (3) Training will be available beginning in the fall at the area and council level to help orient leaders to the new materials. The same team of volunteer Scout leaders who are designing the content to be shared at Philmont will also create the training to be used at the council and area level.
          (4) Additional information is being developed to share at district roundtable meetings during the period leading up to the program delivery.

          We are cognizant of the concerns and questions that arise here.

          Much like the launch of any new or changed product, for the time in advance of the release, we are restricted to providing information that is more descriptive than specific. That is the nature of such things. For those of us who look forward to the release of a new smartphone, we are resigned to learning about it at a high level before we get to try it out in a store. The desire to give advance information has fanned the flames of wanting more specific information….information that is not appropriate to share at this point. Not because anything is wrong or unfinished, but because the program changes will make more sense when the materials can be reviewed all together.

          * * *
          The desire to plan long-term is appreciated and respected. In the meantime, there are still 16 months during which the current program is the means through which boys will experience the Cub Scout program. Focusing on that remains the most important priority.

          With humility and respect to all who have commented,

          Ken
          Cub Adventure Team

        • Very understandable however many of us have many other obligations to various other programs as well as school and work. I personally would be very grateful to at least get to review the program content in advance at my leisure (ie. when my schedule permits). Many other kinds of training courses actually encourage participants to review the material in advance so they are familiar and much more prepared to be actively involved in their training experience as well as getting their questions answered. We are all still very much aware that we have the remaining current program to deliver to our youth. With that said, another point for an early release of information is so as to provide as much of a smooth transition as possible. We are all going to be like brand new leaders all over again. If we don’t have as much time as possible to understand the new program before we implement it, we have no one to help us. I would hate to be a leader struggling to learn my program level and have the other leaders asking me about theirs. That would mean I have to learn them all to be able to help them out. Now, as Cubmaster and a person who is often looked upon as a resource in our Pack, I will need to learn the entire program. I personally need way more time.

        • I completely agree. I would like to hear more about this monthly at each roundtable starting in September 2014, so we can transition our leaders and the kids don’t miss out on anything that they currently love right now. May 2015 is way too late to be able to plan, not saying we can’t do it, but we, the den leaders (or like me, the one that holds three hats in the pack and my husband who holds two), have many other obligations to our families, our careers, etc. The majority of cub scout leaders are not full time Scouters or retired from their regular job, as many of the Boy Scout leaders have been in my sons’ troops. We, instead, are active parents, sometimes Sunday school teachers, Little league coaches, homeschool teachers, and we want to know in advance how to plan for the “big change”. And with all of this talk from the committee who is planning the changes, no one has given us an answer to what to do with our current Bears. Keep with the 18 month Webelos program as written and start the current Wolves off as Webelos/AOL in the new program? We are contemplating buying up the extra activity pins and continuing with the old program so the kids don’t change halfway through. We, like another leader mentioned, don’t go by the book; we take advantage of opportunities throughout the whole 18 months.

          One last thing, if belt loops are going away, and you all knew in 2010 this new program would eliminate belt loops, why was so much work put into the new 2009 belt loops, only to decide a year later to pull all of them?

        • While I appreciate the desire to be ready to deliver this new program well, if the details that everyone is clambering for are not complete or the get changed the uproar will be worse.

          This is a no win situation, either the information comes out quicker and is incomplete or we are asked to wait and get frustrated because we feel unprepared.

          And while I am sure the committee would have loved to ask everyone’s opinion, how is that possible? I too wasn’t consulted and don’t for a minute feel that I should have been.

          Again, while I understand the desire to know, I am an ADC already trying to figure out how to get my people trained, all this angst can’t be productive……..

        • Ken,

          I think there’s a huge problem with comparing leaders to smartphone users. We are the people on the ground level who will be delivering the product. We are the sales people. We need to know what we are selling before it is released. We’re not the end user, the boys are. Furthermore, the reason details of new products are not released is for fear of competitors gaining an edge or copying the newest ideas (or in apple’s case, to manipulate demand). I don’t get the sense that BSA is concerned about competing cub programs stealing this great new curriculum.

          I don’t see a legitimate reason not to be more forthcoming. I also reject the idea that sharing the information being shared at philmont will be problematic. Just because we all can’t get the full philmont experience doesn’t mean we should be left in the dark. You say yourself that the program won’t make sense until all the materials are done. That’s slated for May 2015. If both those facts are true, there is little point to philmont (unless the materials will be available to attendees that are embargoed for the rest of us) and the rollout should be delayed a year. Period.

          The rollout and training calendar is convoluted. The defense against being more transparent, particularly as it related to philmont is patronizing. Just as other commenters, I’d like to be prepared. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be available in May 2015 to learn all of this at once and I shouldn’t have to be. I’m not stupid enough to let training for the new program distract from delivery of he the current next year. I don’t think anyone who cares enough to learn as much as possible as early as possible is. If I know what’s said at philmont, I’ll be in a better position to a) ask useful questions at council training and b) be prepared to help train my unit leaders with a more solid foundation in the new programs. You give lip service to long range planning but effectively tell us not to worry until next May when the materials come out (since the program won’t make sense til then)! I wouldn’t run a business that way and resent being forced to run a unit that way.

          You suggest that the specifics exist. Share them. Not so we can all take out our knives (though I’m sure some will no matter what) but so we can plan effectively. Help me line up the right volunteers, help me set my budget, help outside orgs have programs ready on day one. If the Committee thinks this overhaul will work if it’s effectively kept under wraps until next May, I regret to say it won’t. Not in my unit of 100 boys. We will lose leaders and we will lose scouts when the program quality diminishes because we couldn’t train leaders effectively in time. That will happen in my unit and I’m guessing plenty of others. Be grateful people care this much. They’ll stop being this engaged at a high level if they’re patronized. We all have plenty of other concerns competing for our time.

          I look forward to the FAQ but get the sense many of the answers will be to trust the process and read up in summer 2015 when information is released. As I’ve been saying on here for weeks, that’s not sufficient. I can’t emphasize enough that I have no reason (yet) to question the substance of the changes. I lament the demise of loops, even with their shortcomings, but can accept a rationale replacement. I think the rollout, training expectations, refusal to share the philmont training with those without means to travel, and embargo of specifics is counterproductive, patronizing, and likely to result in a very preventable but very rocky transition. The success of the program has a ton to do with the average den leader. Ask yourself how many average den leaders can get effectively trained in two summer months. No matter how good the new program is, the 15-16 scout year will be a bumpy ride. And that’s a shame. The boys deserve better.

          Scouts isn’t Apple and its dedicated leaders aren’t fanboys.

          Accelerate the material release and training schedule, delay the rollout,or cheat the boys out of a year. Those are the options I see. As always, I’m open to being persuaded otherwise or proven wrong.

        • “I think a lot of the chaos in this thread is rooted in an ill-advised release of a half-baked product.” Bravo! Someone had the guts to say it straight.

      • You’re not 16 months out, Ken, but until May 2014 as the current Bears become affected by the change with no guidance from national. That effects the planning of all the Packs and every current Bear den nationwide.

  14. Bummer! I’m a parent with a new scout (8 months in), and I really love the loop and pin program. Ah, well. Here’s hoping the new one is just as good. Will the new program include something comparable that lets scouts focus on a single area of interest and get an award for completing it?

  15. I am disappointed to see the loops and pins are going to be gone.
    They are one of the main motivations for my sons to join the cub scout.
    I hope there will be new way to reward the individual scouts who are willing to put in extra effort.

  16. This question is for those readers of the thread that are working on the actual committee. There is a lot of time (4 years so far) in developing the program for each rank. Given that launch is (purportedly) about 19 months away, has any thought been given to how progress will be managed?

    In my unit (and I suspect most Packs) one of the hardest functions to administer is awards management. Right now, packs have a variety of methods and institutional knowledge at their disposal to execute this function. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the elimination of belt loops, awards management is simplified because of the decision. Without some thought (and guidance) as to how a unit with administers a program that they are not familiar with, the volunteers who are in direct contact with families are completed unaware are likely going to catch flak for not doing it properly, when “Johnny doesn’t get his doo-dad.”

    Any insight on this aspect of the program shift will be most welcome.

    sincerely,
    Keith
    Northern Virginia Cubmaster,

  17. I have read many good ieads from active leaders; may I suggest bring back the lion badge and having WEBOLS for only one year?

  18. As I understand, the changes in 2015 will be doing away with the Beltloop program. As a mother of an Eagle Scout, I am very familiar with the scouting program and know that it offers those boys so much that they carry with them into their adult life. I can also say that if they do not gain some “rewards” to show their hard work along the way, they become disinterested and drop out of scouting. It is for this reason I would ask you reconsider the Beltloop program. These young boys need the gratification they feel when they earn their Beltloop and inspires them to continue to earn more, all the while they are learning and staying involved. I am afraid that if there are longer periods of ackowledgment, you will lose their interest and they will begin to drop out of the scouting program.

    • I agree. I think the loop and pin program is one of the best things about scouts, and I LOVE that my son can specialize in an area he has an interest in AND get acknowledgement for doing so. I’m seriously considering stocking up on the loops and pins so that my next two sons can still do them.

  19. A new concern has been raised about this transition as it impacts current bears. Our unit has a strong tradition of webelos pursuing all 20 activity badges and specially recognizing those who are successful and our current bear leaders are preparing to embark on a plan to tackle them all during the course of the 18 month webelos program commencing in June. When will we get firm guidance about the impact of this transition on these scouts and their leaders? In the next 8-10 weeks, our leaders will have put together a curriculum for our three soon to be Webelos 1 dens. If these scouts aren’t grandfathered into the current program and allowed to finish the activity badges and AOL under the current rules, there’s going to be a lot of frustration, friction, and annoyance. And local leaders are going to bear the brunt of it. The only way to mitigate that frustration is by making clear very soon what’s to happen to the webelos caught in the middle so everyone can be prepared for better or worse.

    To the extent any folks on the 411 committee are still listening to this thread, please understand that time is of the essence to at least advise everyone on what will happen to the current bears. I don’t want to tell den leaders they’ve wasted their time planning out the program to have the rug pulled from them next year.

    Thanks.

  20. Since belt loops have come up again in the conversation (and since a few CAT members are reading, hint hint), I would like to pose a new comment. The new adventures show that if the boy completes one, with 3 or so meetings in a month, he will theoretically receive some sort of recognition at the pack meeting each month (similar to a red progress towards rank bead, or something), and that these adventures will include elements from belt loops, current achievements and electives, etc. So the concepts of the belt loops and current achievements will not be lost, just a replacement program which combines them in a different way. Am I on track so far? The problem I have is that, especially for the Tigers and wolves, I work hard to plan not only achievements or electives, but a belt loop each month during den meetings, so that when we have a pack meeting, each boy has earned something. With the new program, it seems that unless the boy attends all three monthly adventure meetings, he will not earn the recognition. Of course, there may be some family activities built in that could work if a boy misses a meeting, but I can see more disappointment with less awards.

    And still waiting on some guidance for the current Bears. Will they be grandfathered for their last year or not? My leaders are starting to plan their 18 month program and need to know so they can plan accordingly. Their Webelos year starts June 1st. I have seen many ask the question, but no answers. Does the CAT team have an idea of when we leaders will know that answer? Thank you for your time.

    • Absolutely! Plus, belt loops allow boys to achieve in areas in which they may have a unique interest or aptitude that the general troupe is not going to focus on. Reading, pet care, chess, family history, video games, science, etc. The loss of the belt loop program is a real shame. I hope they reconsider.

    • In addition to the recently voiced concerns regarding current Bears (which has not been answered despite this being brought up at the beginning of these blog post comments) is the concept of 3 meetings a month for an adventure. Add a Pack meeting and we have 4 meetings. Don’t forget that many volunteers work full time and/or wear many hats. And don’t forget that some months are difficult to do 3 meetings, like December. It is already a crazy enough month, I try to give my parents a break with one den meeting, the pack meeting, and a caroling event. Please reconsider tasking the leaders with more to do, we need family time too.

  21. I would like to add my voice to the concerns specifically with regards to our current Bears.

    1) What guidance can the Committee give us as leaders in terms of the new Webelos II and Arrow of Light requirements?
    * We would like to be able to maximize their exposure to a wide variety of learning and activities and minimize the overlap between the two years.
    2) When do you plan to release that guidance?
    * We would like to start planning for summer activities and the start of the 2014-2015 program year as well.

    Thank you very much.

  22. Would love to see a “grandfathering” of the current Webelos 1-2 program for boys half-way through the Webelos program in May 2015.

  23. I am Committee Chair for our pack and I have a son who is a Bear. The den leader and I mapped out the entire two years a few months ago. We plan on starting our Webelos requirements this June. I would really like to know how this transition is going to work for them as well. Sometime very, very soon so we can plan.

    Also, I have volunteers to train, parents to inform and community contacts that need more information very soon. We book locations months in advance and are having our annual planning meeting in June. It’s going to be impossible to plan a schedule with incomplete information.

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  25. The current Bears, as of this writing, are screwed. They’ll be in the current Webelos handbook for Webelos I come May 2014 then are supposed to switch to the new one during Webelos II year in May 2015? As the Cubmaster and COR for my Pack I’m going to grandfather them and have them stick to the “current” Webelos handbook. Now the issue becomes one of the scout shop carrying the activity pins and belt loops they’d be earning, that are getting discontiued, and internet advancement not jacking up the what should be filled in since the requirements between old and new don’t align.

    • My council’s president recently confirmed (orally) that current bears will be grandfathered. That’s not reflected in ANY of the currently available documentation but is common sense.

      • Common sense is not a common virtue. Leave No Trace is in the handbooks until the May 2015 switch, but national has already begun pulling the LNT patches the boys are earning and replacing it with Outdoor Ethics. OE has different requirements so the boys don’t rate it, and the shops won’t sell it if the requirements aren’t done. And we found out about thisa few days ago when we went to get about 10 LNT patches.

      • Further, how is internet advancement going to align with the grandfathered current Bears? That’s going to be another nightmare.

  26. Comments about everything will be fine as Philmont is giving training to be dissiminated to the field in the Summer of 2014 is too little, too late as it comes to the current Bears caught in the switch, roughly 25% of Cub Scouts and 100% of the Packs to figure out what to do. They begin the Webelos program next month before the training. This wasn’t thought through too well, rating admonishments. A .750 batting average is stellar in baseball, but not in Scouting. This is more like a save percentage for a goalie in hockey…abysmal.

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