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. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of the ’6 core requirements’. In particular, my experience has been that the current Tiger and Wolf programs are very diificult to implement for new den leaders with no scouting experience (which is most Tiger and Wolf den leaders) because they offer no options as to how to acheive rank. Bear and Webelos are a big improvement and relief because they give a chinese menu approach (choose any 2 family, any 4 self…).The issue is few scouts have 100% perfect attendence at all den meeting and outings. Its not practical (or in some cases reasonable) to ask a family to make up activities like firehouse visits or building projects at home for meetings missed. And it puts an undue burden on these new den leaders to try and track this and ‘keep after’ parents. I’ve seen it done in almost every den and its a big net negative on the program, especially for new 6 year scouts and families who are getting their first taste of scouting. So at the end of the year, does the leader decide not to give little Timmy his Tiger badge because he missed that required outing and his mom or dad never made it up.My hope is that the new program will be designed with a stong focus on the practical considerations and needs of the Den Leader. This is the most difficult job in scouting and we need new parents with no prior experence to fill this role. If the program is:1) not easy to implement with minimal experience and training2) during two weekday evenings per month3) at night,4) in a school/church room,5) during the winter months6), with no more than a few weekend hours for an outing,7) and with about 80% attendence at each event,then it will NOT be fun or rewarding for the kids no matter what the topic is and retention will be impacted.Most of the leaders who are working on this new program or reading this blog constitute the ‘choir’ who beleive in the benefits of scouting. But the typical family just entering cub scouts still needs to be sold as to why this is a better sacrifice of their family’s time than basketball practice or lego club. This new program will make or break that decision for many families.

    • While I agree with everything you are saying, Dustin, I must point out that Scouting is not a better use of time than “basketball or lego club”. Both of my boys (a Bear and a Scout) were able to enjoy both baseball AND Scouting simultaneously. In fact, many times they had to chose one or the other and have conversations with both the coach and the scout masters to chose the better use of their time. On Scout-free weekends, we would spend the majority of our day at the ball park watching the games of fellow scouts and cheering them on. When 2 of our pack was on the same baseball team, they made the county playoffs. Many of us attended the series in support of our athletic scouts and cheered them through. Scouting is much more than scouts, it’s FAMILY. That is what Baden Powell wanted for these boys and that is how we honor his vision.

      • My boys love to do sports as well. What makes it difficult is that practice ALWAYS seems to interrupt with scouts. Every year it seems they schedule it on Thursdays. This year we got lucky and we go straight to practice from scouts, but it is still difficult. My youngest is a Wolf, and I have found that it is fairly easy to just do everything on our own at home…I guess it helps I’m his den leader.

  2. My Bear earned his Good Manners belt loop when he was a Tiger. A few months ago, he did something super dumb at school and was sent to the principal’s office. The only thing he wasn’t grounded from was Scouting. When he was getting dressed from his next meeting, he noticed his Good Manners belt loop and removed it from his uniform. The next day, his principal called me and asked if I knew that he brought the loop to school and gave it to the principal to hold until he earned it back! He worked really hard to earn back a belt loop that he didn’t need to give up. His principal was so impressed, she had her Eagle Scout son come to the school in full class A and bestow my son with his Good Manners loop in front of his class. I’m not sure what scouts or parents were included in BSA’s polls, but it seems like they are missing the mark entirely. These loops mean more to the boys than you think they do!

    • I agree. Only having a cursory look at the new program, it’s a shame they are taking away the belt loops. I hope the changes in the Boy Scout program don’t include taking away the merit badges. IMO, the belt loops for Cubs are akin to the merit badges for Scouts. I wonder why all the big changes. For sure, some things needed to be tweaked, but I hope they’re not changing the program simply for the sake of change. Again, only took a cursory look, but one thing I have wished they would change was making the AOL harder to get. It never made sense to me that the “highest rank in Cub Scouting” required fewer than half of the Webelos Activity Pins. I think there also should be something very specific if you have a Scout that goes from Tiger to Webelos; that’s an accomplishment in itself.
      Anyway, my oldest son is an Eagle, my second son is currently Life, on his way to Eagle, and my third (and final son) is a Webelos I. I’m glad we’ll be out of Cub Scouts when all these changes occur! I’m not keen on change, especially when I’ve been doing the same thing for the better part of 15 years!

      • +We’ve been Webelos leaders on and off for 36 years. There used to be 15 Activity Badges to wear on the colors, then it went to 20 and then the Belt Loops were added. We have boxes for each Activity Badge that we use each year. They provide a valuable experience for the boys. I notice that most of the new “adventures” have most of the requirements for the old Activity Badges. Why couldn’t the instant recognition of these “adventures” be pins that they can wear on the colors, as they have for the past 40 years, when my boys were Webelos. We’re in our 70s and don’t want to start all over again, but we’ll miss the company of the 10 yr old boys who are the nearest things to celestial beings on the Earth.

    • I didn’t even notice that the belt loops were missing; that is terrible. The boy scouts used to have belt loops; it sucks that they took those away too.

      • Good riddance to the belt loops. There are too many awards in Cub Scouts, and the boys and especially the new leaders lose focus on working on the tiger and wolf badge because they want to hand out belt loops like candy.

        As a boy scout, I earned the skill awards (which is what those belt loops were called then) and they were terrible and reviled by us as boys. They were an attempt by BSA to divide up the Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class requirements to bite-sized portions and MAKE MONEY off of selling the loops. Your belt became this brass and aluminum nightmare that you couldn’t put on your pants, and you rattled when you walked.

        Hopefully the Outdoor Activity Award, Summertime Award, World Conservation Award, and LNT awards will also be done away with – along with patches for unit honor award or journey toward excellence.

        The older program with Wolf, Bear, and Lion was more comprehendible. The boy’s uniforms looked less like christmas trees, and new leaders could easily understand a single goal and work toward it. Instant recognition? Let the leaders handle that with their own beads, necklaces, arrowheads, or den doodles.

        • ME, While your opinion on belt loops is probably not uncommon for other scouters, I think your thoughts on Outdoor Activity, Summetime and World Conservation Awards is off base. By “letting leaders handle that with their own beads, necklaces etc” you create a hodge podge of scouts, none of which look uniform and none have a set of standards for how they achieved any of their bobbles. So essentially you create a “Christmas tree” effect the same as you refer to except there are no limits or guidelines. Change is a good thing even though it is sometimes tough to get used to. We either change or die.

        • ME, Good riddance to the Belt loops! Bad statement. I attend many Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and the Eagle Scout displays his past memorabilia and among his past advancements are his Cub scout uniforms and among the uniforms is a belt with these as you say good riddance are his belt loops that he treasures among his achievements. As a former Cub Scoutmaster when the Den Leader and Parents awarded the belt loops to the Cub Scout there were such a spontaneous amount of joy and happiness to that boy. These moments are what scouting is all about and now the momentum of a few is good riddance to these timeless values. I believe we are going in the wrong direction and I hope that when changes are made it must be of a majority of recommendation not a selected few. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

        • “Trenton Spears:
          ME, Good riddance to the Belt loops! Bad statement.”

          Trenton, why are you allowed to have your opinion that everything that the BSA does is movitated by a goal of making money and people are not allowed to question you on that because it is your opinion but when someone else posts their opinion, you respond in this manner? I don’t happen to agree with Me’s assessment of the belt loop program, but he has as much right to hold and to express his opinion here as you do.

          Also, regarding another comment that you have posted:
          “The BSA is a business it has to make a profit or it will go under.”

          The BSA, in fact, is a non-profit organization. That is not to say that they don’t have financial concerns or that I don’t feel that items are often overpriced, but as a 501c3 organization, they are under far different regulations than a for-profit corporation.

        • Trenton,
          At the risk of retribution from you:

          Many of us agree that we are not in favor of the Belt Loops program going away, and have had a moment to vent about it. But I feel like your moment has come and gone, and you are at the point of ‘if you can’t say something constructive then don’t say anything’. The decision has been made to change the program and at this time I feel we need to have positive, constructive comments. I am not thrilled about the program change, and I am hoping that those who are making the new program have listened to our outcry and will make sure to implement a new system of encouraging Scouts to try new activities and gain immediate recognition.
          Stop griping and start preparing for the changes so you can help the leaders make sure the Scouts have a quality program.

        • I agree I think we have begun to repeat ourselves. I for one am ready to get on with the job and move us forward. We will DO OUT BEST.

        • Reading through the adventures that were posted I found a number of them that reflect the requirements and/or intent of the belt loops and pins. So learning certain skills will still happen.

          I also envision some immediate recognition based on those adventures.

          I’m giving up vacation to spend that money on Philmont to learn more. That’s something that all of us should resent, that the only official training and information available in 2014 can only be obtained at a huge expense.

        • I agree, training closer to home would be fabulous. I guess Philmont isn’t too far at a 4.5 hr drive, but I am already planning on going to Webelos Weekend, the Pack Campout, and Wood badge this year, I can’t really ask my husband for another scout camp, no matter how much I want to go.

        • Exactly. Going to Philmont for training might be great, but for most of us cub scout families, we have FAMILIES that we can’t just leave, then there’s the cost and vacation time, and well, just time. It’s impossible to believe that as others have said, in this day and age Philmont is the only place for training. I have 8 kids and an active duty husband, so not only can I not just take a trip out there, the family opportunities are out of my league too. The training needs to be available online or at a district roundtable. Even traveling to the Summit is a 10 hour drive, impossible for this busy cub scout committee chair/den leader/merit badge counselor. In the various packs I’ve been in, the packs with active parents are also the packs that don’t have anyone who has the time or money to attend anything at Philmont.

          So please consider training online sooner than May 2015, with emphasis on current Bears, and how they will handle straddling the old and new during web 1 and 2 years. I have’t heard yet if they can finish with their old program. I suspect they will be grandfathered in, as new boys who join boy scouts before a certain date can use old requirements until they reach first class, but I haven’t heard anything about these current Bears.

        • Faun, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve asked several times on this thread whether the Philmont training will be archived and available on the web because it is lunacy to insist (or guilt) scouters into going to Philmont to be “in the know” on these changes. Nobody has responded either way. Sorry, I’d love to be there but I have neither the time off nor the money to fly cross country for training, in part because I commit much of both to scouting already.

          With technology as it now exists, there is no reason not to have web based interactive learning be part of this process from jump but at the very least record the Philmont classes and post them on the web. That’s not unreasonable.

        • While this is a great resource. So much more will happen and evolve before and even after the training that it is going to be vital for those of us who don’t go.

        • Thanks, Ken. I’m familiar with the site. I’m also familiar with the plan that unit training isn’t until May 2015 and no materials will be out until then. What’s the barrier to recording the Philmont training and making it available in, say, September? Plain and simple, I have no way to train fifteen den leaders between May ?? 2015 and September 2015 AND have a pack planning conference where we set a budget based, in part, on awards I don’t know the cost or quantity of. I’m not resistant to change. Far from it. I remain open to the pros and cons of what’s coming. But I am resistant to the suggestion that unit level training be last minute because that’s what going to ultimately hurt no matter how good the changes might be substantively. Unprepared and confused den leaders will make for a sluggish and disorganized fall 2015, which won’t be good for anyone and is totally avoidable by providing ample time and opportunity for acclimation to the changes. If there is enough known about the changes for several weeks of Philmont training this summer, why will that not be available to the masses until the end of the 14-15 scouting year? The sooner I can start acclimating myself and my leaders, the better chance we’ll all hit the ground running when we need to. It’s that simple.

    • Thanks for sharing this experience, it brought tears to my eyes. Your son “get’s it.” Good job to you for teaching him so well and thank goodness for great Cub Scout leaders who have helped him understand the purpose of scouting.

    • I agree as a Bear Leader I encourage the belt loop program. I have some leaders who do not bother with them and I think it’s wrong. These boys work hard to earn them and learn things about different areas of interest by doing the requirements. I am very sad to see them go. I have boys that joined my den just so they can get the recognition they longed for. It’s a reward for hard work and makes them feel like they accomplished something.

      • It is a bummer they are going away. I wonder since the program has not been finalized is it too late to turn that around……….Bryan???

        Anyway since instant recognition is one of the cornerstones to the Cub program it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

        • Connie and all–

          There *will* be a form of immediate recognition. Stay tuned!

          Ken
          Cub Adventure Team member

        • Ken,
          I wasn’t too worried that the instant recognition was going to go away. Just wondering why something that is already in the program and is already providing that element would go away. I would like to know what prompted that decision.

          Now don’t get me wrong as a Commissioner and Trainer, I will support whatever is coming down the pike. But I still wonder. Is there a place to go to see what the arguments were for or against?

        • Connie–

          I don’t want to defer your answer, but I need to do that at the moment. We are putting together a set of FAQs to address the questions that have come up since this blog entry was posted on January 1.

          I ask you (and anyone else who is reading this) for your continued patience and good will for the boys program we all support.

          Best wishes,

          Ken

        • Thank you Ken,
          I think that reasonable people can respect the fact that patience is needed.

    • I agree the belt loop program, to me was the crutch and corner stone of the cub scout program. It didn’t matter if a boy wanted to take some time in the summer to play sports cause there was a belt loop for it. It allowed for the none athletic/ book type to earn awards as well. It made the program an equal opportunity and costumed to the child. I for one am saddened to see them go.

    • Joelle – Not to worry. I served on the 411 Team that evaluated and redeveloped the Cub Scout rank requirements. We agree – so much great program is found within Belt Loops (now 100% voluntary) we wanted to capture all that great program without reinventing the wheel. Sports & Academics will be discontinued as we know it but those badges and perhaps others will live on as part of the new immediate recognition program. The simplicity of Belt Loops and the more involved nature of the Pins program will meet in the middle and will be reorganized into five categories AND incorporated into Cub Scout rank advancement. The categories are: Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness (the group I serve), Outdoor Skills and Leadership.

    • I agree! My son has been in Scouts since he was a Tiger. He was a struggling student and his grades where not that great. I started using the requirements for the Belt Loops and Pins to help encourage him to put the extra work in. By the end of his Wolf year he was on the A/B honor student list. He has developed a love for reading, and science. He is even talking about “writing” a book. He is 9 years old and is special needs!! Please reconsider taking those mile stones away. They may seem small but I think they still can be very useful in the new scouting order. I can imagine what I would have done with out this tool with my son.

    • Joelle thanks for your comment on your sons honoring his Good Manners Belt loop There were 411 scouters who recommended changes to the Cub Scout program with the deleting of the belt loops from the program. There are many Scouters who would have liked to have their voices heard. That did not happen and now the program is a done deal creating division among the Scout leaders and parents. It proves one important fact that when the National BSA wants to do something they will find away to get it done. Our Nation has become a Nation of minority rule and the BSA has patterned its program the same way. Joelle great job of parenting and scouting. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  3. There is a lot of commentary on swimming and Aquanaut as a required (or “core”) Arrow of Light adventure. I believe that the confusion here arises because the “DRAFT 2013” pdf posted here is inaccurate (I suspect it will change to a final version), because what was ultimately approved is that Aquanaut will be an optional (elective) Webelos adventure. Just as the current Aquanaut Activity Badge is optional.

    Now, based on deliberations in the 411 task force process (or those I was involved in), I can confirm that swimming, and promotion of swimming ability and safety, were (and remain) really high priorities. Frankly, they were long included in the required (or “core”) adventures right up until the end . . . and that’s why they appeared on this pdf posted by Bryan. I would consider this effort an attempt to create a challenging program, which most would applaud, because in concept everyone agrees that swimming and swimming safety skills are important. In practice it can be hard, however.

    So I can also confirm that many on the 411 task force “heard” the concerns of others in the field that while swimming is important, in practice there can be major barriers (lack of resources for swimming, complexity in dealing with swimming ability issues, cost of access to swimming, weather issues, etc.). So the task force and adventure team applied those concerns by making Aquanaut an elective as finally approved. Consider this as listening to the field to try to get it right. Hopefully Aquanaut will be a very very common “elective” adventure.

    I would ask Bob Scott or Byran or others to confirm . . . but I believe this is accurate.

    • Bert’s comments are accurate.

      The document that describes the content was written in May. Final discussion to move aquatics activities to elective adventures were based on serious deliberation, feedback from the field, and the desire to make sure that before aquatics instruction is of high quality and available to all youth continued until late into the fall.

      The concerns addressed here reflected the nature of the discussion that has transpired over the last year.

      The content of the document is largely accurate, but there are some details that will change, as noted in the document. Aquatics is an example of this. The basic program message – Cubs complete a series of “adventures” to attain advancement for Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light – is accurate.

      We hope that all of the aquatics adventures are among the most-earned adventures from among the set of elective adventures.

      Best wishes,

      Ken
      member, Cub Adventure Team

      • Another thing that’s getting lost in the new program is the ability of Den Leaders to tailor the program to fit scheduling, seasonal or other such conflicts. For example, this year I have a mixed den of 4th/5th graders. I have started the 4th graders toward Fitness and they will finish it with their parents. I simultaneously started everyone on Readyman and shortly they will all earn Outdoorsman and get credit for camping with a troop. I will also be circling back to Citizen for the 4th graders while also starting everyone on 4 different badges while we are preparing for an event. By the time Blue and Gold hits, all 4th grader will have earned Webelos and Webelos 2s will have earned Arrow of light. I’m only one person. In order to fulfill what needs to be completed as well as be able to just say hey, why don’t we do Showman in February because there’s a really cool place downtown that is showing a puppet play and holding a puppet workshop afterwards. I liked that autonomy of being able to chose what badges we work on and when.

        • I agree with you Jennifer! This is only my second year as a scout leader, and though I do try to follow my meeting plans in order, it is really difficult for Wolf Den to “help plan and prepare and outdoor meal” in Massachusetts in the December!!!! Or “take a bike ride as a den”, in October, it can be done, but honestly it was too cold this year.

        • Kathy and Jennifer, thanks for your comments. Nothing in the new program design boxes a den leader into an order or sequence. It is your call on the order in which your den “attacks” their adventures.

        • Jennifer,
          We have always accomplished our program as it was conveient for us. I have never followed the achievements in order because of reasons like Kathy stated. Flexibility is the key to success.

    • I really hope you are correct on this. While I agree that life skills such as swimming are important, there are many kids who just cannot do those skills for various reasons. I’ve been a Webelos leader for both my boys. Over those 4 years I only had 2 scouts truly earn Aquanaut. I don’t believe the new Aquanaut adventure will be any more popular than the current activity pin.

    • Bert, you are correct. All aquatics adventures are elective. The version that posted first was an older one. It has since been updated.

  4. If it’s such a problem perhaps we should tell the new 5th graders to wait until they turn 11 and just join Boy Scouts. In my pack last year our Webelos 2den leader insisted that we sign up two brothers (twins) in August, knowing they would turn 11 in September, just so they could earn Arrow of light and not join boys out sashed of her web 2′s, who crossed over at the normal time. If it’s such a big problem, I’d rather not see an easier faster way to earn AOL, rather just let them experience cubs until they turn 11 and can bridge.

  5. I wish we had more leaders/parents like you working the program – and making it work! We would not have all these issues we are now facing.

  6. I hate to see the Academics & Sports program discontinued. Most of the boys in our pack enjoy earning them.

    • Agreed Scott – I also would not like to see the Academic and Sport pin programs abandoned. The Academic program is very much in tune with STEM (or STEAM). The Sports program is good for Cubs already on teams or to learn a new activity.

      [Personally I see the Academic and Sport pin programs having a potential market in the home school market, beyond the cub program.]

    • I also hate to see the belt loop program discontinued. There are boys that never receive awards for sports or academics because they are 5 seconds slower or project comes in 5th at school fair. This program allows them to be recognized for THEIR hard work and dedication. Even if that means they are not the fastest or coolest. Many kids work hard to obtain these loops, and are going to be very disappointed to see them go.

    • My Webelos 1 loved earning the belt loops and now the Activity pins, his mission is to earn more than his older brother, the Eagle Scout. His belt full of metal is his pride and joy because he earned all of them. It will be a real shame to see them go.

    • I personally am glad to see the academic and sports belt loops go away. They did not seem connected to the program, just a tack on. It sounds like the positive aspects have been incorporated towards the actual program.

      As far as instant recognition, I don’t believe the belt loops really filled that role anyway. What were we recognizing the boys for? For the most part, they did not help the boys achieve a rank, and when they do (Webelos) there was an activity pin. I believe in instant recognition and it sounds like the new program will actually include instant recognition instead of the not at all instant beads.

      Cub Scouting needed a big change to refocus toward the mission. I am hopeful this is a change for the better.

  7. I too am concerned about this as my son is currently a Bear Cub, and I am his Den Leader. Are we able to continue the Webelos 2 year with the current books, or can we start the new requirements a year early? When will the new books roll out – when do the leaders get a chance to go over them and plan their year? I do not like the idea of having my den families being responsible for planning events, sometimes it is enough for them to make it to the den meetings and do a little side work. If I told them they were tasked with planning, they would jump ship. Yes, I am a busy mom who has a lot on my plate between my Den, taking over Cubmaster duties, but I do it because no one else stepped up and I feel scouting is an important activity for my children. I have to say too, that in reading over this blog, the “Adventures” sound very much like the Girl Scout “Journeys” which are a complete failure, leaders don’t like them. Girl Scouts don’t like them, but girls are required to do the journeys to earn ranks.
    My son has set a goal of earning all the Belt Loops, thankfully he only needs about 15 more to finish that goal, he just now has about 10 months less to complete them in. I understand the Sports and Academic Program is expensive, but the program succeeds in it’s aim of getting the boys to try new activities and gain instant recognition for their efforts.
    I was going to start talking to my den parents about the importance of sending their scouts to Webelos Weekend this summer – should I still do that, or wait for the new program changes?
    I would suggest that when the changes are rolled out, they start w/ the Tigers, and each year they advance they continue with the new books, instead of disrupting a program mid stream.
    As of right now, I am not impressed w/ the new changes and am not looking forward to rolling these out to the Pack. I just have to trust God that he put me in the Cubmaster positon during these changes for a reason.

    • SarahBeth, thanks for all you do in Scouting. God has, indeed, made the right choice.

      A couple of things: 1) the new handbooks, den leader guides and other materials will be in Scout Shops in May 2015. 2) There will be webinars and webcasts beginning in the first quarter of 2015 targeting the needs of den leaders and Cubmasters. 3) The volenteer task force working on Cub Scouts is currently working on a transition document addressing how each rank will move from the current program – please stand by.

      • I too like the sound of implementing the program on a year by year approach starting with Tigers in Fall 2015. This would allow all boys currently in the program to completely finish the program under the current advancement requirements and receive the current devices and awards. This way no boys will be forced to have some of their awards from the current program and some from the new program. I’d rather see the boys have all awards that match for one program, not a mix of two. Start with Tigers and each year following roll out the new program for the next rank. Also, as we gain new Leaders each year, they will learn the new program right from the start instead of forcing current leaders to learn a whole new program. When Girl Scouts changed their program 3 yrs ago, the current leaders hated, and still dislike, the new program. I was a new Daisy leader (K-1) that year and love the program because I had nothing to compare it to except my far removed youth experience. Rolling it out year by year makes much more sense to me. Just somethings for the planning committee to think about.

        • I would much prefer a year by year, rank by rank roll out. I am one of the unlucky ones who has a Tiger son and am his den leader. Right in the middle of his cub years, as a Bear, we will have to abandon belt loops and it will be more confusing than anyone ever thought the selection of Bear rank was. My current Bear son will be right at the end, so that will be difficult too if there are no grace periods. I have heard yes grace period and no, so I’m going to wait until I hear the final verdict.

          But yes, a year by year roll out would probably make this huge change more palatable.

      • Bob,

        Thanks for your courteous responses to the scores of comments in this thread.

        Are the webinars targeted for “first quarter” 2015 (jan-march) or “spring” 2015 (late march through late june) as you indicated a few days ago?

        Either way I continue to think that’s cutting it close and there will be a rocky transition. As I see it, these materials need to be available no later than 1.1.15 to have a reasonable shot of getting everyone familiar, trained, and comfortable in the new system.

        Will the Philmont trainings be archived to the web for dedicated scouters without the resources to trek to New Mexico this summer? That would be a tremendous start to getting folks comfortable with some of the new vernacular and expectations even if we won’t have handbooks, which I suspect would be helpful for training, until May of next year.

        Thanks.

    • I agree that the program should be rolled out one year at a time. I have a son who is at Star, one who is a Webelos I and one who is a Wolf. I have served as cubmaster for the last 7 years and am also the District Commissioner. I was surprised that this was the first I had heard about it. I knew that we were getting new books because in the change of the oaths but nothing about the new program. I am somewhat concerned as I am trying to wean myself out of the cub scout program in our small town. I was hoping to pass along my plan for cub scouts to make it easier for the next parent to take over but this will really throw a curve in my plan.
      I, too, am disappointed that they are dissolving the belt loop program as my scouts LOVE the program. It is a great opportunity for cub scouts to explore different things. Plus the boys love showing off their belts.
      I hope that they will take into account our comments here and listen to the people who are implementing the program.

  8. So I could pick any of the adventures at any time over the 2 yr program? Even AOL adventures for 4th graders? Like that idea!! I’ve never followed the leaders guide in sequence as written. I tailor my den plans to fit the needs of the current makeup of the den, seasonal factors and what’s available in and around my community for trips and workshops. It’s never, ever been exactly the same every year!

    • As the NOVA mentor for my area, I am also concerned how this will affect the program. EVERY module and the cub scout Supernova award has belt loops and/or pins incorporated into the requirements. Furthermore, since the boys are given two years to earn each Supernova award, in order for boys not to be discouraged by starting with one set of requirements and having to switch mid-stream, we need at least a 2-year transition period.
      Right now, I have a wonderful team who helps with our monthly NOVA night, but completely changing the NOVA program when it is only a few years old will make it very difficult to recruit other parents to take our place as our boys progress into boy scouts. Up to this point, we have been keeping lesson plans to make it easy for someone to step into our shoes when the time comes. But if they have to start from scratch, I’m not sure the program will survive. Please reconsider this decision.

  9. #1 son has the complaint. His son is three and he figures very little of what he developed over seven years as resident camp director will be of use to him when the boy gets to cubs.

  10. My question is this: we are are going to have boys become WEBLOS in June; so will this mean the pack; such as in our case have to buy new books for these boys? Moreover, how will this affect them earning their rank? My youngest is crossing over; so I won’t have to worry about it; but it would be a shame to drop the loops and pins. I know it can be costly, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s worth every penny.

    I do believe the WEBLOS program needs to be overhauled; since the boys in our dens have complained over the years, that it’s very boring; no matter how exciting the den leader tries to make it. Once these boys crossed over; they loved the Boy Scouts!

  11. I think it is sad that the arrow of light will basically just be a yearly patch instead of a high award. It was like the eagle scout of cub scouting . This takes away the value of it. Not only that but what about the adult leader knot for arrow of light.

  12. The belt loops were a great way to let all the ranks come together and work on certain achievements, while still independently working on rank advancement . Unless I am missing something, the new model seems to really segregate all of the ranks.

  13. I am a current Bear den leader. My son and the other boys have worked hard to earn their belt loops and constantly want to work on more. Am I to tell them they no longer mean anything and we will not be doing them any more. Also, my youngest son will be starting Cub Scouts next year and has done some of the requirements along with his brother because he wanted to earn his belt loop. Now he will not be able to earn any. I know there are a lot of people that think the belt loops and pins are just candy, but to the boys it is an accomplishment that they achieved.

    • Tom, I share your frustration about the belt loops – when my son was a Cub, they were great fun for the boys!

      Tangentially, however, I wanted to point out that, while working with the older boys on belt loop requirements was doubtless fun and a great learning experience for your younger son, no work done prior to becoming a Cub Scout would count towards belt loops even if the program remained unchanged.

      • Give Tom S some credit. Any den leader who has taken training and read the manuals should already know that awards are only given to registered cub scouts. It’s nice that his younger son is already eager to join.

        I just asked my oldest Cub Scout what he thought of doing away with belt loops and activity badges. He is my fourth son to cross over and my third to earn the Super achiever badge for earning all 20 activity badges. Sadly, he will be my last. He looked sad and said “well, I’m glad I’m bridging next week! I can’t believe they would take away belt loops! I liked earning those” of course, I have a Bear too. Won’t that be interesting, the timeframe between blue and gold with the old method and bridging to the new requirements. I would like to hear more official statements from BSA than the rumors and guesses here, but how about an earlier roll out, at least for leaders so we can plan a new year? For someone like me who’s been a den leader for each rank multiple times (goes with the territory when you have 6 sons), it will take some extra planning to get comfortable with a whole new plan. When I’ve finally gotten into a nice pattern, change again.

        • Elizabeth, I agree with you that, “Any den leader who has taken training and read the manuals should already know that awards are only given to registered cub scouts.” Unfortunately, there are many den leaders who have not taken training and/or read the manuals. Also, there are many in cub scouting that are not aware that work done prior to registering as a scout cannot be counted towards an award/advancement after they join. During my tenure as advancement chair for our pack, I spent a lot of time explaining this rule to our parents and den leaders. “Yes, I know that Johnny went to a professional baseball game last summer on his family vacation, but he was not a Tiger Cub at that point, so it cannot count towards requirement 3G.”

          You may have some knowledge of Tom’s background that I do not. What I read in his post (“my youngest son will be starting Cub Scouts next year and has done some of the requirements along with his brother because he wanted to earn his belt loop”) gave me the impresssion that the family may have some expectation that the work his younger son did along with the older boys will count towards requirements once he joins.

        • I know, no harm intended, but I don’t like hearing that the changes were being made because leaders thought the requirements were too difficult, especially “figuring out” how to do Bear. Heavens! Give the kids their own choice for earning the badge? It’s really not that hard. I have looked over the adventures and they are written in a general manner so I can’t give an accurate opinion on if this program looks better.

          To the new parent who doesn’t really like the belt loops, I had a similar situation with my oldest when he was a Tiger (now 19 and an Eagle scout). His den leader brought the belt loop book to the meeting one night and said “parents look in here, if your son can ride a bike or plays on the computer, I can get him a belt loop”. That was the extent of our introduction as brand new Tiger parents. My response? I went to the cubmaster and requested to be a Tiger leader the next year. I told my husband “I can’t complain about how she leads unless I try it out and see how it’s supposed to be done” And yes, I found out that the way she was a leader was completely wrong, and I worked every year to improve myself as a leader. I’m sorry the belt loops weren’t explained well to you. Used properly, they can either supplement achievements (food guide pyramid and nutrition, Hiking for the obvious situations) or they can add to other events (Good manners during the month of February, just in time to learn/reinforce table manners for the Blue and Gold banquet), etc. The biggest problem I’ve seen is when parents just tell the den leader “we’ve done this, now go give him the belt loop” and there is no verification, no reinforcement, no proof that the child did anything. When we den leaders/cubmasters treat belt loops like candy, they won’t be worth anything to the boys. My boys in all the dens I have ever led know that they earned something. Now, with less “things” to earn, I predict monthly pack meetings will drop in attendance, among other problems.

      • I hope no one got the wrong idea that I think my youngest son already qualifies for belt loops. All I was pointing out was that he enjoyed doing them along with his older brother and couldn’t wait until it was his turn.

    • I too am not pleased with the belt loops going away, but I seriously hope no one is giving their Scouts the impression that the ones they have already earned are not worth anything or that their work was wasted!

      Change is coming. Whether we personally agree with it or not, we need to support it. The worst kind of leader is the one that resists change and instead of making the most out of what they are given simply lament over what there used to be. (NOT saying in any way shape or form that you are like this).

      But we all know old timers that are. Who knows we may really like some of these changes and years from now won’t even refer to “the good ole days”. This will be the program for the foreseeable future and one day the only program future generations will ever know. Let’s shine a good light on it.

  14. I am a new Cub Scout Parent. I found the belt loops/pins very difficult to understand and I welcome this change. I have a Wolf and a Webelos so maybe I’m a bit overwhelmed trying to understand the requirements of both ranks but I found the Wolf book sooo much easier to follow than the Webelos book. For example, in the Webelos book it was very difficult to figure out things like the activity badges were actually pins, and what the cub scout had to do to earn a belt loop. Thankfully I was referred to a website that explains it but from a newbie I think this change is an improvement. :)

    • Since you are a new Cub Scout parent, then you don’t see the benefit of the belt loops. I have been a Cub Scout leader for all three of my boys for 15 years. Your unit leader or your den leader should have been able to explain the Wolf and Webelos programs to you and the Webelos program is very different from the Tiger/Wolf/Bear programs because it’s readying the boys for Boy Scouts. However, belt loops are supplemental to the program and are rarely “required” except as a requirement choice for Webelos pins. The nice thing about the belt loops and pins is that the requirements don’t change for each rank. For the belt loops, there are always three very specific requirements and for the pins, the Scout earns the belt loop and does about five more requirements.

      This may be a welcome change for you, but as you can see from many of the comments from parents and leaders who have been doing this for awhile, it is complete folly to do away with belt loop program.

    • bradye I have read the blogs on Bryans website and many refer to the inability to understand some of the present Cub Scout books and regulations. I can tell you after 30 years in scouting from cub scouts to explorers there have been changes and most of the time it was easy to make the changes. I hear a lot of the complaint’s on this website and they are mostly that some of current rules and regulations in cub scouts for some have been hard to implement. I read comments like they are glad for the new changes for the Cub Scout program. I would like to remind scouter’s old or new that there will be difficulties in changes and that this problem will not go away just because the BSA makes changes. When scouters make the statement that things are to difficult and change is needed I can sincerely tell you from my experiences as a BSA trainer those scouters do not make an honest effort to seek help and training. If you want something just because it might be easier will it be worth your efforts? The biggest problem in Scouting is that some people except positions and fail to seek further training to enhance their leadership skills. This will always be a problem for some and all the changes in the BSA will not help them. Good luck in the future. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

      • Boy Trenton,
        Did you nail that one. Now not saying that the program is easy or hard. I have been around too long……LOL BUT I was one of those who takes all the courses offered, goes to RT, am now the RT commish and have been for many years. There are so many more resources out there now than even just 10 years ago, that if a new leader is confused just “google it” and you will get many answers.

        I am so frustrated with the premise that things will be easier if changes are made. Now I am not saying that change can’t make things easier but like you said the same folks struggling with this program will be the same type that struggle with the new one.

        Now, it is imperative that the BSA present timely and comprehensive training. And they haven’t been very good at that.

  15. It’s nice that we can all chime in here, but at the end of the day, we have no say.
    As usual, a group of people make the decisions that affect all of those who actually have to deal with the consequences. If you want to earn the loops/pins, get cracking. If you can’t, just prepare your boys for disappointment.
    What I’m always astounded by is the nerve of those in charge to decide that things are ‘too boring’ or ‘not fun enough’, etc. A good Den Leader makes meetings fun, and that cannot be replaced, no matter what changes you make to the program. A good leader knows what gets each boy in their Den excited to come to the meetings, and works those things into the program.
    Doing away with options for the Den Leader to bring to the meetings (i.e. loops & pins, arrow points, etc.) just makes their job that much more difficult. I realize that some leaders use those things as crutches so they don’t have to come up with things themselves, but I would hope that’s the minority.
    Anyway, it is what it is. The BSA is doing away with TONS of incentive-based awards, even for leaders, and that is a big part of Scouting, whether they realize it or not. Some join for adventure. Some join for service. Some join for achievement & accomplishment. Some for all of the above. Cater to all of these, and you’ll have a successful program for another 100 years.

    • Steve thanks for your views. I would like to add that these changes are based on more profit for the BSA. theses’ changes will impact a lot of scouters and boys with the need to purchase the new books and training manuals. I am for the BSA making more money I just wish they would allow input from opposition voices to help influence their decisions. You notice that many on this blog are long term experienced leaders that don’t buy into the changes just because they have been convinced that it will make it easier. Baden Powell set the standards and changing the Cub Scout theme and law are not in concert with Baden’s vision and many other scout leaders over the years. At the pace that the BSA is changing scouting I wonder what we will look like 10 years from now. Trenton Spears

      • I don’t think there’s any rational basis for claiming the change is about profit. Boys buy new handbooks every year regardless. There is a small secondary market that BSA can beat for a few years with new materials but the cost of producing them far outstrips that gain. Training materials are almost entirely available free online. Just google it and it’s there somewhere.

        • Nutmegger In 2010 I had to replace all my Scout uniforms with the new centennial to attend the 2010 Jamboree. I had plenty of the old style scout shirts and pants that had served me for many years. Think of the profit that the BSA made on the change. This was happening all over the scouting community and the shirts were not as good as the old style.The new style shirts are hard to press and look sharp and they don’t last as long I have thrown away 3 of the new ones already after three years of use. stripping off the patches was a chore and sewing them on new ones was more work. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

        • I don’t know anything about what you were required to do to attend the jamboree but I don’t see where the cub changes are about uniforms. If anything, jettisoning belt loops represent a financial loss among the changes for BSA. If it was all about profit they would have required belt loops in all ranks.

        • Nutmegger There is nothing I can blog to you that serves any purpose. Your comment about the belt loops for all ranks shows a lack of full knowledge of their need. I am sure you have read the many blogs on Bryans website that have said that doing away with belt loops is a bad ideal along with changing the cub scout program. Best of luck to you in Scouting. Trenton Spears

        • Trenton,

          I’m just looking for justification for your accusation that the change is about profit. Your justification was that you had to buy new uniforms four years ago. That may show that the centennial hoopla was all about profit but doesn’t show that these changes are.

          Consider what’s changing as far as $$ is concerned for families and units with these changes:
          - families need to buy new handbooks (this would be the case no matter what). Cost is effectively neutral at the family/unit level. BSA incurs cost of redrafting the handbooks and a marginal increase in sales in year one as the used book market is rendered useless for a short period. The cost certainly outweighs this minor benefit though.
          - leaders need new training. BSA will make some money off selling training books. However, these materials are also almost always free online. Cost can be 0 to unit/family and profit to BSA is less than cost of producing new materials.
          - belt loops are discontinued. Units now save $1.79*x belt loops, a SAVINGS that could run in the thousands per year at the unit/family level. Profit is totally zeroed out for BSA on this one. [you could argue that this will also hurt day camp enrollments where cubs love to go load up on loops]

          I still don’t see how this is about profit. If anything the belt loop move is to accommodate units who complain that they are a financial strain.

          I also fail to see how my suggestion that if this were about profit BSA would compel more belt loops to be purchased shows a failure to understand their “need” or your suggestion that I am somehow beyond help since “nothing you can [write to me] will serve any purpose].” But as with all things, I’m quite open to being educated and corrected.

  16. It appears that these scouting changes are not simplifying things but dumming them down so it is easier for boys to make rank. Rank should involve a commitment by each boy to EARN his rank. I am sad that Scouting is pursuing the collective view and disregarding individual accomplishment. My son worked hard from Tiger Cub to Webelos to EARN his Arrow of Light. It was hard and he is a better person for having to work hard to earn it.

  17. Getting rid of belt loops is a huge mistake. I’m so glad my boy will be a Webelos II by that time. That’s all he talks about and is very proud of them. Those are great activities and easy achievements for small boys. Really what’s happening is that all of the parents in America can not take responsibility for their kids. There are a lot of parents that complain that it’s not fair that Billy didn’t get as many belt loops as Joey. Why do even losing teams these days get trophies? Cause the kids feelings will be hurt. This does not set them up to be men in the real world. This sets them up to not understand the real world cause they were raised in a fantasy world. It’s frustrating. I always love new things in scouting. I also appreciate those involved both paid and volunteer. Because scouts is about family, it would be nice to ask families their opinion. They made sure they asked about the last vote (that was all over the media), but I do not recall one like this. If you did, I guarantee the belt loops would be voted to stay.

  18. I have some questions that I can not find the answers to–and hope that I can be directed somewhere. The NOVA program was recently rolled out and a lot of the points that had to be earned were tied to earning of beltloops or pins; and for the webelos–earning certain achievements as well.

    If they do away with the beltloops (something we as parents do on our own to expose our kids) how will this affect the NOVA program? Will that be done away with?

    We love the Academic and Sports programs!

    My other question is my son will be between a webelos 1 and 2 when this change takes place. Will they be able to grandfather in to compete the old book…or will they have to make changes and adjust right away to the second? Also, the arrow of light…will all receive that or will they continue to work towards that award?

    • I emailed national and this was the response I got back.

      The Academics and Sports program is “going away” and with it the belt loops and pins. At a deeper level, the best of the A&S program has been reviewed and where appropriate integrated into the core and elective adventures of the new program. Each adventure will have a “token” of recognition which Cub Scouts will wear on their uniforms. That “token” is in design and when complete will be communicated via the program update page.

      The NOVA team is working on integrating their award structure with the new Cub Scout adventure program and will announce the changes when their review is complete.

      Bob Scott | Senior Innovation Manager

  19. Consideration for Den leaders and the time/effort that it takes to run a den has been missing from scouting. I have had a Den of 12 boys for all of the years of Cub Scouting (currently Webelos I) and it takes a considerable amount of time to track, plan, and research. They also require too much training (why is Rangemaster training for BB Gun and bow and arrow only good for 2 years, it’s a 4-5 hour course, in addition to my bi-annual YPT training and my position specific training and BALOO and OWLS training. By the time I get all trained my boys will be out of scouting. Our boys need to be having fun in order for Scouting to continue to be relevant. The idea to make everything an “Adventure” is a great idea, if the requirements aren’t too specific and if they allow us to do things that the boys really enjoy and get their parent’s involved too. We can’t take Webelos out in Canoe’s or Kayak’s, all of the regulations are sooo tough, I don’t want anyone to get hurt, or worse, killed, but we have to take some risks to make sure we really are having adventures!

  20. As a current Webelos den Leader hat worked my way up from Tigers, I must say I am not impressed and very glad I will be out of cub scouts soon…….as someone else commented and I agree that over the past couple years it has turned into a bunch of politics and all about the money and not about the scouts or the leaders……….and yes I say leaders because we fork out our personal money, for training, running our dens etc….we are volunteers and organizations wouldn’t run without out but want us to pay more and more out of our pockets……Also I train leaders so they can complete their training, so not only do I give more of my time, but I have to pay to train other volunteers and attend meetings once a month that are 2 1/2 hours one way from my home and you want want me to pay more and do more……you are pushing your volunteers away!

  21. I am dismayed at the direction Scouting has taken. As the daughter of a former Scout Master- I was a Boy Scout vicariously. My sons were Scouts. Even when the boyz were in, the program was less focused on outdoor/survival & good deeds. These days the boys don’t need to participate nearly as much, nor are they as physical. We loved building snow caves, canoeing, field trips, and being a presence in the community. (I never agreed with talking Tigers along to nursing homes though- they aren’t old enough to understand they need to play possum when an elderly person clutches them and won’t let go!) And Tigers were unheard of when we were kids. Youngsters attended regularly as ‘guests’ of older siblings or friends. They came along when mine were in. No belt loops? WHY??? They are a source of pride and achievement. Taking them away is wrong. These kids work to get them. Let them keep them. Too bad if some don’t earn them. It’s called life. I still believe in Scouting, in general. Just not the new direction. I do ‘show and tell’ occasionally with all my dad’s stuff. Books that date to the beginning of BoyScouts, Jamboree patches from around the country, Scouting pix from the 30′s – 70′s. Many from when there Sea Scouts and Air Scouts. Amazing the evolution.

  22. Nutmegger As you see on Bryans Blogg I am not alone in my feelings on changes in the Cub Scout program many are not happy with the changes and have written their opposition to this change. I believe that profit is one of the reasons. The cost of the belt loops does not effect most decisions on awarding them. I am sure that the BSA will replace them with other awards as time goes by. Trenton Spears

    • You wrote, “these changes are based on more profit for the BSA.” I asked that you back that claim up because there is no self-evident basis for such an allegation. So far your response has been: 1) I had to buy new shirts in 2010; 2) that I just don’t have “knowledge” of scouting; and 3) that other people don’t like the changes too. None of those lines of reasoning support the idea that the changes are about more profit.

      [as an aside, I don't understand this "The cost of the belt loops does not effect most decisions on awarding them" . But I agree something is likely to replace belt loops, particularly given the pushback].

      I generally tend to agree that, based on what we know, the changes are at best a headache and at worst disastrous. However, I’d rather the discussion on this issue be limited to comments that have a basis in fact. “I think getting rid of belt loops is bad because all my kids really love them and it keeps them engaged in the program!” is relevant and provable. “BSA is just doing this for more profit” is relevant only if it’s provable. You’re unwilling or unable to prove it or provide any circumstantial evidence of the truth of the statement. It’s arguably libelous. There are enough legitimate reasons to criticize these changes that we don’t need to go inventing others that ultimately only undermine the credibility of more well-founded (and ultimately important) commentary on the substance and logistics of the coming changes.

      • Nutmegger Bryans blog is not the forum for proving anything it is a forum for friendly discussion on scouting issues. You can either agree or disagree. It is quite evident that this is not a court room or any legal process for statements that bloggers believe and state on. As I have stated before many bloggers disagree with the new BSA Cub Scout changes I just happen to one of them no more no less. Have a good day Trenton Spears

        • Trenton, There is no issue with expressing your opinion, but if asked to explain how you came to that opinion, you should have something else other than ‘because I said so’.Nutmegger outlined some good points how a change is more expensive for the BSA – (any change is usually more costly than a status quo) – and I was hoping that you would have some kind of rationale as to why this change is profit motivated, but no such response.

          I’m all for dropping the Academic & Sports program. I’m also all for encompassing them within the regular Scouting year, ala the current Webelos program. For my tastes the Belt Loops get too much attention for too little DEN or PACK activity, unless they are incorporated at the Den/Pack levels..

        • Cumaster Frank I guess I have no explanation that would satisfy you and nutmegger you seem to single out that in my 30 years of scouting I have nothing but opinions and just because I said so this is the way it is, not true. The BSA has a tract record of when they need more funds they make changes to accomplish the goal. If the BSA leave’s the Cub Scout program as is they do not have to change anything that is a fact. No new books, no new training manuals, no new award programs, no need to retrain leaders, no new changes in the promises, pledges and oaths that have influenced the youth of America for over a hundred years.You and nutmegger seem to indicate that the BSA will lose money in the new changes to the cub scout program I don’t believe this. The BSA is a business it has to make a profit or it will go under. I believe that Baden Powell set a standard that has satisfied the needs of scouting’s future for all generations and now the BSA wants to raise funds by changing the core programs of Cub Scouting. I believe this is not the way and there are others ways to raise funds even raise prices on current programs and materials. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  23. It is not my intent to throw sand and make a fuss but I am very concerned about the PDF attachment about the new CS program. Do you realize you have released to the general public a confidential document? It clearly states on the opening page that this document is not to be released or distributed. It even has a quote on the virtues of confidentiality. Come in BSA!!

  24. Okay I am REALLY concerned, I have been in cub scouts for 40 years and this new model sounds like the terrible format that the Girl Scouts went to with dropping handbooks that allow kids to pick and be individuals and work on the same “adventures”. Clearly lazy parents want it easier for their kids, so boo hoo little Johnny who never attends a meeting or gets involved earns his badge like everyone else. NOT a smart move on BSA behalf, there goes scouting!

  25. So not only are belt loops being taken away, it looks like webelos pins are going away too?! And I don’t understand how bsa can think that’s it’s ok to have cubs earn AoL without webelos first…..isthe upgrade in boy scouts gonna say they can skim over life scout and still get eagle??!!!

    • I am not sure why you are comparing the Webelos rank being vital to earning the AOL as Life is to Eagle. When looking at the requirements for the Webelos badge there is nothing there that leads into earning AOL with the exception of the number of activity pins that is now necessary for AOL. I believe you misunderstand the intention of the AOL award (not a rank). It is meant to get Scouts focused on joining a Troop. The Webelos rank requirements are focused on the Cub Scout program not the Boy Scout program. There is very little overlap.

      Boy Scout ranks build on one another. Cub Scout ranks do not. This program is designed so that at any grade a young man can become a Scout and be successful without first earning all the previous ranks. Hence the need to get Bobcat and then jump right in. Not so in Boy Scouts. No matter what age they join, they start from the beginning………..

      I like the change. It even gives Scouts who are in the program from the get go, but maybe don’t get the Webelos rank, a chance to be successful and a bit more prepared for Boy Scouts. Not to mention the newly joined 5th graders who should NOT be focusing on the Cub Scout program at all but totally getting ready to join Boy Scouts.

  26. Not to worry. I served on the 411 Team that evaluated and redeveloped the Cub Scout rank requirements. We agree – so much great program is found within Belt Loops (now 100% voluntary) we wanted to capture all that great program without reinventing the wheel. Sports & Academics will be discontinued as we know it but those badges and perhaps others will live on as part of the new immediate recognition program. The simplicity of Belt Loops and the more involved nature of the Pins program will meet in the middle and will be reorganized into five categories AND incorporated into Cub Scout rank advancement. The categories are: Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness (the group I serve), Outdoor Skills and Leadership.

    I encourage patience and perhaps some reading comprehension before one goes off and disparages the hard work of nearly 50 volunteer leaders and 6 BSA staffers in phase 1, many more in the design phase and 10 Councils worth of pilot units. We have been at this since 2010, brought in countless outside subject experts and educators, and had reams of research available to us. None of our recommendations were made without significant thought, research, experience and debate – some more lively than others.

    These two bullet points go hand-in-hand:
    • Academics & Sports program will be discontinued (as of May 2015)
    • Current immediate/elective recognition devices will be replaced

    The replacement will encompass a reasonable combination of the program contained within the Belt Loop and Pin programs. Our goal is to further involve this fine programming into Cub Scouting, not remove it.

    • Thank you Scott Armstrong for speaking up. I am one that does NOT like the disappearance of the belt loops, but I do appreciate your explanation. I understand how you are working on integrating the current belt loop ideals and concepts into the instant recognition, but I fear that by taking away a purely elective tool (and a GREAT add-on to current achievements), the dens will move forward as a group, leaving no chance for the boys to explore individual interests.

      I think part of the problem is that this statement came out saying “belt loops are going away”, but only gave a vague “something else is replacing it but not exactly” explanation. Then we all read that differently and form our own opinions, resulting in the “going off and disparaging the hard work”. I would have rather heard a much general “we’re revamping the advancement program” and then the result, or “here’s a poll: if we do away with the belt loops, do you prefer A) a very similar voluntary instant recognition system revamping the subjects and content, B) completely doing away with this program and only have achievements and electives, or C) keeping the current belt loop program but updating the content and perhaps adding or taking out subjects as needed.”

      I think if more of us had an opportunity to put in our voices in a survey, we might take to a big change a bit easier. I have been on the BSA cub parent survey list for years, but recently I only have received one survey on “should the Tiger cub clip art change to match the other badges?”

      This is one of the problems with the internet and rumors. They blossom. I’m praying the new program is totally unlike the GS journeys, but the name “adventures” worries me a bit, too similar, and I pray the end result will be beneficial to my boys. I am currently the den leader for my 6th (and last) son as a Tiger, and I am sad that he will not have the same opportunities that my older boys had, including being unable to become a super achiever as a Webelos. That was a BIG achievement and from what I can see of the new system, there is no way for a boy to earn anything similar. The 20 activity badges had a wide range of knowledge and for some topics (naturalist, forester, engineer) they didn’t have any opportunity to learn that any other way.

      We appreciate all of your work, but we the parents of current kids would love to be more involved in deciding what is important for our cub scouts.

  27. I am not sure how all these new changes are going to affect my Pack. We start in September of 2014 and half way through the whole program is going to change. We will have to buy all new book and teach them all new things? The fact that academics and sports will taken away bothers me also. I have boys that will earn these at different functions, because I have some leadership who does not reward their boys with anything so I make it a point to try to keep them active and interested by planning sleepovers and outings with the prospect of earning belt loops that they normally wouldn’t get otherwise.
    You keep saying that there will be immediate recognition to take it’s place but can’t give us a general idea of what it would be I think that is the main concern of everyone here. You are taking away a program that works for something you can not yet give us any information on or show us any type of sample of what it would be. The boys learn a lot doing the belt loops and it’s things that they would not basically learn on a daily basis and that is what they need. I don’t know who thinks that they are to confusing because they are far from it I have had Tigers up to bears now and they have no problem understanding what needs to be done.
    I think part of it may be parental participation that is hurting things a lot, if the parent does not help the child the program will not succeed as mush as I hate to say it now a days parents do not want to be bothered with doing things with their kids.
    I agree that some of the things in the books need to be updated. The technical age is taking over and some things that use to work before are no longer basically known to some children although I think we need to keep something’s out of the technical age because we are to be teaching them survival skills and how to live off the land and surroundings some what, so if the technical age fails they can survive it by instinct and what they learned through Scouting. Building fires, tying knots, basic first aid skills, outdoor cooking and knowledge of what is around them.

    • Karen, the year of scouting will not be interrupted. Start in Sept 2014 with the current program. Current Tigers will advance to Wolf using the books currently available, and so on. In May 2015 the new books will be available for the scouts when the advance to the next rank in May. Then begins the new program. My biggest concern (other than belt loops and the new recognition program – but I am trying to have patience while waiting to see what comes) is for my Scouts who will be Webelos 1 this Sept and the Webelos books changing when they advance to Webelos 2. My son is one who would be motivated to try for all 20 activity pins, and I hope the patch/award will still be available for him. –Does anybody know if it will still be around one extra year?

      • Thanks SarahBeth , That is also what I am wondering. We are bears now but in June we crossover to weblo 1 and will be starting with the old book and I am not sure how it will work to transition into the weblow 2. even harder we will have 3 dens moving to weblo 1 so we are all wondering how it will work.

  28. Thank you for posting this summary.

    The changes are not trivial and the people that will be at the friction point of change are the Den Leaders, the majority of which have no idea what’s on the horizon. So, your summary and links to follow on resources by the 411 team are greatly appreciated.

    Like many of the other posters, my feelings about the changes are mixed. I don’t like that the Arrow of Light went from the “Highest Award in Cub Scouting” (we make a big deal about that in my unit) to “the 5th Grade Award” (kids will see that difference at pack meetings, they are HIGHLY observant.) There is something to be said for tradition as well; I remember earning Webelos activity badges 35 years ago that were very similar to the ones that my son earns now. It’s been my personal opinion that the Tiger and Wolf programs could use some adjusting, so I hope this makes them better.

    My comments aren’t meant to disparage the efforts of the 411 Team, your dedication to cub scouting is obvious and no doubt sincere. That said, as a leader of volunteer leaders in a large, predominantly military unit with a 30% annual family turnover, these well intentioned changes do negate some of the practical experience more tenured leaders are expected to have; as a ‘lead by example’ leader, this frustrates me.

    I have no illusion that my perspective or commentary will have any bearing on the product I have to implement starting Sept 2015, but it felt good to get some of it out.

  29. Mt Momma and Sarah Beth you again try to twist my comments as you have done in the past. I know that the BSA is a tax free organization I have never stated that anyone on Bryans blog does not have the right to express their opinion. I base my statements and responses on 30 years of scouting experience. This is a blog site for individual opinions and Bryan has been very generous on allowing open and continuous debate this change is not over or Bryan would stop the opinions on the Cub Scout Changes. I am a Scout recruiter and spend a lot of time with parents and scout leaders and I know that new changes that take’s away the success of the Scouts is not well received. Trenton Spears

        • SarahBeth No need to get personal this is just a blog for sharing opinions. Sincerely Trenton Spears

        • Cool, you stop using caps and attacking other commenters. Then we can strike your “30 years of scouting experience” from the record as why your opinion is more right than mine.

        • I don’t know if I speak for everyone (and I am only replying to SarahBeth as that is how this seems to work). But I am talking to everyone.

          If this type of conversation was happening on one of the many groups that I own I would be stepping in and asking everyone to be more Scout like. If a comment does not pertain to the original question but rather how someone answered it, it needs to end please.

          This is where this type of communication is a total fail, so please the only way it will stop is if someone is grown up enough to stop responding if others wont’.

          Bryan if this is not my place I apologize. But it is making me uncomfortable and while I could simply stop reading, why should I when I am getting knowledge from the rest of the messages.

    • Trenton, to say to someone that their opinion is a, “bad statement,” is saying that their opinion is not correct or not allowed. If that is what you consider, “twisting your comments,” then please feel free to clarify what you meant when you said that to “Me” since I don’t see any other way to interpret that comment.

      • MT_Momma, Sarah and others … Having read Trenton’s comments on this and other for awhile now, I suggest you just don’t reply to him. I made that mistake once.

        To me, he’s a bitter, disgruntled Scouter. Maybe he doesn’t know he comes off this way, but he seems to enjoy rubbing everyone the wrong way with his few negative comments and thinking the worst of people and Scouting. To him, change is bad, the world is greedy, his opinions are better than yours, and he wants the past to return when supposedly it was all rosy and awesome.

        I know what I’m saying isn’t kind, thus breaking scout law #5. But neither is trolling (whether he knows it or not) and there’s no need to spend time on his replies. He’s found a forum where he can vent and it’s just not worth it IMHO. There are much better comments on this and other Bryan’s posts to spend your time on.

        • mikemenn You have crossed the line now you want to control who can respond to me opinions are just what they are opinions and there is no need to be disrespectable and try to silence an opinion. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

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