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Looping you in on the Cub Scout 2015 updates

Update, 4:44 p.m. May 21: Read about the volunteers responsible for these changes. And learn about Tiger Cubs becoming just Tigers.


Let me get this out of the way first: Belt loops and pins aren’t going anywhere when Cub Scouting gets an exciting refresh in May 2015.

In fact, belt loops — now called adventure loops — and pins (adventure pins) will get even better than before with the new updates.

Boys will receive an adventure loop for their Cub Scout belt for completing adventures at the Tiger, Wolf and Bear level. Boys working on Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks will receive adventure pins when each adventure is completed. The pins have been redesigned for the new program. (I’ve posted some photos of them below.)

And good news for Scouters and Scouts who liked the soon-to-depart Academics and Sports program belt loops: Many of the activities that were popular in that program were integrated into the new Cub Scout adventure program.

What are the requirements? Who wrote them? How do I transition my den and pack into the new program? Your source for that kind of information is the Program Updates page on scouting.org. The page was just updated today, which is the opening day of the 2014 National Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

They’re you’ll find:

  • Samplers of new youth handbooks
  • Samplers of the den leader guides for adult Scouters
  • FAQs answered by the program developers
  • Adventure requirements and insignia
  • An introduction to Ethan, the new cartoon character that will guide Cub Scouts through the program
  • A transition guide

Rather than posting all those PDFs here, it’s best if you go to the Program Updates page directly. The team has been very diligent about keeping that page updated and current, so it deserves a spot on your bookmarks bar.

That said, because many readers have been asking about the adventure loops and adventure pins, I’ve pasted answers to those questions below:

ADVENTURE LOOPS AND ADVENTURE PINS

Q: What will happen to the Academics and Sports program?

A: The Academics and Sports program is “going away,” and with it, the belt loops and pins. At a deeper level, the best of the Academics and Sports program has been reviewed and, where appropriate, integrated into the required and elective adventures of the new program. Each adventure will have an immediate recognition item that Cub Scouts will wear on their uniforms. A series of belt loops, similar to those used in the Academics and Sports program, are being designed to serve as recognition items.

Q: My boys really liked the Academics and Sports program belt loops. I am unhappy that the loops were discontinued.

A: Many of the activities that were part of the Academics and Sports program were integrated into the new Cub Scout adventure program. Belt loops—now called adventure loops—will be used to recognize completion of each of the Cub Scout adventures described in the handbooks.

Q: Can boys work on elective adventure loops before they advance in rank?

A: Yes—and they may continue to earn additional adventure loops designed for each rank level.

Q: Do boys need to complete all requirements to earn an adventure loop?

A: They will need to complete the requirements as written for each adventure.

Q: Do the adventure loops need to be earned in a specific order?

A: No. Work on them when it works for the boys in the den you lead. A set of required adventures, represented by the loops, need to be earned to achieve the ranks of Tiger, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Scout and the Arrow of Light Award.

Q: What are the loops made of?

A: The loops are metal, similar to the loops used in the Academics and Sports program.

Q: Are they washable?

A: Well, yes. But since they are metal, they will make a lot of noise in the dryer and probably will have some adverse effect on other things in the load, so washing them is not recommended.

Q: How many can a Cub Scout earn?

A: A boy may earn as many as he wishes. The loops are different for each rank.

Q: Can the adventure loops all fit on the Cub Scout belt?

A: Yes. They are slightly narrower than the Academics and Sports loops.

Q: Can the adventure loops be worn without a Cub Scout belt? Or worn with another belt?

A: They are designed to be worn on the official Cub Scout uniform belt.

Q: Some are colored, some are not. What’s the difference?

A: Core adventure loops are in several colors; elective adventure loops use a single-color design.

Q: Can boys earn them at camp?

A: Yes, if your day camp or resident camp program offers them as part of the camp program.

Q: Can boys work ahead on the next rank level adventures and earn the loops while in their current rank?

A: No, this is not an option. The adventure loops were developed for each level of program.

Q: Must the adventure loops only be earned at den meetings?

A: No. The den meeting program materials are designed to help den leaders assist boys in delivering a program that is commemorated by awarding adventure loops. Adventure loops may also be completed by families and during day camp and resident camp.

Q: Do Webelos Scouts still earn adventure loops?

A: Webelos immediate recognition will make use of adventure pins. The pins may be worn on the Webelos colors or on the front of the Webelos cap. The pins will be used to recognize completion of adventures while earning the Webelos rank and Arrow of Light Award. Webelos Scouts can earn nearly 30 different adventures.

Photos of the pins

These came from this week’s National Annual Meeting, where volunteers and professionals are learning more about these changes. (Click each to enlarge.)

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adventureloops1

adventureloops2

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266 Comments on Looping you in on the Cub Scout 2015 updates

  1. Arrow of Light is becoming a rank? “Boys working on WEBELOS and Arrow of Light ranks”…….?

    • Yep … from the FAQ:

      Q: Why don’t boys have to earn all of the lower ranks to earn the Arrow of Light Award? That’s like
      earning the Eagle Scout Award without earning the lower ranks!
      A: Cub Scouting is not the same as Boy Scouting.

      In Cub Scouting, since a boy may join at any level and does not “go back” to earn an earlier award,
      the awards are more “standalone” in nature. In addition to serving as a capstone award for Cub
      Scouting, the Arrow of Light Award symbolizes readiness to become a Boy Scout, as it has since it
      was first developed. The new requirements for the Arrow of Light Award are designed to achieve
      that transition effectively, even for boys who join Cub Scouting as late as the fifth grade.

      • Thanks, Mike!

    • I don’t think so. I think its hard for people from Boy Scouting to talk (or write) about Cub Scout ranks. Arrow of Light is still referred to as an award as often as it is refereed to as a rank. If this were really being changed, it would be getting a LOT more attention. Because no Cub Scout has ever earned his rank. Ranks are bestowed upon scouts based on their age. A Cub Scout’s rank is not determined by the badges on his pocket, but by the color of his neckerchief. The badges of rank do not denote rank. It is, in my opinion, an unfortunate use of our vocabulary. IF badges DID determine rank, then boys would have to start at the beginning and earn all of them in order, just like in Boy Scouting, but that is not the way Cub Scouting works. You are given a rank based on your age, and you work on the badge (or award) associated with that rank.

      • Erin,
        My understanding of the current Cub Scout program is that ranks are earned only after a Cub Scout has completed the requirements for that rank. Scouts receive rank badge after achievements are finished, and then continue to work on electives arrow points or compass points.

        Arrow of Light is an award that may be earned only after completing the Webelos rank which requires finishing all work required for CITIZEN, FITNESS and ACTIVITY PIN OF CHOICE, plus the additional Webelos requirements. A Scout starting in 5th grade is still expected to complete Webelos rank before starting Arrow of Light, since Webelos rank is one of the requirements for AOL.

  2. Looks like some great changes. Can’t wait to pour through the material and present it to our den leaders this year.

    • Agree – I do like the new adventure paths and all the new elective options. Plus, looks like our Tigers won’t have to do the silly scrapbooking thing any more. The parts I don’t like are losing the A&S Program, the costs (they will be higher), and the poor transition plan for current Bears. I’m hopeful the powers that be will decide to let the current Bears stay with the current Webelos program through their cross-over in early 2016. They do that, and I’m on board 100%.

      • The first year Webelos will have the option to change to the new Arrow of Light Requirements or stay with the current program. There was a small blurb about this in the last Scouting magazine that came out. This will allow each den to decide what is best for the boys in their den. :)

  3. So do I understand correctly that now in addition to the advancement patch, Each rank will now have required belt loops to earn? If that is correct, that will exponentially raise the cost of awards for each rank won’t it?

    • supply and demand? maybe the cost will be lower per loop. they did say they were different dimensions, maybe smaller? but you’re right. this could make a rise in cost.

      • What it sounds lie to me is the new loop is given when they finish an adventure, complete all the adventures to earn the rank badge. So instead of getting a bead for every 3, then get a loop for every one. I think cost wise it will probably washout.

        • gregonwp // May 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm //

          How is it a washout? Today, for 10 boys who go through Wolf and Bear rank you pay $8 for one box of 10 immediate recognition emblems and bags of orange and read beads to cover the entire 2 years. With the new program, those 10 boys will earn a minium of 7 “Adventure Loops” each, resulting a total of at least 70 loops to purchase. Assuming the new belt loops are going to be about the same price as the current belt loops ($1.89 plus tax), getting those same 10 boys through Wolf and Bear will now increase from $8 to about $140. The number of elective belt loops those boys earn under the new program will probably be close to the number of A&S belt loops they’d get under the current program, so there’s no savings there. End result, you’re going from $0.80 per boy today to $14.00 per boy under the new program.

        • gregonwp // May 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm //

          Correction to my previous post – it’s actually worse than I said. Over the 2 years of the Wolf & Bear ranks, the 10 boys will earn a minimum of 14 loops (7 for Wolf plus 7 for Bear). So, you’ll actually be increasing from $0.80 today to $28.00 per boy under the new program.

        • Sakitama // May 21, 2014 at 6:33 pm //

          yes, but I know sometimes our kids are earning 6 to 10 belt loops or pins a year which they will now NOT be earning (and us paying for). Belt loops are almost like candy to some of our boys and council/district events have a habit of passing kids off on a belt loop after a 30 minute ‘class’ In the end, I see it all balancing out.

        • gregonwp // May 22, 2014 at 7:36 am //

          I hope you’re right Sakitama, but look at it this way: Say you typically have 50 Cubs who earn their rank each year and who also average 6 Belt Loops per year. Then you’re currently paying about 50 x 6 x 2 = $600 per year for Belt Loops. Under the new guidelines, just earning the rank for the 50 Cubs will mean buying 350 Belt Loops, which will be about $700. Many of those boys will do mutliple Electives beyond the 7 adventures required for rank. Assuming those 6 A&S Belt Loops they earn today would translate into 2 elective Belt Loops in the future, that’s another 100 Belt Loops to purchase, bringing your total spend to $900, compared to $600 today. Like Mike pointed out earlier, hopefully the need for increased numbers of belt loops will drive down the price per belt loop below the current $2 price, but I’m not too optimistic about that.

    • I like having the extra loops and pins, the Webelos always received them and now the younger boys, who could use the incentive even more, don’t have to wait until the end of the year to earn an impressive looking badge.

  4. Bryan, Could you rearrange the order of the pictures, the current order is a bit confusing

    • Good feedback. Fixed it (I think). Thanks!

      • Thank you, it’s now perfect and easy to follow.

        • Thanks. Best I could do with my phone’s camera, but I wanted to show people what they look like!

        • Nutmegger // May 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm //

          I’m not trying to be picky, but that display seems really slap dash. A. It’s been beaten in to me that it’s always webelos and never webelo. Also, it mentions “tiger cub”. I thought the “cub” part was being dropped.

          I also think the devices could use more pithy names. These are all a mouthful.

  5. Has the Nova program incorporated these changes and/or have all beltloops or pins required for the various Nova awards been maintained?

    • They said the NOVA is working on incorporating the new changes into their program and will announce the changes once they’re complete that.

  6. I find this interesting. See my comments at the end .. from the FAQ …

    Q: With seven adventures required for rank advancement in Cub Scouting, will boys still be able to earn their rank advancements by the time the blue and gold banquet is held?
    A: Earning a rank advancement in time for the blue and gold banquet is not and has never been a program goal in Cub Scouting. It is a custom in many packs to encourage this, but it is not an expected outcome of the program. The Cub Scout program is a year-round, family-based program. There are plenty of adventures in the new Cub Scout program model to deliver Cub Scouting year-round.

    I’ve found that having the badge awarded at Blue and Gold makes for a long and boring Blue and Gold. I’m sure many have done great B&G’s and one can certainly make it interesting.
    Also, I’ve found many dens and packs don’t do much between B&G and end of year parties because they’ve already received the rank patch. This obviously defeats the year-around purpose of Scouting.

    So why not wait to receive the rank badge in May at the last pack meeting. Then you can tell the boys they all ranked up to the next level, too. This new system may force many to do this.

    • Why not earn the ranks in a timely fashion so that the badges are earned, presented and there is the opportunity to earn arrow points and elective beads? I still subscribe to the CS2010 program guidelines that offer 16 or so meetings, during which time rank is earned. Conveniently enough that happens to be around February on our calendar.

      In addition, when an award is earned it should be presented at the next opportunity. What you suggest amounts to holding up an entire den until the end of the year to present rank badges. Essentially, here’s your Wolf rank badge, now you’re a Bear.

    • My pack does not award the Rank advancement until the end of year ceremony. We have never subscribed to awarding any rank with the exception of the Bobcat Badge until the end of the year. The boys can complete the requirements for the current rank badge but we don’t award it. This is because some parents take it as they have completed the requirements and they will start working on the next rank requirements.

    • Venturing Steve // May 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm // Reply

      Our tradition has been that the boys earn their rank by February and the Arrow of Light recipients cross over to Boy Scouts so that they can work on their first aid, camping and hiking skills as well as the Patrol Method before resident camp.

      Between the B&G and May 31st the boys earned arrow points and belt loops. We had our Spring campout in April and a graduation in May for boys moving to their next program year. We planned 3-4 activities a month during the Summer to keep the pack active without having to have “meetings”. We awarded all ranks and awards as soon as possible after they were awarded so that the B&G didn’t have to be a long presentation of awards.

      • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 5:41 pm // Reply

        Our Pack, too. Our oldest Webelos are ready to go to Troop by Mar 1. My son bridged this past Feb, and just passed his Tenderfoot review. Off to camp he goes, and he was able to choose classes for 2nd Class.

  7. I’m just really upset about having to start over halfway through the Webelos program. So now I have to figure out what activity badges were earned and where that credit counts in the new program, then ask my parents to get a new book so we can complete the new program. What is so wrong with allowing those already in Webelos to finish the old program, and have the new Webelos start the new one? This is a LOT of extra work on Webelos leaders, and an extra cost on their parents.

    • Brian Catalano // May 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm // Reply

      I fully agree, but I fear we are in the minority and this is going to be forced at us regardless. I will have a Web1 going into AOL right as all this happens and it’d be nice to finish out the “old” classic program.

      • Nahila Nakne // May 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm // Reply

        Common sense would say let the current Bears, who will be “Webelos II’s” when the changes are implemented, continue using the current book using the current requirements for their AOL since they will already working on it. I know my son’s den had everything but Requirement 1,” Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade….” by August of their 2nd Webelos year.

        I really think you may want to get the new Webelos books and support materials out NOW so that the incoming group of Webelos won’t have to buy a new book with 6 months or less left in the program.

    • but you know it’s coming. this only affect those who will be webelos 1 in 2014-15. all you have to do is get them rank by june 1, 2015. will it be that difficult?
      it’s not like this is going to happen next week. you have a whole year to make it easier on yourself if you want, right?

      Cub Scout Core Value #9. say it with me …
      Positive attitude.
      Positive attitude.
      Positive attitude. :)

      • C’mon Mike, that’s not ALL you have to do. If you have 20 boys in your Pack who just advanced from Bear to Webelos, you just spent $300 buying them Webelos handbooks that are supposed to last them until they cross over to Boy Scouts in Feb 2016. Now, we will have to cough up another $300 to buy them new AOL handbooks at the end of their 4th grade year, plus whatever it costs to get their Den Leader set up with the new leader books and training. Not to mention you get to dash the hopes of the new Webelos 1 who hoped to follow in his older brothers’ footsteps by earning the Webelos Super Achiever award for earning all 20 of the Activity Pins.

      • almartin93 // May 21, 2014 at 3:07 pm // Reply

        Mike, the issue is not making Webelos rank by June 1, it’s that this new material is suggesting the only option for AoL is to go with the new material. That means buying a new book and changing programs for that last half-year (and doing the figuring on who earned what and transitioning those pins.)

        Boy Scouts have long had the option of being able to continue with current requirements if they’d already started when there was a change (think about the current Cooking merit badge). There’s no good reason that the Bears of today can’t begin Webelos on June 1, 2014, and use that book and it’s requirements until they make AoL and crossover in late 2015 or early 2016.

        • I totally agree. How about respecting the boys commitment to earn the arrow of light, their compass points, and super achiever for getting all of the activity badges. My den boys are focused on doing this and your changes for not grandfathering them in is disrespectful. I commend the the volunteers for trying, but by not allowing this one change they made a mistake. Hopefully, they will listen to the real feedback from all of us Web 1 den leaders to make this tweak to the plan. if not, it will be yet another instance of BSA to show that they don’t really care what we think and what is the right thing to do.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 5:49 pm //

          This could be done but you’d have to have 2 Webs dens. One finishing the old program and one for your fresh Webs that year. But I’m planning on 2 Dens, anyway. One fresh Webs, one “AOL”, all with new stuff.

          What I haven’t figured out is whether the NEXT year the Webs can rejoin into a single 4th/5th Den. Our will the AOL crowd always now need to be separate?

          Now, the new Webs spend Sep/Oct doing their 3 Required rank pins, then they join the 5th graders Nov-Feb for whatever pins the 5th graders don’t have. Then when the 5th graders bridge out, the 4th graders spend Mar-May doing pins THEY don’t have yet.

          Then of course they become the 5th graders, and the 4th graders do whater pins the 5th… you see what I mean. Will that still work with the new program, I wonder?

      • Venturing Steve // May 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm // Reply

        You won’t be able to meet the age/6 months after completing the 4th grade requirement for Arrow of Light by June 1st, 2015.

      • Nancy Ray // May 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm // Reply

        I would feel better about things if I had the same kind of transition time/options that are given for merit badge changes. Like starting with the new program, or finishing the old program, or if I really wanted to be crazy starting with the old, but finishing with the new. But since the new material won’t be available for another year, and I’m being told I can’t finish out with the old, I have no options at all.

        When the Cooking MB changed you had the option of starting new, or finishing up the old if you had already started, but by X date (months later) everyone had to be doing the new. It gave leaders plenty of time to decide what was best for their scouts.

        This….? This is a mess. Here’s the information, but you can’t do anything with it until next year, at which pint you need to pick up all new material, figure out what crosses over as credit and what doesn’t. It really is starting a two year program all over again, halfway through.

        And since (from what I’ve seen) most traditional units take an average of 18 months to cover this….why am I being expected to cram a two year program into one year to get it in before the deadline? What will the boys actually remember if I rush them through everything?

        I really am trying to have a positive attitude about this (or I guess be Cheerful now since we’ll be going off Scout Law instead) but I feel like I’m being held over a barrel. I’m worried that allowing no transition will drop the quality of things for my den, or that I’ll end up losing people because we’re the ones caught up in the middle of this change. And I really don’t feel like National has given those who will be in the middle of Webelos any consideration at all.

        Really, can someone explain why we can’t have a transition year? I’m honestly asking here, cause I just don’t understand.

        • Let’s all remember: these program changes are the result of input from a volunteer committee, not the big, bad national office.

        • Nancy Ray // May 21, 2014 at 4:21 pm //

          Phred,

          I get what you’re saying, but understand that National has to approve the changes. I’m not complaining about the “big, bad” national, I know there were a lot of people involved in this process. Still, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what is proposed, if it’s not approved it goes nowhere. That’s my gripe at National, and I guess everyone else who had input in this.

    • Andy Cartwright // May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm // Reply

      Reading through, the changes come in May 2015, and won’t be required until January 2016. Those coming into webelos now will have until Jan 2016 to complete webelos. Those in webelos II will be finished before the changes come into effect.

      • Where do you see that for Cub Scouts? The slide for Boy Scouts shows the requirements starting in Jan 2016, but for Cubs it states that all Packs must use the new requirements for the 2015-2016 year, which starts sometime between June-Sept.

        Also, the FAQ document says this:
        Q: Just to be clear, I think the program update site says that my first-year Webelos Scouts will use the current program. When they transition to the second-year Webelos program in 2015, they will need to get the new book and earn their Arrow of Light Award under the redesigned program. Is that correct?
        A: Yes. (then it has a silly statement telling you not to worry about it, just focus on your 2014-15 program for now)

      • This is the most frustrating change. Webelos 1 dens that will earn their rank in early 2015 will have to completely change everything they are doing, redo work, and change. This is a complete disservice to these boys that want to finish a program that they are starting June 1 of 2014. Our den has a goal of earning all their compass points and activity badges but now I have to go tell them that some volunteer committee said they can’t do that and they will have to switch objectives and redo work next May. These boys should be grandfathered into the existing program.

    • I imagine some Packs will hack the system for the final 6 months of the Webelos program for those scouts who will be crossing-over to Boy Scouts in Feb 2016. They will work out with the Den Leaders and scouts what Pins and awards they plan to earn for the remainder of the program and just go ahead and load those into Internet Advancement and purchase them prior to May 31, 2015. Then, hand out the awards as the boys earn them leading up to cross-over. So, make your own transition plan rather than having it dictated to you.

      • Sure, why follow the plan? You clearly know better.

        • gregonwp // May 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm //

          Do I know what’s better for the Den of Cubs I’ve been leading for the past 3 years – yes I do. Don’t you?

  8. Wow, that’s just, terrible. We’ve had many folks in the district very happy that belt loops, rarely awarded (our pack never buys them except by a explicit request) and one of the most expensive awards you can give out, were going away. I really hope if this is something core, like it sounds, that cost will be addressed. There was once a time we could say scouting was much cheaper than sports and other activities it competes with, but that’s really no longer the case.

    • Seriously? Sports still cost leaps and bounds more than Scouting. But, hey… don’t let the facts get in the way of your personal narrative.

      • Agreed. The copst of 2-3 months of an organized sports program can surpass a whole year’s worth of Scout related expenses.

        • Cateran // May 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm //

          It still doesn’t change the fact that the cost of Cub Scouting just went through the roof, comparatively speaking. How many programs are going to have to close down, or at least cut back activities, in order to offset these costs? If you jack up the dues to compensate, you’ll lose a lot of people to sticker shock. And for programs that are paid almost entirely by the charter org (such as LDS units), many of them will end up closing down because costs can’t be passed on and budgets won’t be raised to compensate.

          Having spent the past several years helping LDS units get their Scouting programs started, with program costs being the biggest objection, I can say that we’ll either see a lot of units fold or they’ll just skip ordering these adventure loops. Our allocated budgets just can’t adjust to these new costs; we had one boy get bored over the summer and do belt loops and completely wiped out the unit budget for the year.

          The only thing that needs to be changed with Scouting is the leadership in National. The program worked well enough before they started monkeying with it.

      • Hmm, facts? Here’s the pricing on a bear uniform, complete, only $101 (this is current style, the new mega belt loop uniforms will boost this another $20 or so) http://www.boyscouttrail.com/cub-scouts/bear-scout-uniform.asp

  9. First, these pins. Where are they to be worn on the uniform? I understand the loops go on the belt, but where do the pins go? There is no way the cost will even out or be “a wash” as someone said with the beads. Our pack does not purchase any belt loops for the boys, if a boy earns one and wants it, the family is free to purchase it themselves. This looks like a really nice way for them to increase sales in the scout shops

    • Pins can go on the Hat or Red Vest. If the Webelos Color Braided thing is still around, those Pins that were Webelos Actiivty Pins would go there. I suspect the Insignia Guide will be updated as well to help explain that. This is just my guess at this time.

      • The article states that the pins are to be worn on the webelos colors or the webelos hat.

  10. Mrs. Dawn // May 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm // Reply

    Will the Webelos continue to wear their pins on Webelos Colors? How should the pins be worn?

    • Yes. One of the PDF documents on the Program Updates page (linked above) mentions that Webelos Colors (or the front of the hat) will be the proper location for the new Adventure Pins.

  11. Brian Catalano // May 21, 2014 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    I’d be really curious how many of these “rule changers” were Cub Scouts themselves. I personally experience a great deal of pride when I see my boys working through achievements that have essentially remained unchanged in the past 30 years or longer. There was nothing wrong with the existing program so I’m surprised that so many people have put forth so much effort and passion to re-do the whole program. Good Luck maintaining membership with so many sweeping changes.

  12. Is the Bobcat rank gone? I notice the “Protect your child from abuse” requirement starts every rank, along with “earn your cyber chip.”

    • The “Cub Scout Program Transition Information” document lists the Bobcat requirements. The big change there is that CyberChip is now required for Bobcat (as well as each of the individual ranks).

      • That is one of the obviously faulty changes that have been made. Why should Cyberchip be a Bobcat requirement when it is already in all of the Rank requirements? New families already have enough to digest when joining Cub Scouts. Now we’re going to tell them one of the first things their kid has to do before enjoying all the great outdoor activities scouting provides is to pass an online safety program???

        Also, are they going to lower the cost of the Cyberchip patch now that every kid has to earn it? Last time I checked it was almost $3, which was fine when only a handful of Cubs earned it. If they don’t lower the cost, we’ll only be handing out the cards, not the patches.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm //

          I don’t like that; I live in an area where some of my (scholarship) families don’t HAVE home computers (or even cell phones, sometimes). The hoops that …who, Den leaders? Me, the CM?… will have to jump through to get a Den of newbies the Cyber Chip? Jeeze.

        • Library computer.
          Your computer.
          Friend’s computer.
          Church computer.
          Donated computer.
          Borrowed computer.

          Think creative.
          Be positive.
          Do your best.
          Stay strong.
          Be the way you’re asking your scouts to be.

        • They only have to do cyber chip if they have ready access to internet:
          *If your family does not have Internet access at home AND you do not have ready Internet access at school or another public place or via a mobile device, the Cyber Chip portion of this requirement may be waived by your parent or adult partner.

  13. Overall I am looking forward to the revised program. But I’m surprised that the 2015-transition-year Arrow of Light award will require the “Building a Better World” core adventure, even though those 5th grade boys would have already done the “Citizen” activity pin to earn the Webelos badge during this upcoming year. The two seem to be extremely similar. I’d have thought that a different core adventure would be substituted for that one year.

    • Well if the boys have done the work, they have done the work. All they need is a DL to sign off. Making them all do it AGAIN would not be very Scout Like.

  14. Looks like BB Shooting and Archery are nowhere to be found in the new program.

    • almartin93 // May 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm // Reply

      They were just optional belt loops before, not program requirements. I’m not clear on what recognition the boys will receive, but I can’t imagine BB Shooting and Archery not being an activity at Cub Council events. We’ve always had activities that had no correlating belt loop.

      • Nahila Nakne // May 21, 2014 at 5:12 pm // Reply

        Actually Archery and BB Guns are electives for Wolves and Bears. Further, They meet the requirement for Webelos Sportsman Activity badge.

        • Let me clarify…the BB Shooting and Archery belt loops are not a required part of any rank advancement. That’s what I meant by “optional.”

    • I just noticed that there is a Bulls-eye adventure pin in one of the photos. This wasn’t listed in the program materials. Hopefully it was just an omission and it will be included in the program.

  15. Jim Kangas // May 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm // Reply

    I didn’t see mention of the Webelos activity pins — are they remaining or being replaced with the adventure pins? I was also under the impression there would be some timeline changes to Webelos/Arrow of Light schedule and transition into the Boy Scout troop; was this correct as well?

    • Looks like Webelos Activity Pins are replaced with Adventure Pins since the transition guide references the mapping of Activity Pins to Adventure Pins in the LDS section.

  16. I guess I will have to have my boys complete the Readyman this year or they will miss out on first aid…and they will get to do Citizen this year and next.

  17. Venturing Steve // May 21, 2014 at 1:29 pm // Reply

    Are the Arrow Points going away? It appears so if each elective has an Adventure Loop.

    • It appears that way.

  18. LDS Scouting guidelines prohibit overnight camping for cub scouts. That’s going to be a problem for the Bear requirement shown in the sample.

    • That’s no den camping. My Pack camps overnight several times a year as well as during 6 day/5 night summer camp.

      • Nahila Nakne // May 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm // Reply

        Actually LDS Scouting guidelines prohibits ANY overnight camping until 12 years of age.

        • 11, not 12.

      • I think they could make it work with some creative Fathers’ and Sons’ outings that are an annual event in most wards. The program changes absolutely WILL be figured out. Scouting has been the official program for boys in many churches, not just the LDS church, for many years and will continue to be it. It may take a bit to iron the wrinkles, but I’ve already seen PDF’s to help ease the transitions.

    • The Den Leader Guide Sampler addresses this:
      “Some chartered organizations do not allow camping as part of the Cub Scout program. For boys in packs chartered by those organizations, the activities in this adventure can take place during a family camping trip or during a daylong den or pack outing.”

  19. When are the new books going to be made available for purchasing?

    • Oh, I’m sure they’ll be ready “in the coming months,” just like the new Troop Program Features and the Troop Leaders Guidebook. Meaning, don’t expect to see them before your Tiger becomes a Tenderfoot.

      • The FAQ document says “Program materials to support the new handbook will be in Scout shops no later than June 1, 2015.”

        • I’ll believe that when I see it. The program features were announced May 2013, with the first volume to be published in Fall 2013. Then Jan 7, 2014. Then March 2014. Now July 2014. The Troop Leaders Guidebook was announced August 2013 as a two-volume set, with the first volume to come out “later this year.” This blog updated that timeline in February, saying it would be available “in the coming months.”

  20. I have several concerns here.
    1. Belt loops are expensive. Our Pack is selective about when we offer a program that will buy these for the entire Pack. Having to buy 5-10 per scout/per year will be very costly.
    2. I hope these loops are rough drafts of what they will look like and be called (“Pawns of Skill”?!). They all look like a bunch of bad clip art images and have no names on them for what they were earned for or represent.
    3. No Arrow Points? Mono-chrome Webelos pins? Most achievement recognition being worn on a belt? These are going to be some lackluster uniforms the kids are wearing.

    I’ve always felt that the programs needed some updating, because of repetitive activities, but never thought a complete overhaul was necessary. Removing items like the Webelos activity pins, which in my mind are iconic, is a shame.

    • Nutmegger // May 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm // Reply

      These are all excellent points. The loops are awkwardly named and without labels, you’ll need a decoder ring to figure them out. I weep for the advancement chairs of the world.

      • I’m overwhelmed, to say the least. ;)

    • Yep. Conversations today vs 2016 –

      Today:
      “Wow, Timmy, you have an Astronomy and Baseball Belt Loop!” “Yes, I learned about astronomy and baseball, my two favorite things. Now, I’m working to earn the pins so I can learn even more about them”

      2016:
      “Timmy, there’s a spider on your belt loop!”
      “Mommy!”
      “Oh, sorry, it’s not real. What’s it for?”
      “I don’t remember. Mr. Den Leader, what is this spider belt loop for?”
      “Hmm, I’m not sure, probably something about bugs.”

      • Nutmegger // May 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm // Reply

        In fairness, this is a false comparison.

        It’s more like this:
        Today:
        “Wow, Timmy. Look at that red bead. What’s it for?”
        “I have no idea, my den leader gave it to me after the meeting.”
        “wow. what an annoying thing for me to pick up and reattach a thousand times”

        2016:
        “Wow, Timmy. Look at that spider on your belt. What’s it for?”
        “I have no idea, my den leader gave it to me after the meeting.”
        “Maybe it’s about bugs.”

        The activity loops are the new beads and arrow points. What we currently think of as loops and pins are gone. They were not replaced with these loops except with respect where the boys wear them.

        • gregonwp // May 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm //

          In fairness, you missed my point. I was comparing the current belt loops to the new belt loops in order to agree with your comment about their cryptic nature.Today, when anyone sees an Astronomy Belt Loop they know what it’s for. That won’t be the case with the new loops. Also, every boy will have same basic set of loops, which will diminish their pride in what the loops represent. Today, a boy in a southern Pack who earns a Snow Skiing Belt loop really has a neat story to tell about it since he’s probably the only kid in the Pack wearing one of those. In the future, 6 months into the year, all of the boys in the den will have the same set of belt loops that all the other boys have, so they are going to care even less about getting them.

        • Nutmegger // May 21, 2014 at 4:34 pm //

          I’m not sure your point was particularly clear from your initial comment. But I agree fully with your 4:12pm comment.

  21. What is a 1 foot hike? 1st requirement for Tiger

    • I’ve seen it called a twelve inch hike… Draw a twelve inch circle in the dirt and see all the living things you can find, or something along those lines. I’ve also done a “one inch hike” where I ask each boy to find an object smaller than one inch, someplace during our hike.

      • how is this a “hike”? One of the leading issues facing our youth today is obesity and we are going to call a single step a “hike”? Not a fan, and it’s not defined in the literature so where does one go for training on the new program and it’s vernacular?

        • Philmont. Sorry, no $20 training class for you. Get ready to fork over 1-2K.

        • Well, when I did it, that wasn’t the WHOLE hike!! It was just an activity we did for a few minutes, as part of an actual, regular hike, to keep things interesting, and give the scouts something to pay attention to, rather than racing each other down the trail. For Tigers, I think we went about 1.5 miles.

  22. I know it is not really an advancement award, but SuperAchiever (earning all 20 webelos activity badges) is not applicable any more. ? I count 28 pins between core & elective for webelos & arrow of light. Will there be something similar? Is getting all 28 even possible in this time frame?

    • They answered this in the FAQ.

      • Not really. It only mentions the old 20 pin type badge. Not if there wold be something else, if at all, new. The SuperAchiever pertains to what will be the older pins/badges.

        • gregonwp // May 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm //

          You’re correct, emakar13, they didn’t really answer, but they did condescendingly imply that you must be doing something wrong if your Cub is “rushing” through the program to earn all 20 pins.

    • I read that “they” might be adding more electives, too. The comment had implied to not worry about Super Achiever since it isn’t a real BSA award, anyway. It also said that since the new Webs (2014-2015) will be transitioning, there won’t be a way for them to get it.

  23. looks like more ways to make money from unit, causing more hardship on units that councils/districts are suppose to support. Not milk every thin dime they have …

  24. Nutmegger // May 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm // Reply

    With the (unfortunate) demise of the iconic webelos activity pin, what happens to internet advancement? Will we a) be free of entering webelos pins forever or b) have to enter all adventures for everyone (perish the thought!)?

    I will admit that I have considerable nostalgic angst about the demise of activity pins. I will miss by only one year my son earning the same pins I did as a kid. I have no such attachments to belt loops.

    • almartin93 // May 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm // Reply

      I’m disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a transition period for those boys starting their Webelos journey this summer. 12 months of “normal” activity pins followed by “new” pins? The mixing will be odd.

  25. Ethan isn’t a very good example – no arrowheads, belt loops, outdoor activity award, recruiter strip, or religious emblem patch. Has he just been doing the minimum to get by? :o)

  26. I love that we’re going to one Oath and Law. Scouting will feel more like a 12 year continuum instead of 2 separate programs.

    If I were king for a day (and I’m sure many of you are glad that I’m not :) ), I would keep 2 of the Cub Core values and replace them into the Scout Law.

    Laws #4, 5 & 6 (friendly, courteous and kind) seem to me to be birds of a feather. They are nuances of the same thing — how we treat others. I would merge them all into one of those (“kind” if I were to choose.)

    The two that I love from Cub Scouts and that will disappear in 2015 are …

    PERSEVERANCE: “steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. It is sort of in the “do my best” part of the Scout Oath, but not wholly. A Scout keeps working on things despite difficulty. He’ll continue to work on Eagle and not give up. He will fight for the things he believes in. In my imaginary new Scout Law we’d say, “A Scout is persistent.” Wouldn’t that be a great way to describe a Scout? Yes!

    COOPERATION: “involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal”. This goes beyond being “helpful” (law #3) which one could take as just assisting you in your project or need. Cooperation implies that I’m taking on your goal, we’re working together, our desires are the same… Why it’s the Patrol method in a nut shell. And we’d say, “A Scout is Cooperative.” At school, at home, at church, in life, Scouts cooperate with others to better server the world.

    I know these will never be added. The Scout Law is sacrosanct and there’s really no reason to change it. But still, words and definitions change over time. And I could see these 2 words being a big help in how Scouts (and adults) make decisions in their daily lives.

    • I would argue that friendly, courteous and kind are not at all the same thing. I have met more than one person who is plenty friendly but truly unkind / uncourteous. Snakes in the grass if you will. I agree that the 3 work together for a complete picture, but they are independent and can definitely be done only in part and ignoring one of the other.

  27. carolyn moulton // May 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm // Reply

    Change is always hard but lets get all the facts and then see how we can make it work for the boys. Positive attitude needs to be demonstrated by the leaders so we can offer the boys a quality program. I am sure a lot of thought and study went into the development of these changes and I am excited to see how it will inpact the boys for good.

  28. I’m not sure why they allow for feedback here. This is not OUR organization. We don’t have a say. It’s, “This is the way it’s going to be. If you don’t like it, too bad.” Then there’s the nerve to make you feel bad if you’re not happy about it. “Positive Attitude” and all… Despite relying on volunteers to carry out the program, they very rarely listen to what those volunteers have to say.
    The new recognition devices will make things more expensive. Period. That doesn’t affect me at all, but it will many other Packs. There was nothing wrong with how things were going, and quite honestly, I don’t know why things were changed so drastically. I’m very sad for my current Tigers who will have all of these changes coming to them when they start Bear. It’s not fair to them. My Webelos will now have to bust hump in order to finish everything by May, so they don’t have to deal with any of this nonsense, and can get ready to move on to Boy Scouts. Personally, I plan to purchase all of the activity badges for the boys in advance, and make sure they’re available to be earned and awarded to them during their Webelos II program ‘year’. That way, they can be rewarded for their hard work and not have to start fresh with 7 months before Boy Scouts.

    • It’s nice to know I’m not the only one thinking of doing this. The lack of a real transition period is annoying, to say the least.

      • Just for clarification, this isn’t a feedback page. It’s a blog. Bryan gives us updates on Scouting. By the time it reaches Bryan, it’s already a done deal.

        Some people treat it like a feedback page … or more like a rant page … but that’s what blogs have become these days.

        • The problem is that they didn’t seek any feedback. I am highly involved in our district and council committees and there was zero request for input. This was made in an ivory tower.

    • Sounds like a sound plan. Looking at the AOL requirements, 2nd year Webelos does not look like a six month program anymore. 7 adventures at 3 den meetings each, with the holidays, weather and who knows what else crossover is going to be pushed back close to May. So much for AOL allowing you to join BS early.

  29. S. Cirrus // May 21, 2014 at 6:04 pm // Reply

    Love the changes, something new and fresh. Feels like everything was still the same from the early 1990’s with a couple of graphics changes in the books. Getting the Cubbies ready for Boy Scouts isn’t a bad thing. A few pinches of pain and stress in the short term for a better program in the long run. Looking forward to the new materials! As for the cost, we’ll just have to make sure that we’re doing our unit’s budget accordingly. This isn’t a never ending road block, but a simple hurdle that we will overcome. So we’ve got to wash an extra car, sell an extra tin of popcorn, or raise our dues by $5. I would rather have my boy in the Scouting program learning the values that he’s learning over a sports team where “everyone is a winner and everyone is special.” What is he really learning? These are things that he will take with him for the rest of his life.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions… but negativity doesn’t solve problems and I don’t think there is a problem here that needs solving. What needs to happen now is planning… we know about it so plan for it. We’re all adults and we’re all smart, let’s do what’s best for the kids…. that is why we’re here isn’t it. I can’t imagine someone would join the Scouting Program to be anything less than Courteous or Kind. I think the VOLUNTEER committee that spent the time restructuring the program is doing a great job from what I am hearing so far. This program needed some help and hopefully it will help attract more boys to the program, goodness knows that they need it in this world.

    Embrace the change as they say in Wood Badge. :)

    Happy Trails!

    • thumbs up, cirrus. you’re a cloud above the rest. :)
      Bobwhite, 92-64

    • I will get planning right away for that 1-foot hike. I can see the excitement in the boys eyes right now.

  30. Co-Wefa Lyda // May 21, 2014 at 8:00 pm // Reply

    ok I have read every post, I have been a Mom, Tiger leader, Den leader, Cub Master, on district committee, district program chairman, and now district commissioner, with that said all of us are adult scouters!! We are here for the boys! We are volunteers!
    If we do not like what is going on we can choose not to stay! But……. if we choose to stay have a positive attitude do our best and be the example of Scouting for our boys like we should! Do I worry about the money, time and all my family gives? Yes I do but I see a 12 1/2 year old who is working so hard to be an Eagle and I am one proud but at times tired Mom who is proud to say I am an adult Scouter.

    • Don’t assume that people who are here complaining must also have bad attitudes in front of their scouts. Mostly, they are here complaining because they are passionate about delivering the best possible program to their scouts. No Cubs are coming to this page and reading through the comments so there’s no issue of being an “example of Scouting for our boys”. Where else can scouters go to rant with other scouters and get things off their chest so they can collect themselves and return to the model scouter when they get back in front of their boys?

  31. Will the 2014 1st year Webelos (Bear that become Webelos in June 2014) be expected to transition over mid-webelos in May 2015? If they transition over how will this work, if not, will there be a short supply of awards for them?

    I understand that lower ranks can not earn the loops for older ranks, but will the higher ranking scouts be able to earn awards they have now essentially missed out on? Will Webelos be able to earn the Tiger loops?

    • The never ending nightmare of indoor crafts is the problem with Cubs, not the insignia. They could left that alone. Well except for the beads. Those had to go.

    • That is the biggest issue everyone is having. Hopefully someone will listen to all of us Web 1 den leaders to let our kids finish. But I doubt it because they are so proud of the new program and will only listen to positive feedback.

      • This continues to be the biggest issue and it’s not like it’s a huge surprise. It’s been beaten to death here since January. But anything critical is brushed aside as “just wait, you’ll love it!” or “not very scoutlike of you to have a bad attitude.”

        The real shame is that this transition “plan” could have been announced months ago to allow webelos dens, many of whom have laid out their 18 month calendars already, to make an informed choice as to which activity pins they’d actually pursue and whether they’d cram in a big 2014-15 to avoid having to do the adventures in summer/fall of ’15. Now, if they are even paying attention, they need to scramble. It’s unfair to the volunteers on the ground and it’s unfair to the boys.

        • Exactly! I don’t have a problem with what was chosen as new requirements. I’m not happy about the belt loop program going away, but I’ll deal with it. The single thing out of all of this is no transition. Even if I were given the option of starting NOW as Webelos 1 leader with the new program, at least it’s a choice. But no, I’m being told to start the old, start all over again in a year with the new, hope I don’t lose parents, or boys because of the confusion that will happen, and I’d better keep a smile on my face while I’m at it or somehow I’m not a caring scouter.

          You know why I’m upset about this? BECAUSE I DO CARE! And I can easily see the problems that I will have to deal with in a year, and it’s not OK! No other den will have to face this issue, and boy aren’t they the lucky ones.

        • I’m starting an online petition to capture our displeasure in the current transition plan.

        • Brian Catalano // May 22, 2014 at 11:57 am //

          Keep us apprised of your online petition. I’ll happily sign it.

        • Brian Catalano // May 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm //

          Instead of “cub scouts” in the title, you should use “Webelos Scouts” to indicate it’s Web 1’s we’re talking about, and not all of the other ranks. 8-)

        • That makes sense, thanks for the feedback.

        • Gee Brian, that wasn’t very Scout Like if you to offer feedback to daronson. What is with the negative attitude ? Keep your mouth shut. It’s for the Boys!

      • I noticed they pulled link comment with my online petition out of the comments. Clearly they don’t want to hear from us, we are supposed to toe the line.

        • Here is the link to the petition again.: https://www.change.org/petitions/boy-scouts-of-america-allow-webelos-scouts-that-have-started-the-program-to-complete-the-program-under-the-terms-and-requirements-that-were-in-place-when-they-joined?recruiter=99229315&utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

        • Instead of reposting it when they clearly don’t want it, why not write Bryan and find out why?

        • What is his email?

        • “don’t do for a scouter what he can do for himself.”
          it’s on this page. hunt around.

        • Emailed Bryan, no response. Contacted national and made contact with the Experience Mgmt. Department . Feedback is a gift :)

    • Do we have a definitive answer on this? It’s really the biggest issue outside of the boys who will be Bears in 2015 having half old and half new on their uniforms.
      If the Webelos I boys in 2014-2015 are allowed to complete what they started in that fashion, then the Scout Shops will have to supply both, and I don’t see that happening.
      My solution is to buy them in advance, and allow the boys to finish what they started regardless. If they want to earn any of the new stuff in addition, that’s up to them when we’re done.

    • Tina, et al, please check out the transition plan: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/program_update/pdf/CS%20Program%20Transition.pdf There will be 4 core adventures for the boys to earn between June 1, 2015, and their bridging date. For the 3 elective adventures, they will be able to use activity badges earned beyond their Webelos requirements during their Webelos I year in 2014.

    • Webelos will start their 2nd year in the new program, pins earned in the first year can count towards new Arrow of light requirements though
      http://www.scouting.org/programupdates

  32. Webelos Adventure: Faith in Action (1)
    Do requirement 1 or requirement 2. If you choose requirement 2, complete 2a plus two more from 2b–2d.
    1. Earn the religious emblem of your faith for Webelos Scouts. 2. Do the following:
    a. Help plan and participate in an interfaith worship service with your den leader. Show reverence during the service.

    So now I am in the business of forcing scouts to worship with people of other faiths. I know a few COs that are going to have major issues with this.

    And my favorite.

    Tiger Adventure: Backyard Jungle
    1. Take a 1-foot hike. Make a list of the living things you find on your 1-foot hike.

    Need I say more ?

    • If your CO’s have issues with interfaith services, they should be embarrassed IMHO. Our boys should not be brought up in a vacuum and us scouting to help them learn about diversity.

      They could just offer the religious emblem course to avoid this but that is sad.

      • Is that how you teach your Scouts to be reverent ? Claiming a Scout should be embarrassed by his faith ?

        You can’t get a Religious Emblem if your religion does not charter at least five units.

        • Ryan Hauck // May 23, 2014 at 5:54 am //

          > You can’t get a Religious Emblem if your religion does not charter at least five units.

          Patently untrue. My religion charters zero units nationwide and my sons and I are the only scouters of my religion in the entire council. My oldest received his religious emblem last year.

        • I was incorrect. The latest information I can find is 25 units.

          If what you say is correct, how do we go about getting one approved for Pastafarians ?

        • I didn’t say embrassed by his faith. But should be embarassed that his faith prevents him from participating in an interfaith service. Maybe they might like something they learn and can incorporate it into their faith services.

    • I totally agree, I don’t know how this could work. Many religions have such different beliefs, that a service made to accommodate every religion would be almost entirely devoid of meaning and possibly even objectionable to some religions. Several faiths have specific prayer requirements, some even multiple times each day. An interfaith service wouldn’t fulfill these requirements-how do you explain such a service to these youth and make them participate? Many of them are struggling with fulfilling their own religious requirements, how can we add more for them? Many units sponsored by religious COs frequently consist of boys of one religion and they may not have any inter-unit activities with other religions.

      A grace before meals or a prayer offered at a campfire would be much easier to accommodate in a language acceptable to all, though this does not appear like it would fulfill the requirement.

      • It’s not really that difficult. Adults hold interfaith services all the time. It can be as simple as each scout reciting a prayer from the faith of their choice as grace before a snack or meal. Ta-da, you’re finished.

        That being said, I fully agree with those who are uncomfortable with this now being a *requirement* that compels the leader and den to be involved. It seems that BSA is attempting to make faith a more active and visible part of the curriculum, and I disagree with that decision. Faith is a very personal issue, and some of us are not comfortable exposing or talking about our beliefs in front of others–especially if (1) we’re not fully clear on those beliefs or not fully able to articulate them, (2) we are part of a minority religion, an unpopular religion, or one that’s not well-known. For example I live smack-dab in the Bible Belt. (Disclaimer: I myself am not Christian.) I’ve had a Muslim child in my pack before. I can visualize some parents becoming VERY upset if he chose to recite a prayer in Arabic. I fully realize it’s the parents’ problem to fix their own ignorance, but in the meantime that child has just been alienated and made to feel unwelcome.

      • Faith in and of itself is not religious by nature. It is the belief in something that you cannot see or prove. Teaching what faith is as a concept is quite easy and shouldn’t offend anyone. It can also be noted that there are many types of religious faiths out there and all should be respected equally. This is how I’ve handled the subject with my Den from Tiger through Bear.
        It’s their parents job to educate them at home on the specifics of what their belief structure is – not mine. My job is to introduce the subject, and to let them know that diversity exists with regards to belief structures, just like other things in life.
        The easiest way to handle the requirement for Webelos is to talk to each of the parents, and find out what faith they are. Have them work with their son to prepare a single passage that relates to their belief or to nature and have each boy read that passage in a simple gathering.
        This is how it is done at Wood Badge training, and works well, even for heathens such as myself. :)

    • Ryan Hauck // May 22, 2014 at 8:22 am // Reply

      A “1-foot hike” is a common tool to educate the participant on how much nature is present in an area as small as 1 square (or cubic) foot. The point is not the hike; the point is to be observant of the “jungle” right under one’s feet.

    • I have always been a bit skittish about working on the faith requirements in my den meetings anyway. Since our pack is chartered by our school’s PTA and our meetings are held at the school, I’ve always left the faith requirements up to the parents. I think the faith component is important, but I think it is very personal and should be left to the parents.

      • and that’s a very appropriate attitude given your situation. ‘A scout is reverent’ but ‘religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and religious leaders’ (from the Religious Emblem Program docs.)

    • From the Scout Handbook – “A Scout is reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”

      That last part is just as important as the first few. it is important for the scout to learn that there are other faiths, and to respect other people’s right to believe in something that might be different from his own beliefs. To acknowledge the differences and treat them in a responsible, adult-like manor.

      For those who don’t know what a scout interfaith service is or would look like, check out the wonderfully detailed BSA training summary:
      http://www.scouting.org/Training/Adult/Supplemental/InterfaithService.aspx

      That said, part of your issue is valid. From the same source:

      -Attendance at an Interfaith Service-

      Participation at an interfaith service should be a voluntary, uplifting experience for Scouts and leaders. It should be a friendly, welcoming experience for all. There should never be coercion or criticism concerning participation or nonparticipation in an interfaith service.

      Some religions do not support the participation of their members in Interfaith Services. Some religions obligate their members to participation in a specific religious service; consequently, participation in an interfaith service may not meet this obligation. Some individuals may choose to participate in the interfaith service and also in a service of their own faith.

      The WEB rules should make allowances for this (apart from the option of doing the Religious Emblem Program). Without seeing the full text of the requirements… maybe they do?

    • The 1 foot hike has been used in many of current books and is actually nothing new…..types of hikes, just like a scavenger hike…….I did it with my tigers 4 years and now they are web 2’s

  33. Finally made it through all of the available material. I like a lot of the changes that are being made. The nostalgic side of me will miss the old program and awards, but I don’t think the kids will take much notice. I showed my boys (6 and 9) the new program materials and they were genuinely excited. In the long run, as long as the boys are learning and having fun…that’s what matters.

    I think the only major issue is with the Webelos transition. It will be a bit tricky to make sure the boys are able to get prepared for Boy Scouts without repeating requirements. I am thinking of making an executive decision and unofficially trading out the Citizen badge for the Readyman badge for the upcoming year. That way the boys could complete the new “Citizen” like badge in the AOL year but not miss out on First Aid.

    • Ooooooh… Breaking the law, breaking the law. I like it. :)

    • I think I’m going to try and jump right in with the new stuff. I can’t see confusing my scouts and parents with trying to do the old way this year and the new way next. A lot of the boys in my Bear den just joined this year and don’t have older siblings. They just got the hang of everything in Bears, I can’t throw this kind of change at them now! What kind of info do you think will come out at Philmont? I’m hoping maybe the rest of Webelos Den leader guide will leak. :) But, if not, I can make up my own meeting plans from the information already released anyway. I’m ready to embrace the change. I don’t want to try and have to learn both systems (I’ve only been a leader for two years now).

      • Well I have been in this go round since Tiger and am in my 7th year with the Cubs. Before I was in with my 2 older boys who now have Children and we did not have Tigers and only 1 Year of Webelos. We all made it through then and we will all make it through now. Of course no one says it is set in Stone so work it to fit you and your group.

  34. Several comments…
    1. Overall, I like the program changes. They were a long time coming. I’m very sorry to see the existing Webelos activity pins going away…aside from color, they haven’t changed much in the last 40 years; but it was the right choice to make Webelos progress more consistent with the other 3 ranks.
    2. I knew that the national office wasn’t going to rob the Scout Shops of one of their most lucrative sources of income. My pack buys probably $1200 in belt loops every year, especially in September after summer camps are done.
    3. That being said, I am not a fan of the new belt loops. Just eyeballing it, there are something like 20 belt loops (requirements + electives) for each rank. For a scout that goes through the entire program, there is no way they’re going to fit 80 belt loops on a single belt! I assume this to mean that belt loops are supposed to be/can be removed at the beginning of every year, but it’s hard to tell for sure.
    5. Has the national office ever realized just how much of a pain it is to keep up with belt loops? They fall off all the time. There are probably 15 of them under various beds in my house. They also make putting on and taking off the belts a real hassle.
    6. Belts are also not worn on every occasion…for example campouts. I cannot imagine encouraging families to wear their scout belts with a bajillion metal, clanging belt loops into the woods.
    7. Belt loops (the ones that don’t get lost) get scratched up…a LOT. It’s just going to be worse with all the extra colors on them now.

    I think there could have been a better way to indicate progress toward rank, although I acknowledge that the choices are limited. Something resembling the existing Webelos Compass Points badge/pin system would have been a much better option, IMO. However that decision points back to #2 above.

    • Michael Castiglia // June 3, 2014 at 9:03 am // Reply

      If the idea is to align everything from Tiger through Eagle to have a more central feel to it, then why not use patches instead of Belt Loops. 1) lower cost and 2) gives the semblance of Merit Badges.

  35. Asa C Ralls // May 22, 2014 at 6:40 am // Reply

    Is there a way to have the boys advance with out purchasing the loops?

    • Ryan Hauck // May 22, 2014 at 8:18 am // Reply

      I’m sure that purchasing the loops is not a requirement that council will hold you to. The den leaders/advancement chair would simply be responsible for making sure all 7 adventures were finished before awarding the rank badge.

      • Asa C Ralls // May 28, 2014 at 8:13 am // Reply

        how do you tell a boy at that age now we can now do what is in your book! when the belt loops were separate we could work around them, now we can not.

        • Ryan Hauck // May 28, 2014 at 8:23 am //

          I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 4:56 pm //

          I think I see what you’re asking! For example, a Bear requirement might say “Do 8 of these 12 things,” and one MIGHT be a beltloop, but you could NOT do that and still hit 8 items.

          Under the new system, There.Will.Be.Beltloops. whether you have budget to purchase them or not.

          I guess you can EARN the things but not award the beltloops, just the Rank item. But you’re right, the boys are going to notice if they don’t get the bling.

  36. Christopher Connolly // May 22, 2014 at 8:57 am // Reply

    Personally I think that this is going to create an additional cost to the members. All of these new belt loops and pins, most likely costing about $1.79 each is much more expensive than the beads that we paid $1.99 for about 30 of them.

    PLUS now leaders have to go out and buy NEW books AGAIN. I just got the new series of books, (Actually purchased 3 of them for the leaders) three years ago, now they are obsolete and I have to go and get new ones. Being a leader will keep getting more expensive. Why is that. It is supposed to be made easy for the direct contact leaders, but they keep passing the cost down to us. 62% increase in membership fees, and now we have to buy all new materials. When will the expenses quit going up?

    • Ryan Hauck // May 22, 2014 at 9:08 am // Reply

      Leaders books are almost always PDF-downloadable for no cost, if you know where to look.

      I share the concern about all the belt loops making costs go up, though. For a scout in the program 5 years and earning each badge they’ll have a minimum of what, about 35 belt loops? That’s higher than the Sports+Academics belt loop count for an average scout going all the way through the program.

      • Daniel Helfen // May 28, 2014 at 4:40 am // Reply

        Where do you look?

        • Ryan Hauck // May 28, 2014 at 5:35 am //

          Google “cub scout leader book pdf”, with or without the quotes. That should get you what you’re looking for.

    • Bert Bender // May 22, 2014 at 9:15 am // Reply

      On the cost of the new loops, yesterday I asked volunteers on the team who produced the new requirements and materials, and am told that the pricing of the new loops is not yet set, but that they are looking to come under the current pricing. I can confirm that this was a big issue as the new recognition items were considered a few years ago in the task force.

      Also, hopefully, there will be a continuation of the policy of posting the leader materials on the BSA website for free, as the current Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide is posted, and future Pack Meeting plans will exist online. To the extent that BSA Supply worries about loss of revenue for hard copies of the books, there should be increased revenue if more Scouts do more things and get more recognition pieces because leaders (and parent helpers) get more access to more resources for free.

      • good to know, but before Packs had ways of putting limits on belt loop costs. things like “up to X per year are included with dues, after that we’ll ask you to chip in for the loops…” simply from the pack budget and awards admin perspective, the belt loop program going away wasn’t a bad thing :)

        so much for that. now, you’ll have a minimum of 6 (7?) per boy advancing in rank per year, plus any electives. if it comes down to $1-$1.50 per loop, it will make ‘required’ award cost per boy go up quite a bit. I guess a pack could still place controls on electives done outside the den/pack program.

        For us, combined belt loop + rank award costs should come down a bit though from where they are now, since we always have a bunch of belt loop overachievers and we had been covering all belt loops.

        • Currently, we budget for about 1 BL per Cub per month and 1-2 per Webelos per month (more BLs count for their ABs than Ti/Wo/Be), on *average* over a 9 month program.

          Most of our Dens crank out a BL somewhere in their 3 monthly Den meetings, most months. Averaged out, that’s about 11-12 BLs per year per boy. This accounts for approximately 1/2 of each boy’s Pack dues.

          If I read this right, the 6-7 Adventure loops plus another 5-6 Electives ends up being (for us) about the same. But then, I’ve always pushed BLs any time they’re optional for a Req, since they’re “bling” that I can give out as Atta-Boys on a monthly basis to keep the boys enthused.

          (Yeah, yeah. I know. They should be enthused anyway. But they love the bling.)

        • asrugan // June 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm //

          Don’t forget, with beads moving to loops suddenly more focus is put BELOW the shirt. Since that’s where the awards will sit I’m guessing more focus will be on uniform pants for cubs as well (for even most cost).

        • Asrugen, I think your comment was a little below the belt.

          BWAH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA. :) Sorry. Had to say it.
          *sniff* I crack me up.

  37. so the immediate recognition beads and their corresponding holders are leaving? No more swinging beads hanging from the front of a Tiger Cubs shirt? :(

  38. Actually after reading the info more thoroughly, my rising Web I’s will face some trouble. We will be working on the Web badges requirements and earn a lot of the Arrow of Light badges during a week-long BSA summer camp. Except for one boy who will turn 10 this fall, all the others won’t meet the criteria of being active for 6 months after they turned 10, not to mention that they haven’t entered 4th grade yet, but they might have finished all other requirements for Arrow of Light. Does that really mean they have to finish under the new rule including earning new badges?

    • And what is even going to happen with the Web’s who plan to do the Superachiever (I have such boys in my den)? Not going to happen I assume.

      • H. David Pendleton // May 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm // Reply

        My son earned all 20 pins in 12 months. From Webelos Camp just after his Bear year to the end of the school year. I offered 19/20 pins during the Web 1 year (all but Aquanaut & they had 2 camps to get that one) with 3 meetings a month for 90 minutes each. My son never missed a meeting & earned them all. Several other Scouts did the same in the same amount of time. A few missed meetings & we made them up during fall of Year 2 doing some requirements we did not do the 1st time so the others would not say, “I’ve already done that. In the end, I think 8/13 got the Super Achiever Award, 3 had 18 or 19; one had 16 & the one that missed a lot of meets had 14.

        • ElGringo49 // May 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm //

          Yea, There’s going to be a mad dash to get the Super Achiever in 12 months. My son’s Den Leader is already putting together a plan for that. They should just grandfathered the new Webelos until they go to the Boy Scouts in Feb ’16.The Webelos starting in June ’15 should be the 1st dens starting the new program.

        • I totally agree

        • I’m toying with the idea of my rising Web1s just doing the standard current stuff THIS year, then for that transitional Sep-Feb I’ll say, “Here’s your NEW AOL stuff!”

          I do like someone’s suggestion of swapping out Citizen, if the new AOL stuff would hit it with different materials. Citizen is a heavy chunk; I’m not asking them to do it twice!

  39. I will miss the nostalgia of the arrow points and a few other awards. They are going the way of the beanie cap that I wore in the 70s (that was a positive). The best change is that I don’t have to chase down loose beads at pack meetings or buy extra beads when the boys lose them.

  40. For those (like myself) who are upset with the lack of transition for the Webelos I would strongly suggest you talk to your District Executive about it. Being higher up in the scout chain their voices ill be heard more then ours (or as I was told, “They can scream louder”).

    Good or bad, adding that transition time is probably the only thing at this point that can be changed. Kick it up higher and maybe that will help.

    • District Executives are going to be of no help for this, this is way above their heads…..

  41. Am i the only parent whose scouts were losing belt loops every time they got dressed/undressed/used the bathroom/etc??

    I loved the current belt loop program but felt that belt loops were a stupid design, cause they were forever falling off the belt – and the pins were so tiny you could barely see what they were. Was there some trick i missed to keeping them on the belt?

    • Duct tape

    • I have seen boys on campouts picking belt loops out of the toilet….. YUCK!. The belt needs stopper pin of some kind.

    • Once all the new loops went on the belt I would give the one closest to the end a squeeze on the back, pushing the ends into the belt. It was enough to catch on the metal and keep them from falling off.

  42. I don’t see the belt loop price going DOWN from $1.89 (current price on Scoutstuff.org).. Ten belt loops a year (7 Adventures, 3 electives), that’s nearly $20.00 per year above what we are currently paying for awards per boy (we don’t do the current belt loops for budget reasons). For a 30 boy pack that is an extra $600 per year! Given our current popcorn commission rate, that means selling an extra $1800 worth of popcorn. .On top of the recent dues increase, this is going to hurt.

    • Stop selling popcorn and find something with a better profit margin.

      • you might can sell something with a better profit margin, but will you be able to sell enough to compensate?

        i had a unit try and sell something else that gave them a better profit margin but since it wasn’t the standard popcorn that everyone knows scouts sell, they were woefully underfunded and learned not to do that the next year.

        it’s like if Girl Scouts started selling wrapping paper or gift cards. sales would go down.

        and getting a 1/3 of the profit, that’s not too shabby.

        and remember (everyone say it with me), “You’re not selling popcorn, you’re selling Scouting.” :)

        • Pushing candied popcorn is in direct conflict of one the the Aims of scouting ? Can you guess which one?

        • Ryan Hauck // May 23, 2014 at 5:56 am //

          Thor: No it’s not. Otherwise none of us would be able to make or eat dump cake, either. There’s nothing wrong with dessert in moderation. Besides, not all of it is sweetened.

          You seem to be awfully grumpy about scouting in general.

        • No Ryan, I am not grumpy. You just lack a sense of humor today.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm //

          5th year Scouter here. The.Popcorn.Doesn’t Sell. At least not here with our demographic where 85% of families are on Free Lunch. $4 cookies? Maybe. Possibly. But $12 (what’s the cheapest thing now?) for popcorn? “You out your mind.”

          The ONLY way our little Pack benefits from the popcorn is when folks look at the cute boy and say, “I can’t afford anything on there, but I’ll GIVE you a dollar.”

          Five years, man. Popcorn does.not.work. in poor areas.

        • Irlanbrwng- I totally disagree that popcorn doesn’t sell in poor or even rural areas, because in the past 3 years as popcorn kernel and 2 years as district kernel….I have took my unit from $4k in sales the year before I took over to last years sales of $15k….we live in a poor and rural farming community and if we can do it so can others

  43. Most of the discussion here has been about the transition plan, belt loops, and cost. After thoroughly reading through all the documents, I’m starting to wonder if BSA will soon drop the A and just be called BS. It’s not immediately obvious, but it becomes glaringly obvious when you start comparing the old and new requirements, that pride in America is being edged out of the program. Consider this:

    1. Current Tiger Cubs must learn about the Pledge of Allegiance and how to respect the flag during a flag ceremony as part of the Where I Live Achievement. The new Tiger requirements have no mention at all of America, the flag, or the Pledge.

    2. Current Wolf Cubs must complete the Your Flag achievement where they gain a better appreciation for the Pledge of Allegiance, learn to fold and respect the American flag, and learn about performing flag ceremonies. This has all been removed from the new Wolf requirements – nothing the Pledge or the flag at all. The only mention of America is in the optional part of the faith adventure.

    3. Current Bear Cubs have the option to complete the “What makes America Special?” Achievement where the learn more about America, the flag, and serving as a color guard. The new requirements finally get around to acknowledging America here by bundling the flag and Pledge into one part of the Bear Paws in Action Adventure and also requiring the Cub to learn about 2 famous Americans (they do stop short of recommending Chavez and Snowden, however).

    4. For current Webelos to earn the Webelos rank patch, they must earn the Citizen Activity Pin, which includes multiple requirements relating to learning about US Presidents, great Americans, rights of American citizens, and the history of the flag and National Anthem. The new requirements for the Webelos patch make no mention of America at all. The new guidelines for AOL include completing 10 requirements of the “Building a Better World” Adventure. One of those 10 calls for the scout to explain the history of the US flag and how to display it. The other 9 requirements are about being a citizen of the world and make no further mention of the USA.

    This is the most disturbing thing I’ve uncovered in the new guidelines. It’s bad enough that our public schools have been taken over by the “don’t teach kids that America is special” crowd, but it’s really sad to see that mentality is quietly creeping into the BSA. At this rate, it won’t be long until the American flag becomes an optional part of the uniform so as not to offend those who don’t swear allegiance.

    • Glad to see someone has reviewed and commented on the new material instead of the pocketbook. Thanks for the insights.

      • TANSTAAFL // May 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm // Reply

        I frankly see the reduction of blind nationalism a little refreshing. Tiger learning the meaning of the pledge of allegiance? Really? How many adult leaders can articulate the philosophical implications of and discontinuity with the founding principles of this nation of promising blind allegiance? How many know that the the pledge was penned by Francis Bellamy an avowed socialist?

        I like the idea of teaching our boys to think, question and resist blind, tribal loyalties. I see this change as an opportunity for leaders to instill that in our boys.

    • They really need to fix this and hopefully add even more requirements to show American pride and learn about our great country. A lot of the adventures seem to be more active in general (I heard some boys comment during a Citizen den meeting led by an inexperienced Den Leader that “this feels like school”), though a good teacher can turn any learning situation into something exciting and hands-on.

    • Ryan Hauck // May 23, 2014 at 1:29 pm // Reply

      Wow, I didn’t even notice that upon reading through the requirements the first time, but you’re right. I’m astonished that there are almost zero mentions of citizenship in the Tiger or Wolf programs, and only passing mention in the Bear and Webelos. That is a glaring omission and really disturbs me..

    • It’s been pointed out that I need to make one correction to item 1 in my list – there actually is a requirement in the new Tiger Team adventure to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a den meeting. I stand corrected.

      Tigers today get to talk about what the Pledge actually means, but they won’t have to bother with that in the future. Once every Tiger in the Den has had his required turn to lead the Pledge, you can put the flag away until you need it again a couple of years later when you get to the Bear Paws in Action Adventure. Then, stow it away for another year until you get to the one requirement in the AOL Adventures that acknowledges its existence (you’ll probably have to fold it yourself since the boys no longer have to learn how to do that). :)

      • oh good grief.

        • gregonwp // May 23, 2014 at 6:50 pm //

          I can have some fun with it, can’t I? Just trying to remain cheerful… :)

        • my bad, then. thought you were 1/2 serious. should have paid attention to the smiley face. makes sense now. apologies requested. :)

  44. Citizenship, as one of the three AIMs of Scouting (Citizenship, Character Development & Personal Fitness), was a primary focus during the 411 process, which included the development of the new adventures for the Cub Scout program.

    The Citizenship track of the 411 Task Force identified specific content topics for each rank in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts including: Civic Awareness and Patriotism; Service; and Stewardship, all designed to help young men develop as good citizens with the ability to identify and understand civic issues; to respect and appreciate the service and sacrifice of those who have served, and continue to serve, our communities and our country; to understand and exercise the rights guaranteed by our Constitution such as the right to vote and the obligation of jury service; the need to provide service to their family, their community, to Scouting and to their country; to understand that we all have an obligation to protect and use wisely the resources that God has given us as well as those items that have been manufactured for our use; and finally, to be patriots, to value and respect the American flag and all that it represents.

    The comments in this thread so far concern an omission of requirements to develop pride in America. I suggest that when viewed as a whole, the new requirements for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts do exactly what gregonwp and all of the rest of us who volunteer and work with the young people in our program want, which is to satisfy the mission of the Boy Scouts of America – to prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.

    Please look again at all of the adventures; there is a required adventure for Tigers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at a den meeting (see Team Tiger,) where it is assigned as part of a job chart prepared for the den – jobs, duties and responsibilities are required of all citizens and our discussion constantly emphasized the best example of the exercise of citizenship we know of is a Boy Scout patrol, which requires the contribution of all choose leaders and to operate properly.

    The adventure loops displayed and the requirements posted on scouting.org are the beginning of the discussion. I think it is appropriate to expect our den and pack leaders, as well as families, to provide much of the content and context some suggest is missing – the new materials for leaders should do this. As many Cub leaders are participating in Scouting for the very first time, they may not know or appreciate the “why” of many of the things we do, such as our emphasis on patriotism; we intend to make this information available to all leaders, including the newest ones, so they can work with these youngest Scouts with complete confidence and understanding of our goals and mission.

    As a final note, I helped “staff” the program updates exhibit at the National Annual Meeting this week and as I stood adjacent to the display case with the new adventure loops and explained the “new” Cub Scout program to all of the visitors I often mentioned to them that there is a very good reason there is only one patch that is already attached to the scout shirt when it is purchased – the American flag represents all that we are as well as all that we continue to hope to be and participatory citizenship will continue to be an AIM of Scouting.

    This is an exciting time for Scouting – I believe our Cub Scouts will find this new program to be more adventurous and exciting; our parents will be better able to articulate the things we do well and the reasons they want their sons involved in Scouting; and our leaders will have the information they need to provide an outstanding program and experience for all who choose to be involved.

    Al Patrick
    Citizenship Track Chair
    411 Task Force

    • Al Patrick // May 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm // Reply

      This comment was a response/reply to gregonwp’s comment suggesting “that pride in America is being edged out of the program:” that’s why it makes specific references to items raised in that comment thread and was not designed as a stand-alone comment. I just hit the wrong button.

      • Can you address the transition plan for Webelos? There are a fair number of us that want to have the current program grandfathered in for the program they are starting June 1st of 2014. I have already collected many signatures from den leaders from all other the US for this slight tweak to the posted transition plan.

        • Al Patrick // May 28, 2014 at 6:40 am //

          No need to “grandfather” them in and in fact, this can be an exciting time for them as no other group of Webelos Scouts will ever be able to earn/obtain the same number and variety of Activity/Adventure pins as they will – think about it: theirs is a unique place in Scouting history as they will be the only group of Webelos to experience both programs and thus, they can earn as many of the current Activity Pins as they can between now and June 30th of next year and then as many of the new Adventure Pins in the Arrow of Light Adventures as they can during their last year of Scouting. We don’t have a patch for it, but that adds new meaning to the “Super Achiever” patch for earning them all as they have a chance to receive more recognition than any other Webelos Scout that comes before, or after, them.

          Please check out the FAQs in the “Program Updates” page of Scouting.org. It provides a chart showing how to handle the transition.

          This year’s Webelos Is finish the Webelos requirements by next summer; they start the Arrow of Light program for the start of their second year as a Webelos Scout (allowing them to use three activity pins earned during the first year to satisfy the AOL electives of the second year) – everyone seems to be ignoring that Arrow of Light is now an Adventure Program instead of just something that may be earned at the completion of their Webelos careers.

          The transition chart includes information allowing 2014 – 2015 Webelos Is to use three activity pins earned during their Webelos I year to be used and counted as their Elective Adventures for Arrow of Light. Thus, it’s not that big of a change or transition – presuming they have three extra Activity Pins going into next summer, they have to finish the four required Arrow of Light Adventures for Arrow of Light; they can still earn as many electives as they wish.

          This is an exciting time for Scouting. A new platform for our youngest Scouts has been created and we’re counting on the leaders to help make it an outstanding experience for them. The volunteers of the Cub Adventure Team that designed the new Adventures are some of the most experienced and dedicated Cub Scout leaders from throughout the country – they’ve served on the Cub Scout faculties at the Philmont Training Center; they’ve been responsible for the design and implementation of numerous Cub Scout programs and training materials in the past, most done without the fanfare of this newest program; and finally, you would be hard-pressed to find a group of Scout volunteers who care more for the Cub Scout program and making sure it is a great program and experience for each young man who wants to be a part of it.

        • Al thank you for you comments. IMHO, I don’t think that the volunteers that worked on this are any better than the rest of us working with the boys even though we did not go to Philmont. That really doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I have plenty of badges and knots and those don’t either. The most important people in scouting are those working directly with the boys.

          You point of view on the new program is that it is exciting. I understand that, you worked on it so you are very close to the solution that you guys came up with. Please take a step back and look at the fact that the boys are reading their books trying to plan for the 18 month program and that they can’t plan for. I understand that the boys will earn the webelos rank by early next year under the current system but I am not going to push the boys to get all 20 pins which is their goal by next May just so your program can be done from day one. That isn’t fair to the boys. It isn’t a transition plan, it is a cliff. Please do us a favor and re-evaluate the transition plan. I am not alone in my thinking. We are all committed to the boys.

        • funny you say that. my son never read the book or planned anything. he did what the den leader told him to do. i bet 95% of scouts are doing what their parents are asking them to do and that we’ll tell them there’s a change coming, they’ll shrug and carry on.
          to me, some of the folks here are blowing this way out of proportion and seeing horrible issues when once it starts going there wont’ be any.

        • Well, my den is learning how to be boy led and I have them have a strong hand in planning our program. Obviously, I have a hand into their direction but I think that I am doing my best to prepare them for boy scouts and life.

        • Al Patrick // May 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm //

          I certainly did not mean to imply that one group of Scouters is more important or dedicated than another. My point is that the people who designed this new program are not isolated from the unit leaders or the folks in the field; it is often suggested that the “folks at national” are out of touch and don’t understand what is happening at the unit level or for that matter, haven’t thought through the effects of what they do.

          This was a volunteer effort, by people from all of Scouting’s four geographic regions, who are active at all levels of Scouting, including Cub Scouts. As an example, one member of the team, who has been on the Cub Scout faculty at the PTC multiple times, is serving another round of Cub Scouts as her grandson’s Tiger Den Leader; others have children in the program and/or also serve as leaders or have recently completed their stints as a den/pack leader, but continue to serve in a Cub Scout role at the local level – maybe as a roundtable commissioner, a trainer or a Cub Scout program chair..

          You are correct; I am close to the project and I certainly have a bias in favor of the end product, the new Adventure Program.. Change is difficult; it can be unsettling, especially in a program for which we are all strongly passionate. Many people will talk about change, but few will take the first step and often it is said that “change is fine, but you go first.” We’ve provided a new platform for our program and yet, haven’t pushed anybody off of the platform. That’s because we’re counting on our volunteer leaders to provide the same effort and the same passion they had for the current program, to the new Adventure Program.

          Yours in Scouting,

        • Jessica // May 28, 2014 at 8:51 am //

          Al – do you have any thoughts on my idea of jumping right in this year with the new program? Would that be possible? I really don’t want to confuse our boys or parents any more than necessary with this Webelos transition. I love the new stuff I have seen so far and I’m ready to just jump in if I can!

        • I think the bigger issues are that the current requirements have Citizen as a requirement for Webelos and Readyman as a requirement for Arrow of Light, under the new requirements, these are switched around. Following the new requirements and meeting plans,current Bears won’t have to earn Readyman/First Responder at all, though they’ll have to do a lot of work to do Building a Better World, even if they use Citizen as a partial, as it only shares about 4 requirements with Citizen, a large portion of the new adventure includes world conservation, family budgeting, and Scouting around the world. These are big and time consuming requirements.

          Readyman and First Responder are pretty similar, except that First Responder also requires:
          2.Show what to do for the hurry cases of first aid:
          d. Stroke
          6. Put together a simple home first-aid kit. Explain what you included and how to use each item correctly.
          7. Create and practice an emergency readiness plan for your home or den meeting place.
          8. Visit with a first responder.
          They could possibly count the new First Responder as an elective for Arrow of Light?

          I’m sure that many people aren’t too excited about the prospect of having to buy another book for the second year Webelos (though they’ve had to buy separate books for each year of Cub Scouts before that, Webelos are already spending more on all of the activity badges)

        • Bert Bender // May 28, 2014 at 1:40 pm //

          I will echo Al’s comments … since design / drafting started over two years ago (after the review of the current program, and analysis of what outcomes are desired from the cub scout program), there have been days upon days upon hour after hour of ideas, activities, design structure, review, feedback, revision and on and on … like any human endeavor, not perfect, but hard effort by the core team, and listening to comments from other volunteers. Many other volunteers, about 75 or so just on the core 411 task force, plus other areas of Scouting volunteers pulled in (I will note that I was a commenter too).

          As to Jessica’s note about “do you have any thoughts on my idea of jumping right in this year with the new program?”, I would suggest not: for one thing, your Scouts won’t have handbooks this year. They are not available until next year, based on the current drafting / release schedule. I think that would make things very very very hard for the boys. Plus, no leader guides and other resources for leaders.

        • I do appreciate all the time put into this. I like the new program(except that they can ear AOL separate from a rank). I just think we need this one small tweak since the boys are caught in the middle. I will be helping have the rest of the ranks in my den, district, and council to switch to the new program next June with my involvement at those levels. This one set of boys are just caught in the unfortunate middle. As one leader pointed out on the petition is that for boys that have medical(not sure that is the right term) issues with change, this impacts those in an adverse way. By having the grandfathering in for the arrow of light it makes those go away since every other rank is a year program.

          On a side note; I would have thought that as someone that is on Round Table Staff, On the district committee, unit chair, Den Leader, and course director for multiple leader training that I or the people I volunteer with would have been at least minimally polled for our input. How did you find the 75 volunteers for feedback?

        • Bert Bender // May 28, 2014 at 4:29 pm //

          On the question of from daronson about “How did [the task force] find the 75 volunteers for feedback?”

          First, I’ll note that based on numerous surveys received and reviewed by the task force, waaay more than 75 people had feedback … we reviewed a lot of surveys about the programs, what works, what could be better … I don’t know the methodology, but they were extensive. And there were groups outside of the task force consulted, on matters such as health & safety, aquatics, religious issues, training, and more, plus (if I recall correctly) packs in 10 councils who did test drives of drafts of the den meeting plans last summer.

          Second, there is some comment here about the task force (this is from a year ago … details may have changed): http://scout-wire.org/2012/07/06/nam-videos-now-available/

          As to exactly how and who got invited, it was, like many things, I suspect a bit of planned but also somewhat random, as some folks connected and performing in certain key areas on a council, area, regional and/or national level got invites, but when you consider the hundreds of thousands of trainers, RT leaders, and more, its not feasible for everyone to get invited. (I will note that in my case, I believe my invite came from having contributed to the revisions of what became the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide, an opportunity that arose after I posted in various websites some revisions of the Central Region “fast tracks” pilot meeting plans, and caught the eye of some national volunteers … so there are many roads … ).

          I will note that FWIW, if a Webelos I den one year from now will have no new members join up “mid stream” at the beginning of the 5th Grade, I understand the convenience of “just finish out the current program” in the current books, etc. — if it were up to me, that would be fine, and I would be OK letting them finish out in the current book. I will note, as a trainer, past den leader, and such, we’ve had a lot of 5th Graders join us, and it has been a hassle to have what we refer to as “Webelos Tutorial” as we try to get the new guys caught up on Fitness and Citizen and so on, in order to finish out the year with everyone else at Arrow of Light. So if I did have new guys join at the start of 5th Grade 2015, I’d probably find it easier to dive into the new books and do it all together without the extra work for the “new guys”. Just one person’s opinion, of course … YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

        • Thanks Bert. Makes sense about how they got people on the committee. Pity they couldn’t have surveyed each council in BSA.

          Or pack has only had 1 5th grader join in the last 3 years, so I expect that our 18 new Webelos 1’s will be continuing the existing plan if I can continue to get the awards they earn.

        • gregonwp // May 29, 2014 at 4:30 am //

          I agree with you, daronson. I’ve spoken with several Committee Chairs for other Packs and we all agreed that our new Web 1’s will be sticking with the current program. We won’t be buying the new books for the last 6 months of the 18 month Webelos program and certainly won’t try to train our Webelos leaders to switch over to a new program when they are 2/3 of their way through their plan. We’ll figure out what Activity Pins and Compass points the boys will be earning for their last few months and will just pre-purchase them in May 2015 in case the scout shop stops selling them.

          I continue to be amazed at the condescending tone of the folks involved in bringing this change, how they act like it’s no big deal to force the midstream Webelos leaders to switch to a new program when they are so close to the end. It’s great that these people have many many years of scouting experience and they have developed all kinds of scouting programs in the past (I’m not sure why that is a bragging point given that we are scrapping everything and starting anew), but guess what, many Den Leaders are not lifetime scouters with years of experience. Often, Den Leaders are non-scouter parents who got pulled into the role when their son was a Tiger because no one else would do it. These parents typically plan to stick it out through their son’s Webelos II year and then leave scouting, never to return. Once they get to their son’s Webelos II year, they have 4 years of hard work and dedication behind them and now they are looking forward to a smooth 6 months to wrap up all their hard work and send their son and his denmates on to Boy Scouts. Frequently, they are using aids they inherited from previous Webelos Den Leaders to help earn Activity Pins so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And now we’re supposed to tell them toss the plans they made, go out and buy a new set of handbooks and leader guides, and learn a new program for their last few months in the Pack? I think not.

        • That will be exactly the plan I will follow with my Web I’s in agreement with my pack leadership. It is our own transition plan. I was even willing to start this summer with the new plan already, but there are no pins etc. to buy yet, not to mention that there would be no hard copy of the handbook just an online sample and the upcoming BSA camp probably also follows the current plan not the new one. While I personally will lead my younger son through the entire new program (he will start Tiger next year), I don’t see the advantage of switching the program for Web I’s once they are on their last leg to super achiever and having finished the badges for Web and AOL already.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm //

          My off-the-cuff plan , upon scanning the new Webelos stuff, is to do as Al mentioned in that we’ll treat 4th grade just the same with current curriculum (maybe scooting along a *tad*), then TA-DAH the new AOL stuff at the opening of their 5th grade year. In my mind, I’ve stopped thinking of Webelos as that “18-24 month” Den. It’s two Den years: 4th then 1/2 of 5th.

          (In my HEAD, mind you. We’ll see how it pans out.)

        • gregonwp // May 29, 2014 at 6:36 pm //

          That’s an understandable conclusion to arrive at after a simple scan of the new requirements. That is where I was after my initial scan as well, but then I did a more thorough reading, compared the current Webelos/AOL requirements to the new ones to see what current Webelos requirements have been moved to the new AOL requirements, considered the costs involved in buying new handbooks for all the Webelos II scouts (who will be buying new Boy Scout handbooks a few months later), considered the amount of time already-trained Webelos Den Leaders are going to have to spend learning the new program, and considered having to tell the Cub who completed 15 Activity Pins as a Web 1 and has his sites set on completing the final 5 as Web 2 so he can earn the rare Super Achiever award that he won’t be allowed to do that. As a result, I’m now of the opposite opinion – the boys should be allowed to finish the Webelos/AOL program under the same rules that were in place when they started.

        • lrlanbrwng // May 30, 2014 at 8:43 am //

          Al said: “…they start the Arrow of Light program for the start of their second year as a Webelos Scout (allowing them to use three activity pins earned during the first year to satisfy the AOL electives of the second year) – everyone seems to be ignoring that Arrow of Light is now an Adventure Program…”

          The downside that I see to this, from the rising Bears’ parents’ perspective is that the Webelos Handbook is the most expensive, and is designed for 2 years’ use. The new program will require them to buy the Webelos book this Sep, then the AOL book next Sep, THEN their Boy Scout book the following Feb.

          I’m already looking at ways that the Pack can try to offset this cost for the “transitional” Cubs — this one birth year caught in the middle of this. It’s not their fault that the program is changing, and it’s not fair that they should have to buy an extra book when every one else only has to buy one.

        • Ryan Hauck // May 30, 2014 at 8:48 am //

          lrlanbrwng: something to keep in mind is that with some digging, you can usually find handbooks online in PDF format. So that may be one cost-saving option. I don’t know if the BSA will do the same thing for new books, but it would certainly be worth flexing your Google-fu next Spring to find out.

      • Stacey Wright // May 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm // Reply

        This is such a simple accommodation, I can’t understand what the problem is. Just keep the current Webelos pins in stock one more year. Put them in the back if you want – just make sure the boys who wanted to earn the Super Achiever still can (without making them rush). My other concern is that many boys will not know about the change until it’s too late, and will be sad they can’t get all the pins.

        You mentioned that this would be a great opportunity for a boy to earn BOTH sets of webelos awards. That sounds good in theory, but having a boy earn the Super Achiever (or all the new pins) is really enough to ask of anyone. And substituting “some of the old pins” plus “some of the new pins” is not an acceptable substitution in their eyes. They want to earn ALL pins of a single type. Let the ambitious kids finish what they started!

    • Thanks for the info, Al. I can’t begin to imagine how much you all put into all of these changes. Can’t wait to see the changes.

  45. Thanks for taking the time to provide an explanation, Al. It sounds like those behind the Citizenship track of the 411 Task Force had some lofty goals and I certainly admire their intentions and the many months of effort that went into it. I do see generic citizenship tasks sprinkled throughout the adventures and that’s great for building dutiful, obedient members of the peoples’ republic. We all need some of that in us to have a functioning society. But, what specificially is there about being an American Citizen, about being patriotic about your love for America and what it stands for in the world?

    Today, Tigers are encouraged to make a patriotic snack (Elective 25). Wolves learn to fold and respect the American and state flags and Wolf Elective 11 encourages them to sing “America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Bears are asked to tell what makes America special to them and they learn about American national holidays and American folklore. And, Webelos learn the story behind the National Anthem and how to retire a worn out flag while working on their Webelos patch, and they are encouraged to learn about famous American composers while earning the Showman Activity Pin.

    Unfortunately, very little of this focus on American Patriotism found its way into the new requirements (at least from what I can tell from what has been presented so far). There were plenty of opportunities to include it. The “Adventure requirements and insignia” document posted on the Updates page provides a detailed listing of all of the new requirements for Tiger through AOL. The word “song” appears 13 times in that 43 page document, but not a single one of those time is the Cub encouraged to sing a patriotic song about America. It seems to have been an intentional omission that nothing about patriotic songs was included in the new Webelos/AOL Maestro Adventure. Where, then, is the patriotism of which you speak?

    As a Den Leader, I know that I can infuse all the patriotism I want into my Den Meetings, but it would be nice if the Boy Scouts of AMERICA did not reduce the focus on AMERICA when completely revamping the program.

  46. Bob Szymanski asst webelos leader // May 26, 2014 at 10:47 am // Reply

    O K So we are changing then why are we getting all the info in jibs and jabs and not the hole thing Im talking about the reguirments for the loops and pins for all the different ranking wtc etc and also then why are not the new books etc in th escout stores also along with the new form that are needed I would like to know??????

    • It’s not fully out yet. These are only updates. Full training will happen at Philmont over the summer and then I believe we’ll get more complete books closer to then end of 2015. This doesn’t go into effect, really until August 2015 … over a year away.

      • Nutmegger // May 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm // Reply

        Actually, it’s May next year, not August. This impacts summer camps and next year.

  47. Nutmegger // May 26, 2014 at 6:45 pm // Reply

    Just looked at the photos again for a second. The word “insignia” is misspelled at the top of the display board. Add that to the glaring misspelling of webelos and improper use of tiger cub. I’m astonished by the amateurish nature of this preview.

  48. Here is a simple solution for the current Bears:
    “Boys who have earned the Webelos rank before June 1, 2015 may substitute First Responder for Building a Better World.”
    Instead of grandfathering them with the old requirements, this simple substitution should address the biggest concerns with transitioning while still allowing the boys the opportunity to take advantage of the new program. They will still have to do the other new Arrow of Light Adventures (which aren’t too different than the current Arrow of Light requirements), though, they won’t miss out on first aid and they won’t have to earn “Citizen” twice.

    • Even simpler – boys who crossed over from Bear to Webelos in 2014 can finish using the program they started.

      • lrlanbrwng // May 30, 2014 at 8:46 am // Reply

        The only caveat there is that, if you’re used to having a joint 4th/5th grade Webelos Den (as we have always done), you’d have to separate the Web 2s finishing the old program from the fresh Web 1s starting the new program.

  49. I do not like…. :-(

  50. It looks like BSA realized a major decrease in merchandise spending without keeping a similar amount of awards available.

  51. Using a dove as the image for the Webelos faith pin is a poor design choice. Though a dove on its own is innocuous, as a religious symbol, it has a specific tie and meaning to a specific religion and can make those of other faiths feel uncomfortable or left out, something I’m sure the BSA wants to avoid.

    (The faith pin for Arrow of Light, showing a stick figure kneeling in prayer, isn’t much better. Though recognizable as a position of prayer, only certain faiths pray like that. I don’t think people would object to it as much as the dove, though.)

    The Tiger, Wolf, and Bear (Family in a house, foot prints, hands shaking in front of a house) seem like much better design choices.

  52. Dee Teimouri // June 1, 2014 at 9:55 am // Reply

    Cooking merit badge became required to earn the Eagle Scout Award on Jan. 1, 2014.
    A revised Cooking merit badge pamphlet and new requirements were released last year. A Scout may use either the old or the new requirements in 2014. Whichever one he chooses will count toward Eagle.

    My son is a rising Web.1. Why can’t these boys be afforded the same option as the Boy Scout. This is creating a tremendous amount of anxiety for leaders and parents, who don’t have time to figure out a new program midstream.

  53. Who will Webelos 1 transition to the new book for 2015. Will the new book be available for the start of the 2014 year?

  54. This is actually an improvement. It resolves the issue with double-earned belt-loops (citizenship for example) and gives a bit more guidance. I remember being a Webelos Leader and looking at the required belt-loops and thinking “good lord – I used up my coolest ideas when they were wolves – HAD I known, I would have waited”. As such, I think this will be good for new leaders who are drinking from the firehose already.

    But along the way – A Scout is Cheerful folks.

  55. So, earn the “old” Webelos badge the first year, and the “new” AoL the second year. That’s great except for the boys that take longer then a year to earn their badge. This is the age when sports really starts interfering with scouting, and we have a lot of scouts that “go missing” for soccer and baseball, and as a result take longer to complete requirements.

    I get that a lot of work went into this. I actually like nearly all the changes. I have yet to hear an explanation on why changes in Boy Scouting get a transition time, and yet it seems an impossible (or unreasonable) request for cubs.

    Is it really so hard to say either finish the old, or start the new, but everyone will be doing new by the 16-17 scouting year? That way those that want to, or feel they need to can jump right into the new program. Those of us that feel we need to finish the old can, and since it is only one year’s worth of boys that are caught up in this, once it’s done it’s done. How is this not a fair and even compromise?

  56. Where can i find information about pending changes for Bobcat? Obviously it is changing as well since the oath, sign, etc. are changing. It didn’t dawn on me until last night when I was explaining the changes to another scouter.
    Thanks,

    • Those are on the first page of the document that is labeled “Transition guidelines – moving from the current program to the new one”.

      • Thank you. I missed that link in the blog post and was only looking at the doc for the advancement changes regarding the loops.

  57. Bryan two questions, how many redesigned loops will fit on a belt? Are the fun patches going away, or will they still be available?

  58. John Ben Urban // June 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    Seems a number of rope/knot activities have been discontinued. No more Wolf rank: double overhand knot, shoelace or neck tie. No more bear rank: sheet bend, slip know, rope tricks, making rope or whipping.

    On a plus, the Bowline will now be required by Webelos.

    It will be interesting to see if the Rank books include the old knots/bends as just an “FYI” – ie. Clove Hitch in the Webelos book.

  59. Chris daniel // June 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm // Reply

    Are the arrows for wolf and bear going away too?

  60. FYI….Muslims say prayers in English as well as Arabic….I’ve held 10 Commandment Hikes incorporating visiting religious facilities for the following faiths: Roman Catholics, Reformed Judaism, Christian Scientists, Presbyterians, Episcopal, Baptist, United Methodist, & Islam and never had any issues from any Priest/Minister/Rabbi/or Iman concerning program. If you have a hard time with faith requirements ask your CO Executive for 80% of all BSA Units that is a religious leader and he/she should be able to guide you so you don’t offend others. I also noticed by reading many of these Religious requirement Posts that many Leaders would benefit from taking Wood Badge where this very concern is discussed and presented.

  61. James Costello // June 21, 2014 at 7:37 pm // Reply

    As a unit commissioner, I have one pack who, because of the general (Michigan rust-belt economy) has a committee policy of not requiring cub scout pants and therefore no belts. Pursuant to that decision, the committee has established a local policy of not engaging in nor reporting any advancements of the current academic and sports belt loops to keep their costs lower. I wonder how they are going to handle the new program?!?! Jim Costello, Unit Commissioner, Three Fires District, Southern Shores FSC #783, Ann Arbor, MI

  62. Brian Catalano // June 24, 2014 at 11:31 am // Reply

    Word from my contact at Philmont is that there will indeed be a “transition period” to let Webelos finish under the old program. Please, can anyone else there confirm? Many Thanks.

  63. My son is new to cub scouts and has completed his first year. He is very goal oriented. He has truly earned over half of the belt loops in his first year. I usually ensure he goes above and beyond the min. requirements. Is there some way a “grandfather clause can be put in place.” When he learned about the belt loops, his response was “I want to earn all the belt loops.” Maybe not a goal of Boy Scouts, but my son’s own goal. We will do our best to earn as many as he can in the timeframe, but most have 5 years to complete this belt loops.

  64. My concern is the fact that I have a small pack. We work together as a group and sometimes will have a startup activity from Tiger book and main activity that maybe coincides with from the wolf/bear book and maybe a closing form Webelos book. Or I’ll have Tigers at one table, Wolf at another table, etc. but their activities are similar because that is what we are doing. And Belt loops are done as a group. This new program will make this more difficult

  65. Mom2ThreeScouts // July 1, 2014 at 1:11 am // Reply

    Is the Arrow of Light going to stay an award, or is it being morphed into a rank. With the removal of earning the Webelos rank as a requirement, it seems the Arrow of Lightis becoming just another rank instead of the “Highest Award” a cub scout can earn. Right now, the Arrow of Light emblem is the only cub scout insignia worn on a boy scout uniform. To me it has lost its meaning as an Award and is simply the last Rank earned as a cub scout. Therefore, will it continue to be worn on a boy scout uniform?

    • I agree with Mom2ThreeScouts. To just get to earn the arrow of light after being with scouts 6 months seems to take away any value to it, it’s no longer special.

  66. Teri Limber // July 9, 2014 at 7:12 am // Reply

    I am very excited for the new program. It looks more active. It looks like it will offer more fun and variety from year to year. I have one big concern, however.

    If Arrow of Light is simply becoming another rank rather than an award that committed Cub Scouts work towards after earning their WEBELOS rank, will Boy Scouts still wear an Arrow of Light Knot on their uniform? Wouldn’t that mean they could wear a knot for any Cub Scout rank they earned? Doesn’t this diminish the meaning behind the knot that current Boy Scouts wear?

  67. Our pack will not afford buying that many belt loops. We will have to find alternative recognitions, maybe through patch segments. Likewise, we will not ask parents or pack to purchase a new book for 6 mo of Web 2. The suggestion that we should do so cheerfully is ridiculous and condescending. We will figure out our own transition plan if a more cost effective, practical one is not offered under national guidelines.

    I’m concerned about changes to Webelos Faith program, same as those noted above, but we will deal with it.

    Bummer if knot tying activities were dropped.

    That said, I like the general program changes I see so far. It looks like and active, streamlined, cohesive program.

  68. I’ll tell you some of my concerns:

    1. Most of the boys only ever buy a shirt (or more likely get a hand-me-down or otherwise second hand shirt). Very few of my cub scout parents ever buy a neckerchief, and pretty much none of them ever buy a belt, let alone pants/socks/hat. I have a hard enough time just getting boys to button their shirts and tuck them in (on more than one occasion, I’ve had a parent tell me I was NOT to ask their boy to tuck his shirt in). Most boys’ parents never even buy books, so I keep track of their progress myself on a spreadsheet. With the new program, the only award that ever goes on the shirt is the rank insignia. So in the new program, the boys will have a plain blue shirt with one patch on it and nothing else.

    2. I’m constantly struggling with my unit leaders over paying for the program. We are not allowed to collect dues, not allowed to participate in fundraisers of any kind. They currently pay for belt loops, but I’ve been instructed not to work on them as a den or mention the belt loop program to parents. My leaders were overjoyed that the belt loop program was going away, because they wouldn’t have to pay for them anymore. Now that it turns out that belt loops are required, they are considering not paying for the new belt loops, so the parents will have to pay for them if they want them awarded. Which will never happen, so most of the boys will never get their belt loops. Which means no recognition all year until he earns his rank advancement.

    3. Most boys only come to den meeting intermittently. When their birthday rolls around, the parents scramble to get their requirements done in the last couple of weeks. In the new program, the requirements are much more integrated and interdependent, which means it will be harder to earn a rank advancement without consistent attendance. Which seems like a good thing, but in the end fewer boys will be able to earn their rank advancements. So they’ll have a blue shirt with no patches or awards on it at all.

    4. Most of the other den leaders in my unit only hold den meetings once or twice a month, and often cancel meetings for the whole summer and between Thanksgiving and New Years. They look for any excuse to cancel their meetings. More so than the current program, this new program requires consistent den leader support, which just isn’t going to happen in my unit, so I’m afraid that it’s all just going to fall apart completely. To get an idea of the dedication of leaders in my unit, my wife and I are the only leaders who even own uniforms.

    We have struggled for years to maintain enthusiasm for the Cub Scout program in the face of almost total lack of support from our unit leaders and parents. I’m afraid that the new program is going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The unit won’t disband, because chartering a unit is built into the organization, but I’m afraid our unit will become totally non-functional.

    • Try incetivising the Den Leaders. I know it may seem odd but you could get a better program by having the leaders earn the knots. The Den Leader Award and the Scouter’s Training Award are both possibilities for den leaders.

  69. Mike Homrighaus // August 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    When can we expect revised NOVA requirements, related to the new Cub Scout program. I am leading a Cub Scout Resident Camp with a STEM emphasis next August, and would like to incorporate NOVA awards where suitable.

  70. I’m pleased to read in the current edition of Scouting Mag that a transition option is now included for Webelos. Thanks to National for hearing and responding to our concerns on that issue.

  71. We currently allow our dens to do two belt loops the pack will pay for. All others are paid for by the parents to stay within our budget. I would like to see details regarding the cost of the new program as we need to be working on our budgets now for this change.

  72. We have a small pack, we do a pack meeting or sometimes incorporate a den meeting or 2 together and have 1 activity that generally centers around a belt loop, without these and with the rank adventures being so different this will be difficult. Our dens are not big enough to meet the number requirements for local zoo’s and other parks to do a scouting program, but when we put the pack together we have enough and the program will meeting requirements of each of the ranks.

    I’d like to see National do something so that all ranks and interact together as a pack, not just in the dens.

  73. Here’s a question…what is everyone doing with all of their extra belt loops? When I became the Advancement Chair for our Pack I inherited at least 2000 belt loops. The Pack has tried to do activities to use that excess but, for example, we don’t have over 200 boys to exhaust our full supply of Flag Football belt loops.

  74. After extensively reading all the new material, as pack chair, I am excited about the changes. It appears the the sports and academics program is being incorporated into the ranks, but as age appropriate.

    Our pack gives out belt loops and pins and encourages scouts to earn them with their family. Scout families normally only pay $75 for the first year and then the rest is earned through fundraisers. Our pack is the most expensive in the area ($150 per year) but what a scout gets out of that compared to sports is incredible. A year-round program with the aim of every scout receiving some sort of recognition each month. A sports program lasts for what, at most six months and the cost is well over $500?

    We find uniforms at Salvation Army for just $2 and often find neckerchiefs for 25 to 50 cents each. Handbooks are included in the dues. How can parents and scouts become excited if they can’t see what the program actually is?

    The new program is easy to follow and appears that it can be completed in just less than six months, so scouts can earn their rank at Blue and Gold and then work on electives until the end of the scout year.

    Advancements, Awards, Recognition has been made so much easier with this new program. It is much more similar to Boy Scouts which will make the transition easier.

    Two ways you can look at this change:

    1. Be excited, get your leaders on board, welcome the change with enthusiasm. Your scouts will feel the excitement, too!

    2. Dread the change, complain about it, have a negative attitude, talk about folding, etc. If you think this way, then your scouts will feel it, too.

    Which one is the Boy Scout way? YOU, as Akela, as leaders, as parents, can make it or break it. What are you going to do?

    • Pack Chair,
      I am a fellow Committee Chair who has also carefully reviewed the available materials. I too am excited about the changes. I am hopeful they will simplify the program while keeping it fresh and relevant to youth.

      However and with due respect, there are more than two ways to view and respond to these changes. Rarely is life, or Scouting, so black and white. There’s plenty of room between Yippee!!! Let’s Be Happy All About Everything New Scouting!!! and Boo, All New Scouting Sucks Let’s Give Up.

      Many comments on this thread suggest the “whiners” (I prefer to think of them as concerned skeptics) just go do more fundraising. That may be a fine, viable solution in many communities, but in some it is not. Reliance on popcorn sales specifically is not a workable solution in some communities. We’re going to have to get more creative, hopefully with support from our Council.

      Appreciate the feedback, but please be open to the nuances of the concerns on this very important discussion thread.

  75. And besides, we can always increase the cost of popcorn to cover the new cost of Scouting, right?

    • MH, Oh how I love a Scouter with a sense of humor!

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