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.)