Better activities, simplified advancement coming to Cub Scouting in 2015

Important: For the latest on the new Cub Scout program, go to the BSA’s Program Updates page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presently, the recognition device is under development.

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

To see the adventures, check out this PDF.

New Cub Scout handbooks

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

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


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


  1. Great. I knew this was coming. It’s one of the last things to get the new 2010 BSA Branding upgrade. And with he change in Oath/Law, there had to be a re-do of the Cub program. Will give us something to talk about at Roundtable next year. 🙂

    I’ll miss how you can put the books together forming a mural of sorts. That was pretty cool.

  2. Awesome! Change happens. Forming, Norming, Storming & Performing starts NOW! Now to get all the Cubscout Trainers trained on the new items so they can train and deliver the program to all the Cubscout Leaders!

  3. More details, please, on “Arrow of Light will no longer require earning Webelos” – I would think that the highest rank in Cub Scouting would require achieving all the ranks…

      • Is this the time frame that te Lion program for kindergarten will be taking effect?

        I have seen pilot programs out there for a couple of years now..

        • Well, my boy has been in his pack since Tiger when he joined with 5 of his classmates. Now they are Bears. I’ve come to find out that the 2, first year Webelos are also third graders (both age 8). The 3 Wolf boys are age 6 First graders and according to pack leaders Kindergarten is FOR Tigers there are 4 boys all age 5 (the ‘oldest’ turning 6 in January). I just heard about Lion program and looked it up! Seems our pack leaders are not doing it correctly. Nobody has said anything: they file ‘charter’ I know but guess you don’t have to keep track of ages? The pack insists the kids move to Boy Scouts BEFORE or IMMEDIATELY at age 10 (which means my son was to move up by next November). The big ‘stink’ came because Webelo requirements in new book say ‘completed 4th grade or 6 months after turning age 10) and now boys who are 5-6 in Wolf and Tiger are off track. They made it sound as if the program created the new change vs them not doing it correctly (although from what I’ve been reading there should never have been Kindergarteners in scouts, unless they were 7 year old and in Kindergarten). Big shake up for my pack.

    • I don’t understand why the program would de-emphasize importance of the Arrow-of-Light when that is the one achievement that can be carried forward to the Scout program.

      I agree with Carey more details need to be forth coming and I’m sure they will.

    • I also agree that earning the AOL should require earning Webelos. If AOL is the highest award in Cub Scouting, there should be some prerequisite to that. You need to have Outdoorsman and Readyman to earn the AOL, just like you need to have Camping and First Aid, respectively for Eagle.

      PS I earned Arrow of Light only by being a Tiger Cub, then leaving the program, then I rejoined and earned Bobcat and Webelos.

    • My guess is that they will have something like: “Have earned the Webelos badge or do these x number of items:” of which those items will be the most important ones from Webelos. The current problem is that if a 5th grader is recruited into Cubscouts, he is hard pressed to earn the Webelos badge and then the AoL. In my experience, most that do it get burned out and quit Boy Scouts shortly after crossing over. If they don’t do it, they do not feel equal to their friends that did.

      This change would allow those 5th graders to have a pleasant experience as Webelos, while allowing them to earn the AoL, and hopefully still get the important values from the program. I think this is potentially a very good change!

      • Good point – I had not taken into account the possibility that a Cub joined late…however, being the highest Cub award (like Eagle is the highest Boy Scout award), it should require a stretch – if we change it so all can get it, how long before someone points out that a boy joining Boy Scouts at 16 couldn’t get Eagel if he had to get all those pesky lower ranks.

      • Chris, you hit the nail on the head. Boy’s joining at 5th grade have retention/bridging rates DRAMATICALLY lower than their peer because the cannot fully participate with their peers who are working on AOL requirements. This makes it difficult for them to bond with the other boys in the den. This situation also places pressure on den leaders to attempt to execute both ranks at the same time.

        • Bob, personally I think your points are true (though I don’t have any statistical backing). However, my experience is that the vast majority of new Cub sign-ups occur with 1st graders with only a few 5th graders sprinkled in. As such I’d hate to see the AOL watered down (my wording, no knowledge that it will be) for for the smaller new 5th graders that join. To me that feels like the logic/mentality of everyone gets a trophy and not keeping score in sports games, i.e. not real world. I do agree, from my own experiences, that retainment of new 5th graders is poor, however that is mainly from helicopter parents not being willing to put in the time/effort or that the new Cub is already involved in soo many other activities.

          PS these are my thoughts and not intended to be an ‘attack’

    • If you join Cub Scouts as a Bear and a Scout CANNOT go back & make up Tiger & Wolf, it would be impossible to meet the requirement to earn “all the ranks” for that new Scout. The only Scouts that could would be the ones that started in first grade.

      As for not earning Webelos, it is very difficult (but not impossible) to join Cub Scouts as a 5th Grader & earn both the Webelos Badge & AOL before crossing over to Boy Scouts. By joining his fellow 5th graders, those Scouts are already working on AOL while he is trying to do the Webelos Badge. If you put the 5th Grader in with a 4th Grade Webelos Den to earn the Webelos Badge, you have not put him in a group not of his buddies.

    • That’s one of the best changes I can see. The Belt Loops can be done in a few minutes, and cost $2 a piece. We have spent over $500 in our pack on belt loops when Day Camp tried to pack as many belt loops as possible in it’s week long program. The Pins can’t even be worn on the uniform, and they are just a waste.

      I don’t mind incorporating those activities, but do it in some other fashion that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

      • Agree. They boys love earning beltloops. They’re an immediate, tangible way for the boys to be recognized for being exposed to something they might not otherwise have done (i.e. marbles). It keep the boys “hungry” to come back the meetings.

      • I totally agree Tony. My pack budget nearly doubled when we implemented the belt loop and pins. I don’t mind the program ideas they generate, but they are too often fluff and not enough focus on core program ideas. The cost is the biggest problem. By eliminating this Cub Scouting immediately becomes less expensive for scouting families! Concentrate more on developing the good aspects of the added programming that was generated by the Sports and Academic Program and make it more cost effective…..

    • While no longer a Cubmaster, I did the balki bartokomous dance of joy when I read that the belt loops and pins would be eliminated. They did not promote the aims of scouting, deviating re$ource$ away from the program, and de-emphasized many of the goals integral to the program.

    • The belt loop and pin program allows boys similar experimental opportunities (at their level) that the merit badge program offers. It’s refreshing and a good mix up from rank as well encourages the boys to get involved, active, and -most importantly at an early age- trying new things. If we become to hyper-focused on rank in either program we miss the mark.
      It is also a way the boys can differentiate, a bit of “achievement competition” if you will, while the core ranks keeps them unified. It is also a good outlet for families to complete something with their children (involving siblings inevitably) that is fun and pressure free. not to mention we have a ton of belt loops in our inventory! The biggest complaint is cost and rightfully so. Maybe come up with a less expensive way to recognize these achievements rather than do away with a large part of what Cub Scouting is, which by the way contains some stepping stones for Boy Scouts.

      • I am a den leader and my husband is Cubmaster, so I understand the expense of the belt loops. However, our boys are interested in sports. Those belt loops and pins are a big part of what was keeping our boys interested in Cub Scouts. They will be greatly disappointed.

  4. RE: “More details, please, on “Arrow of Light will no longer require earning Webelos” – I would think that the highest rank in Cub Scouting would require achieving all the ranks…”

    With the current exception of the Arrow of Light Award requiring the earning of the Webelos Award, no other Cub Scout award required earning the previous rank. Bear does not require Wolf, Webelos requires neither Wolf nor Bear. The common orientation experience was to require that a boy earn the Bobcat.

    This change applies that same standard to all levels of advancement: focus on the level that is appropriate for the Scout.

  5. I don’t agree with changing the Cub Scout Law of the Pack or the Cub Scout Promise. I see no benefit from this change as a long time volunteer in the Cub Scout program I am disappointed in the Leadership of the BSA that feel changes is the only way to enhance the BSA program. This makes the Boy Scout statement that America is Returning to the Values that the Boy Scouts never left is a broken promise. It seems that the BSA is losing membership at an alarming rate and I believe that the recent changes in the BSA will only accelerate the loss even further. Lets stop the changes and start supporting Timeless Values in our scout programs. Sincerely, Trenton Spears Scoutmaster.

    • At this stage, they aren’t going to change back. So will your “disagreement” mean you’ll leave scouting and stop supporting it? Or will you embrace it and move forward helping the next generation learn the new Oath and Law?

      One of the current Cub Scout’s Core Values is “positive attitude” (or the scout law’s “Cheerful”). How can we get you to have a positive attitude and “cheerful” about this change instead of begin negative and gloomy?

      Will you “cooperate” (another core value, Scout Law’s “helpful”) and work with Scouting to still make it great despite disappointment?

      And will you show “compassion” (core value #2, Scout Law “friendly”) to those who are attempting to do improve Scouting at the National Level and support them in their effort?

      I hope all Scoutmasters and Cubmasters embrace these principals and remind themselves that the Scout Law is a way of life and not a troop-opening mantra with the upcoming changes.

      Sincerely, a Scouter who abhors cynicism

      • mikemenn You are assuming to much by my response to changes in the Cub Scout Law and Promise. I am not a quitter nor do I appreciate people who try to put words in my mouth and thoughts. Mike as you say it is to late and there is no going back but we must have open and free debate on issues that are important to the future of the BSA. Bryans Blog is open to all who have a voice in Scouting rather it be others, yours or mine. Sincerely, Trenton

        • Thumbs up, then. I’m glad you appreciate Bryan’s open blog to let me “debate” … if you feel this is what this is.

          To be clear, after re-reading my post, I don’t see where I put words in your mouth. I merely asked questions, such as if you would quit. You answered with “no”. Fantastic.
          However, the tone of your post seems negative, uncooperative and cynical. So I was trying to understand your points of view by pointing out Scout Laws that seemed to go against your post, i.e. seeing no benefit, and asking them to stop change.
          So if we are to continue to “debate”, please don’t put words in my mouth either by saying I was putting words into yours. I no way hindered your “free and open” debate nor said you shouldn’t post.

          So since we’re now debating … to the points of your first post …
          I TOTALLY agree that changing the Cub Law and Promise is a good thing. Although the current Law/Promise is pithy, there’s tremendous value in having ONE law and ONE promise in the whole program. It helps with continuity, web-to-scout transition and BSA cohesiveness. And although I appreciate the sentiment of the scout “giving Good Will”, it’s a phrase we don’t use in society and so has come ambiguous, IHMO.
          As a medium-time volunteer, I see tons of benefit some of which I mentioned above.
          I am PROUD of the BSA leadership for making these changes. Staying stagnant is no way to grow and evolve with the times. There are certainly timeless aspects to Scouting (the Law, camping, etc.) but the way they are approached and done must change to stay relevant. These changes WILL enhance the program. We seem to have no problems with Merit Badges updating as well as Scout Handbooks, Fieldbooks, training methods, SM handbooks, and the like.
          The BSA is losing membership. No disagreement. But it’s not because of these changes, but because it hasn’t changed soon enough. I believe these changes will improve membership.
          So let’s CONTINUE with appropriate changes. Keep the timeless values and upgrade to modern methods.
          Sincerely, Mikemenn

        • mikemenn I see a lot of overreacting in your reply. I never gave one indication that I would ever quit the BSA as you stated it was a question that certainly came from nowhere. The BSA for over a hundred years has had success not by changing its core values but by loyalty and enhancing values that are certainly timeless. I have never seen anything in the BSA program as pithy or stagnant as you have commented. I was a Boy Scout in 1949 and have never lost my excitement and dedication to the BSA program and never will. For those hundred years change came gradually and with a certainty that the change was necessary and really constructive. I have seen in the last two years such whole sale changes. I believe we need to take a quick breath and start making smaller steps to allow Scouting to absorb its call for change and if it is so necessary. Sincerely Trenton Spears

        • Fair enough. I may have overreacted a little. Maybe that’s how I debate.

          Asking a stranger whether he will quit or move forward is a fair question, I believe, when they use say things like “disagree”, “see no benefit”, and “disappointed”. I site recent Scouters and Chartered Orgs who have done just that membership change.

          You said BSA has had 100 years of success not by changing its core values but enhancing timeless ones. I can agree to that. But in a previous post, you say we’re losing membership. I would contend that the “timeless” values have not been packaged into today’s environment and maybe that’s why we’ve lost members.

          My reference to “pithy” was that the Cub Promise is a shortened version of the Boy Scout promise. I personally don’t think the Cubs will have a problem learning the words to the Boy Scout promise or law. Any 6 year old can memorize 56 words in 1 year. They may not fully understand the full meaning of each word, but over time from age 6 to 18, they will … and without having to re-memorize a new Oath and Law.

          From 1910 to 1995, I’d say the world, on whole changed gradually with exception of a couple of World Wars and the Space program. I would also say fundamentally the differences between the way you grew up and I grew up were not all that different. But the differences between you and I and this generation youth hugely different, and scouting hasn’t kept up. Not on the timeless values, obviously, but on the presentation. BSA competes with so much more in society now than it ever has.

          I guess I’m rest easy with the changes because I know it’s not just 1 or 2 people sitting around in a cubicle thinking, “hey, we should do this now.” There are a lot of people doing a lot of talking, research, discussions, testing, and more. What Bryan presents here is the end product in many cases and we don’t see the countless hours of development that goes before.

          So let me ask you this: what steps is BSA taking that are too big that you would like them to slow down on and why?


        • Trenton,

          I remember receiving a survey on the issue of changing the Cub Scout Oath and Law of the Pack to the Boy Scout Law and Oath. So they did reach out for feedback and input form volunteers and parents.

      • Mikemann If you believe that your statement assuming what my right to disagree is a statement of resigning or not supporting scouting is a fair statement I am not sure of your ability to be fair and honest. It is a clear overreach and misjudgment of a persons character. Like you say I am a stranger to you but I am no stranger to the success of Scouting over the years. I will simply state that the BSA has become like a current of fast water over the slow and steady current of stability and reassuring values. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • I really like the consolidation of the Law and Promise. At the Webelos level it didn’t make sense having the boys know two different promises and laws. They never knew which one to say.

      • Brian In my 30 years of Scouting I never saw a problem with boys not being able to make the change from Cub Scout themes to Boy Scout themes as they advance I have never once heard a Cub Scout Leader or Cub Scout say we need to change the themes because it causes confusion later on. I am not sure where the change came from. I guess it is time to change all Scout Uniforms to one style so it will cause less confusion in scouting I am sure there has been more comments about having different uniforms than scout themes I have heard this from other leaders and parents. Cub Scouts and Boy scouts are very capable of the rules and regulations yes even changes that they face in their scouting adventure. At his point I see a lot of changes that simply are overkill and I have always followed the quote : If it is not broke don’t fix it. Sincerely, Trenton Spears Scoutmaster

        • When I was a Webelos, my boys were extremely confused. I was asking them to all of a sudden learn a new Oath and Law. Then, to make it worse, they had to remember and use the Cub Scout Oath and Law for Pack Meetings and then remember and use the Boy Scout Oath and Law for Den Meetings.

        • John Lynch You have heard the phrase what would Jesus do. I wonder what Baden Powell would do. I have seen many boys learning how to use hand held video games with such ease. At my meetings we repeat the required oaths and laws every meeting. I believe the confusion issue is not relevant to changing the Cub Scout Promise and Law. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

      • When I was still a Den Leader several years ago, pretty much as soon as they became Webelos we switched the boys to using the Boy Scout Oath,Law, Motto, Slogan, Handshake and Salute as we felt the prep for Boy Scouts was the priority.

        • They used the Boy Scout handshake and salute, but when we did Promise/Law they stuck to the Cub Scout version because the rest of the pack was there with them. It actually became somewhat memorable for the boys and the leaders as we (leaders) would sometimes “forget” to shake lefty with the boys and they would remind us.

        • In my Webelos Den whenever we were by ourselves, we did the Boy Scout Oath Law, sign etc. In Pack activities, they switched back to the Cub ones. Sometimes it was not only the Scouts that forgot to change to the Cub Scout one at the Pack Meeting. I made the mistake several times & my Assistant Den Leader who has been a Scout for a couple of decades would do the same.

      • Brian I am a Scoutmaster for the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints and I have been associated with scouting for many years among those years I was the 11 Yr. leader and we have advanced our 11 yr. olds into traditional Boy Scouts and they did not have any problem confusing the two BSA themes they simply made the change as a normal change in advancing in scouting. the LDS Church has been very successful in its program. Our success was not in changing the program its success was in not changing the program and allowing their leaders to enhance what was working. I have always believed that you cannot cover failures with over reaching changes you make small adjustments to failures and certainly don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

      • Agree. I am the leader of a Webelos II den that had a brand new 5th grader enter the program. He’ll only be in the program for one year, and it seems really odd for him to have to memorize the Cub Scout Oath and Law to earn his Bobcat while also memorizing the Boy Scout Law and Oath to prepare him for Boy Scouts.

  6. I am hoping that BSA will create better requirements for Webelos and Arrow of Light; ones that will prepare Cub Scouts to enter Boy Scouts.

    The programs do not allow a smooth transition as they are written now, and the severe change in how Troops operate from a Cub Den, leads to New Boy Scout and Parents being over whelmed; for many it also leads to fear and drop outs.

    Cub Parents, that run all Den activities and (at times take each boy by the hand) are so confused when entering the Troop atmosphere of a Scout Lead Unit where each Scout is responsible for his own advancement. This in turn creates turmoil of the “Us vs. Them” (Cub Parents vs. Troop)

    I’m hopefully optimistic.

    • Hear-hear! I hope by all of these changes that scouts, parents and the nation see Boy Scouts as a Tiger-to-Eagle program (and even beyond to Venturing/Sea Scouts and volunteering) and not the 5 or 6 separate programs it is today.

      The parent-involvement graph (going down as the boy grows up) needs to be explained from the start in the Tiger program. Patrol method needs to be introduce better in the Webelos program and so much more. I’m hopeful. Great points, Don.

    • I’m not sure what you mean by “better requirements”. Pretty much everything that is needed to earn Scout and Tenderfoot ranks for Boy Scouts is covered under the Webelos and AOL requirements. Sounds to me like the current requirements already did a pretty good job of preparing Cub Scouts to enter Boy Scouts. And the requirement for AOL that they attend at least two Boy Scout meetings helps the boys and parents get a feel for how the two programs differ. Looks like the new changes for Webelos will prepare them even less for earning the Scout and Tenderfoot ranks. I’m not entirely opposed to that, though, because one thing I didn’t like about the Cub Scout program was the repetition between years. Now when they move on to Boy Scouts, they won’t necessarily be repeating things they just did as Webelos.

  7. Now that Tiger Cubs will simply become Tigers – it is odd that the Tiger emblem doesn’t appear to have become an adult Tiger the same way that the Wolf and Bear are the adult animals. Or is that change yet to come and these are not the covers for the final handbooks?

    • Dave, very perceptive. Boys told us in the research that the current Tiger was too young, almost infantile. A new Tiger image is in the works!

  8. Full disclosure: I helped with the project.

    RE:”The programs do not allow a smooth transition as they are written now, and the severe change in how Troops operate from a Cub Den, leads to New Boy Scout and Parents being over whelmed; for many it also leads to fear and drop outs.”

    >>One of the new adventures at the Arrow of Light level is designed to create a more effective transition from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting.

    RE: “Now that Tiger Cubs will simply become Tigers – it is odd that the Tiger emblem doesn’t appear to have become an adult Tiger the same way that the Wolf and Bear are the adult animals.”

    >>New artwork is in process for the Tiger.

    I encourage everyone with an interest in the new Cub Scout program to review the links Bryan posted above. They offer details on the content of the new adventures. Four conferences are scheduled for Philmont next summer to help Scouters prepare to use the new materials – and have fun doing so.

  9. I’m pleased to see that the Arrow of Light award will no longer require earning the Webelos badge. Back when I was a Cubmaster, I had a couple occasions where boys were interested in joining Cub Scouts for the first time in the fifth grade. It soon became apparent that the time requirements for both Webelos and Arrow of Light would hold them back from crossing over to Boy Scouts with the rest of their Den. This ultimately discouraged them and they ended up dropping out soon after joining.

    I am, however, sad to see the academics and sports program go. Of all the supplemental progams available, I’ve always observed that the Scouts responded best to this one. The only downside (to me) was the cost of the belt loops; because they are so easily earned, boys tend to earn a lot of these, and the cost adds up pretty quickly.

    Overall, change is a good thing. I’m glad that the BSA is working to keep Scouting programs fresh and relevant to today’s youth.

    • I have mixed emotions on the ending of the Belt Loops & Academic/Sports Pins. My son earned well over 50 Belt Loops & probably over 25 pins. He enjoyed doing the stuff to earn them & liked getting the recognition at the Pack Meeting. He stopped wearing his Belt Loops because his waist was too small so I got him one of the display cases. He still ran out of room. He put his pins on the “C” letter on his Red vest and was proud to wear it at the Pack meetings . . . even as a 5th grader.

  10. Hey Bryan- for more info on the Cub Scout changes, join us at Philmont Training Center this summer! Look for the “Cub Scout 411” conferences!

    • I’m sure almost every Scouter out there would live to attend the trainings at PTC and learn more on these program changes, that is not a sustainable concept. However why wouldn’t National, following in the spirit of change and improving the program, roll out this information to all Scouters at once (or in scheduled roll outs). The technology is there… WebEx, Go to Meeting, etc.


      • Mike – this is only the first of many, varied methods of introducing the new program, from technological methods to good old-fashioned talking to another scout leader in your area…..

        • Webinars in Spring 2015 is way too late in my humble opinion. Good luck getting leaders trained up over a hectic summer of vacations, etc.

          The webinars should be no later than the tail end of 2014 so that council, district, and unit training can be carried out over the spring months and packs can do their annual planning over the summer with a solid grounding in the new program. I’d also like to see any formal presentations at Philmont archived on the web for the 99% of us without the resources to travel to New Mexico.

          If the material doesn’t arrive until May, most of next year will be spent dealing with rumor and conjecture as well as anxiety about the magnitude of adjustments that need to be made.

  11. Thanks for the update – it’s the most info we’ve gotten out of National so far. Looks interesting but we still need the program adventure details that can only be learned from the handbooks (or from an expensive trip out to Philmont).

    Is Bobcat still remaining a rank? Will there be a separate handbook for Arrow of Light?

    • Faun, thanks for the support, we are trying. Bobcat will still remain a rank and the first that every Cub Scout must earn. The requirement and elective adventures for Webelos and Arrow of Light will be combined in one handbook, just as they are today and there will be one Den Leader Guide to cover both ranks.

  12. “Tiger Cubs becomes simply “Tiger” with new image.” Your initial list of changes documents the preceding change in terminology yet in the PDF document, the heading on page 2 includes the word “Cub” “Tiger Cub, Wolf, and Bear Core Adventures for Rank”,

    The heading should be changed to Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Cub Core Adventures for Rank.

  13. I hope and pray that they also come out with guidelines and disclaimers as to guide us with Cubs that have disabilities. Some of these Cubs have medical issues – I personally have a Cub that CAN NOT go into a swimming pool or lake type water.

    I will also greatly miss the covers with the Trail through Cub Scouting on them…we have used it many times during membership recruitment and it is what gets them to register. Some of this is good and some I feel has been thinned out…We have 5 boys – Eagles and down – and have been in the program for many years as leaders.

    • The guide to advancement has always had guidance on what to do when you have special needs Scouts who have disabilities that make advancement requirements not possible. Advancement for Cub Scouts With Special Needs

      Advancement is so flexible that, with guidance, most Cub Scouts with disabilities can complete requirements.The standard is, “Has he done his best?” It may take him longer to attempt requirements and demonstrate this,but his accomplishments will be rewarding to him, his parents, and his leaders.

      There could be times, however, when a Cub Scout’s”best” isn’t enough even to get a start. For example, a boy in a wheelchair cannot pass requirements calling for walking or running. In these cases, Cubmasters and pack committees may jointly determine appropriate substitutions that are consistent with the Cub Scout showing he can”do his best.” For example, elective requirements could take the place of those found in achievements. Or in consultation with parents, other adjustments representing similar challenges could be made.

  14. I am a cubmaster and I really hate that they are doing away with the Academic and Sports program. The boys loved earning the belt loops and the cost was minimal to keep them interested in cub scouts. The belt loops are almost the only awards that cub scouts other than Webelos can get for the majority of the year. This is a bad decision.

    • The Sports & Academics program was also one of the few that went across the entire range of Cub Scouting age levels, making them great for pack meetings or other pack-wide events like camp outs where the leadership could plan activities that all of the pack’s families could participate and earn something.

      Inasmuch as the Cub Scouting program has a goal of preparing boys for Boy Scouts, the S&A program also served as a precursor to the merit badge program, so I think it definitely had its place in the Cub Scouting program.

  15. Were we supposed to see that document?
    Please do not share this document with others. These are working documents and are subject to change. While the program will reflect the approach described in this document, details will certainly change. Our goal is to share a completed and well-tested document at the conclusion of the design and development process.”

      • It is way too similar. As new and experienced girl scout leaders will tell you, Journeys is too much like school. These women attribute that program to the loss of members and leaders since parts are either too simple or too complicated to administer. (Where’s baby bear when you need him?!)

      • I was just about to post that. The girls in my former troop hated the transition to Journeys and they never caught on in our troop. Journeys was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read “adventures”. As a former 8-year GS leader with my daughter and a den leader /CC with my sons packs over the past 12 years, I am wondering just who thought such a huge change was necessary. We’ve read articles for years that GS changed too often, was too trendy, did nots tick to its core values, any gimmick to gain more members, all while losing members steadily. My daughter decided to leave GS when the partnership rumors with PP started; we researched and decided it was no longer the group for us. Cub scouts was consistent, but now why are they moving towards a GS-type model? Make rank requirements easier? What is wrong with the categories now? Will the program do away worth pack meetings next? And what will bet he replacement for the belt loops? That belt is a source of pride and accomplishment for all of my boys. Is National replacing it with group progression only, doing away with encouraging individual interest? I am very disappointed in this, very happy that I only have one more son (out of 6) to work through this program. However, with yet more changes, this is NOT the program that my oldest went through, the one that made us fall in love with the idea of Scouting and devote hundreds of hours of volunteer time. No need for anyone to get angry or defensive at my posts,as some have in the spirit of debate. My husband and I have to seriously study these further new changes to the program we once knew and loved and decide if it is right for our family. Wow, this is sad. I mentioned no more blt loops to my younger so. And he said “but why?” I ask the same and wonder who did those surveys.

        • My husband who is the SM but was also a co leader in our GS troop asked if it was going to be another Journeys debacle. I don’t see that in what I have read so far. And while I am sad to see the belt loops go away, I don’t see change as a bad thing. Just because it isn’t the program that made you fall in love with Scouting, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be the program that helps the next generation feel just the same.

          No matter how we feel, these changes are here. And while some changes may be good and some not so good, it is incumbent on us as leaders to support them for the sake of the young scouts relying on us.

        • I feel it’s more incumbent on me as a parent to my boys to carefully review these new changes and decide if this is the direction we want them to go. I don’t know who participated in surveys or studies that helped National decide this was a good idea. The only thing I can see that is worth improving upon so far is the addition of more Duty to God requirements. I understand changes to keep up with technology, but core values stay the same, and the Cub Scout program has seen many changes over the pas three years alone.

        • I haven’t read anything that indicates that core values are going anywhere. I don’t see changes to the important lessons Scouting has always taught. Just new ways to present them.

        • It’s more of a simplifying things. Boys today are smart enough to be successful with the current rank advancement plan as is. I like having the activity badges subject-based, and leave it up to me as the den leader to combine requirements from different badges into one den meeting/go see it (or is that term going away too?) The newer ways of presenting the old core values will eventually change the content of those values. Again, I’m not really debating this, because my mind will be made up solely by a discussion of the new program with my husband. I’m just offering an opinion, agreeing with everyone else seeing a similarity with the GS Journey’s program, and wondering what others think. I am skeptical of why the National office decided to roll out this program it seems so quickly. Who were the pilot councils and how long was this new program studied? In contrast, the pilot “Lion cub” program has been around for almost a decade in at least three councils across the country, with no answer in sight on whether it will ever be nationwide, or if they will stop this program altogether. I was a Lion cub leader and was told by National back in 2009 that they were still “evaluating” the program. This new change in programing, in contrast, seems to come out of the blue, so I’m again wondering why? What was so bad about the “old” way that they need to radically change? I don’t mind changes in fonts, clip art, visual changes, or updating content (like the GS did recently by finally changing their photography IP badge to include digital cameras instead of forcing my girls to find antiquated 35 mm cameras to complete badge requirements). But I like the structure, it was working well for all of the boys I was a leader for for the past 13 years. So I want to know why.

        • That is fair. I don’t mean to sound judgmental. I would hope that no matter how they are presented, the core values will remain the same. It also begs the question how long does something need to be piloted before a decision is made? Who decides wether the ideas are good enough? And no matter how much something is tested in various areas, there will always be some areas where it works better than others. I’d rather have it rolled out nationally. Then we are all getting a chance to tweak it and we are all getting the benefit of many good minds and ideas.

        • As far as I know, too, the Lion program was different in each of the councils. Someone in our Longhouse council office wrote the requirements for our council (radically changed from the first year I did it to the second, changed it more to a Tiger plan of one meeting, one go see it and one pack meeting a month), while I think another council in Texas was doing their own completely different thing. Then I’d move to another state, inquire at the new council, only to be told “That is a pilot program that we are not a part of and we have no idea if/when it will go national”. Two years earlier the National office told me they were still testing and studying, yet as a pack we never submitted any surveys of members, how many boys stayed in the program for the whole year, how many actually stayed in long enough to bridge to boy scouts, how many Lion badges were earned in a year, nothing, so where was the studying? I don’t know. I was CC of that pack for two years and never was involved in any sort of data collection. So I’m just curious who studied this and for how long, to decide that this is the right thing to do nationally for our boys.

        • Elizabeth, what cubscout changes have you seen over the last three years? I have been either CC or CM for the past 6 years and have not seen any relevant changes.

      • It’s likely that BSA brought in consultants/experts who used the same research as used for the Girl Scout revamp.

        The girls and boys and leaders in both programs that I know all prefer the BSA approach in Webelos and Scouting versus the journeys. I haven’t come across anyone who feels that the journeys were an improvement in any sense.

        • Trekker,

          That may be the problem. Yes you can consult experts and consultants on what to do and how to do it. But as been seen they can screw it up royally.

          IMHO, the folks to ask are the Cubs themselves. What do they want to do? What do they think? I know after every day camp I run, I do a survey of all the Cubs and staff, with an emphasis on what the Cubs want. I have had some success in doing that.

          To paraphrase B-P: Never ask an adult what you can ask a Cub Scout

      • Have you seen the new cub scout den leader handbooks that have come out, I think sometime around the 100th anniversary? Remember when the covers were switched to the nicer drawn covers? That was the same time that National did away with the Program Helps guides and came up with one delivery system outlined in the den leaders handbooks. Instead of the program helps guides, the official monthly themes were along the 12 core values and two choices for an unofficial theme (such as last November, when it was either Voting or 50 states), which is fine, and the new handbooks offered step by step plans to complete the rank, including adding in belt loops to enhance learning, such as adding the Nutrition belt loop when you work on Tiger achievement 3D, Draw the food guide pyramid, or work on the Hiking belt loop while you do Tiger achievement 5G Take a hike with your den (things good den leaders already were doing). Here is a link to the new changes, dated 2012 at the bottom of the page, but I believe they came out about a year before that date (I’ve been a tiger leader 5 times since 2002 and this was so far the biggest change I’d seen in how to lead den meetings).

        What I saw in the three packs I have been in since taking away the official Program helps guides, (we are a military family and have moved 3 times to three states in the past 5 years–these were not local pack moves within a district), is that once the official “fun” themes were taken out and only offered as “unofficial”, the core value themes just weren’t enough to make pack meetings a cohesive event for the boys. These are not boy scouts, but cub scouts, and they did much better when we worked on monthly achievements and requirements along some fun theme. I “do my best” as a cub scout leader to look up the unofficial themes, even buy the little fun activity books that fit that theme at the scout shop and work the monthly theme into our den meetings. But I see the other newer den meetings are just following the official themes in choosing what achievements to work on in a month, without focusing on being a cohesive unit at pack meetings. We have a new cubmaster, so we’re working on going back to unofficial themes to give the boys a similar focus.

        These are the examples of the changes I have seen in the past few years. My older boys (Eagle and hopefully a second Eagle next month) fondly remember plucking their earned belt loops out of a hay bale during “DOwn on the Farm”, or donning Knight costumes during a “cubs of the round table”-themed AOL ceremony, or showing off their plaster of paris scrimshaw at “Poles apart” and seeing what the other dens did for the same theme. I have seen with my younger sons (we have 6 sons, youngest a Tiger), the newer den leaders who have only had recent den leader training, just focusing on the achievement without any focus on how to bring it all together at a pack meeting. I feel the new cub scout delivery method, with the newer leader books, has made it seem actually harder to be a den leader.

        I also am a trainer for Cub scout leaders, and while I definitely show new leaders in my classes resources like Baloo’s bugle and encourage the BSA unofficial cub scout themes, I don’t see them being used. It’s sad.

    • The first sentence of the 2014 – 2016 Program Change Overview states, “We have changed our programs to reflect the results of a through program review and assessment…” Shouldn’t it be “thorough”? Maybe a thorough spell-check through the entire document is in order.

  16. Although Citizenship was always a dry subject and there was plenty of room for improvement, I am surprised to see it completely purged from the rank requirements. Guess teaching our Scouts to be good citizens and honoring the flag is no longer deemed important.

    And what about Community Service? Instead of requiring a Duty to God requirement each year, there should be a mandatory Community Service project each year. This project could be tied to a religious organization or not.

    And count me as one of the people who is disappointed that they are eliminating the Belt Loops. I agree that some Belt Loops were too easy to earn, but rather than eliminate the entire program, they should have ramped up some of the requirements to earn the Belt Loops.

    • Diane: Citizenship was not purged from the requirements. If you have a chance, read through the descriptions of the adventures. The adventures moved away from topic-based achievements (e.g., “Citzenship”) to “adventures” that included multiple sets of experiences, including citizenship and leadership, personal fitness and outdoor programming. One of the adventures, requires Cub Scouts to take a hike together (emphasizing fitness and outdoor adventure), they identify/share roles to make the hike successful (emphasizing leadership), and on the hike, they carry out a project to benefit their community while on their outing (emphasizing citizenship and service). That level of detail is probably not evident from the descriptions, but it is present in the materials that are being developed and will be released in 2015.

      In service,


      • Thanks, Ken. I do see some mention of being a good citizen here and there in some of the requirements. I hope what you say is true about the emphasis becoming more clear in the new materials being developed.

  17. Where it says “Current immediate/elective recognition devices replaced”, maybe they can go with belt loops to replace those. I never liked the bead devices as they were just too clumsy.

    • “I never liked the bead devices as they were just too clumsy” === > Don’t know if the current team will change this, or if the device search will land back on beads, but in my earlier involvement in this process it was unanimous in this part of the Cub Scout 411 to get rid of those dang beads!

      • Hurray, I’m glad to get rid of the beads. We need something to do for instant recognition, but the beads don’t work well. (Segment Patches maybe??)

    • While I don’t know for sure what the current “Cub Adventure Team” will do, or whoever is dealing with “recognition devices” will do, in a prior Cub advancement structure team (and the 411 process related to advancement structure) that I was involved in, one thing was clear and unanimous: the beads must go. Good Riddance! — but we do need an attractive and inexpensive recognition element to replace belt loops, etc.

      • I would love to see the beads gone! On a purely practical note, they roll and bounce and if you give a child one, it always ends up rolling all over the floor! Something not so spherical would be an improvement.

  18. I’ve seen no mention here of what happens to Webelos Activity Pins, but after reading through the Adventure descriptions, it seems they are also being eliminated. Correct?

    Also, the slides show a transition period from May ’15 to Dec ’16 where either set of requirements can be used, but only the new requirements can be used starting in Jan ’16. What does this mean for current Bear Cubs who will be Webelos from May ’14 through Feb ’16? Surely they won’t be expected to meet the new requirements since they’ll be nearly done with the Web program by then.

      • Well that’s even worse for current Bears since they’ll have already completed the first half of the current Webelos trail during the 2014-15 year. Surely there will be some kind of grandfather clause to allow those Webelos to continue with the current guidelines until the cross-over in Feb ’16.

        • Seems to me common sense HAS to prevail here. Current bears should complete the Webelos program as written today. What conceivable good is there to switching mid-stream? Current wolves will be the real guinea pigs as they’ll be the first kids to tackle the entirety of the new Webelos program.

  19. I didn’t see it noted in whether it’s staying or going, but what happens with the Webelos Activity Badges?

    I’m also happy to see the belt loops go away. They were way too easy to earn, especially the sports ones: learn the rules, practice for 30 minutes and play a game. And since there’s no official book or advancement stuff to fill out, you simply took a parent’s word for it that their son completed the requirement. Many parents, I believe, simply said their son earned a bunch of belt loops so he could “keep up” with the others. One Scout in my Pack earned the Pet Care belt loop, and when I curiously asked him what kind of pet he had, he said, “I don’t have a pet.”

    I’ve had Scouts surprised when they’re called up at Pack meetings to receive belt loops they didn’t even know they earned, because their parents simply said, “they earned it.”

    And, they’re expensive. At $2.49 apiece (plus the pins, which don’t even go on the uniform!), they can break a budget real quick. We have some Scouts in my pack that have 35-40 belt loops and two dozen pins.

  20. As my district’s cub scout training chair and cub roundtable commissioner, as we as a children’s museum professional who develops scout workshops, May 2015 is way too late to receive detailed program information. I have a team of wonderful Scouters, but they need time to absorb (as all of us do) all the new stuff so we can teach it as best we can.

  21. Any idea how the retirement of the Academic and Sports Pins will affect STEM? We were just going to start a STEM program for our pack, but the belt loops and pins are a big part of earning the NOVA awards.

  22. Isnt it about time we retired the ridiculous Webelos acronym? How about NextScouts, or Seniors or anything for that matter.

    • Originally, Webelos stood for “Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout” and represented the pack. The top Cub Scout rank was Lion. They’ve been piloting a kindergarten program called “Lion” for some time, so they aren’t going to use that for the top level.

      • I thought it was We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.

        But who cares. It’s a terrible name. Do I have to be more specific?

        Just like Philadelphia’s formerly women’s college Beaver College became Arcadia University, this name Webelos has to go.

    • It drives me crazy when people think that a “Webelo” is the singular form of “Webelos”. Then they mispronounce it. (Johnny is a wee-blow this year.)

      Also, I’ve heard the “Wolf-Bear-Lion-Scout” thing, but would’t that result in the name “Wobelis”? Is there actual documentation from the BSA that it was derived from those rank names at some point in the past? At least “We’ll be loyal Scouts” leads to the correct acronym.

      I agree with yoam that a better name is needed.

      • Yes – page 11, of the 1965 printing of the “Lion-Webelos Cub Scout Book” mentions this, among other pre-1967 youth resources…

        • Webelos also defined on page 21 of “The Lion Cubbook” (1943). Hope these references help, and that it demonstrates that this is not an example of a Scouting “urban myth.”

        • Ken, thanks for the references. I will cross that off my list. The proposed changes will take care of another of my pet peeves. The Scout badge is becoming Scout rank in 2016. Now I can focus on getting everybody to say “official uniform” and “activity uniform” instead of “class A” and “class B”. After that, I’ll bring an end to war, disease, and famine, and my life-purpose will be complete.

  23. I’m interested to know what happens to the Webelos Activity Badges (some of these had options to do Belt Loop requirements to complete, so at least they will need to be revised … probably going away, though). As well, I don’t see anything about the Bobcat badge specifically. Am I missing that? I’m personally mixed on the Beltloop program. While it was certainly too easy to earn and a number of them were outdated (have you ever looked at the requirements for the Computer beltloop???), these were available for the Scouts that wanted to earn them and could easily on their own.

    I also see these modifications changing the way our Pack Meetings go. I see a lot fewer awards being presented and more activities being required. Not a bad thing …. just different.

  24. Would it better to to publish one Cub Scout book much like the Scout Handbook. It would be a conservation move to reduce the paper consumption. There are many other advantages such as putting all Cub Scout requirements in one publication. The only down side I can see would be a revenue loss to National.

    • I love that idea! Mine that is similar is to have a single Cub Scout hat, versus the 4 individual hats @ $12.99 each. With respect to the Den identity, they still have their rank neckerchief that is visible from the front and the back.

    • Reduce paper consumption? Paper produced in North America is a crop like soybeans or corn. 3 million trees are planted daily, and millions of acres of woodlands are managed for the future because of print and paper.

      8.2 million North Americans are in the Paper Value Chain. Go to to learn more about how corporate America is greenwashing everyone into paper statements to save themselves millions while consumers don’t have a hard copy of their financial records.

      Paper is sustainable, recyclable, renewable, affordable, and archive-able. Tell me anything else that is all five.

    • Pets, I like your concept but have you seen what Cub handbooks look like after one year? (And how many of them are lost during that year?) I can’t imagine many would make it through 5 years of Cub Scout use! (The Boy Scout handbooks barely make it and those boys are more responsible, generally speaking.)

      Also, how many boys really go Tiger through Webelos? In my son’s class of Cubs, there were 2 who did that (both earned Eagle this fall) while numerous others passed through for various of the ranks and I believe that LDS units don’t even have the Tiger rank. What happens to the sections of the books that aren’t used? I was in charge of ordering handbooks when we were in Cubs, and I can see a major nightmare with trying to recycle handbooks with the right ranks to the right boys…

      • You have some valid points but I have seen many dog eared and tattered scout handbooks upon a scouts arrival at the eagle award. There are a great many scouts that dropout while on the trail. That is no reason to have 7 scout handbooks. I think it would work and it might encourage more cubs to complete their trail to AOL.
        National is changing everything else why not consolidate the cub handbooks.

  25. It appears that they’re continuing to move closer to having cubs complete achievements in den meetings as opposed to with their families. While this might help with single parent families or those in less privileged areas, it really is detrimental in more privileged areas. It’s difficult to devote more than a couple of days per month to den activities when families are doing so much on their own (multiple sports teams, family outdoor activities, church youth groups, etc.) I hope that the new program has options for most activities to be done outside of the meetings themselves.

    • We tried to do as much as possible in Den Meetings, but that didn’t prevent motivated Cub Scouts working with their parents on electives or other activities that earned them Belt Loops or Sports/Activity Pins.

      I gave all my Webelos Scouts the opportunity earn 19 of the 20 Webelos Pins (they had 2 opportunities to earn Aquanaut at Webelos camp before their Web 1 & Web 2 years) during the first year in Webelos. Some requirements could not be done in meetings (visiting a lab to talk with a scientist to earn the Science BL that was required for the Webelos Science Pin or the stuff like doing laundry for the family). Over 1/2 of my 13 Webelos that stayed both years earned all 20. The least number was about 15, but they were all given the opportunities.

    • I don’t necessarily agree. Our pack comes from what you refer to as a “privileged area” and because the families are so busy with other activities, the only time they could really focus on doing the requirements was at the den meetings. The parents (and the boys) hated it when I had to send them home with “homework”, so I imagine having to do things at home is frowned on across the board, regardless of income level.

      • pkujayhawk & Diane:

        I agree that what you’re saying works with the present structure.

        My approach is to basically ignore the existing list of suggested den meetings since we’d never be able to meet on that specific schedule. We typically reorder things so that we can get the necessary and sufficient ones done for rank and AoL while allowing kids to tackle things at their own pace if they desire.

        I was referring to the structure under development. It says that each adventure is being designed around three den meetings. That sounds fairly rigid to me.

        Under the new program, “Athlete” appears to be getting replaced by the “Stronger, Faster, Higher” adventure. To devote three den meetings to this when virtually all the boys are playing multiple sports and have personal trainers seems to be overkill. I hope that boys can complete all necessary requirements without attending three specific den meetings.

        • Trekker and Others: On the concept of an approach “to basically ignore the existing list of suggested den meetings since we’d never be able to meet on that specific schedule. We typically reorder things so that we can get the necessary and sufficient ones done … “, I’ll note that such an approach is excellent, and called out as a great approach in several places in the existing Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide. While in the original rollout and Webinars some presenters did say “thou shalt do thy meetings in numerical order”, that was actually a myth (probably vestigial from rules in the Central Region Pilot), as the Guide actually has notes like “Remind all that the next meeting is a ___ (unless the sequence is changed)” and prompts about if “you’ve changed the sequence of den meetings”, plus some Bear meetings called out using the knife or knots achievements from the “supplemental’ section in lieu of the “numbered” selection. While regimented numerical order has some attractiveness from above, on a local den level it always seemed better that the order of the meetings would line up with great program helpers to put on the topic (e.g., do the first aid work when the EMT parent can attend the den meeting, whether or not that is not numerical order). Hopefully the current guide will retain that local resource flexibility for successful delivery.

  26. The only thing that really concerns me is the beltloops. A, my son lives for them, and B, the ‘bling’ is a great Tiger and wolf recruitment tool.

  27. No discussion of the changes to Boy Scouts programming in 2016?

    Glad to see that Scout will be a rank.

    I see that there will be healthy eating goals and new physical fitness requirements at each rank. Will this include a BMI component as was used at Jamboree?

    Maybe we should add some annual fitness requirements for Scouters as well.

    I wonder how much service work will be required for the Scout through Life ranks. Also, will there be additional service hours added to Eagle rank, or is the Eagle project enough?

    Will there be a rush for boys to complete Life rank by 12/31/15 (and Eagle by 12/31/16) so that they don’t face the “new” Eagle requirements?

    • I have a very serious problem with using BMI as a proxy for “healthy.” It’s not what is was designed for and it’s not what it does. Set physical fitness goals all you want, but don’t tell me BMI is the same thing. I’d hate to lose scouts because they have the wrong body type. Honestly, it’s the out of shape non-athlete that probably gains the most from the program in terms of self esteem and confidence. Why crush that? “Dear Johnny, I understand you are overweight. You’ve been cut from soccer because you’re too slow and now we, the builders of men with character, have decided you are unworthy to advance through our ranks because the ratio of your height to weight is out of balance. Good luck fitting in somewhere else. Sorry, /s/ Morbidly obese scoutmaster”

  28. Cub Scout belt loops were added to give the boys a chance to learn and earn, while being rewarded. I keep reading about cost this, and too easy… Really? So what? A merit badge costs about the same, and to be honest, some of them are REALLY easy. Are we doing away with those? Remember that the experience is for the kids. That’s why we’re here. If you take away the loops (which are easier versions of merit badges, and if done correctly don’t have to be ‘too easy’), then the Cubs really have nothing to show for anything that they do.

    There will be no more beads. No more loops or pins. All that’s left are rank patches that are earned once per year, and unless I’m mistaken, arrow points. So that crucial Tiger Cub year where you get the boys excited to continue is about as vanilla as it gets.

    Sorry, but I think ‘some’ change can be good. But too much change at one time, when it really doesn’t make much sense, is not.

    I’m a dedicated Scout leader in the Cub program (past Committee Chair, past Asst. Cubmaster, Den Leader for three years, and am currently running two Dens – a Tiger and a Bear Den.) I’m finishing my Wood Badge ticket that I started two months ago, as well, so I have a decent grip on what the boys like.

    Taking away some of the things they really love (and) making earning rank easier doesn’t quite seem like it’s in the best interest of the boys.

    Not looking to debate, as it wouldn’t matter anyway. Somewhere, there is a group of very out of touch people making decisions for everyone.

    In the meantime, I’ll tell my cubs that if they want to earn all of the belt loops (as it’s a goal for many of them), that they have about a year to get it done. Good luck!

    • Steve, perhaps you missed the point on page 9 of the Program Change Overview and this: “At the conclusion of
      each adventure, a recognition device is awarded. Presently, the
      recognition device is under development.” from the New Cub Adventure document. The best of the Academic & Sports program is incorporated in the new program and there is recognition after every adventure’s completion.

  29. Are they trying to make cub scouting boring and unappealing to the boys by taking away the thing they look forward to? And why no arrow of light?

    • Who said there is no arrow of light? What I read was, “•Arrow of Light will no longer require earning Webelos.” That’s great, as a scout joining as an Arrow of Light scout always has to struggle to get Webelos and then AOL before the boys cross over. It’s tough if they join in August or September and want to cross over with their AOL with the scouts that cross over in February or March at Blue and Gold. We have one now trying to do that…and it’s tough.

  30. Bryan…thanks for the info but without any specifics on the changes, which are probably still a long way off, all we can do is speculate on the Cub/Boy and Venture advancement changes. Hence we see some of the postings above.

        • Patients is a virtue. I am not wild about the changes but the devil is working on the details. I hope they have set a goal of finalizing the details no later than this September/October. It will take no less than six months to get everybody on the same page.

    • Matt, the nature of the changes in the Cub Scout program are outlined in the 2015 Program Update document and the New Cub Adventure program document and Venturing’s in its documents. The task force is doing its best to get the information out when it is needed (remembering, please, that we need to continue to do a great job of implementing the current program and not get off track). If there are specific questions please send them to and we will build them into our next round of communications.

  31. I knew some of the changes that were coming, but I didn’t know they were getting rid of belt loops and pins (sports and academics)!!! Are they replacing it with something else?? Obviously this will require changing some of the rank requirements.

    Belt loops and pins were a nice introduction into merit badges. My boys chose what they wanted to work on and we did that as a group, but they were also able to work on them independently if there were any we didn’t work on as a Den. I don’t see why they can’t keep them.

    I like that the activities will be “more aligned with the aims and goals”, but HOW. I have completed many surveys and questionnaires on this topic both locally and nationally, but this was not one of topics that I remember being on the list for changes.

  32. Bryan, one clarification. Each rank after Bobcat has seven required adventures, not six as posted. Tiger, Wolf and Bear are six defined adventures and one elective adventure. Webelos is five and two while Arrow of Light is four defined and three elective. Sorry for any confusion.

  33. Well I am open minded about the change, but belt Loops, well what replaces them? Some say, I gather, they were too simple? Actually with Piaget in mind, I think they are age appropriate. As the changes get closer then, I presume, Councils will offer training and orientations for Scouters to get a handle on what we need to do.

    • Phillip hit the nail on the head. The activities are very much developmentally appropriate and with a wide range of activities there is something for everyone to enjoy. Small rewards go very far, especially the tangible ones that young children can touch and show to others….”look what I did!”. I love how scouting is a mix of individual, group, academic, sport, and social activities. It provides something for everyone: the sport minded, the learner, the shy, the out going; the physically, emotionally, or socially impaired. The belt loop program was tailored for everyone to learn and grow.

    • Yes, the belt loops were very simple, especially the sports ones: learn the rules, practice for 30 minutes, play a game. Many in the academic side were challenging, but I see most of my Scouts gravitating to the sports ones, and the easy academic ones, particularly video games.

      The fact that they are simple is only part of the problem, in my opinion. There is no verification system like there is with the ranks. There is no handbook, no “sign-off” like there is with other awards–you simply take the parent’s word for it that the requirements were completed. I have had many Scouts earn belt loops who were surprised to receive them at a Pack meeting–the parents simply tell the den leader their son earned it. One Scout was surprised to earn the kickball belt loop. When the parent was later asked about this, they said, “he played a game of kickball once at a family reunion, so he earned it.”

      National thinks so highly of the pins that they don’t even have you record them as being earned when submitting advancement reports.

      They also get expensive for a Pack. Scouts who attended Day Camp this past summer came back earning 13 belt loops and 8 pins. At $1.89 apiece, times the 20 Scouts who went to Day Camp from our Pack this past summer, and our September Pack meeting awards bill was nearly $800, just for belt loops and pins! That’s a budget-breaker. Nearly half our Scouts each have 30-40 belt loops alone, and 12-18 pins.

      A frustration I have with the program are the dens that focus more on the belt loop/pin program than the rank program. Every year, I keep stressing to my den leaders to not focus so much on them and keep the focus on the rank requirements, because what inevitably happens is April and May roll around, and they panic that the Scouts need to do a ton of requirements because they’ve been spending all their time at den meetings working on belt loops so that “everyone gets something at every Pack meeting.”

      If the Scouts were truly looking to make an effort to earn the belt loops and pins, that’s one thing. But I as a Cubmaster far too often simply see the parents doing all the reporting that their sons earned the belt loop with little to no input from the Scout, not to mention the frustration from Webelos families that they have to earn a belt loop all over again that they earned previously so they can earn certain Webelos Activity Badges. All the Scouts want to earn is Video Games belt loop and BB Shooting and Archery belt loops.

      • Good Points! You address issues that should be addressed, and yes, the pins and belt-loops can be expensive. However, what you experienced may not hold for everyone, wrt den focuses. Some Packs have the parents pay for the pins and belt-loops (I am told). 🙂

        • Our packs pay for 10 belt loops per year, with parents paying for any remaining. I never like seeing less available for the kids to earn. This is sounding more and more like Girl Scout
          Changes over the past few years. Kids like their belt loops, like feeling proud they have earned many. The whole nation of cub scouts should not have to forego belt loops just because a few people on a survey say they are handed out with no discretion to anyone whose parent asked for them, as some have mentioned here. As a den leader I don’t order a belt loop unless I know the boy earned it. I thought that’s how all den leaders operated,

      • I was Asst DL for 2 years (Tiger & Wolf), Den Ldr for 2 years (Web 1 & 2 years). During the Bear year, I was technically the Asst DL but planned all the meetings because the DL was also busy as a SM with his oldest son. We had no problems getting our Scouts to meet their rank rqts by Blue & Gold banquet time in February.

        Along the way, most of the Scouts earned at least 1 belt loop (BL) a month so there were few months where one of my Scouts never got something at a Pack meeting. I did this by 3 different methods:

        First, many of the BLs cross over into the various rank rqts. I “studied” the BL requirements & when working on certain rank rqts, I added the BL (or activity pin) rqts at the same time. Often by only adding in a couple of activities, the Scout met the rank rqt while earning a BL or progress on his pin.

        Second, I was the “program director” for our Fall & Spring Family Campouts. I planned the various activities so they incorporated rank, BL, & activity pin rqts. We practice and played volleyball, kickball, & softball to meet the 30-minutes of practice & play rqts. We then went over the rules for each to meet that one. The Webelos Scouts went on a hike, but it was offered to all the Scouts. Thus the Webelos met some of their outdoorsman rqts while the Scouts worked on their hiking BL/pin rqts. Along the way if we saw any animals, we would stop & identify them that crossed over into Wildlife Conservation or another BL.

        Lastly when our School District was out of school on a Friday, I took the day off & planned an all-day Field Trip. With the help of 3 other parents to drive (along with myself), we would go from 8 AM until 4 PM for a cost of $5 plus the Scout had to bring his own lunch. At the time I had 12 Webelos & usually got 10-11 to participate.

        On Field Trip #1, we started off at the Kaleidoscope which is a free art experience sponsored by Hallmark Cards. We then journey out to a local county park when we ate our sack lunches. We then had the naturalist (that is what cost the $) bring in a bunch of her animals & I had given her the Wildlife Conservation BL/Pin rqts I wanted her to do along with any rank advancement rqts. She did it all perfectly. Afterwards, we went on a hike (10 Essential items/Hiking BL/Outdoorsman Webelos Pin). I always take a trash bag along & had the Scouts pick up trash along the way to work on LNT & a service project.

        On Field Trip #2, we went to Ft Leavenworth KS & did a 2-mile hike there followed by a visit to the Army museum there. From there, we went to a city park & ate our lunches followed by a quick visit to the carousel museum across the street for a ride (actually gave us 2 rides for the price of 1). We then went to Moon Marble Factory where they did all 3 BL rqts for us (that is where the $ went) followed by a visit to the local library near our meeting/pickup place to complete other rqts.

        The field trips were a combination of fun & meeting rank/BL/activity pin requirements. Sometimes my Scouts were also “surprised” they received a pin NOT because their parent provided the info to me, but I had been tracking their progress & they had met the standards. They were having fun & did not even know they were working on rqts at the same time. Rqt completion just occurred while the Scouts thought they were just doing a fun activity.

  34. I too am very concerned about the loss of belt loops and pins. Not only does this inspire the boys to stay engaged, it also motivates the parents! Every parent likes seeing their boy receive awards at Pack Meetings….I really hope they have something in place to replace these awards because if you don’t there will be a huge backlash from the parents

  35. Can you please explain what you mean by “Arrow of Light will no longer require earning Webelos”. I’m really confused. Is the new aim of Webelos the Arrow of Light without a Webelos rank? Doesn’t this make it unfair to 2nd yr Webelos who are completing both years to earn the Arrow of Light while a brand new 5th grader earns Arrow of Light after only 6-7 months and is completing less requirements?

  36. Jennifer – just a thought but one solution may be to develop a Webelos badge to be worn on the boy scout uniform in addition to the AOL badge.

  37. Just don’t think that the requirement of earning Webelos should be discontinued. The highlight of each scouting year in Cubs is the presentation of those rank awards. I know my Webelos were so excited to receive theirs last year. Now they are nipping at the heels of the AOL. Every year should culminate in attaining that rank award, even the Webelos badge in year one. These are milestones, markers on the trail. Changing the requirements themselves is one thing but discontinuing an entire rank is not acceptable. Those boys look forward to making those advancements. I can’t imagine the Cub Scout program any other way.

    • What am I missing? The Webelos badge isn’t going away is it? I didn’t read that (or do I need to read it again?). Not requiring it for AOL does make some sense as we almost every year have 5th graders who join and it can be discouraging if the leaders don’t handle it well. This allows them the opportunity to earn AOL thus keeping them I the program.

        • One possible correction to what you said. It is not only newly joining 5th graders who won’t need the Webelos badge to get AOL. If I am reading it correctly any Webelos can earn the AOL without the Webelos badge.

        • Not acceptable!! The AOL is/should be the culmination of achievements completed over time. I don’t believe that a Fourth grader could earn AOL in just one year because they can’t even cross over to a troop until they turn 10.5 yrs old. It just makes sense that they earn Webelos first, then AOL in yr 2. Under the current program new 5th graders can still earn both Webelos and AOL if the leaders and parents manage the program correctly. But not requiring those new 5th graders to complete Webelos is unfair to those scouts completing both years. Otherwise what would be the reason to even do both years? Without the requirement of earning Webelos why not take off the whole 4th grade year, return as a 5th grader and get handed AOL for only completing half of what is now currently required of Webelos. I tell you, the proposed changes to the Webelos program has me scared to find out what kind of new Boy Scouts will be coming out of Packs. One more concern I have is the requirement of Aquanaut. Swimming requirements are scary for scouts but I know many scouts that don’t know how to swim. My own son has been told by several instructors that he will probably never learn because of mitigating circumstances. In other words, for some kids, it’s physically impossible. My son, bless his heart, tried with everything he had but could not do the swimming requirements for T-1 and he never earned Aquanaut. Thankfully, his sympathetic Scoutmaster gave him credit for trying, but he’ll never earn MB with swimming requirements. By the way, Swimming MB is not required for Eagle because it’s in option with Hiking or Cycling. Guess what? There’s BL for Hiking and Bicycling. Amazing that the experiences that Cubs get from these BL could help with the MB. So true for many BL that have a good correlation with MB. I propose that den leaders hold on to the Academic and Sports guide and still incorporate this program in their packs and dens. There won’t be anything to award the scout but they’ll gain in knowledge and skills.

        • I think the AoL without Webelos rank concern is generally overblown. There just aren’t that many kids joining as 5th graders. It’s a disservice to everyone involved to turn them off to scouting from day one with a defeatist approach. Why not let them get hooked on scouting? Comparing it to joining boy scouts at age 17 and being told to only complete the incremental steps between life and eagle is a straw man. Cub scouts is preparation for boy scouts. The next step after boy scouts is typically the real world. Boy scouts is more about individual accomplishment and building strong leaders and there is a universal understanding of what eagle means and the work it takes to get there on an individual level. Cub scouts is different.

          Where I do agree with the AoL/Webelos sky is falling crowd is that AoL is “special” because it can be worn on the uniform for life, just like eagle, and having boys and men who worked six months for the distinction be treated the same as those who worked 4.5 years seems a little unjust. Perhaps the AoL knot should be retired and replaced with a Yellow and Blue knot that signifies completion of the cub scout program, however you define it. It’s debatable how many years should be required to earn that distinction but I think it’s a valuable one.

        • It seems to me that you just don’t get that the AOL is supposed to be regarded as the highest Cub Scout Award and there are a good many reasons why earning Webelos first is important. This time in a scout’s career is training for their first year of Boy Scouts. There are so many skills that need to be taught. Brand new 5th graders can and should fulfill all of the same basic requirements as if they started as 4th graders. It’s totally doable however it may mean cross over gets pushed back to May. I’d much rather award a scout for making the commitment to completing the program than saying oh well they can earn it for only doing half as much work as the 4th graders do over 2 years. It’s doable if the same basic requirements are still there, all of them.

        • I never saw the purpose of AOL as training for their first year in Boy Scouts and around here I attempt to down play that idea. There are no skills taught just because they are trying to earn AOL that won’t be retaught when they cross over (if they are joining a troop who is doing it right).

          Every youth who joins a Troop whether he has AOL or has never been in scouting, if are active in a vibrant troop will all advance at the same rate. AOL doesn’t truly give anyone a leg up that cannot be caught up in a good first year Boy Scout program.

          Pushing back advancement until May just because the adult leadership believes that in order for a scout to deserve AOL is doing that scout a huge disservice. I mean let’s say his counter parts join a troop in Feb. Now while they are learning the scout skills necessary to advance and bonding with their new patrol members, those others that were left behind are doing what? Scientist, Craftsman, Handyman, Readyman………none of these will make any difference when he finally joins the troop. Not only that but if he is lucky, he will get to go on one maybe two campouts before summer camp.

          Any boy who joins in their 5th grade year should be learning a few things but really the leadership needs to be concentrating on them having a good time, bonding with those scouts who are already there, and getting pumped about Boy Scouts. And if with this new advancement model if they earn AOL, so much the better.

        • I am a little confused by all of this hullabaloo about not requiring the earning of the Webelos badge in order to earn AOL. I mean the whining about how it’s not fair makes adults sound like the youth we are mentoring!. I mean just because it’s not required doesn’t mean 4th graders won’t be strongly encouraged to earn it, same as if no changes had been made. I mean why do the youth and parents even need to have this on their radar? I don’t mean keep it some kind of super secret, it’s just that if scouts are in the program as 4th graders then they will earn the Webelos badge. And if they join as 5th graders then they can earn AOL same as their counterparts and should never be made to feel they deserve it less.

          These are young men who look up to the adults running their programs and need to see them as role models and not people who are caught up with what they feel is “fair” or not.

  38. I’ve seen changes come and go. Before my son became a Tiger Cub in 2011, my last direct dealing with Cub Scouts was when I was a Den Chief in 1983-84. I was shocked that there wasn’t a Bobcat Den. These changes look fine to me (although the belt loops and pins are among my favorites)

    I’m just looking for specific guidance as to how to handle our current 4th Grade WEBELOS — they’ll be earning their badge either this month or next, and have no choice but to start on the “old” Arrow of Light program for the next 4 or 5 months and then transition to the “new” program. I’m kind of hopeful that my Bear Cub son can start the new WEBELOS program but our current WEBELOS can finish under the requirements for Arrow of Light that they started with.

    • I think your math is off. Current fourth graders will finish before the changes kick in *next* May. It’s current Bears that are going to be caught in the transition.

      • Lucky me since I am the current Bear leader (with my son in my den). I’m at a loss as to how/what I am supposed to do about that.

        • If it’s anything like the Merit Badge system at the Boy Scout level, they’ll give you a 1 year transition option: a scout will either be allowed to do it the old way or the new way for just that one year. after that one year of grace, everyone moves to the new way.

        • As Mike noted, I would imagine that “Transition Guides” will be part of the rollout in the year before the transition to the new handbooks and requirements kick in, but even if there isn’t a “transition period” for the “mid-stream” current Webelos Dens like yours (which might be as simple as “Webelos II Dens in the 2015-2016 program year that started as Webelos I Dens in the 2014-2015 program year may elect to continue through Arrow of Light in 2015-2016 under their existing handbooks, or follow the new Arrow of Light Requirements, at their option”), the path to Arrow of Light would be to complete whichever adventures are in the new Arrow of Light Handbook (instead of the existing Arrow of Light requirements). On the downside, maybe you did Readyman and Outdoorsman and some extra Activity Badges that now don’t “count”, but then you’ll still be able to award those, plus if/when you recruit new 5th Graders to your Den, if you follow the new adventures, you would all be working together — no remedial “Webelos Badge” for the new guys. I would imagine that other Dens would simply go to the new books/adventures right off, since they would not have begun work on “the next rank” earlier anyway. But yeah, for Webelos I dens, there could be issues.

  39. This looks fantastic, and I think the changes will be awesome! I trust the BSA to do what’s right for our boys. And guys, if you read above, it says that new recognition devices are in development. Just because the belt loops are going away doesn’t mean that the Cub Scout world is going to come crashing in and the boys will be less incentivized. I think the new book covers are a great design, and I wholeheartedly look forward to seeing what’s around the corner for us!

  40. What?? No Belt Loops & Pins??? As a District & Council Cub Leader Trainer (& RT Cub Comm)….I was just getting most of our Packs caught up on the IMPORTANCE & SIGNIFICANCE of this part of the program! Plus National just added so many more topics that seemed to be aligned with the BS MB. Seemed to make sense to me. Yes, some changes are good….but really??? And I totally don’t understand the AOL/Webelos deal. I haven’t even made it down the whole list of changes….these 2 caught my eye & I’m seeing some red ;~( So glad my boys were in it early-they are both Eagle Scouts (now 17 & 21) but still proudly show off their belts that made their pants hang down-before that that ugly trend started ! ;~) Will be waiting for all the NEW training AGAIN-to re-teach AGAIN!

    • Rhonda Stengel it is refreshing to hear your comments about what do we do about the many boys that as you refer to and I agree that half way through a program that has really worked for a many, many years. There have been changes along the way that many programs have to do we have always improved them with small steps.What we are talking about is completely throwing out successful programs that keep many boys in scouting and parents happy if the Cub parents are involved they will be better Boy Scout parents. It reminds me of our school curriculum across this nation it became to hard for the students what did they do they lowered the standards so it was simpler and easier for the students to pass and move on. This to me is what the Scouting is trying to do with these whole sale changes to time proven programs. One Scouter blogged that some volunteers received a survey and as a result the petition was for change in the Cub Scout program and so it was changed. I remember a Survey last April 2013 about allowing homosexual youth into the organization by 600,000 responding volunteers who I believe are the nuts and bolts of the BSA the survey petitioned the BSA leadership to keep the ban by 60% and what did they do but remove the restrictions anyway by 1400 delegates. Which proves one thing the BSA will do what it wants regardless what the volunteers want. I believe the BSA has created an atmosphere of division much like this nation has done in the last 5 years. Will the change be successful I pray it will, only time will tell. I would like to add that in my 11 years old Scouting program many Scouts advanced to First Class Rank before they turned 12 some even made the Star rank was it work you bet it was. Making things simpler and easier is not always the best way Baden Powell proved that. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  41. I was the vice Chairman for the original Cubs Scouts Sports Program back beginning in 1983. One of the original purposes was to retain boys in Cub Scouting by giving them credit for activities outside of Cub Scouting and to involve adults. Cub Scouting is about participation and we developed different levels with the belt loop and the pin. As a den leader, marbles was a great rainy day/hip pocket den meeting.
    From the outside, it appears that the sports portion has morphed into one of the five organizing principles: personal fitness. Good! glad it was not lost.
    The Academic program was a natural and great adjunct to the original Cub Scouts Sports program. STEM additions to the new program appear to maintain some portions of the Academic program.
    The Cub Scouts Sports Program and its eventual transition to the Cub Scouts Sports and Academic program was one of the most successful programs ever included into Cub Scouting. The success was because it worked and was popular; expense was a drawback. We’ll have to see how well the new program embraces the key characteristics of the older programs. As part of our Wood Badge for the 21st Century, we need to embrace change . . . and do our best. If it does not work, then let your Council know and design new elements to give the new program rudder.

  42. I do not want to see the Belt Loops and Pins go away. For one thing they affect the new STEM focus and Nova Awards. I would like to hear more about the elective recognition, i.e. beads and arrow points and how that will shake out. I think they are effective. I do not think that Webelos rank should be taken out of requirements for AOL. That seems wrong. The new ‘activities’ seem to put more pressure on the adult leaders to develop ideas and a plan for implementation for each ‘activity’, increasing the work load on the adult volunteers. What is ‘One Den Leader Guide per Rank’ all about? Should we have been shown the PDF when it is still stamped with ‘Confidential’? I would like to see some type of transition period where the boys are given time to learn the scout oath and law, and some effort to explain to them why this is being done.

    UC, Arapahoe, Denver

    • Hi, Scott – let me address some of your questions, since they capture some of the questions that have been shared by others, too. They are good questions and I hope my answers will help clarify things as well as possible.

      “I do not want to see the Belt Loops and Pins go away. For one thing they affect the new STEM focus and Nova Awards.”

      >>The BSA task force that supports STEM and Nova is aware of the changes and they will adjust those recognitions as needed.

      “I would like to hear more about the elective recognition, i.e. beads and arrow points and how that will shake out. I think they are effective.”

      >>A series recognition devices are under development to mark progress along each rank and for boys who earn additional “adventures,” beyond each rank. The device will provide immediate feedback along the way as well as additional encouragement for those who achieve more.

      “The new ‘activities’ seem to put more pressure on the adult leaders to develop ideas and a plan for implementation for each ‘activity’, increasing the work load on the adult volunteers.”

      >>The Cub Adventure Team (the group of volunteer leaders who developed the materials) made it their goal to develop den leader materials that are “all in one” den leader support materials. The guides are designed to support den leaders in their use of the materials. The pilot testing that has taken place confirms that the writing team was successful. Den leader preparation was about the same as with the current materials.

      >>As a further aside, all of the members of the Cub Adventure Team are highly experienced Cub Scout leaders. They made certain that their wisdom – gained from experience and training – came out in the development of the program materials.

      “What is ‘One Den Leader Guide per Rank’ all about?”
      >>It means that there is a comprehensive den leader guide for each program level: One for Tiger, one for Wolf, one for Bear, and one for Webelos/Arrow of Light.”

      “Should we have been shown the PDF when it is still stamped with ‘Confidential’?”

      >>Yes, you are welcome to see the materials presented by Bryan. The document shared online was used last May to present the materials at the National Annual Meeting to the committee that has oversight on the development of the materials. It remains a good overview of the program materials, which is why it was shared here.

      “I would like to see some type of transition period where the boys are given time to learn the scout oath and law…”
      >>Materials are under development to support transition into the new program.

      “…and some effort to explain to them why this is being done.”
      >>The big “why” is to ensure that the Cub Scout program remains relevant and the program of choice for boys in grades 1 through 5. The materials developed did a good job of supporting a program that is more active and fun and captures the imagination of the boys and the parents/leaders that deliver the Scouting program. The program maintains its focus on developing character, citizenship, and fitness along with a stronger commitment to service and outdoor adventure.

      * * *

      I know that this may not go far enough to alleviate all of your concerns, but there is really good stuff coming down the road. Please keep an eye on this blog for the next set of updates.

      Thanks for sharing your questions…

      • Ken,
        Thanks for your response!

        It occurs to me to ask what will the boys be asked to do with their old ‘recognitions’ as we transition?

        My intent of asking how we are to explain the adoption of the Scout Oath and Law to Cubbies was more toward talking ‘at their level’. I’m sure we will be asked, both my the boys and parents, why…why was our old oath and law not good enough. 🙂

        Of course all this change will make it difficult to show my kids how and what they are doing in comparison to my achievements. [I like when my kids out-do me. 🙂 ]

        UC, Arapahoe, Denver

        • And one more response:

          “It occurs to me to ask what will the boys be asked to do with their old ‘recognitions’ as we transition?”

          >>Keep them and wear them with pride. If they have immediate recognition beads or belt loops from the Sports and Academic program after the transition to the new program, they are welcome to wear them. No “credit” is lost for the change in the recognition system. And since the transition to the new program takes place when starting work on a new rank, the transition should be very simple for every boy.

          >>For LDS units, where boys join a den and move on to new program levels on their birthday, we are preparing transition materials to assist in that process as well.

          Best regards,

          (a representative of the Cub Adventure Team)

  43. Scott–

    My metaphor is that program changes are like planning a picnic. Use what we currently use for the time being…and when the advancement requirements/recognition devices change, use the new ones. It is easy for me to say, “don’t worry about 2015 right now, focus on 2014,” but I realize that Scout leaders are often good planners, so anticipating changes is part of the job description. 🙂

    “My intent of asking how we are to explain the adoption of the Scout Oath and Law to Cubbies was more toward talking ‘at their level’. I’m sure we will be asked, both my the boys and parents, why…why was our old oath and law not good enough.”

    >>Bryan posted some previous entries on the move to a single Oath/Law across all levels of the program, so that is a good place to address big questions on the “why.” All I can add to it is that the motto – which remains the same – is the lens that boys should use when using the new (to them) oath and law. A common oath and law serves to connect youth at all levels in the program to what we aspire to: to live up to the expectations of the Scout Oath and Law. The (Boy) Scout Oath and Law are also more clearly aligned with the aims of the BSA: developing character, citizenship, and fitness. If we accept that Cub Scouts will do their best to learn and live up to the Scout Oath and Law, then they will have achieved what we expect from Cub Scouts.

    There is nothing “bad” about the use of the CS Promise….the change, to me, reflects a “recalibration” to connect all members of the movement with the same ideas/values and to express them the same way.

    Best regards,


  44. Change is good. I won’t miss the beads. I won’t miss the belt loops or pins. I will appreciate a simpler advancement system. The Bear Handbook is driving me a little bonkers this year. I will probably miss the arrow points, but the new elective device might be awesome. I noted the Webelos book uses the same olive green that the Boy Scouts have adopted. I don’t love the baby blue for the bear scouts. And I wish we had panthers to maintain some consistency with the Jungle Book theme. The tiger is a villain in that story.

  45. Well everyone, remember that “change” is the new normal in scouting. Quit yer whining! (I kid.) It will work out. I hated when they changed the Boy Scout program and got rid of belt loops and added “Trail to First Class” stuff…but it worked and became the norm. Some of you are jumping to conclusions though. Be careful about doing that. Also, just think of the money the pack s will save not buying belt loops and pins! 😉 Just sayin’.

  46. Concerning AoL, right now it’s a bit of a privilege to have worked through both the Webelos rank and the AoL requirements to sport the knot on the Boy Scout uniform.
    If they take away the Webelos portion of the AoL requirements, seems to me to make that privilege a little less of an honor. Sort of like having a 17 year old walk into Boy Scouts for the first time and jump right to Eagle without having to go through previous ranks.
    Maybe those who earn AoL without the Webelos rank being earned don’t get to wear it on the Boy Scout uniform?

    • Excellent points. Had I reloaded the page, I might not have written a more wordy version of the same in my comments below. 🙂

  47. Unfortunately, this hits my den 2/3 of the way through our 18-month Webelos program. Will Webelos dens in this situation be allowed just to complete the original program (for continuity sake?) Also, it appears that there will no longer be 20 achievements… we make a big deal out of boys who accomplish this feat. I’m hoping the answer for our situation is “yes”.

  48. Just a bit of a different view on this discussion — half way down the first page of the PDF document is a “Confidential — please do not share this information” disclaimer. It looks to me like this is not something that is ready yet for an in depth discussion. There are a lot of questions that need to be smoothed out. Let’s not jump to too many conclusions.

  49. About the Arrow of Light. I wonder if the new program could still require the Webelos Rank to earn the Arrow of Light, and if Cubs joining in the 5th grade year could be awarded their Webelos Rank in lieu of the Arrow of Light at the crossover ceremony? Meaning the same Webelos II adventures could lead to the either the AoL or the Webelos badge. Perhaps new Webelos IIs wanting to earn both could complete some subset of “required” Webelos I adventures?

    I was always impressed by my fellow Boy Scouts who got to wear the Arrow of Light on their uniforms, knowing it represented cumulative effort throughout the years of Cub Scouts. (My personal experience was taking a “hiatus year” sometime in the Webelos I/II timeframe, then returning for 6 great years in Boy Scouts. I’m also on track to be a Webelos II Den Leader during the implementation year, so might be signing myself up for some pain with this suggestion.

  50. I absolutely DISAGREE completely about doing away with the belt loops and pins!!!! BAD decision. I’ve got a Boy Scout and a Web I, and they both have earned around 40 each over the years. They have a younger brother looking forward to doing the same and now can not be like his older brothers. Also, this is the only way we get kids to come to Pack meetings. I guess we’ll still have Dens, but they’ll never see the rest of the Pack because there will be no incentive to come if they aren’t rewarded for work in front of their peers. We have a Pack of 45 right now, 70 last year. I hate to see something the boys love and work hard at, disappearing. I’m sure it’s purely a business (ie: $$$$$$) decision. Sad that more thought isn’t given to the boys. Hey, here a thought….ASK current members and especially Advancement Chairs (me) before making such sweeping changes!!

  51. Exciting times ahead. Looking forward to the course at the PTC. Hope it’s not a repeat of the “Red Berets” for the Boy Scout program,

  52. I as an active leader over the last 5 years including currently being cub master of our great pack completely disagree with many of the changes. Our boys work HARD for those belt loops and pins! They look forward to receiving them, show them off to their buddies who are NOT in scouts and create interest in those who now want these awesome things to wear on their belts! Both my cub scouts wear these belts EVERYDAY with all their loops. They are proud of earning them!
    as for the Arrow of Light.. our Webelos EVERY YEAR work so very hard for that accomplishment and I see it on our former pack boys scouts uniforms when they come “home” for a visit. To take these things away from the boys feels very wrong! I know our cubs will not be happy boys to hear they wont be able to earn them anymore 🙁 BSA you could have done so much better!

  53. NOT happy with the decision to remove the Sports and Academics program. I have gone through 2 complete Cub groups and still have one more to go- this will really take some getting used to. I have always incorporated the belt loop program into our regular advancement schedule as a means to “round out” the program. For some of these boys, that may be the only chance they have at playing a sport or learning a topic. Our pack will also loose out on material for our campouts- we traditionally hold Belt Loop college on Sundays to entice families to camp overnight.

    Also- what about the Webelos activity badges? Those are a great way to make the “transition years” from Cubs to Boys (which is what Webelos is intended to be) so much more- I explain the correlations between the badges and Merit Badges and how some that are required are similar to those required for Eagle. It really brings it all together for my boys.

  54. One major concern about the new program I haven’t seen previously mentioned is that Aquanaut is listed as a core requirement for Webelos, and thus probably required. With all the problems getting both funding and members the BSA is having, it seems foolish to require what is (at least in my area)a very expensive activity (since even the public pools are pricey). It’s bad enough having swimming required for Boy Scouts, why add to the problem by requiring it for Cubs?
    I also agree that getting rid of the Sports and Academics Program is unwise. It needs to be revamped perhaps, but it lets the boys try more activities they spcifically are interested in.

    • Amen. If a den can’t reasonably do something with limited financial means, it shouldn’t be *required*.

      Others have suggested that an increased emphasis on swimming is important. I disagree. I am a terrible swimmer. No measure of instruction helped me be anything but a terrible, borderline complete non-swimmer. I did my 2nd and 1st class swimming requirements in one hellish night at a council swim center. I earned my eagle through personal fitness and emergency preparedness rather than swimming and lifesaving and resent the suggestion some have made here that my eagle is somehow cheapened by having taken that path. Had swimming been a bar to completing the AoL too, I may never have continued in scouting.

      • Baden Powell said that no scout is a real scout until he is a first class scout and no man is a real man if he can’t swim. You proved that you could pass the swimmer’s test. Many troops let it go by for first class if a full and honest effort is made to learn. You made that effort, why bail out on this fundamental scout building block before an honest effort is made?

      • I think we need to remember that the motto is not changing so Do Your Best still is going to apply to everything they do.
        As a BSA Aquatics Instructor swimming to me is a vital skill. Do you need to be an expert? No. But knowing enough not to panic if caught in a situation on the water is so important and in the last 15 years I have seen fewer and fewer youth come through who can swim. I certainly don’t feel that Eagle is at all cheapened by taking the route you did.

        As far as cost I certainly won’t say that money concerns are not valid although around here we have YMCA’s and community centers with free swim times where it only costs $3.00 per person. But what can happen is that councils can make sure that there are opportunities for units to get these requirements done if National does indeed make them required. It would be a shame if something is made required and no support is offered. Now it may take some pressure from the volunteers and if that pressure is not there, then shame on them too.

      • Agreed!! Aquanaut has no place as a requirement for AOL. It’s not even required for Eagle. My boys can’t swim. My oldest has been told by several instructors that he will never learn due to mitigating circumstances. He never earned Aquanaut because he can’t due the swimming parts. He did all the rest of the requirements. For his T-1 swimming requirements, he tried but couldn’t do them. Thankfully, his empathetic SM passed him on his merit and efforts. My younger son is following the same path.

  55. I am a Bear Den leader now. That means I will be a Web 1 leader using the current program for the 2014-2015 scout year, and then I will use the new program for my Web 2’s in 2015-2016. Anyone got insight on how to handle this? What should I focus on my first year as a Web den leader?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Trenton,
          At the risk of retribution from you:

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

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

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

          I also envision some immediate recognition based on those adventures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Connie and all–

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

          Cub Adventure Team member

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

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

        • Connie–

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

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

          Best wishes,


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

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

      • scott,
        has everyone taken into account the cub NOVA program and how is that going to be changed with the belt loops required fort his program going away?
        hopefully someone has though about it. It is a program that is just now gaining momentum and it would be a shame to have that come to a halt.
        please let me know if someone has come up with a solution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Bert’s comments are accurate.

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

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

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

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

      Best wishes,

      member, Cub Adventure Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Bob,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

  63. #1 son has the complaint. His son is three and he figures very little of what he developed over seven years as resident camp director will be of use to him when the boy gets to cubs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Trenton,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We love the Academic and Sports programs!

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

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

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

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

      Bob Scott | Senior Innovation Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  82. Thank you for posting this summary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  86. mikemenn,

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

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

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

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

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

      Dennis Kampa
      CAT team

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

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

        • Jennifer:

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

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

        • SarahBeth–

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  87. All–

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


    CAT Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        What are we teaching the boys??!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Nutmegger:

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

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

      In service,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Jennifer and all:

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

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

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

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

          With humility and respect to all who have commented,

          Cub Adventure Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Ken,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Northern Virginia Cubmaster,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you very much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  109. After reading the multiple comments above, I have a few serious questions to present. First, the only people expressing comments that seem to be against any program change should do a little serious self reflection and ask the question why they are so upset and resistant to any change in the Cub Scout program. Is because it upsets their annual planning routine; or will force Leaders out of their comfort zone and require attending a new series of training sessions? The second question that I pose is how many of the volunteers complaining about the proposed changes have attended a Wood Badge course? Think back to the concept of change and how the Wood Badge curriculum presents the idea that change is the only constant that we can always anticipate. And those who are unwilling to change and even resistant to change really need to look at their reasons for resisting change.

    Statements to the effect that “I am going to continue to run a beltloop and pin program”, or “my Pack is going to do things our way” are not only extremely irresponsible as leaders who profess to be part of the Boy Scouts of America, but should really be reserved until you fully evaluate any comments through the lens of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. (Remember A Scout is Obedient and A Scout is Loyal). Not that I am preaching, but we must all remember that our comments are a direct reflection on what would be viewed as our leadership skills and abilities.

    We must also re-evaluate our reason for being involved in the Scouting program. If it is for any reason other then the young people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the program and all that it has to offer, then maybe there is another program where your efforts would be better suited. To say that discontinuing the Academic and Sports program will in some way diminish the Cub Scout program without having the updated program publication in hand is a little presumptive at the least. I seem to remember similar arguments when the Academic and Sports program was introduced, and again when the current Cub Scout delivery method (originally introduced as Cub Scouts 2010) was introduced along with the supporting Leader Specific Training updates.

    I never comment on any leadership issue without including a positive and constructive comment as well – so here goes. Any District or Council level Commissioner should be very familiar with the trend of first year retention in a Boy Scout Troop, and should be able to discuss the most common contributing factors. The one common factor mentioned most often when asking boys and parents why their son dropped out of a Troop is inevitably “he didn’t feel like he was able to do all of the things that he was expected to do, both in the Patrol and on camping trips”. As part of an ongoing Commissioner service initiative in my home Council, I am constantly discussing this issue with Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters, and their most common response is that the boys they receive as new Scouts through the traditional Webelos cross-over route are poorly prepared to take on the challenges of Boy Scouting. The most common weaknesses are in the core Scouting skills – camping skills, knots, basic fire building, and working together with their peers. The group of volunteers assembled to take a critical look at the existing Cub Scout and Webelos program have been challenged to meet those needs – to meet the ultimate goal of the Cub Scout program; not simply to place shiny awards on the uniform of our sons, but “to prepare boys for the challenges and adventures of Boy Scouting”.

    I invite further discussion on this topic, but would ask that all involved really look at where the core of their argument rises.

    Jeff Mc Houl ACC, Cradle of Liberty Council

    “Attitude Reflects Leadership”

    On the web at: |

    • Jeff,
      I think you are missing the point of many poster’s frustrations. While there may be those who are resistant to change, the preponderance of commenters are expressing resistance to the MANNER in which this change is being handled at the national level. The biggest frustration is with managing the transition for current Bears, and it is a legitimate concern. You are right when you say that we should be prepared to manage change, but this is not something that should be managed at the pack or den level. There needs to be a single comprehensive plan and clear guidance for how this transition should be managed so that there is continuity across all scouting programs. Consider the young scout who’s family moves during his time as a Webelos, and he finds himself in a new Den that is doing things differently. This is especially a concern for Packs with most if not all of it’s members in Military families. We can all plan on the fly, but don’t the boys deserve a well planned and resourced experience? It is in our capacity to give it to them, but only with national support.

      Jeremy Brandon

  110. I know I’m just echoing comments already made, but I fully agree with NOT allowing Arrow of Light to be watered down and achievable “whenever”, otherwise I don’t have any problems with the rest of it.

      • I truly, truly, don’t understand why everyone is so upset by the fact that the Webelos badge is no longer necessary to earn AOL. I mean what is really important here? That a Scout who is new to the program in 5th grade, or who didn’t complete the Webelos rank in 4th, be made to feel left out or pressured to get it all done??? How supportive and encouraging is that? Why don’t we just show him the door right away?

        Especially since the AOL’s new requirements are stand alone. I just skimmed them and it seems the emphasis is more towards getting them ready for Boy Scouts than the old one.

        I mean that is the purpose of Webelos right???? Crossing them in to a Troop? So why discourage a boy who joins in 5th grade, just because for whatever reason he never joined before?

        What I wish would happen soon is a total revamp of Webelos leader training that does NOT focus on getting the “highest award in Cub Scouts” and instead teaches them how to help their Scouts be healthy, happy and confident Boy Scouts. I thought I heard that there was new training coming but now can’t remember where.

        • Our district has a “Webelo to Scout Transition” leader. A position like that makes sure the Webs are ready for Scouts.

        • We do too, but it’s largely useless. I mean they set up meet and greets and generate lists of scouts who aren’t crossing over…….etc…… But the simple truth is that if Webelos leaders don’t know that they should be taking their Scouts to visit troops in 4th grade or that there is no such thing as a “feeder pack” or that there are many choices for their Scouts. It doesn’t matter.

          It is up to training, and commissioners.

        • I think the “big deal” is that AOL has been considered a capstone accomplishment. It’s the completion of a multi-year process and “the highest award in cub scouts.” I think some people see it cheapened if you can earn it in half a year and be entitled to wear the distinction permanently on a boy scout and adult leader uniform.

          On balance though, I’m not too bent out of shape about this. We’re talking about what? 1 in a 1,000 boys who join CUB scouts in fifth grade?

      • If a 5th grader joins for the first time, why not just put him in the troop? I agree he should not get the Arrow of Light for only 6 months in the Pack. You know, the “highest honor” in all of Cub Scouts. Put him in the Troop! My pack has been doing this for as long as I know. What should have been done is if Webelos was not required, then create a Webelos 2 rank, because Arrow of Light has always been treated so importantly. I have often called it the “Eagle” rank of cub scouts.

        • Agree. I have been in troops with brand new Webelos 2’s that the leader convinced mom that it was good to register the boys at 10 years and 10 months old, at the beginning of 5th grade, just to push the kids through AOL. At that point, better to wait two months and join the troop. This is another example of why I would prefer a bit more stringent following of whatever policy is made, instead of “let each local council/district be as flexible as they need to be”.

        • We really really really need to get away from this whole “highest award in Cub Scouts” mentality. The new direction this award is being taken is more of an introduction to Boy Scouts than a continuation of Cub Scouts.

          As a matter of fact, if you really looked at the old requirements, it was almost like starting over anyway. Nothing continued except you earned 5 more activity pins above the three you already earned.

          So why the uproar??

          So why not allow a 5th grader who has never been in the program before a chance to learn a bit about Scouting with his friends? Won’t he be more successful if he is allowed to visit various Troops and make a more informed decision? How are he and his parents supposed to make any kind of decision about which Troop to join?

          Step back and look at who we are talking about here. A 10 year old who doesn’t know much of anything. Why throw him into the deep end without his friends just because the adults in the program have deemed him “not worthy” to earn AOL because for whatever reason he didn’t join earlier……….shame on them………

        • I don’t mind changing the AOL, but for now, it’s a big deal to wear an AOL knot as an adult. That to some people is a big deal, that they did something important, time consuming and important as a child. By making AOL now just a prep for boy scouts, and not cub scout’s highest rank, the prestigious award maybe shouldn’t be able to be worn on an adult uniform anymore.

        • I disagree. If a boy joined in 4th grade and killed himself to get both the Webelos rank and then AOL is he more or less worthy than someone who has been in since Tigers? Where does it stop? AOL is AOL no matter what the tenure is.

          Here is my concern. All of the adults in the program right now that are whining and wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth because they don’t feel that a BOY is worthy now because the program has been changed will pass this attitude along and make this harder than it has to be.

          Do the program a favor, move forward with a smile and an eye on the bigger picture. I mean in 3 years or so no one will even know it was ever different. it is up to the leaders of today to make this a good and smooth and happy transition.

        • I’m just not seeing support for the people who actually run the programs. Most people have no problem with changing program aspects to improve the experience for the boys. My packs ever experienced any of the reasons peoplewantedthe program to improve; recruitment hasn’t dropped, we maintain 100% rank attainment every year,the parents weren’t complaining about it being too hard or time consuming. We have always had great support from parents in doing all the home exercises. So without seeing why it will be better, we are told to change. This thread has shown the roll out was horrible. Don’t tell us to serve the new program with a smile and 100% enthusiasm. This is a place to complain and air our our problems (and maybe find out they aren’t big problems after all), but have no doubt we will be positive and it air out our grievances with the parents. Give us a little more credit than that. We are the people who are leaders because we want what’s best for the boys. I feel that the more a leader remembers that point, the better the experience all around.

        • I am not trying to generalize or make it seem that everyone is going to be down on this in front of the parents. And while this forum is a good place to talk about our concerns, after a while when there are nothing but complaints and nothing positive is said, it is frustrating.
          Let’s stop complaining about how AOL is no longer as valid as it used to be or that is it a mistake to get rid of the beltoops and pins, etc……..and start talking about how to make it happen.

        • Connie – you admitted in an earlier post that you haven’t been a Den leader for a long time. If you don’t like what you’re seeing here, perhaps you should find somewhere else you can go and hang around with other unit commissioners and pat each other on the back and LOL about how great and wonderful this new program is going to be. Those of us who actually have to implement the plan as Den leaders and Cubmasters have valid concerns that need to be addressed. We see problems that need to be fixed before it is too late. As more and more such leaders come to understand what is really hidden beneath all the strange new belt loops and pins, they too will be here complaining since there aren’t many other places to go to freely voice their concerns.

        • Wow,
          You really have a low opinion of Commissioners. I am the one bringing this information to my units. I am harassing my professionals to get me the training as soon as possible so that they can be prepared. I am offering a training/roundtable type of meeting here in my area as soon as we have materials.
          I don’t for one minute stand around “patting myself on the back” while the units I serve flounder.
          But what good does it to do to be negative? It certainly hasn’t done you any favors.

        • My experience with UC’s is they show up on Rally Night to collect the new applications and fees and then we don’t hear from them again until mid January when they start pestering us to schedule their Friends of Scouting presentation so they can squeeze more money out of our families. But, if my UC were more involved, what I would want them to do would be to listen to my valid concerns about the obvious flaws with implementing the new program and to push those concerns upstream to try and get the flaws fixed. I wouldn’t want them to tell me to stop whining and just accept what’s coming. In that case, what good are they and why should I respond to their next request to schedule an FoS presentation with my unit?

        • At no time will I tell my folks to stop whining. BUT I can find better use of my time by helping them to come up with ideas for implementing this new program. Oh I do listen and pass their concerns along. For all the good it does.
          I mean seriously, there isn’t even anything my professionals can do except push those same concerns even higher. Isn’t going to change the fact that this is what we have so let’s concentrate on helping each other.

          I must say that one change I believe happened because enough folks were concerned is that I think local trainings are going to happen sooner than expected. I am hoping materials have come back from the National meeting.

          I am sorry your UCs are such a fail and I can see why you took it out on me. But I am not one of those UCs (I am an ADC too). As a matter of fact, I try very hard not to be a mouthpiece for the professionals. I remind units that they need to sign up for FOS and popcorn and hold JSNs. But I leave the follow up to the professionals. I concentrate on program and helping to recruit leaders.

          You don’t know me and I don’t know you. So in the spirit of Scouting…….truce

    • Obviously you have never had a 5th grader show up at your first pack meeting of the year wanting to join. That happened twice to me, and the existing rules mandates that the new boy has to go through all of the Webelo badge (on his own time), while still coming to our Den meetings to do the Arrow activities. IT WAS HORRIBLE. We had to send them to the Web I den (with, gasp, 4th graders) to go over the basic badges that they were working on, while the Web II den was doing “fun stuff” (like making puppets). One of them quit after a few weeks, the other stuck it out, but never bonded with his Den after he crossed over he left scouts after a year or two.

  111. I’m very, *VERY* disappointed in the removal of the Academics and Sports Program. My oldest and I had a lot of fun together earning tons of belt loops and pins, and I was looking forward to doing the same with my youngest. Unfortunately he will not have the opportunity! He’s the one I need to build my relationship with the most, too.

    • Bryan, does this mean that BSA is choosing to keep the Sports and Academics program past May 2015? Or are you commenting that it is still available for another year?

      • I believe, SarahBeth, that the new program will include loops and pins. However, I believe the variety will be significantly reduced and that many of the activities will be dependent on the troop to complete. At least that was my understanding after talking to the scout office.

    • But will the kids still be able to earn
      a) tons of them
      b) in such a delightfully wide range of activities that they can personalize to their interests
      c) completely independently of their troops?

    • Academic and Sports belt loops and pins are available until June 1, 2015. More program updates will be released this week!

      • Have I missed the promised FAQ?

        I’m tired of being teased with half information. It’s a turnoff and often condescending. So the academic and sports program is going away but some variety of loops and pins stay and are more integrated into the advancement program. Was that so hard to say months ago?

        Frankly, if the “program updates” don’t include formal clarification about what happens to the current bears, I fear that the inevitably rocky transition will be costly. Such clarification should have been in the powerpoint linked from this blog post.

        • Nutmegger: Increased cost to whom Parents, the BSA, local Councils? I see no evidence that changes in the Cub Scout program was necessary. It has caused a mountain of confusion in a time that recruiting numbers are down and continuing to slide. Wholesale changes were not what we needed we needed better focus on recruiting young boys and more training for all Scout leaders. Less than 18% of our local cub and boy scout leaders are fully trained. I would like to see many things delayed or scrapped and if some minor changes are necessary be implemented over a longer period of time. I have talked to many Cub Scout leaders and they haven’t a clue as to the changes they will face in 2015. Even at our Roundtable monthly meetings with all four Districts represented by our local council has not announced there will big changes in 2015. There is absolutely no conversation about the new Cub Scout program. When I asked them they say they have not heard about the changes coming soon. What I learn about changes in the National Boy Scout policies it is on Bryan’s Website that I find very reliable and informative I thank him for allowing Scout Leaders the opportunity to express their thoughts and input that opens up necessary dialog. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • I agree with you! I am so disappointed! This program was the awards program that made my son feel good about what he was doing. We tried new things – some activities we would never had tried if not for the program and we like them and are continuing. It is also a great program for packs. We had pack meetings where the activities were centered around a belt loop. The boys and parents loved it! Little boys love getting a lot of awards. It appears scouting is ignoring the needs of their youngest and largest group and trying to lump the into the big boy programs.

  112. I see that information on the program update of advancement requirements has released as of this morning at

    The site advertises: “NEW! National Annual Meeting Updates … Cub Scouts: Samplers of new youth handbooks and den leader guides unveiling five of the 84 new adventures have been released.”

    Among the items linked are for Cub Scouting:

    Adventure requirements and insignia
    Sampler of youth handbook adventures
    Sampler of den leader guides—den meeting plans for youth handbook sampler adventures
    FAQs compiled by developers of the program
    Transition guidelines—moving from the current program to the new one
    Introduction to Ethan, a Cub Scout’s new guide
    Cub Scout adventures … in a nutshell!

    The “Adventure requirements and insignia” piece has images of the designs on the new awards, actual physical prototypes of which will be released when the program update booth opens at 10:00 am CT.

    • Looks like we now have an answer to what happens with current Bear Cubs. The answer is, you’re screwed. Thought you could use that Weblos Handbook you just got until you cross-over to Boy Scouts in Feb 2016? Nope. You have to buy the new handbook and work on the new AOL requirements starting on June 1, 2015, like everyone else. Did you set yourself the goal of being one of the few Scouts in your Pack to earn the Webelos Super Achiever Award by earning all 20 Activity Pins? Better do it by May 31, 2015, since you cannot earn them after that date. Planned to earn that Belt Loop you need to complete the requirements for an Activity Pin? Better do it before May 31, 2015 since that’s the day the Academics & Sports program is being discontinued.

      It makes no sense at all the Dens who are past the mid-point of the 18-month Webelos program will have to stop what they are doing, toss their handbooks and Den Leader program books (and training) and start over with new handbooks and processes. Why not take the simplest solution and just let these boys finish the program they are starting at the end of this month?

    • Well I am annoyed that so many changes are happening right when my youngest two sons are finally in the middle of cub scouts, I was hoping to move them to boy scouts before any drama started but it looks like that won’t happen. I’m glad I’m the new webelos leader for next year. We will hit the ground running and if any of the boys want to earn all 20, we have one year to do it. I’m sure no one on the special team that planned all this has a current Bear scout, and from the looks of things, I doubt they have current cub scouts at all. They probably figure who cares if one year gets messed up, in the long run the transition will be worth it. Well, what about the lesson that so many parents teach their kids, you finish what you started and don’t quit or abandon a group? These boys will have to quit their current Webelos path that begins in just a few days, and change course. Once Webelos is earned at Blue and gold, the dens my older 4 sons have been involved in started working on AOL. I guess since we’ll have to just sit in limbo and be unable to start any new stuff until June 1, 2015, we’ll just focus on all 20. Bad decision, folks. I understand changing the entire program every once in awhile (and it will be great to see the food guide pyramids updated with myplate in the younger ranks–at least I hope the BSA has updated that), but it’s not good to change a program halfway through their cycle. You chose to start the new changes on June 1, why? Because that is the date of the start of the new rank for cub scouts, around the country. The problem is, you seemed to overlook the fact that Webelos is currently advertized, marketed, discussed, and planned out as an 18 month program. There would be absolutely no harm to the Cub Scout program as a whole, or to the current Bears (my son being one of them), by grandfathering them in for one year. One year in the grand scheme of things will not hurt the BSA’s new cub scouting program, and it would instill more confidence to we, the den leaders doing the actual work with the boys, that the BSA cares about the boys, and not just appearances. Yes, I will probably get a few negatives for this, but we don’t all have to agree, and I need the CAT team to know what a mistake we, the den leaders who meet with the boys weekly, feel.

      • If they just make the rule that if any scout STARTS the old Weblo program before 12/31/14, they can finish their Weblo badge and Arrow of light within that program…. 90% of the problems will be solved.

    • And if I could start a completely new discussion on what is not changing, I wish the BSA would have a better more strict limit on what the age/grade limits are for boys. Tiger cubs has always says “7 years old or 1st grade”, yet most 1st graders are 6 years old for much of their 1st grade year, if they are not held back in Kindergarten. I have had parents contact me when the child turned 7, sometimes almost in 2nd grade, because they read the age guidelines and thought 7 was the YOUNGEST a boy could join. So we either have to hurry up to catch them up if they join after February, or their 7th birthday is in July and they just lost the chance to be a Tiger. This has happened twice in our pack this year. Another boy is 23 months older than his current grade, not due at all to any learning challenge or disability. When asking Council for advice on how to place him next year, I was told “whatever the parents and you want to do, we’re comfortable with”. So Council says it’s OK for the boy to bridge to boy scouts at age 12 1/2 (his path before we revised), and be a very old cub scout, but no one thinks to look ahead and say “hey, this boy just lost out on 1 1/2 to 2 years of Boy scout time where he could be earning rank towards Eagle”. There is too much “whatever rank you want the cub scout to be at whatever age/grade, is fine with us”. Now, different councils may have different views on this, so I think there needs to be stricter guidelines. We are a military pack with lots of kids who have been part of many different councils, so we hear all sorts of stories. I also had a boy who moved to us from a different state, was signed up as a 5 year old Kindergarten Tiger by his old council, just because the mom wanted the pack to sign him up. However when he moved to us, our council said he couldn’t be a Wolf, so he repeated Tiger (with a GREAT outcome, as the mom became the den leader and planned activities that were different enough that the boy still had a great experience with his new friends and the family was very happy to repeat–we gained a great adult leader, so don’t always be afraid to tell the parent no). I feel just as there is a definite cut off to be a boy scout at age 18, there should be a definite cut off to be a cub scout (11 years, the youngest age you can join boy scouts without AOL), so that when we deal with a homeschooled 4 year old first grader who mom insists needs to be a Tiger (yes, it has happened), or the boy who through so many military moves and differing Kindergarten cut offs now finds himself 23 months older than his classmates, (all with NO disabilities, IEP’s, or learning problems–that is a completely different story and not part of what I’m talking about), we can more easily place the boys.

      • Elizabeth,

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with the BSA in this regard. It is the Pack’s responsibility to enforce the policy with new scouts and ensure that they are putting out the right information about membership guidelines/restrictions.

        • I’m trying to enforce guidelines that are too lax. The boy who is an 8 year old 1st grader was placed as a Tiger by an inexperienced brand new CC, who quit at recharter, putting me in charge. I’m responding to dad’s questioning all year his son’s placement. Cubs has a different structure than Boy Scouts, no one-rank-per-year guideline. One council told me definitely one rank (bobcat excepted, of course) only per scouting year, and now from this council I’m hearing “whatever makes the boys happy and stay in scouting”. I have had at least two families quit because they didn’t like that I was following the rules more strictly than their previous pack. I just wish everyone would follow the same rules, and that the BSA would just print the age of a Tiger cubs as “6 and in first grade”.

        • There is a reaseon for both age or grade requirements in Cub Scouts and depending on what type of unit yours is, there may use one or the other. Most traditional packs use grade to place their cubs. However, if a boy gets held back a year in school they don’t have to repeat that rank in Cub Scouts. He gets to move on. So yes there could be a first grade Wolf or a fourth grade Webelos 2, etc. Now most people aren’t aware that units chartered with Mormon churches use age for placement of their cubs. Some even use age so strictly that once a boy has a birthday, he moves up to the next rank. Hence those units operate on a 12 month year to allow boys to still get a full year to complete their rank requirements (birthday to birthday). So there are reasons for having and using one or the other, but there are always going to be exceptions. Moreover, the boy should never be placed in a program level too far advanced or too remedial; and common sense should tell you it doesn’t make sense to place a first grader into a Webelos program.

      • Scout Packs and Troops (and Councils to a lesser degree) are franchises, not subordinates. I think what you see as “lax guidelines” are what I see as “self-determination”. Let the Pack do what they want and suffer or benefit from their decision. If you have a military Pack and want to follow strict rules then you are allowed to do that, if there is a suburbanite-soccer-mom pack that does interoperates the rules to allow different things than you, fine! If the kid comes from that and does not like it, I am sure there are other Packs in the city that they can join. You, as a Pack leader are allow to tell a child and parent “we don’t do that in our Pack”. Which is a fine answer, just be prepared to have an answer to the next question.. “Why Not?”

        • Mark……you could not be any more incorrect….even if you tried to ! I’d like to remind you that BSA units are chartered by the BSA. As such, both the unit and their chartering organization agree to follow the aims, goals, policies and regulations of the organization offering them the charter, namely the Boy Scouts of America. I would invite you to visit a dictionary, either on line or on paper to see the definition of “charter.” I am no fan of the new policies but I do recognize my legal and moral responsibilities. If you cannot live up to the 12-Points, especially trustworthyness, loyalty and honesty, there are alternative organizations that lack the history and experience of the BSA that will allow you to make your own “self-determination.”

        • I did not know we were working on a sarcasm Activity Loop…
          Of course you stick with the principles, but if you have a 2ed grader who is 9, there may be reasons to put him with the bears, there may be reasons to put him with the wolfs. The post was about SMALL decisions like that, and the original poster indicating (in my opinion) that small details should be dictated by BSA national. My point was that you can decide to do what you want WITHIN the broad guidelines (or rules) of scouting.
          We are all adults, we should be able to tailor the program for the kids we are working for. Yes we will make mistakes (recall the Scout leaders who pushed over that rock in the national park), but if we learn from our mistakes (and try to learn from others)… that is called “wisdom” and we will be better people and our kids will be better people.

        • Absolutely agree with you Mark! The LDS units are a perfect example of the “franchise” nature of the local unit. They get to make up their own rules for their program, yet their units are still chartered by BSA. Many units are struggling in the face of rising costs, parental apathy, and myriad after-school choices. The utopian world of the ideal scouting unit only exists in the minds of those blinded by how many square knot patches they can fit on their uniform and by whatever woodbadge patrol they can never stop telling you they belong to. The rest of us live in the real world where our main focus is to provide a fun program for kids and hope they pick up some skills and strenghten some values along the way. SO, do what works for your unit and chances are good you’ll provide a steady stream of Webelos crossing over to Boy Scouts. The world will be better for your having tried.

        • I have to disagree a bit on your idea that the LDS groups “They get to make up their own rules for their program, yet their units are still chartered by BSA”

          The differences they have are not arbitrary nor are they because they disagree with the National program.

          While I do agree that National seems to be out of touch in a few important areas, I would caution (beg) you not to promote doing whatever works best for your unit and your area.
          As an ADC and also UC I am faced daily with units that want to go rogue or fly under the radar because they don’t want to hassle with council. Folks that don’t believe training is for them because they know it all. Or have been around so long that “this is the way we have always done it” should be tattooed somewhere on their bodies.

          There are some things that make sense to be judicious about implementing. Like National’s newest “Webelos really should be registered in their chosen troop by Dec of 5th grade”. Not the best choice program wise and I am not going to push it here.

          But this change in the Cub Scout program? I will support and train for and help my units to embrace 100%

        • Mark, that’s a better answer than I’ve been given by councils, which is “do whatever the parents want so they will keep their boy in scouting at all costs”. When I said no to the first grade 6 year old whose mom wanted him to be a Wolf, I offered tiger den leader to the mom, which she and her son accepted happily. As long as I am looking out for the boys, I’ll know I’m making the right decisions.

  113. Thank you to Bert Bender for posting the link to this information. Finally, we have something concrete to look at because, folks, let’s face it…over the past few months since this article came out on “Bryan on Scouting,” most of these comments have been nothing but supposition, since we didn’t have any facts.

    Now that the information has been posted, I think it’s “much ado about nothing.” I have been a Tiger through Webelos II den leader three times for my three boys. We started in 1999 when my oldest son joined as a Tiger and the official uniform was an orange t-shirt. In that time, the only changes that have been made were to the Tiger program. It was time for a facelift and I think the program updates make the program more relevant to today’s world.

    To address a few comments I’ve seen lately:
    “Watering down” the Arrow of Light since the Webelos badge is not a requirement. I don’t see that the AoL changes are that monumental. So it doesn’t explicitly say you have to earn the Webelos badge, but there is still a three-month requirement for the Webelos badge and a six-month requirement after completing fourth grade or being 10-1/2 to earn AoL. I think it is assumed you will have earned your Webelos badge and now it seems there are more requirements to earn the Webelos badge: five adventures and two electives instead of three pins.

    Actually, in one of the FAQ’s, this question was asked: “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!”
    Well earning all of the ranks has never been a requirement for the AoL, so if this is an FAQ, then people are already clueless!

    I agree to an extent that this year’s Bears becoming Webelos next year and having to split the program is a little shortsighted and ridiculous. I don’t think it’s unmanageable, but maybe that will be re-thought when the program is actually implemented.

    I am not agreeing with the statement that the Sports and Academics Program has been absorbed into the rank programs. First of all, the belt loops were available to any rank at any time and if they are absorbed into the program, then they will only be working on certain aspects of the belt loops within that year. It was also just another great thing for kids to earn, not mandatory but opens up other interests kids might otherwise ignore. Secondly, I don’t see where it was absorbed. Many of the new requirements for rank are mirrors of the old requirements. It may be there. I just don’t see it as I haven’t studied it intently yet.

    I do have a little confusion in the Cub Scouts Requirements .pdf on the snapshot page of the Webelos and AoL Requirements. Under the Webelos requirements, it lists 1. Be an active member… 2. Complete each….required adventure… 3. Complete two Webelos electives…. 4. …complete the exercises in the pamphlet.
    Under the AoL requirements, it lists: 1. Be an active member…. 2. Complete each AoL core adventure…. 3. Complete three Webelos electives… 7. …complete the exercises in the pamphlet.
    Why does it jump to #7? And this is not the only place that I saw that typo(?)

    Maybe someone can address that.

    In closing, I know it’s frustrating dealing with changes that may seem unneccesary, but as another poster pointed out, we’re in a recruitment slump. Contrary to what he says though, this may be just what we need to gain more interest in the program. It’s also very frustrating dealing with anything related to National or local Councils, but what choice do we really have? I think, as Scouters, it is our duty to make the best of this situation. The kids won’t really see much change…they won’t care anyway. They want to come to meetings, have fun, learn a little something, and earn an award. This program does just that. As long as we put on a happy face and not be naysayers to the kids and parents, the program will work its magic. It’s Cub Scouts, afterall! And in a year or two, the hiccups will be gone and we’ll just be floating along as if nothing ever happened!

  114. My comment is partially mooted by the release today but the “cost” I referenced was not financial as much as a hit to reputation, membership, and quality of so-called “delivery”.

  115. Trenton, here is one incurred cost, for only a small group though. The new Webelos 1s who will be caught in the middle will need to purchase new handbooks to use the new requirements for AOL. Oh, and now rank specific leader guides to assist with the new adventures.
    I am very frustrated with this new change, centered on the scouts and leaders who have to deal with the disruption during the Webelos program. BSA, give us the new books and requirements NOW or grandfather us in for the half a year of the new program. Right now my thoughts are to stay on the current program the whole time and then sign off on the new program requirements. I don’t know what I will do next year when this all takes place, but I am one unhappy den leader and Cubmaster. Didn’t you learn anything with the fiasco Girl Scouts had when they switched to the Journey program and didn’t grandfather in girls for the program they were working on at that time?

    • SarahBeth, if you haven’t already, be sure to look at the transition plan doc that just came out ( While it isn’t terribly detailed, it does address that, “Boys who have achieved the Webelos rank by June 1, 2015, may complete this requirement (three adventure electives) by using Webelos activity badges or pins earned before June 1, 2015. These three activity badges must be in addition to those required for earning the Webelos rank.”

      This doc also lists the AOL requirements, which will not be hard to do with your boys in the time post-June 1, 2015, especially since they can use activity badges they earn this year.

      • I did find that last night, even took a screen shot of the sheet you are talking about. I am relieved that it won’t be horrible to make the change, still frustrated though because I am expecting to have my scouts earn the Webelos Badge by Blue and Gold next year, then under the current plan we would be working on the Arrow of light. Now we will have to wait 3 months for the new book to come out, buy it, and then start working in it, after I get a feel for how it needs to be done. Also, my son wants to earn all 30 pins. Either we work hard on it, or see if our council will keep the current Webelos stuff for a bit.

        • why do you have to wait 3 months? just choose a couple activity pins to earn. those could then be counted toward ‘3 adventure electives’ for AoL?

          my big concern is you may have boys getting through web and aol without every doing any first aid… (since Readyman activities were pushed from AoL to Webelos requirements.

        • Like Krissie Buzen above, I have also been in Cubs Scouts since “1999 when my oldest son joined as a Tiger and the official uniform was an orange t-shirt. In that time, the only changes that have been made were to the Tiger program. It was time for a facelift and I think the program updates make the program more relevant to today’s world.” I agree.

          Currently, I’m bear den leader for our 4th son through the program and I agree with SarahBeth that we plan to have the boys reach Webelos by Blue & Gold. I would love to see the current bears have the new program materials available NOW when they move up to Webelos but I realize that probably isn’t feasible. Perhaps the AoL program changes can be available to us in Feb 2015 so we could use them for the whole AoL time. It seems silly to split the Webelos/AoL into 2 parts and particularly at a weird time in their year.

          Also, with the experienced leaders using the new program ahead of time, we can be the guinea pigs for our packs and help the less experienced leaders make the transition in June.

          Thanks, Nicholas, for the info about Readyman and first aid req’ts being pushed up. I’ll need to look into how I handle that. (unless we can get the whole new program available to us ASAP.)

        • Looking over how to plan this year of Webels 1 meetings, I realized it is completely possible to have my scouts earn AOL by May 2015. Then we can have fun playing with the new program and visiting Scout Troops.

        • All of your Webelos will be 10-1/2 by May 2015? I’m only asking because out of my 11 current Webelos 1’s, fewer than 1/2 are 10-1/2 by now, so if I were in the position of being a Bear right now and having the program split, my boys would not meet the age requirement for Arrow of Light. In fact, for my boys to all earn it at the same time, the earliest I can award it is November.

        • Grr on the age age requirement!!! My son won’t be 10 until next summer, he is on the young side for his grade. 1 scout will be old enough.

          Thanks for reminding me about that.

  116. Can you explain: “One Den Leader Guide per rank”?

    What is a Den Leader guide? Is that a new name for what we call “Den Leader” now or “Den Chief” or is that a new position ? … or is that a requirement that there are no assistant Den Leader (Guides)?

    • I think they mean guide books. Today, there is one large guide book called the Cub Scout Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide (Item# 32354, $8.49 on that includes Den Meeting plans for every rank, Tiger-Webelos. So, you buy it as a Tiger leader and you use the different sections of the book as the boys move up through the ranks. Sounds like that one guide book will be replaced by a separate Den Leader Guide book for each rank. It will be interesting to see how the total price of the multiple books compares to the price of the current book.