How will the new Cub Scout program affect day camps this summer?

The new Cub Scout program arrives June 1, and it promises to offer year-round fun for boys and better support for adults.

That’s great, but what happens this summer with the Cub Scout day camp you’ve already started (or finished) planning? Do you need to throw out all that hard work and start from scratch?


The Cub Scout team posted some details at Scouting Wire that anyone involved with Cub Scout day camp will want to know.

Here are the takeaways:

1. Advancement shouldn’t be the focus of camp.

Day camps are, first and foremost, about fun. If advancement happens, great, but it shouldn’t be the focus of camp.

2. You can still use the Academics and Sports program this summer.

Yes, the Academics and Sports belt loops are going away in favor of the new and improved adventure loops.

But if your day camp is already planned using the current Cub Scout program, including the Academics and Sports belt loops, you don’t need to replan.

The Academics and Sports program will be discontinued, but it won’t disappear on June 1. The team behind your Scout Shop and understands the role of Academics and Sports belt loops and pins in day camp recognition and is committed to meeting your needs.

The Cub Scout team does recommend you check with your local council Scout Shop to make sure they are aware of your needs and have plans to meet them.

3. Or you can use the new Cub Scout program this summer.

Can’t wait to get started with all the fun adventures of the new Cub Scout program? I hear you.

The Cub Scout team offers these tips:

  • One of the methods of Cub Scouting is adult association. Research indicates that a long‐term relationship with a positive adult figure is a critical component for youth to develop into strong, resilient adults. In Cub Scouting this is accomplished by the den leader delivering a program of advancement in the den, focusing first on required adventures in the new program.
  • Focus day camp planning around elective adventures. There are 13 each for Tiger, Wolf and Bear and 18 shared for Webelos and Arrow of Light.
  • Any use of the required adventures at camp, while not recommended, should be channeled to “partials” – requirements which may be difficult for dens to accomplish on their own. Camps will also need to develop a method which meets the approval of your council advancement committee of communicating partials to den leaders who are responsible for signing off on advancement for the boys in their dens.
  • Think about Aquatics! Each rank has one elective which is aquatic related, either swimming or boating. Camps with appropriate facilities are uniquely suited to help dens deliver these adventures. Access to suitable facilities, trained instructors and appropriate supervision can be barriers to these activities. Council and district camps can help.

4. The Program Updates page is your source for the latest Cub Scout information.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: the BSA’s Program Updates page has become a must-visit site for the latest about the new Cub Scout program.

Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by JeffWicklein


  1. When will the Aquatics Cub Scout Roundtable info come out? I know it’s slated for a May presentation, but since the other onse have been coming out early, and my leaders are craving information NOW (emphasis) to start planning their summer time activities and program year, we have been doing the presentations as soon as they come out. So we’ve already done the April RT them.

    Also, what changes to aquatic per G2SS will occur for Cub Scouts? Right now boating activities are limited to district/council level activities and require either a NCS Cub Scout Aquatics Supervisor or NCS Aquatics Director. Will Packs be allowed to follow Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat, with the restriction for no moving water, and conduct their own boating activities?

  2. The aquatics roundtable information will be released in time for May delivery at roundtables, per the program update page:

    Aquatic adventures are fully complaint with the provisions of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

    Note that the suggestion provided above was to encourage aquatics activities at camp, where abundant resources are available to deliver a safe and fun program.

    • Ken,

      Not every Cub Scout Day Camp has a NCS Cub Scout Aquatics Supervisor. But packs have resources. I know my pack at one time had two PADI certified Rescue Diver Instructor-Trainers. that does include the former lifeguards and lifeguard instructors. Combine those human resources with folks with SSD and SA, I think they can handle boating situations. Especially since the former lifeguard instructor was dual certified as a BSA Lifeguard before they watered down the certification by removing the boating requirements.

  3. Is it possible provide a citation for the research on adult association mentioned here? I cannot find a reference to it on the program updates site or anywhere else. Thank you.

  4. DPCBSA: Adult association is more strictly a method of Boy Scouting. However, the relationship among youth and adults has its foundation in several of the methods of Cub Scouting – involving home and family, belonging to a den, advancement – that are facilitated by an adult.

    There is a broad literature on positive youth development – the national 4-H organization has done some great work in this area. If you are looking for an overview and the value of practices related to adult association (one of the key elements of positive youth development), this is a great place to start:

    As I read it, one point of article that Bryan wrote is that if camp programs provide most of a year’s worth of advancement opportunities in a brief period, it undermines the opportunity for youth and adults to be able to work together in an extended, constructive manner.

  5. One thing that I think is being overlooked in regards to advancement and day camp/resident camp: What do the Cub Scouts want?

    I know that all of Scouting is local, and attitudes and events in my area may be completely opposite of another. But when I surveyed the Cub Scouts attending my CSDC, the Webelos expressed boredom with the program. They wanted a more challenging, outdoor day camp program that would help with Outdoorsman, Naturalist, and other W.A.B.s

    What the Cubs wanted, we gave them. We created a 1/2 day “Webelos Woods” program that focused on outdoor W.A.B.s. Yes they still fished, did archery, and BB Guns for 1/2 a day, but they ate up the Webelos Woods program. That day camp, while the smallest in the council has the highest number of 3rd and 4th year returnees.

    One thing I’ve seen done in dens with a mix of day camp attendees and non-attendees is that those who went, do help those who didn’t to leanr the skils. It also gives them a chance to review and practice skills.

    • We get very few Bears & Webelos to attend our day camps as we have Overnight camps for both ranks. If a Cub Scout attends Day Camp before their 1st & 2nd grade years, they have done the things that we do every year: BB Guns, Archery, Fishing, & Catapults. We change the other things up depending on the the theme for the camp. Still, the older Cub Scouts will normally only attend their overnight camps, 1 night for Wolves & 2 nights for Webelos.

      Our Day Camp runs 4 days with 5 periods in each day. We have 15 activities so the Scouts do each activity over the first 3 days. Day 4 is a make-up day in case we get rained out & if not, the Scouts go back & do their favorite activities again.

      For this summer, the District Day Camp Program Director has put together a matrix of what requirements may be met while at Day Camp. Some of the activities would take place at the activities while others would be done by the Pack/Den in their Den Homes during lunch. The focus for our Day Camp is to have fun & if some requirements are met, then that is just gravy.

      • Unfortunately our resident camp hasn’t been well publicized, well staffed, etc. We still have folks with the attitude that “Cubs don’t need to camp” and it does affect things.

        Day camps are the best thing going on over the summer with Cubs. We do 5 days with 3 morning and 3 afternoon activities. Tigers, Wolves and Bears do BB Guns, Archery and Fishing and Water Games ( it gets extremely hot at times and water games are a separete activity that doesn’t use a pool), every day. Webelos rotate when they do Webelos Woods, some days it’s monrings, other days afternoons. As a result, for them Fishing and Water games rotate for them.

        Like you, our Tigers, Wolves, and Bears focus on FUN, and any advancement comes “as naturally as a suntan, something that just happens….” But the Webelos were tired of the same old, same old. So we gave them what we wanted, and now 1/2 the camp attendance is Webelos. Our attendance numbers doubled as a result of the Webelos Woods program.

    • I completely agree with including the Scouts. We lose so many Webelos from the program because it is not fun and interesting. One part of our district was running a Webelos Day Camp that was focused on Advancement. The boys loved it and it had to be capped. So we started a second one that I run.

      When I interview Webelos and Leaders what they all say they want is BB Guns, Archery, and to earn the badges that will get them to Webelos or AOL, and they want to be Outside. They don’t want indoor games and crafts. They want to advance! In a Den of 12 Webelos the 9 boys who attended this advancement driven camp all crossed over and are active Boy Scouts. The 3 that did not either dropped or didn’t finish the requirements by Blue and Gold. There den meetings were designed by and followed the Den Leaders Guides but they just didn’t find it interesting.

      So what I am saying is that I believe that the older boys want, and often need the challenge or the goal of Advancement. It makes it fun and productive.

  6. Note: The topic guide for April on the program updates page (supplemental roundtable content) does not open correctly.

  7. “”◾One of the methods of Cub Scouting is adult association. Research indicates that a long‐term relationship with a positive adult figure is a critical component for youth to develop into strong, resilient adults. “”
    Here is the ratrionale for fighting the “soccer Syndrome”, helping the parents realize that being with their boy is a GOOD thing. Helping new parents (yes, 7 year olds might have “new” parents) realize that they are the most important person(s) in the boy’s life. They should not seek to drop and depart, give’m to a “coach” and come back in 3 hours.
    The Den Leader, Cubmaster, Scout Skills fella are not the only “strong, resilient” positive adult figure in a Cub’s life.
    However, if the Cub can see a SCOUT adult, positive, strong, resilient person, so much the better. But let’s keep trying to get the parents to include themselves!

  8. I’m the director of two camps this summer. We are planning our camps for the boys to have fun. My first camp is in early June. I am going to go through the books as best as I can and let our campers know and give the camping chairs copies of what we did and leave it up to the packs

    • We do the same thing. With the Tigers, Wolves, and Bears, we find out what activities they do correspond to any advancement requirements and electives, Then hand out a sheet of what they have done at the end of camp. It’s up to the parents and packs.

      With the Webelos, because they wanted a more challenging, advancement oriented program. in the past we have told them in advance what they will be working on prior to camp. We also tell them that while the work is selected for them as Webelos, when they become Boy Scouts, they get to select what courses they will take as Boy Scouts.

      My Bear is pumped up about “FINALLY getting to do Webelos Woods!”

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