Lions, a new pilot program for kindergarten boys, to begin this fall


Update: See answers to your questions about Lions here.

Lions, a new Boy Scouts of America pilot program for kindergarten boys, will begin in participating councils this fall.

Why go younger? Research shows that a child’s development accelerates at age 4 and 5 — about the time these youngsters begin their formal education in kindergarten. That’s also the time when families start looking for after-school activities for their children. While 5-year-olds could join a soccer team or karate studio, they couldn’t yet join Scouting.

That’s about to change in pilot councils across the country. Parents will welcome a program that introduces Scouting concepts and values to 5-year-olds in a fun, age-appropriate way.

The kindergarten-age boys themselves will enjoy exploring the world around them with friends. Lions promises to expand imaginations, spark creativity and amplify fun.

At the end of the Lion year, boys will graduate to Tiger and advance through Cub Scouting.

Lions will be piloted in select councils across the country. Your council’s Scout Executive already has details on how to apply to become a national pilot site for fall 2016.

Participating councils will share feedback with teams of volunteers and professionals for further study.

This is just the beginning of an exciting program sure to grow Scouting. I’ll share more details as I get them.


  1. I wondered if when this was coming, since Girl Scouts have had Daisy Scouts for years. I’m assuming that the Lion’s program will be like the Tiger Program that an Adult “Akela” must accompany the Lion everywhere.

  2. And the former “above and beyond” -Arrow of Light- award is now just a normal rank… I wonder if they’ll continue with Boy Scouts wearing the AOL badge and the AOL knot for adults???

    • I really don’t understand this. Eagle us “just a rank” and there is a knot for it. The highest rank in each program is treated the same.

        • The better question is why would Eagle Scout get a know when we all know that it is the least prestigious terminal rank in Scouting… the real one is Quartermaster.

      • Because as an Eagle scout you must earn all prior ranks. In Cub Scouts, your rank is determined by your age/grade. You do not need to earn anything except Bobcat (which is to become familiar with law/oath/etc.) in order to now earn AoL. AoL used to require that you earn the Webelos badge as well.

        • And so if a boy joins cub scouts at 11 years old he has to kill himself to earn AOL and Webelos rank in one year? I thought the change was so it would make joining at this age more attractive, so the boys didn’t decide to just wait until Boy Scouts to join – end end up not bothering at that point.

        • @ Stan

          At 11 they become a Boy Scout, not a Cub Scout.

          And it has always been possible to earn the AOL in a year, now it takes 14 months if you do 1 adventure/month.

          An aside, How are LDS units handling this, are they making their Cubs earn both, or going straight to AOL?

        • Stan – If your son is eleven he joins Boys Scouts. If he is in 5th grade and not yet eleven, he joins an Arrow of Light den and does the Bobcat requirements and the four required and three elective Adventures for Arrow of Light. He does not earn Webelos. This applies to traditional units. I am not familiar with LDS requirements.

  3. Northern Star Council has been piloting this program since 2011. I hope more councils will join nationwide and we can finally get some adventure loops for them.

    • I thought this was initially a limited pilot back even before 2011. It’s a painfully long time for a pilot when you feel like your Pack is ready! 🙂 We’ve had Kindergarten Cubs for a few years, but we used Scouting for Life as the basis and called them Seekers. Now we’re excited to have these scouts as a full part of the Pack in the new scouting year!

  4. Studies have also shown that by adding a new den level the potential to increase BSA membership can happen…

    Being a Webelos 1 Den den leader and in my 4th year, I think this is too early and a real chance of parent and child burn-out can occur.

    Depending on how active and how big a Pack and its den are could be problematic. I could see a spike in families quitting the program at or before they end the Cub Scout Program.

    I would rather see girls be allowed to be Cub Scouts than trying to increase the numbers at younger ages

    • I would rather see both (girls and kindergarten). With Girl Scouts starting in Kindergarten there is always the question of “When can my son start scouts?” I also know a lot of girls who would much rather do the Boy Scout program than the Girl Scout program.

      • Burnout is my biggest concern. If you start a scouting Journey at 5 and make it to 18, that is a 13 year commitment. I realize it is just “one more year” to the current program, but it adds up.

        • Well seeing how my daughter was in a pilot group when they experimented with pre-K daisies and would have never left GS if not for the fact it took us 2 years to get her in a troop when we moved (BSA is so much better on that) she would have ended up with 14 years of GS with no burnout! It is all how you think of it and does thing progress.

        • Lions, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture, Adult Volunteer. It’s a lifetime commitment! One of the best you can make.

        • It took forever to get a Girl Scout Troop in my small town so my daughter missed out on the Daisy program. She stuck out Girl Scouts until the beginning of her senior year in high school when the Council we were in made it impossible for her to earn her Gold award. She doubled up for 3 years with Venturing and continued on until her 21st birthday, Her brother, an Eagle Scout went from Wolves thru Venturing, both earned their Silver and Ranger Awards and are still registered as adult volunteers. If the program is done right and is fun people become vested in the program and want to pass it on.

        • Commitment is the key and it starts with Parents involvement and commitment to make scouting a fun activity! I have twins (boy and girl) and last year they were in kindergarten. My daughter could join Daisies and my son wanted to be a boy scout. I researched if there was anything out there and yes had found there were many councils already doing this Lion program pilot. Revolutionary Trails Council was willing to allow our Pack to do this and I am so blessed they did! My son loves scouting and earned everything he could earn for Lions as well as he is earning every adventures/elective loops and patches he can as a Tiger. We do everything as a family and are committed to see scouting through it all…both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

        • Now when we are doing boy talks in the schools and that very excited kindergartner asks when he can join we can say “Now”!

          Even easier. 🙂

      • Definitely. Here in the Pacific Northwest, youth sports leagues start in Kindergarten (or age 4, in the case of soccer).

        Once families are entrenched in these leagues, it becomes difficult to make the case for them to make the time – and commitment – of joining Scouting.

    • I would love to have my daughters in Cub Scouts! I see all the awesome things my nephews get to do in Cub Scouts as compared to what my daughters are doing in Girl Scouts (of which I am heavily involved), and it just makes me so sad. My oldest finally quit and is joining a Venture Crew. My middle and youngest are not old enough for Venturing for quite a while yet. But, I also do not think starting in Kindergarten is too young. I was a Daisy in 1985, a year after that program began. I’m still in Girl Scouts, at least until all of my daughters have moved on to Venturing. 2 of my 3 daughters started as Daisies, my 3rd isn’t old enough yet. My oldest left Girl Scouts, not because of the time commitment or burn out, but because it was no longer fun and more like school with the introduction of the Journey books. I think we will need to sit back and see what the Lions program will entail once it’s all nailed down.

      • Last year I was both my daughter’s Leader for kindergarten Daisies and my son’s Lions — they are twins and if I was going to be the Leader for one, I new I needed to offer to be Leader for the other. I found many times I was able to bring over Cub Scouting activities to the Daisies. Consider working with your Leader to incorporate Cub Scouting. There are many websites to find ideas. If you google Longhouse Council or Northernstar Council you can see how their Lion pilot has been going for so many years (5+).

        • we plan to move my daughter over to venturing crew when she is old enough. I help with the girl scouts, but there are no camps around, . However, we have seen with Tigers 15 join, we have a great Pack, yet the Tigers are tired at night, parents get exctied about other sports, and end of with 3-4 Tigers by end of year. I don’t see Lions doing well, but still great to offer.

      • Why don’t your Girl Scout troop kick it up a notch and do comparable activities? Is the national organization’s policies and procedures stopping you?

        As for the comment about turning Scouting into a classroom, I agree completely. “ScOUTING IS OUTING!” And I fear S.T.E.M. Scouts, by being in a classroom setting, will do more damage to the movement. Just like the Improved Scouting Program of the 1970s, when it was possible to earn Eagle without a single night of camping, nearly destroyed the program. I’m still seeing soem of the affects of ISP 40 years later.

        • STEM Scouts do their activity in labs, because that’s where the program fits best. The STEM program (including the STEM merit badges and the Nova awards) is best done in the field (whether that be on a mountainside, in an auto shop, in a radio station, etc.). Please quit saying that the program is “in the classroom”. That’s only ONE way to deliver the program and is usually the least preferred.

        • @Richard Stone,

          “STEM Scouts is not true scouting if they do nothing but classroom stuff.

          William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, who saved Scouting from the 1970s Improved Scouting Program (ISP) that did away with camping as a requirement for Eagle said it best: “OUTING is three-fourths of ScOUTING” 3rd ed. SMHB

          Lord B-P had this to say about the outdoors:

          “We are not a club or a Sunday school class, but a school of the woods.”

          “A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room.”

          “Scouting is a school of citizenship through woodcraft.”

          And most importantly:

          “The open-air is the real objective of Scouting and the key to its success.”

          BSA screwed up miserably with the ISP. Hillcourt had to come out of retirement, write an outdoor training program and write another handbook, one that reemphasized the outdoors, in order to stem the loss of membership.

          Sadly it appears the current BSA leadership didn’t learn from the mistake of the 1970s.

        • Lab work is field work. Outdoor activitives are the core of scouting, yes, but science matters too. Bringing back samples from a campout to work on in a lab, building tools in a shop to use camping, learning weather science in a classroom to be able to apply it to observation in the wilderness, that’s ALL scouting. My sons’s hand-cut Pinewood derby car and his CNC-milled hammerhead that he designed are equally valid machines – and give him a better understanding of both methods.

        • Am I missing something, Nahila? STEM/Nova isn’t scouting, it’s a thing they can do to earn a patch/award…and they don’t even need it to advance ranks.

          How is that going to hurt Scouts? If you don’t like the subjects, just don’t do it. Why the negativity??

      • Having had a son and daughter both in Scouting, I’ll add my two cents here. My daughter’s GS Troop was VERY outdoor active: white water rafting, camping, zip lines, horseback riding, etc. So much in GS depends on what the leaders and girls choose to do. The group behind my daughter is more arts and crafts-their families just don’t do outdoor things. If you want your GS to do outdoor activities, it may be time to shop around for a different Troop.

      • I’m considering “officially” adding girls to my pack. I’ve done a bit of research. You can register the girls as Girl Scouts and do the Cub Scout program with them, and award them “legacy” badges as they earn them. Girl Scouts does NOT require any awards for advancement, and you do NOT have to do the new Journeys program. Since sisters always are at our meetings anyways, and participate in all our pack-sponsored activities (since Cub Scouts is really a “family” program), it just makes sense.

        You can have a multi-age GS troop (Daisies through Juniors, which corresponds with Lions-Webelos). A GS troop only needs 2 registered leaders (it’s cheaper than registering with the BSA), so just cross-register your CS moms as GS leaders (it’s a hassle for dads who want to be GS leaders so I’d recommend not even trying to). When you go camping, do it under the auspices of the Cub Scout pack because GS does not allow mixed-sex camping. You need to keep separate bank accounts for both the GS and CS troops. Follow the BSA YPT guidelines.

        Different GS councils have different policies regarding training, time commitment, etc (for example, some require “cookie moms” to do extensive training, others do not) but mine is supportive (lots of Cub Scout leaders work for our GS council!).

        While I do believe that older boys should have a comfortable boy-only environment, at this age I don’t object to it being mixed-sex, especially since Cub Scouts is a Family program.

        All BSA troops should do what they can to support Girl Scouts — even though they are separate organizations, young Girl Scouts are future mothers and hopefully Boy Scout leaders. If they aren’t in scouting as girls, they’re far less inclined to support scouting as adults!!

        • You are incorrect. Cub Scouts is a program specifically for boys that encourages family participation. That participation is in the teaching and attending family camps and support and by no means does it discourage family involvement but it does not allow for girls to register as Cubs nor does it allow them to earn ranks. Having the sisters sit as Cubs and participate as members takes away from the program from a boy’s perspective. Boys, particularly at the elementary age, want to be boys. Cub Scouts was developed for boys and that is how the program is meant to run.
          Don’t try to solve your issues with Girl Scouts by trying to incorporate them into Cub Scouts. It is not fair to the boys that joined a boy’s only program and you will end up hurting the boys as well as the girls.
          Fix your broken Girl Scout program, don’t break your successful Cub Scout program by acting in your own interests or the interests of non members. If you are a Cub Scout leader your priorities lie with those Cub Scouts.
          I am a Cubmaster as well as a former District Commissioner and have no issue with sisters taking part in some activities but there are definite limits that must be observed for a successful Cub Scout program. This is, without question or wiggle room, a boy’s program.

    • We piloted this program in Northern Star (Mpls/St Paul, MN) so my sons, now Webelos as well, started as Lions, and I have been the Den Leader all along. Most of the Scouts in our Den that started as Lions have been in it since day 1. It has been the ones who joined later that have changed along the way.

      The Lions program is a great way to help the boys and their parents get their feet wet with Scouting, less structured than Tigers but still gives them a feel for how Cub Scouts works. And the boys at that age really love being a part of the Pack!

  5. Lions were the 10 to 11 years old way back when, correct? So now we are bringing them back as 5 years old? BSA has a fabulous history. Would love to hear more about the older lion rank.

  6. Our Pack already has young siblings tagging along to meetings and activities might as well give them a uniform. I too, am worried about burnout for these kids.

  7. I think, this is lovely idea! In Czech Republic (midlle Europe) we have practised this years-category (we called them Benjamines) about 2 years yet. It works. Nowadays we start new scout magazine for them.

  8. Have been a Circle Leader (equiv = Den Leader) in Y Guides and Tiger Den Leader now Committee Chair in Cub Scouts; have seen this from both sides. Y-Guides starts in K and often swoops families before the Cub Scouts. Once indoctrinated to Y-Guides, many families do only one or the other & forego Scouts until 4th grade when Y-Guides times out. However the families we either get to double dip or flip to Scouting are better prepared & the parents more willing volunteers.

    Starting a K based Cub Scout program, with a lightly regimented program based is safety-fun-experiences shouldn’t burn out anyone.

    Was Lions programming put together at the same time the new Cub Scout requirements were being developed, or are these add ons after that process was completed.

  9. I’ve seen more than my fair share of kindergarten age boys look heartbroken when I have to tell their families they aren’t old enough to join Cub Scouts yet – all while the girls in their classes can become Daisy Girl Scouts. The even worse part is that the vast majority of them don’t come back the next year. They moved on to a youth sport or some other activity.

    The Lion program has been in pilot stage for years, I remember discussing it with fellow Scouters over on forums and podcasts back in 2009, and talking briefly to Tico Perez about it when he attended our College of Commissioner Science in October 2009. Hopefully this means it has been well vetted and developed for successful integration.

    As one of the first classes of Tiger Cubs back in the fall of 1983 my mom can tell stories about how the “well seasoned” leaders had the same complaint about bringing in 1st graders into the pack back then. Seems to have worked out pretty well.

    • I am more worried about the parents burning out than the kids. I should have qualified that a better in my first post. I think parents are more like to pull their kids out of the program than the boys getting tired of the program. With work and other issues that all families deal with I think the “grind” of bringing you child to Den Meetings wears a lot of them out over the years…Lord knows my wife and I who run a den have our days when we could just take a pass. We love the program so much we suck it up but not all parents have that same drive and I just wonder how this plays out.

      With that said, I would rather try it and see what happens rather than not attempt to move forward.

      • If families are going to burn out, a Kindergarten year is not going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Those families are going to burn out under a system of any length.

      • I think the burn-out comes because there are so many requirements that have to be done at home. The new program seems to have even more at-home requirements, which is a drag for busy parents who aren’t “into” scouting.

    • Actually that would have been 2nd graders as Tiger Cubs in 1983.

      Since Webelos was only one year at that time you had 4 years (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th) before joining a Troop and the cross over was generally in June.

      Then they extended the Webelos to 2 years, moving Tiger back to 1st grade and after a while most realized it was too much time for Webelos (while the 1 year wasn’t really enough) so they switched cross overs to February timeframe (making it 1.5 years).

      • No, even though they call it first and second year webelos, once you ar 10.5 and have the arrow of light you’re supposed to move on. Not in June. Not in February. The minute you were 10.5. Which means two year webelos has always been a progrM that is supposed to fit in year and a half, not last two whole years. Prior to this it was one year, and prior to that it was six months.

        • Actually, that all depends on where your pack is chartered. It was explained to us at Roundtable that typically, packs who are chartered at a LDS church, scouts receive their rank at their bday. Most packs chartered through other churches or schools do AoL cross over in February (ours is during Blue & Gold), and the rest of the pack gets their rank at cross over in June.

  10. I wish they had started this when my son was in kindergarten. He was ready to start then and was turned away. Now, my council is testing it in a different district. So, for now, my district will continue to wait.

  11. My son joined as a Tiger cub. Last year he earned his Eagle rank, then aged out in December. He is now an Assistant Scoutmaster, eager to help the boys learn all the scouting skills which he was taught. I’ve been involved alongside him from the beginning as Committee Secretary. No burn-out for either of us. 🙂

  12. Lions is a great program! My council (Longhouse) has been doing this as a pilot for several years. Last year I was the den leader to 5 Lions. My boys were eager and proud with every activity they accomplished. They were included in every pack activity and looked forward to cross over to Tigers. This year as Tigers I am amazed at how much they have grown and learned.

  13. Many seem to think this is an effort to increase numbers. The article states it is due to research that shows that 4-5 year olds have a huge jump in development that scouting missed out on. As a Tiger den leader, I think the maturity level could be an issue. It’s very hard to get 6-7 year olds to pay attention and keep hands to themselves. Would need to be addressed by proper curriculum.

  14. I think it is just like anything in life it’s what the individual families do. It’s up to them to decide what their child is ready for. If they can participates in other groups then they should have this as an opportunity too. Many siblings attend buy without the right to earn anything. I think this is a great opportunity!

  15. Went we were Cubs in the 1950’s it was Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Lion and Webelos. To avoid burnout, Webelos need to give the second year boys a taste of Boy Scouts with some intro to maps and compass, first aid, knots, hiking, nature, etc. Just an intro to keep their interest. I’m an Eagle Scout.

    • “…need to give the second year boys a taste of Boy Scouts with some intro to maps and compass, first aid, knots, hiking, nature, etc.”…and camping, GPS, cooking, and service to others. All of this – and more through the elective adventures – is part of the new requirements for Webelos and Arrow of Light. 🙂

  16. So time will tell if the BSA is reaching because its membership roles are continuing to hemorrhage for a large variety of societal and cultural reasons, or if they really want to influence boys at a younger age.

    I so disagree with calling it Lion though, think of something cool and original please?

  17. Glad to see we have a program to compete with Y-Guides for Kindergarten. One problem is that some boys go from Kindergarten to Pre-First Grade. This means they either have to repeat Lions or cheat. When I was recruiting Tigers from Kindergarten at the end of the school year, I often mistakenly recruited boys that were going into Pre-First. (this is an optional level for those not mature enough for 1st grade) I made a recommendation and the leaders had to make a choice as whether to consider Pre-First as First (which it isn’t) or not. This led to repeated problems. “All their friends are moving up. Why can’t they stay with their friends?” Or “he came to Tigers or Cubs too early and has to stay an extra year.”

  18. I am a multi-year Cubmaster of a medium sized Pack (80 +/-). My youngest son is in Pre-k plus I have a Bear and a Scout rank Boy Scout. Kindergarten is way too soon. Our Pack will not recruit pre-k while I am Cubmaster. There are better ways to sell more popcorn. Boys need another year…at least. Maybe girls are ready sooner or maybe it is a non issue since girls don’t meet as a pack or multi-age group. The new curriculum has us camping more. Burn out will happen for both leaders and kids. Hopefully a pilot means they can decide not to move forward nationally. Please BSA…don’t pursue this program.

    • It is sad to read this since you are not even willing to consider or give this a chance. Shame on you as a Cubmaster. If you had a parent willing to be the leader of Lions because their son and others wanted to be in scouting, why wouldn’t you try? You don’t need to recruit, kids are asking for it. They don’t have to camp with the Pack. Sounds like you might be burning out, unfortunately. This program has been piloting since I believe 2008 in various councils and now they are piloting Nationally. I hope you reconsider and just give the option to think about this, especially if you had a group of kindergarten boys that wanted to be in scouting and parents willing to be involved. (This is not about selling popcorn or camp cards.)

  19. What I find funny about this, is that when I was a kindergartener, I COULDN’T WAIT to join cub scouts. My brother was a Wolf, and I wanted to join so bad. I decided to call myself a Lion cub, and made my own badges, and ranks, and stuff like that. Seeing that it is actually happening is really exciting. Great job!

  20. I think the issue is that Cub Scouting will then cover too wide an age range. The program will be even more targeted towards early elementary than it already is. Our problems with Webelo’s getting bored/burned out will only get worse. That said, I do agree with getting kindergarten age boys involved. However, I think you have to combine that with creating an entirely new unit type to cover perhaps grades 4-6. If that was done we could likely improve retention in all programs. My experience is that high school age Scouts drift away partly because they simply don’t want to be around 5th and 6th graders and not just because of jobs, cars, and girls.

  21. Here in the Northern Star Council, my now Webelos son started in Kindergarten with the pilot Lions program. Lions ensured that the BSA’s program could “compete” for members when parents start looking for activities for their kids. In our area, many popular sports start in kindergarten too.

    From my perspective, it’s a great idea. He’s looking forward to crossing over to a troop next winter.

  22. I’m surprised at all the burnout comments on one hand, and then on the other not… Seem enough units to know not all are good… But if you’re making Scouting fun, how do you get burned out? Oh yeah, I’m having to much fun, I can’t handle it anymore….?!

    • It’s not the individual scout that burns-out, it’s the parents or family that can’t cope with all the demands on their time.
      In the UK we have Beaver Scouts, girls and boys age 6-8, a totally separate section of scouting. Then they ‘swim up’ to cub scouts at age 8.
      Kids mature at different rates, so we try to make it fun and we try to see through the child’s eyes to keep it so.
      I don’t know if there are plans to extend scouting to any younger than 6, I think some may be ready to start younger than this but all scouting depends on what leaders and helpers (all unpaid volunteers) are prepared to do for your children.
      Keep Scouting Fun!

    • Not only parents, but also leaders. Burn out occurs because Cub Scouts IS so leader intensive. Yes you are having a lot of fun. But in order to have that fun, a lot of preparation is involved, and that can get exhausting. After 6 years of being a DL, I was exhausted and looked forward to helping oldest son’s troop. Helping the troop out is a lot of work, but is nothing compared to being a DL.

      I don’t care what anyone else says, being a Den Leader is the toughest volunteer position in Scouting. I say that with over 20 years of Scouter experience serving as a Boy Scout, Exploring, Venturing, Sea Scout, Cub Scout, district, and council level Scouter.

  23. I don’t think the issue is burnout, but the challenge of running Pack activities that keep all boys interested with such a wide age range. Starting a year younger would make that even a bit harder to find common ground between kindergartens and 5th graders. I think the BSA should consider more ways to keep Webelos engaged and interested so they don’t drop out before crossing over.

  24. I have been a Lion Cub Distict Coordinator in Northern Star Council since 2008. The Council formed a Lion Cub Task Force to promote the pilot program in all districts and to explain the program at Fall Recruiting and Training Night. Not all Packs recruited Lions, and Council charted retention due to the program which led to an increase in Tigers in the second year.

    Many Lions met with Tiger Dens, and still do. From the first year, the Task Force maintained that the Lions Could do whatever the Tigers could do providing the adult partner was in full accord knowing their child’s capability and maturity level.

    An age-appropriate program maintains their interest without copying the Tiger program. It works!

  25. Hmm, being a former Cub Scout leader, I question whether a kindergartener is mature enough. If it is parent/child program like Tigers, will parents be able and willing to be involved for two years or will they burn out? Sports programs are a way for kids to burn off energy, BSA should find a way to work along with sports, not compete with them. It would also be good if they trimmed down and reevaluated the requirements for badges. Some are ridiculously hard causing people to either just sign off on them or to quite and others are so easy they are pointless. Boy Scouts should remain boy only to allow boys to experience being leaders without competing with girls or worrying about being “uncool”

  26. Yeah, both good and bad, as always, can’t please everybody, except the kids. More to do, more reason to get outside (I hope) The spoiler will be (as always) the parent that somehow doesn’t want to do/be with his/her kid. And then, we will get the blow back from parents that are convinced Sammy can be a soccer star like Pele, if he ONLY gets an early enough start.
    I still have a hard time accepting the loss of (A) Rudyard Kipling and the Jungle Book references, (B) the insistence on “streamlining” the program by eliminating the Cub Promise and Law of the Pack (no need for old Rudy, I guess. Mougli lived in a Den with his Pack. How to explain it now?) , which I thought (looking back as an adult to my prehistoric Cub days) was a good introduction to the idea of good citizenship as a kid. The “real” Scout Promise and Law were like putting on your “big boy” trousers, it became a transitional thing. Now I am a BOY Scout.
    and (C) the seeming elimination of the progression from smaller beings to bigger, more powerful “important” ones . Used to be Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Lion, Webelos to Boy Scout. Now, Lion (!), Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos ( maybe Two Years!) to Boy Scout. Don’t really need the Bobcat any more.
    We can discuss the Venturer and Sea Scout troubles another time.

    • In our Pack, our kindergarteners (Mowglis) are led by an experienced leader from the Pack. That way it’s a year for the boys AND the parents to learn how Scouting works. It also solves the problem of the rush for Youth Protection for a new leader.

  27. My experience is that many PARENTS are burned out from cub scouting after Tiger/Wolf/Bears/Web I and II. The burn out is even greater for parents with multiple sons. Adding another year will just make it worse. So you may get a few more boys in kindergarten, but you’ll lose more on the backend crossing over into boy scouting. I realize there are pilot programs that move Web II into boy scouts, so maybe that will make it a wash. I really think if we do that, we should structure troops so that every boy who is 14 or older then becomes a venturer and is in a forest green shirt. I think this will help stem the losses of older boys in troops.

  28. I am a Bear den leader and pack committee chair in the Northern Star Council. One son was a Lion back in 2010-2011 and another started as a Lion in 2012-2013. In my experience, Lions is a lower key program than the other, older ranks. It uses a different format for the handbook that is age appropriate for emerging readers. When we were Lions, there were no adventure loops, but we could do academic and sports belt loops with the rest of our pack [sigh, we still miss those types of community building activities w/o belt loops]. I do not believe the Lion program was changed with the other ranks last spring as it was still a smaller pilot – There are no Lion adventure loops. Their activities focus more on learning about the importance of family, community etc. We have found it is a nice way to ease boys into the Scouting program for those families who are looking to get involved with extra-curricular activities. Our pack has had 5-10 Lions every year for the past 4-5 years. Many are younger sibs who were already getting toted to den and pack events anyway. Others are brand new to Scouting. They have a less intense program and get to know the annual cycle of Scouting, so they can really jump in when they become Tigers. Now they get to participate in PWD, camping and other activities and get a rank badge at the end of it all. We then double or triple the # of boys when they go into first grade (e.g., 11 Lions became 22 Tigers).

    To address the concerns about burn out – When I became the Lion den leader, we had 11 Lions. One moved out of state and one quit to focus on sports. The remaining 9 are still with us near the end of their Bear year. They are the most engaged boys in my den, and their parents are the ones who are most likely to jump in and get involved. No signs of burnout here in the Twin Cities in my pack.

    I hope this perspective helps. I would be happy to share more about our Lion experience w/others interested in being part of the expanded pilot program.

  29. The Pack my boys belong to have had a Lion Den for Kindergarten for many years, it really isn’t that new. I was an Assistant Den Leader in that den last year, it was great. Hopefully, BSA will release a better Leader Guide though.

  30. Meh. I have to be honest, I don’t really see that the addition of Tigers has added substantially to BSA, nor has it helped with membership numbers. BSA puts a lot of discussion comparing with after school sports, but there’s really no comparison and trying to make one seems to do more harm than good. As an organization, BSA seems to be forgetting what made it special – the Chartered Organization. The value of the CO is that there is a motivation to provide a specific development environment for boys. As BSA tries to separate itself from values and become another after school program, it’s going to lose out every time.
    The difference between the typical after school program like sports or karate is often the program is delivered to the parents with no effort on their side. Adults running it are often paid, and deliver a very narrow scope program to address one aspect of their lives. BSA will never be able to compete with this. And they will not solve dwindling membership by trying to use this approach.
    My guess is that Lions will have little impact on the overall Scouting program, and little effect on numbers. It won’t hurt anything – although that’s an awful young age to run any kind of substantive program. Tigers is little more than a play group now. It will be more like Girl Scouts – it will draw a few more kids initially into the program, but by the time they are Boy Scouts, the impact will be minimal.
    I know the article states it’s not about numbers , but about research in child development. I can’t help but see it as another misfire to address membership. If we really want to address the numbers, BSA needs to get back to the COs.

    • That’s great, scouting is much more than just one activity! But there are only so many hours in a day. So when the current sport or fad has ‘burned out’ we shoul have always have a way back into scouting 😉

  31. In the UK we have had Beaver scouts for 30 years and many other countries have similar age groups by differing names. It works 30 years and vastly growing numbers proves this. Being co-ed all through the sections is also a great advantage in most of the world. I wonder at the process of having to have adults with each child? I saw this in Cub scouts whilst visiting the USA. Beavers are aloud to camp without parents at the tender age of 5 1/2 as our cub scouts. They are able and have amazing adventures without their parents. When will this happen in the USA? It is brilliant news that the BSA are opening up scouting for the younger children, I wish then great success with this. I just hope that during my life time the BSA jumps into the 21st century and is all inclusive and diverse.

    • CO-ED. When the BSA finally goes co-ed, that will be awesome. But National is very slow moving and not adapting to the 21st century, so we’ll probably be a very small organization when they finally make the move to go co-ed. Should we play predictions? I say BSA won’t go co-ed for another 12 years… so 2028 at the earliest. I may be dead by then, so I might never see the day.

      • well true its not completely co-ed, but the BSAactually did start being co-ed with the old explorer now venturer program back in 1972

        • Venturing being the fastest shrinking division of BSA, it’s not a ringing endorsement for expanding other programs to include girls,

  32. Nice to see bringing back Lions, the original L in WEBLOS, many of us, myself included advanced in the cub program from bobcat , wolf and bear to lion , thou its kinda funny to see it go from being the rank you got just before aging up to boy scout to the very beginning of the program, but just like in “The Lion King” its all part of the “graet circle of life”

  33. We’ve offered the Lion program since 2011 and in our experience it works best for parents with multiple kids, meaning there’s a big brother in the Pack and the parents are acquainted with the program and kids are already attending meetings.
    The AoL den has historically reacted by attending fewer Pack meetings – possibly because they’re busy with other activities, possibly because the Pack activities have been “aged-down.”
    As a leader with three boys, adding another year of cub scouting does pose a major burn-out issue. We’ve combated this with enforcing a round-robin style of leading – each parent takes and leads a belt loop.

  34. Interesting that some have posted that this “pilot” has been going on since 2008 and it is a success for them. The original Lions would be boy scouts now so how many stayed? Is there not enough info to roll it out to all or what are they planning on gaining from additional pilot councils? What is the test period for new pilots…gotta be a couple of years at least.

    Just curious.

  35. My Kindergarten aged grandson has been dubbed an “Egg scout” by his Eagle uncle. Since dad is also an Eagle, we are already talking about what it means to be a scout and he can’t wait until next year!

  36. I have been thinking about this since yesterday and I still think there is a high chance for a “burnout” for both Den Leaders and Parents with all of the Pack related events, fund raising and not to mention the pesky matters of “Life” outside of the scouts with work, school, family, etc…

    I do think this adds too many dens but I have a thought that i wonder if it would work…Looking at the changes to the Webelos Program, I would suggest that the Webelos 2’s (Now Arrow of Light) actually crossover with a Boy Scout Troop but still function as a Cub Scout Den for that one year as a transition to boy scouts. It would also allow the Den Leaders to transition to the assistant scout master/scout master level and create a nice one year buffer….A lot could be learned in that one year and may help retention of both boys and leaders

    Just a thought to get picked apart…LOL

  37. I’ve read that the Lion Program falls under BSA’s Learning for Life.

    Since L4L is an affiliate program of the BSA’s and is “open to any youth in the prescribed age group for that particular program” and that “color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, disability, economic status, or citizenship [are] not criteria for participation by youth or adults”, can girls be part of the Lion Program?

    I have parents asking if their Kindergarten girls can be Lions and then the family can decide to have her go on to GS or perhaps continue being part of the L4L program and having coed Dens? Basically running the girls through the Cub program right along with the boys?

    Is this doable?

  38. My Pack has been running a kindergarten program for 10 years. The boys are certainly capable. We call them Mowglis-after the tradition of Jungle Book. It would have been nice if someone from council had returned correspondence/phone calls from us years ago when we volunteered to be a part of the planning committee.

  39. What about the case of twin boys of Lion age. Can they share one adult partner, or must each twin have an adult?

  40. I am not as knowledgeable about Scouting as many of you here, but perhaps it would be good to divide the programs into three distinct levels, much the same as the schools do: K-3, 4-6, and 7 up. Webelos is sort of a middle level program, but it seems to be too connected with Cub Scouts, when it should have its own much more distinctive identity. That might help parents and kids feel they are not “dragging” out the Cub Scouts.

  41. There is the (AHG) American Heritage Girls program, which is similar to Cub & Boy Scouts programs for the girls. Check it out if you don’t like Girl Scouts program.

  42. Can ANYONE who is doing the Lion program please tell me where I can find the outline or leader handbook? National is not releasing them here yet and I need a copy to see what I am getting into, LOL! Please share as I am not seeing anything out there on the web. Scouter Donn

  43. I have read many web strings out there from councils and units that started this program back as far as 2011, so I am wondering WHY no one is sharing this info? I think National is really missing it here as rolling it out in Fall 2016 yet nothing is out there for us volunteers to review and ready ourselves for. Come on National get with it and start sharing, I guess we need to give up our summer schedules and wait for the release? Sad, you would THINK you want your “professional” staff would be educated first… I guess it will blind leading the blind? PLEASE share any yahoo or google groups who are sharing info because I cannot wait until Fall when in our area we are year around schooling…

  44. I think it is a good idea to start at the kindergarten level. So many of our scouts have younger siblings that participate anyhow. Also, I would love to include girls in this program. I have been involved in both girl scouts and cub scouts and cub scouts has so much more to offer. Our outings are always family oriented anyhow and the sisters attend the events and participate just as much as the boys.

  45. It would be nice if it was not like finding hens teeth to find a program guide and materials for this program. We are into September and still almost nothing online except books other units have made and a 30 – second video from OUR council saying “how awesome it is”.
    Our Scout Store still has no materials for it and knows nothing about it.
    I see this as a total waste of time.
    First question from parent: “Who is my son’s leader, and where does he meet?”
    Answer: “You are, and in your home”.
    Response from parent: “But I don’t WANT to be a leader!”
    “That’s how it works”, showing parents a guide printed up by a unit in another state.
    Parent: “I’ll just wait until he is a first grader.”
    Answer: “Tiger Cubs require Parents to attend as well.”
    Response: “Well, then he will just wait until he DOES have a leader. Because I don’t have the time.”
    In the Second grade, boy signs up for PeeWee Football. Practice is on our meeting nights. We never see boy again, cuz Parent just has to go to games and cheer.

  46. We just signed my son up for the Lion Cubs program last night, so it will be interesting. Neither my husband nor I were involved with either the Boy Scouts or Girls Scouts, unless you count my one year as a Daisy.

    They were set up outside of another event we were attending at our church and figured….eh….we’ll give it a try. I’m not sure that was a good idea based on some of the comments here from those involved 😉

    In all honestly – I think he will have fun. As far as burnout, I hope this doesn’t come off as negative, but my son is in Kindergarten. He JUST turned six. I’m not making any plans for the rest of his life. He has tried various sports for a season at a time, and then moved on. I’m signing him up to see what he thinks. I honestly think it will be a good fit, but I’m not promising a 13 year commitment or anything. Take it one year at a time.

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