Modifications to Cub Scout program give den leaders more flexibility

Dec. 3 update: The National Cub Scouting Committee has answered some of your questions about these changes here

The Boy Scouts of America has announced modifications to Cub Scouting that make the program more flexible for busy parents, den leaders and Cubmasters.

The BSA gathered feedback from den leaders who had delivered the new Cub Scouting program for a year. What they learned was that some den leaders had difficulty fitting into their program year all of the adventures required for advancement. This resulted in boys not advancing. After a thoughtful and deliberate review, the BSA has released some modifications to address this concern.

What are the modifications? Some adventure requirements that previously were mandatory will become optional, in a move intended to give Cub Scouters more control over their den program.

The changes, which take effect today (Nov. 30, 2016), were approved by the National Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

The fine-tuning reflects the BSA’s three-step approach to new programs: Launch. Learn. Modify.

Here’s a quick look at what you need to know. 

Cub Scouting’s fall 2016 modifications, an overview

  • First of all, you won’t need to buy any new materials. The new requirements will be posted in a free addendum available at This will supplement the handbooks in current circulation and for sale online and in Scout shops.
  • While the overall feedback from den leaders about the new Cub Scout program has been very positive, some den leaders said a number of the new adventures had requirements that were too difficult for dens to complete within the Scouting year.
  • The number of new Cub Scouts is up in many areas of the country, but rank advancement rates have not kept pace, meaning the BSA’s team of volunteers and staff advisers wanted to react quickly to eliminate what might have become a roadblock for some dens.
  • A national volunteer task force developed a solution: Make more of the adventure requirements optional, giving dens more flexibility to match their unique needs.
  • The modifications are designed to ensure that adventure requirements are achievable by today’s Cub Scout dens within a program year. This means they are achievable by all Cub Scouts, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.
  • Most of the modifications involve the number of requirements that must be completed, reducing the mandate to a number achievable within the limited time available to many dens. This is done while retaining the rich program options that allow leaders to build strong programs adapted to their needs.
  • The changes increase den-level customization. Units that can handle more content, perhaps because they meet more often or for longer periods, can — and should! — keep the optional requirements part of their program. On the other hand, those that have struggled to finish the requirements will welcome these changes as a way to meet their needs.
  • With the modifications, dens should be able to complete one adventure in approximately two den meetings.
  • The transition should be seamless, with leaders able to use revised requirements as the den begins any new adventure.

Where to find the new requirements

Simply log on to I suggest making it one of your bookmarks.

Where to go first if you have questions

See answers to FAQs about these changes here.


  1. Brian,

    It says in the document that Arrow of Light and Webelos both only need 1 elective, while this was 3 electives for Arrow of Light before. Is this correct or was that overlooked?

    • Unfortunately they didn’t address my biggest gripe. I would have made more adventures optional. Had the boys still needing 7 adventures, but allowing the dens to offer more adventures over the year, and eliminate the need for intensive “catch up” meetings. One of the biggest selling points of scouts was that a boy could “drop out” over basketball season (or other sport), and then join back without having problems. As crazy as the old program was, it did let us keep more of the sports / band boys in Cubs.

      Just looking at the Webelos & AOL changes – they have decreased the required adventures by 2. Strangely, the hardest requirement I faced – in Camper, where they boys have to plan a Camp Fire Program on a Pack Campout, is dropped. And since the old version said they had to PLAN the program, and never mentioned executing it……. we kinda skirted that one last year.

      It also seems that a Pack Campout (or at least an all day outside event) is no longer required for all ranks… Or the requirement for each den to participate in an Camp Fire program (that the AOL’s planned….) Which is good for those of us in snow country. It was kinda hard to get some of the younger ones to camp out between mid Oct & mid April.

      And last, it seems that some, at least of the requirements where the boys had to do something at home for a week or a month & record is now dropped. Not sure I like that.

      • Need to do a deep dive here to see what’s under the hood, but agree on Mary’s concept, which I see as providing more options or alternate adventures to allow for local options and more effective use of local resources, and to support keeping kids on track to earn rank, which Mary notes is an issue.

        I will share that there were some more “flexible” structures considered in the 411 planning, one of which would have grouped activities (achievements, what are now called adventures) into content areas of “Fitness”, “Outdoors”, “Citizens”, and “Personal Skills”, with the idea that there would be fewer “specific required” activities, and more “choose one more from the Fitness area” options to earn the Rank badge. That way, for example, if there was angst about whether a “fitness” element was difficult to do because it called out doing a fitness carnival that a den or family might struggle to pull off, they could choose among, say, activities centered on any of (a) swimming, (b) biking, (c) kickball (or any of any number of sports), and (d) other similar options that support the “fitness” concept.

        Plus, when (inevitably) a Scout misses that “fitness carnival” day, if the requirement was “do ‘fitness carnival’ or another ‘fitness’ adventure”, when the den did swimming, biking, etc. later, that gets the Scout back on rank track. And the other scouts in the den aren’t doing a “repeat”, but doing something new and fun.

        • This is actually one of the two biggest “flaws” I see in the current program. The first, as you mention is kids missing one activity, and it basically kills their chance at advancing. For example the carnival, or a trip to the sherrif’s department, or the big outdoor activity. Making those up is not as simple as sitting out of some other non-critical activity and working with some leader to pass off something the other boys already did.

          The second flaw I see is for smaller packs, with 6 to 8 boys total, from all dens. The boys seem to get more out of the activities when you put them all together, because games and other activities are more fun with several kids of varying ages than just two or three boys who are the same age. But, with the requirements for advancement being different between the different ranks, its hard to combine and still keep them all on focus to advance. I sort of wish the adventures were universal, and perhaps each one had one or two additional requirements for bears than what wolves had, and an additional, more involved requirement for the webelos. But the “core” activity was the same for all the boys, so the wolves can participate with the older boys they look up to, and earn the same belt loop.

      • I agree up to your last comment. It I beyond frustrating to get the parents to support the boys doing and keeping track of something for a week or longer. I’m exstatic that those are now optional.

    • On “Arrow of Light and Webelos both only need 1 elective … Is this correct or was that overlooked?”, where the current books say Webelos is 5 required, 2 elective, and AoL is 4 required, 3 elective, I’m going to guess … that this was in part due to some concern that it was hard to get new 5th Grade Scouts to Arrow of Light by late winter to make a good “crossover” to a Troop.

      So, as posted, Webelos is 5 required, 1 elective, or total of 6, and AoL is 4 required, 1 elective, or total of 5.

      And the posted explanation does say “To shorten the time required to complete requirements (and thus advance), most of the recommended changes involve the number of requirements to be completed”, so maybe it also means reducing the number of adventures to be completed.

    • Because I’m curious, having helped with past projects involving Den Meeting plans (for the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide) and involving the development of these requirements (on the “411 Task Force”), and although I have no role with the National effort here (I’m just a Pack Trainer and Troop Committee Chair and assorted District and Council roles), I downloaded the June 1, 2015 Requirements and these November 30, 2016 versions to see just exactly what the changes really are … and I’ve attached a comparison at our District website, along with the beginning of commentary about the changes.

      See for the commentary, and scroll down to find the comparison.

      My essential comment about the change in the camping requirements now is “Packs and Parents are advised to not ‘hit the easy button’ on these new requirements and do the minimum: the main impetus for this non-camping option arises from cold weather locations where it is believed that there is not enough time at the start of the school year to get a camping activity completed before temperatures are too severe. And many in cold climes note that ‘we have warm clothes, don’t worry about us … we won’t freeze!’”

      Further comments to come …

    • Having done several deep dives through the changes, I’ve updated the attachment at to not only show exactly what got changed and what didn’t change, but to add comments as a practical guide to whether you need to look at the new 11/30/16 language. Some of the comments after each Adventure encourage (sometimes plead) that dens avoid the “easy button” approach. Doing the June 1, 2015 handbook elements will often result in the best outcomes and experience in Cub Scouting.

      This is offered because I want to continue to make the program better, so the ideas in that page and related pages are all about helping kids and families have the best experiences and make it easier for leaders and parents to deliver rich program experiences.

    • Kind of, but not really.
      It increased if they were earning their Emblem, but stayed the same if they’re not. If I remember correctly, it’s actually back to the pre-2015 changes.

      • Actually, for my den it will be an increase. They had already completed the now removed participation in a service. Now they need to either earn the religious emblem or keep track of how they practice duty to God for a month. My families are terrible about keeping track of things like that. I still have boys that haven’t turned in their 1 week food journal (that is no longer a requirement.)

        • My interpretation was that you could use the modifications when starting a new adventure, not have to change if you are in the middle of one.

        • That is correct. If you’ve already started an adventure, the recommendation is to complete it using the previous requirements.

      • I – indeed – advised families to just earn their faith’s emblem and be done with it. That guidance is now obsolete for those who haven’t yet started, which is to say “most”.

        • I love Scoutbook and even with its growing pains, it’s a lot easier to use than hand-written notes, spreadsheets, and tracking programs from 1996 that have to be installed on a desktop computer. If the BSA wouldn’t keep making so many changes that the Scoutbook team can’t possibly keep up, everything would all be gravy IMO.

  2. Am I right that for Webelos and Arrow of Light, they are only requiring ONE elective? That is HUGE for us since I usually require families to do electives on their own (since there was no time during den meetings) and very few seemed able to complete them.

  3. Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it.

    Fewer “required” requirements = adventures done faster.

    Adventures done faster = Belt loops earned faster.

    Belt loops earned faster = More belt loops completed during the year.

    More belt loops completed during the year = More spending on belt loops by units.

    More spending on belt loops by units = more revenue for BSA.


    • Somehow we’ve moved along very well with the program, our Wolf Den is 85% complete on the final required adventure and it’s not December yet. We do meet weekly and had 100% participation during the summer and early fall activites with Pack hike, and campout, which helped out a lot! I have one Wolf who just joined and having missed the fall/outdoor activities were the only things keeping him from catching up. It’ll work in his favor that many of these outdoor requirements are now flexible/optional and we can move on. Is it possible to keep the program as it was and use the new “updated” requirements as “wiggle room” just in case participation keeps some from advancing? That’s what I’m planning for the remainder of the adventures this year, as to not overwhelm the families in my den and keep the peace.

    • It makes time for the fun stuff which is just as important in scouting. Everything isn’t so rush. At the Cub Scout level everything is crammed into a year or less. Boy Scouts is much more involved, but it’s done at their pace.

    • Yeah, selling more bling is good for BSA Supply, but then getting more families involved in doing activities with their kids is even better … for them, for us, for the world. And they don’t have to buy all of the loops and pins.

      One other aspect I see embedded in this is doing the adventures in fewer than three meetings/activities. Frankly, in training and support, I’ve called out that as a great option, to condense from 3 to 2, in order to make it easier for den leaders / adventure leaders, and avoid leader burnout.

      I’ve also tried to advise dens that they can do adventures without any “classroom” or “around the table” indoor meetings for almost every adventure, which could have a number of benefits, like more fun activities overall and an easier time getting parents to step up and help. More at and related pages.

    • Mike, I enjoyed your post but was cynical that one of the few main driving forces of this change was to increase sales of adventure loops. However, someone confirmed that this was one of the reasons. I am extremely disappointed in the rushed hatchet job done to the new program which seems to have bypassed many of the oversight groups and provided no opportunity for feedback. I admit I would have liked to tweak the new program too to add in more options for the den leaders and reduce repeating adventures for kids with bad attendance or who join late. However, this has gone way too far in watering down the program to allow for skipping over the “hard” requirements and awarding participation adventure loops.

      Our Pack’s leadership understands that we serve as stewards to our scouts and scouting families. Likewise the oversight, executive and national employees serve as stewards to the mission and methods of scouting. I don’t feel they had these ideals in mind when they announced these changes and not really happy to have to deal with this curve ball after having already planned out our year and budget and just when we were really starting to understand the new program and how to properly implement it.

      At least I know I will not be alone in the trenches trying to fulfill those ideals while providing the best experience possible to our scouts and giving them opportunities to grow.

      • While, I’m not sure exactly why you feel this is watering down the program, I as an Eagle scout who went through AOL also, and am now a Den leader for the 3rd year with Bears, feel that these changes will be very helpful for my den of 13 Bears. I struggle with keeping them all caught up (8 of them were in the den last year as Wolves under the new requirements and it was tricky to get everyone through every single thing, but we managed). This year we’ve been struggling to get all the “Complete every step of this requirement” or you don’t earn it. There was no flex room. These are 3 graders – many of whom have 2 working parents or single parent families; some are from divided families where one or the other parent won’t bring them to scout stuff; some play sports both fall and spring, most have siblings who also play sports or are in scouts as well.

        I believe that it’s like everything else – if you want to be a leader who “waters it down” and gets only the minimum done… you’re going to do that anyway. However, I feel that if they boys, parents, and leaders are overwhelmed trying to get the requirements done to the letter… for example, the Bear Necessities #5&6

        “REQUIREMENT 5. With your den, plan a cooked lunch or dinner that is nutritious
        and balanced. Make a shopping list, and help shop for the food. On a campout or at
        another outdoor event, help cook the meal, and help clean up afterward.
        REQUIREMENT 6. Help your leader or another adult cook a different meal from the
        one you helped prepare for requirement 5. Cook this meal outdoors.”

        It’s been utter chaos to try to plan a meal and cook a meal out doors while expecting 13 kids to go to the store to shop for food etc. We were able to do #6 at camp where a couple parents brought the required food items… but we were expected to do another meal as well.

        Other cases where a lot of the “with your den or family” had been removed are now put back in. If our Pack only camps once a season and the kid misses the over night because a parent has to work, before and now again they could “go on campout with their family” and that would work as well. I think the ideas is still to get kids involved, and I try to make as much of it available at the den level as possible, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. After all we are “trying our best” to make a quality program that is fun and engaging to the boys, but at the same time not wear out parents and leaders… I think at least for the Bear and Wolf stuff (the ones I’m familiar with the old and new stuff- having also an older Boy scout now who went through the old program that was more similar to what I did as a kid) these latest changes will be good and give us the flexibility we need to get the boys through this year and yet, still be able to praise them for working hard to achieve their rank badge.

        • I totally agree. I have been struggling to get my guys through Lion due to lack of consistent attendance, meetings being taken up by popcorn matters, missed meetings due to holidays, etc. Hopefully this will give me some flexibility in getting my guys all on the same page.

          Someone else on here mentioned that he was glad that this would make kids who do sports/activities as well as scouts choose between the two (ie – only “dedicated” kids should be able to make it through). I think that is horribly backward thinking. I for one want my son to be as well rounded as possible and to be able to try all kinds of things at this age. All-or-nothing exclusionary thinking goes against what Scouting should be about. I was honestly quite surprised by how many “requirements” were involved in being a Scout. I was always under the impression that it was more of a way to provide a sense of community to young boys while teaching them solid morals and giving them opportunities to learn interesting life skills along the way, not an organization that requires x number of boxes to be checked off or you’re not welcome to continue participating. A little disappointing, to be honest…

        • (in response to Daria – since there is no direct reply option on the third comment in- at least that I see)

          We did the tiger stuff with my den (at that time 7 boys) with the old requirements. Some of the parents were a little surprised then that we “had so much to do”… but I can’t imagine what it would have been like with the new stuff. None of the parents in my den at that point had grown up in scouting so it was a challenge for them to adjust. Also with the “parent/adult partner must be in attendance with child” it was hard to find times to get the “field trip” activities done but we managed.

          I’d encourage you with something I heard at a leaders’ training session that Advancement isn’t the end goal of Scouting, but instead, it’s character development. I believe that, HOWEVER… if they can’t hardly finish Tiger or Wolf, I often wonder how would anyone expect them to stick around through Arrow of Light or even Join Boy Scouts on the way toward Eagle. So while it may not be the goal there still has to be some advancing to keep the boys and families involved. I have a great group of parents now that we’ve all trained ourselves in what’s involved. Both my older boys usually play 2 sports per year (one each season – for now) and do Scouts. We make it work because it’s a family priority… it’s not for many others. I made it all the way through from Bobcat to Eagle and played Soccer though Sr year in High School and Baseball for about half those years and was in Band for a little while as well. Only a few of my friends did scouts and many of them quit after we started driving and trying to have social lives, etc… I didn’t end up with any Eagle palms, or with every merit badge available, because it was a challenge getting done with what I did get done with and there were not any “merit badge colleges” back then at least in my town… But a big part of why I feel I was successful was my Cub masters, Den leaders, (and assistants) – then my Scout master and assistant Scout masters, and my parents. I really believe that your leadership example will rub off on these moldable boys and sometimes on their parents and as you do your best to get done what is required but without stressing on just checking the box, and encourage them to Scouting can be successful to “provide a sense of community to young boys while teaching them solid morals and giving them opportunities to learn interesting life skills along the way…” whether or not they complete every extra badge or belt loop along the way. As I said, I think these changes will help from the leaders’ role and the boys probably won’t even really notice. I really believe that they can tell if we’re just doing something to check a box or if we’re doing our best to create a quality program within the scope of our abilities, schedules, and help from their parents…

    • Really? Do you really believe these changes are driven by a few more dollars spent on awards???? Maybe you should retire.

      The program is about the boys and about the Ideals and leadership that is gained by them over the years in cubs and boy scouts. I do not know of any place where they can learn these things outside of scouting! You cannot learn them in school, or college. If you could the tuition would be unattainable for all. This is the lowest price program with the highest rate of return anywhere to teach the boys these traits.

      So if you want to short change them, then make your program cheap and incredible dull. By the way the old costs for the old arrow points, and progress towards ranks were more expensive than what we have today…..

    • Tenure for Webelos has never been an issue, but is more challenging for AOL (since they cross over before the end of the program year).

    • Hi Bill … hope you’re doing well.

      From my read this morning, as written, that’s true … no tenure/time requirements.

      “Rank advancement is awarded when boys have completed the following:”
      1) 4 or 5 required Adventures,
      2) one elective adventure, 3) pamphlet/Cyber.

      Webelos tenure probably not an issue, as they don’t start racking up Webelos Adventures until they hit that level, so dropping 3 months doesn’t seem like much of a deal.

      Don’t know if the AoL tenure was considered … looking at my Pack, all of our 7 second year Webelos could have crossed and joined a Troop last spring based on the Boy Scout joining requirement of 10 years old and earned Arrow of Light. While some might succeed, some would be mighty young …

      … and that would impair getting “new guys” to join at the start of 5th Grade, because if all their buddies are in the Troop now, they can’t join the Troop for lack of AoL if they are still 10 years old … but they could join the Arrow of Light Den and do the final 5 adventures, including doing Troop activities/adventures.

      Hope that gets re-thought, because I thought having some time to allow new 5th Grade guys to join and not having to do double rank (Webelos AND AoL) is a big advantage of the new structure.

      • Hi Bert,
        Here is what I received from the national program team:
        The tenure requirement has not changed. Each adventure was revised to reduce the number of requirements, not the tenure. If a Scout completes the required and elective adventures for that rank, they still do not advance to the next rank or graduate into Boy Scouts until they have reached the appropriate age/grade (please refer to the Guide to Advancement topic and If they have time to spare before moving to the next rank or on to Boy Scouts, they should continue working on elective adventures.

        It makes sense when you think about it.

        • So the earliest a Webelos with the AOL can Cross over is still 10.5 OR December 1 of the 5th grade year.

        • OK, if “The tenure requirement has not changed”, then I guess there will be an update of “Cub Scout Advancement Modifications” to restore “Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old. (Being active means having good attendance, paying your den dues, and working on den projects.)”

          I would assume and hope that implicit reference to the GTA will not be the norm, as very very few Scouts and Parents would know to look at that.

          And for what it’s worth, the GTA is in conflict with the current tenure requirements. The GTA says “For the Arrow of Light rank (earned by boys who have completed the fourth grade)”, while the requirements above appear to allow 10 year old Scouts of whatever grade to work on AoL.

          If, however, the tenure requirement is not inserted, or is implied only by the GTA, we could still have the issue of making it harder for new 5th Graders to join, because my 4th Grade graduates could still knock out the AoL Adventures in a few summer months, and join a Troop at the start of the school year instead of continuing as an AoL den.

        • Our Webelos 2 den has 2 boys that are already 11 with fall birthdays, and three that don’t turn 11 until next summer so they will be about 10.5 when they move to the troop. They are ready! Two of them have brothers in the troop and cannot wait to move — they feel really old in the pack now, especially with the addition of Lions. They have already attended the Boy Scout meeting as part of the Scouting Adventure and the troop was great — the older boys around 14/15 really paid attention to them and helped them with activities. I personally can’t wait (and it will be the FIRST time my boys who are 5 years apart in age are in the same activity at the same time!! WOO HOO!)

        • The AOL requirements and Boy Scout joining requirements do not actually match up perfectly.

          Boy Scout Rqts: “Meet the age requirements. Be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old. Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.”

          If a Scout turned 11 during his AOL year, he could immediately join Boy Scouts using the 1st criteria if he did not want to finish earning the AOL.

          A young 5th grader who completed 4th grade on May 15 of any given year, could join Boy Scouts on November 15 of his 5th grade year if he earned his AOL by that date as long as he was at least 10 years of age. If not, he could join as soon as he earned it the AOL & was 10 years of age OR completed the 5th grade, whichever came 1st.

          I had a Mother come up to me the other day & wanted her son to join our troop real soon (her older son was in the troop many years ago). She said that he was in the 4th grade, but was not involved in Cub Scouts. I said, he could not join until he was 11 which he reaches in March 2017. Thus, I guess we will have a 4th grader joining us in less than 5 months at about the same time our normal crossover AOL Cub Scouts join us.

      • Personally, I think 10 is too young to go to Boy Scouts. And just because AoL Scouts can go on doesn’t mean they should. Stay with your age group, in my opinion.

        • Every Cub Scout is different. I’ve met some Cubs who were ready to Cross Over in the 4th Grade at age 10.5. And I’ve met 12 year old Boy Scouts who have been in a year should still be Cubs.

          I personally know 1 Boy Scout who crossed over at 10 years 3 months because he was in 5th grade. At 10 years 9 months was elected PL, and at 11 years 3 months, elected SPL. But he I’ve met VERY few like that one over the years.

        • I agree whole-heartily with you Bart. even before these changes I have ran into this problem because of a few boys that were with us and started their schooling as home schooled and then went to public schooling so they were a little younger. We had two boys that joined us a tigers and went through the entire program. one of them was technically completed by his 10th birthday. he was going to stay with us for an additional year but when BSA changed the age for Boy Scouts to 10 1/2 his parents wanted to cross him over. although he is a smart boy, I felt he was not ready for Boy Scouts and that has become the case, he has struggled but we work closely with our Troop so we have given him support. I have been doing this for 8 years now and I fell boys should not be crossing over until they are 11 or finishing the 5th grade. just my opinion.

  4. We definitely need clarification on Webelos tenure and number of required adventures for AOL. I suspect the number of adventures for AOL was a cut & paste error and that it is still 2 electives.

  5. This is going to be an absolute NIGHTMARE!

    While I agree that, fundamentally, most of the changes seem to be editorial in nature. And, at first glance, one might even believe the free addendum (mentioned above) that will be offered will easily address these changes, but I beg to differ!

    In addition to the rewording of several requirements and adjusting the number of requirements needed for adventures, many of the requirements for adventures have been re-numbered and re-grouped!

    Tracking a Cub Scout’s advancement with these changes using their handbook will be a mess, especially if they have any partially completed adventures! The paw prints in the back are now essentially worthless as are the den tracking charts. I also see that I’m going to have to review ALL partially completed adventures to see if they are now complete!

    Why release these changes half-way through the program year?! And, why is Scoutbook not getting advanced notice of changes like these so that they can be rolled out simultaneously everywhere?!

    I’ve also already found several mistakes in the Cub Scout Advancement Modification PDF that should have been caught before release:
    1. On page 40, the current AOL Camper adventure is referred to as “Outdoorsman” in the modified requirements;
    2. On page 48, the Castaway adventure is referred to as “Getaway” in both the current AND modified columns.

    I’m sure there will be plenty more. . . .

    • I just noticed that quite a few Adventure names have changed. There is a star listed next to their name.

      Re: partially completed Adventures. I just reviewed Camper (now Outdoorsman) and Castaway (now Getaway). Been working on these with my boys for a few months and in some cases, hounding them to complete some requirements. Guess I don’t have to hound them anymore since they took the requirements away.

    • the current AOL Camper adventure is referred to as “Outdoorsman” in the modified requirements;

      That seems like a name change to me, not a typo. Cub Scouts are outdoorsmen, but not necessarily “campers” — a lot of their activities may only be day trips.

    • I didn’t find it so bad to cope with the new requirements. It took me about two hours to make new tracking sheets for my two dens, transfer over completions. I actually found that a few boys finished adventures as a result of the changes so… bonus? I’m going to give my boys a new paw tracking sheet to paste into the back of their book. Yeah, it takes some work to adjust but this will result in an easier path to advancement for some.

  6. Yeah, the Scoutbook team really has their work cut out for them. But think also of the publishing team, who will have to come up with new editions of all of the manuals. But it’s to be expected when you’re rolling out such a massive overhaul of a program. Thanks to those who put in the hours of hard work to make these modifications.

    As an Arrow of Light Den leader, I found it amusing that the “live a week off the grid” requirement for Castaway has been dropped. Guess there were too many kids suffering from Pokémon Go! withdrawal to make this a viable option!

  7. so what about the $1,000 dollars in books that are pretty much useless. my parents are going to have a field day on this

      • We’ve been working on the Grin & Bear It requirement this month too. Our carnival is scheduled for next Tuesday, so no changing it now! If this had been optional earlier, there is no way I would have chosen to do it. We did a trial run with our carnival games last week, and it was mass chaos. I shudder to think what the actual carnival is going to be like! With that said, the boys are really having fun with it and they’re looking forward to it – even if I’m not!

        • Same here, I would not have done it. We are having our carnival next Thursday and we had our trial last night. It was just our den playing games and halfway trough it turned into chaos. But like you said, the kids are having fun and the parents got very involved prepping the games.

        • I think 8 is too young to ask children to try and supervise other children. Would have made more sense at the AOL rank to me if at all.

    • I looked at the updates for a good few hours and didn’t even see that until my peer Den Leader pointed it out. We just started Grin and Bear It for our Winter Carnival! Oh man!

    • As the posted noted, with “Baloo the Builder” elevated to Required and Grin relegated, I recall some of the consideration of Builder as required from the 2012 process. One of the considerations that could be applied today for dens that might not have access to (or skilled parents able to assist with) carpentry work would be to add a bit of flexibility between the Adventures.

      For example, “Baloo the Builder” could be listed as required, but with alternates, like “or, if your den or family prefers, instead of Baloo the Builder, you may complete ‘Make it Move’ or ‘Robotics’ from the Elective Adventures”.

      Gosh, adding those as alternates hits the STEM button too, which I assume will make the CSE pleased! And while we’ll always need carpentry, the skills in those other two elective adventures are going to be more critical today … and it is more likely that kids are doing those in school (which makes it easier to get a helper to lead the activity).

      • You can always go to your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and do most of the Baloo the Builder requirements for free at one of their kid’s workshops.

        • Jeff: You beat me to it. 1st Saturday of every month here in KC for Home Depot. My son & I went several times and it wasn’t for a Scouting requirement.

    • As did we. Last year, when we saw that Grin and Bear it was a requirement from here on out we actually planned to have the Bears run the October Pack Meeting (our Pack Fall Carnival) so that we could guarantee an opportunity for them to meet the requirement. Now, if I have a Bear leader that decides they don’t want to put in the time and effort, they don’t have to and another great opportunity for my Scouts to learn and practice leadership and management goes away.

    • We also completed Grin and Bear It right before Halloween, and already have our one elective completed as well. My goal was to have the boys at least 50% to rank by Christmas (and we made it a couple weeks ago!) but this change will, unfortunately mean that we aren’t half done anymore. Does anyone know who I might be able to contact to see if it’s required that we switch Grin and Bear It and Baloo the Builder this year if we’re already done?

  8. Well, I’ve always believed that the changes were intended to make Cub Scouting a year round program and not just to be whipped out during the school year. I’ve actually had units change over and most are quite happy to become a part of summertime activities. For AoL this means you don’t have to rush into a Boy Scout unit because you should already be engaged with one you will joining. And if they are going camping you can be ready for that as a member- it’s just an app with the change from CS to BS.

  9. Think about all the Dens that already completed the old requirements but have a few boys who still need to complete some requirements that are no longer there. I can see some parents crying foul very loudly.

  10. If National was really listening, they would have scaled back on the “stuff” required to be a Cub. Neckerchiefs are fine, but hats, belts, neckerchief slides combine to be too much!

    Cub Scouts should be the entry way for Boy scouting, and affordability remains a factor.

    The turnover of parents and leadership at the cub level is always an issue, and that doesn’t lend itself to consistent fundraising. Also, I hate for the program to suffer because fundraising is a priority.

    And yes, I realize that many sports cost equal to, or more than Cub Scouting, but many Cub families also play sports. And lots of kids don’t play sports because of the cost!

    Our unit stands ready to help those in financial need, but too few will suffer the embarrassment to ask!

    • Rod – our pack maintains a Trading Post box of gently used uniforms,uniform parts, hats books and even belts, Class B t-shirts, etc. We regularly encourage families to both take from and add to the box throughout the year.

    • my pack has a custom hat. kids get it when they join and never have to buy another hat. well…except for the kids who always lose things. we also only require uniforms from the waist up. that was a good idea until they took away the beads and offered belt loops. to be honest, i’m not sure what happens to the loops after we award them since many of our boys don’t wear belts.

    • are you sure? Where does it say its a typo? Because then they would be adding an additional requirement since they added the Baloo Builder…

  11. These changes were the effort of one volunteer: It’s breaking a lot of hearts…and generating some real anger and frustration. The CS committed learned at the same time as everyone else; so much for our role in the process..

  12. I dislike that all the camping requirements have been replaced with the option to do an “outdoor activity.” Most of our activities are outdoors. Because of the camping requirement, our camp attendance went from almost nothing to 95% of our 70 scout pack. I MO, this just waters things down….

    Not to mention, we JUST finished our AOL!

  13. I think we need to realize that the document was released without the full editing. There are some mistakes. I would go with the part that says that no basic changes to the Webelos and AoL. This probably means that they will still need to have 7 adventures each.

  14. Half of the new Webelos Walkabout requirements are a joke. “Plan a hike or outdoor activity,” and “assemble a first aid kit suitable for your hike or activity.” Planning to play on the swings during recess, and bringing a box of band-aids and maybe some sunscreen would meet those requirements. Or, sitting outside your front door and bird watching. First aid kit… sun screen. My son worked really hard planning and doing all the requirements for this last month. He was so proud when he completed them. So proud to have done his service project. It was harder then some of the electives he has done. Scouting should challenge the boys; teach them new skills. The new requirements don’t really do this. These requirements look like they are ment to fit around sports, and other extra circular activities. I’m afraid boys will be not only doing less, but learning less.

    • “Scouting should challenge the boys; teach them new skills. The new requirements don’t really do this. These requirements look like they are meant to fit around sports, and other extra circular activities. I’m afraid boys will be not only doing less, but learning less.”

      EXACTLY! I was wondering if I was the only one here was thinking this too. I was actually glad to see the badges and requirements get harder when they revised the rules a couple of years ago. Seriously, there is already such a diminishing list of things that elementary school kids actually are “challenged” by. In any case, I won’t be looking to change anything my den is already working on becasue it WILL make them better Scouts and most of it has practical value.

      But anyway, how about BSAget back to Basics, and remove 90% of the Duty to God requirements? NONE of that was in there for the first 75 years or so- and it was the largest growth period or the organization! Beyond what was in the Oath and Law, anything religious was strictly optional. I went through every level of Cub Scouts, and later achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and there was nothing like the requirements that have since been inserted into the program.

      It’s important (vital in my mind) to have a few meaningful activities that don’t just give a kid a trophy for just “showing up.” This is one of the ways that Scouting can really separate itself from all the other activities out there. It teaches skills that truly can’t be found anywhere else. And success in Scouting is not based on innate “talent” (which can be fickle and put all praise on the very few) as much as growth, perseverance and working together.

      AOL Den Leader

      • Duty to God was there in the 1960 through 1970s; just read an old set of Cub Scout books. Also, there was no controversy over the practical Christian nature of Scouting until the rise of SJWs etc. It is prominent in the program for the same reason everything was changed from the classic, proven Scouting program: today’s target market is shockingly deficient in basic proficiency of citizenship, including religious faith and observance. We’ve allowed a small percentage of malcontented loudmouths to ruin a functional society and, in some small way, this is a rear-line action taken by BSA to correct what is a much greater catastophe in the making.

        I urge everyone here to obtain and read any and all Scouting manuals produced prior to 1975. Millenials put aside your snark. Boomer libertines still Fighting The Man just go away and don’t bother us — you’ve inflicted enough damage already.

        Everyone else will understand within minutes that we had – and almost completely lost — a society with dignity, grace, self-restraint, boundless energy and optimism, and a basic pride in its past. Of course, that society was identifiably and genealogically American. What passes for Scouting today is the faintest, watered-down, diluted, caputulation to carping malcontents possible while maintaining a credible claim to the Scouting Movement.

        I say, ditch the new material/programs entirely and recreate something from 1945 and see if you don’t have a thriving, living, all-encompassing community of Scouting families in short order.

        Why and How? Because Scouting meant something identifiable back then. Today’s Scouting is disgraceful in comparison … a bunch of grinning moppets led by the clueless. “And women and children shall lead you” was never a more true curse than today.

        • While I somewhat agree with you on your take on the down fall of our culture/society… I am highly offended by your second half of what you said.

          “Why and How? Because Scouting meant something identifiable back then. Today’s Scouting is disgraceful in comparison … a bunch of grinning moppets led by the clueless. “And women and children shall lead you” was never a more true curse than today.”

          seriously? you’re going to generalize this way… Maybe that’s because the Fathers and men in your area are not getting involved to lead their boys to become men and not just large children?

          I don’t see this my District or Council of Scouts. Maybe you mean in society as a whole… in which case it makes sense to say, however, I don’t think that Scouting as a whole is like you claim:

          “What passes for Scouting today is the faintest, watered-down, diluted, caputulation [sic] to carping malcontents possible while maintaining a credible claim to the Scouting Movement.”

          I’m curious why you’re so angry at Scouting really and on this board at all?

      • I’m replying to both Elyse, and Douglas:
        I think it’s all about leader example and attitude. You can still do hikes you can still camp, I just don’t think that “making it harder” is the best way to go. I also grew up in scouts from bobcat (no tiger back then) to Eagle… I encourage my den to get out and do things. I hold high expectations for my boys to really do their best… If they’re doing they’re best – they’re not going to plan to sit on the front porch drinking lemonade watching birds – unless it’s for a requirement that says watch birds (and implies don’t move around a lot and scare them off…).
        I mentioned this in a previous comment above but will repost here as well:

        This year [as Bears with 13 boys in the den] we’ve been struggling to get all the “Complete every step of this requirement” or you don’t earn it. There was no flex room. These are 3 graders – many of whom have 2 working parents or single parent families; some are from divided families where one or the other parent won’t bring them to scout stuff; some play sports both fall and spring, most have siblings who also play sports or are in scouts as well.

        They’re not going to just get an award from me without doing the work, but at the same time if it is too overwhelming for them and their families, they’re not going to stick around and be better scouts… they’re going to be the “Yeah, I was in cubscouts when I was a kid, but I just got too busy/interested in other things/parents couldn’t keep taking me/etc.” people that I meet all the time. Stick with the motto and have them really do their best. It make me have to do my best to keep up with them in many cases. I don’t think you need to make it like you’ll have to send them to Boot camp for the Marines right after Arrow of LIght or something. Keep them in scouts and they’ll be better scouts because of it. My goal is to get as many of those 7 tigers I started with and now 13 bears into a boy scout troop as possible. I’ll teach them as many knots, skills, etc. as possible in the mean time, but seriously – I don’t think these modifications are going to impact their outcome in their adult life all that much. They’ll likely learn from their leader’s character, attention, and encouragement more than they’ll remember doing one more hike or keeping track of the weather for one more week, etc. They’ll do things they’re proud of if you help lead them to it. ALso help lead their parents to challenge them to do their best even in their sports or other extra activities. If they can learn that they’ll be far ahead of many in our current culture/society. Scouts isn’t a trophy for all, but it doesn’t have to be competitive – each kid is only in competition with himself to do the best he can… right?

        On the comment about the Duty to God stuff… It’s really pretty bland – you just have to talk to your family, reflect on things etc. There are any number of “religions” that are accommodated. Why is it bad to encourage boys to reflect and appreciate what they have around them in their world/family/den etc?

  15. I too am looking forward to confirmation on the Webelos/AoL requirement changes. I had one Webelos last year who had conflicts and couldn’t come after January. He completed the Webelos requirements and 1 elective. He’s back this year and I gave him the option to finish Webelos. He didn’t want to do the additional electives. If this is how they intended it, I can award him his Webelos now.

  16. Bryan, does this indicate an upcoming change to the Scout Rank requirements, since it matches the “old” 2015 requirements for Scouting Adventure pretty closely? I have four Arrow of Light Cubs crossing over in two weeks, and they’ll want to know. . .

  17. I guess there are always issues to work out when rolling out a new system, and the 2015 update was a relatively significant revision. I guess National is tracking the metrics, but we basically have 9 months to complete 7 adventures, right? Anecdotally our boys have been making it through the program at a steady clip; the only ones struggling are the boys who don’t show up.

  18. I find it interesting that the knot tying requirements have all but evaporated. Can leaders not teach knot tying? It’s one of my boys’ favorite things. Overall, it appears that the program is just being watered down.

  19. The AOL Duty to God requirements make no sense. Formerly, if a Scout earned the religious emblem for his faith, he had completed the Adventure. The new requirements have him doing additional requirements on top of earning the emblem.

    Complete Requirements 1 and 2 plus at least two others of your choice.
    1. Discuss with your parent, guardian, den leader, or other caring adult what it
    means to do your duty to God. Tell how you do your duty to God in your daily
    2. Under the direction of your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader,
    do an act of service for someone in your family, neighborhood, or community.
    Talk about your service with your family. Tell your family how it related to
    doing your duty to God.
    3. Earn the religious emblem of your faith that is appropriate for your age, if
    you have not done so already.
    4. With your parent, guardian, or religious or spiritual leader, discuss and
    make a plan to do two things you think will help you better do your duty to
    God. Do these things for a month.
    5. Discuss with your family how the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to your
    beliefs about duty to God.
    6. For at least a month, pray or reverently meditate each day as taught by
    your family or faith community.

    • ALL of this new emphasis on religion/duty to God is completely necessary and frankly, intrusive. Faith and religion is and should be a personal matter for the boys and his family. Scouting for the first 75+ years never had any sort of stance like it has lately.

      Someone in the BSA obviously thinks that it’s not enough to require good and moral conduct, but instead needs to have an evangelical slant to it. We were just speaking about this at our last Pack Leaders meeting and every single den leader expressed that they were uncomfortable with the whole idea of these being “required.” This section of the manual is basically 1/4 of the AOL requirements! Really?

      Are we training the boys to apply for seminary in a few years or how to be good, self-reliant and ethical citizens?

      • I agree, Douglas, and I am extremely religious. Being faithful to God is awesome, but it’s also a highly personal thing that you can’t force someone else to think/do/feel. Not everyone attends church services regularly, prays and studies a religious text daily, or puts everything in the context of “I’m doing this basic act of human kindness as an expression of my religious faith”, and I don’t feel comfortable asking them to just so their kid can be in Scouts. Especially when what people really want from Scouting is what’s being removed from the program – camping, knot-tying, building a campfire, using a compass, etc etc.

        Wonder how much of this emphasis on religion is the BSA trying to stop the exodus of potential Scouts into alternate, “Christian” scouting organizations.

      • so much of the Duty to God is so bland and all encompassing that I’m surprised that you’re so offended by it.

        I said this in response to you’re earlier comment but will add here again:

        On the comment about the Duty to God stuff… It’s really pretty bland – you just have to talk to your family, reflect on things etc. There are any number of “religions” that are accommodated. Why is it bad to encourage boys to reflect and appreciate what they have around them in their world/family/den etc?

        I have families that are probably closer to atheist/agnostic in my den and I have families who are very involved with Catholic or other Protestant churches and we all seem to get along and get these requirements done with no problem. A few may be more Buddhist than “Christian” as well and yet, it seems that my parents all just get it done and are happy to have the kids take time to reflect on their families blessings or struggle together through their families sorrows together. There is no requirement to “become a Christian” in Scouting, never was that I can tell… but there is a requirement to be Reverent. Many national memorial require reverence – remove hats, speak softly, reflect on those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms in our country, etc. These and other cases of being reverent are important for boys to learn. They will be the leaders some day and they will need to be examples. Why is this really such a bad thing?

        • “but there is a requirement to be Reverent. Many national memorial require reverence – remove hats, speak softly, reflect on those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms in our country, etc. These and other cases of being reverent are important for boys to learn. They will be the leaders some day and they will need to be examples. Why is this really such a bad thing?”

          I don’t disagree with any of that. Mainly my objection is that for the first 75+ years in Scouting, this sort of section was optional, and not a major requirement.

          And to clarify, I happen to have very strong spiritual beliefs that in many ways help inform my desire for volunteering and service. I grew up a a traditional Protestant household and have no beef with that upbringing. But as an adult it was just too “small” for me. I was more interested in seeking from the widest possible ocean, rather than staying in the stream I was brought up in. In our family we speak about cultivating gratitude all the time, and indeed practice reverence on many occasions as well as meditation. Probably most of the boys in our AOL den have some version of this too, but it feels weird to push them to share something that is largely personal.

          And having asked the other parents about it, none of them are part of any regular, organized religious institution. Thus most of the list in Duty to God just doesn’t fit. It’s not a Christian vs. … thing at all. Obviously if we were practicing the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim or Buddhist faiths, we’d have all sorts of specific rituals to reinforce or share. But none of that really fits, and it’s not just our den either. Anyway, we’ll probably just take that section on as an opportunity to each learn something specific about a different form of faith and use them as jumping off points.

      • The emphasis on Duty to God seems out of proportion because it is. Pumping it up was a concession to the conservatives who were outraged and threatening to bolt after the whole sexuality thing. So Duty to God is now politically overemphasized to allow BSA to say, “see, we’re still driven by hardcore ethical values, see? see?” Over time, politics and a desire to accommodate a “changing” scout market will see them diminished and eventually removed as well.

  20. I don’t understand what ask the fuss is about. I thought the idea was to keep the Scouts engaged year round. My Den only meet twice a month and twice in the summer. They just completed all required and elective adventures for AOL. Our cross over is not tell February. If you plan meeting correctly it can be done. It takes hard working and dedication from the leader and the Scouts. They should not earn a belt loop cause they shows up. Meeting need to be fun and educational not watered down.

  21. I agree with the comments about the publications. I hope our council scout store will take back all of the extra handbooks we bought this year for round up, thinking that they wouldn’t be changing in a few years.

    I doubt they’ll take back the den leader guides, having already been used. Speaking of which, how well the meeting plans be affected? They’re currently based on three meetings per adventure. Reducing to two meetings per adventure makes those plans invalid.

    I agree with the idea of trying something new, learning from it and adjusting. However, this shouldn’t have happened so soon with the entire cub scout program. A better example of this at work is the Lion pilot. Start small and the cost of adjusting is small. This, on the other hand, makes every pack in the country need to change their program in the middle of the year during Blue and Gold / Pinewood season.

    I will recommend to my den leaders that they continue as originally planned to finish out the year.

  22. Echoing a lot of the previous comments for things like cost in book reprints, the insanity of reordering requirements (2 becomes 3 and 3 becomes 2…seriously??), but my biggest beef is the update in the middle of the year. As a Bear Den Leader this is going to take a lot of work to review partial completions now, considering that we haven’t had a single meeting with 100% attendance this year. The only good news is that the reduction in requirements for each loop now means that some of my partials are now complete and we can move forward without worrying about making things up.

    The roll-out should have either been 6 months ago (probably impractical) OR waited until after B&G. They could have also rolled this out now as a heads-up of implementation for the 2017-2018 Scouting year rather than “effective immediately”.

    Now that I’ve said that, I’ll challenge even myself. The link posted above takes you to the BSA website with the announced change. It does say “Dens may begin using the modified requirements immediately” – key word is “MAY”. You could continue using the old requirements for the remainder of the year if you choose. It doesn’t read like it’s required to update. What that means is more work for you as a Den to complete requirements for advancement rather than more work for you as a Den LEADER to just update status. Personally I’ll take a little more burden on myself now to make the Den run smoother with less pressure towards achieving rank by B&G. I’ll make the revisions to my advancement logs and keep on keeping on.

    BSA needs to work on their communications and roll-out effectiveness a little better. I remember complications from the revisions before the 2015-2016 year started – books not ready, online info not matching printed info, etc. Change can be good if it’s handled appropriately and adequately communicated.

  23. IMHO really bad timing. You got packs and leaders with plans already made for the program year, and you are changing 6 months into it? Sorry, but I’d wait until June 1 to put the changes into effect. I know of one den that will be Crossing Over within 4 weeks under the June 2015 – November 2016 plan. They will not be changing anything

  24. Is it not an issue that many Packs are trying to get the kids to advance ranks by the Blue & Gold, typically held late Feb or early Mar? Instead of doing advancement towards the end of the school year or right after, with the exception of the AOL den? Or is that just my council?

    • I liked the new program in that it gave me the opportunity to get my leaders to focus on B&G as a celebration of Scouting and not just a deadline for advancement. We have moved the advancement ceremony to April to give dens more time to achieve the spirit of the adventures rather than race through. We still have our AoL crossover at B&G because that is a deal we have with our local Troops to give them time to get the new Boy Scouts time to form their new patrol before al the spring and summer campouts.

        • And if the idea of a B&G is to be the “big advancement awards event”, then I’d re-phrase that and say “I have never understood the necessity of tying B&G to February.”

          Yes, yes, yes, February (early February) is the birthday of Scouting, but Scouting is helpful, friendly, kind, etc., and if you celebrate the birthday a bit later, Scouting will be OK with it. Like your dear sweet Aunt Agnes, Scouting is just happy you remembered!

          And holding it when it can be a bigger party, with more proud kids and parents getting awards (if that be your goal), can be a lot easier for all those den leaders and assistants and helpers if you do it later in the spring … plus it can be more of a kickoff to “but wait … there’s more … here’s all of our summertime fun!”

          Just my $0.02. YMMV. (Your Mileage May Vary)

        • From a historical perspective, the “push” to make February/March the big advancement thing in conjunction with Blue and Gold came when the Webelos went from 1 year to 18 months, circa 1990. As a Cub in the early to mid 1980s, the April and May pack meetings were the big award meeting. BnG was just a party. That was when Cub Scouts was only 3 years, and Tiger Cubs was a separate program in conjunction with a pack.

          Again that changed when Webelos expanded to 18-24 months circa 1990. Most packs were Crossing Over their Webelos to Boy Scouts in conjunction with BnG. Then everyone wanted to get into the act. So BnG unoffically became the big advancement nite. Heck, all the packs in my neck of the woods use the term “Cross Over” not only for when the Webelos become Boy Scouts, but also when the Cubs move up to the next level June 1.

  25. Everyone will moan and complain when changes are made. Nobody is forcing your packs to take on these changes. If you’ve already done them, then you don’t have to change!
    I’m relieved that there are less required things! As a den leader who has been through the old program and this curent one, there’s a lot of stuff in this one!
    Cub Scouts doesn’t have to end when all the belt loops and pins are earned. Do some extra projects. Have them do more community service. Offer a bonus to those who complete all the requirements.

  26. The changes are effective today. My question would be: Do scouts have the option to complete the current rank they are working on following the requirements that they started? In most cases with changes to advancement requirements the scout is given the choice to either move to the new requirements or finish earning the award under the requirements that were originally started. Once that rank is earned, then the scout would have to earn the next rank following the new requirements.

    I think this would solve some of the issues from previous comments.

    • Of course they would have that option. They don’t have to start over. It’s just like what happened when they changed the Boy Scout rank requirements. Everyone who was already working on those ranks could finish them under the old requirements. The modified requirements are the same anyway, it’s just less that is being required. If you finished an adventure under the old requirements, you are covered.

      • HOWEVER Boy Scouts do have a deadline to earn the next rank under the old requirements: December 31, 2016. My troop has only started pushing advancement this year in order for our Scouts not to have to redo requirements for ranks they already started on.

        Me personally, I’d start the new Cub Scout requirements June 1, 2017, and stick with the plans already created.

        • You don’t have to redo requirements you’ve already done at the Boy Scout level. Any requirements already passed are grandfathered in to the new requirements. The Scout will, however, have additional requirements to do if they’re not First Class by 12/31/16, since there are more new requirements that were added.

          We’ve been encouraging our Scouts to get to First Class by 12/31/16 for over a year now, knowing that this was going to be a problem if they didn’t, but it’s been hard for us to get them to see that.

    • yeah, I noticed that also… That is one change that I don’t really understand – that one elective would only take about an hour and a half or two as it was. However, there are many other changes that I’m very supportive of in the since that as a den leader of 13 boys we may actually be able to get this Bear Requirement stuff done and be able to do some of the fun electives without having to repeat stuff over and over because it can only be done “with the pack” or “with the den”. It allows some families to get things done on their own if they miss the meeting or the campout where the rest of us did that particular thing.

  27. These changes were not needed. With planning you can get through the requirements in a school year – just not by Blue and Gold (which is something that our pack never strived for anyway).

    Disappointed that the Webelos Duty to God option of planning and participating in an outdoor service was removed. Was a great fit for our fall family camp out.

    Why remove or combine features when all you had to do was make them optional? Seems to make this whole modification even more unnecessarily complicated. Not to mention making the existing rank books and DL guides confusing. We don’t want to have buy new ones now!

  28. From the Guide to Advancement: “Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is one of several methods designed to help unit leadership carry out the aims and mission of the
    Boy Scouts of America.”

    Yet, BSA says these changes were made because “not enough boys were advancing.”

    By watering down the requirements so “more boys could advance,” they made advancement an “end in itself.”

    • Advancement is tied to retention. I have had several boys leave Scouts because their den mates were meeting rank requirements, and they were not. They felt bad; their families felt too overwhelmed to invest the time.

  29. Extremely disappointed that the new Cub Scout program, which concentrated on getting boys outside and active, has been gutted in favor of an easy OPTIONAL “Cub Scouts Lite” for adult leaders. I was part of the 4-year 411 Task Force that rewrote the program that was thoroughly tested, made use of child development experts and piloted in 11 Councils. This re-write had none of that and was a panicked reaction to a drop in traditional advancement rates in the first quarter of the first year of the new program – which was expected as the new program progresses at a different pace.

    My advice to Cub leaders – stay the course and continue with the new program. The boys and most leaders love it. These “optional” requirements take out many of the fun and outdoor experiences the boys said they wanted. It fundamentally changes 50 of 80 Adventures which were hastily re-written with no intention of making Cub Scouts better, just “easier” for adults. This mid-year optional change will create much confusion and a wide disparity in what program the boys will receive. It was rushed out so fast they didn’t even get the names of some of the Adventures correct. There was none of the thoughtful rollout, training and preparation experienced by staff and volunteers when the program was modified as a result of the 411 process. Not our finest moment as an organization.

    • As I drill into this, I do think that replacing in Call of the Wild “While a Wolf Scout, attend a pack or family campout. If your chartered organization does not permit Cub Scout camping, you may substitute a family campout or a daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack” with an option to just “Attend … An outdoor activity with your den or pack” is swinging the pendulum waaay to far to “easy button” or as Scott notes, CS Lite.

      Easy change to that is “Attend … A daylong outdoor activity with your den or pack”, because that at least makes it a more significant and potentially fun time. As noted in another comment, someone could just play on the playground and call it “An outdoor activity with your den”.

      And, frankly, I never had any problem with a Scout who “attends a pack or family campout” by arriving on Saturday morning and departing after campfire to go home. By doing that, they probably fussed all the way home about “next time I want to camp overnight!”, and I’d rather have them chomping at the bit wanting to camp more than have the first overnight campout be unhappy.

  30. From Program Updates 2015-2016 “1. Complete each of the following Bear required adventures with your den or family:
    a. Bear Claws
    b. Bear Necessities
    c. Fellowship and Duty to God
    d. Fur, Feathers, and Ferns
    e. Grin and Bear It
    f. Paws for Action”
    Is Baloo the Builder Elective Adventure a typo now? It isn’t Required now, is it?

  31. I have mixed emotions on the new program. Last year year when we changed it my den was the Bears. I had been through the old Bear program with my older son. The problem I had with new program was how hard it was to get some of the outside things done with cold weather and dark dominating so much of the Scout Year. Most of the boys ranked at our year end crossover in May. I really felt that if the boys would have advanced in rank a few weeks earlier so that you could go over some of the “book work” and then practice at summer camp the year would have gone better.
    For the Webelos this year, we will be done with the Webelos badge requirements in December. I am not thrilled with the elective adventures so we will probably focus more on STEM stuff for the spring.

  32. If you have concerns regarding the program, I would encourage you to contact BSA member care. They can provide answers to program questions, including many of the ones posed above – or at least track down the answers for you, if they cannot answer them immediately.

    BSA Member Care Contact Center:

    or (972)580-2489

  33. As a former marketing researcher, I find it irresponsible and a little appalling that these changes were made with insufficient time, attention and adequate study. Part of the reason for the new program was to aid in transition to and retention in Boy Scouts. But with too many dens still meeting once a month, and many now able to opt out of camping, it is the Boy Scout program that will suffer attrition yet again.

    And there has always been wiggle room in Cub Scout requirements. That policy was formalized under the new program (re-read the leader guide if you doubt that!).

    Another reason presented for the changed program was to make the ranks consistent – so 7 adventures across the board. No longer! Webelos is 6 and Arrow of Light is 5??? Is this true – or just carelessness?

    Years of study and work and testing gone with sloppy, rushed, and thoughtless changes. Shame on National! I can only hope that someone “high up” will proof-read the nonsense they have posted and will correct the discrepancies.

    Thank you to the Cub Scout Task Force that took their assignment seriously and presented a well-thought out product. We knew that tweaks and modifications would be inevitable over time and practice. But we never expected this mish-mash. The changes, method of delivery, and implementation date should be unacceptable to everyone.

  34. I guess i missed something. Did the packs ever get to discuss these changes formally.
    My fear as a 48 year veteran is that we water the program down.
    Our pack has done well with the program and no one is behind. We still have plenty of time for fun.
    For boys that have other activities it might be a bit difficult at times but thats when they make a decision on weather its scouts or some-other activity.

  35. Way to go! Let’s water down the requirements and program yet again!!! Why is this generation so against actually working and learning! They want everything handed to them without having to work for it!!!

  36. I am recommending to my pack’s den leaders that they continue as planned, and only drop requirements if cost/schedule absolutely make it difficult for families to participate. (For example, our Tiger den was having trouble scheduling an outing to a sporting event for Games Tigers Play. We will drop that rather than allow it to be the one thing keeping a boy from making his rank.)

    I am concerned that this will make it impossible for the boys to take ownership of their Scouting experience, since their advancement path is now even more adult-defined, and highly variable. I have always encouraged the boys to look over the adventure we’ll be working on next, to follow along in the book as we work in meetings, and to color in their own tracking chart as they complete requirements. At Tiger level they need to have a sense of direction about what they’re doing in Scouts. By AOL, they need to be able to take ownership and keep up with their own advancement, because they’ll be doing exactly that in a few weeks as Boy Scouts. But when nearly everything suddenly becomes optional, and when they don’t have a clearly defined path to completion of individual adventures and ultimately their rank, but it’s just whatever the DL chooses to have them do at any given moment… seems like it reduces their ability to move toward independence.

    I’m beginning to wonder if my pack even needs to spend money on handbooks at all. It’s unrealistic to expect parents/Scouts to keep up with a handbook AND a printed set of addendums, as well as work back and forth between these, when the DLs will be deciding which requirements are sufficient to earn the adventures anyway.

    My Girl Scout troop (Daisy-Junior) doesn’t use individual handbooks and we get along just fine, because under that program, almost everything is optional. They work on leader-selected activities in meetings, or it they want to do a badge at home, they can ask us for the steps or Google it. With everything about the GS program being optional, and each badge and journey having loose/no requirements, the end result is that GS leaders are basically making it all up as we go along. Less structure = more effort from leaders to plan and prepare. Too much flexibility and choice can be a bad thing in many ways.

    Hopefully this program change will hit the right balance for everyone.

  37. My second personal favorite:

    On Stronger, Faster, Higher:

    Old requirement 6 = new requirement 4
    Old requirement 4 = new requirement 5
    Old requirement 5 = new requirement 6


  38. Reading these comments I feel as though the adults are worse than the scouts. From the start, it has been said these are options for packs that can’t meet on a regular basis or for scouts that don’t have the opportunities or ability to complete certain requirements. Isn’t the point of cub Scouts to have fun and learn???? Not be put on deadlines and pushed and pushed?? Everyone needs to chill out and use the program that works best for them.

    • I had the impression that the “choice” is for the remaining weeks of this year, and that the “new-new” program is what they’re heading for. Not as an ‘option’, but as THE program. And I think people are upset because we the volunteers, the people whose UNPAID work makes it possible for the professional Scouters to have their PAID jobs, are having to adjust midyear when no one saw this coming until a few of us happened to see it on facebook or this blog. I don’t even think my DE knew about this. Of course Scouting is supposed to be fun. But it’s tough on Scouters when we *don’t* have to figure out things like how to make these changes fair on all the families in our pack, what to do with the now-useless books we bought and expected to be able to use in future, and so on. It’s frustrating because it is so very, very unnecessary to do to your organization’s volunteers. I know some packs were probably hurting, not being able to get their boys advanced because of this or that reason, and that’s why they sprung this on us midyear. Doesn’t make it any less annoying for everyone else. And those of us who want to offer the best quality program possible hate seeing it so watered down and now lacking in the things that people put their boys into Scouts for to begin with.

    • The point of cub scouting IS to have fun and learn. Cub scouts, to a boy, love camping. It’s often the adults who are unwilling to give up their TempurPedics for one night in a tent. Now, with Camper having been reduced to this pathetic Option B for “Outdoorsman” the boys can achieve AOL without having ever spent a night in a tent. Play a game of kickball and you’re now an outdoorsman, ready for Boy Scouts.

  39. Does anyone know who/where/which Packs and Councils were giving their feedback? We’re very curious where this “update push” is coming from.
    Our Pack is Piloting the Lions Program and were asked to give feedback about that. We agreed. When we inquired with them about also giving feedback on the new Adventures (we have many positive comments as well as some additional thoughts), we were told that National wasn’t looking for feedback. This was in August and September, 2016.

  40. It is our job as unit leaders to provide the best possible program to the scout. The BSA has given us a curriculum as a road map to help the cub learn to become young man. Instead of complaining lets get back to why we became leader in the first place.

  41. Of the many “dumbing down” changes I’m struck with in this modification, at the moment Wolf Running With The Pack troubles me the most. “REQUIREMENT 1. Play catch with someone in your den or family who is standing 5 steps away from you. Play until you can throw and catch successfully at this distance. Take a step back and see if you can improve your throwing and catching skills.” The previous version was from 10 steps away. We did this with our Wolves at our fall campout. Out of 21 Wolves, 20 accomplished the 10 paces easily. The 21st balked and complained about it because it was difficult. Our Webelo 2 den leader had previously told us that he was encouraging the Webelos to demonstrate leadership as a means to clear up some long standing behavioral issues with those kids. I reached out to a nearby Webelo who I knew had struggled in the past to achieve as much as he had. I ask him if he would be willing to work with the Wolf who had trouble throwing and catching. In just a few minutes the two kids had figured it out and 10 paces was achieved. I worry now that with these modifications available far too many scouts, parents, and den leaders will take the easy way out. It becomes much more difficult for those of us who know that the scouts are capable of more to ask them to try harder. This is a slippery slope and I fear for what further dumbing down will come in the future. For a real reality check, look at what scout requirements were in the past. I happen to own a 1965 Wolf Handbook. Night and day. These are the people who will be looking after us when we are elderly. How many of them don’t know how to tie their own shoes? Be afraid, be very afraid.

  42. My biggest problem with the new program is the blast into scouting event that we do in my area. The recruitment is done mid September and in orderror to get through the program we need to do stuff in the summer. The boys that join mid September are already 3 months behind. I like the concept but it needs to happen in may so the scouts can have more opportunities to go know the required campout. I really feel bad for the new kids that have to play catch up as soon as they join. Oh and our council starts our yearly popcorn fundraiser before the recruitment night….

    • Just because your council starts recruitment in September does not mean your pack has to. We held a new Tiger recruitment in May to help get new scouts interested in our summer time pack activities. For years we have had new scout roundups in August. Yes we do get a few more in September and October when the Council flyers actually go out to schools but with social media and word of mouth we get plenty of new boys joining up each year.

  43. As an AOL Den Leader that is nearly done and will not overly be affected by this change, my biggest critique on the new program change is that most of the curriculum doesn’t promote fellowship and comrade between higher and lower dens…

    When we were Bear’s still operating under the old belt loop program, we could do a lot of joint activities with others den’s in the pack to complete a particulate belt loop. This was great for the scouts to have more boys to interact with, the den leaders had a few extra eyes and it also created an environment where the leaders could exchange ideas on how to make their dens run better.

    I realize Den are supposed to be self-contained to a degree, but we are also supposed to teach out scouts how to grow up and interact in society and living in a fishbowl doesn’t exactly accomplish tha

    • There are activities/requirements that have dens working with other dens. In Bears, the Scouts have to have a carnival and work with younger Scouts. In Webelos, the Scouts have to lead a gathering game at a pack meeting. In AOL, the Scouts must teach younger Scouts the bowline knot.

      • Regarding the bowline knot teaching element: It seems to me that the point of this requirement is to get a AOL Scout used to the idea of an older Scout teaching skills to a younger one. That’s one of the fundamentals of the patrol method they’ll hopefully learn later on as Boy Scouts.

        The problem I see is that the bowline is a complicated enough (fine motor skills) knot for 10 and 11 year olds. Having those AOL Scouts teach that particularly difficult knot to younger Scouts is a big hangup for us.

        I’d suggest modifying the requirement so that the AOL Scouts would continue to learn the bowline, taught line hitch, etc., but teach a younger Scout, who’s not a Webelos Scout, a knot that’s required for his rank. For example, a AOL Scout could teach a Wolf Scout his required overhand knot and/or square knot. Or, an AOL Scout could teach a Bear Scout how to tie two half-hitches.

    • On the concept of “most of the curriculum doesn’t promote fellowship and comrade between higher and lower dens… we could do a lot of joint activities with others den’s in the pack to complete a particulate belt loop”, here’s what I advise Packs to do:

      Many “elective” Adventures exist that could be appealing to Cub Scouts and families of all ages. They can be done on weekend events, field trips, or other fun family activities, and provide Scouts and families with true accomplishment when an adventure is completed.

      Because I believe these things are true:

      1) If a Scout does the Adventure Requirements, Let him get the Adventure Loop! If the Scout did it, recognize him. Why not? While you have Pack budget limits, if a Scout did the Adventure, recognize him for it.

      2) But that’s All — For a Rank Badge, You Must Follow the Rank Requirements. So, there’s no “advance” credit for a future Rank: if a Tiger does a Bear Adventure, that won’t count towards the Bear “Rank” badge — he’ll have to do it while he’s in the Bear (3rd Grade) Den, because his experience will be better if he does it when he’s older and more able (and if he had fun before, he’ll have fun again). And there’s no “back in time” Rank advancement: a 3rd Grader in a “Bear” Den can’t go back and get the Tiger and Wolf “Rank” badges.

      So, if a Scout completes an Adventure from “another Rank level”, feel free to recognize him along with those who are at the “Rank level” for that Adventure.

      To paraphrase Dr. King: The arc of Cub Scout Advancement is long, but it bends towards recognition.

    • As an AoL leader with a program year staring in September, we are far from complete even meeting an hour every week. With 7 boys and allowing for a real discussion of the topics covered with some activities for each (not just a quick “do enough to check the box”) I worry that we would have difficulty completing the old requirements before the end of the year. The boys enjoy the program but doing it to that level takes time. I have the leader guide and each of the meeting plans are excellent 2-3 hour meetings if you do everything as planned. I would rather spend more time on fewer things than rush through many requirements.

  44. I’m not sure how people weren’t able to work with the new program, but I think BSA lacked investigating and finding out from the leaders that were making the program work, how they were doing it. Instead they focus on people who were not able to bring the adventures together. Last year as a Tiger leader of 8 scouts – all Tigers ranked as well as 2 completing all 19 belt loops and earning outdoor ethics award. This year as a Wolf leader of 13, one has already ranked with 4 others to finish this month and the rest on track by February. The only thing I can figure is if leaders stuck just to the leader guide and only had one den meeting a month, then yes you would not complete. My philosophy and the parents agree – to keep the boys wanting more and continuously learning, you need at least 2 den meetings.

    We have to remember Cub Scouts is a family involvement as well and homework can be left to them to complete a part of a requirement.

  45. I had felt that some tweaks to the program were desirable. For example, last year the Wolves had to present a service project idea to the Pack Committee before carrying it out. Given that the Committee rarely met, that was hard to arrange, and impossible to make up. The service project itself, which I felt was the important part, was relatively straightforward. Also, the Wolves had three separate requirements to have a campfire program. That’s down to one. But now the camping requirement is optional!

    In some cases, it’s not just a matter of a few requirements now becoming optional. For Bear, we have a completely different required Adventure! It looks like they’ve moved Grin & Bear It to an Elective, and replaced it with Baloo the Builder. I’d been planning to cover that adventure anyway, but it seems like bad policy to me. And while they’ve watered down many of the adventures, it seems like they’ve actually added stuff to the Duty to God ones. If the purpose is, as stated, to avoid emphasis of organized religion, I don’t think it succeeds.

    I’m not categorically opposed to changes, but I feel they rushed this and went overboard. Unless it’s mandatory to use the modifications, I would hope to finish the year with the original requirements.

  46. While we’re all in discussion about changing things, and we know that updates to Den Leader Guides will need to come out … let me share a resource that might be useful to consider in that update: Some Bobcat Adventure Plans.

    It is commonly mentioned how key getting the first Advancement award is to getting kids and parents engaged. But the Den Leader Guides don’t address how to earn Bobcat … so I went ahead and wrote up two Bobcat/First Meeting Adventure Plans to help Dens get going, since (1) every Tiger Den has got to get Bobcat done, and (2) lots of dens get started with lots of new kids (or a refresher would be good for them).

    Those Adventure Plans are at this Getting Started page at

    These are written in the style of the other Adventures …

    If you like ’em, use ’em. Hope this helps.

  47. I am not a big fan of the program change last year and not a fan of the new requirements either. I’m still digesting them, but I already see a lot of issues and things I’m going to have to explain to parents.

    For my unit, the thing the old program had that made it better than the existing was the old belt loop system. I have a wide range of ability in my unit. Specifically in my Wolf Den, I have one family who wants to leave because they feel it is too challenging (entire family has never camped before) and another family who wants to leave because it isn’t challenging enough (2nd grader who is an avid deer hunter). The old belt loop system, gave them options regardless of grade, den, or age and we are missing that flexibility now. Also it provided a very good solution to our scouts who had to drop out for a sport season and a reason to come back (to complete their sport specific belt loop/pin).

    I do like that these new changes add some flexibility, which were needed as we are not a one size fits all society. I do question the validity and thoughts behind some of them. I also see a lot of possible typos and mis-numberings that need clarification.

    Examples of my concerns:

    + Why do only Bears get credit for fishing? I take my Pack out camping and we go fishing, only the Bears get the recognition. The new change appears they could earn it without ever spending any time fishing.

    + Likewise with first aid (First Responder Adventure) being held by Webelos, but no other rank.

    + I see where some of the Duty to God requirements had requirements removed. I feel they were good options to leave in, i.e. participation

    + Building a Better World removed the points involving recycling? I would think that is a key thing in building a better world.

    + Visits to/from first responders, fire departments, police departments, etc. seem to have mostly been moved to optional category.

    + I would think being able to identify poisonous plants from photos as a bit more important as the same level as being “snack leader” as an option.

    Maybe time will tell, but as mentioned above:
    + We really need something that they can all work on across ages and abilities.
    + We need to address other activities, sports, band, etc.
    + We need to find a way to get the parents off “their” video games and join in with their sons.

  48. My guess is that most of you who think that the program was not too hard are from suburban areas that have easy access to camping/fishing/more outdoor areas. The reality is that many packs to not have this access, and the reality of more of our kids being raised by older parents/grandparents/great-grandparents/single parents is that many of them are not able to camp with their scout, therefore literally making camping requirements impossible to attain. It is a huge issue for many dens and packs. If you are doing the requirements correctly they take a lot of time and planning. Many packs also suffer from lack of leadership, and especially to new volunteers the requirements this past year have been overwhelming. I am still looking a the requirements so I don’t have a strong opinion yet, but I do know that more of my boys will be able to earn their rank and thus will be more likely to participate in boy scouts.

    • I keep saying this on here… and I think you will agree- If the leaders just follow the motto and do their best and encourage the boys and parents/grandparents to do their best I think a lot of the griping would wash out… yeah, I don’t know about getting a fishing belt loop without ever fishing. There are a lot of city parks in our areas that have small sunfish that they boys really enjoy catching. There are probably streams and lakes in other places. Maybe look up a fishing merit badge counselor from your local council and see if he could help your den? most people I know who fish would love to teach others about it and have just as much fun watching kids catch their first fish as they do catching fish themselves.

  49. I think these modifications are a step in the right direction. I would actually like to see a further fine tuning,

    I don’t think it should take three and four meetings to get through some of these adventures with elementary age boys. Some of the core adventures that you have to complete are not that exciting, partly because by the time they hit Webelos and AOL, some of it is repetitive and partly because some aspects seem like homework, which kids today are already swamped with. I’m glad the AOL Building a Better World was trimmed a bit — it is endless and just seems like a “kitchen sink” adventure. That was a good call. Also like that some of the things that I did not feel were age optimal, like the Bear Carnival, have been changed.

  50. Coming from an LDS perspective, I loved the new program. It streamlined the program and got the boys out of the building. For years I’ve worked with leaders who never left the building for den meetings, and it drove me crazy! The new program provided a well rounded experience for the boys, but like everything else in life for young people, it’s being simplified even further because they can’t hack it. I thought advancement was only a method of scouting, not the aim.

  51. Agree with Kat L. about “[get] the boys out of the building”.

    In my comments and training about the Den Adventure Plans (see, one recurring theme I saw was how much better and (in some ways) easier and (in all ways) more fun it would be to do these Adventures (almost) completely outdoors … and never have an indoor / classroom / around the table meeting.

    For example … hiking adventures. The general plans have some prep “meetings”, but the prep could all be done with some prep short hikes / walkabouts, where you cover the prep work for when you go on a big hike.

    And that, combined with the difficulty of recruiting den leaders (since many parents are not willing to be “the leader” charged with running 18 to 21 meetings, etc.) made me think … what if there were no meetings?

    Just activities?

    Just adventures?

    That idea about how to launch a den as a group of families going places and doing things made me think: what if they decided “let’s just do weekend day trips and campouts, and not have inside ‘meetings’ at all?”. I can’t come up with a good reason why that won’t be excellent Cub Scouting. Frankly, just about all of the Handbook Adventures can be done better as hands on outdoor activities and field trips, even though the Den Leader Guide sets the program up as: meeting, meeting, then field trip.

    So for how to do that, I put together something called the TOPRATE Den Pilot Program. See for more ideas on that.

  52. These are what the requirements are. For the more experience leader stick to the old requirements and for growing pack with new leader the new requirements. If we look at our training and how advancement is intended to reward a scout for the accomplishments and keep them engaged in scouting. As Training Coordinator if I had a struggling leader I work with the Membership Coordinator to ensure they had the resources and training to meet the requirements as they stand.

    • I guess we could just give everyone an award for showing up, too. After all, if it requires effort, it must be too difficult.

      On the other hand, districts could get their acts together and provide packs with the resources needed to have trained leaders who feel comfortable leading meetings and activities, Cubmasters who are competent to lead the pack and assist den leaders where needed, and committee members who have the training to do their jobs and support the pack.

      Dumbing down the program is not the answer, it is a symptom of one of the major problems in the world today. Challenges are an important part of growing up. Families have to prioritize children’s activities. If it’s not important enough to get to the meetings and support their children in completing requirements, how will the children learn responsibility and develop the ability to see a thing through?

  53. One more item, while we’re on increasing advancement, trying to help Den Leaders and everyone deliver the program …

    The Blog announcement says “some den leaders had difficulty fitting into their program year all of the adventures required for advancement. This resulted in boys not advancing. After a thoughtful and deliberate review, the BSA has released some modifications to address this concern.”

    One way to help deliver adventures and increase advancement is to make the plans for those adventures more available for leaders and parents and others who want to deliver the Cub Scout family program of Den Adventure …

    … because if more assistants and helpers and parents and den chiefs and teachers at your school or park rangers for your field trip and so on could see the Adventure Plans in the Den Leader Guides, more of them could say “hey … I can help do that!!”.

    More about that is in a page at entitled “Put All Den Leader Guides Online + Free!”, including the proposal I sent to the Director of the Southern Region after an Area Conference last month.

    By making those downloads available “Adventure by Adventure”, we’re making it easier for the Den Leader … and we need to be all about helping our Den Leaders! As Bill Smith used to write in Baloo’s Bugle and elsewhere, “in Cub Scouting, you’re either a Den Leader, or your job is to help your Den Leader”. This would help den leaders, and let us help den leaders.

  54. I put this together for the Webelos/AOL stuff. It might help those worried about confusion with the new numbering, as this puts the new requirements in the old numbering scheme. I plan on having this printed out and hand when updating Packmaster and the like.

    Caveat: I just went through and put this together, so it’s seen less editing than the official modifications, if that’s possible.

    2016 Webelos Program Changes – Decoder
    The following represents the new requirements rolled out with the November 2016 changes to the Cub Scout Program.  The numbering reflects the published handbook (and Packmaster, etc)

    Webelos Requireds
    Cast Iron Chef – Do 3, 4, and 5
    Duty to God and You – Do 2b (roughly) and two of Req 1, 2c, & 2d
    First Responder – Do 1 and five of 2-8. For 5, do five min
    Stronger, Faster, Higher – Do 1-3 and one of 4, 5, and 6
    Webelos Walkabout – Do 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6 and either 3 or 8

    Arrow of Light Requireds
    Building a Better World – Do 1, 2, 3, 4, & 9 and one of 6, 7, 10a, 10b, & 10d
    Camper/Outdoorsman – A: Do 1 (camp), 2, 3, 5, & 7   OR   B: 1 (outdoor), 3, 5, & 7
    Duty to God in Action – Discuss DTG, do 2e, and two of 1, 2a, 2b, & 2c
    Scouting – Do 1 a-c, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6

    Webelos / AOL Electives
    Adventures in Science – NC – Do 1, 2, & 3 (four of a – i)
    Aquanaut – Do 1, 3, 4, & 5 and two of 6 – 10
    Art Explosion – Do 1, 2, & 3
    Aware and Care – Do 1 or 3, 4 or 5, 6, and two of 7 (a – h)
    Build It – NC – Do 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5
    Build My Own Hero – Do 1, 2, & 3, and one of 4 – 6
    Castaway/Getaway – Do 1b,1a or 1c, 2a, 2f, 2g, and 2h
    Earth Rocks – Do 1a & b, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6a & b
    Engineer – Do 1 and 2
    Fix It – NC – Do 1, 2, 3, and 4
    Game Design – NC – Do 1, 2, 3, and 4
    Into the Wild – NC – 1 thru 9
    Into the Woods – Do 1, 2 (4 trees), 3 (4 plants), & 5, and one of 4, 6, & 7
    Looking Back, Looking Forward – NC – Do 1 thru 3
    Maestro – Do 1 a or b, and two of 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, & 3e
    Moviemaking – NC – Do 1 thru 3
    Project Family – Do 1 (no share), 2 (no share), 3, 4, & 6, and 5 or 7
    Sportsman – Do 1, 2 & 3 (any sports, two total), and 4

  55. The one thing I would have loved to see changed are the requirements for things like the Bear Carnival – which account for an enormous amount of work and are a one time thing – that is very hard to make up if a boy has to miss the event.

  56. Of interest: among the points providing a rationale for program changes was this, stated in the link to the revised requirements: “Cub advancement was down after the first year of implementation and we know that correlates to lower member satisfaction and subsequently, lower retention” (Note that advancement was about 10% lower in May and is now ~4% lower than it was one year previously by October).*

    Regarding the retention issue, this information was just broadcast: “The BSA had year-to-year Cub Scouting and Exploring growth in November! Also, all four regions had an increase in new Cub Scouts compared to August-November last fall.
    Southern Region +2.6%
    Central Region + 3.3%
    Western Region +13.5%
    Northeast Region +10.2%”

    It’s regrettable that changes on this scale were made before all of the evidence had been collected.

    There were, absolutely, opportunities to make adjustments in the program, but the published changes were out of proportion to the difficulties encountered in delivering the program. A measured and thoughtful analysis designed to produce specific, incremental changes would have been more appropriate.

    In service,


    *It is not clear whether this increase reflects the entry of some 25,000 Lion Scouts.

  57. All the “with your family” options added back in will actually make weaker den leaders lose control of the program again. After the summer, Tommy Two-Parent will come back having earned a dozen belt loops, while Jimmy One-Parent may be lucky to just come back.

  58. Clearly, an opportunity to discuss these alleged problems should have been afforded to the Cub leaders involved before this bomb was dropped! There is so much to fix now, with no clear reason why it happened in the first place! There certainly was room for adjustments in the Adventure program, but with only one year under our belts, where is the logic in wholesale gutting??? We all had opportunities to meet the authors and get the rationale behind last years program, who is the face of this disaster? Will it change again next year if “Cub Scout Lite” doesn’t produce the desired affect?? Who can we trust anymore?

  59. I greatly appreciate Greg Pierce’s work putting the new requirements into the old numbering system for the Webelos/Arrow of Light. Here is my effort with Wolf and Bear, along with the disclaimer that I just went through this once without much time to edit, so please also check this with

    Wolf Required Adventures
    Call of the Wild – Do 1 (simplified), 4, 5B, 5C, and 7 (7C is simplified), and either 2 or 3
    Council Fire (Duty to Country) – Do 1 and 4B, plus at least one of the following: 2, 3A, 3B, 5 or participate in an event celebrating veterans
    Duty to God Footsteps – Discuss DTG or earn religious emblem, plus do two of: 1, 2B, 2C or 2D
    Howling at the Moon – Do 1-4, some wording changes
    Paws on the Path – Do 1-6 and either 7 or 8, some wording changes
    Running with the Pack – Do 1-6, small change on 1

    Bear Required Adventures
    Bear Claws – Do 1-3, plus 3B (new)
    Bear Necessities – Do 1 (simplified), 3, 4 and 7. (8 and 9 are both optional. 2, 5 and 6 are deleted.)
    Fellowship and Duty to God – Discuss DTG, AND
    • Do either 2A or 2B, AND
    • Do either 1 or 2C
    Fur, Feathers and Ferns – Do 1 and a choice of any three others
    Paw for Action (Duty to Country) – Do 1C, and do two of the following three options:
    • Do at least one of 1a or 1b
    • Do at least two of: 2a, 2bii (modified) or 2biii
    • Do a cleanup project or participate in a patriotic event
    Baloo the Builder (now required, Grin and Bear it is now an elective) – Do 1-4

  60. I attended the 411 Program at Philmont on the new program a few years ago, and every requirement and adventure had a specific purpose. The program was very well thought out, supported with best practices in education and outdoor experience, and overall pretty good.

    Now it’s been gutted and why? Because packs can’t hand out rank badges at Blue and Gold.

    So glad I’m not involved in Cub Scouts anymore.

  61. I was very happy with the original changes to the Webelos program. The two years will be an excellent preparation for Scouting. Earning Webelos was dropped for AOL but the scouting scouts for both of the years were enhanced. But after the most recent revisions, the award is now one of the easiest to get and no longer merits the lifetime patch.

  62. I am so tired of hearing about kids “dropping out” for a sport or sports. What every happened to dedication, hard work, and a commitment to scouting? Scouting provides skills that transcend all parts of life. There is no reason a balance of both cannot be achieved and scouting can be worked on while in other activities. Parents have gotten lazy along with their children expecting leaders to do everything for them at the meeting. Few bother to show up and support the boys getting involved themselves and then it is our fault of their boy doesn’t achieve. We struggle every year with getting parents involved. Now the only way the BSA feels that they can deal with the outside pressure is succumb to the lowest and laziest denominator.

    • Although someone gave this a thumbs down, I agree with the poster. If the child and parent really WANT to do it they can. I have a 10th grader working on his Eagle and a 5th grade Webelo 2. They have both been in Scouts since 1st grade. They also both play/played sports continually all year round including travel baseball, golf, rec league basketball and various other sports they tried. Sometimes they miss scout meetings, but we follow along and make it up. Sometimes, they miss ball practice. But we thought/think both are important enough to maintain. It is really up to the parents and the interest of the scout. And we have been lucky that the homework is manageable and both are good students. It could be harder depending on homework levels.

  63. The announcement states “The transition should be seamless, with leaders able to use revised requirements as the den begins any new adventure.” Does this mean we cannot re-shape our approach for adventures we may have already started before this announcement? I hope that’s not the case as it may be a hard-sell to some parents to organize and gain support for activities that are no longer “required”.

  64. From what I’ve seen over the past 5-6 years is many boys (Packs) who simply Advanced a boy if they showed up for half of the meetings. Even if they didn’ do all of the requirements, they got some belt loops, and some beads, and if they were still “attending” in June, when they moved up a grade they moved up a rank. I can’t count the dozens of boys who made AOL award even though everyone clearly knew they didn’t do half of the stuff, but hey they were in the Pack for 5 years.
    Now you get an easier to track and do program and so now those same packs make everyone do everything so Advancement is down. Makes sense. The BSA should have realized this and not freaked out over not having some belt loops sold. Think about how many Adventure Loops you have to sell to make up for all those beads, pins, and belt loops. Of course advancement is down now that everyone can track who is doing what easier.

  65. I do have one question in regards to the change in requirements to Baloo the Builder Requirement 2:

    The only difference that I see in the change from the old requirement 2 to the new requirement 2 is that they changed the word “projects” to “project”

    OLD REQUIREMENT 2. Select, plan, and define the materials for the projects you will complete in requirement 3.
    NEW REQUIREMENT 2. Select, plan, and define the materials for the project you will complete in requirement 3.

    The way that I read this the Bear Scouts would only need to do one project.

    This would call into question the wording on requirement 3 and 4 as to how many projects need to be completed:

    NEW REQUIREMENT 3. Assemble your materials, and build one useful project and one fun project using wood.
    NEW REQUIREMENT 4. Apply a finish to one of your projects.

    I think there might need to be some clarification on this one…

  66. Why is it that the requirement for learning cardiac sudden arrest hasn’t changed? Boys don’t have the upper body strength to give compressions and they’re not old enough to be certified in CPR.

  67. When will Cub Trax and Scout Trax reflect these changes? I just tried to make the changes manually myself and too many cells are protected to do this. We use the Trax system rather extensively for requirements and advancements and want to be able to keep this up to date along with the new requirements.

  68. On the “Cub Scout Advancement Modifications 12.6.16.pdf”, the current Webelos Art Explosion requirements are missing 3.h, 3.i, 4.a, and 4.b. The modified requirements are also don’t have 3.h, 3.i, 4.a, and 4.b but it isn’t clear if this was an oversight or an intentional removal. I don’t see any other instances where alternatives have been removed.

    • Hello John … this does appear to be an intentional deletion, for reasons unknown.

      I’m still doing a review of what happened here (and how permanent modification can meet the stated goals of, like, “retaining rich program options that allow leaders to build strong programs adapted to local needs and situations” and “adjustments are intended to strengthen and support the new program”), but, yeah, it appears that doing those handbook elements are now just extra, and don’t count for advancement IF you use the new requirements.

      I’ve extracted the actual language and run a word comparison on the Change-Pro Redline tool to provide clarity about what changes were made. See and scroll to the bottom for the attachment.

      Where changes are made to provide options to den leaders and parents to make it easier to complete ranks based on local resources (“Flexibility is key”), it is a mystery to me (and, I suspect, to many) why one would take options “off the table”.

      So, the bottom line change is that under the old “Art Explosion”, one had to complete 5 sub-elements out of 13. Now it’s 4 out of 9, and photos, comic strip, portfolio and art show display are off the table. C’mon man. Especially when they are in the handbooks being used now, what’s the harm in keeping those?

  69. Regarding the new (or renewed) requirement of Webelos needing to earn their religious emblem, do they need to earn the Webelos-level religious emblem? Or does an earned Tiger/Wolf/Bear religious emblem suffice?

    My son is in his first year of Webelos and earned the religious emblem last year as a Bear; I’m just wondering if he now needs to earn the Webelos-level religious emblem.

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