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 scouting.org/programupdates. 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 scouting.org/programupdates. I suggest making it one of your bookmarks.
Where to go first if you have questions
See answers to FAQs about these changes here.