Better activities, simplified advancement coming to Cub Scouting in 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presently, the recognition device is under development.

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

To see the adventures, check out this PDF.

New Cub Scout handbooks

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

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

Details of the covers are not yet complete but the concepts below will remain in tact as development moves forward. This new look will also be reflected in the interior pages of the handbook. If you ask me, these prototypes are awesome.

tiger-handbook-prototype

wolf-handbook-prototype

bear-handbook-prototype

webelos-handbook-prototype

Get trained on these changes

Take the “Get the 411 on the NEW Cub Scout Adventure Program” courses at Philmont Training Center this summer during one of these weeks:

  • June 22-28
  • July 20-26
  • July 27-August 2
  • August 10-16

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

526 thoughts on “Better activities, simplified advancement coming to Cub Scouting in 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          It is up to training, and commissioners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

          So why the uproar??

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Have I missed the promised FAQ?

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

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

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

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

  3. I see that information on the program update of advancement requirements has released as of this morning at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/programupdates.aspx.

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

    Among the items linked are for Cub Scouting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Elizabeth,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Actually, in one of the FAQ’s, this question was asked: “Why don’t boys have to earn all of the lower ranks to earn the Arrow of Light Award? That’s like earning the Eagle Scout Award without earning the lower ranks!”
    Well earning all of the ranks has never been a requirement for the AoL, so if this is an FAQ, then people are already clueless!

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

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

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

    Maybe someone can address that.

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

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

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

    • SarahBeth, if you haven’t already, be sure to look at the transition plan doc that just came out (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/program_update/pdf/CS%20Program%20Transition.pdf). While it isn’t terribly detailed, it does address that, “Boys who have achieved the Webelos rank by June 1, 2015, may complete this requirement (three adventure electives) by using Webelos activity badges or pins earned before June 1, 2015. These three activity badges must be in addition to those required for earning the Webelos rank.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          Thanks for reminding me about that.

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

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

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

      • ok. Though i have been a leader for 9 years, I never bought that book. I found the on-line infor to be more then helpfull enough.

        • And as far as cost. If the Pack budgets for it, and purchases one whole set, it can be passed down. No need for there to be some great out lay of money by den leaders each year.

  8. Absolutely, and that is the exact mindset we need to get away from. That this is some kind of elite award that you must be deemed “worthy” in order to earn. And it is not just the late joining 5th graders. It is the 4th graders who may not have earned the Weblos rank for whatever reason.

    It is a brave new world and the adults who have taken on the responsibility of taking the Scouts through the program need to forget the “way it was” and leave their personal feelings at the door. Or step aside. Shoot in less than 5 years no one who is a leader will ever know it was any other way.

  9. gregonwp I am a LDS Scout leader and a past Cub Master your comment about franchise could not be more wrong as a past Cub Master in the Church I can assure you from my experience that the LDS units do not make up there own rules and do follow the BSA guidelines. Our Cub and Boy Scout Leaders attend the local Council training days when they are available. I am the Cub and 11 year old scout LDS Stake training instructor coordinator and I follow the guidelines set forth by the BSA. The only difference is that we bridge our 11 olds to Boy Scouts on their 11th birthday. The Church has determined that 11 year olds benefit more from being a Boy Scout a year earlier. I am surprised that more BSA Units have not made the 11 year old transition to Boy Scouts. Bottom line is the LDS Church is committed to the guide lines of their BSA charters that they have supported for many years. If some LDS Units do otherwise they need to change their commitment and support the Charter that they agreed to when they choose to stay in the BSA. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • So, with respect to the age of transition to Boy Scouts, would you agree the LDS units didn’t like the BSA rule so they made up their own rule to use instead? Did you follow the BSA guidelines as a Cubmaster? If so, I assume you allowed your Cubs to transition to Boy Scouts at age 10, that being the BSA guideline and all. How about camping? Did you follow BSA’s guidelines there, or did you follow LDS’s guideline that boys under 11 cannot attend overnight camps? LDS rules require boys to be 8 or over to join, so there are no Tiger Cubs in LDS units. But, you followed BSA guidelines and allowed Tiger Cubs in your unit, right? BSA Guidelines allow a 9 year-old who’s finished 3rd grade to become a Webelos Scout. Did you do that as a Cubmaster who follows BSA guidelines, or did do what LDS dictated and make them wait until they turned 10? In each of these instances, if you did faithfully follow the LDS Church’s guidelines rather than the BSA’s, hopefully you will agree that you violated BSA Guidelines numerous times as a Cubmaster. I stand by my assertion that the LDS Church didn’t like national BSA’s rules so they made up their own rules for their units.

      • Greg, you need to settle down a bit. LDS has the majority of BSA charters. They’ve been working with BSA since… 1913 if Scouting.org is right. There are specifics to how the LDS church raises and educates youth that would conflict with the standard BSA program. So they worked with the organization to find a modified model that still works for both groups.

        So no… I wouldn’t say that anyone made anything up. It’s different. deal with it.

        • Nich, thanks for pointing out that, after 100 years together, no one knows better than the LDS Church that the BSA doesn’t always get it right. So, they decided not to follow certain BSA rules. Instead, they made up rules that work better for them and those are the ones Trent followed as a Cubmaster. He didn’t follow the BSA Guidelines that the majority* of other units followed. He followed the LDS Church’s modified version of those guidelines.

          (*FYI – LDS is not the majority of BSA charters – there were about 38K LDS units and about 65K non-LDS units chartered under the BSA at the end of 2013, so LDS has only about 37% of all BSA charters. But, dig a little deeper and you’ll see that even that number is inflated – LDS units tend to be much smaller than non-LDS units, with only about 12 youth per unit compared to about 28 youth per unit for non-LDS units, which means that LDS only accounts for about 18% of the total BSA membership, followed closely by the Methodist church at about 14%, though I don’t think the Methodists have asked for any special rules for their units, yet.)

          Back to my original point above before Trent changed the subject, if your local CO disagrees with some part of the new BSA guidelines, then follow LDS’s example and come up with your own rules that are consistent with how the CO wants to “raise and educate” the youth members of that CO. If you want your newly advanced Webelos 1 Scouts to follow the current handbook until they cross-over to Boy Scouts in early 2016, then let them. If you’re in an LDS unit and you don’t let your Cubs go overnight camping then you can just chose to ignore the camping requirement in the new Bear Necessities Adventure that BSA says Bear Cubs must complete.

        • Using the LDS examples (wrongly I believe) to advocate just doing this program anyway you see fit is not the Scouting way at all. If you were a leader in a unit that I am UC for I would be suggesting your strengths lay elsewhere. Certainly not as an example to the Scouts. Um……..Obedient comes to mind.

          Transition times are always hard and is this one being done the best way possible? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean we can simply do it anyway we want to.

          Also, even though I haven’t read all of the Cub Scout requirements yet, I am wondering if there isn’t an alternative to camping for the Bear one you said that the LDS church could simply ignore.

      • gregonwp you seem to be stuck on some misinformation and assuming is a very slippery slope. My past comment already explained to you that we transition our youth at age 11 not 10 in to the Boy Scout unit. You are correct that 10 yr. old cubs cannot attend overnight campouts as a Scout unit. Our 11 yr. old scouts can attend two overnight camps plus one Scout camp for one week. I am in charge of our 11 year old campouts in my LDS Stake that consists of 11 Scout units. I am very familiar with the program I have been serving the 11 yr. scouts for 12 years and Scouting for over thirty years. You are correct that you have to be 8 years of age to join Cub Scouts as a wolf. You are correct that we do not use the Tiger program the church feels that the Cub Scout at the age of 8 is the best for our youth in the church. However if the parents want to be in the Tiger program they can join a outside unit which some have done. The LDS Church feels that 10 years of age is appropriate for webelos and all have the opportunity to earn their Arrow of Light before they turn 11. Anything that the LDS Church has ever done to enhance their Scouting program have been sanctioned and approved by the BSA since 1913 when the Church invited the National BSA leadership to come to Salt Lake City to help found the Boy Scout program in the LDS Church. The BSA and the LDS church have worked in harmony for over 100 years and believe me if we did not follow BSA polices they would tell us. The truth is there is no violation of BSA policies by any unit in the LDS Church because the BSA has supported the church policies. gregron we are closer to the BSA policies than you know according to your own statements. I hope you and I can dialog in harmony as that is the mission of scouting. Sincerely, Trenton Spears
        Scoutmaster

        • LOL – You say I’m stuck on misinformation and then you go on to confirm all the things I said are true. Honestly, I’m fine with LDS doing their own thing. I’m not saying that LDS units are doing it wrong. My point is exactly what Mark is saying above – there are all types of units out there and inmy opinion the CO’s for those units are free to follow the LDS example and interpret BSA edicts as they see fit for their particular unit’s needs. If you don’t want 7 year olds to join your Packs, then don’t let them. If you don’t want to force your Webelos to switch over to new handbooks when they’re 2/3 of the way through the Webelos program, then don’t make them.

        • Gregonwp: you are still missing the point. LDS units have had their specific alterations sanctioned by BSA over 100 years ago. A CO going off and making their own alterations w/o council approval is going rogue and the decisions could very well go against BSA policy.
          LDS units have approval, a rogue CO does not.

        • The LDS church has specific ways with which they want their members to develop, learn and grow in both their faith and their everyday lives. They saw the importance of the BSA program for its youth and took measures to ensure that delivering the program would not conflict with their religious teachings. Going to BSA National and working out specific exceptions with regard to their teachings is perfectly acceptable. Just as their are alternate ways for physically and mentally challenged persons to participate. What is not acceptable is individuals or groups deciding to just do whatever they want without approval from National. I applaud the LDS church for making sure that the Scouting program being delivered is keeping in line with their specific teachings. AMEN!!!

  10. My son is a wolf this year and he LOVES the belt loops, the pins are okay but the belt loops are “awesome” to quote him since the lego movie that’s the word. If I could make it my way I would do away with pins and have to do the loop and pin requirements to get the loop. Or something close to that. We were at the PBR bull riding here in KC and there was a weblos boy who had a belt completely covered in belt loops, at the time my little tiger had 1 I think, and he said that day he was going to get them all. Now that they are going away he wants to get them ALL (not the snow ski one, we do live in very flat Kansas) before they are gone. My favorite part was he is home with me all summer and breaks, it was easy to get the list and try something new. The summer he really wanted to do the Nova which I assume will not change until next year because it is built on loops. Maybe the new stuff will be cool to but no body I have ever seen has belt loop, they’re just cool to a 7 yr old, more so than patches.

  11. gregonwp I do not agree that all the statements about the LDS scouting program you made are true. Please note your statement about 10 yr. olds being transitioned to Boy Scouts in the LDS Church that is a false statement. The LDS program follows the BSA 98% of the time with few modifications and those modifications are in harmony with the BSA policies along with their approval. I believe you are over re-acting to those few modifications. The mission of the LDS Church and the BSA are the same to develop a quality program and develop future leaders. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • Thanks for the correction. BSA Policy allows 10 year olds to join Boy Scout Troops (as long as they’ve completed 5th grade). I didn’t realize that LDS Boy Scout Troops also allow 10 year olds to join.

      • gregonwp Let me run the LDS Church policy by you one more time. The Church of Jesus Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints known as the LDS or Mormon Church only I repeat only allows 11 yr. old youth to join the Boy Scouts of America all 10 years and younger youth are either Webelos or Cub Scouts. This is the policy of the Church and only the First Presidency of the Church can change this and if they do they will meet with the National Boy Scouts of America for approval and all LDS Scout units Nationwide will follow the new policy. If you chose to believe other wise there is no explanation I can say that will convince you. gregonwp the policies of the BSA and the LDS Church have been written, promoted and approved by smarter men than you and I for over a hundred years. They were men of vision and love for Americas youth. gregonwp your interpretation that I or other LDS Leaders violate the policies of the BSA is simply ridicules and at best simply bashing dedicated LDS Scout leaders. If you have not taken the Wood badge course I hope you do so soon. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  12. I, too, am disappointed in the elimination of the Academic and Sports program. As a Cubmaster, we utilize this program over the summer to incentivize our kids to attend summer meetings (e.g. bowling, horseback riding, basketball, etc). I did offer input about the books and requirements, but this aspect was never mentioned!

  13. emakar13, what if he doesn’t meet the joining requirements for the troop? My son didn’t even turn 10 until he was part way through 5th grade, much less the 11 that is required to join Boy Scouts without AoL. If he had joined for the first time as a 5th grader, Boy Scouts would not have been an option for him:

    “1.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.”

  14. Another thing I heard today from the Scout shop manager. New manuals and books will be available in the scout shops in January 2015, to give us leaders time to plan. If this is true, this will give especially us Bear/Webelos leaders enough time to plan out that iffy time between Blue and Gold (when they’ll earn Webelos under the old system) and June 1, when they will have to transfer to the new. I’ve already noticed that a few of the AOL requirements can be subsitituted with current Webelos activity badges (I think three of them can be), so if we get manuals and handbooks in January, we can have time to plan which ones to focus on (or if we want, earn all 20 in the first year, for the last time ever).

  15. I’m worried. In DC where everyone is crazy busy we only meet once a month as a den, and once a month as a pack. This is saying 3 meetings to earn each of 7 requirements. Not sure anyone in our Pack will be able to earn any rank with this new program. 21 den meetings plus monthly pack meetings just isn’t in the cards for us. Has anyone gotten a good look at this. Do you think it will be possible to cover more requirements in a meeting than what is outlined in the leader guide to get these done in less meetings?

    • This isn’t something that is unique to DC. Us folks here in fly-over country have a busy life outside of scouting as well, with sports, PTA, chess club, drama club, etc., not to mention many families have two working parents. But, thanks for bringing this up because it is another huge problem with the new program.

      How many Dens actually have 2 or more den meetings per month? Squeezing in the minimum number of requirements to meet rank by the end of the school year will be very challenging for Packs whose Dens meet only once or twice a month. Look at Tiger for example – the current program has just 15 requirements to earn the Tiger rank, and I’ve found that many brand new Tiger Den Leaders struggle to get all of their Tiger Cubs to complete them by the end of the year. The new program has over 35 requirements to earn Tiger (depending on which elective adventure is used for the 7th adventure). I predict we’ll be handing out much fewer Tiger patches in 2016 than we do now.

      • I’m in Florida and we have all the same types of activities, but somehow, for the past 15 years, all our dens have managed to meet three times a month, plus a pack meeting. And sometimes getting rank with that schedule seems rushed. I wouldn’t even know how you would get rank with the current program if you didn’t meet at least twice a month.

        I think it’s about making Scouting a priority. I’m a den leader (as well as other positions) and my husband is our Scoutmaster. I have a Cub, a Boy Scout, and a Crew member. Except for December, that we take off from Scouting for the most part, I have had four non-Scouting weekends this entire school year and we still squeeze in sports for our youngest.

        • Kudos Krissie Buzen! I too have always held at least 3 den meetings a month. The week which includes our Pack meeting is the only week that we don’t have den. I want to give each boy the chance to learn and achieve without feeling too rushed. I can’t get everything accomplished in any shorter time. I’m also a Girl Scout Leader and I hold weekly troop meetings for them as well. Yes, we do make Scouting a priority but my kids are also involved in other things too. It all boils down to commitment and making the effort.

        • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply other places weren’t busy. I just grew up in a time and place very different from DC of the 2010s. Not sure if it is place or era that causes the difference from when. Most parents in the pack work, myself included. I don’t think I’d have any leaders if I said they had to meet every week. We’re rebuilding a pack from 1 boy two years ago to 40 now (thanks to our retiring cub master who came back to rescue it, even tho his youngest was in high school.) Almost all the leaders are new to scouting and nervous about their skills as is. Hoping these changes don’t send them running.

          All 10 of my wolves all got their rank this week. One meeting a month plus a couple outings. But the current program has several whole requirements plus parts of others which must be done at home, not as part of the den. That made it doable because most months there was homework.

          I’m not even sure the church we are charted to can give enough space for all six dens to meet often enough to get these. I’ll try not to panic yet.

      • If dens are not going to meet more often then it seems that Blue and Gold may no longer be a reasonable target date to receive rank. It may need to be June instead.

    • also in the DC/Balt area. we expected each Den to meet 2x a month, plus one pack mtg. most were also expected to do 1 outing of some type a month. tigers only met 1 den mtg and 1 outing a month, plus the pack mtg. all den meetings and pack mtg are same day of the week. ‘wed is scout night’. you make it fit as it can, and that works for 90% of the boys in the pack. I help parents/boys know what needs to be made up if they miss meetings. It works, and that was with a plan to get people done rank by Blue and Gold in Feb. That part’s likely going out the window with the new program, but that’s okay. Tigers may need to move to two den meetings though.

      I don’t see a 1 mtg a month group being able to get through the current program. they designed it based on the BSA model with more meetings a month than that.

      • It has been a while since I was a Den Leader, but I am a Unit Commissioner and have always been aghast that den meetings were only two times a month with a Pack meeting as well. When I did it we definitely had three den meetings a month or two meetings and an outing.
        I blame National. If you look at the training it actually pushes two den meetings and the pack meeting! It’s like they are afraid to ask folks to commit the time because they won’t join. I mean look what sports teams require and parents don’t bat an eye. The problem is that society no longer sees the relevance of Scouting

        • I agree completely. I’m still hopeful for rank at blue and gold. Why would the new program developers think it’s a good idea to steer away from that? Any explanation? It’s all about priorities. Keeping den meetings and pack meeting days the same helps. People pay big bucks for their kids to participate in sports,and they’ll even miss church for months at a time to attend that Sunday am game, but if we try to raise rates to make Scouts seem more “important” I they’re of the parents (more money invested means more attendance), we are turned down. In our family, scouts is more of a commitment than any other after school activity.

        • I don’ t think that the new program developers are steering away from a Blue and Gold as a target date for rank advancement. I was just conjecturing because of the concern I saw about how much there is to do with the new program. I am being led to believe that it is still being done predominantly in den meetings.
          Blue and Gold is a nice date to shoot for, but it seems to have taken on a life of its own and sometimes leaders get a bit crazy and stress everyone out…….LOL

        • I actually had a parent say exactly that. Her son does karate. She says to me, “I pay $25 for scouts and $200 for karate. Guess which activity is going to be getting more attention?” Then she proceeded to tell me that she can’t lead the den next year but they aren’t quitting. At least I can be happy for that although now we need to find a new leader for next year’s Wolf den.

  16. Two den meetings and a pack meeting is fine. Many of the things a boy needs to do should be done at the home, so homework is given.

    • With the new advancement model (the one we are using now) most of the work is supposed to be done in the den. They went away from asking scouts to do work at home as some homes are less supportive than others.

  17. As my son’s Tiger Cub Den Leader, I’m actually relieved. He’ll be just finishing his Wolf year when the new requirements go into effect. Change is hard for everyone. I CAN see where the Webelos who are caught in the middle going into their final year are frustrated and I agree they should be allowed to finish the program they started, if they choose. The alternative just might galvanize that den though, so maybe look at the makeup of your den and see if you can make wine with those grapes…

  18. Not sure if “adventure” is the best name. An adventure is a plan which has gone wrong.

  19. I Don’t know if the powers that be are actually looking in on this. I tend to think they aren’t but just so I can say that I said something I will. I totally disagree with watering down the AOL if we are willing to compromise on that what is next? watering down the Eagle? My 10 year old son has been pursuing his AOL siince he was a Tiger. As his CM I know how much work he puts into his tasks but I also know that a lot of parents just sign their books so that their sons can get their awards. I will always take the awards at face value as long as I don’t have a reason to doubt that it was earned. The point I am making is how many people will just sign off on doing the adventures? orsign off so a scout can earn his AOL. I saw an earlier poster say that adults were so happy to wear an AOL knot on their uniform. I earned one when I was a scout and I was totally unaware that one existed. I have been CM since my son began as a Tiger and I don’t wear any knots.

    Boys love their bling they want those belt loops, pins, and patches. I cannot disagree more with taking away those thigns too. I might be jumping the gun perhaps there is going to be another system in place but what I see and have seen is a lot of scouts who don’t see any return on their investment. We are all volunteers and we all have other jobs. I am a public school teacher and do you have any idea how much joy a kid will get from nothing more than a sticker? My son and I have worked hard on his BL’s He picks one out that he wants to earn and we plan it out and do all the work. When our pack plans campouts we make sure that the boys have a chance to earn a few BL’s. I will have to look at this program more in depth but I can honestly say that what I see on the surface is a watered down version of scouting in general. I don’t see the ease in planning and conducting things.

    • I don’t understand why everyone thinks the AoL is watered down. So, the AoL does not explicitly require earning the Webelos badge, but there seems to be more requirements for both the Webelos badge and AoL.
      I do continue to read an implied falacy that all the ranks had to be earned in order to earn AoL and that’s just not the case and in my 15 years and three rotations through all the ranks as a Cub Scout den leader, it never has been a requirement to go through all the ranks.
      In fact, I always thought it was wrong to call it the “highest rank in Cub Scouting” since the boys didn’t have to earn all the ranks. There should be something “official” given to a boy if he started as a Tiger and finished as a Webelos.
      There have been many, many changes over the years to the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program that we don’t even realize because they just became the norm. I’m excited about the new program and somewhat upset that I won’t have a chance to work with it since my youngest is a Webelos 1 now. Once the glitches are worked out, specifically with next year’s Webelos 1’s, I think the changes are going to work well for the boys and in a year or two, it will just be the norm.

      • I think an official recognition given to boys who do go through all the ranks is a great idea! I think until The National office comes up with one, our committee is going to design our own.

    • What exactly about the new AOL is “watered down”? Not earning Webelos badge? One didn’t have anything to do with the other, other than adding 3 more pins, everything else was new.

    • Please explain what you mean by your son has been working on his AoL since tigers. There are no AoL requirements in any rank other than Webelos. As a CM, you should know that. Any den leader should know that.

      • I’m sorry I thought some common sense was being applied my mistake. I guess I didn’t articulate my point of view correctly. No obviously there is no requirement for the AOL in any other rank than in Webelos. When as a Tiger my son set his goal for that award and has been working for it all along earning his other badges with his eyes on that prize. He has persevered earning all of his badges, knowing what was needed to get his AOL. This includes getting his Webelos. So what is the rationale for taking the Webelos badge out of the AOL?

        • Thanks for the insult, but as I’ve noted in several other comments, there seems to be a misperception in this forum and some others I’ve read that since AoL is called the “highest rank in Cub Scouting,” that it requires earning all the ranks to earn it. This has come up more than once. I was just hoping that you understood that wasn’t the case.

          Moving on…I still think all the hullabaloo on these changes is much ado about nothing. The new Webelos badge looks like it has more requirements; the AoL looks like it has more requirements. Since there’s still a three-month requirement for Webelos and six month requirement for AoL, it just stands to reason that the boys would earn their Webelos on their way to AoL, whether it’s specified. The only ones who may not would be boys who enter during Webelos 2 and really, what could that percentage possibly be? 1%?

        • The rationale is that if AOL is really supposed to be the lead in, so to speak from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, then why not make I stand alone?
          That way any Scout can earn it whether they have been in since Tigers or join as a 5th grader.
          And as I stated before the requirements that are out there now, barely overlap. So earning the Webelos badge now doesn’t really get you any closer to “the highest award in Cub Scouts”

        • It sounds like there’s a chorus of folks who want a capstone award and have always, rightly or wrongly, perceived AOL that way. I think creating a whole new award for kids who earn each rank is misguided for a few reasons. I also think eliminating the AOL knot/tradition of wearing it on boy scout uniforms would be a mistake. So here’s a simple idea to satisfy the masses: add a device to the award for kids who earned all ranks. It can be a pin through the knot for scouters. It can be a pin through the AOL for boy scouts or if pins are frowned upon make an AOL with a different border. The award and requirements stay the same but the distinction of “doing all of cub scouts” exists in a very minor but tangible way. I personally don’t love my own idea but I think it satisfies a variety of constituencies.

        • Yeah it is an idea, and a good one. If the BSA absolutely must come up with something. But this is such an ADULT issue.
          The only small reason I can see is maybe the promise of more bling will keep kids in. But if they are leaving the program then it is the program that needs fixing. Not the promise of a pin.

        • I think doing away with the knot for scouts is great, because the boys wear the actual AOL patch just under their rank. We should keep the knot patch for scooters though so as the boys become leaders they can wear the knot and let other scouts know they have earned it.

        • I actually think the AOL knot should go away, since it only required a short commitment to earn, and replace it with an “all the way” knot to be worn as a Boy Scout and adult. I think that is more to brag about than just earning one of the 6 ranks in cub scouts. However, I don’t know the origin of the AOL knot, specifically why the BSA thought it was important to immortalize into a knot. There might be a perfectly logical reason. But since not all feel that way, and one currently doesn’t exist, it’s not hard to make up a fun patch to give those boys, just within our pack.

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