By Annaleis Smith
Oct 14, 2014

Cub Scouting–What IS Changing?

(Part 5a of 10 in a series about the new Cub Scout Adventure Program)

 In Previous posts I already talked about how Cub Scouts will start using the Oath & Law and Cub Scouting’s 12 core values are being replaced by the 12 points of the Scout Law. But what else is changing when the new Cub Scout Adventure Program comes out next year?

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Cub Scout Handbooks will be all new.

New Handbooks – The biggest change for the boys will be the handbooks.  The handbooks will be ALL new – inside and out!  Each handbook will include all the required and elective adventures to earn each rank.  Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks will be combined in one book.  There are all new and updated images and photos of real Cub Scouts having fun.  And their guide throughout the books will be a boy named Ethan. (see this previous post for more information about Ethan)

How a Rank is earned – Previously I mentioned that the Cub Scout ranks are all remaining the same Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos & Arrow of Light. What is changing is the requirements to earn those ranks.  (I actually already wrote about them a few weeks ago in part 1 of this series).  There are just a couple of additional changes to the Tiger and Arrow of Light that were not mentioned before that I would like to cover now.

Tiger name and image – They used to be called Tiger Cubs, now they will be called Tigers. Their rank badge used to have a tiger cub image on it. It will now have a more mature tiger image. (as seen on Handbook Sampler above)

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Arrow of Light rank will no longer require earning Webelos rank first

The Arrow of Light rank will no longer require earning the Webelos badge first. (Yikes! I think this might be one of those “band aid moments” I talked about last week) I’ll admit it has taken me a while to come to terms with this idea. Especially with the fact that a boy will still be able to transfer the Arrow of Light rank badge onto his Boy Scout uniform when he moves into the Boy Scout program. In Cub Scouts we don’t require a boy to go back and earn the ranks he would have earned if he had joined when he was younger. He just jumps in with the boys his same age/grade and starts right there. So, this will now be true for those that join cub scouts when the boys their age are earning the Arrow of Light. They will still earn the Bobcat rank first, the basics of Cub Scouting, and then go on to work on the same rank as the rest of their den. So, what I finally came to understand is that the Arrow of Light rank (and badge) shows that a boy has done what is required to become a Boy Scout.  That Arrow of Light badge on his Boy Scout uniform shows that he was a Cub Scout who proved his readiness to become a Boy Scout.  The Arrow of Light required adventure called “Scouting Adventure” gives a pretty good idea of how prepared a boy will be to join Boy Scouts. You can see it in the Handbook Sampler page 79 – 104.

Simplified Advancement (My favorite change) for all ranks and all ranks will have new immediate recognition – adventure loops or pins. (Explained in part 1 and part 2 of this weekly series about the new Cub Scout Adventure program) Advancements will be the same for every rank – 7 adventures as well as the parent guide & cyber chip award. Advancement will be simpler for boys, parent and leaders too!

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Academics and Sports program will be discontinued May 2015

Cub Scout Belt Loops & Pins (Academics and Sports Program) – will be discontinued May 2015.  I know, I know… many of you really love that program and don’t want to see it go away.   I think most leaders have a love/hate relationship with this program.  We love it because boys could receive awards at pack meeting more often.   We hate it because a boy could earn lots of them and blow the pack budget.  This is the newest part of the Cub Scout program, the most current, modern and for some boys the most fun.  With the exception of for the current Webelos rank, most boys who earned a belt loop or pin were not progressing toward their rank because of it. I could probably do a whole post on just this one change (maybe I will later) but let me just let you know… the team of leaders that wrote the new adventures looked at the statistics for the most popular belt loops and where feasible they incorporated those belt loops right into the new adventures. (For example take a look at the Wolf adventure “Paws on the Path” and you will see many requirements similar to the current “Maps and Compass” Belt loop)  So, don’t be sad that they are discontinuing this program because the best parts of it continue to live on as parts of the new adventures.images-36

Q – Our local district offers a Cub Scout activity day using the Academics and Sports program—we call it “Belt Loop College.” What will replace that? We will begin planning next year’s Belt Loop College next month; what program feature should we use as a planning guide?

A – New immediate recognition devices were released at the May 2014 National Annual Meeting. The Academics and Sports program will be retired June 1, 2015, so the district program you described may continue in the same manner through that date. The content for the Academics and Sports program has been incorporated into many of the new Cub Scout adventure recognitions. Two alternatives may work for your district:

  •  Create a similar program around the Cub Scouting elective adventures.
  • Provide a single embroidered emblem for participation in an enjoyable day of Cub Scout activities (which could incorporate the activities that were present in the Academics and Sports program).

Cub Scouting what else IS changing – coming next week (Part 5b of this series) we will take a closer look at the new Leader guides and other leader resources.

Annaleis Smith
Author:  Annaleis Smith,  Council Cub Scout Chair



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One thought on “Cub Scouting–What IS Changing?

  1. AvatarTara Scarborough

    “That Arrow of Light badge on his Boy Scout uniform shows that he was a Cub Scout who proved his readiness to become a Boy Scout.”
    Thank you for that rationale. I think I get it now. Like you, that makes me breathe a little more easily, as I was all, “Wait, what??” about AoL being a rank and yet still being allowed on the Boy Scout uniform.


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