Friday, September 4, 2015

The Adventure Begins - The New Cub Scout Program

Author: Jose G. Barr

The new Cub Scout program officially started in June of this year. For many packs, the start of the school year is the launch of the program. Regardless, this new program promises to be an exciting step forward for cub scouting. The last several months leading up to the new program have been full of rumored changes, some true and many others false. Here are some of the facts on the changes that have occurred and my impressions of the new program.

What is Staying the Same?

The cub scout program that my son began last year as a Tiger Cub, was almost identical to the one that I was a part of when I was his age. The new program will not be changing the structure of the packs or dens, nor the age and gender requirements (there are rumors of a Lion rank for kindergarten). the most significant change is to the way a scout earns their rank and exemplifies the ideals of scouting.

The Cub Scout Oath and the Law of The Pack have been retired, all cub scouts will now learn the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. This brings the cub scout program more inline with the boy scouts and allowing the boys to be better prepared as they graduate into the boy scout program.

As a young cub scout I earned many belt loops from the Sports program (academics was added in 1991), as did Joseph over the past year. That program has also been retired. along with it go the arrow points, beads and disks that demonstrated a scouts advancement through his rank. In today's program new belt loops will be used to show a scouts progress through the program and advancement.


The new program will have the scouts participating in "Adventures". The scouts will have to complete 5 or 6 (depending on their rank) mandatory adventures and 1 or 2 elective adventures.  As each adventure is completed they will receive their adventure loop (belt loop). Once they have 7 completed they are eligible to advance to the next rank.

Council Fire Adventure Loop
Just because the program only requires 7 does not mean that the fun ends with the 7th achievement. there are a total of 19 adventures for the Tigers, Wolves and Bears, and 27 for Webelos and Arrow of Light Ranks. A word of warning though, please check with your worship organization for the timing of the religious medal. In our case, as Catholics, we have to have all requirements done and paperwork submitted to our Diocese (a district that is overseen by a Bishop and to which our church belongs) by mid December.

Running With the Pack Loop
The new program is also more active than the old one. The scouts will be doing more rather than just listening.  The program emphasizes the hallmarks of scouting, being in the outdoors and having fun while learning. During the past year as a tiger, all the boys could think about was the graduation camping trip. Boys are adventurous by nature and this new program takes advantage of that.

I am truly excited about this new program and where it is taking cub scouting. At first it seemed like a daunting challenge, changing the old way of thinking about the program and how to run it. As I have learned more about it, I have come to realize that it is much simpler and more fun. I hope that I can give my scouts the best experience ever.  So over the next year I will be writing more about my experiences with this amazing new program.

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