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New Cub Scout Advancement FAQ's

Q: What is an “adventure?”

A: An adventure is the new basic program unit in Cub Scout advancement. Each adventure represents an integrated program that uses a theme to deliver content derived from the desired outcomes. For example, one of the Webelos adventures, the Webelos Walkabout, achieves multiple desired outcomes within a single, theme-based adventure:

Q: Why was the Academics and Sports program retired?

A: The value of the fun and engaging activities present in many of the requirements for the Academics and Sports program was retained. Many of those activities were made part of the adventure recognition program, so boys will still take part in the activities they enjoyed before. The new activities also are more closely aligned with the desired outcomes of the Cub Scout program (character development, participatory citizenship, personal fitness, outdoor adventure, and leadership development).  

Q: I have heard that the program is easier. Why did you do that?

A: The program was not made easier. It offers appropriate challenges to all Cub Scouts with the goal of making Cub Scouting more active, more fun, and easier for den leaders to implement. Advancement will now be simpler for the den leader to administer because all ranks take the same approach to achieving rank advancement: complete seven adventures.

Q: Will the STEM-based Nova program continue?

A: Yes.

Q: How will the STEM-based Nova program change with the retirement of the Academics and Sports program?

A: The STEM team is working on integrating the Nova awards structure with the new Cub Scout adventure program. They will announce the changes when their review is complete.

Q: When will the STEM/NOVA award requirements be modified and how will the new requirements be communicated?

A: Now that the core of the new Cub Scout program development is complete, the development teams are moving on to other, connected elements of Scouting, of which the STEM/NOVA awards are one. The requirements will be revised and released during the first quarter of 2015. When the new requirements are finalized, it will be communicated via Link, Bryan on Scouting and other appropriate channels.

Q: What will happen to the Core Values and the Character Connections?

A: The 12 Core Values of Cub Scouting will be replaced by the 12 points of the Scout Law and will be referred to as Character Compass points in the boys’ handbooks.

Q: Will there be a new handbook for the Arrow of Light Award?

A: The required and elective adventures for the Webelos rank and the Arrow of Light Award will be combined in one shared youth handbook (and complementary Webelos Den Leader Guide). The core adventure requirements for the Webelos rank and Arrow of Light Award differ, but the elective adventures are shared and may be used to meet the requirements of either one.

Q: With seven adventures required for rank advancement in Cub Scouting, will boys still be able to earn their rank advancements by the time the blue and gold banquet is held?

A: Earning a rank advancement in time for the blue and gold banquet is not and has never been a program goal in Cub Scouting. It is a custom in many packs to encourage this, but it is not an expected outcome of the program. The Cub Scout program is a year-round, family-based program. There are plenty of adventures in the new Cub Scout program model to deliver Cub Scouting year-round.

Q: The Archery and BB-gun shooting belt loops and pins will no longer be supported when the Academics and Sports program ends in 2015. Will anything take the place of those recognitions in 2015?

A: If your council has remaining stock of the academic and sports program belt loops, you may continue to use those as recognition until the supply is exhausted. A shooting sports recognition and skill development program for district- and council-operated day camps and resident camps is under development and will be released thru the National Camp School process beginning this fall.

Q: In what order should the adventures be completed?

A: There is no prescribed order for the adventures. Consider local needs, including the weather, local holidays and school schedules, and other resources and then sequence the adventures in an order that makes sense for your local circumstances

Q: How do I describe the new advancement devices in writing?

A: Adventures are a part of Cub Scout and Webelos Scout advancement. There are over eighty subjects to explore. Capitalize the name but not the word "adventure." Example: "complete the Team Tiger and Tigers in the Wild adventures."

adventure loop- A recognition device given to a Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Scouts for completing the requirements for an adventure. Adventure loops are designed to be worn on the Cub Scout belt. When referring to the device, capitalize the name but not the words "adventure loop." Example: "present the Bear Claws adventure loop."

adventure pin- A recognition device given to a Webelos Scouts for completing the requirements for an adventure. Adventure pins are designed to be worn on the Webelos colors or on the front of the Webelos cap. When referring to the device, capitalize the name but not the words "adventure pin." Example: "present the Castaway adventure pin."

Q: There are new aquatics and water-based adventures at that level. What can I do to prepare myself?

A: Whenever taking part in water-based activities, it is important for leaders to learn the best safety practices by completing the Safe Swim Defense training course. This course is available to all leaders at Link. You should also contact your local council service center to see what support they can provide to find adequate facilities and supervision for this adventures.

Q: How long does the Webelos program last?

A: Most Webelos dens will be active for 16-20 months, depending on when Webelos Scouts transition into a Boy Scout troop. Dens associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints employ a one-year Webelos program.

Q: Has Bobcat been discontinued?

A: No.

Q: Tell me about the adventure loops…

A: Adventure loops are lower in cost than the current academic and sports program loops ($1.39 vs. $1.89). Adventure loops were selected as recognition devices for Tiger, Wolf and Bear Scouts because:

  • Boys really like them
  • They are easy to award and easy to wear

Q: The Arrow of Light rank no longer requires earning the Webelos rank as one of its requirements. Why?

A: Key reasons: 

  • The Arrow of Light rank (and its predecessors) serves the purpose of helping the oldest Cub Scouts transition into a Boy Scout troop. It still serves this purpose – better, in fact, than it did previously. 
  • For boys who join Cub Scouting in grade 5, earning an additional rank in order to earn the Arrow of Light award is a tremendous disincentive and works against their further involvement in Scouting. 
  • Cub Scout ranks are not cumulative as are Boy Scout ranks. Each is rank is a stand-alone, independent experience. In this regard, the requirements used for the current version of the Arrow of Light rank have been an anomaly. 
  • Only boys who join Cub Scouts in their fifth grade year should, after completing their Bobcat requirements, begin working directly on Arrow of Light requirements. All other Cub Scouts would work on earning the Webelos rank first.

Q: Is Arrow of Light now a rank, rather than Cub Scouting’s highest award?

A: Arrow of Light has always been the highest rank in Cub Scouting. Referring to it as an award – or as a rank – may be considered synonyms. Its purpose remains to recognize boys who have prepared themselves to enter Boy Scouting.

Q: Are boys in the fifth grade referred to as Arrow of Light Scouts?

A: Boys who are earning the Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks are Webelos Scouts and are members of Webelos dens.

Q: What happened to the academic and sports program?

A: Many of the activities in the academic and sports program were integrated into the new advancement materials. The use of belt loops and pins for recognition was retained and repurposed to recognize achieving the newly developed adventures.

Q: Are there any changes to the uniforms?

A: No. Current uniforms remain in place, including gold/blue combination for female leaders and the option for Cub Scouts and leaders to “tuck under” the collar of the uniform shirt when wearing a neckerchief. The Tiger Scout cap and neckerchief will reflect the updated design for the Tiger.

Q: Why are we moving to the same oath and law as used in Boy Scouts?

A: One of the recommendations of the BSA’s national strategic plan (a process led by volunteer scout leaders) was to move all of the programs of the Boy Scouts of America to a common statement of values and ideals – the Scout Oath and Law. This aligns each level of program with the mission of the BSA, to help develop young people’s ability to make ethical decisions guided by the values stated in the Scout Oath and Law. Each level in the movement has a separate motto to help young people mature in their ability to live up the values in the oath and law and apply it to their lives.

 Q: Where are the adventure pins for Arrow of Light and Webelos worn?

A: On the Webelos colors or on the front of the Webelos cap.

Q: I was told at our local Scout office that the program will start in September. The webcast says June 1. Which is correct?

A: The new program will kick off for use on June 1, 2015. Dens and units may begin using the new program and its requirements then, or later if they do not run a year-round program.

Q: Are three meetings (two meetings plus one outing) per month required or a recommendation?

A: The program was designed to work best with two meetings and one outing per month. The materials and the activities were developed so as to not tax the attention span of boys of Cub Scout age.

Q: Will Cub Scouts continue to use the current two finger sign, salute, and handshake?

A: Yes.

Q: With the new Webelos program lasting only one year, how will that impact the LDS Cub Scouting program?

A: The Webelos program continues to be designed to be run as either a 18 month, school-year program or a 12 month, year-round program.

Q: Are the pins for Webelos only?

A: Yes. Webelos Scouts will earn adventure pins as part of their advancement to the Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks.

Q: May the Arrow of Light award continue to be worn on the Boy Scout uniform?

A: Yes. The square knot emblem that represents the Arrow of Light rank may be worn on the adult Scouter’s uniform, too.

Q: Why was the former requirement to explain the meaning of the word “Webelos” removed from the Bobcat requirements?

A: The word “Webelos” is defined in the youth handbooks. It was decided that it was unnecessary to make it a requirement as well.

Q: Will the oval and diamond-shaped Webelos rank badges be retained?

A: Yes – both will continue to be available.

Q: Are the adventure loops (and pins) rank-specific?

A: Yes – there is a different set of adventures for boys at each level in the Cub Scout program

Q: Will elements of the Jungle Book be included in the new materials?

A: The influence of the Jungle Book on the Cub Scout program is described in the new materials. Akela, for example, remains as a wise and honored leader.

Q: Why are there not options to earn faith awards to meet the duty to God requirements at the Tiger level as well?

A: The requirements for Tigers is structured to begin a dialogue between the boy and his family about what his family’s belief structure is. Such a discussion was determined to be fundamental to a boy developing his own sense of his duty to God and has no substitute at that age.

Q: Why will the religious emblem be earned as a Wolf and Bear? If you earn it as a Wolf, then what do you do as a Bear?

A: There are alternative requirements at each level. Earning the Duty to God adventure has multiple options.

Q: Do boys get a loop or a pin for recognition?

A: Adventure loops are used for boys completing adventures for the Tiger, Wolf, and Bear ranks. Adventure pins are awarded to boys completing adventures for the Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks.

Q: Is Cub Scouting now a year-round program?

A: Cub Scouting has long supported year round program opportunities. The adventure loops and pins provide opportunities to organize and deliver program experiences year round. Packs chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints encourage a year round program for the units they charter.

Q: Is it true that Bobcat is no longer required?

A: NO. Bobcat remains the first rank that all Cub Scouts earn, regardless of when they join Cub Scouting.

Q: May boys earn additional elective adventures beyond the seven required for each level of rank advancement?

A: Yes. Boys are encouraged to explore as many of the electives for their rank as they wish, either in their den or with their family. Boys may not, however, work on electives from earlier ranks after they have graduated to their next rank and den.

Q: Are the Duty to God adventures achievable for boys whose families do not belong to an organized religious group? A: Yes. Q: Are the arrow points being discontinued?

A: Yes. Boys may earn additional adventure loops and adventure pins as they explore additional opportunities.

Q: How long does it take to earn an adventure?

A: It takes about three meetings to complete an adventure. Adventures generally involve two den meetings and one outing.

Q: How should recognition take place?

A: Boys must be recognized as soon as possible after completing an adventure – and a badge of rank. Pocket certificates are available as well as devices for adventures (adventure loops and adventure pins) and cloth badges of rank. Your pack may establish a practice that makes sense for its members. Two possible examples: 

  • Presenting the device (adventure loop or adventure pin) at a den meeting immediately after completion, and presenting pocket certificates at the next pack meeting 
  • Presenting pocket certificates when the award is completed and bestowing the device at the next pack meeting In any case, no boy should be required to wait more than two weeks to be recognized and to receive his award.

Q: Do boys need to remove previously earned academic and sports program belt loops and pins, or arrow points earned as part of Wolf and Bear advancement?

A: No. Once an award is earned, it may continue to be worn as appropriate

Q: When do boys earn the Whittling Chip?

A: It is part of the Bear Claws adventure, earned while working on the Bear rank.

Q: Will boys be able to earn advancements in rank by the Blue and Gold banquet?

A: While for many packs it is a tradition to encourage boys to earn their rank advancements in time for the annual Blue and Gold banquet, that goal has never been a program requirement in the Boy Scouts of America. However, for boys who earn adventures beginning at the start of the traditional academic year (August/September), it is likely that he would earn the rank advancement by February.

Q: Will the religious awards program continue to be available?

A: Yes.

Q: Do boys need to re-earn Bobcat after June 1?

A: No.

Q: I am concerned that boys with special needs will not be able to keep up.

A: More detailed suggestions on working with special needs boys will be available in each of the new Den Leader Guides. A short answer here: the level of performance for all boys in Cub Scouting is to do his best.

Q: What about those of us who are planning to finish the program using the current set of program materials – will the academics and sports program awards required for some of the Webelos activity badges still be available through next year?

A: The intention is to keep those program materials available while those recognitions are still needed. General comment: dens and packs are free to use the current academic and sports program recognition materials while they remain available at your local scout shot.

Q: Will internet advancement be revised to reflect the new program model?

A: Yes

Q: If the adventure requires an outing, what do we do if it is too cold to go outside?

A: Don’t plan your adventures with significant outdoor requirements for months when the weather is a challenge. You can arrange the adventures in any order that makes sense for where you live.

Q: Can a boy apply the same electives toward both Webelos and Arrow of Light?

A: No. A boy would earn 5 required and 2 elective adventures for Webelos and 4 required and 3 elective adventures for Arrow of Light. The set of elective adventures for both ranks will not allow for “double dipping.” You may earn the adventures in any order and award both Webelos and Arrow of Light on a boy’s 11th birthday.

Q: May boys continue to earn the academic and sports program belt loops and pins?

A: They may continue to earn these recognitions as long as they are available for purchase at your local scout shop.

Q: May a boy earn required adventures for Arrow of Light before he has earned his Webelos rank?

A: Yes

Q: Do the boys need to remove the adventure loops at the end of each year?

A: No – they may continue to wear them on their Cub Scout belt.

Q: Will online advancement allow us to record the new adventures starting on June 1?

A: Yes. Future recording of a boy’s progress will be at the adventure level in addition to the rank level and an advancement report will NOT be required to purchase adventure loops and pins. An advancement report will continue to be required to purchase badges of rank.

Q: Will other awards such as World Conservation Award, the Outdoor Activity Award, National Den Award and the like be available in the new program.

A: Yes. Requirements are being updated and will be released in the new program materials in May.


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