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Cub Scout Program Modifications Make Advancing Easier!

Answers to your questions about the Cub Scout modifications

The BSA announced this week that some Cub Scout adventure requirements that previously were mandatory will become optional, in a move intended to give Cub Scouters more control over their den program.

Extensive feedback from the field indicated that many dens were finding it difficult or impossible to complete the adventures required for advancement. In a survey conducted in September 2016, only 36 percent of the dens with eight boys in a den completed the adventures required to advance in rank by the end of the 2015-2016 program year.

What are the modifications?

Some adventure requirements that previously were mandatory will become optional, in a move intended to give Cub Scouters more control over their den program.

The changes, which take effect today (Nov. 30, 2016), were approved by the National Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

A den may choose to continue with the previous adventure requirements or to use the modifications for some or all of its adventures. The current handbooks provide a wealth of resource ideas to support each adventure. The detailed how-to information in the handbooks should continue to guide the “nuts and bolts” of den activities.

Outdoor program continues to be the focus of at least one required adventure at each level as well as several elective adventures. Options for day programs rather than overnight camping are now extended to all, rather than only those packs whose chartered organizations do not permit Cub Scout camping.

The number of adventures required for Webelos and Arrow of Light been reduced. In addition to the five Webelos required adventures and the four Arrow of Light required adventures, at least one elective adventure must be completed at each level.


  • You won’t need to buy any new materials. The new requirements will be posted in a free addendum available at Link. This will supplement the handbooks in current circulation and for sale online and in Scout shops.
  • While the overall feedback from den leaders about the new Cub Scout program has been very positive, some den leaders said a number of the new adventures had requirements that were too difficult for dens to complete within the Scouting year.
  • The number of new Cub Scouts is up in many areas of the country, but rank advancement rates have not kept pace, meaning the BSA’s team of volunteers and staff advisers wanted to react quickly to eliminate what might have become a roadblock for some dens.
  • A national volunteer task force developed a solution: Make more of the adventure requirements optional, giving dens more flexibility to match their unique needs.
  • The modifications are designed to ensure that adventure requirements are achievable by today’s Cub Scout dens within a program year. This means they are achievable by all Cub Scouts, regardless of background or socioeconomic status.
  • Most of the modifications involve the number of requirements that must be completed, reducing the mandate to a number achievable within the limited time available to many dens. This is done while retaining the rich program options that allow leaders to build strong programs adapted to their needs.
  • The changes increase den-level customization. Units that can handle more content, perhaps because they meet more often or for longer periods, can — and should! — keep the optional requirements part of their program. On the other hand, those that have struggled to finish the requirements will welcome these changes as a way to meet their needs.
  • With the modifications, dens should be able to complete one adventure in approximately two den meetings.
  • The transition should be seamless, with leaders able to use revised requirements as the den begins any new adventure.

All modifications can be used NOW! Download the program changes HERE!

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