Bear program changes

new_bear_book_250In our continuing series on changes coming this year to the Cub Scout program, this month I’ll preview the Bear changes along with some pointers on how to do some advance preparation for some of the Adventures.

As always, be sure to consult the BSA’s Program Updates website for the official word on the changes to the program. Note that the recently-held webcasts on the Cub changes have been posted for viewing at any time.

The core adventures required for Bear are:

  • Bear Claws (pocketknives)
  • Bear Necessities (camping and preparation)
  • Fellowship and Duty to God (learn about your faith)
  • Fur, Feathers and Ferns (wildlife and plants)
  • Grin and Bear It (Cub Scout carnival)
  • Paws for Action (American heritage, law enforcement)

Elective Adventures include pet care, Native American heritage, marbles and science.

Bear Required Adventures that require special planning

Bear Necessities

  • #1. While working on your Bear badge, camp overnight with your pack at resident camp or another Scouting event. The pack should promote and plan to participate in the council’s Cub resident camp or plan its own family campout.
  • #2. Attend a campfire show, and participate by performing a song or skit with your den. This is best done while at a campout. The den leader should have some songs or skits ready.
  • #7. Help set up a tent. Pick a good spot for the tent… Do during your campout, or during suitable outdoor weather in your area.

Fur, Feathers and Ferns

  • #1. Hike/walk for one mile. Identify six signs that any animals, birds… Plan during suitable outdoor weather in your area.
  • #3. Visit one of the following: Zoo, wildlife refuge, nature center, aviary… Plan ahead; find out days, hours and programs available at facilities near you.
  • #5. Use a magnifying glass to examine examine plants more closely. Describe what you see… You can do this on your hike or visit to a nature center.
  • #7. Plant a vegetable or herb garden. During your growing season. You could even get started during the summer prior to third grade.

Grin and Bear it

  • #2. Working with members of your den, organize a Cub Scout carnival and lead it at your pack meeting. Could be as simple as each Scout running a carnival-type game for the rest of the pack.

Paws for Action

  • #1b. Find out where places of historical interest are located in or near your community, town or city. Go and visit one of them with your family or den. Plan ahead for a den outing.
  • #2a. Visit a local sheriff or police office. Most police agencies welcome Scouts for a guided tour; arrange well in advance.
  • #3b. Do a cleanup project that benefits your community. Find out about and participate in a cleanup day in your community, or arrange one yourself with the help of your parks department.

Bear Elective Adventures that require special planning

Baloo the Builder

  • #3. Select and build one useful project and one fun project using wood. See if a home center near you has workshops or building days for kids.

A Bear Goes Fishing

  • #4. Go on a fishing adventure and spend a minimum of one hour trying to catch a fish. Plan a fishing outing for the den, or attend an event sponsored by a local fishing club. Observe your state’s fishing regulations.

Bear Picnic Basket

  • #1c. Go on a grocery shopping trip with your den or with an adult… Make parents aware of the requirement and ask them to help their Scout with completing it.
  • #2b. With the help of an adult, select one food item, and follow a recipe to prepare it outdoors for your family or den… You could plan a den cookout in good weather. Ask each Scout to select an item ahead of time and ask parents to help them prepare to cook it.
  • #3. Select and prepare two nutritious snacks for yourself, family or den. Use a duty roster to rotate snack assignments; make sure each Scout gets to bring a snack to two den meetings.

Beat of the Drum

  • #6. Visit an Order of the Arrow dance ceremony or American Indian event within your community. Check with your chapter chief; find out when the ceremony team will be performing. Or, find and attend a native American festival.

Critter Care

  • #7. Visit a local veterinarian or animal shelter caretaker… Call your humane society or bird rescue center and arrange a visit


  • #6. Visit the sheriff or police station. Find out how officers collect evidence. This requirement can be met along with the Paws with Action Core Requirement – the Scouts just have to ask the question.

Roaring Laughter

  • #6. Practice at least two run-ons with your den, and perform them at a pack meeting or campfire program.  Do along with Bear Necessities #2.

Salmon Run

  • #6. Visit a local pool or swimming area with your den or family.
  • #9. Attempt the BSA Beginner Swimmer classification. Check with your high school or YMCA; many have open swim nights with lifeguard supervision. However, always complete Safe Swim Defense online training yourself.

(The Roundtable Resources tab has a downloadable version of these notes.)

The next article in this series will cover changes and suggestions for Webelos den leaders.

Previous articles in this series:

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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