Today is June 1, 2015 – a date that a lot of Scouters have been anticipating, either with excitement or dread. It’s the day on which the biggest overhaul of the Cub Scouting program in recent memory takes place.
The rollout of the Cub Scout Adventure Program, an outcome of the 2011 strategtic plan, includes many features intended to increase interest, engagement and retention for the Scouts as well as make life easier for the adult leaders. By condensing the myriad requirement complexities of the various den-level programs into a common, more easily understood structure of Adventures, it’s hoped that planning den and pack meetings will be streamlined (giving you back one of those one-a-week hours that seem to mysteriously multiply). It makes things clearer for the parents as well – and hopefully a lot more fun for the boys we serve.
As with any well-run activity, though, you can’t just drop in unprepared and run an interesting and engaging den or pack meeting. Planning and preparation will still take time. Over the last several months, I’ve been running a series of articles outlining some of the changes, along with things that den leaders will need to think about well in advance in order to make them happen. If you haven’t had a chance to look them over, here are links to the articles:
- Tiger Adventures that require special planning
- Wolf Adventures that require special planning
- Bear Adventures that require special planning
- Webelos Required Adventures that require special planning
- Webelos Elective Adventures that require special planning
- Arrow of Light Adventures that require special planning
The folks at the Boy Scouts of America have been hard at work developing new program materials, handbooks, training and resources to help Cub Scout leaders learn about and prepare for the Adventure program.
It wouldn’t be Scouting without a handbook, right? And the new Cub Scout program comes with a complete set of handbooks for the Scouts – Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelos – English versions in Perfect Bound (the conventional glued paper spine) or a spiral-bound edition (nice because the pages can lie flat and be folded back), and Spanish versions in Perfect Bound. The handbooks, as before, contain everything a Scout will know and do throughout the year and have places to mark off Adventure achievements as they’re completed.
Den leaders get new handbooks, too, and the four Den Leader Guidebooks are available, also in English and Spanish versions. They contain complete den meeting plans, September through May, for dens meeting twice a month as well as supplemental activities for dens that meet more often.
There’s also a new Cub Scout Leader Book that reflects the changes to the program, and every leader should have a copy.
Other updated materials now available are the den advancement wall charts, Cub Scouting program posters featuring Ethan, our new spokesScout, pocket and wall certificates, the den and pack ceremonies book, BALOO training pamphlets and more. The Guide to Advancement has been updated for 2015 to include the Cub Scouting advancement changes.
National Supply Division, also known as ScoutStuff,org, has a complete listing of everything you’ll need for the new Cub Scouting program.
Where do you get them? Start with your local Scout Shop. My contact at our council tells me that most, if not all, National Scout Shops should have everything in stock, but as we get closer to fall, expect them to run short of some items as demand spikes upwards. Call first if you’re making a special trip; usually they’ll set aside the items you need. (By the way, you’ll know it’s a National Scout Shop if the employees are in uniforms with gold shoulder loops.) Your mileage may vary, as they say, at official BSA affiliate retailers, such as sporting goods and hobby stores that carry Scout merchandise.
If it’s not convenient to visit the shop in person, you can order online from ScoutStuff.org.
Every Scout deserves a Trained leader! Training for Cub Scout leaders is available 100% online (though in-person courses are still available in many councils). Online training, accessed through myscouting.org, has been updated and has been organized into shorter, more targeted modules, so leaders can get the training they want when they want it. Fast Start training is still recommended before leaders begin serving Scouts, and the position-specific course must be completed in order to be Trained. Training is available in English and Spanish for all den leader levels, the Cubmaster, the Pack Instructor, and the Pack Committee.
Uniforms and insignia
The good news is that most of the uniforming and insignia doesn’t change, with the exception of Tiger. Formerly known as Tiger Cub, the “Cub” part has been dropped and the Tiger face has been updated to look less little-kid-like. New rank badges, hats and neckerchief slides are available.
Most of the advancement recognition items hadn’t been released the last time I checked, but expect to see them on shelves before fall. As discussed earlier, Adventures are going to be recognized by a belt-loop clip, similar to the Academics and Sports belt loops but narrower. The Immediate Recognition kits, the plastic fobs that hang from the shirt button with the red and yellow beads that would roll all over the floor, are going away.
The cost of all of this stuff is going up, as you might expect, so be sure to price everything out, advise your parents of the new cost (the new handbooks, for instance, are now $12.99, whereas the now-retired ones were under ten dollars). Be sure to include enough in your budget for the cost of the new belt loops and set your annual dues accordingly if you customarily include those items in your pack fees.
Information on the new program has been coming at us for quite some time. Here are a few links:
- Program Updates for 2015 and Beyond has resources for the new Cub Scouting program as well as updates to other programs that are coming soon. There is also a Program Updates page for LDS units.
- The New Cub Scout Adventure Program, a 13-page PDF, has pretty much all you’ll need to know to gain a basic understanding of the new program.
- ScoutBook, the BSA’s official unit tracking tool, is updated as of today to reflect the new program.
- The May 2015 issue of Scouting Magazine has a great article by Mark Ray titled Everything you Need to Know about the new Cub Scouting program. It’s worth a read, if you haven’t already.
- Scouting’s editor Bryan Wendell has a blog post with 7 things about the new Cub Scout program, taken from the March CubCast podcast program.
- CubHub has ten takeaways for leaders on the new program.
- Unofficial sources include a Pinterest page on the new Cub program and Sherry Smotherman-Short’s Cub Scout Ideas website with comprehensive information on the new program.