It’s waaay different!

tigerwolf_250It’s been said that change is inevitable, and that nothing worthwhile is accomplished without change. We cannot start to change until we move out of our comfort zone.

Cub Scout leaders, prepare to be uncomfortable!

We’re a little under a year away from the national rollout of the new Cub Scout structure and program, initiated from the results of the 411 Project started a couple years ago to examine how to sustain and grow Scouting into the next decade and beyond. Details of the changes have been announced in stages and revised even before going into effect. There’s a lot to know and understand, and we’re here to help.

When you attend Roundtable, you’ll get an overview of the changes during the coming year through the Cub Scout Leader breakout sessions. The national Roundtable syllabus includes two months devoted to how to prepare, but our Mighty Ottawa District Roundtable staff will be breaking it down and discussing the new program a little bit at a time each month. Candy Kniaz, our district Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, says the new program is “waaay different!” She will be sharing with me what’s new and what she’ll be covering, and I’ll pass along her research and wisdom in a new post every month.

One saving grace is that most Cub Scout den leaders move up with their dens year after year, and in doing so they don’t repeat the same rank. For a Wolf leader this year, learning and running next year’s Bear material won’t involve much more of a change than they might have experienced otherwise.

But there are many overall changes to the program that everyone will have to adapt to:

  • You’ve probably heard that the Cub Scout program will use the same Oath and Law as Boy Scouts do. This is one of the cornerstones of the strategic plan; it helps to unify the programs under one values umbrella and improves connection of the Cub Scout program to the mission and aims of Scouting.
  • What have been known as “achievements”, or steps toward earning a rank, will now be called Adventures and will encompass a variety of theme-based experiences, with immediate recognition awarded as each adventure is completed. Seven are required to complete each rank, putting dens on track if they complete about one per month.
  • Rank requirements are updated and, to some extent, simplified in that each rank will have required Adventures that will result in earning a rank once completed. This will help streamline things by providing a better roadmap for den leaders to follow.
  • In addition to the required Adventures, each rank will have elective Adventures, at least one of which must be selected and completed in order to earn the rank. Each rank requires one elective Adventure except Webelos, which requires two, and Arrow of Light, which requires three. And just as with Arrow Points currently, additional elective Adventures that are completed will earn a Scout a recognition device.
  • A dedicated Den Leader Guide for each rank will provide program details specifically for that rank, rather than the current guides which cover all ranks and the pack program.
  • Other minor changes include a name change from Tiger Cubs to Tigers, and Arrow of Light no longer requiring earning the Webelos rank.

Of course, what doesn’t change are the foundations of the Cub Scouting program: the family focus, the den and pack structure, ages and grades of eligibility, the outdoor component and the fun (which, hopefully, will get a boost). And, at least for now, the gender (only boys allowed!).

As mentioned previously, you can pretty much throw out all the old den leader guidebooks and youth handbooks, because everything starts fresh in June 2015 (remember, your Scouts officially move up on June first, so you can start doing the next year’s rank activities then).

And rather than try to detail the new Adventures and other requirements here, you may want to have a look at Sherry Smotherman-Short’s excellent website called Cub Scout Ideas. Besides posting useful how-to articles on running a den and pack, Sherry has put together a great summary of all of the new requirements, from Tiger to Arrow of Light.

The new Den Leader Guides will feature step-by-step instructions for den leaders on how to complete the Adventures, but all ranks have some Adventures that require at least a bit of advance planning in order to pull them off. In future articles in this series, I’ll list those Adventures and information from Candy Kniaz on what you can do in order to give you a heads-up so you won’t be caught short on the day of your den meeting.


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2 Replies to “It’s waaay different!”

  1. I’m looking forward to these changes. Although I appreciated the current books and program, I’ve always thought it was haphazard, overly complex and difficult to wade through. That there’s been some thought put into the program, continuity and over all Tiger to Eagle is a great goal. Once Scouting is “hopefully” seen as a continuum, and not “Cub Program, Boy Scout Program” I hope it helps with retention and membership.

    Thanks for the updates.

    1. One of the biggest issues that I see is the attitude among parents and even den leaders that when they receive Arrow of Light, they are “done with Scouting” and fail to cross over into a troop. We’ll see how the new Webelos & AoL programs deal with integrating more Boy Scout-like activities. Giving the Scouts more control and responsibility would be a good start. Of course, Webelos den leaders can do that now but they need to be somewhat creative in order to do so.

      I also know what you mean as “overly complex”, having been a Bear den leader myself!

      Thanks for the great comment.

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