Can Cubs go ziplining, and other questions

concord-zip-lineOver the last couple weeks I’ve received questions on various issues from readers. Since they’re probably subjects that others may have questions about, I’ll discuss them here. (And as Joe Friday would say, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Can Cub Scouts go ziplining?

A local nature center is sponsoring a Cub Scout activity day. They’ll be running nature activities for Wolf and Bear advancement as well as some of the Webelos activity badges. Our pack is going to sign up. They’re also offering an opportunity, for an additional fee, for the boys to go on the zipline. Is it OK for them to go on the zipline, and what’s involved in getting the parents’ OK? Continue reading “Can Cubs go ziplining, and other questions”

What Cub Scout advancement chairs need to know

Cub_ranks_210Last month we explored one of the essential but often neglected committee functions in a Cub Scout pack – the membership coordinator. In this article we’ll look at another position that’s essential to smooth operations – that of the advancement chairperson. If you’ve recently taken on advancement for your pack, you’re finding out that it’s an important job, but be assured that it’s not overwhelming once you learn what’s involved.

Advancement is one of the eight methods of Cub Scouting, and it is one of the most visible. Cub Scouts is all about fun, and while they’re having fun the boys are also doing things that lead to advancing in rank. It’s through advancement that the familiar symbols appear: rank badges, Progress through Ranks beads, arrow points and activity badges, as well as the supplemental awards such as Academics & Sports belt loops and pins.

Since boys like to receive recognition for the things they’ve earned, and since families like seeing their boys receive them, it’s important for the pack to make sure that they’re promptly awarded. This is where the pack advancement chair comes in. Continue reading “What Cub Scout advancement chairs need to know”

The 2013 Guide to Advancement, part 2

2013AdvancementIn last week’s article, we listed some of the changes incorporated in the 2013 Guide to Advancement, the current revision to the comprehensive 2011 edition. Many policies have been tweaked and clarified, and since most of us have become familiar with the 2011 document by now, it’s useful to look at the differences. Here’s a continuation of last week’s look at the changes that impact troops. Continue reading “The 2013 Guide to Advancement, part 2”

The 2013 Guide to Advancement, part 1

2013AdvancementThe long-awaited 2013 revision to the standard reference text for Scouting’s advancement programs has been released, leaving a somewhat bewildering series of changes and clarifications in its wake.

The 2011 document did a great job of consolidating, codifying and clarifying BSA’s rules relating to advancement. The process of creating the work was a careful one involving professionals and volunteers from all regions. The language was carefully chosen to clearly state the various rules, policies and procedures. It became the go-to answer book on all things advancement. Continue reading “The 2013 Guide to Advancement, part 1”

The advancement treadmill

ranks_125Of all the attributes we associate with Scouting, certainly the uniform is the most directly visible, but the advancement program is certainly the most palpable (and visible when the insignia of recognition appear on the uniform).

Scouting is measured by advancement. Starting in Cub Scouts, den leaders use the advancement program as a roadmap for their den programs. They dutifully plan meetings and activities and lead their dens, checking off requirements in their trail books as they go-see-it, learn about God, country, family and self, and eventually earn badges for learning about community, outdoors, mental, physical and technology skills. In Boy Scouts, there’s a similar list of things to do in order to achieve each rank, and Scouts spend their troop meetings and campouts running down the list and getting signoffs for the things they’ve done. Merit badges follow, each with their own list of requirements to be completed and signed off.

Indeed, to the untrained eye (and many Scouts, Scouters and families too), Scouting is all about completing requirements and advancing. Continue reading “The advancement treadmill”