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Cub Scout awards getting updated to match new Cub Scout program

April 9, 2015

The countdown continues to the debut of the new Cub Scout program. As of today, it’s T-minus 54 days until the June 1, 2015, launch.

News about the update seems to show up weekly as we get closer to go time.

The most recent announcement: The requirements for the National Den Award, National Summertime Pack Award, Cub Scout World Conservation Award and Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award have been revised to reflect the new program.

You can find the information at the always-helpful Scouting Wire.

Or read on to find out more about these awards.

National Den Award

What it is: The National Den Award recognizes dens that conduct a quality, year-round program. It can be earned only once in any 12 months. The 12-month period (charter year, calendar year, etc.) is determined by the pack committee.

Service projects, field trips, character development, and Cub Scout camping are areas that are emphasized. Dens earn the award as a team, not as individual den members. The recognition is a ribbon for the den flag or den doodle.


A. Have at least 50 percent of the den’s Tigers, Cub Scouts, or Webelos Scouts attend two den meetings and one pack meeting or activity each month of the year.

B. Complete six of the following during the year:

  1. Use the denner system within the den.
  2. In a Tiger den, use shared leadership and rotate the boy/adult host team.
  3. Have 50 percent of the den go on three field trips per year. A field trip may be used in place of a den meeting.
  4. As a den, attend a Cub Scout day camp, Cub Scout or Webelos Scout resident camp, or a council family camping event with at least 50 percent of the den membership.
  5. Conduct three den projects or activities leading to a discussion of the Scout Law.
  6. Have 50 percent of the den earn at least three elective adventure loops or adventure pins.
  7. Have 50 percent of the den participate in a patriotic ceremony or parade.
  8. Have 50 percent of the den participate in a den conservation/resource project.
  9. Have 50 percent of the den participate in at least one den service project.

See page 43 of the new Cub Scout Leader Book.

National Summertime Pack Award

What it is: This award encourages packs to keep the fun going all year long. Instead of hibernating in the summer, packs who earn this award schedule activities in June, July and August (or during other school vacations if the pack is in a year-round school).

How it’s earned: Dens with an average attendance of at least half their members at the three summer pack events are eligible for a colorful den participation ribbon. Boys who participate in all three pack events are eligible to receive the National Summertime Pack Award pin, which they can wear on the right pocket flap of their uniform. This is an individual recognition for boys, not adults.

Cub Scout World Conservation Award

What it is: This award provides an opportunity for individual Wolf Scouts, Bear Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts and Venturers to “think globally” and “act locally” to preserve and improve our environment. This program is designed to make youth members aware that all nations are related through natural resources.

Requirements for this award must be completed in addition to any similar requirements completed for rank.

Wolf Scouts must:

  1. Earn the Paws on the Path adventure.
  2. Earn the Grow Something adventure.
  3. Complete requirements 1 and 2 from the Spirit of the Water adventure.
  4. Participate in a den or pack conservation project in addition to the above.

Bear Scouts must:

  1. Earn the Fur, Feathers, and Ferns adventure.
  2. Earn either the Bear Goes Fishing or Critter Care adventure.
  3. Complete requirement 3 from the Baloo the Builder adventure by constructing a bird feeder or a bird house as one of the options.
  4. Participate in a den or pack conservation project in addition to the above.

Webelos Scouts (Including Boys Earning Arrow of Light Rank) must:

  1. Earn the Building a Better World adventure.
  2. Earn the Into the Wild adventure.
  3. Earn the Into the Woods adventure.
  4. Earn the Earth Rocks adventure.
  5. Complete requirements 1, 3a, and 3b in the Adventures in Science adventure.
  6. Participate in a den or pack conservation project in addition to the above.

Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award

What it is: Cub Scouts can earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award in each of the program years as long as the requirements are completed each year. The first time the award is earned, the boy will receive the pocket flap award, which is to be worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt. Each successive time the award is earned, a Wolf Track pin may be added to the flap. Leaders should encourage boys to build on skills and experiences from previous years when working on the award for a successive year.


All Ranks

Attend Cub Scout day camp or Cub Scout/Webelos Scout resident camp. Additionally, complete the rank-specific requirements as follows:

Tiger Scouts

Complete the Backyard Jungle adventure, and complete four of the outdoor activities listed below.

Wolf Scouts

Complete the Paws on the Path adventure, and complete five of the outdoor activities listed below.

Bear Scouts

Complete the “Bear Necessities” adventure, and complete six of the outdoor activities listed below.

Webelos Scouts

Complete the Webelos Walkabout adventure, and complete seven of the outdoor activities listed below.

Outdoor Activities

These activities must be in addition to any similar activities counted toward rank advancement and can be accomplished as a family, a den, or a pack.

  • Participate in a nature hike in your local area. This can be on an organized, marked trail, or just a hike to observe nature in your area.
  • Participate in an outdoor activity such as a picnic or a fun day in a park.
  • Eplain the buddy system, and tell what to do if lost. Explain the importance of cooperation.
  • Attend a pack overnighter. Be responsible by being prepared for the event.
  • Complete an outdoor service project in your community.
  • Complete a nature/conservation project in your area. This project should involve improving, beautifying, or supporting natural habitats. Discuss how this project helped you to respect nature.
  • Participate in your pack’s earning the Summertime Pack Award.
  • Participate in a nature observation activity. Describe or illustrate and display your observations at a den or pack meeting.
  • Participate in an outdoor aquatics activity. This can be an organized swim meet or just a den, pack, or family swim.
  • Participate in an outdoor campfire program. Perform in a skit, sing a song, or take part in a ceremony.
  • Participate in an outdoor sporting event.
  • Participate in an outdoor Scouts Own or other worship service.
  • Explore a local city, county, state, or national park. Discuss with your den how a good citizen obeys park rules.
  • Invent an outside game, and play it outside with friends for 30 minutes.

Need more info?

For additional information and the latest on the changes coming to Cub Scouting, head That’s where you’ll find the most recent FAQ’s, transition guidelines, presentations and other materials to support the new program launch.

Posted on April 9, 2015 by in Awards, Cub Scouting // 0 Comments

Host Families Sought in NE/IA for Exchange Students Interested in Scouting

April 8, 2015


CCI Greenheart, a nonprofit agency, is searching for volunteer host families who are passionate about scouting and who are interested in cultural exchange. Exchange students are 15-18 years old, they speak English, have medical insurance, and their own spending money. They reside with local families from August through early June, attend the local public high school, and participate in family & extracurricular activities. Our host families provide a room, meals, and a caring environment. For more information, please contact Alicia Morrison at 402-253-6898 or complete an inquiry at:


Juan (boy, Spain) – age 17 – enjoys scouting, camping, going to the gym, video games, travel, biking, bowling, martial arts, skiing, soccer, listening to music, cooking, watching tv, outdoor activities, dancing, tennis. He has no pet allergies or dietary restrictions. His interviewer says, “Juan is a mix of 3 cultures being Colombian, Spanish and Catalan. He speaks 3 languages and would love to share these 3 cultures with his American host family.”

Yanmeng (girl, China) – age 16 – enjoys scouting, camping, fishing, outdoor activities. She also enjoys basketball, bowling, going to the gym, Golf, Ice skating, Ping pong, Roller skating, Rowing, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, Attending theater, Ballroom dancing, Dancing, Drama (acting/set building), Drawing or Painting, Listening to classical music, Listening to popular music, Photography, Playing an instrument, Singing, Beach, Collecting, Cooking, Gardening, Greenheart Environmental Activities, Handicrafts, Knitting, Model building, Movies, Outdoor activities, Puzzles, Sewing, Student government, Television, & Watching sports. She has no pet allergies or dietary restrictions.

2015 Summer Staff Openings at Northern Tier

March 17, 2015

Paddle.  Portage.  Get Paid. 

You’ll be challenged.  You’ll be inspired.  You’ll make a difference in someone’s life.

Northern Tier is a National High Adventure Program of the Boy Scouts of America with locations in Ely, MN,  Atikokan, ON, and Bissett, MB.  We offer 6-14 day, fully outfitted, guided, wilderness canoe treks for Scouts, Venturers, and Leaders. Northern Tier relies heavily on quality to staff to provide a meaningful program on the trail and great support on base.  Paid internships are available.  Northern Tier is willing and able to help you customize your experience to meet the needs of your program.  Let us know how we can help.

Come deliver wilderness experiences that last a lifetime!

Positions Available

  • Interpreter – Formerly referred to as a guide, this person works primarily with the participants on their 6-14 day trips.  They provide crews with an orientation and outdoor skills training, and area resource to the crew for safety purposes, environmental awareness and historical background.
  • Trading Post – Retail sales for both trail and souvenir items.
    • Food Service – Prepare meals for both on base and trail.
    • Maintenance – Assist in the maintenance of the base.  See additional details.
What is provided?
  • Community living – room and board
  • Two weeks of intensive paid staff training
  • Certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR
  • Gear use including pack, tent, PFD, etc.
  • It is helpful to have paddling and outdoor experience, however the most important qualification is the ability to work well with people.
  • Most positions begin in late May and end in mid-August.
  • At least 18-years of age.
Past Staff Stories
  • “I truly feel like the summer of 2013 has been the best summer I have ever had. I will hold on to these memories until the end of my days!”  – Ethan Hardy.
  • “This summer Up North has been the best yet!  I can’t wait to share it with my brother and parents in a few days.” – Jacob White.

Applications available at  For more information, call 218-365-4811, or email:

Top 5 merit badges for a spring break staycation

March 6, 2015

For Scouts and Venturers, spring break often means a supertrip — a weeklong outing that wouldn’t be possible over a weekend.

But what about those Scouts staying home? They can still find time for Scouting, if they choose, by completing some spring break-friendly merit badge requirements.

Here are five merit badges for making the most out of a spring break staycation.

Each one has requirements Scouts could earn during their school-free week, and all are waymore fun than doing homework.

Know of some I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Salesmanship-MB5. Salesmanship

Spring break trips — to the beach or to the slopes — can be pricy. But rather than destroying the piggy bank for a week of frivolity, an enterprising Scout might try to fill his coffers instead.

If he earns Salesmanship merit badge, he’ll learn the self-confidence, motivation, friendliness and persistence needed to pull in some cold, hard cash.

For example, check out requirement 5B: “Sell your services such as lawn raking or mowing, pet watching, dog walking, snow shoveling and car washing to your neighbors. Follow up after the service has been completed and determine the customer’s satisfaction.”

Who knows? He may be able to fund next year’s spring break trip this year.

Astronomy-MB4. Astronomy

This one’s tailor made for the night owls.

Working on Astronomy merit badge during spring break means Scouts can stay up stargazing as long as they want — without suffering any ill effects at school the next day.

Maybe he’ll use the free time to plan and participate in a three-hour observation session (requirement 8B) or star party (requirement 8C).

Or perhaps he’ll make a nightly check-in with the moon for requirement 6B: “Sketch the phase and the daily position of the Moon, at the same hour and place, for four days in a row.”

Golf-MB3. Golf

Is sun in the forecast? What better time than spring break for earning Golf merit badge?

Since us working stiffs have to be in the office all week, the golf courses of America should be refreshingly wide open for Scouts to swing away.

Once they’ve learned the rules and proper techniques, Scouts earning Golf merit badge complete the greatest requirement of all, requirement 8: “Play a minimum of two nine-hole rounds or one 18-hole round of golf with another golfer about your age and with your counselor, or an adult approved by your counselor.”


Chess-MB2. Chess

Is rain or snow in the forecast? Here’s a merit badge that’s fun in any weather.

Chess merit badge is more than just seeing who can checkmate their opponent first. It covers a variety of winning tactics, including some I’ve never heard of: clearance sacrifice, decoy, discovered attack, double attack, fork, interposing, overloading, overprotecting, pin, remove the defender, skewer, zwischenzug.

Spring break offers a nice opportunity for Scouts to gather and complete requirement 6C: “Organize and run a chess tournament with at least four players, plus you. Have each competitor play at least two games.” Set up the board, pop some popcorn and get playing.

But be warned, chess-playing parents: Once your Scout earns this one, he’ll be tough to beat.

Model-Design-and-Building-MB1. Model Design and Building

Why spend spring break merely watching sci-fi movies when you could create something that might appear in one?

That’s Model Design and Building merit badge, and requirement 5 is awesome: “Build a special-effects model of a fantasy spacecraft that might appear in a Hollywood science-fiction movie. Determine an appropriate scale for your design—one that makes practical sense. Include a cockpit or control area, living space, storage unit, engineering spaces, and propulsion systems.”

That could be one of the BSA’s greatest — and least-known — merit badge requirements.

What else?

What other merit badges make sense for spring breakers? Let me know in the comments.

Other “top 5 merit badges” posts

Looking for others in my “Top 5 merit badges” series? Click here.

Posted on March 6, 2015 by in Merit Badges, Top 5 merit badges

7 things I learned about the new Cub Scout program by listening to the latest CubCast

March 5, 2015

cubcast-logoJune 1’s launch of the new Cub Scout program is approaching fast.

Feeling less than prepared? The CubCast team hears you. That’s why in the March 2015 edition the hosts and their guest discuss how Cubmasters and den leaders can get ready for the new Cub Scout program.

Talk about perfect timing.

The guest: Ken King, a volunteer from the Three Fires Council in St. Charles, Ill. King was a member of the task force that conceived and designed the new Cub Scout program materials that will be released in May and become active on June 1, 2015. (Bryan on Scouting readersshould remember King’s name.)

You really should take 14 minutes to listen to the March 2015 CubCast. These podcasts keep getting better and better and have become essential listening for Scout leaders.

Still need convincing? Check out seven things I learned about the new Cub Scout program by listening.

7. The program materials debut May 1.

That’ll give you plenty of time to check out the actual materials you’ll use with your Cub Scouts. (You can also see a ton of content now at the BSA’s Program Updates page.)

“Pick up a copy of the youth handbook that you’ll be working with and the den leader guide that you’ll need and spend some time reviewing,” King says, “because the den leader guide will map out how to deliver a den meeting in great detail.”

6. The new Cub Scout program will cost the same (or maybe less).

This should please a lot of you.

“The number of adventure loops required is approximately the same as the number of academic and sports loops that are earned by boys right now,” King says. “The new program won’t be appreciably different, and some calculations suggest it will be a little bit less than what it is right now.”

5. You won’t need a ton of extra materials.

You “don’t need to buy additional resources — things like the Group Meeting Sparklers, the Cub Scout Songbook, (and) the How-to Book of Cub Scouting,” King says. “They’re all still available as extra resource materials, but everything is contained in one single den leader guide.”

4. Overall pack meeting structure will look the same.

You’ll “be familiar with it,” King says. You’ve “had experience with pack meetings but, some things we’ve developed to help them be more successful is we have a team that’s putting together new pack meeting plans.”

So it’s the same, only a lot better.

3. There are more opportunities for immediate recognition.

Cub Scout-age boys love instant recognition. That’s been a standard at den meetings, and now it’s more true at pack meetings, too.

“There’s also more opportunities for recognition during pack meetings,” King says, “depending on how the pack wants to organize that, boys can be recognized consistently, which will encourage them to be involved in the pack meetings and bring their families in to celebrate their successes.”

2. The transition from old to new is actually really easy.

“Starting on June 1, if you’re a new Tiger, a Wolf, Bear, or starting the Webelos program, just use the new program materials that are in the handbooks and materials,” King says. “They’re designed to make it easy to use, and when they finish their current level of program, they can just step into the next step without any problem.”

Easy is good.

1. Boys working on Arrow of Light can use new or old.

Options are good.

“Boys that’ll be working on their Arrow of Light” later this year have two choices, King says. “They can keep using the current program, or they have the additional option that they can apply some of their previously earned Webelos-level recognitions and their activity badges; some of those can be used for advancement in the new system.”

Hear or read the March 2015 CubCast

This list is just the beginning. Hear the full CubCast here. Or read it here.

Posted on March 5, 2015 by in Cub Scouting

Tuesday Talkback: Does your troop have an adult patrol?

March 3, 2015

Boy Scouts belong to patrols; Boy Scout leaders don’t.

These adults fall outside of the typical troop structure in which a senior patrol leader helms a group of patrols, each led by a patrol leader.

But in some troops, just for fun, these adults form their own patrol — if in name only. In some troops, they’re called the Geezer patrol. In others, perhaps in a nod to an adult leader’s place on the sidelines, they’re known as the Rocking Chair patrol.

Should troops have adult patrols? If so, what makes a good name for an unofficial adult patrol? And what’s the BSA’s official stance on adult patrols?

Let’s talk.

The BSA’s stance on adult patrols

Here’s the official response from the BSA’s Peter Self. As usual from Peter, it’s nuanced and well-crafted.

Baden-Powell was once quoted as saying, “The patrol system is not one method in which Scouting for boys can be carried on. It is the only method.” As patrols are formed, it is intended that their membership will remain together throughout their Scouting years. Beginning as a new Scout patrol, they become a tightly knit unit, which is dependent upon one another and yet finds strength and independence in their brotherhood. It is in the safety and camaraderie of the patrol that lessons of leadership and cooperation are learned from each other. The patrol name and the emblem which reflects that name are two of the ways that this group uniquely identifies itself.

While adult leaders are invaluable and necessary in this growth process, they need to be accessible to each of the Scouts, in every patrol, and not insulated from the Scouts in their own tight group. For this reason you will not find mention of adult patrols in our literature and why we do not form our adult leaders into patrols in the course of our normal program operations.

Having said all of this, there is no specific statement in our literature which prohibits adults from wearing a patrol emblem, but if you compare closely the pictures of the Boy Scout uniform to the adult leader uniforms on the last two pages of the Guide to Awards and Insignia, you’ll notice only a few differences. One of these is the absence of a patrol emblem on the adult uniform.

So while adult patrols aren’t an official part of the BSA’s program, nobody is going to stop you from forming one. Especially if it’s a name and little else.

Oh, and there’s no uniform police that will rip the patrol emblem from your adult leader uniform, either.

With that in mind…

Does your troop have an adult patrol? If so, what’s it called?

For today’s Tuesday Talkback, let’s continue the conversation in the comments section.

Questions for discussion:

  • Should troops have adult patrols?
  • If so, what role should adult patrols serve?
  • What are some of your favorite names for adult patrols? (I’m partial to the Rocking Chair patrol myself.)

Posted on March 3, 2015 by in Boy Scouting, Tuesday Talkbacks // 46 Comments

Signs, Signals and Codes merit badge requirements released

February 26, 2015
For decades, teens have used their own language — one of emojis, shorthand and coded messages passed in school hallways — to communicate without words.

And now, for the first time, those skills could translate into a merit badge. Today the Boy Scouts of America officially releases Signs, Signals and Codes merit badge, the BSA’s 135th current merit badge. (You can see the complete list here.) Look for the merit badge pamphlet in your local Scout Shop and at soon.

Requirement 9c is one straight out of 2015. It asks Scouts to discuss text-message symbols, also known as emoticons or emojis, and share their 10 favorites. Then comes the fun part: “see if your counselor or parent can identify the meaning or usage of each symbol.”

Think you know what all those symbols mean, mom or dad? Get ready to prove it to your Scouts.

Signs, Signals and Codes merit badge isn’t just about emojis. Read more of this post

Bryan Wendell | February 26, 2015 at 8:00 am | Categories: Merit Badges | URL: