“Introducing the New and Improved Cub Scout Program”

Monthly blog on behalf of the Orange County Council Commissioner

John A. Hovanesian, M.D.
January 12, 2015
Cub Scouting is undergoing a major update with a new advancement program that will be put into play in June, 2015. You’ll soon be hearing lots of details from Alex Phethean, our Council Cub Scout Program Chair, and Julie Anderson, our Council Staff Advisor on all the details. These two have done a fantastic job of learning all the facts at a week-long course at the Philmont Training Center this past summer, and they’re excited to share all the details with leaders in the months ahead. Just to whet your appetite, here are some highlights of the coming program updates:
•    The program will be segmented into month-long “adventures”, each having a common theme like “Games Tigers Play”, “Bear necessities” (camping readiness), and “First Responder” (first aid for Webelos).

•    The month’s adventure can be accomplished over one or more den meetings, outdoor activities, and pack-wide events.  

•    Meeting and outdoor activity plans are spelled out in the leader materials, so leaders can follow a well-described path toward success. (Naturally, there’s plenty of room for creativity and giving programs your own flavor, but this will be much easier for those who want to follow a recipe.)

•    Some month-long adventures will be required, while others will be electives. A greater number of adventures can be electives as the Scouts get older.  

•    With completion of each monthly adventure, the boy will earn an adventure belt loop (similar to the old belt loops) acknowledging his accomplishment. The old “immediate recognition kits” (beads), belt loop and activity pin programs will be retired.

•    Rank advancement will require a total of seven completed adventures, i.e. seven months of program. This minimum seven-month program allows boys to earn their rank badge early in the year, but there are plenty of adventures available, so dens can have fun activities year-round.

•    Most of the program requirements are designed to be met during Scout meetings and activities, leaving little “homework” for parents.
Advantages to this new program include: 

•    Smart leaders will delegate monthly adventures to groups of parents to lessen
the burden of leadership.

•    Each month the program changes completely, so there’s little room for boredom.

•    Belt loops, while a popular part of the past program, are now integrated into advancement so they’re not just “extracurricular.”  

•    The program retains the same lessons of duty to God and country, duty to others, and duty to one’s self, but it does so in a much more cohesive way, similar to the way school curricula have evolved, that allow Scouts to “wade into” a particular topic area.

•    This program is much, much more user-friendly for new leaders who have little
experience in Cub Scouting.

When I was a new Tiger Cub leader six years ago for my oldest boy, I came to my pack with over 20 years’ experience as a Boy Scout leader, but none in Cub Scouts. I was completely intimidated by the confusing Cub Scout program. This spring, I will become a Tiger leader again for my youngest son, and I’m really excited at how easy this new program will allow me and other Cub leaders to follow a well thought-out recipe and focus on the fun of the program without having to figure out all the details.  

Join a January 17 Webcast to Learn About the New Cub Scouting Program!
The new Cub Scouting program will be more fun for boys, and easier to manage for unit leaders. To learn about the exciting changes, join a webcast on January 17. The creators of the new program will discuss the changes coming, how to prepare for the transition, and when materials will be available. Multiple webcast times are available on January 17. Click www.scouting.org/programupdates for details and login instructions.

I hope you will share in this excitement of instituting this new Cub Scout program. For more details, watch ScoutWeek for announcements on training opportunities in March at University of Scouting and at your district’s roundtable, or visit the national council’s website.
John A. Hovanesian, M.D.
OCBSA Commissioner

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