October 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue
November 2008 Theme
Seeds of Kindness
Citizen and Communicator
Cub Scout Advancement
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
Advancement seems to be involved in most of the things we do in Cub Scouts. In
family and den activities, in ceremonies at pack meetings, in things we sew on
the uniforms, advancement is there.
all w should remember that advancement is a method. of Cub Scouting. That means
we should use it to achieve the aims and purposes of the program. The books,
the requirements, the badges – everything - are there for us to help each boy
develop. Think of advancement as a tool we use to help the Cub Scout grow.
is one of the methods used to achieve Scouting's aims—character development,
citizenship training, and personal fitness. Everything a Cub Scout does to
advance is designed to achieve these aims and aid in his personal growth. These
badges are a means to an end—not an end in themselves.
The Cub Scout Leader’s Book
requirement is an adventure that a young lad takes along with his special
leader: his Akela. On the trail he is challenged to do his best to overcome the
obstacles he meets. This gives the boy’s Akelas opportunities to achieve those
ten purposes of Cub Scouting. His parents and his den leaders who guide
him and help him on these requirements should be aware of both the adventure and
I was a member of one of the task forces that updated the Wolf Book. We spent a
lot of our first meetings just reviewing how requirements related to the aims
and purposes before we ever addressed changes or new ideas. Our Chair person and
our professional guide wanted to be sure that we were focused on the correct
goals. I expect other updating groups have had similar priorities.
requirement in Tiger, Wolf and Bear trails represents a challenge to that boy.
How he reacts to each challenge will depend on how he perceives that particular
encounter. Some boys revel in a challenge. Others are intimidated. Each boy has
his own unique responses. We need to be flexible in how we treat advancement.
It’s the boy that counts here, not necessarily the requirements. The journey
rather than the destination is what is important. As my first Scouting Guru,
Bud Bennett would say about Cub Scout projects,
“It’s not what the boy does to the board
that matters; it’s what the board does to the boy.”
Remember, methods in Cub Scouting are meant to be flexible. We should do what we
feel is best for each boy. The Parent Guide in the Wolf Cub Scout Book
In Cub Scouting, boys are judged against
their own standard, not against other boys.
These requirements are not tests that a boy must
pass to advance in order to continue in Scouting. They are more a series of
experiences that help him grow into a more effective human being. All we ask is
that he does his best in each of them.
best is one of the most important things for the Cub Scout to learn. Boys often
become so interested in winning that they fail to see the importance of doing
the best they can at everything. One boy's best might be quite different from
another boy's best.
The Cub Scout Leader Book
provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps to overcome them through
the advancement method. The Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his
own pace as he overcomes each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each
achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement
system help a boy grow in self-reliance and the ability to help others.
rank that EVERY boy MUST earn when entering the Cub Scouting Program is the
Bobcat rank. Bobcat features the ideals of Cub Scouting: the Motto, the
Promise and the Law of the Pack. all teach good citizenship and contribute to a
boy's sense of belonging.
The Cub Scout
purposes and ideals are excellent character guidelines for any group,
organization or individual. School for Champions
The achievements - 5 Tiger, 12
Wolf and 12 Bear -
represent those things a growing boy should be doing as he learns to be a better
citizen and a more responsible and capable human being. They give parents and
others ample opportunities to observe and understand how this boy is growing up:
what sort of adult he will be, what kind of husband, what type of father, and
what quality of community member he will become. Informed parents and leaders
can - and should - make the achievements fun experiences for the boys.
Tiger program is an effective process to introduce parents to the values and
practices of Cub Scout advancement. Family involvement is an essential part of
Cub Scouting. When we speak of parents or families, we are not referring to any
particular family structure. Some boys live with two parents, some live with one
parent, some have foster parents, and some live with other relatives or
guardians. Whoever a boy calls his family is his family in Cub Scouting.
program involves choosing Achievements. This is a valuable opportunity for
leaders and parents to guide a Cub Scout in how to make a choice. Rather than
make the choice for him, help him understand what goes into evaluating
alternatives and then opting for the best one.
automatically involve TALKING. The boy and his parent TALK, they listen to each
other, they plan; they express their hopes, their concerns, and their jokes.
They learn to respect each others moods, ideas and styles. They create special
communication channels that remain vital and valuable for all their lives.
leaders shut out the parents by doing a lot of Tiger and Cub Scout advancement
at den meetings then they deny the parents the opportunity to establish these
relationships with their sons.
question of how often should a Cub Scout repeat the same elective, there are
diverse opinions. We certainly want boys do have a variety of experiences and to
explore a wide range of the opportunities in his books. However a boy might
develop a penchant for a particular field and want to dig deeper into it. As
long as he is challenged and seems to be benefiting, I would have no problem
signing his book or awarding him his arrow points.
reminded of Linus, a boy who lived here in Portland. At a young age he became
excited about a toy chemistry set and soon chemistry captivated him and he
became so obsessed that he tended to neglect other activities and didn't even
finish high school..
Linus C Pauling went on to become a world famous pioneer in the application
of quantum mechanics to chemistry, and one of the founders of molecular biology.
and to win two Nobel Prizes.
In practice, the
Cub Scout Academics and Sports Belt Loops and Pins offer boys
opportunities to explore other fields and to dig deeper into those that excite
their minds. It can be a budget buster for some packs but if you can afford it
or work with interested families it adds a rich mixture of activities and
Webelos and Activity Badges
By the time boys are Webelos, they
are more serious about goal setting, team building and reaching out to other
adults in the community. The Webelos Activity Badge program gives them ample
opportunities to become knowledgeable and even skilled in fields of art,
science, health, communication and government.
About this age, boys start looking outside their
families for acceptance and guidance. Good packs will ensure that Webelos den
leaders have lots of adult help for their Activity Badge programs. This not only
makes the WDL job easier but provides the boys opportunities to interact with a
several adults. Build a data base of all the skills, hobbies and interests of
parents as soon as the families join your pack.
And finally, remember to show off your
leadership skills by recognizing each advancement step with a spectacular award
ceremony that the boy will remember for years to come.
going to do now?
Go get ‘em. We need all the
help we can get.
The best gift for a Cub Scout.......
......get his parents involved!
Also, be sure to
visit Bill’s website
to finds more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.
Comments for Bill
just click right here!
Materials found in Baloo's Bugle may be used by Scouters for Scouting activities provided that Baloo's Bugle and the original contributors are cited as the source of the material.