Baloo's Bugle

October 2008 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 15, Issue 3
November 2008 Theme

Theme: Seeds of Kindness
Webelos: Citizen and Communicator
Tiger Cub
Achievement 2


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.


First of 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.


Advancement 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


Each 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 the purposes.


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.


Each 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 reminds us:


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.


Doing your 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


Scouting 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.


The first 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.


The 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.


The Bear 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.


The electives 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.


If 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.


On the 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.


I am 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 recognition possibilities.


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.


What are YOU 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!


ü  Also, be sure to visit Bill’s website

to finds more ideas on everything Cub Scouting.

Have any Comments for Bill
just click right here!


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