Three Happy Boys

Catching Up Cub Scouts

Jay sent in this question

I am currently the Bear Den leader, and have had four boys most of the year and they have all earned their Bear Rank. This past week I was lucky enough to have two more boys join our Den. How would you go about getting the new boys up to where they need to be without repeating/boring the original four? Thanks.

It is always wonderful to have new boys join a den. Given that there are less than three months left until they finish third grade and move on to Webelos, it is probably unrealistic to expect them to earn their Bear badge unless they are willing to do a good deal of work on their own.

Talk to the parents and the new Bears. Find out if earning the badge is a priority to them. If it is, then help them develop the plan to complete the work they need to do.

If they are not interested in catching up, don’t make an issue of it.  Emphasize that Cub Scouts should be first and foremost fun.  Working on the achievements should be enjoyable whether they result in a badge or not.

So if they want to do the extra work on their own and “catch up” that is great. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with just having fun with the den and then starting work on Webelos when they finish third grade in a few months. In the current Bear program, only half of the achievements are needed to earn the Bear badge. Continue to work with your den on achievements the whole den has not completed yet.

Readers, what do you think? Add your ideas to the comments below.

6 Responses to Catching Up Cub Scouts

  1. Cubmaster Tom March 10, 2015 at 11:49 AM #

    Agreed in its entirety. Couldn’t handle it better.

  2. Ben March 10, 2015 at 4:11 PM #

    I had a similar problem this past week with a boy entering wolves. He ages into the bear den in 39 days! I spoke with the parents and gave them the three options: 1. Don’t worry, let him have fun with the wolf den. 2. Have him join the bears now, on the national program he would be a bear anyway. 3. Do the work, keep it fun and finish the wolf requirements. They can be done in 30 days, but it is work; I offered to support the scout anyway I could regardless of HIS decision.

    The parents talked to the scout and they are currently about half way done with the wolf requirements. From all reports he is having a blast, and he will likely earn his wolf patch in time for the next pack meeting after he does color guard!

  3. Dave March 15, 2015 at 6:50 PM #

    I am the Committee Chairman for my son’s pack (a community unit), and by default I have also become the recruiting chairman. When speaking with parents when they are deciding to join I make it crystal clear to them that they year is almost over. I want them to join Cub Scouts with a clear understanding of what to expect. I don’t make it derogatory, but tell the parents that it completely depends on their scout’s motivation.

    Some boys are motivated to complete everything in 3 months and achieve rank. Many are not, so they are encouraged to participate, have fun, and start worrying about achieving rank when they move up at the end of May. Regardless, Cub Scouts should be fun and the boys should have a good time.

  4. Kara April 24, 2015 at 2:08 AM #

    I’m a bear leader myself. I was asked to take over a bear den whose leader deserted them back in October. The parents want their boys to earn rank, so I picked things that are easy to do both as a den and as a family. I gave the parents a list of things that need to be done at home, as well as a list of what will be done at the next 5 meetings. If we follow that plan, I can get both boys their bear badge by the end of May. If they don’t at least we had fun trying.

    • Jane May 3, 2015 at 11:56 PM #

      Kara, encourage your parents to help their boys earn their Bear rank by the end of May, but if they are close to earning their rank at the end of May, you can request a short time extension from your Pack Committee. Even though the new Cub Scout adventure program begins on June 1, the Pack Committee still has the authority to grant short time extensions in situations such as yours. Please see BSA Guide to Advancement 2015 (page 19).

      http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

      • Kara August 2, 2015 at 1:23 AM #

        I am proud to say that both of my boys earned their bear rank!!

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