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Making Up Missed Cub Scout Requirements

Julia asked this question:

I have a question about some of the new program requirements. I’m the leader of a Bear den and have the following issue. We had our “Cub Scout Carnival” at the beginning of the year and all of our 6 scouts planned and executed it – it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. Then a few months into the school year we had 3 brand new scouts join our den. What would you do in this situation? With the old requirements, there was always something scouts could do instead if they missed something hard to repeat. Should I just check them off too and consider requirements something we complete as a den rather than individually? I’m understandably loathe to do a whole second carnival to help them fill this requirement. We have scouts who missed our police station visit too, so I’m running into the same problem there. This seems like either an oversight when laying out the new requirements, or an indication that we should, indeed, take requirements as something to be completed by den rather than individual. I have a feeling that I’ll get the answer that, no, it’s supposed to be individual, but what do you then do in these situations as a leader?

Thanks for the question Julia. I have never been a fan of giving Cub Scouts credit for activities they didn’t participate in. I feel they should do something for the recognition.

For example, if they missed the carnival event, they could run a carnival game as a gathering activity at a different pack meeting. See my post with carnival ideas for some simple games which a Cub Scout could do with the help of his parent.

I don’t think the den leader should be responsible for putting together a second event either. Cub Scouting is a family program and parents are expected to help out. If they missed the police station visit, then maybe the parents can take them instead. If making up the requirement just isn’t possible, come up with an alternative which is in the spirit of the requirement. The Cub Scout could do a poster presentation about all of the things police do for the community. Or perhaps your local police department is sponsoring a community event which the Cub Scout could promote to the pack.

Readers, what do you think. Add your comments below.

19 Responses to Making Up Missed Cub Scout Requirements

  1. Joe November 20, 2015 at 2:37 AM #

    There are several parts of the new program which are ill-conceived. The pack-only requirements in the core adventures is probably the most unfair and difficult, for both leaders and scouts. A few examples:

    Tigers in the Wild 5
    Council Fire 4
    Howling at the Moon 4
    Bear Necessities 1
    Grin and Bear It 2,3
    Camper 4

    Most of these require a campout and/or a campfire show, so if every single scout can’t attend on the one day it happens, they don’t get their rank badge. Period. Even if they do every other requirement. Or the leaders can go through the trouble of scheduling two or more campouts in the fall just so the letter of the law can be appeased. Not simple, not fun, and if this isn’t fixed, it will drive leaders and scouts out of the program at an accelerated rate. Although now that I think of it, you could ask your charter organization to forbid your pack from camping so that you can take advantage of the loopholes in requirements…

    Ironically, Grin and Bear It used to be more difficult, but now it’s not so bad, since the pack meeting wording was removed. If desired, it can be done with only the new Bear scouts at a Tiger or Wolf den meeting.

    Best of luck – we may all need some luck to get through this!

    • Jessica November 29, 2015 at 2:21 PM #

      Joe – we did an indoor fire for part of Howling at the moon. We had a box fan on the ground with orange and yellow streamers, still had the boys build an appropriate fire ring around it and put some wood on it for the streamers to go through. We dimmed the lights and had them do their songs and skits and we made s’mores with marshmallow fluff and chocolate spread on our graham crackers for a snack. It was obviously not quite the same, but our boys enjoyed it and we felt this was acceptable for those requirements. (We made other arrangements for outdoor cooking and have several camping opportunities.) The new program is more “rigid” but we are able to still get creative with the requirements.

      • Amanda December 13, 2015 at 9:36 AM #

        I love this reply! I think it’s more about being creative & in the case of missing scouts helping them do an alternate activity or having the parents help with one. We have to get creative with what will work sometimes! 🙂

  2. Jan November 20, 2015 at 7:37 AM #

    I do not like the new book with very few choices on what parts of the requirement will be chosen. It is difficult to schedule and doesn’t give enough flexibility. Though the parents or den leader and choose an activity that attempts to meet the spirit of the event, having a few options with flexibility really worked much better and made everyone feel that they were actually doing the requirement.

    I am currently the den leader for Tigers, have a Bear scout and another younger boy.

  3. Donna November 23, 2015 at 9:02 PM #

    I am a Bear den leader, and moved up with my cubs when they moved up. I am finding it way way difficult to schedule activities so that everyone can be present and receive credit. Supposedly each adventure can be completed in a month. In the “Paws for Action” adventure there are at last two outings: a clean up project and a visit to a police station (or a visit from a police officer), and way more. I could not complete everything in one month. It is definitely harder this year, not easier as promised.

  4. Jessica November 29, 2015 at 2:15 PM #

    Hi Donna –

    I am a Tiger and Webelos leader and my husband is our Bear den leader in addition to being our Committee Chair. We are finding the same issues to be true for all of our required adventures. I got off to a better start with my Tigers than my husband did with the Bears. I did not do each Adventure straight through, I mixed and matched things that would be easy to do together, so it took two months to earn two, but essentially that was one per month. (Two halves per month.) This has worked fine for us in our pack. Some may snub their nose at not being able to give the boys their belt loops right away, but our pack still holds the required adventure loops until our pack meeting each month, so the required ones are never handed out right away. We still have the satisfaction of that instant gratification for electives, but we have a time during each pack meeting where each den/boy are recognized for their requirements. We feel it’s very important for our boys to see eachother earning awards and to learn to applaud and support each other, so saving the required ones for the Pack meeting helps in this way. And by doing so, it also grants our den leaders a little more freedom to work on more than one required adventure at a time.

  5. Liz December 3, 2015 at 8:44 PM #

    I am in total agreement! This program seems to assume that the boys are all only children (so parents have time to take them on all these outings) and all go to the same school and are involved in the same extracurricular activities (so they are all available at the same time to do the outings!). When I was a Tiger leader, I had to make two field trips to visit a TV station and it was such a relief when I because a Wolf leader to not have to arrange these outings anymore … and I was overjoyed when I first found out that this requirement was eliminated for Tigers. But now it’s much worse, for every den!

    One of the things I’ve loved about Cub Scouts is how it encourages parents and scouts to work together on the advancement requirements, but the new requirements make no consideration for the fact that many parents bring their boys to cub scouts just so their boys will have time to be with other boys and have absolutely no interest in working on the bages. For them, if it doesn’t happen during the den meetings, it doesn’t happen. I predict that the only boys in my pack who will earn their badge this year are the Webelos II. What a pity.

  6. Angela January 18, 2016 at 2:38 PM #

    I am a Bear den leader for my youngest this year, I was also fortunate enough to have been the Bear den leader for my older son as well in the old program. I am honestly liking the new program better. I like the idea of mixing up traditional den meetings along with outings. I like the idea of a “theme” per month. We haven’t so far been exactly on track with one adventure per month but we have been doing the program and moving along and having a lot of fun! We are in the middle of Paws for action right now and although there are 3 “outings” I was able to schedule 2 of them during our regular den meeting times. It ‘s not too bad to go to a local park and “police” for trash or clean up your meeting site (we cleaned up our church grounds) . I’ve found if its the same day/time we have little problem and it keeps things exciting to go different places. It hasn’t been possible for everything of course but most of it.

    As far as the Bear Necessities go, our pack does do a fair amount of camping and we generally have a skit or song requirement of some sort for one den or another and of course if the Wolves are doing something then the Bears want to also! Not everyone camps, not everyone comes all the time but we still have found a way to make it work with all of my scouts.

    It does take some creativity and some thinking outside the box for some things but as a mom of 3 with 2 jobs I’ve made it work and I, for one, am liking the new program! Hope there are others out there like me 🙂

  7. Cathy January 18, 2016 at 8:18 PM #

    Relating to this topic, how are you Tiger leaders getting things done? We do our recruitment in September, and Blue and Gold in March. That doesn’t leave enough time for the Tigers to do everything, especially the outdoor stuff (weather here Oct-March is not great). Any thoughts?

    • Rick July 23, 2016 at 9:18 PM #

      The blue and gold dinner is a celebration of scouting. I don’the think the idea of cub scouting stops in March. I’m keeping my den engaged over the summer as well to make this fun for them. I don’t sweat each activity either. Have fun! Parents can take the boys on different activities as well.

    • Valerie October 7, 2016 at 8:53 AM #

      @ Cathy. We used to award rank advancements by our February Blue and Gold and then our Cubs/webelos chose the electives they wanted to work on from March-June prior to crossover. With the new program we found it was simply not possible. But, all boys achieved rank advancement by the end of the school year, in time for crossover, and were also able to earn some of their chosen electives as well.

      Another idea we implemented last year to help all tigers, Cubs, webelos to achieve core requirements was to implement “rank adventure weekends” and put together a 3-4 hour event depending upon the requirements. These would have a theme, and the pack committee helped find the location appropriate to the “theme”, ie focus on hiking and leave no trace, or a nature observation activity with some knot tying skills review, and another was focused on community service or conservation. All rank levels have to complete requirements related to these themes and the. The den leaders for that rank would organise the activities to be carried out specifically. There was overlap too among all ranks. It was a fun rank activity but also got the entire pack together again, outside the pack meeting, and helps the boys and families continue bonding with the other families. Etc. All in all, a win- win for us.

    • Candace November 20, 2016 at 5:58 PM #

      Because of the large number of outdoor requirements for each rank and the fact that our regular Den meetings start the last week of September we moved our rank awards to our crossover in May. Blue & Gold in March is for pinewood derby awards, Arrow of Light, and crossover to Boy Scouts. It actually really helps keep the awards to a manageable time length and gives everyone (even boys who join in our 2nd wave of recruiting in November) plenty of time to finish rank.

  8. Michelle March 10, 2016 at 10:25 PM #

    The new program is not age appropriate nor does it take into account that Scouts may involved with other non-Scouting activities. The weekly rigor of it is driving away volunteers and Scouts alike. The fun is gone. We are working hard on having the boys ‘do their best’ and do what we can with each adventure.

    • Karen March 17, 2018 at 2:25 PM #

      My pack doesn’t follow the program (Leader’s guide) exactly. We are a pack of busy families who participate in lots sports and other activities, so we don’t meet every week. Generally, most dens meet 1 time per month for 2 hrs and try to accomplish 1 required activity per den meeting. I have found that this allows you to pick and choose the things that you know your den will really enjoy each time. We still meet all of the requirements, but I don’t follow the schedule outlined in the leader’s handbook. Instead, I make sure we cover everything they need to earn the badge in the way that they will be most engaged. We then meet once a month as a pack and generally have one outing scheduled per month, whether it is an overnight or a day/afternoon event in the community. For me, trying to prepare for a weekly den meeting would be too much and not fun. I think my parents would be stressed about it as well.

  9. Sue May 16, 2016 at 11:38 AM #

    It still has the best intentions of the scouts. Remember they earn based on trying their best. I still will stand on this principal. Should we seriously make this about testing the kids over and over, don’t they get enough of that in school. I make it fun, and a lot of what they are doing in school still counts. We used for the fire, out of candy.

  10. Rick July 23, 2016 at 9:29 PM #

    Michelle, don’t sweat the small stuff with the little guys. They’re social involvement with scouting is so important. I’m a very laid back bear den leader and it is so much fun to see the boys having a good time with a purpose. Take ’em fishing, hiking, camping, hell take ’em to a church picnic and have them help with clean up…just have fun! Otherwise it’s called work!

  11. Sue September 14, 2016 at 1:02 PM #

    We no longer “graduate” our scout at the blue and gold banquet(Feb) as there is truly not enough time- or nice weather in Wisconsin to get it done. I personally do not like this new program- the emphasis on character building is gone (IMO) and it is way too much work for a den leader to finish and plan, especially if you have a large den. The requirements are unrealistic for boys and there is no wiggle room in the program. For me, the fun of scouting is gone. I don’t feel like I am making a difference in their character- just rushed…not the way I like doing meetings.

  12. Jay October 24, 2016 at 4:15 PM #

    I am the Bear den leader and also the cubmaster for our pack. Although I do find it difficult to finish all the requirements by our Blue and Gold banquet, if they are not completed we will just graduate the boys by our April pack meeting. I think the new program gets the kids doing more stuff outdoors (which is what they like). I was the tiger den leader under the old program and it just seemed like a lot of crafts and the boys got bored, so the change was a necessity.
    I tell my families that I realize how busy families are because I am one of them! But the boys are only going to get out of scouts what they are willing to put into it. If the boys are going to miss something I do my best (if possible) to have an option to make it up. If they can’t make that then it’s up to the families to accomplish the requirement. At the very least the time they spend in scouts is time away from technology. We all are den leaders because we want to help these young men be respectful and help them make good choices as they grow up.
    Everyone keep up all your great work with these young boys and enjoy teaching them everything that scouts has to offer!

  13. Valerie Magdalin March 26, 2017 at 10:38 PM #

    I’m co-leader of the Wolf den, but we’ve only had 2 Tigers, so they have had to join us. Lately my leader has been away on business, so he left me in charge of make ups. Now my son hate make up meetings because he’s already earned the badge so it means a month or more that he doesn’t earn new anything with the den. SO I have been getting real creative incorporating the make up stuff into a new elective adventure. For instance we did Digging Up the Past this week, but I made the dinosaur matching game into a toss the balled up paper or aluminum foil ball into a the bowl or coffee can that had the correct answer on it. This was to fulfill a Tiger make up requirement where they had to play a new game with their den. I had a bunch of Wolves who needed to do a skit for Howling at the Moon, so the Tigers are earning Tiger Theater and we are doing a skit modified with paper bag puppets. I think the first time around following the requirements makes sense, but when it comes to the make ups try to combine it and reinvent it. And have fun. Just because the book says we need to do “x” doesn’t mean we can’t substitute it with something that is equal or more meaningful. For instance I had Wolves who missed the fire station tour for Council Fire. Instead of scheduling another one, I found a youtube video that was a day in the life of a firefighter, and after reviewing it, I shared it with those families as a substitute activity. As a Girl Scout leader we always say there is no badge police, and we just mean don’t stress over the little stuff. Do what works for your group, do your best, and make sure you as a leader are having fun.

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