How to use beads to encourage Tiger Cub advancement

Advancement FAQs Tiger CubsFOR MANY BOYS, the Tiger Cub year represents their first experience with Scouting—and with Scouting’s advancement program. Tiger Cub advancement couples immediate recognition, which is important for first-graders, with delayed gratification, which will become more important as they grow older.

WHAT IS THE TIGER CUB ADVANCEMENT PROGRAM? Tiger Cubs work toward the Tiger Cub rank during their first-grade year (or boys age 7). Along the way, they receive beads that go on the Tiger Cub Immediate Recognition Emblem. Once they’ve earned the Tiger Cub Badge, they receive Tiger Track beads for completing electives.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TIGER CUB RANK? To earn the badge, a boy must complete five achievements (with the supervision of an adult partner): Let’s Go Outdoors, Where I Live, How I Tell It, Making My Family Special, and Keeping Myself Healthy and Safe. Each achievement has three parts: a den activity, a family activity, and a Go See It (field trip). Thus, there are 15 achievement parts.

WHERE DOES THE IMMEDIATE RECOGNITION EMBLEM COME IN? Boys receive the emblem as soon as they have learned the Cub Scout motto, sign, and salute. As they complete achievement parts, they receive beads that go on the emblem’s lanyards: a white bead on the first lanyard for each family activity, an orange bead on the second lanyard for each den activity, and a black bead on the third lanyard for each Go See It.

WHAT ABOUT THE FOURTH LANYARD? Once a boy has earned the Tiger Cub rank, he can be recognized for completing 50 electives in the Tiger Cub Handbook. For every 10 electives, he earns a Tiger Track bead, a flat, yellow bead that goes on the fourth lanyard.



WHEN SHOULD BOYS RECEIVE THEIR AWARDS? Like all other ranks, the Tiger Cub badge should be presented in an appropriate ceremony in front of the pack—such as a Blue and Gold ceremony. Orange, white, and black beads are presented at the next pack meeting after they’re earned.

HOW DOES THE BOBCAT RANK RELATE TO TIGER CUB ADVANCEMENT? Each new Cub Scout (regardless of age or grade) must earn the Bobcat rank before earning any other rank.

DO BOYS WHO JOIN AFTER FIRST GRADE NEED TO FIRST EARN THE TIGER CUB RANK? No, they do not go back and work on ranks missed due to age. They work on Bobcat and then the appropriate rank for their grade or age.


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  1. Instant recognition beads should be just that (instant). They should not wait for a Pack meeting. I do a bead ceremony at the end of my den meetings when the scouts have earned there beads.

  2. I agree with Doug – we wait for Pack Meetings to give out badges, patches, loops and pins, but at the end of each Den Meeting we give out any beads that have been earned since the last Den Meeting. If we waited until the next Pack Meeting, the boys wouldn’t really understand why they are getting the beads.

    Also, I don’t like the rule of waiting until after a Tiger Cub has earned his Tiger Badge before he can be given the yellow Tiger Beads he’s earned for electives. They do electives all year, but then only get to wear the Tiger tracks for the month or two between when they earn the Tiger Badge and when they crossover to Wolf. That’s just counter to the whole notion of an “immediate recognition” emblem. I’d prefer to immediately hand out a yellow bead every time they cross off 10 electives rather than handing out a bunch of yellow beads the same time I hand out Tiger badges.

  3. When I had my Tiger Den, I had those beads ready to give out at the end of the meeting. They loved it and it really worked well. I would invest in some sandwich bags to put them in or they will be lost as boys drop them, forget them in the pocket, etc. Also, have a bunch of extras ready to replenish on a uniform if lost.

    • I always made it a point to attach the bead(s), right to the instant recognition enblem during the presentation ceremony (so they won’t get lost or forgotten). The Gymp (cord they give you to attach the beads), does not like to hold knots. Anyone know of a better alternative?

      • I’ve used a double-overhand knot with good success. Small-diameter paracord (type I) might work, though I’ve not tried it.

      • I am new to scouting, so I don’t know what has been tried in the past. There are plenty of cord options at any craft store. If the one that they give is a plastic one, you can tie a knot in it if you pull it tight and stretch it. I’ve used these types of cord in friendship bracelets. There are also various yarns and covered cords out there that can be used in its place.

      • I agree. I encourage my den leaders to give out a bead as soon as a requirement is completed.

        For holding the beads on the gymp, I’ve found that taking the gymp and threading it through the bead twice holds these on perfectly. My son never lost a bead, though he regularly lost his pocket hanger. (Hint: write the boy’s name on his pocket hanger when you award it.)

        Thread the gymp top to bottom through the bead, then bring the gymp up the back side and thread it top to bottom again and pull tight. You need to use a “top down” bead loading strategy for this. If your gymp is too short, I’ve made this work with a single pass for the upper beads and a double pass just for the bottom-most bead.

      • If you use the cords that come with the kit you don’t have to knot it to keep the beads on it. If you put the string thru the bead and then back thru again you won’t loose beads this becomes the knot itself.
        lace the bead top to bottom
        then bring the string back up thru the same hole you first went down and pull it snugly and whala no knot necessary.
        good luck

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