Scouting magazine

Understanding the new Cub Scout advancement program

This fall, Cub Scouts everywhere are blazing new trails in advancement. Gone is the multitude of achievements, electives, arrow points and activity badges that confused leaders and parents — plus the beads that skittered across floors during pack meetings. In their place is a new advancement program that is simple and consistent.

WHAT ARE THE RANKS? They remain the same: Bobcat, Tiger (formerly Tiger Cub), Wolf, Bear, Webelos and Arrow of Light. Boys will work on one rank per year, starting with Tiger in first grade.

HOW IS THE NEW PROGRAM SIMPLER? For each rank except Bobcat, boys will complete seven adventures on specific topics like teamwork or hiking. (Each adventure represents about a month’s worth of meetings and activities.) All that changes from year to year is the proportion of required and elective adventures.

HOW DOES BOBCAT FIT IN? New Cub Scouts will still earn the Bobcat badge, which introduces the basics of Cub Scouting.

EXPLAIN THE NEW DUTY-TO-GOD REQUIREMENT. One required adventure for each rank is a family-focused duty-to-God adventure. Parents or guardians are responsible for helping boys complete the requirements while helping their son explore what duty to God means in their family.

ARE THERE ENOUGH ADVENTURES TO LAST ALL YEAR? Yes. There are 19 adventures each for Tiger, Wolf and Bear and 27 for Webelos Scout and Arrow of Light combined. Boys can continue to complete adventures after earning a rank.

MUST THE ADVENTURES BE DONE IN ORDER? No. The program is designed to be flexible.

DO BOYS HAVE TO EARN THE WEBELOS RANK BEFORE ARROW OF LIGHT? Boys who are active as Webelos Scouts before the fifth grade are expected to earn the Webelos rank. Boys who join during fifth grade now earn Bobcat and then move straight to Arrow of Light (just like other new Scouts have always worked on the age-appropriate rank).

WHAT RECOGNITION ITEMS DO BOYS RECEIVE? At the Tiger, Wolf and Bear levels, boys receive adventure loops (belt loops). For Webelos Scouts and Arrow of Light, they receive adventure pins. The rank patches are the same as before.

HOW DO COSTS COMPARE? The new adventure loops cost $1.39; the old program belt loops cost $1.89. Most packs should find their overall expenses stay about the same.

MUST I SUBMIT AN ADVANCEMENT REPORT FOR ADVENTURE LOOPS AND PINS? No. Loops and pins are designed to be used as immediate recognition, so you can buy them ahead of time. Purchase of rank badges continues to require a signed advancement report.

HOW DO THESE CHANGES AFFECT OTHER AWARDS? Requirements for awards like the Cub Scout World Conservation Award and the Nova awards have been updated.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION? Your best source for updates is For a detailed overview, read Scouting’s coverage of the new program at