Scouts Learn by DOING
Scouts advance through the ranks by demonstrating understanding and knowledge of a specific skill or requirement. Scouts in a den advance together (depending on when they join). Scouts who actively participate in weekly meetings, as well as pack events, and keep up with at-home requirements; achieve their required adventure awards and eventually their respective rank alongside their fellow den scouts.
Cub Scouts is designed to deliver age-level learning activities that help each scout achieve knowledge on key subjects ideal to scouting: Citizenship, Personal Fitness, Character Development, Outdoor Skills, Leadership, Duty to God, Personal Responsibility and much more.
When scouts miss out on a den meeting or pack activity, ideally, each family will work with their scout to help their scout accomplish activities missed. This will help scout to receive award(s) for same activities/adventures along fellow Cub Scouts. The pack offers opportunities for advancement as often as possible, either as a group effort or by promoting outside community or scouting events that will help each family help their scout achieve.
Family involvement & participation is essential for the successful advancement of each scout. There are many resources available for each family to follow requirements for rank advancement. Some families choose to purchase a scout handbook from the scout shop or online outlet. Other families log in and follow Scoutbook.com lists of den requirements. Other families log on to online sources like meritbadge.org and follow requirements listed. There are many other online resources, but the main one is scouting.org. Whichever source your family chooses, following the guidelines and assisting your scout to DO HIS/HER BEST to grasp the concepts and verify understanding of subject covered is essential. Each year, the adventures build up, especially key Outdoor Skills, Citizenship, and Duty to God. Some adventures may feel repetitive, but it's designed to help each scout at their level of development & ability. Leaders will attempt to present similarly covered adventures in a new or different perspective the following year, as to expose scouts to the variety of opportunities available for the similar topic.
Scouting opportunities outside Pack events
Some families may not know that scouts are not confined to the learning opportunities delivered via den or pack meetings exclusively. Many scouts are able to attend area events specifically for Scouts, which allows them to cover adventures outside their den meetings. Many organizations offer SCOUT NIGHTS or SCOUT DAY for fun, others for advancement. It's likely that if a scout is learning something new/exciting, there's a pin or award for such activity. Scouts may also take advantage of community events that help scouts learn and advance. Sometimes, some very active families help their scout achieve rank way before anyone else in his den achieves it... and that is OK. Field trips from school, sports scouts participate in, religious events, family adventures, family vacations, summer camps, and anything in between may offer opportunities which qualify for 'scouting adventure' requirements. The key is to cover the topic with your scout and help him/her understand the core concept of the experience, and how it relates to the Scout Oath & Points of the Scout Law. Each leader may ask your scout a few questions about the adventure, and scouts should always be prepared to share with their leader and/or den what they learned. Not only does this complete the adventure, but allows scouts the opportunity to practice their "public speaking" or "presentation etiquette". The older the scout gets, the more elaborate his presentation will automatically become.
Pack 964 thrives on the Cub Scout Motto: DO YOUR BEST. A scout who achieves receives recognition for his/her efforts. Most of these recognition is done at Pack meetings, Blue & Gold Banquet, Bridging Ceremony (promotion event), or Crossover (Cub Scout graduation). Some special wards require a special notable ceremony. Den adventures (loops) may be presented during a den meeting; but important patches/awards are reserved for special presentations at Pack events. Some of these special presentations require parents to come up to the front to receive acknowledgement, such as rank award. All brand new Cub Scouts start with Bobcat Rank; that is the very first rank any new Cub Scout achieves.
There are some awards that go on the uniform permanently, some of these like their Religious Emblem award goes on his/her uniform as they Crossover into a troop Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts). Other awards can't be sewn on the uniform, they're more known as "temporary patches"; but at the final farewell (Arrow of Light Ceremony & Crossover) of their Cub Scout career, some scouts will have an exceptional display of all their accomplishments. Some families choose to create a special blanket to sew all these awards on, others choose a special backpack or outdoor vest; others elaborate a shadow box, others purchase the red vest at the scout shop--there's no set rule for storing these awards, which hold a special place in the heart of the scout who worked hard to earn them.
Adventures: Scouts learn new skills, build relationships, try new activities and experiments, play sports and games, perform skits, jokes and songs, participate in community and other service projects, meet interesting people, professionals or community leaders. Scouting adventures include: Nature, wacky science, art, fun engineering, ecology, conservation, camping, hiking, emergency preparedness, and much more.
Scouting is widely known to help young people prepare for life. Leaders enjoy taking part on weekly opportunities that will help scouts acquire necessary skills to achieve this preparation, one adventure at a time.
The goal of scouting is to bring out the good in every boy and girl, develop it and grow it. If scouts are able to teach-it forward, all the better. It is true that families can (and often do) work on all these skills at home anyway. However, Scouting helps families take that intention into weekly action, one step at a time.
Every new Scouting year begins June 1st. It is here when each scout is re-classified as their new den (the grade level they'll be attending in traditional school in the Fall). Anything worked on or achieved after June 1st applies towards the next rank. Anything done before June 1st should've applied to the prior rank and must be repeated to gain credit for the new rank the scout is aiming to achieve.
Leaders track advancement of each scout; but parents should also be keeping records of their scout's achievements & advancement. Sometimes leaders may miss a date or fail to jot down attendance of a scout, or participation on a pack activity; having back up of completion of a requirement by both leader and parent is ideal. Sometimes computer records get lost, it's good to have a paper file for that year of activity for your scout.
Each year, the Pack provides an annual calendar. This is a guide of tentative activities the pack has planned and hopes to achieve. Pack dates & events may be subject to change, per leaders' and facility availability. Sometimes, if not enough parent volunteers step up to help lead pack activities, those planned activities will be cancelled. It is essential that den parents take part in helping the pack leadership advance. Parents play a key & essential role in assisting the pack and/or den leaders research, plan, coordinate, lead, & execute pack events. Your scout will benefit greatly from your participation; as all the other scouts in the den/pack.
Adventures Beyond Rank: The opportunity to advance, learn and earn awards doesn't stop at den level requirements. The BSA offers many other awards scouts can work towards achieving. Some scouts work independently with their parents to achieve these awards; others work with pack, den, district, council leaders to achieve.
NOVA Awards / STEM Scouts are one example. These are STEM related awards for Wolf scouts and older. Super Nova Awards require a certified Nova Counselor, which can be found by asking your den or pack leadership for contact information for one (if our unit doesn't already have a Nova Counselor). The pack has a STEM Scouts page for more information on these awards.
Conservation related awards. Constant participation on Conservation projects and other requirements allows scouts to aim for these type of important achievements; which is aligned with the ideals of Scouting. Scouting was started by naturalists whose primary focus was to take care of our natural environment and teach others to do the same.
Religious Emblem Awards exist for almost every faith. Scouting founder Lord Robert Baden Powell believed that a scout should have a connection & belief to higher power (beyond oneself); and relationship with God is essential for the human being to thrive. Although Baden Powell didn't dictate a specific faith, it was determined upon the establishment of this organization that 'Duty to God' is a key element of scouting and a scout simply can't advance without this important step in their scouting journey.
Emergency Preparedness and many others related to this important aspect of scouting exist in award forms. Requirements list important knowledge in age level skills that are essential for the acquirement of these awards. Check our our website for that page.
There are many others that perhaps we aren't individually covering, but nothing a simple online search can't achieve. Parents can present to a plan or idea to den leader, help leader work on an achievement your scout is interested in and do it. Who knows? He/She might be the first one in his/her den (or the entire Pack) to accomplish it.
Leader Awards: Leaders also have the opportunity to earn many awards. The hard work and dedication leaders give to Scouting should not go unrewarded. Leaders too have a series of requirements to satisfy to help them achieve their respective "knots" that help their uniform display their hard work and effort. Parents should encourage their den leaders to aim towards an available award. The Faith/Religious award in particular requires the 'nomination' for another adult, so ask your leader if he/she is interested in earning the religious emblem award and nominate them for the award.
If you have any questions about advancement, almost any den leader can assist you. Pack leaders too, especially the Pack's Advancement Chair or Pack Trainer.