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  • Cub Scout Fast Tracks Advancement Program

    Does anyone on the forum have any experience with the "Fast Tracks" pilot program ? It is apparently a pilot program designed to aid Den Leaders in helping boys advance faster.

    It has been tried in the MidWest and now my Pack is being asked to try it out. I am not a fan of "fast tracking" much of anything in Scouting but I am willing to give it a chance if I think its going to be good..

    Looking for input from those who are more familiar with it.

  • #2
    Our Pack has also been asked to try this program. It is my understanding that it is not so much a program to speed things up as much as it is a program to help Den Leaders plan their year out better. It is based on a 9 month 16 meeting year. It is also supposed to help gain requirements for advancement in den meetings. I'm interested in seeing just how it works.


    • #3
      Nine months?

      Sixteen meetings?

      Whatever happened to the premise of weekly Den meetings? Kids need frequent engagement, or they forget.

      BTW, lest folk think I'm talking about my own Cub experience (too long ago), I'm talking about EagleSons... 10 years ago he was about to promote from Wolf to Bear.

      As for advancement, who said a Den cannot work on advancement? The last time I checked, both the Cubmaster and the Den Leader were part of Akela every bit as much as the adults in the Cubs' home...


      • #4
        Looks like an ok program for Tiger through Bear especially for new/first time leaders,

        (flyer at

        but I would disagree that it would be good for a Webelos program. Part of the trouble we have with the transition from Cub Scouts/Webelos is that we teach at a den meeting and sign simply based on attendence instead of knowledge of skills. So the kids get used to show-up, get-a-badge. The we throw them in Boy Scouts were they have to DEMONSTRATE their skill and we lose them. For the Webelos if you have a "canned" program, you leave no room to re-visit certain skill sets the guys may be struggling with and need a little more work.


        • #5
          Well, I haven"t seen it yet, so I will withhold judgment on it.

          But this should come as no surprise: we"ve had Program Helps for years, and for some DLs that wasn"t enough.

          So a year or two ago, National started putting out a "Den Meeting in a Box" every month.

          Now we have online program planning and tools. Seems to be the logical next step in an evolution that"s been going on for some time now . . .


          • #6
            Thanks for the link and comments.. I hope they have a CD or DVD version since some of our DL's are "in the sticks" and don't have Broadband or DSL..

            I have often taken my favorite resources and materials and burned them to CD for Den leaders..


            • #7
              Funny, my CM (for less than a month when I become the CM) just sent me an e-mail asking if we want to do this for next year. We don't seem to have too much trouble with Advancement. Does anyone else have an opinion who has seen the program? I would like to hear diverse opinions to help us decide. The deadline shows April 30, but I am not sure when the CM received it.


              • #8
                I was asked just today if my pack was interested, and my deadline for reply is 12 April. We will be undergoing some major leadership changes next year, myself included as I hand off the reins to my very competent assistant. My two main concerns are the dearth of actual information available about the program (found this forum while researching it), and the level of autonomy that will be afforded my stronger leaders who already have a great program. I think I can sell it to both the newbies and the veterans alike, but I need more than the single 2-sided .pdf brochure to know what it is I'm selling. I can't respond to the ensuing questions by simply pointing to the brochure.


                • #9
                  We were told that we did not have to have all dens participate. We were thinking of Tiger Dens (since most of those leaders are new) and any others that were interested.


                  • #10
                    What's the rush? Why do we need to "fast track" advancement?


                    • #11
                      Again, I haven't seen it first-hand (and apparently, neither has everyone else), but I don't think the intent is to make the boys necessarily advance any faster -- I think the intent is to make the DL's job easier in terms of planning den meetings.

                      Given the constant complaints I read here and elsewhere re: how the current training syllabus doesn't teach DLs how to actually plan & run a den meeting, I think (like I said earlier) that this sounds like just another step in an ongoing evolution: from written program helps to den meetings in a box to fast track online planning tools.

                      Can the doubters suspend judgment until they actually SEE it?


                      • #12
                        Fast Tracks is really a misnomer, I have been involved with it's use for the last 20-24 months and have found that it is really a good program...My whole pack uses it now, but it is what all of you have been saying it is. It is a den-based advancement program, as opposed to the original home-based program...I know that there may be some old school scouters that would opposed such an idea, but we are in a new millenium, and we need to do something to keep kids in the program. I guess that a retention rate in the 90-95% area will make one guess that there is something to it.

                        It really is a template, a "Den Leader's Manual" if you will, where it gives you a rundown of the monthly activities that can be done to help with advancement, along with stuff that needs to be done at home to complete the achievement.


                        • #13
                          Just a quick mention - this program is being piloted in our council in MI for next year too. I heard a rumor that it is somewhat more in line with the "new" cub leader training syllabus that is supposedly coming down the road too but I can't be sure of that. Will see what else I can learn about it though.


                          • #14
                            I'm sorry, I didn't get to finish my post, I had to walk out the door and didn't want to lose my train of thought, so I hit send and figured that I would come back later, so I am back.

                            What I was getting at was that the Fast Tracks program really isn't a Fast Track to earning ranks, it is a manual...I know, being a den leader that it can be tough to get all the boys their ranks by Blue/Gold, and what to do at the den meetings, or how to plan them, and where to go. This program is really meant to be a guideline, not follow to the letter...really, I live in of the Wolf activities is to go to a park and clean up litter as an you see, use it as a guideline, that is what it is there for. If you are in a council that wants to try it out, to test and want you to follow it to the "T", then I wouldn't recommend it...I have been in 2 councils in the last year, due to job, and one Council offered to use it as a template, manual, guideline or whatever you want to call it, with flexibility. The other council wanted it to the letter...WRONG-O!! I told them thanks, but no thanks, as I already knew about it, and would use it as a template, to which I got push back, but used it anyways, just modified...

                            Regardless, I am back in the Council where I originally got started with the program, it was called the pilot program, then "IT", now it's called Fast Tracks...

                            So my $.02 is, try it out...the year is laid out for you, the activities and what achievements they tie in with, along with a bit of homework, to keep the parents a bit interested. In the long run, it will keep the boys interested, along with Mom/Dad/Parent, and free up some time for the den leader. You can also schedule out the whole year, which can be convenient...and it's even a way to get parents to host a meeting or two...if you have the resources, you can overcome those objections...


                            • #15
                              I have the program, here is a sampling from the Tiger portion of the program...I don't want to go any further, but this the layout for every rank, based on 2 meetings per month.


                              Meeting #1 [Bobcat Badge, Tiger Cub Achievement 1: Making My Family Special (partial)]

                              Preparation and materials needed:
                              Index cards printed with the Cub Scout Promise enough for each boy and adult, a 3-ring binder foreach boy, 3-hole punched copy paper or construction paper, stickers, markers

                              Record attendance

                              Opening ceremony:
                              Tiger Cub Motto: Search, Discover, Share
                              Cub Scout Sign
                              Cub Scout Salute

                              *Bobcat badge requirements and Tiger Cub Achievement 1: Making My Family Special
                              -Learn the Tiger Cub Motto: Search, Discover, Share (completed during Opening)
                              -Learn the Cub Scout sign. (Tiger Cub Handbook, page 32) (completed during Opening)
                              -Learn the Cub Scout salute. (page 34) (completed during Opening)
                              -Learn the Cub Promise and complete the Honesty Character Connection (pages 29-30)
                              -Say the Law of the Pack and tell what it means. (page 31)
                              -Tell what Webelos means (page 32)
                              -Show the Cub Scout handshake and tell what it means (page 33)
                              -Say the Cub Scout motto (page 33)

                              Requirement 1D: With adult partner, assemble and decorate your family scrapbook

                              Ask parents to do a think of and complete a chore with their Tiger Cub.

                              Clean up

                              Hand out parent information letter (Include a note on the chore as a reminder)

                              Tiger Cub Immediate Recognition Emblem earned.

                              First orange bead earned.

                              Meeting #2 [Achievement 1: Making My Family Special (completion)]

                              Preparation and materials needed:
                              Make arrangements to visit a library, museum, or historical building in your community. Submit a Local Tour Permit to your council two weeks prior to your field trip.

                              Ask Tiger Cubs to share with the den the chore they completed with their parent. First white bead earned.
                              Record attendance

                              Opening ceremony:
                              Recite Cub Scout Promise (Use index cards printed with the Cub Scout Promise.)

                              Achievement 1, requirement 1G: field trip.

                              Thank field trip host

                              Hand out parent information letter

                              First white and first black bead earned.

                              There is the first month...with something like this, it may be easier to recruit den leaders if you take this, print it out and hand it to the "wide-eyed, asks a lot of questions" parent...they, like the boys, are sponges and want to learn...