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  • Minimum Scout Age/Grade

    Hi all,

    Yesterday a couple of us (CM, asst. CM, 2 den leaders and our DD) met at the library with some parents from the local elementary schools who were interested in their sons signing up for scouts next year when they enter first grade. After a minor...discussion (I will not call it an altercation) with our district director who was also there, this question came up. I'm gonna nose around online as well and see if I can find more information on this:

    I was always under the impression that a scout had to be 7 OR in the first grade to join. My son won't be 7 until second grade (due to when his birthday falls) but he was allowed in last year due to his grade, not age. Is there any 'exceptions' to this rule that would allow a kindergartener or 6 year old into scouting (as a Tiger, not any rank that may exist in some areas for younger boys.)

  • #2
    My youngest was six the entire 1st grade. My oldest was still 5 when he started 1st grade. I don't really understand your question. Why would you want a kindergartener to start Tiger with a bunch of 1st graders ?

    Comment


    • Faith
      Faith commented
      Editing a comment
      Right, both yours were in first grade (I'm assuming) when joining (despite age.) I was wondering if a child isn't 7 AND isn't in First Grade, were they still allowed under special circumstances (my example being with siblings.)

  • #3
    Tiger cubs are primarily 1st graders. When kids are that young you want to keep them in groups of the same maturity level. And grade level is a big factor in maturity level.
    Officially: The Tiger Cub Scout program is for boys who have completed Kindergarten (or are age 7).

    You really do not want to make exceptions to that rule as you want the kid to be with his peers and maturity level. In our den we have kids ranging in age from 7-9 and it was a Wolf den this year. We had kids who were on the young side, kids who were on the old side and kids inbetween. But all the kids are basically of the same maturity level/mind set because they were all second graders (and one 1st grader who was held back)

    When you make any decision in scouting, always start off with the thought, "What is best for the kid?" and keeping the kid with his peers so he is able to participate at the same level as the other kids is really what is best for the kid.

    Comment


    • #4
      Ok, here's the thing. There were two parents at the meeting. Both with two sons, one going into Kindergarten this Fall, one going into First grade. When I went to help them sign up the first graders, one asked if her Kindergartener could also join so they'd be together. The other parent liked the idea and said she'd like to know as well. I told her I didn't believe so (due to both being 5 until November and next March and going into K5) but I'd ask the DD (this was to cover my own butt.) He said sure, no problem, brushed it off like it was nothing. He then came over and helped them fill the stuff out. Our CM heard this and pretty much stated what I did, that he thought they were too young. The DD pretty much shushed him until the parents were gone. I then went on to explain why I asked that and he kept saying he didn't see the big deal, this would keep them together. I told him I understood that, I just thought when their fellow classmates hit first (and possibly join up), they will be a year ahead of the rest (I wasn't sure if this was frowned upon, allowed, etc.)

      Comment


      • ScoutNut
        ScoutNut commented
        Editing a comment
        While your District Director (DD) was helping those parents to fill out the BSA Youth Application it would have been a good idea if he, and the parents, had actually read it first.

        On page 3 of the application there is quite a lot of information that is good for parents to know. Included is a list of membership requirements.

        "Tiger Cub—Must be under the age of 8, have completed kindergarten or be in the first grade, or be age 7."

        To make it even clearer (if it is not clear enough) put the word "AND" in after "Must be under the age of 8".

        Your DD did a VERY big disservice to these boys. If, by some quirk of computer, these two kindergarteners fall thru the cracks, and are allowed to register, they will NOT be able to cross to Boy Scouts with their brothers. They simply will not be old enough.

        Odds are the applications for the two kindergarten boys will be rejected by your council registrar. However, just to be sure, I suggest giving the registrar a call TODAY, and explain what happened. Then someone needs to call these parents and tell them their younger sons are NOT going to be registered until they complete kindergarten.
        Last edited by ScoutNut; 05-24-2013, 07:19 AM.

      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        You know the birth dates so you can do the math, but these are the Boy Scout joining requirements.

        pg 17 Boy Scout handbook "be a boy who is 11 years old, OR one who has completed the fifth grade OR earned the arrow of light award AND is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old.

        Earning Arrow of Light at 9 will not cut it. The reasoning behind the arrow of light exception is the requirements have prepared a boy through his activities and associations with troops to start early.

        Remember Webelos is about an 18 month program, in the second year they generally cross over to the troop in the feb-April timeframe to get them acclimated to the troop and a couple of weekend campouts under their belt before the weeklong summer camp.

        Now there is also the principle that we do not punish the boy for the mistakes of adult leaders. So if the damage has been done and the parents and boys can't be convinced that it is better over the long term to follow the rules (not a bad lesson to teach children). You, the parents and this rouge DD can walk this up the chain all the way to National and see if you can get a signed commitment to waive the joining requirements. Don't know if you will get it. Good luck.

      • Faith
        Faith commented
        Editing a comment
        Haha KDD, look here now. I always see y'all using all these fancy abbreviations that I know nothing about. I am forever searching them up online to see what this is, that is, etc. Don't rain on my chance to use one myself :P (And as for DD, that's always me and I'm ALWAYS sober ) I replied to the thread as a whole, ty again for all the input guys!

    • #5
      Interesting situation..... I think it better for the boys to not be admitted until the 1st grade.....

      On a parallel note, I was thinking about something just the other day when I for some reason pulled out my old BS Handbook. At B&G when our pack does it's annual crossover, my son won't technically be old enough for Boy Scouts.
      Checking the modern standards, per the BSA web site
      If you're a boy age 11, or at least 10 and have completed the fifth grade, or have earned the Cub Scout Arrow of Light Award, to 17 years old, the time for a real adventure is now.
      At crossover time, assuming of course that my son sticks with it and wants to cross over..., he'll be IN the 5th grade and will be 10 years old. So if he doesn't earn the AOL, he'll not technically be allowed to cross over I guess...... but he was perfectly "by the book" to join as a Tiger in the 1st grade. Kind of a loop hole for sure where BSA ages don't mesh well with the school systems.....
      So he's one of the youngest in the class, and one of the youngest in his den, but he fits right in with all of them..... in fact excels.

      BUT, while his age is on the low end, his ability and maturity fall more in step I think with the school grade level. This is why I think the OP's situation with kindergarten kids is a bad fit.....

      Comment


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I dont see a loophole. By not earning AOL he has not demonstrated the necessary skills to earn early entry to Boy Scouts. AOL is not that hard. Super 20 is.

        You are right though that if you get a 9 year old fifth grader, maybe because he skipped a grade, there is a problem. There are probably issues with homeschoolers as well. I am sure BSA has procedures to deal with this type of issue. Beyond entry, one must still consider the mental, emotional and physical challenges that a 8 or 9 year old would face trying to fit in with a troop of teenage boys. It is tough at 10 for many boys.

        That said, I spoke with a UC about a fifth grader who was not in cubs but was considering scouts. He said he could attend meetings and camp with the new scouts as a "guest" until he finished fifth grade or turned 11. Would likely require a parent to attend all events as well and could be credited with advancement. Not sure if that was rouge advise or not, but makes sense.

      • blw2
        blw2 commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, It's an interesting potential hurdle.... But by loophole, I really meant a pitfall or potential lost boy. I can imagine a boy who finishes cubs, but for whatever reason didn't earn his AOL. Now he suddenly finds himself without a den half way through the year. If he's restricted from joining a troop, he's in limbo until next year.....I'd say odds are really high that he will be lost from the BSA roles for good.

        Since I'm active, I'd say odds are low that my son won't push through the AOL. If he's not motivated to finish the AOL, then he's not likely to be interested in continuing anyway. But I do know other boys that are so active in other things, sports, music, church, and on and on. They may enjoy scouting and do well, but just not earn that arrow due to lack of time..... or if they have a hard time with parental conflicts, etc....

      • dcsimmons
        dcsimmons commented
        Editing a comment
        Happens all the time. Leave the boy registered as a Webelos scout, which you can. Depending on your taste for risk, let him participate with the NSP until he finishes 5th grade. He can't technically get any signatures until he finishes 5th grade but he could learn the skills. Make dad come along and turn him into an ASM.

    • #6
      Thank you all, I know this was done for two reasons (neither of which I agree with.) One, so the parents would allow their first graders to join (because having them together is more convenient for them) and two for money (our DD LOVES to tell people he's just there to collect the money, I've heard that phrase at least 4 times now.) Our CM and asst. CM felt the same way I did about this. This morning I was included in an email our CM sent to a scout executive and he replied back almost immediately. He thanked our CM for sharing it, apologized for the confusion, stated they must be in 1st grade and are too young, is out of town at the moment but asking another field director to follow up with our DD and have our DD inform the parents himself and process a refund via the scout office.

      So again, ty all for your input. My CM thanked me as well for bringing it up. Whether its 'convenient' (or brings in more money), I think its best they wait it out too. Heck I have two boys myself that will be a couple years apart in scouts and I have no problem with that. My husband and I will work together with our jobs and them to make sure both can participate as much as possible. Hopefully these parents will understand and try the same.

      Comment


      • #7
        Cub Scouts is a family activity. So the younger brother should be welcome to attend Den Meetings and participate in what is appropriate for him to participate. When he gets left out of tasks that are too hard for his age group, he won't feel like he is being left out as part of the Den, but rather left out because he is too young yet and he will be able to do all this next year.

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by blw2 View Post
          Interesting situation..... I think it better for the boys to not be admitted until the 1st grade.....

          On a parallel note, I was thinking about something just the other day when I for some reason pulled out my old BS Handbook. At B&G when our pack does it's annual crossover, my son won't technically be old enough for Boy Scouts.
          Checking the modern standards, per the BSA web site
          If you're a boy age 11, or at least 10 and have completed the fifth grade, or have earned the Cub Scout Arrow of Light Award, to 17 years old, the time for a real adventure is now.
          At crossover time, assuming of course that my son sticks with it and wants to cross over..., he'll be IN the 5th grade and will be 10 years old. So if he doesn't earn the AOL, he'll not technically be allowed to cross over I guess...... but he was perfectly "by the book" to join as a Tiger in the 1st grade. Kind of a loop hole for sure where BSA ages don't mesh well with the school systems.....
          So he's one of the youngest in the class, and one of the youngest in his den, but he fits right in with all of them..... in fact excels.

          BUT, while his age is on the low end, his ability and maturity fall more in step I think with the school grade level. This is why I think the OP's situation with kindergarten kids is a bad fit.....
          This will apply to my oldest as well. Thanks to where his birthday falls, he won't be 11 until August (the same August he will be going into 6th grade.) So if he ranks up that February at our B&G, he will be 10 and 3 months away from completing fifth grade (I see KDD's son is also in the same boat.) I imagine lots of kids are due to what you said (conflicting with the school system.) I was in my first year of college at 17 (never skipped a grade) for the exact same reason.

          Comment


          • ScoutNut
            ScoutNut commented
            Editing a comment
            The YOUNGEST a boy can be to join Boy Scouts is 10 years old.

            To join between 10-11 years of age, the boy MUST have EITHER completed 5th grade - OR - have earned his Arrow Of Light (AOL) as a Webelos Cub Scout.

            A boy that is BOTH a year, and a grade, behind the rest of his Webelos den will not be able to meet either of those requirements.

            Scouting is age appropriate. The Boy Scout program is simply not age appropriate for a 9 year old, 4th grader.
            Just as the Cub Scout Tiger program is not age appropriate for a 5-6 year old kindergartener.
            Last edited by ScoutNut; 05-24-2013, 12:28 PM.

          • Faith
            Faith commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed Hopefully if my son is still interested in it come that time as he is now, he will go for his AOL and be covered no matter what.

            And as for age appropriate, I also agree about 9 year olds / 4th grade. That's why this situation had me perplexed. Thankfully they nipped it in the bud before anything came out of it (well, moreso than it has already.)

        • #9
          Originally posted by jc2008 View Post
          Cub Scouts is a family activity. So the younger brother should be welcome to attend Den Meetings and participate in what is appropriate for him to participate. When he gets left out of tasks that are too hard for his age group, he won't feel like he is being left out as part of the Den, but rather left out because he is too young yet and he will be able to do all this next year.
          I encourage this quite a bit in our den. Myself and three other moms all have two kids and each of the siblings are just barely younger than our Tigers. We allow them to participate in what they can (games, hikes, etc.) and for things they can't do, they sit by and watch. I've heard a few of the younger siblings state they can't wait to be a cub (I hope that enthusiasm continues.) Fingers crossed this will be the case here, although one of the parents (the first to ask about an exception) clearly expressed they wanted them together.

          Comment


          • #10
            There are DE's out there who will sign up short-haired girls if no one was looking, just to get their recruitment numbers up.

            Comment


            • #11
              I can think of one "exception" we used as a recruitment tool. We handed out applications at the Kindergarten graduation. They were no longer kindergartners, but had not started 1st grade yet. The draw was that if they enrolled in the summer their brand new Tiger could attend Day Camp in June. It seemed to work for us.

              Comment


              • #12
                That is actually exactly what we were doing that day (the DD had went around to the schools and sent home papers about the meeting to kids who will be finished with kindergarten next week.) They all signed up for our day camp as well (one of my moving up tigers this year attended last year's before he entered 1st grade.)

                Comment


                • #13
                  On June 1st your rank advances from one rank to the next. So a Kindergarden boy who is no rank, would be a Tiger. Its not a loop hole, its just true You are your rank for an entire 12 months (June-June) as long as you are registered with the BSA. Tigers are not just Tigers from August-June. The requirement to be a Tiger is "Completed Kindergarden" not "In First Grade". Some School systems have an inbetween grade that is for kids who completed kindergarden but are not quite ready for 1st grade.

                  One of the reasons a lot of Packs dont recruit graduating Kindergardeners is because most packs typically break for the summer so the child would have day camp and maybe 1-2 activities during the summer and you run the risk of them becoming disinterested. And normally Tiger dens don't form really well until fall recruitment when you have enough kids and adult leaders to take them on.
                  Last edited by jc2008; 05-24-2013, 10:56 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Originally posted by jc2008 View Post
                    On June 1st your rank advances from one rank to the next. So a Kindergarden boy who is no rank, would be a Tiger. Its not a loop hole, its just true You are your rank for an entire 12 months (June-June) as long as you are registered with the BSA. Tigers are not just Tigers from August-June. The requirement to be a Tiger is "Completed Kindergarden" not "In First Grade". Some School systems have an inbetween grade that is for kids who completed kindergarden but are not quite ready for 1st grade.

                    One of the reasons a lot of Packs dont recruit graduating Kindergardeners is because most packs typically break for the summer so the child would have day camp and maybe 1-2 activities during the summer and you run the risk of them becoming disinterested. And normally Tiger dens don't form really well until fall recruitment when you have enough kids and adult leaders to take them on.
                    That's about all our pack has during the summer but we still recruit out of Kindergarten as well. Even though some of our Tigers were recruited last May, we didn't form a den until September (and only one of the scouts they recruitd then stayed after camp.) So I know exactly what you mean, we saw it happen last year. I wasn't sure if you were just replying to the last few posts or the thread itself but this I completely understand and agree with I was just having trouble with kids going INTO Kindergarten being Tigers. Thankfully they were able to resolve it!

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      I really wish the BSA would start a kindergarten age program, my youngest son is 5 and in Kindergarten and he sat in the Tiger Den all year and there was not a single thing he wasn't able to do, he knew the law and promise by his second meeting and was better then some of our bears. We gave him a certificate for making all requirements and he will get his bobcat at out welcome back Pack Meeting since he will officially be a tiger. We did a membership drive at a Vol Fire Co open house and you wouldn't believe how many Kindergarten age kids are looking for activities. The BSA is really missing out

                      Comment


                      • jc2008
                        jc2008 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        They have a Kindergarten program that is in testing at one council (as far as I know), Lions.
                        http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Lion_Cub_Scout

                      • blw2
                        blw2 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        That's interesting...... Lions rank was removed long ago, but it was above Bear back in the day.....

                        I agree about the missed opportunity with Kindergarten..... It will be good I think if this Lions Scout thing works out.... With one potential problem, and that is of burn-out. I wonder if with the Tiger program, if Cub Scouts is already a bit too long and a bit too broad brush.
                        Maybe, just maybe it could be a better program overall if it were focused a bit more on "high adventure" stuff for the older boys. Maybe more fun and less burn out all around before the boys get into Boy Scouts.....
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