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The End of Belt Loops

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  • The End of Belt Loops

    Rather than trying to discuss the New Cub Scout delivery system in one big topic, I'd prefer breaking out the changes into separate discussions.

    So, no more Belt Loops after May 2015. Good, Bad, or Meh?

  • #2
    I think they are a misdirection of focus. They boys are better served working on rank items and doing them well.


    • #3
      It is my hope that they are eliminating the belt loops to put in place a different program that offers the boys immediate recognition for activities other than those they earn for their rank badge. The belt loop program is huge in my group, because it offers my den leaders activities that can be completed along side their regular program as well as gives us excuses to get all the dens together to play games and bond between the different age groups and it also ensures that each scout is awarded something each pack meeting.

      So to answer your question, bad if they are just eliminating it and do not intend to replace it with another immediate recognition program. Kids need to see something for their efforts other than just a single badge sewed onto their shirt. I hope their elimination has something to do with creating a more broad range of activities that incorporate old activities and new ones like geocaching. Perhaps instead of the expensive belt loops that fall off belts, only fit on certain belts, get stuck trying to put them on the belt.... they are moving to a patch vest or sash. I know we have the red fun patch vest, but perhaps we will go to a blue or gold colored vest or sash that the patches will be placed onto. Heck, maybe we will go like the girl scouts and ALL of our stuff will go on a vest and the blue shirts will be come obsolete and we will wear a polo. (I am not voting for the loss of the blue shirts it just seems like we have been heading in that direction for awhile now.)


      • #4
        It's important to keep in mind the general build of all BSA program: 1. Working on rank advancement; the vehicle for obtaining key skills and core values. 2. Recognition of hobby and career exploration through non-advancement based activities. This formula isn't going anywhere, all levels of scouting will always have both program elements.


        • #5
          I vote bad. Belt loops are something that I've included in my program. We also had belt loop round up day in the summer. I guess we'll just have to see what they are replacing it with. Sometimes it was the only thing a cub had earned for recognition that pack meeting. Belt loops are an introduction in to new things. If they want to continue with a subject they can work on the pin.

          and there ain't nothing wrong with a little bling on a uniform.


          • #6
            Belt loops going away? The arrow points are neat, but try to sew'em on the shirt. The belt loops only need to be bandoleer'ed on the belt. I knew some Cubs that had'em over their shoulder, they had so many. It is a neat way to show off your skill and experience. What is happening to our Scout program? Cubs now need no knowledge of indian lore, Kipling, or Baden Powell. Just do .... what? Is there a reason for the Scout Promise? I only hope the new Cub Leader can help the young'uns to understand the nuances of the bigger Scout Promise and Law..... I remember (yes, I can) figuring out that the Cub promise (" ...and be square".) set me apart from the other boys in my school. What is going to happen now? Can a 8 year old be expected to take the same attitude toward "duty to..." as a 16 year old? It is a start, I guess.....


            • #7
              Go away. Inconsistent piece of the program used mainly by parent hounded scouts. Few earn them. Even far fewer wear them as designed. They are a distraction. I'd prefer packs get back to the original concept of getting scouts outside and doing things.

              Perhaps I'd rather see scouts with scout vests and then a set of volunteers at pack meetings who will help the scout immediately stick their patches on their patch vest. Walk out of the meeting with the new patches on their vests.

              Hate to say it, but otherwise most get stuck in the drawer never to be seen again.


              • That Scouting Guy
                That Scouting Guy commented
                Editing a comment
                Maybe in YOUR pack, but belt loops and pins are huge in mine! The boys love earning them and compare and brag about the numbers they have. Half of my den hasn't bothered to attach the arrow points to their uniform because they don't really mean anything to the kids.

                Belt loops are quick recognition for specific things the boys have done but arrow points are abstract. I don't expect the boys to think back to all the things we did that year, remember which were required and which were electives, and count the number that were electives and connect that to the arrow points.

            • #8
              Glad they are departing. A good lesson to learn early in life: every experience, or newly learned skill, doesn't always result in a gold star, belt loop, patch or pin.


              • #9
                I am very very unhappy about this. I have 3 sons all 2 years apart. My eldest 2 have been busy earning as many belt loops as possible at home on their own, at pack meetings, at den meetings and at summer camp. In fact, we choose summer camp based on which belt loops are available. Then once they bridge all of their awards will go in a shadow box to be displayed. My youngest son will never have belt loops. Why get rid of this fun family oriented activity that allows scouts to take charge of their own scouting experience?


                • #10
                  We ran a great cub scout program before we ever knew about belt loops. Then we added a few just for filler activities, just like we added the LNT and outdoor awards. Never understood packs with a big belt loop program as they seemed to only be challenging/exciting for Wolf and part of Bear. Tigers were too busy getting a handle on the program and Webs were done with it.

                  But since belt loops weren't tracked at the council or national level, and only impacted the main program (one or two places in Webs and a couple of times in the Bear Achievements) can't a pack stock up and continue to award if they want?

                  Anyways, this all seems to be a long ways in the future in terms of the cub program (18 months right?). Lets focus on implementing the new program well. For the boys, AK


                  • christineka
                    christineka commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Our pack tends to have the boys earn hardly any belt loops until they become webelos. (Belt loops are required or an option for many activity badges.) Most of our boys and families don't even know about belt loops until the webelos year. Webelos seems to be the year of earning lots of bling! It feels a little unfair for the little boys to have to do so much and only earn a patch with some little arrow patches, that are often not sewn onto the uniform. (My son lost a few before I could get them attached.) Our younger boys only earned belt loops when we did a pack activity to earn them. (It's hard to play team sports with only 3 boys and 2 team sport belt loops are required to earn sportsman.)

                • #11
                  I vote Meh...... The Program has changed before...The Basic Fundamentals remain the same.... Continue for the Boys


                  • #12
                    I didn't go back and catch up on the thread about all the changes. But the last time I read there, it was just speculation that something that was sketchedly written may mean belt loops might be removed. Now, you seem certain in this thread.. What changed? How come you are now certain?

                    Anyway mixed feelings..

                    I did worry about the belt loops causing a drain on the Pack funds if parents or Den leaders got too wrapped up in them.. But so far our pack earns a few, but not many.. And I have since learned there Is a decent list of requirements to earn them. I do not know if that always was, and in the 1990's when my son went through it, his pack wasn't aware of it, or if things have changed in the 18-20 years since.. When my son went through if he played one marble game he got the marble belt loop, paint one picture and got the artist belt loop etc.. It was as easy as sneezing.. Our Pack back then limited it to they would only pay for one belt loop of each type in your cub scout career, because you were allowed to earn the same one for each scout year.. So they could re-earn the artist one 5 times over.. It really was a drain on the Pack.. But with the requirement list (truly followed), then it did seem to help the boys get use to the merit badge system in boy scouts..

                    Also I pray they don't do away with the belt loops to replace with patches that need to be sewed on.. Yuck.. As a parent, I did not enjoy sewing all that on.. And if on something these kids grew out of.. Buying a new size and removing all the old bling from the old article of clothing, to re-sew on the new article.. Was daunting.. Belt loops were much kinder to the parent..

                    From reading those slides, it really seemed to me, there are changes coming, but at this stage, they only had an idea of goals they wanted to accomplish. The execution date is still in the future, and the exact concrete program that will be built to meet these goals has not been worked out yet..


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by desertrat77 View Post
                      Glad they are departing. A good lesson to learn early in life: every experience, or newly learned skill, doesn't always result in a gold star, belt loop, patch or pin.
                      Great idea! Maybe that should be the new Cub Scout Motto! I'm sure it would really help enrollment numbers.


                      • desertrat77
                        desertrat77 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        If the cubs are going to leave because of the absence of belt loops, odds are the programming wasn't strong to begin with........
                        Last edited by desertrat77; 01-08-2014, 10:18 PM.

                      • Basementdweller
                        Basementdweller commented
                        Editing a comment
                        You sound just like me......I need to share a cigar and beverage with you sometime.

                      • desertrat77
                        desertrat77 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        First round is on me....

                    • #14
                      Mixed feelings. The boys LOVE the belt loops, it's easy to have stuff for many boys at Pack Meetings. They are much less work than the other ones.

                      However, I feel in our Council (our district and another one whose summer camp we attended), Belt Loops are crowding out electives. I have memories of doing a bunch of electives with my Den and my dad when I was a kid, and the electives seem like they should be a core part of the program. But 10 electives takes 2-3 meetings to plan and execute, while you can do 1 belt loop/meeting pretty easily.

                      OTOH, the academic ones seem silly.

                      I also find it strange that they just rolled out the Nova program, which at the Cub Level is VERY belt loop centric, and they are getting rid of them?

                      I'd like to see more of the electives re-emphasized. One of the joys of the Cub Scout program is pushing old fashioned "boy hobbies" that drop by the way side. The sports ones are great, get exposed to different sports, but it is seeming to crowd out Scouting. I know one Pack that every meeting does 1 Achievement, 1 Belt Loop. So you do 12 Achievements (15 for Tiger) to earn your Rank, but you've earned 12 loops along the way... Which do you think seems more substantial to the boys?

                      Over the summer, my son took an old iPod, installed a belt loop app, and really focused on belt loops with my wife. It was a great experience for him.


                      • #15
                        They make handy filler activities to work on in the odd den meeting AND They serve as something to give out as bling during the pack meeting....
                        My son was energetic about earning them Tiger year, not so much Wolf year, and so far bear year no interest at all..... His belt is nearly full.
                        I have NEVER seen boys compare the loops with friends, see who has more, be jealous or energized to earn more because their friends have something that they don't.
                        I just feel like it's a distraction.
                        What I have seen is den leaders get fired up because another den had more awards than there den..... so the next month was spent working on loops.

                        Don't think the boys care about any of it..... uniform, awards, patches. pins, loops.....
                        They just want to do something fun, like build stomp rockets!

                        If BSA doesn't replace the program with something similar, maybe we can lower our pack dues a couple bucks a year!