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The End of Belt Loops

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  • #31
    Basement makes a good point..... many are a complete joke, and the boys surely know it.
    For example if the bb had some sort of requirement for proficiency or improvement, then it would be a challenge and something to be proud of wearing.
    But, given that we can only shoot at the BSA range and those places are zoos during the district camps, there is no way to "officially" get any practice beyond the dozen or so shots they get in the time allowed.

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    • #32
      bagss also makes an interesting point. I always thought it weird that the boys can wear the easy award, but the award that has some element to be proud of is useless because there's no built in way to wear it.

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      • #33
        Our kids love getting things at the Awards ceremonies. But we don't necessarily need belt loops. Heck, I go to town on the Fun Patch Section at the Scout shop.. We went to the nature reserve and went on a hike? bam hiking patch.. We helped clean up our charter org? Bam service patch etcetc. They can be worn on a brag jacket or if they make a blanket or something. They are like half the price of a belt loop too or less lol.

        The kids just like feeling like their are receiving things. I am sure they will replace belt loops with something, I hope its some type of patches as the kids like the badges/patches better than belt loops here anyways.

        I mean no boy joins cub scouts saying "I want to earn belt loops". They join saying they want badges and patches because that is what scouts get, what the heck is a belt loop?

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        • blw2
          blw2 commented
          Editing a comment
          all true, except that the a patch goes straight to a drawer. There's no wearing it or displaying it, except for those "temporary patches" that hang from a button.
          ....at least in florida where it's too hot for the majority of the time to wear a vest or jacket....

        • mashmaster
          mashmaster commented
          Editing a comment
          We are in Texas which is just as hot as Florida, and my son wears his patches on his vest. But my wife makes vests for the pack because BSA vests are made of fleece, which might cause kids in 105 degrees to burst into flames.

        • jc2008
          jc2008 commented
          Editing a comment
          They can put a button loop on a patch or get that plastic patch hanger/holder thing from the scout shop.If your pack does a look of fun patches, you can get one of these for each boy : http://www.scoutstuff.org/round-emblem-holder.html and they can pick which fun patch they want to wear on their uniform and wear it in that plastic sleeve on their button.

      • #34
        And we wonder why they don't stay in scouting after they cross over.

        Because in Boy Scouts we don't recognize them for hiking a crossed a parking lot or showing up at the fire station, or blowing their nose.

        In some troops they actually have to show some proficiency in a task. We don't award for brushing our teeth or peeing on a tree.

        Had the a new cross over in tears at our spring court of honor because he didn't get a baggie full of awards. Really????


        My point is........I believe their is too much bling in cub scouting, and when a boy joins a troop and gets a rank patch a summer camp patch and maybe a merit badge or two at his first court of honor, they think it isn't worth it.

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        • #35
          No peeing on tree awards?

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          • #36
            Our Pack is smaller than most Dens. We have 2 tigers, 1 wolf, 1 bear and 2 Webelos. When we do activities together we can't do activities that work toward rank because we all have different requirements. The belt loops allow a small unit like ours to do things together and have things to award from time to time.

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            • #37
              Thank god the belt loops are going away. They distracted cubs from achieving rank advancement. The belt loops give instant gratification, which is teaching the wrong lesson. Instead let's focus on rank requirements followed by elective activities.

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              • #38
                With respect to SM Bob, I'd like to take the exact opposite tact.

                While I will state that the belt loops are a large expense to the unit (maybe even higher than the pinewood derby cars for us), and for that reason alone, I could support dropping the program; I believe that the belt loops (and pins), like most of the boy scout merit badges, has the value of exposing (or at least encouraging being exposed) to things and activities they might not otherwise do.

                I concede that many of the loops' requirements are satisfied by doing things they would do otherwise, but at the very least, because it's not sitting right there in their scout book, it make the scouts (and/or their families) take some extra effort to find the award, and learn the requirements.

                A lot can be said in both directions about the value of too much bling for the cub scouts, but the reality is that at that age, that is a good motivator. My daughter is a girl scout, and while she does not do activities just to get a patch, she is proud of all the patches she has earned when they are displayed on her vest. The cub scouts are the same way, and the belt loops are far less intrusive a reward that a patch vest or a cub scout (merit badge) sash would be. The rank awards are too far apart, the belt loops help the scouts stay motivated and interested.

                As a cub master, I also re-iterate what Chuck said, Although my pack is much larger, it is too difficult to develop good pack-level programatics and activities that reach the requirements of each rank level (although I do try when they can match the theme/core value). A belt loop earned as a part of a pack activity brings a sense of belonging to the pack to the scouts.

                It also splits the middle ground of extra activity - things the scouts can do on their own. We just really haven't adopted the "fun for the family" program, nor have we been able to get into the STEM program. While I am a big STEM supporter, it may be a little too distracting to the focus of the scout program. The belt loops encourage sports and fitness, showmanship and citizenship, responsibility and family. These are the core values of scouting.

                I do not know what will replace the program yet - But I expect that it will be something. The real question is how will that replacement fit into the program? Will it be part of the "journeys" of the planned den activities, or will it be a recognition of the extra effort a cub scout can put in on their own for some individual achievement?
                Last edited by gumbymaster; 02-28-2014, 12:40 PM.

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                • #39
                  very bad if they do not replace with badges and a sash like Scouts. Half or more of the fun in scouts for the younger kids is displaying their achievements. Besides camping the earning of belt loops and pins are exciting, the rank is nice but you get that in the meetings. This also provides opportunities for families on the weekends to work on something the boys will get rewarded for and possibly peak their interest in learning more. We always plan outings around belt loops for the kids. What a waste and you think you are having trouble recruiting kids now wait until it seems to be all required work!

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                  • #40
                    I think splitting the Webelos and Arrow of light into 2 different pieces is a mistake. Like a lot of packs most of our Webelos earned their Webelos rank in Feb at the Blue and Gold. We have continured to work on the AOL requirements March, April and May. We have not had much drop off in participation like I saw with the lower ranks (experienced in 2 different packs).

                    I understand the tradition of haveing rank advancementment in Feb / Mar and I think if you are meeting 2x-3x a month and the scouts participate in either residence camp or summer camp it is easily accomplished but it also leads to people losing interest.

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                    • #41
                      From a Pack Financial point of view, Belt Loops are EXPENSIVE, Religious Medallions are EXPENSIVE, everything else is in the noise. I am concerned that BSA still thinks Cub Scouts meet the way we did when I was a cub 30 years ago... 30 years ago, you when to your CO 1/month for a Pack Meeting, and the rest of the time you went to you Den Mother/Leader's house and did your Den Meetings.

                      Because of liability, youth protection, and general social change, not one unit that I know of in the district meet's a leader's house (except for specialty meetings, a parent with a fire ring, wood shop, etc), we all meet at our CO. Smaller Packs often all meet at once with little distinction between Den/Pack Meetings. Midsized like ours do Pack Meetings together, with Den Meetings as Break Out Sessions (i.e. we call meeting to order, then break into Dens for the activities). Some bigger Packs all meet at the CO, but each Den schedules their own time.

                      Belt Loops are great activities because the boys that go to Day Camp come back with a bag of them earned (and the other boys want to go), plus we organize campouts to earn 2-3 of them to get the boys not camping jonsing to camp. I am concerned that the new program is going to remove the Pack-wide programming. On one hand, Tigers + Webelos 2s together makes Pack-wide stuff tough, OTOH, the younger Cubs are super excited to do things with the older ones.

                      With this journey-style approach, I fear that it will be week-in, week-out Den Meetings, with limited opportunities to earn awards and recognition.

                      HOWEVER, Current Rank Advancement is utterly broken, as Sidney Porter points out with Webelos and post rank advancement Drop off.

                      So the boys work for 5 months (10 meetings) plus a few "homework assignments" to Rank Advance. Meanwhile, they get belt loops for an hour of play. If they do electives while rank advancing (or at summer camp), they get no recognition until after the rank patch is awarded. Two boys did two weeks of Day Camp, they earned 40 Electives there... in June. They received their Arrow Heads in February... some instant recognition.

                      Tiger is TOTALLY broken, the only things electives do for them are beads, and they don't get the beads until after the Tiger Rank, so in all likelihood, they wear the elective beads for 2-3 Pack Meetings and 4-5 Den Meetings, tops?

                      We decided for next year that we are no longer pushing for Rank Advancement @ Blue and Gold. Rank Advancement should be aimed for by April Pack Meeting, with May being graduation (and backup for anyone missing). If the boys finish earlier, great, present as earned. This way the boys can earn electives and do a variety of Scouting. We had a problem that we ended up scrambling for some Dens to finish rank advancement for Blue and Gold, with no plans for what to do afterward.

                      We also have a BIG Camporee in February and a Cuboree in April, so we want to have the meetings leading up to them to make decorations for camp sites, etc., which doesn't happen if you are pushing to rank advance in February.

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