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Belt loop/pin policy recommendations

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I am one of those den leaders that was stunned when a scout (WII) submitted for 26 belt loops/pins to be presented at B&G just weeks before cross-over. This cost our pack a significant amount of money we don't have and in my opinion, overshadowed the AofL ceremony. Our pack has only started to present loops/pins in the past three years, so there has never been a real "policy" or even understanding about how to incorporate the program into our overall scouting program. There are only two families - and now three - that are going gangbusters after these awards.


In response to this, I am trying to develop a policy for our Pack. What policy does your pack have? Looking for


- cost - who pays?

- how many? do you allow them to earn them all? just the ones required for advancements?

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When did the Scout earn all these? If he (meaning his parents) are going back to his Tiger year and analyzing every family vacation or activity to figure out what he's done, that's a problem. I don't know if there is a specific restriction on beltloops, but it is a general principle of Cub Scout advancement that you only work on stuff for the current program year. In other words, he should only get awards for which he did the work as a Webelos II.


But if you can't afford it, you can't afford it. I think you need to sit down with the parents and ask for help -- either help paying for the awards or perhaps being a little more reasonable in what he earned. I would be concerned, however, about setting up a situation where only the boys whose parents can afford the awards can get them.


Going forward, I think reasonable restrictions are okay. Our pack would only award a belt loop once (say a boy who earns Citizenship early, then again for the Webelos requirement). We would recognize him at the pack meeting, but he wouldn't get a second beltloop.


Parents who go nuts about their kids going through the Academic and Sports program like Tasmanian devils are missing the point. Some education is in order. I always saw the beltloops as something a boy/den could work on to provide some intermediate recognition while working on rank badges. If a Scout blows through all the beltloop fast, there's nothing left.


A Webelos II doing this is a bit unusual, I suppose due to the pack not really offering the program earlier. But the truth is beltloops are pretty easy for a 10-year-old and pounding out that many really isn't much of an accomplishment. Although I assume the kid surprised you with the 26 loops, had the WDL known what the boy was working on, he should have been strongly encouraged to work on fewer pins rather than dozens of beltloops.


Again, that is a matter of educating the parents to the program and the pack leaders having a little more experience managing it.

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If you haven't already, make it policy that scouts turn in the associated worksheets with requests for loops and pins. This prevents parents who think "oh, my son plays baseball, so he can get the baseball loop/pin". Links to sheets are found near the bottom of belt loop specifics.


Our pack pays for loops. No firm policy is set, but after going through one Blue and Gold where a den suddenly submitted for a ton, after having done none all year, our cubmaster made it known to den leaders to encourage the boys to do loops regularly, not all at once.


I wouldn't suggest limiting awards to ones associated with advancements, though, as the loops are good for keeping boys excited and working all year long.

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In our Pack, we've developed a number of policies about this:


1) As to presentation, after having experienced the tedium of the litany of belt loops and pins and so on for everyone, we have determined that B & G is not for "Baubles and Geegaws": we do Rank Recognition only, and ask Den Leaders to make it a fun and excellent ceremony. We tell them that other elements like Belt Loops and so on should be Den Recognition items. We do (if we have a diligent volunteer) note these extra achievements in the Banquet Program, so mom and dad and Scout can see it.

-- Now, this is for a Pack of 60 plus, where all of the Baubles and Geegaws would get tedious.

-- Less of a worry for a small pack.


2) As to cost, we have a policy of we'll pay for the awards done in a Den Meeting or Pack Event, and families who do extra would need to fund their extra awards. But we have yet to need to apply this policy, in part because many realize that Johnny won't be the center of attention at the B&G by getting a bazillion belt loops.

-- Agreed that this can get way out of hand, as these are pricey.

-- It all depends, of course, on what you budget for advancement needs / pack dues / pack fundraiser.


3) As to "did he ... really?", that is difficult. Truly, many elements can be done and completed, and completed well in a family / team setting, worksheet or not, so we generally don't like to add requirements.

-- We do want Den Leaders to be in touch with families and get these awarded when earned, and often they use that as an opportunity to ask the family to come teach it to the rest of the Den!


My $0.02.


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At the moment my pack pays for 1 belt loop and 1 pin, no matter how many times you earn it.


Now if parents want to buy additional loops and pins, they are not restricted items, and they can purchase them.


Now with the emphasis on getting all CS ranks by Feb/March BnG, I in my neck of the woods districts and council are putting belt loops and pin events into program, so we will probably be awarding more of them next year. ESP if SctDad's idea of having multiple SnA activities throughout the year happens, which is in trhe works.

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Belt loops and pins are fun for cubbies. True the things can get expensive, but our Pack encourages them.


1. We encourage dens and families to work on pins and loops year round. No deadline for earning them for B&G. We award them at every pack meeting (monthly except for January, PWD month)

2. NO announcing loops and pins at B&G. That's for rank only. Also, personally, as a awards chair in my pack, I try to tell leaders and parents to hold off on getting loops and pins in February, so as not to detract from B&G

3. We pay for loops and pins only once.

4. As for the "did he REALLY earn them" thing. It's difficult. We try to inform parents that just because you took your kid ice skating over winter break doesn't necessarily mean he earned the Ice Skating Belt Loop by providing them with the links to the requirements. But unless you are going to make it mandatory to turn in the spreadsheet to prove they did it, you kinda have to go with the honor system.


Even with all this, I still get kids earning 10 or 15 loops all at once. The way we see it, it's part of why they pay yearly fees.

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After running into a similar situation last year, this is what we came up with.


1. Parents are Akela and therefore are allowed to 'sign off' on belt loops and pins. The exception is any requirement that involves interaction with the den, pack or den leaders. For those, the advancement chair double-checks with the den leader to ensure the requirement was completed properly. So, in other words, we verify what we can and let the rest go.


2. The pack will buy a maximum of 10 belt loops or pins per boy per year, and we buy each belt loop or pin only once in a cub scout career. After that, parents can purchase the belt loops or pins for their scouts at the scout shop, they are unrestricted items. We will announce earned belt loops and pins over the purchase limit during our usual time for advancements at pack meetings.


In practice, this has been pretty easy to implement as there are only a few boys who even come close to the limit and once the parents have had the first embarrassing conversation with the advancements chair or den leader -'Hey, it's marked that Johnny shared his collection with the den but he forgot to bring it in, can you do that next week?' they seem to back off a bit.


We do AoL as a separate ceremony from pack meetings, so the focus really is on AoL and maybe a last minute Webelos pin, usually the Webelos have moved on from the belt loop game at that point.

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Well our bear den handed in advancement forms requesting 30 belt loops and pins one month last year.

well we've never had anyone get more than say 3 or 4 in a month but had the policy that you can earn them multiple times but the pack only pays for them once.


So we went round and round on how to deal with that. they cost like $2.50 each, so that's $75 for one scout, and our dues are not that much for the whole year. We explained that the pack didn't have that much in the budget for belt loops for the den and the parents came up with a bit of the cost (like $20 each)


so then we made an announcement to the dens that the pack budget has $5 a month for awards per scout, so that a scout really can't earn more than 2 belt loops a month on our dime, parents could choose to pay for extras if they'd like.


that worked for a while.


tiger den didn't get the memo it seems this spring they have marked off that they've earned EVERY belt loop.




I would like to see a pack rule that we pay for belt loops and pins only if they are actually earned in den, pack, district or council scouting.


see if you participate in a sports team, you get recognition from your team

and if you participate in stuff at school, you get recognitition at school

so you should get recognition for stuff you do in scouts at scouts, right?



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Our Pack also has specific policies to this to keep costs down.


Only four belt loops/pins can be awarded in a single month (It was felt that this was both reasonable, and a stretch for youth to do sometimes)


The first month after summer, up to eight may be turned in.


If they earned more than this, they can turn in the excess the next month.


Luckily we already had this policy in place when we had a parent decide to "get her money" out of the Pack. She owed for summer camp with the Troop, and after approaching her three times about this, she finally paid. The next week (one week before bridgeover) she turned in for 26 belt loops and 13 pins.

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I would refuse to pay for 26 belt loops.....that simple. I would send the parent to the scout shop to buy them......I bet he gets every single one if they make the trip.


The parent is flat out lying about it. I would pick a couple out that have requirements that say make a poster and present to the den or pack meeting and say ok.....when did they do this.....or make a scrap book or make and have them present this. I would no simply award them without proof and remind them a scout is trust worth. Then remind them that as a Scout leader you are thrifty and before you spend money will need evidence that the work was completed.


I have had a couple of parents do the same thing, Some have presented work, others have not.....


Belt loops are not something to be presented at a Blue and Gold banquet or pack meeting anyways, the boys should get them as soon as possible after earning them. Just my 2 cents.

No way........

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Our Pack pays for belt loops that are earned in Pack or Den organized activities. We do not do pins as organized activities because of the length of time they are designed to take.


Scouts can work on whatever they want of course, but parents have to pay for any loops or pins that they do on their own. Parents are "Akela" and you cannot audit the earning of loops by requiring proof of achievement.


We will present all belt loops (including on your own ones) at Pack meetings. This has not been a problem of quantity because we don't promote the program as an "individual" program.


For our Pack, I believe one of the reasons that belt loops are not a big deal is that we really emphasize the "Red Vest" and we give patches for pretty much everything. At 69 cents a patch online we can afford quite a few versus loops.

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26 belt loops submitted.........as gate keeper of Pack funds, you bet your @#$ I am going to ask for proof, we are talking $60-70 bucks or so. That equates to $280 in popcorn sales...


No it is not adding to the requirements, we are not talking about rank advancement.


We had a parent do the exact same thing....We asked for proof, she backed down and the completed got cut in half.(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

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I told the tiger leaders they should back it back down to the 1 or 2 belt loops they did in the den meetings.


So right now we are at chess and basketball. which is really cute thinking of tigers learning chess (not saying they can't, but it's not exactly the easiest belt loop for a tiger), and basketball (they can't even come close to making a basket at the school where they played).


just strikes me as a funny choice.


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How did they get BB Gun and Archery Belt Loops, and pins for that matter, Since you can only earn those at district and council events?


Now I admit when I planned CSDC, I did have belt loops and pins planned and worked on. If memory serves you could earn the following in the week long, 9 hour day CSDC:



BB Guns




Map and Compass

Wildlife Conservation


Plus advancement requirements. BUT again CSDC was 9 hours a day, so you had 8 hours of instruction per day for a totalof 40 hours. You can do a lot in 40 hours.


Now I admit sometimes you do forget what your cubs do at camp, even if you are the one who was PD for camp :) I had 2 parents that worked camp remind me that I forgot to list some of the pins they earned, so sometimes you do need to play catchup with the awards.



But 23 in a month?(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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We have a cub who likes to work on belt loops and pins. He and his brother work on scout projects every weekend with his mom and his grandfather. They don't do sports or anything, scouts is the main family activity. And his mom doesn't have access to the internet, so instead of entering completed items in our online tracking program as they earn them, she saves up the information and puts it in all at once, usually in the spring, usually for B&G. It DOES look suspicious, but when we've had a friendly chat, it is clear that her son is very interested in scouts and does work hard to earn many belt loops and pins. I would prefer that she find another way to get the information into our tracking program so that her son can be awarded all through the year and I've expressed this, so maybe that will happen now. Regardless, her son earned the awards and we give them to him within the guidelines I stated above.


Not every parent who comes up with a lot of awards for their son is lying. I would rather work from the premise that they are being truthful. If the belt loop and pin program was meant to have a lot of checks and balances, then BSA would have them in place and they would be called rank badges or merit badges. Instead, anyone can purchase them and any Akela can sign off on them. I'd rather encourage the boys who WANT to do a lot of scout activities and earn a lot of belt loops and pins than worry that a few are getting awards they didn't earn.

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