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When exactly can a scout earn his rank badge?

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Hello everyone, this is my first post here. I have now officially become an assistant Cubmaster and I have some question of a few things that are going on in my pack that seem different from when I was a scout myself, and I'd like to get them straightened out.


For starters, when exactly can a scout earn his rank badge? From what I remember a scout would simply earn his badge at the next pack meeting after completing the nessasary acheivements. But for some reason it seems my pack is waiting till the late February B&G to award these. Does this sounds off to anyone? That means that both our Wolfs and Bears have to wait until then to start being awarded aroow points.


Also, when technically does the program year end? When techniaclly does say a Wolf scout become a Bear scout..... at what point in the year? There seems to be some real confusion about some of these things and I really aim to get them straightened out.


One other thing.. The progress towards rank beads. Are the majority of the packs out there using these? Mine is not and I found it disturbing to see a piece of the uniform missing on all of these boys as I was a scout myself way back in the day.


The new Cubmaster and I are really looking to get a few things straightened out and to organize a little bit. But for a change we need some definite answers on some of these things.


Thank you all for your help!



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All scout should receive the awards as soon as possible. I know a lot of cub packs like to hold them till the Blue and Gold and I know of a couple that hold them till the end of their program year, which is may. When I was cubmaster, the boys were awarded them at the next pack meeting and as SM I award Rank directly after the BOR.


The program year ends with the school year which varies around the country, but June 1st is when they advance in scout net. So your wolf would be a bear june 1 regardless of completion of the wolf program. So registering for summer camps register them for the next rank, not their current one.


Far as progress toward rank totem goes.....It is a waste of money......Rarely do the majority of the boys wear them and I cannot tell you the number of beads I pick up when cleaning up after the meeting.


If you are really new to the Pack or the Program, walk easy for a bit. Do one thing at a time......So what is most important too you? This months committee meeting discuss it and get their support for change.


Are you guys working the sports and academic program......Belt loops

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For my pack:


Scouts recieve their rank at the next Pack Meeting after completing the rank...but...the way we read the books: they can start earning their arrow points through-out the year. So, for one of our Wolves, he was awarded his Wolf badge, Gold arrow point, and 5 Silver arrow points...all at the Blue and Gold. He could have completed it earlier, but we held him back, because 'whats the rush?'


Rank Totem: We use it. Scouts tend to "Follow the crowd" It's normal at their age. We had a similar problem with scouts wearing the mother's pin on their uniform instead of giving it to their moms. At our next Pack meeting, I made sure to call all of the boys who earned a rank up, and bring up their mom's.. making a big show of presenting the mothers pin. With-in 3 weeks, almost none of the scouts had the mothers pins on.

- So, we use the Rank Totems. The trick to prevent bead loss is to tie a secure knot on the bottom, and to route the little yellow cord through the bead a full loop. (there are other ways, such as using leather strips) We have the Den Leaders keep the beads, and check the scouts books for anythig signed off at home. Scouts earn the beads as they progress.


Calendar: This is really up to you and the local Pack and school area. Scouts advance based on their school year or age. Here, the school year ends in June... and our Scouts go to 3 different school districts (yes, our scouts are spread out). So.. we hold an advancement ceremony in early June, and usually have a camp-out a week or two later. Since the specific day the Scouts move up in school year moves, we find this works well. We gain a couple of things with this:

1) If a Scout isn't done with their rank, they get a couple of extra weeks to finish it up. (and den-leaders work extra hard to complete it with them)

2) Scouts are able to complete a LOT of their rank requirements early into the year. This way, they feel like they're making progress towards their new rank quickly.


We also use the Summer Time Activity Award, Outdoor Activity Award, Belt Loop program, and other programs to keep the scouts intersted in more than just 'rank grinding.'


Hope this helps.

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Ok, we seem to move around the same time fram. Early June we have Family camping and move the boys up, giving them their new slide and neckercheif.


But heres the questions. When are they able to start working on Bear acheivements?(My Den are currently Wolfs) Can they start working toward their Badge right after the June ceremony? Or does nothing count towards the new rank until things get back into swing in September? I've heard so many conflicting arguments on this and everyone always thinks their right.


So heres what bothers me about the whole setup. Kids dont start working on bear acheivements till September. They work on arrow points at the same time. Currently they dont get their arrow points till they get their rank badge at the B&G. So, if your a Bear and you get your arrow points that you've worked hard for at the B&G at the end of February and get to wear them for about a whole 3 months till you cross over to Webelos. This seems wrong and really has essentialy cut the bulk of the program down to about 6 months. So its a little conflicting it seems.


As far as the rank towards progress thing I think what really bothers me is it just seems like a part of the uniform is missing on that right hand pocket.


Yes we do the belt loops and such. I agree the spring and summer are the times in scouting that the grind loosens and there is time for more fun things. But if the kids could start working on their next badge after June it would take a bit more of the pressure off of the grind durring the fall and winter leaving a little time for fun their too.


What does SM I and BOR stand for?



Thanks for the replies everyone!

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There is no official national date for the program year. It's what works for you and what you want to do. I think most folks will say they follow the school year with the summer being part of the next year. And even then you don't have to pick a hard date. As Sqyire says, if you have guys who need to continue working on last year's rank over the summer, fine.


The hang up with the arrow points is another good reason not to hold up advancement until B&G.


Are your Cubs attending day camp? They should. First, IT'S FUN! And most camps provide the local packs with info about what the boys did at camp and the DLs and CMs get to actually sign-off on the requirements. That adds the summer months to the program, including advancement.


I always felt part of my responsibility as a pack leader was spreading out advancement and awards so the boys are always working on -- and receiving -- some sort of recognition. In the fall, that means sprinkling a few belt loops into the mix so the kid's names get called at the pack meeting. In the spring, ditto for arrow points.


I think this whole B&G emphasis is an adult thing. Parents really like the hoop-la and pagentry. I think the kids prefer having the fun throughout the year. You don't really say who's driving all this, but you and the CM need to start selling the idea that beginning next fall you want to present awards as soon as they are earned. Maybe there are folks who have an investment in the big B&G hoopla who you need to bring along.


SM = Scoutmaster (I don't know what SM I is). BoR = Board of Review which is last step of the advancement process for Boy Scouts. Boards of Review either mercilessly grill the Scout to the point of despair or simply rubber stamp their advancement, depending on who you ask.


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My first Pack with my two older boys would hold an Akela's Council at every other Pack meeting to present any earned awards or ranks. My current pack with my youngest does rank at either its Fall or Spring Family Campout and AoL at the B&G.


Personally I prefer the first. The packs are large enough that to try and do it at every Pack Meeting would be a bit too cumbersome. I do not like the current Pack's method. and glad that my youngest son crosses over this weekend.

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When I was a Cub den leader, I never delayed rank advancement. If a boy earned his Bear badge on January 1, he'd get his rank at the next pack meeting. If the boy earned his Bear badge on May 5, he'd get his rank at the next pack meeting. Except for AOL, I think it's rushing the program to try to finish the rank before Blue and Gold. Blue and Gold is a celebration of scouting. It shouldn't be an end to the program year.

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Please see "The Cub Scout Cycle" - http://www.scouting.org/filestore/CubScoutMeetingGuide/PDF/Appendix/511-807.pdf




As you can see from that BSA publication, the Cub Scout program year "officially" starts June 1, and goes thru May. BSA graduates all Cub Scouts to the next Cub level in ScoutNet (BSA computer system) on June 1, because School districts across the country have various dates for the end of their school year.




So, unless you are in an LDS Pack (which moves boys up on their birthday) your Pack should basically be following the school year. With the last Pack meeting of the school year (late May-mid June) being the date for your Cub Graduation ceremony. Once a Cub "graduates" to his next Cub level he can begin to work in that level.




As for giving boys a few extra weeks to finish up their rank award, yes, BSA does allow for that. However - BSA puts a few stipulations on this.




The extra time is to finish up the requirements for the rank award ONLY. Boys may NOT work on any other level specific awards for their "old" level. That includes arrow points.




?BSA states that Cub Scouts can only be in, and therefore work in, ONE level at a time. So while the Cub is working to complete his rank award from the previous school year, he can not also work on any requirements of any kind for his next Cub level. In other words, You can not be both a Wolf, and a Bear at the same time. As long as little Bobby is still working on his Wolf award requirements in the Summer between 2nd (Wolf), and 3rd (Bear) grade, he is still technically a Wolf, and nothing he does that Summer at camp, or at home, will qualify for any Bear level specific award.




On holding awards until some future presentation date - Per BSA, awards should be presented to a boy as soon as possible after their completion. That is usually the den, or Pack meeting, directly after. This is called "instant recognition", and helps to keep the Cubs involved, and coming back to the program. That is also the whole theory behind the Progress Toward Rank beads. To celebrate small steps along the way.




Yes, some Packs will hold awards (not just rank awards) until a specific date. That date is often in February, for the B&G,but I know of some that hold any/all awards until the last Pack meeting of the school year, and hand them out as part of the graduation ceremony. This means that boys are waiting months for an award they have completed. By the time they receive it, many will have forgotten just what it was they did to earn it.




BSA has, somewhat, addressed this with their current Cub Scout program delivery method. Den leaders are now the primary "Akelea" (similar to the Webelos program), with most work being done in den meetings, along with "homework" to be completed at home, and returned to the den leader the following week. The "Cub Scout Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guide" - http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources/DenandPackMeetingResourceGuide.aspx - contains step, by step, sequential, den meeting lesson pans to get the entire den to complete their rank award by February. These are based on two den meetings per month beginning in September.




As an assistant Cubmaster I suggest you get fully trained as soon as possible. I also recommend that you purchase the "Cub Scout Leader Book", and the "Guide to Advancement".


"as SM I award Rank directly after the BOR" = (translation) - as Scoutmaster (unit leader of a Boy Scout Troop) I (me, myself, not you) award rank directly after the BOR (Board of Review - method of reviewing, and awarding, Boy Scout rank awards in Troops, and Venturing Crews).

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I think some of the problems you've run into are unique to the Bear year, 92hatchattack. Bear scouts do a lot of work and the program doesn't have a lot of built-in opportunities to be recognized at pack meetings until rank is earned. We don't use the Progress Towards Rank totem either. It doesn't seem to interest the scouts and it is kind of a pain to keep the beads on and to take the big plastic thing on and off for laundering. We've worked on the Bear program to include some belt loops and participation patches.


In our pack, we award rank patches and every other award as they are earned, with recognition at the next pack meeting. Right or wrong, we've gone from treating the Blue and Gold Banquet as the pinnacle of the scouting year to more of a recurring pack meeting theme. It's a goal for completing ranks, but it's not a big deal if a boy or den isn't ready by B&G. We've also moved B&G to later in the spring so we can have a more relaxed schedule overall. It took the pack leadership a few years to make the change, largely waiting until some of the leaders who loved B&G to move on to Boy Scouts to complete the transition.


In our pack, we also follow the lead of National/Council or whomever it is that decided that all cubs advance to the next rank on June 1. So our scouts can work toward their rank at resident camp and day camps. Many do. If a den has several new scouts in the fall, however, the den ends up repeating those activities or similar to keep everyone moving along. I think the Webelos rank is the best designed program as far as boys working as individuals and as a den for rank advancement, it will likely be much less frustrating to you next year, 92hatchattack.


'SM I' was actually meant to read 'as SM, I' or what Basmentdweller likes to do as Scoutmaster rather than a new type of Scoutmaster, I think. In this font, the number one and the pronoun 'i' and the lowercase 'L' look identical.

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I would just like to add, as a matter of semantics, that cub scouts do not earn their rank. Their rank is assigned to them based on age or school year. They may or may not earn their badge of rank. I don't suggest that anyone here misunderstands that in any way, but sometimes we say that a cub is earning his rank when that isn't really the case.

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No "busting" of any "chops" intended.


Joe asked for advice, and the best advice I can give a brand new Cub Scout leader is to get trained, and get copies of the BSA materials.


As for complaints about others "interpreting your writing", there was no "interpreting" involved. Joe, like many new to Scouting, and especially those new to Cub Scouting, had no idea what your abbreviations SM, or BOR, meant. He also seemed to think that your capital letter I, was the number 1, and so was further confused.


By the way - you could also say that we got thru 10 posts before someone got snarky. But that would be just, well, snarky!

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Thanks everyone. Just to let you know I am already an assistant Den leader and have completed all the needer training online over the summer.


So I did get my main questions answered. Anything after June first does in fact count to that up and coming scouting year( my pack has not been doing this correctly), and a boy can earn his badge of rank at any time.


Let me ask though. Is it discouraged to have a boy and parent that are very eager to earn that patch early go and say complete all the acheivements over the summer? Do most of you break for the summer? As you may be able to tell I am a little concerned as a parent of a scout myself. As a first year assistant leader I have kept my mouth shut when it came to a few things. But stepping up as assistant cubmaster with a new cubmaster that is pretty much on the same page as I am we want to fix a few of these systematic errors.


I am excited about the oppotunity though. I started a pack hiking club in the fall and even through the dead of winter I've been getting at least 10 kids a hike....which should go up come nice weather time. I've got tons of fun and educational ideas that I am looking forward to doing!

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As a CM and former Assistant CM, I give you props for your initiative and energy. I think you're asking great questions.


I'd start using all the program elements - such as Progress Towards ranks. If the boys loose the beads, buy more. Or perhaps replace the strings that the uses. If it's out there for our boys, use them.


Award the rank awards as soon as they are earned. Personally I think that holding them all until the B&G discourages boys from working on them independently. If all 6 kids in the den earn them at the same time, they seem like participation awards.


Graduate the boys on June 1.


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I wouldn't push summer advancement on Tigers of Wolves, but for Bears (24 Advancements) and Webelos (Activity Badges), they can go for it without too much repetition. Also, I recommend some of the "bonus" awards, like the World Conservation Award, for the summer. Just at the beginning of summer, give them an idea of what they can do "on their own" and what they should put off until fall (tell them Forester and Aquanaut are good pins to complete on their own, but save Citizen and Fitness until fall with the den). Hate to get in the way of a boy who's eager/excited to earn awards.

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