Connections in the 2015 Cub Scout Program Changes

connections screen shotNote:  This document was updated in June 2015.

I have a great resource to share with you!

With the Academic and Sports program (aka belt loops) being incorporated into the new adventures, many of us are concerned about program planning for multiple ranks.  For example, we could offer a baseball or geography program where all boys–Tigers through Webelos–could earn a belt loop.  The new adventure program isn’t set up that way.

Dr. Nisha Zoeller, who attended one of the Philmont Training Center classes this past summer, identified that need and created a program planning resource.  She wanted “to show the connections and common themes among Adventures across ranks to encourage the continuation of pack-level and multi-age programming.”

Her Cub Scout Connections guide groups cross-rank adventures into 15 themes such as Cooking & Nutrition, Plants & Wildlife, STEM and Camping.  For example, you can see the knot-tying requirements for each rank.  As you plan your knot-tying event, you’ll know what you need to include for each rank’s requirements.

Nisha kindly agreed to allow me to share this helpful guide with you. Click the link below to download the guide.

Cub Scout Connections

I would love to hear about the connections you find.  Share them in a comment below.

Yours in Scouting,

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27 thoughts on “Connections in the 2015 Cub Scout Program Changes

  1. Robert Simpkins

    I am so excited for the new program. I think some of the leaders in my pack are a bit concerned, but I think it is going to be a great update to the program. Thank you and Dr. Zoeller for providing this resource for us.

  2. Pingback: Cubscout Changes Blog | Scouter Adam's Blog :Notes from the KYBO

  3. Jason Akai

    I was literally making one of these, and then thought maybe someone who went to the Philmont class might have thought of this already. This sort of thing is how we can better plan for things for the whole Pack to do. Den activity is nice. but there are LOTS of scouting events with the whole pack, or whole packs (like camp) where we need to have visibility across all of the ranks and how an activity will benefit them. That was the beauty of the Academic and Athletic Belt Loop/Pin program – all ranks could earn them.

    Thank you SOOO much for posting this and thank you Nisha for developing it!

  4. Julia Crenshaw

    Wowie, zowie! This little document will save us a million hours of organizing! Thank you for helping this spread! Thank you Nisha and Sherry!

  5. Jennifer Critchlow

    I couldn’t get the Cub Scout Connections guide link to pull up? help i would love this!! I need this! thanks so much for the time and help!1

  6. alison

    Outstanding! I truly appreciate the time and effort to complete this project. Thank you. This will help many smaller units. A common theme will help to deliver their program with ease. Again, Thank you!

  7. Ken

    Scouting colleagues:

    I was one of the co-chairs of the task force that designed and developed the new Cub Scout materials.

    Please consider, before using the materials linked above, to find ways to use the program materials as they were designed. The content was designed and authored purposefully to achieve five desired outcomes – and to do so in a developmentally appropriate manner. Re-configuring the materials may lead to a reduction in program fidelity, which is something we want to avoid – that’s why we worked on a complete overhaul of the program materials and support materials for leaders.

    The materials, of course, are in your hands now, but please consider how you use them with considerable care. Doing what is best for the boy….is the goal.

    In Service,

    Cub Adventure Team (2012 – 2015)

  8. Jason Akai


    I appreciate your work on this committee. I think, over all, the new adventures are fun and exciting.

    However, with all due respect, the new program is VERY complicated for people who program events across ranks, with some very noticable absent items (like no athletics in Bear). This tool gives us some guidance on similarities.

    In our Pack we host two 3-day camp outs. On Saturday we do stations which are thematic and change every station for the rank requirements.
    – having no athletics in Bear makes that a complicated station to find a pairing for
    – no build items for tiger or wolf means we have to come up with different items for them at a build station

    On the other hand, all ranks have a water requirement. So, if we had access to water then this could be done as a station.

    Lastly – the biggest complaint we have is the cost. For required rank advancement for 10 wolves who stay on as Bears, the cost used to be $7 for the beads and totems. Now it’s $197 for the same 10 scouts.

    1. Ken


      Glad to hear that you find value in the new program materials. We know that the boys using the materials are already having a good experience with them.

      A thought I would offer is that Scouting is designed to work best as small team activities such as in dens and patrols. Large group activities such as troop events and pack events, while exciting, aren’t always the best ways to deliver the program for boys.

      In service,


      1. Christopher Meyer

        This is a great resource, thanks to Dr. Nisha Zoeller for putting it together. As a Cubmaster, it is useful to have a map of which adventures have similar requirements so that we can plan a theme for a month where all dens are working on their version of the requirements and the Pack meeting ties it all together. I had actually put something like this together myself before I found this version, so now I’m going to doublecheck my work against this.

        I also want to thank Ken and all of the volunteers who worked on the new program. It’s great and exciting, and my only wish is that the new program had started 3-4 years ago so that I could go all the way through the old program with my son, who is now in his last year of Cub Scouting.

        With that said, I’m also a Roundtable Commissioner and the unfortunate reality is that not all Packs have 30-40 Scouts, with six to eight Scouts per den. When I started as a Cubmaster, we had around 10 kids in our Pack, and only one Den Leader besides me (the Cubmaster). With several dens having only 1-2 Scouts (and no DL), the only way we could put on an effective program was to do joint programming across dens. The BSA actually had a resource for doing just that under the old program – The Alternative Cub Scout Delivery Manuals:

        Now that resource is gone, and lots of small Packs are scrambling to figure out how to implement a program with limited leaders and Scouts. It would probably be in the best interest of the Scouts for some of these small Packs to consolidate, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s in the best interests of the District/Council. What I fear is that without helpful resources such as this, some of these Packs will fail.

        Trust me, these small Packs know that their method is less than ideal, combining 1st graders with 5th graders isn’t the best recipe. Yet in some cases there isn’t a better alternative available. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited about my work as a Commissioner, I feel that I can help some of these Packs using my experience (10 Scouts to 40, 1 DL to 7), but in the meantime some Packs have no choice but to ‘do their best.’

  9. Jason Akai

    To be clear – it’s a pack event where a specific den rotates through 5 stations. So it’s planned in a macro state but is participated in using the den small group method. Very similar to a summer day camp program.

    It still is not the best position to take in discounting work like what we see on this page just because it wasn’t designed by the committee or BSA. We all do our best to make the scouting program work for our scouts so they can have the best Cub Scouting experience and move into Boy Scouts. I believe it is more prudent for BSA to realize that Scouters need this sort of material. We make no small plans. We expect scouts to achieve and experience everything scouting has to offer. We can’t do that blindly.

    I applaud this work and any others like it. I treat this document as my first reference for scouting material, followed by and then

    Thinking outside the box helped design the new program. Let us promote further outside the box thinking to ensure it is implemented fully.

  10. Rachel

    This will be a big help for my unit. It is very small with only 2 boys working on each rank. I don’t have any leadership except myself to lead meetings so being able to combine items to cover for all ranks is very helpful. Thanks for doing this!

  11. Brian

    I’ve been trying to do some research to find advancement ceremonies that we can use at our blue and gold banquet that tie into the new 2015 advancement requirements. Have you come across any good resources for this? Almost everything still ties back to old requirements and structure rather than the new adventure concept.

    1. Sherry Post author

      Hi, Brian! No, I haven’t seen any for the new program, but I haven’t specifically looked for them either. I have some posted for Arrow of Light and crossover, but not for advancement. I’ll put that on my list–it would be a good thing to research. Thanks!

    2. Jason Akai

      I’m actually nearly done with my re-write of ours. When it’s done I’ll post a pdf link here and you can feel free to use it

  12. Mike

    Thanks for this guide. As noted above the loss of activities that can be achieved by boys of different rank is a major challenge for small – especially new packs. need to be careful not to develop these new programs for idealized settings. 8 appreciate these guides how to manage the changes in the reality of multi age settings.


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