Cub Scout Adventure Plans for Den and Pack Activities and Meetings

Cub Scouting is, as of 2015, not about "doing meetings" but about "having Adventures".  The Advancement Structure with "Adventures" at each Rank brought new Rank Advancement Requirements, new Handbooks at each Rank, and new Den Leader Guides to deliver that program of Adventure.  The big changes are more hiking, more camping, more outdoors, more hands on fun ... less lecture, cut back on crafts, minimizing boring meetings if parents and leaders follow the spirt of the program.   

The new Den Leader Guide material was available online to make it easier for leaders and parents to deliver the program -- Update (2016): oops, it was all online in 2015, but evidently BSA Supply took all but 3 from each rank off the free site, but to be loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, etc. to the volunteers who lead Cub Scout Adventures, we really should make them freely available, so we've posted every Adventure Plan on these pages, plus the Introduction Section to each Den Leader Guide (which is exactly the same in each Guide, except for a few pages about the specific Adventures for Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos, each of which is inserted in our version) and the Appendix of Resources (which is exactly the same in each Guide, except for a Webelos Uniform page that we added in our version of the Appendix of Resources) -- if you have questions email the Cub Leader Trainer.  We do encourage Packs to buy each of the Guides by the way!! So, while the CubScouts.org Learning Library may not have it all right now, we do: 

In our pages linked above (and to the left of this page), we're sharing some commentary about the "Easy Button" way to do some of the Ranks, with fewer "after school" or evening meetings (that are often harder to get parent participation at) and more completion on weekends "at campouts" or at weekend daytime activities when more parents can participate (note: use the "Easy Button" only where you need it ... there's lots of good activities in the Leader Guides that -- when parents share the leadership of activities -- make the program so much better for the boys).  

Do you have to follow the plans in the new Den Leader Guides?  No.  But they can be a great starting point, an easy "rip and run" way to put on a good program and get advancement done.  But add your own fun, add your own local flavor, and use your resources to keep it simple and make it fun -- and if something in the Den Meeting plan seems to be too much for your team to deliver, drop it (if it isn't an adventure requirement, don't worry about it ... if it is an adventure requirement, there's going to be another way to deliver the adventure and allow Scouts to meet the requirement).  And as you use the Den Leader Leader Guides, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Den Meeting Plans themselves are not requirements and are not "required".  
    • The Handbook "Adventure Requirements" are "required" to earn the Adventure Loop or Pin. 
    • "How" it is earned can happen in many ways ... the Den Meeting Plans are just one way.
  • There are "extra" activities built into the Den Meeting Plans that don't line up with Adventure Requirements -- they are fun and/or good to do, so they are included to give you options.  
    • So if doing those is too much preparation or takes too much time or needs more assistants than you have ... don't sweat it, leave those out.  
    • KISMIF is our Motto:  Keep it Simple, Make it Fun.  
    • (Many of the Den Meeting Plans are written for an optimal Pack situation, where there are lots of very experienced leaders ... your mileage will vary!)
  • Nearly every Den in America will have the "Duty to God" Adventures be done at home, with the family, not in a Meeting, because that is a family matter.  
    • The family defines what their duty is, not Scouting.
    • And that is one of the most very important reflections we can encourage in this family program, to have families give the "definite attention" to faith and belief and values.
  • Nearly every Adventure could be completed in fewer than three meetings:
    • and remember that many of these Adventures are better and more easily done at Weekend Events like campouts or day hikes ending with an evening campfire … Dens might do more weekend activities (invite others too)!
    • Seriously. A lot of these Adventures should have minimal "inside" meetings and really need to be done outside -- they will be more fun done that way.
    • Look for an "Adventure by Adventure" analysis soon ... but as you read ahead and plan your year, don't think "eeew, how will I do this inside", instead, think "Hey!  Why don't we do this Outside!  Maybe in the Park!".
  • Many of the "Gathering" activities involve more preparation and supervision than you may have ... if they involve a "requirement" for the Adventure Loop, move it to the "Activities" section, and if it is extraneous (not required to earn the Loop or Pin), feel free to ignore it, and just have whatever free play or other gathering activity you normally do.
  • There are some elaborate “Opening” and “Closing” scripts that take a lot of preparation, poster boards and supervision.  They're good, but so are simple flag ceremonies with Pledge, Scout Oath and Law, and maybe a song.  KISMIF. Keep it Simple, Make it Fun

What About Mixed Dens / Small Packs?  OK, life is easy under the Den Leader Guides for a "typical" Den of all Tigers or all Wolves, etc.  -- but what about small packs that have "combined" dens (Tigers meeting with Wolves, Wolves and Bears, all 4 levels, etc.)? 

Part of the new Cub Scout requirements is the Cyber Chip program.  New Pack Meeting Plans are online too.   Some excellent added resources are found in our Other Cub Meeting Ideas page

And get this: 

  • Parents can run a Cub Scout Den or Pack program comprised of doing Cub Scout Adventures on weekend fun family activities like day hikes, or field trips, or campouts, or other fun events -- with no "meetings".
    • Call it a TOPRATE Cub Scout Program. 
    • "Totally Outdoor, Parent Run, Actively Targeting Excellence" Den.
  • Doing weekend fun family activities rather than "meetings" is optimal for maximum family participation when you have lots of new youth but don't yet have their parents as trained, engaged Den Leaders.  Weekend family fun events could be scheduled, starting with easy ones that are pure fun with family participation, but then slowly tie into Advancement (like the Bobcat Meetings or these Adventure Plans that could be used for all dens in the Pack).
  • Then as Dens form on those fun family weekend activities -- as you get enough Den Leaders and assistants, engaged and ready to go, leading dens of about 8 Scouts of the same age (not more than 10) -- your parents and Den Leaders and Assistants can dive more into the Den Leader Guides below and reach the Rank badge for the Scouts.
  • Ideas about how to organize parents into helpers and helpers into leaders so that Parents are Heroes to their Sons are found here about how to ask and here about how to organize.

Note:  don't "aim" to do "just the minimum" ... where your parents / extended families / teachers you recruit / field trips you schedule find more Adventures to do, do them!  

About our posting of the Den Leader Guides, which are also available for sale at Scout Shops and at www.scoutstuff.org/:  we want you to buy the Guides (we've bought many copies) but we want to share the information with parents, Troops, Den Chiefs and other helpers so that more people can better bring the BSA program to Cub Scouts.  We firmly believe that whatever revenue loss for BSA Supply results from this sharing of resources will be more than made up many times over by BSA Supply selling more Adventure Loops and Pins, Uniform Parts, Rank Badges, not to mention having more Cub Scouts and Families in the program.   And the Webmaster will stand on top of Baden Powell's Patrol Box and say: "this is what he would have wanted".  Good Scouting!

Details about the changes from past Cub Scout Advancement can be seen in the BSA Program Updates page and summarized here (and here by GeekDad and spoofed in this Movie Trailer).