Scouting Forums

Change Bobcat rank requirements

After two years I’ve decided requiring the child safety requirement for Bobcat is more trouble than it’s worth

Firstly, it’s way too wordy as a booklet for the parent to know what to do. There’s nothing for the parent to cover with their child until page 19!

Secondly, there is no Bobcat requirements in the latest pamphlet. So the parent is left trying to figure out what that means. See item 7

Thirdly, the booklet has wrong advancement information. The 2018 printing at the top of page 13 forgot Lion doesn’t require the cyber chip. The current printing is newer than the Lion rank

Fourth, it’s a requirement AGAIN for the annual rank later in the year.

So how does this affect a Scout? I had kids join the program at the beginning of September, complete multiple Tiger advancement items, go on weekend activities and never finish Bobcat before quitting at the end of November. I can only remind parents so many times.

If this last requirement is dropped then Bobcat can become a single night activity.

A brand new Cub Scout can show up at their very first meeting and leave WITH the Bobcat badge. This makes them want to go get a uniform to be able to wear it at their second meeting. They come out of their first meeting encouraged and happy because they completed something. By being interested in the program it makes their parent more likely to stick with it for a little longer so I can fit in raingutter regatta and other activities so they enjoy coming to meetings and want to renew their membership. Then I can get them signed up for camp. The Scouts who stick around in the spring and went to camp are mostly the ones I had show up again in August

So I’m amending the Bobcat requirements in support of the kids and I hope the official requirements do too.



The Guide to Advancement expressly prohibits ANYONE from adding to or removing any requirements.

No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”

In order for your Scouts to earn Bobcat, they MUST complete all requirements.

I suggest speaking with your council professionals about your concerns and finding out from them what the proper path would be for you to make your concerns know to the national Cub Scout advancement team.


You missed the second point where I pointed out the booklet doesn’t include the content for the requirement.

The BSA makes tiny wording changes and every piece of text is meant to be there. If it says “bobcat requirements” there’s going to be bobcat-only/bobcat specific/targeted to new families requirements in the booklet.

Bobcat is the ONLY place the text is different for the booklet requirements across all of Cub Scouts. There’s no Wolf-specific requirements nor does the Wold rank requirements infer there is. So Bobcat is clearly meant to have special requirements.

Requirement #7 can’t be completed because it’s not available to do thus must be ignored.


As designed a den is ONLY the same grade and gender.

I found another good example. This year I had one 5th grader. Next fall I’ll have one 5th grader.
So if it’s just them there’s no patrol leader to elect because there is no patrol. So how is Scouting Adventure 3 completed?

Last year I had one Tiger. Most of the required badges required not including the den as listed or including a different age group and having them work on Tiger requirements again. We mostly did the former.

I have two Wolf and two Tiger scouts. It’s not uncommon that only one of each shows up at a meeting. So that means I might have four ages with one kid each at a meeting.

The advancement program isn’t well designed for small units and frequent modification is required.

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The standard for Cub Scouts is that they do their best. It isn’t ideal, but dens can be dens even if they only have one Scout. Dens can also do activities together when it makes sense. For example, I think that Tigers are the only ones with a bicycle-related adventure (Rolling Tigers). But, they could have a bicycle activity with another den. The Tigers could work on Rolling Tigers while the other den works on something appropriate for their den level (first aid, visit at a police station, etc.).


To your OP, the requirement is to complete the exercises with them, not read the entire pamphlet. I see the first 18.5 pages primarily for the parents’ benefit.

Also, as a Tiger, they would not have to do it twice. Once within the year could count for both the Bobcat and Tiger requirement. I’ve made parents take 20 minutes to do it with their scout at a den meeting to ensure that it gets done.


While working on Bobcat, a Cub Scout may work on the age- or grade-appropriate rank, but must finish Bobcat before any other rank is awarded. No need to do the pamphlet exercises twice in the same grade / rank.



I had four Lions this year, but only one was truly active. Two weeks ago, the whole pack participated in a Jungle Field Day, so our Lion could complete the last requirement he needed for his rank. We had the Webelos run the events, and everyone in between had a great time doing jumping jacks, a crab walk race and a three-legged race, even though they got no credit for rank advancement. Following the Jungle Field day activities, we took a 1.25-mile nature hike, which the Bears needed, The Tigers and Lions also needed a short hike, and their parents all decided to have them go the entire distance.

No, the Lion didn’t participate in a Jungle Field Day with his den. None of the other three showed up. But he did meet the spirit of the requirement. You may have to tweak it a little in a small pack, but you can make it work without the Scouts losing out on the experiences they are supposed to have.

Those experiences include the youth protection exercises. As Cubmaster, I regard this as the most important requirement for each rank.

I just became Cubmaster in February, We had 10 Scouts registered when I arrived, and we have 14 now. I told my COR that I want to have 50 Scouts in three years and outgrow our meeting space. I don’t plan to stay small for long.

Yours in Scouting,



The phrase “I’ve decided requiring the child safety requirement for Bobcat is more trouble than it’s worth” would scare the crap out of me if my son was in your pack.

Since when is “child safety” more trouble than its worth?

If you need help, ask for it. You can ask here, you can ask your commissioner, your district executive, go to roundtable for help, or dozens of other places.


Yep, that would be the last time my child went to any meeting with that pack. That Cubmaster would also be getting a call from Council whether he wanted help or not if he told me “child safety is more trouble than it’s worth”. With that attitude, what other requirements are going to be dropped from the program?


@PaulMcDonald @SteveCagigas So the phrasing raises flags of not being safe for the scouts. Okay, I agree. However, he did get your attention. What about Kevin’s point that this requirement is poorly implemented for Bobcat?


When leaders don’t understand requirements and safety issues, they need to ask for help rather than ignore the requirement or safety rule.

As I said earlier, if you need help, ask for it. You can ask here, you can ask your commissioner, your district executive, go to roundtable for help, or dozens of other places.

Thousands of other Cub Scout leaders don’t seem to have a problem with it and implement the program as directed. If you don’t understand, that’s not a problem–ask for help. Choosing to go against the program – especially child safety – do that in my council, I’ll get you kicked out. And they’ll back me 100%.

We do not ignore youth safety. The excuse “it’s more trouble than its worth” is a sign of a predator.

Yes, those words frighten me.


I don’t think it IS poorly implemented for the Bobcat rank.

There are TWO points to the exercise:

  1. Get the PARENTS to read the booklet. Not only does it cover some important info about recognizing abusive situations, it covers the BSA youth protection requirements in a very concise manner. It’s part of this requirement so new parents know what their pack leadership is doing to provide a safe place for their children.
  2. Provide a structure for parents to have an important, age-appropriate discussion with their children about abuse and protecting themselves. This is a topic that many parents feel uncomfortable with, so the information and the activities here can be a huge help.

And, I have to point out, this is a requirement for EVERY. SINGLE. CUB. RANK. It’s that important. If the leaders don’t get that, honestly they shouldn’t be in a leadership position in the BSA.

And let me be perfectly clear. I’ve been an active leader in the BSA for 10 years – den leader, assistant Cubmaster, Cubmaster, pack committee chair, popcorn kernel, troop committee, and chartered org rep. I’ve never had any problems carrying out this requirement, and I’ve never run into anyone in my units that did. If I had a den leader or Cubmaster say they weren’t going to do this, they’d be out on their duff in no time at all.


Can someone post the exact text of the Bobcat requirement from a current version of a Cub Scout handbook? These are the ones with the solid color background on the covers. I believe there may be a typo in Scoutbook’s requirement but I don’t have the latest version of any Cub Scout handbook.

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My older boy never completed Bobcat. The pack required that the Scouts memorize the oath and law. From what I’ve seen, that is much more flexible in some packs. The advancement criteria were also much stricter at that time.

In a nutshell, not getting his Bobcat turned him off to Scouting and I was never able to rekindle interest. My opinion is that the Bobcat should recognize the Cub Scout’s commitment and enthusiasm, and that there needs to be more emphasis on “Do Your Best” throughout Cub Scout advancement. That can mean that Cub Scouts and Dens sometimes go well beyond the requirements, as well as recognizing their best efforts.

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It’s well known that kids do better in school when you reward effort and they hit a plateau quicker if you reward intelligence. This is because a kid taught to reward effort is going to continue to try when raw talent runs into something that’s hard for them to comprehend.

“All advancement procedures must be administered under condi-tions that harmonize with the aims and purposes of the Boy Scouts of America”
Which is the Scout Oath. Do My Best.

“Bobcat should recognize the Cub Scout’s commitment and enthusiasm”
And enthusism is what you need to get a kid interested in sticking around so you can teach the other items. Bobcat should be 30 minutes of time their first week and you move onto fun an games completing requirements. While they play the game you fill out the card and they get their badge. They’re now a member of the pack!

I cannot use advancement to meet the goals of building character, teaching them to do their best if they don’t show up if I can’t get them over this first hurdle. I’ve had a dozen kids show up to exactly one meeting so getting it right the very first one is important. My planning this year will have this first night stepped up a level.

I’m not about to do away with the requirement to go on a hike, that’s stupid, and I don’t cut the requirement to do the pamphlet entirely.

We can already see they don’t expect this to be done twice in a calendar year. Bobcat becomes completion for their annual rank in scoutbook, another example where work is used for multiple advancement items.

And that is why I want the BSA to do the same formally, to use Bobcat more as an incentive to want to learn more and not give parents homework after their very first night.

It is good to discover Scoutbook has the wrong requirement text. Reinforces that no advancement item should be printed if Scoutbook isn’t ready to change it.

I can say with certainty that changing requirements is extremely common, I’m in my 7th unit going back to cub scouts myself. Do Your Best is far more common than you think.

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You make so many great points here. Thanks for sharing!

We all agree with “do your best”. Your OP had the look of skipping it entirely, which would not be doing your best. If I’m reading your most recent post correctly, you award the Bobcat badge before they complete the pamphlet exercises because you know they’ll need to do it later in the year for another rank. If I got that right, that’s still contrary to National advancement policy to award a rank before they completed all the requirements.

You are correct that requirements change, and you’ll need to take that up with the national advancement and youth protection folks. I think you’d be fighting an uphill battle on this. The lawyers are going to want scouts to complete their pamphlet exercises ASAP in their scouting careers, and the best way to accomplish that is putting it in their first rank. Every year, we have scouts whose last requirement for Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and AOL is the pamphlet exercises (and Cyber Chip). If you don’t require it for Bobcat, they could easily go on serveral campouts before completing them.


If you are looking for something to award the new scouts on their first night, make a big deal out of the pack and den number patches.