Scouting Forums

Change Bobcat rank requirements

Yes the requirement is do your best but that does not allow the requirement to be changed. The Scout still must attempt the requirement and not skip it.


How does a 1st grader attempt a requirement their parent must do?

1 Like


I agree that the rank requirements say “earn the Cyber Chip award for your age,” and the literal wording could be understood to mean that once the Cyber Chip is earned, it can be used for every rank until the Scout is ready for the Cyber Chip for the next age group. Although I understand how such a conclusion could be reached, and I cannot say that it is wrong, I see the requirement as something that needs to be completed by Cub Scouts annually.

First, at

we see that it says: Note: All Cyber Chips will expire annually. Each Scout will need to “recharge” the chip by going back to the Netsmartz Recharge area. This space will hold new information, news, and a place for the Scout to recommit to net safety and netiquette. Then, with the unit leader, the Scout can add the new date to the Cyber Chip card or certificate.

So, if a Cyber Chip is expired, does it make sense that it could still be used for a Scout to advance in rank? It doesn’t make sense to me. If that is the case, what is the point of the Cyber Chip expiring? Why does it say it will need to be recharged? Why doesn’t it say that it may be recharged?

Looking at it another way, the Wolf rank requirements ask the Scout to “earn” the Cyber Chip. One could understand that to mean that it must be earned as a Wolf, since Wolf requirements can only be attempted after the Scout has completed first grade. The Guide to Advancement at section says: “Likewise, Cub Scouts do not “move ahead” to work on the next rank until the completion of the current school year (or until their next birthday if their chartered organization transitions by age), with the exception of those who earned the Webelos rank in the fourth grade.” If this is applied literally, a Cyber Chip earned as a Tiger could not count for the Wolf rank. Even if the Tiger completed the Cyber Chip on 4/30/2019, if s/he completed all the other Wolf requirements on 3/15/2020, less than a year later, it is arguable that the Cyber Chip still must be done again, even though it is not expired. I don’t see it this way. Instead, I see the expiration date of the Cyber Chip as controlling. However, I see the point of someone who might see it this way, and I could not say that interpretation is certainly wrong.

Using a parallel example, the rank requirements say that the Scout must complete the pamphlet exercises. Other than the second rank earned in the same program year as Bobcat, no one disputes that this must be done for each rank. Yet, the exercises are the same. If the understanding of the requirement is that it must be done currently, why would the understanding be different for Cyber Chip? The two requirements share a common purpose: protection of the Scout. It seems inconsistent to me to view one as required annually or for each rank and the other as something that needs to be done only once and renewed only when the Scout is old enough for the next version. The pamphlet exercises are the same for all Cub Scouts, but the discussion a parent has with his or her child is likely to be different. Even if a Scout complete the same tasks for the Cyber Chip for both Tiger and Wolf (which I understand to not be the case, since it is supposed to be updated annually), they would have a different experience, because the perspective changes significantly over the course of a year.

If we view Cyber Chip as analogous to a BSA training course with an expiration date, it makes sense that it should be treated as null if it has expired. The Guide to Safe Scouting requires someone with current training in Safe Swim Defense in order for a unit to do an aquatics activity. It makes sense that a Cub Scout seeking to advance in rank must have current training in cyber safety.

We can see a clear example of how the BSA words a requirement when it might have been completed at a younger age level. Requirement 6 of the Scouting Adventure says: “If you have not already done so, earn your Whittling Chip card.” This makes it clear that if a Webelos Scout already earned a Whittling Chip card as a Bear, s/he does not need to earn it again in order to complete the adventure. So, why doesn’t the Wolf requirement say: “If you have not already done so, earn the Cyber Chip award for your age?” The absence of that phrase in the rank requirements and the presence of those words in another BSA requirement signal to me that the Cyber Chip does not carry over from one rank to another until the Scout ages into a new Cyber Chip. It must either be completed for each rank (not my conclusion), or it must be unexpired when the other rank requirements are all completed (my conclusion).

Yours in Scouting,



Cub Scouting depends on parent participation and cooperation. If there is a requirement for a Cub Scout to visit a museum, and s/he asks his or her parents to take him or her there, the Cub Scout might have done his or her best to complete the requirement, when the parents refuse the request, but it would be inappropriate to mark the requirement complete. The Do Your Best standard for advancement applies to things the Cub Scout actually attempts but doesn’t do well. If a Cub Scout tries several times to tie a square knot but just doesn’t seem to get it, there is a point where you make a judgement call that the Scout has done his or her best and should get signed off. If the Cub Scout wanted to attend the meeting, but his or her parents didn’t bring the Scout the night everybody tied square knots, it would be inappropriate to sign off the Scout for doing his or her best trying to tie a square knot.

In my opinion, regarding a Cub Scout as having completed the pamphlet exercises simply because the parents are too disinterested to help with it misconstrues the notion of Do Your Best in the Guide to Advancement.

Yours in Scouting,


1 Like


Cyber Chip is probably the worst implemented program the BSA has implemented. You are correct, there are different interpretations. We are trying to get clarification from the national advancement team. If they expect CC to be earned or renewed while working on each rank, changing the requirement to say “While working on X rank, earn or renew CC for your grade” would make the requirement clear.

The other issue I have with CC is does not fit well with the advancement model when they say “teach your den/patrol one of the lessons.” For the 4-5 grade level, there are only 4 lessons. In a den of 8, teaching the same lesson multiple times gets repetitive. In addition, many of the lessons waste food, which is not being thrifty. For example, making a batch of cookies with salt instead of sugar. We should be teaching our Scouts to always follow the Scout Oath and Law and thus be thrifty.

Hopefully the national advancement team will get back to us and clarify CC and also update the requirements if necessary.


As Ed said, we are seeking clarification from National. The way I see it, there are four interpretations of the Cyber Chip Rank requirements:

  1. A scout must earn or recharge the CC in order to earn the rank even if the previous one isn’t expired at the time they complete all other rank requirements.
  2. The CC rank requirement can be considered complete if they have an unexpired CC that is applicable to their grade at the time they finish all other requirements for rank. For example, as a Tiger the scout earns grade 1-3 in February. They finish all requirements for Wolf (other than CC) by the following January. Is the CC requirement considered met since it hasn’t expired?
  3. The CC rank requirement can be considered complete if they have an unexpired CC that is applicable to their grade at the time they start working on a new rank. For example, as a Tiger the scout earns grade 1-3 in February. The instant they finish first grade and become a Wolf, is that requirement considered met?
  4. The CC rank requirement can considered complete if the scout has ever earned the CC for their grade, even if it’s expired at the time they start working on that rank.

There is at least some precedent for #3 in the following article. Here is official BSA guidance for the Cyber Chip for 5th grade Scouts from the March-April 2016 Advancement News:

1 Like


I see how #3 could be regarded as a possible interpretation, but in nearly every case, it would render the one-year expiration of the Cyber Chip meaningless. If a Scout crosses from Tigers to Wolves on 6/14/2019, and completes a Cyber Chip for Wolf on that date, s/he then might cross over from Wolves to Bears on 6/12/2020 with an unexpired Cyber Chip. The only thing that could spoil the situation is a shift in the school calendar. It doesn’t seem like this would be the intention of those writing advancement requirements.

I have a Webelos Scout who will almost certainly finish all his other AoL requirements in the fall, and I told his grandfather/den leader that I’d like him to cross over no later than December. The Cyber Chip was the last requirement he completed for the Webelos rank. Getting access to a means of doing the Cyber Chip is a major problem for his technologically challenged grandfather, who had custody of him. Before the conversation in this thread started, I was sure I had understood the requirement. Now, I have no idea. I am really hoping that I can count the Cyber Chip this Scout earned in April for his Arrow of Light if all the other requirements are done in December.


Hi, Peter,

If the scout doesn’t have online access, then there’s an explicit exemption to this portion. Is the issue with applying this exemption that the scout doesn’t have access at home, but does have access at school or via mobile devices?


The Scout does have online access at home. So, I never asked about school, because the requirement cannot be waived. His grandfather has an old laptop with an Internet connection, and he is uncomfortable allowing the Scout to use it when he isn’t around. The whole thing makes grandpa nervous.

Grandpa is a Webelos den leader and is intimidated by Scoutbook. So. he lets me, the Cubmaster, know what has been completed, so I can update it.

It is really a one in a million situation. The requirement cannot be waived, yet it is hard for the Scout to complete. But it isn’t impossible. He did get it done once.


Ah. Thanks, @PeterHopkins. I misunderstood your last post. Thanks for clarifying.

Generally speaking, when the requirements are unclear (and I personally think the implementation of Cyber Chip in general is very unclear), I always come down on the side of the most favorable interpretation for the scout. That is, if the requirement could reasonably be interpreted to be"completed" if the CC is still valid during the AoL program, I would interpret it that way, and apply it for all of the scouts in that manner. The good news is that, in the worst case, this particular Webelos-to-AoL transition situation requires a scout to watch the “recharge” video (4th & 5th grade are the same requirements), which is a pretty brief activity.

I recognize that there’s an argument that the CC expires, and that might make it somewhat different from completing another requirement. At the Scouts BSA level, for example, if a scout earns Cyber Chip since completing First Class, but it expires before completing the BoR for Star, does that still count? If so – and I think it has to in order to be fair to the scout – then in my mind a comparable standard would apply for a Webelos working toward AoL whose Cyber Chip is current during their post-Webelos rank tenure but expires before completing the other AoL requirements.

I recognize that there are some subtle differences in my example (e.g. earned since the last rank vs earned during the previous rank cycle), but I don’t believe they are so large as to disqualify the example.

Cyber Chip: We usually knock this out at the first Pack Meeting every year. Everyone does it in one sitting (in smaller groups with parent supervision). It’s never been a problem.

I would like to see cyberchip overhauled. If it’s part of the annual child safety requirement you have zero question on completing it or not. That way the “I did for Webelos in April, do I need to do it again for AoL when bridging over in February” is a non-issue. Require it by grade and be done with it.

The content should entirely be about youth protection anyways. not meeting someone from online as a kid, not sending photos or personal info, telling about uncomfortable questions and recognizing that bullying online is the same as bullying in person are cyber safety topics and are in person safety topics

And none of this requires watching a video to complete. All of it is appropriate for a unit to cover in a meeting.

I think we all agree that the requirements are unclear, which is one of the reasons we have so many different opinions. You notice how none of us are ever unclear how many merit badges are required to earn eagle? :wink:

I agree that discussing these issues doesn’t require a video/net connection. The current implementation, however, does require it at every level.

I suspect this is similar to the reason that we do certain things as part of the Outdoor Ethics program. The BSA in-licenses a program from an outside vendor/content producer, and takes the parts that the vendor provides (or is capable of providing) to assemble into program requirements. Some vendors may “mandate” some items as part of the MUO/licensing agreement.

Are you able to access the internet while at den or pack meetings? The recharge activity for a 5th grader is just to watch “Delivery for Webster”. It takes less than 5 minutes and can probably be done on a tablet. It does not have to be done at home or with the family (although this is an option).

1 Like


That’s an interesting point about a Scout who does the Cyber Chip after earning First Class but doesn’t have his Star board of review until more than a year later. I sympathize with your point about being fair to the Scout, but I also recognize that the Cyber Chip is about safety.

It’s hard to find the right balance. If you sign off in the Scout’s handbook that the Cyber Chip required for Star was done on 5/20/2018, and the Star board of review is on 5/22/2019, what do you do? Erase the sign-off in the handbook? If the board of review had taken place on 5/18/2019, and the Cyber Chip expired two days later, would he be any less a Star Scout?

Very strange. But we should have clear guidance to follow and apply consistently. If they want us to start erasing sign-offs, then they should say so, and that’s what we’ll do.



I really see the Cyber Chip (and the pamphlet exercises) as something the Scout should do outside of the meeting at his or her own pace with a parent for guidance. For nearly all of them, it has not been a big deal to do it. Most of the Scouts in out pack proudly wear their Cyber Chip pocket dangle patch.

I would rather use meeting time for things that are geared toward working in groups. I recognize the efficiency of getting it out of the way early in the program year. But I think that pointing out to parents that their child’s advancement is being held up by it has made them pay attention to this important topic, and that’s a good thing.

Aside from all that, we do not have wi-fi in our meeting place. Not every family owns a device or has a data plan that would allow all Scouts to do this. Siblings would need their families to provide multiple devices. While it may be a practical solution for many to do it during a pack meeting, it doesn’t work well for us.



I don’t really have a favorite horse in this race. I would just like clarity in what the requirement is, so I can make sure the Scouts are doing what is expected of them.

If it wasn’t being done online, the topic would be terrific for a discussion with the entire pack.


You can have it done outside the meeting, doesn’t bug me. It works for us to do it all at once.

I think that the Guide to Advancement is clear on this. Once the requirement is met, it is met. You would not erase the sign off. (I would note that the Guide to Advancement seems very clear that a sign off is NEVER erased.) The scout earned it and met the requirement. If they wanted the scout to be current, it would be worded something like “be current on your Cyber Chip for the Board of Review.”

The interesting part comes in two places here. The first being that this is one of two places where there isn’t the wording “while a First Class Scout” or “as a First Class Scout”. My read is that this need not even occur after earning First Class.

The second thing is that it is worded exactly the same as for Scout rank. And strictly speaking the Guide to Advancement would indicate that if the requirement is met, it is met and thus this one is pointless. Though personally I would look the scout in the eye and tell the scout to do it twice.

Now if you take the stance it is to be done after being First Class, you run into another possibility. The scout might happen to earn the Cyber Chip the day before the Board of Review. Now the chip is current for the four months that the scout is being an active member of the troop and holding leadership position. Do you then require the scout to earn an award the scout already has?

My personal take is that I want the scout to be current at some point in the tenure of First Class. I would also be inclined to lean hard that the intent is the scout go through the exercises twice and either recharge or re-earn the Cyber Chip twice.

Another tactic would be to have the PLC schedule regular review of YPT and Cyber Chip in the troop program. If this happens in the fall, then you have two groups of students each working through the Cyber Chip.

As for Cub Scouts earning Bobcat, the solution that I took was to make this an annual den activity at the start of each school year. We watched the videos, played the games and broke out for the scouts to do the games with their parents. At the end of the meeting I figured that the scout had done his best to do what the requirement said. (Of course only the new ones really had to do this, but it doesn’t hurt to rehash.)

Another take would be to send the homework home. Remind the cubs at the end of several meetings. Figure that the cub has done his/her best after several weeks of reminders.

1 Like