Scouting Forums

Change Bobcat rank requirements

There’s another forum post talking about giving out pack-specific woggles, which is a pretty cool idea.

We have a troop around here that give new scouts bolo ties when they cross over; they earn the troop necker the first time a leader catches them doing a good turn. I really like that idea as well.


So don’t give it to parents as homework. While the Scouts are off working on the other Bobcat requirements, designate an adult leader to be in charge of walking new parents through the pamphlet (“How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide”) and explaining that their child’s safety is important. Give them a few minutes to read over the pamphlet. Then give them a few minutes to do the exercises with their Scout (pages 19-25). Do it this way and the parents have no homework. They also leave the first meeting with a pretty good understanding of the BSA’s youth protection policies, barriers to abuse, adult supervision, etc.


@JenniferOlinger’s suggestion also has the advantage that there’s a YPT-trained leader there to answer questions that the parents may have, and provide links to things like the Guide to Safe Scouting and other YPT-related resources. The parents may even raise questions that the leaders haven’t thought to ask, which can be brought back to folks like their Unit Commish, DC, or District Exec.


I don’t agree with changing the requirements. Perhaps this requirement is poorly understood. My wife and I had no problem explaining the points in the book to our five-year old. I agree with others about youth protection being vital. As many have also said you have a wealth of resources at your disposal to get help in learning ways to implement. Nixing it of your own accord is not an acceptable course of action. Protecting our youth is our duty as responsible adults. This requirement for all ranks fully supports our execution of that duty.


So think this through. The Bobcat has to “do his/her best.” To me, that involves bringing the booklet to the attention of the parent. I personally pulled it out of each member’s book and handed it to the parent.

The wording was a bit different then, but today for the ages with parent there I would ask a parent to look through one meeting. The next we would play the games.

At any rate, if I am told the scout did this, I give credit. I also would recommend den leaders do as our troop does. That is discuss openly the YPT rules.


Perhaps modify the requirement to have the child protection exercises be done once a year. For example, If a Scout enters at the Bear level, one only need to complete the most advanced Child Protection exercises (not twice, once for both Bobcat and Bear). Additionally for those Scouts that are not interested in advancement, completing the yearly child protection is still a minimum requirement.


What you described is the rule. If a Scout completes the pamphlet exercises for Bobcat, s/he does not need to do it again for the next rank earned during the same program year.

I like your idea about requiring Scouts to do the exercises even if they do not advance in rank. But how would you enforce that? Ban the Scout from activities. Refuse to allow the Scout to recharter?


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How do Cub Scouts not advance in rank? Cub Scout advancement is automatic. First graders are Tigers. Even if a child is “not interested in advancement”, when he moves from first grade to second grade, he’s going to be working on the Wolf requirements, even if you refused to give him his Tiger badge.


Advancing in rank means earning a badge of rank. Finishing a grade in school means the Scout advances to the next level of the program.

If a Scout joins as a first grader, s/he starts working on the Bobcat rank and may also work on Tiger adventures. If the entire program year goes by, and s/he never completes the Bobcat requirements, then the Scout has no advanced in rank. The Scout will move to the next program level and continue working on the Bobcat rank while also being able to work on Wolf adventures. Such a Scout is a Wolf Scout but hold no rank, since s/he has never advanced.

Yours in Scouting,



That seemed to be what Kevin C. was getting at in his original post. Redundant requirements between Bobcat and the next rank if earned in the same year.

I don’t think we need to be so draconian to threaten to kick Scouts out. We want to be inclusive. But perhaps have 100% Child Protection Exercise completion be part of JTE.

Why didn’t you say Fourthly?

Interestingly, there are allowed loopholes that a family can use to get away with not doing the work and I found the part of the advancement guide says I can change requirements based on the kid’s capabilities.

I still think national BSA needs to cut it from Bobcat but I have a different idea of how to get there.

I like the the idea of taking 10 minutes in a meeting. We can include something like an anti-bullying piece and Internet safety too and then have the parents go and cover the rest of the subjects at the end of the meeting and they leave when they’re done. Then I hand out Bobcat at the beginning of the next meeting.

I already use Bobcat as a time for the existing Scouts to do a material review so that would allow me to roll in starting cyberchip into the same talk since the content overlaps practically if not literally.

The problem with this is few new families get the book before their first meeting so I’ll need to offer print outs of the content to do it the first meeting. I have kids I have never seen them with a book, it costs too much for some.

You’re still saying you want to drop part of YPT training for parents out of their first scouting experience (but now it’s through loopholes or saying scouts have some kind of disability that prevents them from understanding the pretty basic activities in the Youth Protection booklet). I don’t think you’ll get National to even consider it in passing, since the optics of “We decided to drop our some of our existing youth protection education from the program” are horrible for any reason.

Like I said before, I wouldn’t have my child in a pack that careless about youth protection, and if any of the leaders in my units had this attitude, they’d be former leaders.

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They would not be dropping part of their requirements at all.

I finally got Scoutbook setup when it went free so I marked Bobcat for everyone on the same date. I learned if you mark it done for Bobcat and it’s considered completed for their second rank. So they don’t need to repeat it for Tiger.

I could have a family wait until their very last meeting, do the pamphlet and award both ranks at the same time and that’s completely legitimate today. I could have a family lie that they completed it at home and that’s allowed in the advancement guide.

I can see your point on the optics. I have an idea that could work to reduce the “I fake did it” impact and allow more flexibility.

Cyber chip is as much about online youth protection as not and if you earn this in 1st grade you don’t need to again until 4th. I could see rolling cyberchip into being an annual requirement and require the unit to do an age-specific roll play activity on bullying with current theories on how to react as an alternative to the booklet. You either take time in a meeting or not and a kid whose parent will never go over the booklet heard the content. In terms of total impact bullying is a far bigger problem than other forms of abuse, with 3 in 10 kids impacted, and a lot of the techniques like grooming can use bullying as a proxy.

More flexibility, more content, more often.

I think you’re missing out on an opportunity. Finish the rest of the tasks that night. Make a big deal out of giving them their den and council patches. Then assign them HOMEWORK. Get them used to working on little pieces at home.

It’ll be an even bigger deal to get their bobcat at the next pack meeting in front of the entire pack.

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In fall 2018 I had 8 new Scouts join who needed bobcat and actually showed up. I gave every family homework of this

One quit two weeks in, never did it
Two siblings- the first kid quit in October having never done it, the second they did it in October and quit in November
One showed up to one meeting the first week and a second 6 weeks later and that’s it
One joined a few weeks in, finished it a month in and just stopped showing up. earned bobcat, never got the patch

I ended up with three of the nine still around in January
One family didn’t do the homework to finish Bobcat until December. They stopped showing up and didn’t tell me they quit for months.
Two did it on time

The parents will delay homework as long as they possibly can. It’s idealistic to assume they’ll all go home, finish it and tell you so you can award it at a pack meeting. I have one parent who’s waiting until the last minute to complete the booklet this year


I liked the essence of your original suggestion. I love your means of enforcement. Making it an element of JTE would force pack leadership to focus on it.

I would suggest 100% of Scouts who have been registered for more than four months and are rechartering must have completed the exercises within the past 12 months. That way, a new fall recruit doesn’t knock a pack that recharters on a calendar year out of the box.

The requirement could be added to the Bronze training element.

Great suggestion.

Yours in Scouting,


OK I have watched this thread for a while.

How I present the YPT element of this to new parents is “This is the lie to the Scoutmaster that you did it requirement. If you want to cover it great, it is very good info. If you don’t please just tell me you did” - did the same thing in the pack. If it says do with your parents, so parents can sign off on it.

If a req in Cubs or Scouts BSA says “work with family” it means family is the signature in most cases.

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CyberChip can only be used for rank advancement if it has been completed less than one year before the Scout completes all the other requirements. If you look at one of your Scouts who has it marked completed in Scoutbook, you’ll see the expiration date.

Even if a Scout has already done the younger Cub Scout version, s/he simply does the same version again, unless s/he has finished third grade.

Each time a Scout recharges his or her CyberChip, a lightning bolt shaped Recharge pin is awarded. This includes a Scout who previously completed the younger Cub Scout version and has recharged by completing the Webelos version.

Yours in Scouting,


I totally just found a Scoutbook site bug. It will expire the cyberchip requirement and still allow it to count beyond 12 months. And it doesn’t show this anywhere unless you go look at the details of a completed requirement and who does that regularly?

And to recharge it with the new I have to undo the completion. Since it’s shared across years wouldn’t that remove the history for the previous year?