Do Cub Scout Dens need to be advanced to the next level in Scoutbook before they can start working on the next rank's adventures?

Also, can they be advanced prior to June 1?

If a Pack decides to wait till say September to advance all the Dens, does that mean the summer is meant for working on adventures for the level of the previous school year?

@etruongcao - in cub scouts you can not work ahead. So they can only work on the next rank when they are in dens of that rank. The BSA will move the grade level up on 5 June… so tigers will be noted as Cub Scouts, Lions will be noted as Tiger. They will not however move the dens up. That is a unit process. I would suggest that your pack follows the program as designed. Any questions on that should be directed to your council and not addressed here.

From the Guide to Advancement:

Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed
for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of
joining. 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 they are
transitioning by age), with the exception of those who
earned the Webelos rank in the fourth grade

I’m asking this in the context of, I’m on Scoutbook Plus, and I have the ability to advance everyone to the next level, but I want to make sure what I’m about to do is in line with the Pack’s practices.

I asked one of my Key 3 (I’m just the advancement chair with Unit Admin privileges, so I don’t set policy), and their response is that we wait until registration in the fall to advance everyone electronically (we’ve already had our rank-up ceremony earlier in May). What I want to know is how this affects what the Scouts in the pack can and can’t do over the summer.

When this happens on 5 June (without moving the dens), what does this mean for the individual scouts? What will manually moving the dens up unlock?

June 1 is the official Day to move Cubs up to next Den - so it cannot happen before then. Committees can extend a grace period to Scouts wanting to complete last rank.

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Update to this:

I had asked my COR when our Pack usually advances the Dens, and the answer was that the advancement happens during registration with our unit commissioner, the rationale being that we are waiting to finalize who is going to continue when the Scouts re-register in September (I don’t understand this reasoning myself, could anyone else take a stab at it?)

I also directed my question to the district, and our Unit Commissioner (who is also District Vice Chair and Training Chair) replied that there is no need to advance the dens, that will automatically happen during recharter.

I have some concern on the implications of this answer from our Unit Commissioner/District Vice Chair. I already see on Scoutbook Plus that Scouts can’t start work on any adventures for the next level, which means they’re stuck at the current level over the summer. Any way to square the answer I got from the District with intended program design (able to start work on adventures for the next rank over the summer)?

What would happen for the Scouts who attend Cub Day Camp and satisfy adventure requirements? Also, newly minted Webelos Dens can go camping on their own, but if the system still shows them as Bears, they wouldn’t be allowed to go.

Rank advancement for Cub Scouts and Recharter are two separate things.

The BSA’s Guide to Advancement says:

Den meetings follow the local traditional school year and are designed to result in advancement for all youth by the end of the school year. ( Delivering the Cub Scout Program)

Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining. Likewise, Cub Scouts do not “move ahead” to work on the next rank until the completion of the current school year… ( Cub Scout Ranks)

In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a Cub Scout is close to earning a badge of rank when it is time to transition to a new den, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give the youth added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank. ( “Do Your Best”)

As a separate matter, the BSA does a system-wide grade rollover in June every year around this time, which increments Scout school grades by one. For Cub Scouts, it also updates their registration program levels, so that Lion Scouts become Tiger Scouts, etc. If you have access to the Roster at my.Scouting, you might already be able to see the changes reflected on the “Youth Member Age Report”.

However, it is up to packs to manually advance their dens in Scoutbook Plus, because packs have their end of year ceremonies on different dates. due to different school calendars.

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Thank you.

The wording from our UC was:

No need to advance at the moment […] advancement to the next rank or level will happen with the upgrade of the system when we do the renewal and age changes in the background

I take it he’s referring to the system-wide rollover that should be happening soon?

Once that happens, will this enable the Scouts to work on adventures for the new rank (and the new Webelos Dens to go camping), or does that still require the manual den advancement?

@etruongcao - they will need to have the dens advanced. Cub scouts CAN NOT WORK ahead nor do they go back. The guide to advancement is very clear on this. I also think the commissioner is wrong in his statement. The roll-over is just age/grade and not den rank level

Your UC is mistaken about what is actually happening automatically. That is only in the registration system and has nothing to do with the den levels in Scoutbook (Plus). You absolutely need to move dens up in Scoutbook Plus by editing the den and changing the den level.


@etruongcao - please get a copy of the guide to advancement and give it a good read.

Preaching to the choir here. I want to get these dens advanced ASAP, but I’m being held back by Pack leadership for some inexplicable reason.

The issue is that both my pack and district leadership are giving me direction that is contrary to the GTA and making Scouts unable to work on adventures over the summer.

You mentioned that guidance should ultimately come from my council. That guidance was requested, and the District Vice Chair has directed us NOT to advance the Dens, contrary to all the information I’ve gathered through various other official and unofficial sources (I.e. Reddit).

I’m really concerned about the implications of this guidance from Council especially since it goes against GTA…

@etruongcao - I agree. I have found that between Council and District volunteers you can get the most in-accurate information possible. The best advice is to follow the Guide to Advancement. You may get more accurate information from council professionals as they are paid to follow the rules in theory. The problem is that folks do not reach out the right people at council. I would not have asked the Vice-Chair but rather the District Exec or registrar

@etruongcao Have you tried talking to your district advancement chair?

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Or event the council advancement chair should there be no district chair.

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Thanks for the suggestion to ask the district/council advancement chair.

I had mentioned the District Vice Chair because our UC also happens to be the District Vice Chair. I had figured (possibly incorrectly) that as Vice Chair, he his voice on this matter has a level of authority that goes beyond his role as UC.

Chain of inquiries:

  1. Ask COR when the Pack usually advances Dens → COR responds it usually happens during registration with the UC in September.
  2. Query Unit Commissioner, District Commissioner, and District Executive (in the same email) on when packs in our area usually advance their dens → Unit Commissioner (who also happens to be the District Vice Chair) responds (with the District Commissioner and District Exec on the thread) as follows:

No need to advance at the moment […] advancement to the next rank or level will happen with the upgrade of the system when we do the renewal and age changes in the background

In response, I ask how this will affect the Scouts’ abilities to work on adventures over the summer, noting that I’m on Scoutbook Plus right now and see that Scouts are unable start work on their new ranks. Currently waiting on the UC/Vice Chair’s answer (or for the District Chair and/or Exec to chime in).

I’ll probably also go and ask the District Advancement Chair and the Registrar. It’s a little tough because it now feels like I’m just shopping my question around the local authorities until I find the answer that I want. Who really should be the final local authority on this?

@etruongcao it is much more of a unit decision than a Council or District - they have absolutely NOTHING to do with unit management (advancing Dens). So you are not going to find a final answer, what you will find are many varied answers out of each persons unit’s experience. Once you get into District and Council Leadership, many of those volunteers are so far removed from being in a unit, they do not know how they really work other than the theory.


Also keep in mind advancement folks are often much more familiar with Scouts BSA advancement than Cub Scout advancement.

Scoutbook Plus will require you to advance the dens before allowing you to record advancement for the next rank. This is why packs usually advance dens at the end of the school year.


Thanks, good to know that I might run into varied answers.

I’m just puzzled why we would be advised to make a choice that effectively makes Scouting inaccessible to the Cubs over the summer. I’m hoping that by pointing this out to them, I can convince them that we should advance the dens now. Plus, by taking care of it now, that’s one less thing we would need to take care of during registration and recharter.

@etruongcao good of you to try - but most scouters are stuck in their way which they believe is right. National says June 1 is the new scout year, and that mainly applies to Packs and is the day to move forward if the den has progressed. I know many Packs that basically shut down from March to June then start back up with summer activities. My advice for now is worry about your unit, in the future perhaps you can get involved locally to get a better local understanding.

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@etruongcao - our schools end late june so i give our pack until the end of July to wrap up everything then advance the dens.