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Protect Yourself Rules for AOL crossovers

We were considering using the Protect Yourself Rules adventures instead of Cyber Chip this year for our pack, until someone just pointed out a potential wrinkle for the 5th graders.
Are the following all true?

  • The Grade 4/5 Cyber Chip can only be earned by Cubs
  • The Grade 6-8 Cyber Chip can’t be earned until you’re in 6th grade
  • Cyber Chip (not Protect Yourself Rules) must be completed to earn Scout Rank

If that’s true, then it seems that replacing the Cyber Chip requirement with Protect Yourself Rules might put them in a catch 22 if they cross over in Feb of 5th grade without first earning their Cyber Chip. They will no longer be cubs, yet not yet 6th graders, so not eligible to earn either version of Cyber Chip until summer - well past the point when they should have earned at least Scout, and probably progressed from there.

Is this something we should be concerned about?
I’m still in Cub-land where “Do Your Best” is good enough, so I’m trying to reorient myself to the by-the-book world of the troops!

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It can also be earned by Scouts in troops.

  • The Grade 6-8 Cyber Chip can’t be earned until you’re in 6th grade
  • Cyber Chip (not Protect Yourself Rules) must be completed to earn Scout Rank


The March/April 2016 edition of the BSA Advancement News has guidance on how the Cyber Chip is supposed to work with regard to Scout rank (on page 4).

I will say that it is easier if the Scout has already earned the Cyber Chip for the 5th grade before crossing over, because then the Scout only needs to demonstrate what he or she knows for purposes of Scout rank. But it is not an impossible situation if they do not have it.

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I just wanted to give a shout-out to our SPL for organizing a Cyberchip meeting with the troop.
I do find this requirement to be the most daunting to coordinate, so it’s always nice when the scouts take the responsibility of thinking through these details!


I think the idea of flipping back and forth is a great one. As a note, you might ask some SMs if they could provide scouts to teach.

I don’t believe “protect yourself” is a substitute for Cyber Chip.

Protect yourself can either be an elective adventure for any rank or replace cyberchip for that rank

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I’m not sure if @PaulMcDonald’s comment was an opinion on the merits of the substitution or on whether or not it is permitted. There’s clear guidance that the preview elective adventure can be used either as an elective or as a replacement for the Cyber Chip at the Cub Scout level. It’s not at all clear to me that the intent is to have that substitution extend to new members of the Scouts BSA program who are working on the Scout rank, and would be required to complete the 5th grade Cyber Chip, based on their current grade level.

The BSA’s guidance that @JenniferOlinger referenced above clearly states that it’s acceptable for the scout to “demonstrate his knowledge”, as opposed to redoing the entire Cyber Chip, “if his Cyber Chip card is currently valid”. Personally, I would be reluctant to extrapolate that a Webelos preview elective adventure may be substituted for the completion of a specific requirement at the Scouts BSA level without explicit guidance to that effect. If nothing else, the plain reading of “if his Cyber Chip card is currently valid” doesn’t make sense in the context of the preview adventure. The scout does not have a Cyber Chip card, so it can’t be valid.

Honestly, I seldom see pushback against having to redo the Cyber Chip requirements if the card has expired. I think that it’s even less likely that we will see pushback against having to complete the Cyber Chip for Scout rank, if the scout has never completed the Cyber Chip before. That most closely resembles the BSA’s guidance for scouts who were not Cub Scouts before joining Scouts BSA.

I didn’t feel like the Advancement News really touched on the question of whether the 4th-5th grade Cyber Chip could be earned after leaving Cub Scouts (all requirements specify den/pack and signature line is labelled “Cubmaster”)
but this does:
“Q. Or are they supposed to do the requirements for grades 4-5 and substitute patrol for den, and troop for pack?
A. If they are in Boy Scouts while in 5th grade and completing Cyber Chip for the first time, then substitute den with patrol and pack with troop.”

According to the poster, this was pasted from an email conversation with the National Program Team. It would be really amazing if they could create a running FAQ of answers to questions like this for the times when interpretation needs some guidance in between editions of the Guide to Advancement. Is there any place semi-official that volunteers would be able to compile guidance they’ve gotten like this so that it wouldn’t be quite as much “someone on the internet told me the program team said…”?

I agree that it would really help leaders if Nationals maintained an indexed list of interpretations that have been issued. I’m not aware of anything like that, unfortunately. Advancement News is the closest thing I’ve seen.

I agree with this. It would also help if national would use proper language throughout. The 4th and 5th grade cyber chip should remove Cub Scout language in favor of generic language. (Or include patrol and troop.)

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My comment was about if the substitution of requirements was permitted as a part of advancement policy, not about the content itself. I found both programs to be outstanding!

My understanding is that the statement on the BSA cyber chip web page:

Note: For Cub Scout ranks; Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light the Cyber Chip requirement may be replace with earning the Protect Yourself Rules Adventure. Lions do not have a Cyber Chip requirement for rank. Protect Yourself Rules Adventure. If Cub Scouts use the Protect Yourself Rules Adventure in place of the Cyber Chip requirement, the adventure can not be used as an elective for rank.

apples only to the Cub Scout program.

I read somewhere that BSA is working towards launching newer training for non-cub-scout programs at the beginning of the 2020-2021 Scouting year. Til then non-cub-scout programs are still using Cyber Chip.

We’re going to go with the tried and true Cyber Chip this year for the part we handle in the meeting regardless of the crossover question. Anyone who misses that can, of course, decide how to complete the rank requirements on their own.
With different videos for each rank except possibly Webelos/AOL (the thumbnail looks the same, but I didn’t watch the AOL version to compare) trying to cover Protect Yourself Rules in a pack meeting is logistically unrealistic. And the meeting plans provided seem like they really need to go through the whole preview and revision process before they’re ready for prime time. Things like having a requirement that the Webelos are able to come up with three ways to get out of a situation that makes them feel comfortable being addressed through an activity where they are presented with three scenarios, all of which have the correct answer “tell a trusted adult”. At the end of every level they wrap things up with a chant of “What should you do if someone makes you feel uncomfortable?” - “Stop, run, tell!” which I think is what that requirement was actually looking for, but is addressed nowhere else in the meeting plans, just the video, which actually says to walk, not run.
So, weird little things like that, and also I feel like if there are reasons we want parents to be the ones going over the pamphlet exercises with the kids, then these videos ought to be watched with the parents, too. It’s all the same content, only with the addition of visuals.
Those who have said that it doesn’t cover Cyber Chip material - have you watched all the levels? I’ve only watched the Webelos version, but there’s a whole section on cyber safety. I would consider this a reasonable replacement for BOTH the pamphlet and Cyber Chip, and hope they decide to go that direction in the future, even if that’s not currently part of the plan.

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