Sunday, July 1, 2012

Q: Why do we use advancement in scouting?

A: Advancement is one of the methods of scouting.

Q: What role does advancement play in scouting?
A: Recognition for accomplishment encourages more accomplishment.

Cub awards: Belt Loops, beads, pins. All are easy to achieve and the boys build momentum and excitement as they receive their awards.

Boy Scouts: Merit badges take more effort, but the momentum continues.

At the end of a Cub Scout’s time in the pack, he earns his Arrow of Light, his first major award, and the highest award available in Cub Scouting. To build enthusiasm and keep the momentum, the Arrow of Light ceremony should be a BIG DEAL, not an afterthought at the end of a normal pack meeting.


Involve as many levels of scouting as possible in the planning of the ceremony.

-All Den Leaders

-11 year old/ Boy Scout leader

-Den Chief (if available)

-An Eagle Scout

-Cub Committee Chair

-Everyone but the candidates (usually there are several at the same time)

The more help you have for brainstorming and prop gathering, the more fun it will be.


Choose a theme that will be interesting to the kids. Here’s a list of some the ones I’ve used:

-Star Wars Jedi Academy

-Indiana Jones Crusaders Bootcamp

-Pirates of the Caribbean: Capt. Jack Sp’arrow of Light Award (get it?)

-Ninja Training Test

-You can even use this idea to enhance a standard Akela Arrow of Light Ceremony.

The ‘main character’ that will be taking the boys through the challenges needs to be someone that can ham it up and have some fun with it.

Devise four challenges that are related to the theme. These can be very loosely related, even silly. Try to use as many of the other cubs and siblings as possible in the challenges. The props used for the challenges should be set up before anyone arrives and ‘cub-proofed’. We all know how much cubs like to play with anything they can find!

Come up with four theme-related tokens that are available in white, blue, yellow, and green (in that order). One color will be awarded after each challenge is completed. These correspond to the colors of feathers or face paint used in the Akela ceremony.

Each color has something it represents, and you can recite something or commit them to living particular values with each color presented.

After completing all challenges, proceed with the awarding of the Arrow of Light, and present them to the Boy Scout troop for advancement.

USE MUSIC!! The use of familiar soundtrack music from the movie your theme is based on makes for a very fun environment during the challenges.

People needed:
·         Host- the main character, lots of fun, (frequently the Cub-Master).
·         Someone to run the music.
·         Two Leaders to help with challenge prep and instructions to any helpers being used. If the Host has to do this, it ends up feeling awkward, like ‘dead air’ while everyone waits for the helpers to be told what to do.


1) The parents are aware their scout is getting an award and will be there.
2) Current Cub leaders will be there.
3) Someone has picked up the award (some packs will award a yellow arrow as well)
4) The leader of the Boy Scout troop they’ll be entering will be there to welcome him to the troop, preferably with the rest of the troop.
5) All props are ready and in place before everyone arrives.
6) Refreshments