Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cub Scout Academic and Sports Belt Loops

I think I remember earning a few belt loops when I was in Cub Scouts. I was looking at the requirements and I see that Alex will probably earn one for Gymnastics right away. I was reviewing the requirements further and found something a little discouraging. Many Webelos requirements include earning the belt loop, but it is specific that the belt loop must be earned while a Webelos Scout, even if the belt loop was earned while a Tiger, Wolf, or Bear. While I see some reasoning in this, specifically, to keep the boys from advancing too quickly, I think the negatives outweigh the positives. I really don’t remember if the requirements were the same when I was a Cub Scout, but knowing me, I would have put off earning belt loops until I was in Webelos, because who wants to do the work twice, or not get the most they can from a particular effort. While I’m sure Alex will have no trouble earning a belt loop like gymnastics again without even thinking about it, others could encourage him to simply redo something he has done because it was easy and discourage him from trying something new, or simply frustrate him and create some resentment, thinking that time was wasted earning the belt loop when he was younger.

They could improve the requirements by adding the ability to substitute the academic and sports pins as a substitute for boys who have already earned the corresponding belt loop. While pins require a higher level of knowledge and participation to earn, that option would enable the boy to earn belt loops while a Tiger, Wolf, or Bear, without concern that he’ll just have to redo it when he graduates to Webelos.

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