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A Caution About Advancement Charts September 10, 2009

Posted by thetrainerscorner in Uncategorized.
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Hello fellow Scouters,

Hopefully you are using a den advancement chart in your den meetings. They are a great way to show the progress of the boys towards their rank, and show off how many electives the boys earn. I used them in my two dens to chart progress. At every meeting I would display it in a prominent place.


But den advancement charts should come with a warning. In all reality, the parents usually drive the advancement of the Scout at the Cub level. When you have a boy that has achieved his rank quickly, and worked on a lot of electives, you will find a parent that is working with the boy. This is a key part of the Cub Scout program – parents working with their boys. What I noticed with the two dens I led was when a boy didn’t achieve his ranks or get a lot done, the issue wasn’t the boy. Often it was a parent that didn’t work with the boy outside of the den meeting. And when I talked to the Scout I could tell they wanted to do more Scouting requirements. It made me sad that they couldn’t get all they wanted out of the program. And often these are the boys that drop out of Cub Scouts. And this can show in the den advancement chart.

Now we want to be careful not to judge any parents, as we don’t always know the back story. Maybe they are really involved in sports, and have little time for Scouting. Maybe a parent travels a lot for work. Maybe they have a parent that is out of the area. I live near a Marine base, and we have had parents that get deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Or maybe they are a family that just isn’t that into Scouting (something I just don’t understand). So it’s important not to look down on a parent when we see a boy that is behind the others. We just need to take the time to work with that boy and make sure that he gets the important rank requirements completed, so he can get that sense of achievement that comes from advancement in the Cub Scout program.

As I mentioned, I used den advancement charts. I feel they are important to the program, and I would recommend that all den leaders use them. But when I used them, I learned to be sensitive to the fact that to some of the boys, the den advancement chart was a point of discouragement, as it was a visual reminder that they wanted to do more in Scouts, but didn’t get the support at home. But the den advancement chart is a good tool for the leader, as it points out the boy that needs more help and special attention. By stepping in and working with him, we can help him get more out of the Scouting program and keep him in the program longer.

In Scouting,

 – Scouter Jeff <><



1. Carol A - September 5, 2013

One of the advantages Scouting gives youth is an opportunity for adult association outside typical avenues-parents, teacher, etc. This is particularly true in Boy Scouts when youth have an opportunity to work with and learn from Merit Badge Counselors. Perhaps Cubs leaders could take a page from this idea and look for a mentor to work with boys that don’t have, for whatever reason, and opportunity to do as much of their recognition at home as they would like. Perhaps a grandparent, or neighbor. Of course, always following youth protection guidelines in the process.

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