Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program
The Cub Scout Academics and Sports program complements the scouting program by providing opportunities for scouts to improve scholarship, develop sportsmanship, and explore new games while collecting Cub Scout belt loops and pins. The emphasis of the program is to try new things and to put forth a best effort, not of achieving proficiency or winning. This program is one method of addressing the third aim of Scouting: the development of physical, mental and emotional fitness. Fitness includes the body (well-tuned and healthy), the mind (able to think and solve problems), and the emotions (self-control, courage, and self-respect).
Where do the pins go on the uniform? - the pins are not worn on the uniform. Read More
Request a NEW belt loop - Read More
Cub Scouts of all ages from Tiger Cubs to Webelos can participate in the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program and earn a belt loop or pin for each activity. Activities can be done individually, in the Den, or as a Pack. ( Archery and BB-Gun Shooting can only be earned through a certified instructor, not at a den or pack level. ) A scout participating on school teams or other organized teams may use those activities to fulfill requirements of this scouting program.
Activities are divided into two categories: Academics and Sports. Each category has many skills and activities from which Scouts may choose. The Cub Scout belt loop and pin program encourages a boy to do his best while learning skills and promoting good sportsmanship.
There are currently 28 sports activity areas: Archery, BB Gun Shooting, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bicycling, Bowling, Fishing, Flag Football, Physical Fitness, Golf, Gymnastics, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding, Ice Skating, Kickball, Marbles, Roller Skating, Skateboarding, Snow Ski and Board Sports, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Ultimate, Volleyball
And, 25 academics activity areas: Art, Astronomy, Chess, Citizenship, Collecting, Communicating, Computers, Disabilities Awareness, Family Travel, Geography, Geology, Good Manners, Heritages, Language & Culture, Map & Compass, Mathematics, Music, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, Science, Video Games, Weather, Wildlife Conservation
Use the Den Recognition Report to track scouts earning belt loops or pins.
A variety of recognition items are available for the scouts participating in this program.
- Belt loops are awarded to scouts completing the three belt loop requirements in an academic subject or sport. Academic belt loops are gold, and Sports belt loops are silver, except for the Archery and BB-gun Shooting belt loops, which are brass colored. Belt loops are worn on the Cub Scout belt.
- Pins are awarded to scouts that continue participating in an academics or sports area and meet the specific requirements for each pin. Pins typically require completion of the corresponding belt loop requirements plus 5 or 6 more challenging requirements.
- The Academic and Sports letter can be used to display pins on a sweater, jacket, or patch vest. These Academics and Sports pins are NOT attached to the cub scout uniforms. The letter is simply a display device and is not earned. It can be acquired through the local Scout Shop.
- At the discretion of the Pack, Pocket Certificates, Activity Medals, Trophies, and the Participation Emblem can be awarded to participating scouts.
Request New Belt Loops and Pins Topics
If you feel another topic or activity should be added, you need to tell the Boy Scouts of America directly.
For any advancement idea, send your request to:
Innovation Engine Team
Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079
Or, send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
See this page for more info.
Feb 15, 2012 - Kim Spaniel
To earn a belt loop, the scout just needs to complete the three requirements, nothing more.
It sounds like you pack or den leader may be requiring the printed pages for their own tracking. If this is the case then I agree with you that there are other flow sheets they can use on paper, on line resources the pack could use, or just use email and an excel spread sheet and word document. I suggest you discuss this with your den leader. [Be careful - you may find yourself the new Pack advancements coordinator :-) ]
The martial arts and tackle football belt loops and pins have been discussed by the BSA and aren't going to happen. For more information:
@Tracy - Geocaching has the enthusiastic support of the BSA and I would not be surprised to see a belt loop and pin in the future.
Rick - the BSA restricts activities allowed in scouting based on age. Go to the 'Library' on the left, then click 'Age-Appropriate Scouting Activities Guidelines' and see the guidelines for canoeing and camping in the PDF there.
I also have some experience (not as an instructor) with both judo and keshekan karate....one of the oldest and most seriously taken of the forms. I do understand their premise. My instructor often said that no 10 year old should have a black belt. He said that to earn that takes years and years of DEDICATED, not once a week, training. Plus he NEVER taught the young ones (under 18 - said they didn't have the maturity to handle it) the kill techniques. They were asked to leave the room before he showed them, or had you learn them.
About shooting. Please don't diss this program. It was too hard to get it going. I'm an NRA/BSA RSO and NRA rifle, shotgun, and pistol instructor. Yes, it's more dangerous than martial arts in a way. However, it's more likely that some macho kid hurts another kid with martial arts than with a gun, because they are on a range with proper instruction with guns, not so once they learn marial arts moves.
And, actually, BSA is behind the times with the guns. 4=H allows pistols, all sorts of air guns, shotguns, rifles, etc. BSA only allows .22 rifles and shotguns, no pistols. They also have competitions, BSA does not. Venturing is another story - it DOES allow it.
I would also like to see a belt loop for Camping.
Camping is an integral part of scouting. Kayaking or canoeing is an activity that most boys participate in. Geocaching would help boys learn to use a GPS -- which would be good with today's technology advances... also boys could participate in a very active family activity.
Learn a language and develop...
Software: a simple applet, game, or utility. requires: idea, solution(s), methods, pseudo-code, development, test scripts, and compilation
Web: a webpage and url. requires: content draft, layout draft, namespace registration, user input methods, pseudo-scripting, development, test scripts, and publish.
Or, both webpage and software development.
As a side note, if Hockey is a belt loop then why not Air Hockey as a substitute for completion with the same belt loop?
When requirements say he needs to earn them as a Webelos, then he needs to earn them (again) as a Webelos.
Am I wrong. They got their belt loops, were in 9 months, did not help fund raise and have moved out of town. I blame the parents.
Another possibility is to set expectations that Pack dues includes up to X belt loops per year and families pay for anything over that. If Mr. Z wants his scout to have a belt full of bling, he can pay for it. But, I believe requiring more "proof" will be quite a hassle. I'd be interesting in hearing how you implement it.
In some of the comments above, someone asked why do they need to print out these worksheets. We now ask the parents to complete them and turn them in, printed or pdf. They do not have to print out all of the 50+ worksheets, just the one they are working on and only the pages they need for their award, no pin no extra pages. There are several areas in which kids need to write something as part of the award. Now we see it vs. just taking their their word before and paying for 30 belt loops that are not likely in a 60 day period.
I like having paper copies on hand so I dont have to go online each time myself. I opened Word and copied/paste what I needed (no pins at this time just belt loop requirements). This put it all in one place and made it easy to refer. Just a thought. Good luck
I'd liked the BSA to reconsider the belt loop/pin for Karate and add a Karate Forms & Karate Weapon Forms option for the kids. As these are aspects of martial arts without any contact and should have the same consideration as other sports currently offered such as flag football (which by the way has more contact involved than karate forms). The BSA could also go onto state that this must be done at a martial arts studio to obtain the badge.
As for football, judo, rugby, that's easy. Ther are no belt loops for sports in which a scout has to touch another scout. (unless you count tagging someone out with a baseball, etc.)
As a geocaching merit badge counselor, I'd love to see a geocaching belt loop!
There does not need to be a belt loop for every activity under the sun though. Some activities are not appropriate for kids that young. Others are Boy Scout merit badges which gives motivation to move up into Boy Scouting. I would love to see new ones added but they don't have to encompass every activity a kid does.
Were you told 'Why' your son could no longer do that? If not, that's what I would do - find out the reason for this limitation from the person that said it. Maybe you misunderstood the statement.
If not, it sounds like that person has made up some rule because there's nothing like that in the Academics and Sports Program Guide (which you can buy at the scout shop or view online crowriver.nsbsa.org/Resources.aspx)
I'll let you know what we decide. The pack committee is argu... er, discussing it right now.
I agree, a Cooking belt loop would be a nice addition. Also, what about a Dance belt loop?
I keep a binder with all the worksheets in it and we present the new ones at each pack meeting then he gets the awards at the following meeting.
I would love to see a workbook we could buy so we wouldn't have to keep printing them. That way parents will have it and kids can work on the requirements at meeting togeher!
I appreciated Kelly's comments and here's my input on a "martial arts" belt loop: if taught by a proper instructor in an authentic school, martial arts is all about body control and self-discipline...two very important aspects of maturity and lessons all children can benefit from. My son has been doing it for a year and has not even sparred once, they are focused on learning proper technique and self-control. Karate is the one sport he participates in because he needs the discipline and it would be great for him to get a belt loop just as his friends in soccer/basketball etc do.
BSA could avoid any issues with body contact by keeping requirements simple: 1. learn/tell den about the origins of martial arts 2. participate in a 1 hour class in a qualified school
3. invite a qualified instructor to visit the den and discuss the importance of self-discipline/body control
Another vote here too for defensive martial arts, seconding Brian's comments above. Requirements can be purely defensive in nature, or neutral as in forms/katas. No one is going to use kata skills to attack someone, but it builds the ability to think under physical and emotional pressure.
A few Webelos activity badges require the scout to complete the requirements for a belt loop, as a Webelos.
The most important thing we have found is educating your parents and den leaders - some do not know how much awards cost others have no idea where the money comes from. At round up we include a rundown of our budget. We also devote a Leader meeting each year informing leader of awards they might not be aware of - but also stressing the overall cost of this aspect of the scouting program.
He is really interested in Native Americans. I don't know what is explored further up the line, but he's a Webelo, and I don't see any belt loops or pins to promote exploration of them. There are allowances to explore cultures and heritages, but nothing specifically for Native Americans. Surely that's an academic belt loop with adding.
This site is a great resource for everything Tiger. It seems overwhelming but it's really not. The biggest thing with Tigers is keeping it fun and involving the families.
If your Cubmaster has the Den & Pack Planning Guide there are step by step, week by week meeting plans that you can go off of.
The biggest thing is to have fun with the boys.
The belt loop program is an optional part of Cub Scouting (except for a few belt loops required for Webelos) so Packs handle the expenses differently. Some Packs pay for all belt loops and pins earned, others pay for a set number per scout per year, others have parents pay for all. So, check with your Cubmaster, Den Leader, or Advancement Chair to find out how your Pack does it.
In any event, we respectfully ask that you add wrestling, which is a widely practiced sport among the primary school set in our home state of Pennsylvania.
Adding a comment here makes no difference in making that happen. Please go to the top of the page and read how to request a new topic.
From here forward, I plan to just delete martial arts comments since the point has been amply made. Thanks.
to Kelly - Try some electrical tape wrapped a few times around the belt near the closest loop. That worked way back in the day when I was in Cubs. Or you can just crimp the back tabs in a bit to grab better.
There are many packs and troops that do the right things and then some not quite right. All in all its a learning process for the kids and parents. BSA is all about the scouts and skills they need to lead. And scouts should be recognized for their achievements as well as the fun stuff. Keep the boys interested and soon you'll have a pack that becomes lifelong friends. And hopefully a few quality Eagles will emerge.
This is an excellent site and helpful resource.
I would suspect gathering the necessary equipment makes this belt loop practically unobtainable for the vast majority of the country.
I'm thinking of doing this with my den and while I could scrounge up goals, sticks, and street hockey balls, scrounging up skates for 15 boys, not all of whom can skate, is a deal breaker.
I think it'd be a fun activity for the boys that they've likely never tried before.
Badges, beads, and belt loops are given to recognize achievement. Awarding a belt loop for "Stuff my kid does anyway" seems to me kind of meaningless-- and the boys are smart enough to know it.
There should be a martial arts belt loop? For achievement in martial arts, the dojo gives my son a whole new belt!
(And explaining this at a Pack meeting makes you look like an Awesome Teacher rather than just a Trinket-Giver.) Just my opinion...
Why isn't this basic information at the top of this page?
Your questions are not answered on this page because each Pack can implement this optional part of Cub Scouting however they'd like.
So, contact your son's Cubmaster, Den Leader, or Advancement Chair and find out how your son's Pack handles the ordering and presenting of belt loops.
This would allow for scouts whose parents choose to put them in sports that aren't in this program to still reward their child the same way that other sports are.
I work for a professional hockey team and we are having a scout night with hockey basketball and one more activity set up for participants to complete. I was wondering if there were activities people would want to have included, ideas for those participating and those who arent, or any suggestions to make this event better. I am not familiar with boy scouts which is why I am writing on this board.
Any suggestions For Concourse activities, ways for scouts to earn badges, ideas for those who are not participating to keep entertained (we have a lot of space) would be greatly appreciated
But, the scout also chooses other activity badges to do in order to earn rank. Depending on which ones he chooses, he may do other belt loops.
Citizen and Sportsman are the only two badges that require earning a belt loop.
These badges have requirements that include a belt loop but are not mandatory to earn the badge: Aquanaut, Athlete, Artist, Scholar, Showman, Traveler, Communicator, Family Member, Engineer, Scientist, Geologist, Naturalist
These badges have no belt loop requirements: Fitness, Readyman, Craftsman, Handyman, Forester, Outdoorsman
PS: There is no "Webelo" - it is always "Webelos", even just one scout.
I have four boys, a pre schooler, a Tiger, a Wolf and a Webelos scout. None of my boys are prepared to participate in some of the sugested activities. Like tackle football, organized wrestling, karate, ect...
I would submit that we need to remember these boys are all still young boys. Cub Scouting takes a boy from first to fifth grade. Leave the 'advanced' activities for the Boy Scouts. Orienteering and GeoCaching, Karate, midle school sports programs are NOT appropriate for elementary school children.
I have to disagree, my yougest son is a tiger scout and is in his second year of wrestling. Our oldest boy who is a Webelos started aikido in first grade. In Boys Life (Dec 2012) there was a story of a wolf scout that climbed Mt. Whitney so I'm fairly sure that he would be able to handle an orinteering or GeoCaching if that was his cup of tee.
Now my point isn't that these things should or should not be belt loop activities, just that for some boys these are age appropriate activities.
I commend you and your son for completeing all the academic belt loops. That is quite a feat. I have several scouts in my den that are not involved in sports so they have trouble with the sports belt loops as well. What I did was I invited them over to my house and we did several of them together as a Den. Therefore they can be with the other boys and learn as well. Remember they only need to "Do their Best". It might also encourage them to try other sports activities. I approach it as if they try it then they might like it.
Like Mike, I have to disagree with you. I am a parent of a Tiger scout who has been involved with Karate since he was 3. I believe the main purpose of the belt loops are to expose the boys to various different things. It is up to us as the parents to determine what items our boys are able and should do.
I do agree with you that each boy is ready to do different activities at different ages and for some boys it may not be until they are in boy scouts, while for some it may be Tigers or Webelos.
I also support a rock climing and camping belt loop.
Attend a concert, a play, or other live program with your family.
What are BSA leadership thoughts about demonstrating as a Cub Scout activity model rockets?
Can you do bowling or table tennis on the xbox or wii,
so you don't have to spend the money?
My son also had earned many belt loops as tiger-bear so when he became a webelos and had to earn them over again, we went the pin route. So for example, he earned the citizenship pin instead of earning the citizen belt loop for a 2nd time -- game him another award for his work, even though he can't wear it on his uniform.
Just an idea.
What is the process for me to aquire the belt loops once the boys have completed the requirements?
If I had a den parent tell me the scout completed all requirements for all the belt loops, or something else I just couldn't believe, we'd have a short discussion about the Cub Scout Ideals.
I have a situation in my tiger den that i need some help/advice with.
One of the Tigers has completed 33 belt loops.
This is just too much for our pack to afford in belt loops for one kid in one meeting.
also what will this child do as a bear if he finishes his belt loops as a wolf.
How can I explain to the tiger den parents and leaders as a group that its not a contest and that they should enjoy the time spent exploring these belt loops with there children and families and not to look at it as a race.
Is there some sort of super cub scout belt loop achievement award that I dont know about?
It's unfortunate that this program was not explained adequately to the den leaders before such a situation occurred. It doesn't sound fair to now tell the scout that the pack won't provide recognition items just because he was more active than assumed.
In the Academics and Sports Program Guide, page #1, it describes the concepts and guidelines for the program. Then, on page #2, it states "The pack leaders should also define how costs of the program are budgeted, how requirements will be verified, ...".
It's pretty simple to explain it to the adults - just tell them! It sounds like the problem is that no one told them earlier.
As a Bear, that scout can do all the belt loops again. There's no limit to the number of times a belt loop can be earned. If you don't set expectations now, you might be spending $$$$ on loops and pins for one scout.
There is no Super belt loop award.
Get, and read, the Program Guide.
If he enjoys the activities, the time with you, the 'bling', and it's making his scouting time better, then Keep Going.
You may want to look at the Henry Rifles too.
They have an Eagle, Venturing, Centennial, and Philmont tribute rifles.
Also there are business's that do custom work with computer controlled routers.
A recognition ceremony is just a ceremony - it can happen any time and has no impact on the actual registration of a scout. Your pack 'could' have a cross-over ceremony in January and the Cub Scouts don't actually become Boy Scouts until March or April.
But, I've not know any scout that wanted to work on Cub stuff after he completed the cross-over ceremony. They all considered themselves Boy Scouts at that point and were ready to move forward to the next adventure.
Also there is a decent app called 'BSA on the go' that has a fairly comprehensive list of all scouting requirements. Handy when the books go missing!
So, yes, I think it is appropriate for Wolf Scouts to earn pins.
P.S. our den leader does not know either.
I see on p 4 of the A&S Guide it reads "encourage boys to try a different requirements". My friend is asking for rules.. and there doesn't seem to be a rule.
Smart packs (or ones that have had issues in the past) have guidelines for financing this part of Cub Scouting - something like a maximum number of belt loops per scout per year, or only the first earning of a belt loop, or parents pay for all of their scout's belt loops and pins.
However, we all know there's a Super Achiever Award for a Webelos who earns all 20 pins.
While I agree that the Webelos achievement is great, and should be acknowledged, I wonder why the Cub who earns all 53 loops is not.
Not comparing the two, as there are only three achievements per loop, and more for the activity pins, but the level of effort is still substantial.
I have, and am the Den Leader for my Tiger and Bear sons, and my Tiger just earned his 20th loop. My Bear just earned his 45th loop, and has every intention of earning the last eight.
I wanted to celebrate the achievement at the Pack, but was saddedned to see that there is nothing 'official' to award him for his persistence and effort.
This isn't a question, more of a commentary, but hopefully the BSA can come up with something. It's only fair to the boys who've worked hard.
BTW I don't think it's right for a scout to earn a beltloop or move on in scouts if they haven't done the work. Per our Cubmaster he is not going to be the badge police and everyone will earn and move on.
What exactly is this teaching our scouts? I guess it works to his advantage since his boys never attend any outings or events. Just my opinion.
>BTW I don't think it's right for a scout to earn a beltloop or move on in scouts if they haven't done the work
Remember the Cub Scout motto: "Do Your Best"
If the Cub Scout truly does his best tring to complete the requirements then I believe they deserve the award. That said, I hate when Cub Scouts get awards for just breathing.
It's not always about the badge.
Just thought everyone would want to know. I'm posting this notice here as belt loops are quite commin and generate the most discussion and will reach the widest audience. Thank you for your time.
So, I expect the BSA will try to find all other areas that use the A&S program and update them appropriately. That means new handbooks and new award requirements.
"Kim - You (and a bunch of other folks) are missing the goal of the Academics and Sports Program. It is to provide opportunities for scouts to improve scholarship, develop sportsmanship, and explore new games with an emphasize on trying new things. It is NOT to reward a boy because he's on a soccer team, nor because he's a grand master chess player or has painted still lifes since he was three. The intend is to encourage him to try soccer, learn about chess, and see how fun it is to start drawing." While I do agree that it is laudable to encourage "trying to new things" I seems laughable to discount the sportsmanship learned on a sports team, or the academic rigors of learning chess, only to reward a child for completing a checklist in academics or sports with a badge. Sad.
It is one of the main reasons that my sons join the cub scout.
I understand that some scouts don't want to spend their time on these, but let's keep it for those who are willing to put their efforts in to be rewarded!
Is there way for us to voice our feedback to the committee?
Yours in Scouting,
BB Gun Shooting is the only other belt loop restricted in this way, for similar reasoning.
You are incorrect about the lack of subjects of belt loops. There are Hiking, Swimming, Conservation, Fitness, and Citizenship for example, as you can see in the list at the top of this page. First Aid and Camping skills are expanded as the scout gets older, as part of the Scouting program, not the belt loops.
Comparing Boy Scouts to Cub Scouts is a common mistake - the BSA has age-appropriate activity guidelines to be followed and your memory seems more focused on older scout activities. The Scouting program grows in challenge as the scouts get older.
My thoughts would be that your son would not be recognized for belt loop type activities prior to being a registered Scout. However, with Day camps, Outings, Local Sports participation, and the many Scout Functions of an active Pack he'll earn plenty of Awards. Take lots of pictures and get used to sewing ;). I hope you and your son enjoy the Scouting Trail as much as I do with my boys.
Yours In Scouting,
As the parent of 3 boys, with my youngest being a very hyperactive 6 y/o with a tendency to find trouble when he's not focused on something he's interested in, I turned to scouts for help! None of my other kids have been involved with scouting, as they don't have the same issues as their youngest brother. Since September he's done almost every elective in the tiger manual, received 6 belt loops, and completed requirements for 6 more! ADHD kids have a tendency to 'hyperfocus' on what interests them, and it's been a relief that scouting has offered positive, healthy, character building activities for him to be involved with.
So for you all who seem to BEGRUDGE these kids who are enthusiastic about earning rewards, I say STOP it! BCA may be the saving grace for kids like mine. If I have to pay extra for him to be REWARDED for participating in BCA instead of finding trouble, so be it
Just because the Belt Loop and Pin program is not going to be official after May 2015, it does not mean that you cannot still do them at home. (I always felt that the requirements should have been done at a den meeting, Cub Camp, or other Scout activity to count anyways. If your son is on a team or does another activity every week, he should be recognized by that organization - not BSA)
If your son wants to do all of the belt loop and pin activities, that is wonderful! Courage to try new things is definitely part of the Scouting spirit. How about challenging him to come up with some kind of poster, flag, vest, or binder at home to track all of the different activities he has done. Teach him he can take pride in his own accomplishments, not rely on others' acknowledgment for self-esteem :)
I am a single mom of a 7 yo
Tiger with ADHD and I must tell you i completely agree with you! Cub Scouts has been wonderful for his overall health and academic life. He has recently completed 4 belt loops in one month an is excited about getting more soon. I understand that some people fond it hard to believe that one child can do so much in so little time. I let him lead the way and decide what we are working on. It has also been a wonderful opportunity for us to do things together. If the issue ever comes up about cost, I will gladly pay for his belt loops.
I have heard that the Cub Scout Academic and Sports Program will not be retired/discounted according to several council officials. Apparently, some advancement officials are reconsidering this directive. Have you heard anything officially about it?
A common scenario is where the Pack pays for rank patches and a certain number of belt loops and families pay for other items.
The requirement of attaining the WEBLoS badge prior to the AoL is, as I see it, an essential step in learning how to stick with something to achieve something which will be a good learning tool for not only boy scouting but for life, plus gives the boy something to strive for.
If someone has any idea why National is, as someone already said, "dumbing down" scouting please let me know.
Yours in Scouting, Ed Mattina
I, personally, don't see changes to a program making it dumber - especially when I don't yet know what new requirements will be put in place. For all we know at this point in time, it may become more difficult for a scout to earn the Arrow of Light.
So, now we are on a mission to get all the belt loops that are appropriate before they are discontinued. Being a tiger scout (and a young one at that), he does need reinforcment to stay interested. And I would hope that by the time he is a webelos, he doesn't need that....which I suppose is good, since he won't even have the option. Sure miss it for future tigers though.
Though there are going to be belt loops to be earned in the new program, Adeventure Loops. These will replace the immediate recognition beads. Each den will have some required but also many elective belt loops in which to earn. The difference is that they will be den specific, so as a Bear you cannot earn the Wolf ones; also for Webelos and Arrow of Light year, they don't have any belt loops at all.
It's great that your pack is earning them now, there will be some available after June 1st but Supply is not producing anymore, so once they run out you'll be out of luck. What it really means for leaders though, is a relief to a pack's budget.
If you want more information check out the program updates page at scouting.org
Electives are a part of rank advancement and can be used toward earning their Wolf rank. First they would need to earn their Wolf Rank and then any 10 additional electives earned can become Arrow points. First 10 are gold and any following 10 are silver.
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