The year 2010 brings 13 new belt loops and pins to the Cub Scout program. (Not sure what belt loops are? Check out my quick explanation here.) You can always visit my site for a list of complete requirements, but for your convenience here’s a brief rundown of what’s new.
Under the Academics program:
Disability Awareness Belt Loop and Pin
This is a great addition to the belt loop program, especially for kids who haven’t had many (or any) interactions with folks with disabilities. I especially like the second requirement for the belt loop, which encourages attendance at a disabilities event such as the Special Olympics or a performance with sign language interpretation. The pin includes an option to briefly experience what it’s like to limit your abilities by wearing a blindfold for two hours or binding an arm or leg so it can’t be used.
Family Travel Belt Loop and Pin
This looks like one I definitely want to do with my own children. I’m especially happy about another excuse to look up how much it would cost my family to travel to Italy (insert sigh about lifelong dream here). Other options include going on a family trip (obviously) and learning how to apply for a passport.
Good Manners Belt Loop and Pin
Good manners is a dying art in today’s society so I’m pretty happy about this one. These awards include opportunities to practice proper introductions and table manners, along with good manners (or sportsmanship) while playing games.
Nutrition Belt Loop and Pin
This belt loop and pin fits right in with several other activities cub scouts encounter at all stages of the program. Your son will automatically fulfill some of the requirements for the nutrition belt loop and pin if he is working on Wolf achievement #8 (Cooking and Eating), Bear achievement #9 (What’s Cooking), Webelos Fitness activity badge or Webelos Family Member activity badge. (Keep in mind, these new belt loops are effective January 1, 2010, so all requirements need to be done from that point in time on.)
Pet Care Belt Loop and Pin
This one gets the prize for cutest-looking belt loop. In addition to the obvious requirements, you’ll also see options for attending a pet show, talking to a veterinarian about their career and doing a service project for an animal shelter. (Keep in mind, with all these awards kids don’t have to do all the things I’m listing. There are typically three simple requirements for the belt loop, and the pin lists 12 or so options from which boys can pick any five.)
Photography Belt Loop and Pin
This would be great to earn during the Bear year, because there are arrow points focusing on photography in the Bear book. Picture taking, using photo-editing software and learning about a famous photographer are all options for this award.
Reading and Writing Belt Loop and Pin
This one is my personal favorite. In addition to options to write a letter, story, poem or joke, boys may also create a bookmark and learn the difference between a biography and an autobiography. If your children have a library card, they probably have the first belt loop requirement done already.
Video Games Belt Loop and Pin
Now I love the belt loop and pin program, I really do, but video games? Are you kidding me? To me, the purpose of these awards is to expose kids to new activities or foster better skills in an activity they’re already familiar with. It should be fun but also enriching. It should have inherent value.
I don’t think any of that applies to video games. I’m not anti-video games, but most kids get far more exposure to video games than they need. I don’t think they need any encouragement to play more.
My children each have a Nintendo DS and our home has a Wii. We allow video games on Fridays, Saturdays and during school breaks. Occasionally when I see my children getting too attached, we take a break for a few weeks or months. We don’t allow them to play games that are inappropriate for their age level or that glamorize questionable values.
Within those guidelines, I’m okay with my children playing video games. But they will not be earning the video game belt loop. Sorry BSA.
However, I realize other parents might feel differently and I’m A-Okay with that. The America Jane site still has the full list of requirements for this award if you and your children are interested.
Under the Sports Program:
Hiking Belt Loop and Pin
I’m not very athletic (read: I’m not at all athletic) but this is something I can actually do with my boys. It may help me shed the few extra pounds I’m carrying these days too. Hiking is a common theme in the BSA so it’s nice to see a version for the younger boys. They’ll learn about proper hiking equipment and safety. If they have earned (or are planning to earn) the Leave No Trace Award or the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award, those both count towards requirements for this pin.
Hockey Belt Loop and Pin
I can’t believe they didn’t have this sport as an option already. If your kids are interested in learning how to play, this belt loop and pin is a good reason to get started.
Horseback Riding Belt Loop and Pin
I want to earn this award myself! Is it too late? Am I too old? Does it matter that I’m a girl? Ah well. If you can’t tell, I think this would be a fun award to earn. In addition to riding, safety and all that good jazz, boys can learn about history’s famous horses. (Does Pegasus count?)
Kickball Belt Loop and Pin
The playground sport makes it to the belt loop arena. My cub scouts play this at school all the time, so they could probably earn this one no sweat.
Skateboarding Belt Loop and Pin
Practicing skills and learning about safety will earn cub scouts the belt loop. My favorite pin activity option (just because it sounds funny to me) is: “Figure out your skateboard stance — whether you are regular or goofy footed.” Now is that a legit skating term? Goofy footed?
So that’s what’s new in cub scouting’s belt loop and pin program. Keep in mind there are a total of 25 awards in the Academics section (from Art to Wildlife Conservation) and 28 in the Sports section (from Archery to Marbles to Volleyball), so in addition to these new ones, there’s plenty to choose from.