Cub Scouting (Boy Scouts of America)

Cub Scouting is part of the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), available to some boys from first through fifth-grade, or 7–10 years of age and their families. Its membership is the largest of the three BSA Scouting Divisions (Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing). Cub Scouting is part of the worldwide Scouting movement and aims to promote character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.


As early as 1911, Ernest Thompson Seton had developed a prototype program he named Cub Scouts of America that was never implemented. James E. West felt that having BSA divisions for younger boys (those under 11; the "younger boy problem") would draw away boys from the core program, which was Scout troops focused on the 11–17 year old age group; thus he opposed such a program for some time. In spite of this, unofficial programs for younger boys started around this time, under names such as Junior Troops or Cadet Corps. The BSA obtained the rights to Baden-Powell's The Wolf Cub Handbook in 1916 and used it in unofficial Wolf Cub programs starting in 1918. This led to an issue with Daniel Carter Beard who felt that the use of the British book was nearly disloyal to the United States of America. West encouraged the formation of the Boy Rangers of America, a separate organization for boys eight through twelve based on an American Indian theme. The Boy Rangers used the Scout Law and their Chief Guide, Emerson Brooks, was a Boy Scout commissioner in Montclair, New Jersey. The BSA finally began some experimental Cub units in 1928 and in 1930 the BSA began registering the first Cub Scout packs, and the Boy Rangers were absorbed.

The British Cubbing program used elements of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book series, with the Cubmaster taking the role of Akela and the assistant Cubmaster the role of Baloo. The American program also syncretized American Indian elements, with all Cub Scouts belonging to the Webelos tribe, symbolized by the Arrow of Light and led by Akela. Webelos was also an acronym meaning Wolf, Bear, Lion, Scout. It has since come to mean "WE'll BE LOyal Scouts". The initial rank structure was Wolf, Bear and Lion, with ages of 9, 10 and 11. Dens of six to eight Cubs were entirely led by a Boy Scout holding the position of den chief.

Aims, Methods, and Purposes

The Aims of Cub Scouting are the same as the other divisions — build character, learn the responsibilities of citizenship, and develop personal fitness.

The Methods of Cub Scouting

  1. Living the Ideals
  2. Belonging to a Den
  3. Using Advancement
  4. Involving Family and Home
  5. Participating in Activities
  6. Serving Neighborhood and Community
  7. Wearing the Uniform
  8. Making Character Connections

The Purposes of Cub Scouting are

  1. Character Development
  2. Spiritual Growth
  3. Sportsmanship and Fitness
  4. Family Understanding
  5. Respectful Relationships
  6. Personal Achievement
  7. Friendly Service
  8. Fun and Adventure
  9. Preparation for Boy Scouts


The Cub Scout ideals are spelled out in the Cub Scout Promise, the Law of the Pack, and the Cub Scout Motto.Cub Scout Promise
I promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people, and
To obey the Law of the Pack.Law of the Pack
The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill.Cub Scout Motto
Do Your Best

The Cub Scout sign identifies the youth as a Cub Scout and is used when giving the Cub Scout Promise or the Law of the Pack. The Cub Scout salute is used when saluting the flag of the United States. The handshake is used as a token of friendship and identity.


The Cub Scout pack is sponsored by a community organization such as a business, service organization, school, labor group or religious institution. The chartered organization is responsible for selecting leadership, providing a meeting place and promoting a good program. The chartered organization representative is the liaison between the pack, the chartered organization, and the BSA.

The pack meets once a month, providing a program for Cub Scouts, leaders, parents and other family members attending. The pack is lead by a Cubmaster with one or more assistant Cubmasters. The pack committee is a group of adults, led by the pack committee chairman, who plan the pack program and activities and manage record keeping, finance, leadership recruitment and registration. The pack trainer is responsible for ensuring that all of the pack leaders are trained and for maintaining training records.

Cub Scouts who join a pack are assigned to dens with six to eight members, usually based on age: Tiger Cubs (first grade or 7 years old), Wolf Cub Scouts (second grade or 8 years old), Bear Cub Scouts (third grade or 9 years old) and Webelos Scouts (fourth and fifth grades or 10 years old). Dens meet weekly under the direction of the adult den leader. A Cub Scout is elected to the denner position to provide basic leadership to the den. A Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer holding the den chief position may assist the den leader in activities. Den meetings are planned around a monthly theme and may include games, handicrafts, hikes and other outdoor fun while preparing for the next pack meeting. The Webelos Scout den may elect to use a den emblem similar to that used by Boy Scout patrols with a den emblem patch used in place of the den number.

Packs with a large number of Webelos sometimes divide them into Webelos I and Webelos II dens, to keep their den from previous years intact. Webelos I dens often spend much of their time learning about Boy Scout customs, including memorization of the Scout Law and Oath. Webelos II dens spend more of their time looking for a Boy Scout troop to join once they have finished the Cub Scouting program. This process is known as 'bridging over'. Many packs facilitate this process by associating with a Boy Scout troop to ease the transition. Packs that do so are usually known as 'feeder packs'. A Boy Scout Troop may have multiple feeder packs.

The Webelos symbol is the fleur-de-lis, which also appears in the background of the Boy Scouts of America logo, colored yellow, blue, or yellow with a stylized blue W. They may wear the tan uniform of the Boy Scout instead of the navy blue uniform of the Cub Scouts. When doing so, they wear the blue epaulet loops of Cub Scouting (the navy blue uniforms have no epaulets). They are further differentiated from younger Cub Scouts by the use of a plaid neckerchief, instead of the orange Tiger Cub neckerchief or gold or blue neckerchief of Cub Scouts.

Many packs have relationships with Boy Scout troops. The Webelos Scouts "cross over" from the pack to the troop, and often den leaders will also move into the troop leadership. In turn, the troop provides assistance to the pack with activities such as campouts and ceremonies. However, a Webelos Scout is free to join any troop he wishes, not just the one his pack may be associated with.

The Lone Cub Scout program serves boys who cannot take part in a nearby Cub Scout pack on a regular basis because of such factors as distance, weather, time, disability or similar issues.


The uniform gives a Cub Scout visibility and creates a level of identity within both the unit and the community. While allhe tiger hat). The orange neckerchief, the neckerchief slide and the belt buckle uniforms are similar in basic design, they do vary in color and detail to identify the different divisions of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers. In all cases, shirts are tucked in.

Youth uniforms

Tiger Cubs wear the Cub Scout uniform with socks that are navy-blue with orange or yellow tops (they also have an orange t-shirt with a tigercub logo and t have the Tiger Cub logo. The cap has an orange panel with the Tiger Cub logo.

Wolf Cubs wear the Cub Scout uniform and the Wolf Cubs cap with yellow panel and Wolf Cub logo and the yellow neckerchief and the neckerchief slide with Wolf Cub logo. Bear Cubs wear the Cub Scout uniform and a cap with light blue panel with Bear Cub logo. The light blue neckerchief and the neckerchief slide have the Bear Cub logo.

Webelos Scouts have a choice of uniforms: the Cub Scout uniform or the Boy Scout field uniform with blue shoulder loops. There are two styles of caps. One Webelos cap is green with a plaid panel and the oval Webelos logo and is generally used with the Boy Scout field uniform. The other is blue with the diamond Webelos logo. Additionally Webelos Scouts wear plaid neckerchiefs, the neckerchief slide, and belt buckles that all have the Webelos logo. Official neckerchief slides fall off easily and are sometimes replaced with alternative slides. The Webelos Cub Scout den may elect to wear a den emblem patch, similar to the Boy Scout patrol patch, in place of the den number.

Scouter uniforms

Adult leaders wear the basic Boy Scout field uniform. Female leaders have the option of the classic female Cub Scouter uniform. At the pack level, blue shoulder loops are worn on the epaulets. The cap, neckerchief, slide and belt of their group are worn.

The Scouter dress uniform is appropriate for professional Scouters and all Scouting leaders on formal occasions.

Advancement and recognition

Youth advancement

Advancement is one of the methods used to promote the aims of character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Everything a Cub Scout does in the advancement program is intended to achieve these aims and aid in personal growth. The program has two tiers of advancement: the classic rank system and the newer Academics and Sports Program.

All boys will first work on their Bobcat badge to complete the Cub Scout joining requirements. Once the Bobcat badge requirements have been completed, the Cub Scout will continue with the age appropriate program. Tiger Cubs complete achievements to earn the Tiger Cub badge, then complete electives to receive Tiger Track Beads. First-year Cub Scouts work toward the Wolf badge, then toward Arrow Points. Second year Cub Scouts work toward the Bear badge and then earn Arrow Points.

Webelos work toward earning Activity Badges. Initially, Webelos work toward the Webelos Badge. After earning the Webelos badge, boys work toward the Compass Point Emblem and Metal Compass Points. Finally, Webelos work toward the Arrow of Light.

The Arrow of Light award is the highest award available to Cub Scouts. In addition to the skill and activity requirements of the preceding ranks, the Arrow of Light requires Scouts to learn the Scout Promise and Scout Law, and visit one meeting and one activity of a Boy Scout troop, in preparation for advancing to the Boy Scouts. The Arrow of Light award is the only Cub Scout award that can be worn on a Boy Scout uniform. Both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts wear the badge below the left pocket. Adults wear the square-knot version of the badge above the left pocket.

The Cub Scouts Academics and Sports Program is designed toward the third aim of Scouting: the development of physical, mental and emotional fitness. It is an optional program for all Cub Scouts and is designed to assist in learning or improving skills. Belt loops are awarded for completing standards in various academic and sport fields. Advanced skills are recognized by pins, displayed on the Cub Scout Academic and Sports letter.

Several religious emblems programs are administered by various religious institutions and recognized, but not sponsored, by the BSA. These are generally recognized by a medal and an embroidered square knot.

Leader recognition

Cub Scout leaders who complete training, tenure, and performance requirements are recognized by a system of awards. The Tiger Cub Den Leader Award, Cub Scout Den Leader Award, Webelos Den Leader Award, Pack Trainer Award and the Cubmaster Award are available to those who have held the respective positions, and the Cub Scouter Award is available to any assistants or other registered adult leaders. These awards are recognized by a certificate and an embroidered square knot insignia. Den Chiefs may earn the Den Chief Service Award.

Program and activities

Each pack has a number of annual events such as the pinewood derby, raingutter regatta, the space derby, gold rush, the blue and gold banquet and Scout Sunday or Scout Sabbath.

Several structured camping activities are available in the Cub Scout program. The pack overnighter is a pack-organized camping activity that provides Cub Scouts with positive outdoor experiences. Cub Scout day camp or twilight camp is an accredited, organized, one- to five-day program for Cub Scouts using trained leadership at an approved site, and is usually held during daylight or early evening hours, but not overnight. Cub Scout resident camp is an organized, accredited overnight camping program covering at least two nights and conducted under trained leadership in an established Scout camp operated by the council. The Webelos den overnight camp introduces the boy and his parent to the camping program, under the leadership of the Webelos den leader. Joint campouts with a local Boy Scout troop for second-year Webelos can help to strengthen ties between the pack and troop and facilitate the transition from Webelos to Boy Scouts.

The Soccer and Scouting program is designed to involve Hispanic youth and families in the Cub scout program, instructing boys in both soccer and Cub Scout values.

Alcohol is strictly prohibited at all Cub Scout events.


New leaders are encouraged to attend training for their position, and is provided for all new den chiefs.

Fast Start Training is the introduction for adult leaders new to the Cub Scout program. Fast Start is self pace and provided as a video or online. Youth Protection Training is required for all adult leaders and must be recertified per local council policy. Basic Leader Training consists of New Leader Essentials and Leader Specific Training. New Leader Essentials is a common core program for all adult leaders in the Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing divisions. Leader Specific Training is provided for the Tiger Cub den leader, Cub Scout den leader, Webelos den leader, Cubmaster, pack committee chairman and assistants. Once Basic Leader Training is completed, the leader is awarded a Trained emblem for uniform wear.

At least one adult on a pack overnight campout must attend the Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) in order to properly understand camping requirements. Leaders for day camp and resident camp programs must be trained and certified by the National Camping School.

Supplemental training modules are designed to provide orientation beyond Basic Leader Training. These shorter training sessions are often provided at the Roundtable, a monthly meeting of leaders from the district, at a Pow-Wow or University of Scouting program offered by the local council and at National Cub Scouting Conferences held at the Philmont Scout Ranch and the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base.

Wood Badge is the advanced training program for leadership skills for all adults in all BSA programs. Wood Badge consists of six days of training (usually presented as two three-day weekends) and an application phase of several months. When training is complete, leaders are recognized with the Wood Badge beads, neckerchief and woggle.

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