Is a Webelos an Animal?

Webelos is not an animal but an acronym used in scouting that stands for “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.” In the early days of scouting, however, Webelos did stand for three animals that categorized the ages of Cub Scouts. Back then, 9-year old cub scouts were categorized as wolf, 8-year old scouts as bear and 11-year old scouts as lion.

The origins of Cub Scouting in the United States can be traced back to the 1930s, when the Boy Scouts of America began registering Cub Scout packs. Its roots, however, can be traced back to 1914 in England, where scouting itself originated some years prior when it was developed by British Army officer Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell.

Ever since the early days of Cub Scouting, references to animals has almost become a standard practice. The early Cub Scout program in England was initially referred to the Wolf Cub program. In the U.S., Cub Scouts were organized in groups called dens with six to eight Cub led by a Boy Scout.

According to the Bear Cub Scout Book of 1954, Webelos stood for animals that categorized the rank structure of the Cub Scouts. Apart from the wolf, bear and lion categories, new members were also called bobcats. Lion Cubs soon became obsolete, hence the Webelos was made to stand for “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.”