Delivering the Cub Scout Program
Den leaders and Cubmasters conduct meetings implementing the three steps in Cub
Scout advancement: preparation, qualification, and recognition. The Den & Pack
Meeting Resource Guide, No. 34409, explains the mechanics for doing so while
helping to maximize advancement. It has four parts: Overview of Cub Scouting and
Using the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide; Den Meeting Plans; Pack Meeting
Plans; and Resources, Forms, and Applications. Den meetings—two monthly—support
a traditional school year and are designed to result in advancement for all
boys. Supplemental plans are provided for dens that meet more often, and
adjusting for different school schedules is simple. To achieve a full experience
and the greatest impact, regular “home assignments”
challenge parents and sons to work together.
The Role of the Pack Committee
Den leaders, Cubmasters, and their assistants stimulate interest in advancement
and present the program where it occurs. The responsibility for Cub Scout
advancement administration, however, belongs to a pack committee. The pack
committee collects den advancement reports, compiles and maintains them in pack
records, reports advancement to the council (see “Internet Advancement
Highlights,” 188.8.131.52), purchases awards and ensures their presentation, and
helps plan and facilitate various ceremonies. The committee may also recommend
special pack activities that lead to greater levels of achievement. Consult the
Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221, to learn more about the responsibilities of
the pack committee.
Who Approves Cub Scout Advancement?
A key responsibility for den leaders is to implement the core den meeting plans
as outlined in the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide, No. 34409. For Wolf, Bear,
and Webelos advancement, den leaders take the lead in approving requirements,
though their assistants, and also parents who help at meetings, may be asked to
play the role of “Akela” and assist. Parents sign for requirements that,
according to meeting plans and instructions in the handbooks, take place at
home. For the Bobcat trail and Tiger Cub achievements, parents (or adult
partners) should sign in the boy’s handbook; the den leader then approves as
progress is recorded in the den’s advancement record. Akela (Ah-KAY-la) is a
title of respect used in Cub Scouting—any good leader is Akela, which is also
the leader and guide for Cub Scouts on the advancement trail.
“Do Your Best”
Advancement performance in Cub Scouting is centered on its motto: “Do Your
Best.” When a boy has done this—his very best—then regardless of the
requirements for any rank or award, it is enough; accomplishment is noted. This
is why den leaders, assistants, and parents or guardians are involved in
approvals. Generally they know if effort put forth is really the Cub Scout’s
Cub Scout Ranks
The Cub Scout program is centered primarily in the den, the home and
neighborhood, but often takes place in the outdoors. It leads to advancement
through six ranks. After a new member earns his Bobcat badge, he begins on the
Cub Scout rank appropriate to his age or grade. Once he has progressed past the
Bobcat rank, he continues to move forward. In other words, he cannot go back and
work on ranks that he missed due to his age. Upon earning the Webelos badge and
the Arrow of Light Award, he will also have learned the requirements for the
Scout badge and begins his journey through Boy Scouting.
The Bobcat badge is earned first, before all other ranks. The trail to Bobcat
involves learning the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, and signs and symbols
of Cub Scouting, with an introduction to Character Connections®. After earning
the Bobcat rank, new members begin work on the rank appropriate to their age:
Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, or Webelos. Before receiving the Bobcat badge, Tiger Cubs
earn the Immediate Recognition emblem (see below). This recognition is not a
After earning Bobcat rank, first-graders or boys at least 7 years old work on
the Tiger Cub badge. Its 15 requirements are divided evenly among five
achievements. Each of the five includes a family activity, a den activity, and a
den outing called “Go See It.” Before receiving his Bobcat badge, a Tiger Cub
earns the Immediate Recognition emblem. Then he adds a bead upon completing each
of the 15 parts of the achievements. White beads are for family activities,
orange for den activities, and black for Go See It outings.
Once a boy has earned his Tiger Cub badge, he can earn “Tiger Track” beads.
These spark interest in new hobbies, activities, or skills. The fl at, yellow
beads are added to the Immediate Recognition emblem. One is awarded for every 10
electives finished. The elective activities appear in the youth handbook. There
is no limit to the number of Tiger Track beads a boy can earn, and he can repeat
electives at the discretion of the den leader and adult partner. A boy can work
on them at the same time as achievements, but he cannot receive beads until he
has earned the Tiger Cub badge.
The Wolf rank is for boys who have completed first grade or are 8 years old.
For the Wolf badge, work begins with 12 achievements involving simple physical
and mental skills covering— for example—knowledge of the U.S. flag, a Cub
Scout’s religious duties, and other age-appropriate educational activities. When
the 12 are completed, the Wolf badge is presented at a pack meeting.
The Bear rank is for boys who have completed second grade or are 9 years old.
For the Bear rank, 12 achievements are required, just as for Wolf. However, boys
have 24 from which to choose, organized into four categories: God, Country,
Family, and Self. The requirements are more challenging than those for the Wolf
Progress Toward Ranks Emblem
The Progress Toward Ranks emblem acknowledges advancement as Wolf and Bear Cub
Scouts complete the achievements. Like the Tiger Cub Immediate Recognition
emblem, it hangs at the right pocket of the uniform shirt. It features a lanyard
divided in two: one for Wolf, one for Bear. When a boy completes three
achievements, he earns a bead: yellow for Wolf, red for Bear.
A newly recognized Wolf or Bear Cub Scout then turns his attention to Arrow
Points. Arrow Points develop interests and teach skills, many of which are
useful in Boy Scouting. One is awarded for every 10 electives: a Gold Arrow for
the first 10, and Silver for every 10 thereafter. There is no limit to the
number of Silver Arrows that can be awarded, but they must be completed before
boys move to the next rank’s program. Boys can choose from a number of
electives; each represents an opportunity for experiential learning. Though
designed to broaden horizons, those so designated may be earned multiple times;
but when a boy repeats an elective, he should get credit only when his skills
have improved over the
previous experience. Boys may work on elective projects concurrently with
but cannot receive Arrow Points until they earn the badge for their age or grade
Unused parts of achievements that were used for the Wolf or Bear badge may not
counted toward Arrow Points. For example, in Bear Achievement 9, “What’s
four of seven parts listed are required for the achievement. The other three may
used as electives toward Arrow Points. Since 12 achievements will have been used
the Bear badge, electives may be chosen from any of the remaining 12. Once a boy
to the next rank level, he may not earn Arrow Points from the earlier level.
Webelos, an acronym for “We’ll Be LOyal Scouts,” is the rank for boys who have
completed third grade or are 10 years old. Webelos Scouts can choose between the
diamond and oval patches for uniform wear.
The Webelos Scout advancement plan has two primary components: the Webelos badge
and the Arrow of Light Award. Both are based on activity badges that range from
Aquanaut and Sportsman to Geologist and Forester. The Webelos badge calls for
earning three of them, along with several other requirements listed in the
Webelos Handbook. There are 20 activity badges in all. Webelos Scouts may earn
as many as they like.
Webelos Activity Badges
Activity badges help Webelos Scouts develop interests in areas that may lead to
hobbies or career choices. The projects involved help accomplish the purposes of
Cub Scouting while providing the foundation for exciting and worthwhile den
meetings. Some badges may occupy a den for a few weeks; others may take longer.
Families are encouraged to work at home with their boys on projects begun at den
meetings, but the Webelos den leader approves completed work. The Webelos den
leader and assistant(s), and the den chief, may handle portions of instruction
during meetings. But the badges will have more meaning when a qualified activity
badge counselor teaches most of the requirements, provides resources, leads
field trips, and gives other useful service. A parent or family member, pack
leader, teacher, coach, or other adult with talents or skills related to the
specific badges may serve in this capacity. A local Scoutmaster or the district
advancement chair can help identify merit badge counselors who might also work
with related activity badges.
Compass points recognize progress beyond the Webelos badge and offer
intermediate recognition leading to the Arrow of Light Award. The compass points
emblem is presented to each boy who earns seven activity badges—four in addition
to those required for Webelos rank. For every four thereafter, a metal compass
point is pinned to the emblem. It takes 19 activity badges to earn the emblem
and all three points.
The Arrow of Light Award
The Arrow of Light Award is Cub Scouting’s highest rank. It is earned after
fulfilling the requirements for the Webelos badge, usually during the
second-year Webelos program. Much of the experience gives Webelos Scouts the
chance to practice skills that prepare them to become Boy Scouts. Once
completed, the award should be presented during an impressive pack ceremony
involving Scouts from a local Scout troop. Their involvement may encourage
eventual “bridging” recipients into the troop. The Arrow of Light Award may be
completed only while the following four conditions are met: (1) The Webelos
Scout has been registered and active for at least six months since completing
the fourth grade or since turning 10 years old; (2) he is still registered in a
pack or as a Lone Cub Scout; (3) he has not yet joined a troop; and (4) he has
either not yet graduated from the fifth grade or has not yet turned 11,
whichever is the latter.
Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light Award have also completed most
of the requirements for the Scout badge. This can be easily completed and then
presented when the boy has joined a troop and his Scoutmaster has signed for
accomplishment in his Boy Scout Handbook.
The minimum age for a Cub Scout who has earned the Arrow of Light Award to
become a Boy Scout is 10 years. Boy Scout Handbook, read as follows: “Be a boy
who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the
Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old …”
All achievements, electives, and other requirements for Cub Scout ranks are
shown in the respective handbooks. The Webelos Handbook includes requirements
for the Arrow of Light Award and all activity badges.
Fun for the Family Program
Cub Scouting’s Fun for the Family program is a series of activities designed to
help strengthen families. All family members are encouraged to participate and
earn the Fun for the Family Award. Details can be found in Fun for the Family,
No. 33012. The award includes a patch along with Fun for the Family program pins
in five categories.
Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program
More than just a recognition opportunity, this program develops new skills,
improves those existing, and otherwise enriches Cub Scouting. Details can be
found in the Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program Guide, No. 34299. Activities
include subjects like science, video games, collecting, and chess; and sports
such as baseball, skateboarding, and table tennis. Each has two levels—a belt
loop and a pin. Belt loops, which can be earned more than once, are awarded when
each of three requirements is met. Cub Scouts may then continue with additional
requirements and earn the pin. Archery and BB gun shooting are included, but can
only be conducted at a council presented activity with certified supervisors.
Cub Scout Advancement Goals
The administration of the Cub Scout advancement program is primarily the
responsibility of the pack committee, with the support of the district
advancement committee and commissioner staff.
Parents of Cub Scouts should understand their role and responsibilities in
their son's advancement. For the boy to receive maximum benefit and growth from
his advancement, the adult's standard for completion of any requirement should
be based on the Cub Scout motto, "Do Your Best"
Advancement recognition should be given as soon as possible after a boy
completes the requirements, and be done with proper ceremony. Presentation of
badges should be a part of each monthly pack meeting. Suggestions for
advancement ceremonies are contained in the Cub Scout Program Helps, Webelos
Leader Guide, Cub Scout Ceremonies for Dens and Packs, and the Cub Scout
Packs and troops should be encouraged to work together to ensure a smooth
transition from the Webelos den to the Boy Scout troop.
Good advancement records should be maintained by the pack to be sure that the
boys are advancing and that the awards are presented promptly.
Advancement [PDF, 177K]
The use of den chiefs (Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers who assist
with Cub Scout and Webelos Scout den meetings) can help stimulate advancement
through example and experience, as well as encourage boys to continue in the
Cub Scout / Webelos Scout Resident and Day Camp Advancement Guidelines Cub/Webelos
Scout resident camp, as well as day camps, should limit advancement for the sake
of advancement. Tiger Cub and Cub Scout advancement is intended to be
family-oriented; the adult partner or a family member must approve completion of
the requirements by signing the boy's book. As boys become Webelos Scouts, their
den leaders and activity badge counselors sign off the requirements in the
handbooks. Camp programs and activities should not detract from these family and
den responsibilities related to advancement.