Frequently Asked Questions

Following are the answers to common questions about Cub Scouting.

Joining Cub Scouting

How old (or young) can a child be to join Cub Scouting?

Cub Scouting is for children in the first through fifth grades. Youth who are older than 10, or who have completed the fifth grade, can no longer join Cub Scouting, but may be eligible to join the Boy Scouting or Venturing program.

How can I become an adult volunteer in Cub Scouting?

Express your interest to the pack leaders—the Cubmaster, chartered organization representative, or members of the unit committee. They can help you understand the process and guide you on areas where the pack needs support. All packs welcome parent help.

Is there a Cub Scout pack in my area?

In most instances, yes: there are tens of thousands of Cub Scout packs in the United States and its territories, as well as packs that serve the families of U.S. citizens who live overseas. The "find a pack" feature at www.beascout.org will show you a sample of the units in your area.

Is it possible to be a Cub Scout if there is not a pack in my area?

In rare instances where there actually is no pack in your area—which generally occurs only in rural areas or overseas locations—a single youth can become a Lone Cub Scout, working with an adult mentor to pursue the advancement program, and participating in activities with nearby packs when possible. For more information on the Lone Scout program click here.

Must I be a U.S. citizen to join Cub Scouting?

Citizenship is not required of youth or adults to become members of the Boy Scouts of America.

If you live outside the United States and are not a U.S. citizen, it may be more beneficial to join the Scouting association in your own nation. The World Organization of the Scout Movement provides contact information for all national Scouting organizations on its web site at www.scout.org.


The Cub Scouts Program

Are Cub Scouts the same as Boy Scouts?

Cub Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America—so in that sense, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are both members of the same organization. However, they are entirely different programs: Cub Scouting is a family-oriented program designed specifically to address the needs of younger children, and serve as an introduction to Boy Scouting or Venturing.

How often do Cub Scouts meet?

Cub Scouts meet in their dens frequently – sometimes weekly, bi-weekly or another schedule that best fits the group – and a pack meeting is held for all Cub Scouts and their families once a month. Beyond that, it depends on the den and pack: a den may hold a special activity, such as a service project or visit to a local museum in place of one of the weekly meetings or in addition to the weekly meetings. Likewise, a pack may conduct a special event such as a campout as an additional event, or as a substitute for its monthly pack meeting.

May parents attend den meetings?

Cub Scouting is open to parents at all times. Den meetings are intended to be an activity for the individual Scouts, and your den leader will be working hard to keep the Cub Scouts focused. If you would like to be present at a den meeting, ask the den leader in advance so that the leader can plan a way for you to observe or participate.


Uniform and Supplies

What supplies and equipment are needed to participate in Cub Scouting?

At minimum, each Scout will need a uniform and a handbook. Each year, a new handbook, cap, and neckerchief will be needed, but other uniform parts remain the same for at least the first three years. When entering a Webelos den, a new uniform may be needed if the parents in the den opt for the khaki-and-olive uniform.

Additional supplies and equipment may be needed for certain activities such as camping trips or field days. What equipment is needed, as well as whether it will be provided by the unit, will vary from pack to pack. Den and pack leaders should provide parents with information about any supplies that will be required at the beginning of each program year.

Where can I purchase BSA literature, uniforms, and other program materials?

Our uniforms, literature, and other Scouting merchandise is available at your local council, Scout Shops, and other licensed distributors. Visit www.scoutstuff.org to find a list of distributors in your area. If there aren't any suppliers near you, you can order directly from the Supply Division by telephone at 1-800-323-0736 or www.scoutstuff.org

How can I save money on the cost of uniforms and equipment?

The Cub Scout pack may provide assistance to families. Some packs operate a uniform exchange or uniform bank, or they may hold fund-raisers to enable the Scouts to earn their uniforms. Also, some packs will award Scouts rank-specific uniform components (hat and neckerchief) and/or the program books that the Cub Scout needs each year—so parents should inquire as to what the pack provides before purchasing the items themselves.


Advancement and Awards

If a child joins a Bear den, can they go back and earn the Tiger and Wolf badges?

No. In the Cub Scout program, all Scouts in a den work toward the same badge. If a child joins Cub Scouting as a 9-year-old, they must earn the Bobcat badge (all Scouts in Cub Scouting earn this badge), and then begin working on the Bear badge with fellow Cub Scouts. Tiger or Wolf badges are not required. Since those badges are for younger children, the requirements for those badges are not consistent with an older child's level of ability, so "going back" to pick up those badges is not permitted.

If a child completes the Wolf badge early, can they begin working on the Bear badge?

No. In the Cub Scout program, all Scouts in a den work toward a badge that is geared to their level of development. If the Wolf badge is completed before the end of the program year, a Scout may work on elective adventures, but they may not begin working on the requirements for the Bear badge. Work on the Bear badge will begin the next program year, when graduating into a Bear den.

May Cub Scouts earn badges such as the 50-Miler Award or Mile Swim, BSA?

Cub Scouts are not eligible to earn these awards, which are part of the Boy Scout program. All of the awards that Cub Scouts may earn are listed in their handbooks or listed on Awards Central.

When a Cub Scout earns the Arrow of Light, can they immediately join a Boy Scout troop?

Boy Scouting is available to youth who have earned the Arrow of Light and are at least ten years old—so a Webelos Scout who has earned the Arrow of Light is eligible to join a troop immediately (provided they are at least ten years old).

However, many packs coordinate with a local Boy Scout troop to facilitate the transition from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. In these instances, it is better for the Scout, the Scout's family, and both units if all Webelos Scouts make the transition together, in a coordinated fashion, rather than having each Scout leave the pack as soon as they are eligible.