Mechanics of Advancement: In Cub Scouting
126.96.36.199 Delivering the Cub Scout Program
Den leaders, Cubmasters, and their
assistants conduct meetings implementing
the three steps in Cub Scout advancement:
preparation, qualification, and
recognition. Four separate den leader guides—one each
for the Tiger, Wolf, and Bear programs, and one
combined for Webelos and Arrow of Light—explain the
mechanics for doing so while helping to maximize
advancement. Den meetings—ideally three per month,
one of which may include an outing—follow a traditional
school year and are designed to result in advancement
for all boys. Elective adventure plans provide flexibility
for dens that meet more often and facilitate summertime
den activities or adjustments for different school
schedules. To achieve a full experience and the greatest
impact, “do-at-home projects” challenge and encourage
parents and sons to work together. Packs should meet
monthly to assure timely recognition of the Cub Scouts’
188.8.131.52 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
(“Unit Advancement Responsibilities,” 184.108.40.206). The pack
committee collects den advancement reports, compiles
and maintains them in pack records, reports
advancement to the council (see “Internet Advancement
Reporting,” 220.127.116.11), purchases awards and ensures
their prompt presentation, and helps plan and facilitate
various ceremonies. The committee may also recommend
special pack activities
Consult the Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221, to learn more about the responsibilities of the pack committee.
18.104.22.168 Who Approves Cub Scout Advancement?
A key responsibility for den leaders is to implement the
den meeting plans as outlined in the four den leader
guides shown within this topic. For Tiger through Bear
ranks, if the activity is completed outside of the den
meeting, the parent, adult partner, or another trusted
adult should sign in the boy’s handbook, indicating the
Cub Scout has done his best to complete the requirement.
The den leader then approves that requirement after
consultation with the family or the boy to confirm
completion. If the requirement is completed in a den
meeting, the den leader signs in both places. Den leaders
may, however, ask an assistant or parent who helps at
meetings to play the role of “Akela” and assist with the
approvals. For Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks, the
den leader signs for approval of all requirements, unless
the den leader delegates this responsibility.
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.
What about a boy who must repeat a grade in school? Generally, repeating a grade does not mean being kept back in Cub Scouting, but it depends on the circumstances and what is best for the boy. The decision is up to the parent or guardian.
22.214.171.124 "Do Your Best"
Cub Scouts—even those of the same age—may have
very different developmental timetables. For this reason,
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 best.
When a boy completes advancement, he should be
congratulated immediately and publicly. And though
badges of rank should be reserved for the next pack
meeting, it is best to present items such as belt loops and
pins soon after they have been earned. If it is possible for
the pack to report and purchase these awards quickly,
they could be presented at a den meeting, rather than
waiting for a pack meeting. If presented at den meetings,
the accompanying pocket certificates can be used in a
ceremony at a subsequent pack meeting—or vice versa
with the pocket certificates at a den meeting. However
this is done, it is important to note that advancement is an
individual process, not dependent on the work or
progress of others. Awards should not be withheld for
group recognition. Likewise, a boy should not be
presented with recognition he has not earned simply so
that he will “not feel left out.”
In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a boy is close to
earning a badge of rank when the school year ends, the
pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and
the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow him a few
weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next
rank. Earning it will give him added incentive to continue
in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank.
126.96.36.199 Cub Scout Ranks
The Cub Scout program is centered primarily in the den, the home, and the neighborhood, but often takes place in the outdoors. It leads to advancement through six ranks, which—except for the Bobcat rank—are grade- or age-based.
Bobcat. Earned first by all Cub Scouts, no matter what age they join.
Tiger. For boys who have completed kindergarten or are 7 years old.
Wolf. For boys who have completed first grade or are 8 years old.
Bear. For boys who have completed second grade or are 9 years old.
Webelos. For boys who have completed third grade
or are 10 years old.
Arrow of Light. For boys who have completed
Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining. Likewise, Cub Scouts do not “move ahead” to the next rank until the completion of the current school year.
Regardless of what age or grade a boy
joins Cub Scouting, he begins with the
Bobcat rank. It involves learning about the
values, signs, and symbols of the Boy Scouts
of America and Cub Scouting. While he is working on
Bobcat he may work simultaneously on the rank for his
age or grade, but he must finish Bobcat before any other
rank is awarded.
Note that Cub Scouts do not go back and work on ranks missed due to their age at the time
188.8.131.52 Tiger, Wolf, and Bear
For Tiger, Wolf, and Bear ranks—which are earned by Cub Scouts who have completed kindergarten, first grade, and second grade respectively (or are age 7, 8, or 9, respectively)—the boy completes seven adventures. Six of those adventures are defined and one is chosen from the 13 electives available for each rank. “Adventures” are collections of themed, multidisciplinary activities representing approximately three den meetings of engaging content.
Elective and required adventures may be
undertaken at the same time. As the boys
finish an adventure, they are awarded a
belt loop that is worn on the official Cub Scout belt. Belt
loops should be presented as soon as possible. When the
requirements for each rank are fulfilled, the rank badge is
presented at the next pack meeting.
Note that although participation with an adult partner is
required for all Tiger adventures, recognition items are for
the Cub Scouts only.
184.108.40.206 Webelos and Arrow of Light
Just as with the previous ranks, Cub
Scouts enjoy seven adventures as they
earn the Webelos and Arrow of Light
ranks. For the Webelos rank (earned by boys who have completed the third grade or are 10 years old), seven adventures are required, of which five are defined and two are elective. For the Arrow of Light rank (earned by boys who have completed the fourth grade), seven adventures are required, of which four are defined and three are elective. There are a total of 18 electives available that
are shared for these two ranks.
An adventure pin is
awarded for each completed adventure. These may be
worn on the Webelos colors or on the front of the
Webelos cap. The boys are free to work on required and
elective adventure pins at the same time. Adventure pins
should be presented as soon as possible. When the
requirements for the Webelos or Arrow of Light ranks
are fulfilled, the rank badge is presented at the next
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
The Arrow of Light rank is the only Cub Scout badge
authorized to be worn on the Boy Scout uniform
once a boy transitions into a troop; it is worn below
the left pocket. On an adult uniform, the Arrow of
Light rank is recognized with a red and green square
knot worn above the left pocket.
Boys who join Cub Scouting for the first time as a
member of an Arrow of Light den, or boys who were
previously members of a Webelos den but did not
earn the Webelos rank, shall work on Arrow of Light
requirements during their fifth-grade year. They can
earn the Arrow of Light Award without earning the
Arrow of Light is Cub Scouting’s final rank before Boy
Scouts. Much of the experience gives the Cub Scouts the
chance to practice skills that prepare them to become
Boy Scouts. Once completed, the rank should be
presented during an impressive ceremony involving
Scouts from a local Scout troop. Their involvement
may encourage the eventual “bridging” of recipients
into the troop.
220.127.116.11 More on Webelos and Arrow of Light Adventure Pins
Many adventure pins help Webelos and Arrow of Light
Scouts develop interests in areas that may lead to
hobbies or career choices. The Webelos and Arrow of
Light den leaders and assistants, and the den chief, may
handle portions of instruction during meetings. But some
pins will have more meaning when a knowledgeable
adventure pin “counselor” works with the boys on the
requirements, providing resources, leading field trips,
and giving other useful service. A parent or family
member, pack leader, teacher, coach, or other adult with
talents or skills related to the specific pin 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 adventure pins.
Note that except for the references to merit badge
counselors, the policies and procedures for adventure
pins offered through non-Scouting organizations or
businesses, and those regarding charging fees for
adventure pin opportunities, are the same as those
described in section 7, “The Merit Badge Program,”
topics 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
126.96.36.199 Cub Scout Program Transition Information
Authorized only through May 31, 2016.
|Tiger rank earned as of June 1, 2015, and moving to Wolf rank
||Begin using the new Wolf Handbook and the Wolf Den Leader Guide for the Wolf adventures.
|Wolf rank earned as of June 1, 2015, and moving to Bear rank
||Begin using the new Bear Handbook and the Bear Den Leader Guide for the Bear adventures.
|Bear rank earned as of June 1, 2015, and moving to Webelos rank
||Begin using the new Webelos Handbook and the Webelos Den Leader Guide for the Webelos adventures.
|Webelos rank earned as of June 1, 2015, and moving to Arrow of Light rank
May continue to work out of the current handbook and complete the Arrow of Light requirements as stated.
Begin using the new Webelos Handbook and the Webelos Den Leader Guide for the Webelos adventures.
- Must complete the four defined required adventures.
- To satisfy the requirement for three electives may utilize EITHER the new adventure electives OR activity badges earned under the current program but NOT USED TO FULFILL WEBELOS RANK REQUIREMENTS.
- A Webelos rank earned as of June 1, 2015, and moving to Arrow of Light may also substitute any of the new program WEBELOS required adventures for the three required electives of Arrow of Light.