Cub Scouting is fun! No matter what grade you are in, first through fifth, it can be a blast. Do you like to learn by doing? This is just the place. You can learn to tie knots, set up a tent, shoot a bow and arrow. Have you ever cooked a meal on a campfire? Sent a secret code to a buddy? Built a birdhouse? Played Ultimate? Hiked? All that and you can earn rewards for doing these things in Cub Scouts.
Purposes of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting is a family-oriented part of the Boy Scouts of America program designed for boys who are in first through fifth grades (or are 7, 8, 9, and 10 years of age). Parents, leaders, and organizations work together to achieve the 10 purposes of Cub Scouting:
- Character Development
- Spiritual Growth
- Good Citizenship
- Sportsmanship and Fitness
- Family Understanding
- Respectful Relationships
- Personal Achievement
- Friendly Service
- Fun and Adventure
- Preparation for Boy Scouts
The Methods of Cub Scouting
Cub Scouting uses eight specific methods to achieve Scouting’s aims of helping boys and young adults build character, train in the responsibilities of citizenship, and develop personal fitness. These methods are incorporated into all aspects of the program. Through these methods, Cub Scouting happens in the lives of boys and their families.
1. The ideals: The Cub Scout Promise, the Law of the Pack, and the Cub Scout sign, handshake, motto, and salute all teach good citizenship and contribute to a boy’s sense of belonging.
2. The den: Boys like to belong to a group. The den is the place where boys learn new skills and develop interests in new things. They have fun in den meetings, during indoor and outdoor activities, and on field trips. As part of a small group of six to eight boys, they are able to learn sportsmanship and good citizenship. They learn how to get along with others. They learn how to do their best, not just for themselves but also for the den.
3. Advancement: Recognition is important to boys. The advancement plan provides fun for the boys, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they earn badges, and strengthens family understanding. Cub Scout leaders and adult family members work with boys on advancement projects.
4. Family involvement: Family involvement is an essential part of Cub Scouting. When we speak of parents or families, we are not referring to any particular family structure. Some boys live with two parents, some live with one parent, some have foster parents, and some live with other relatives or guardians. Whomever a boy calls his family is his family in Cub Scouting.
5. Activities: In Cub Scouting, boys participate in a wide variety of den and pack activities, such as games, projects, skits, songs, outdoor activities, and trips. Also, the Cub Scout Academics and Sports program and Cub Scouting’s Fun for the Family include activities that encourage personal achievement and family involvement.
6. Home- and neighborhood-centered: Cub Scouting meetings and activities happen in urban areas, in rural communities, in large cities, in small towns—wherever boys live.
7. The uniform: The Cub Scout uniform helps build pride, loyalty, and self-respect. Wearing the uniform to all den and pack meetings and activities also encourages a neat appearance, a sense of belonging, and good behavior.
8. Making Character Connections: Throughout the program, leaders learn to identify and use character lessons in activities so boys can learn to know, commit, and practice the 12 core values of Cub Scouting. Character Connections are included in all the methods of Cub Scouting and are the program themes for monthly pack meetings.
The twelve Core Values of Cub Scouting
- Citizenship: Contributing service and showing responsibility to local, state, and national communities.
- Compassion: Being kind, considerate, and showing concern for the well-being of others.
- Cooperation: Being helpful and working together with others toward a common goal.
- Courage: Being brave and doing what is right regardless of our fears, the difficulties, or the consequences.
- Faith: Having inner strength and confidence based on our trust in God.
- Health and Fitness: Being personally committed to keeping our minds and bodies clean and fit.
- Honesty: Telling the truth and being worthy of trust.
- Perseverance: Sticking with something and not giving up, even if it is difficult.
- Positive Attitude: Being cheerful and setting our minds to look for and find the best in all situations.
- Resourcefulness: Using human and other resources to their fullest.
- Respect: Showing regard for the worth of something or someone.
- Responsibility: Fulfilling our duty to God, country, other people, and ourselves
Cub Scout Organization
Part of the inherent strength of the Cub Scout program is its organization. At its most basic, Cub Scouting consists of:
- A boy—The individual boy is the basic building block for Cub Scouting and is its most important element. It is only when each boy’s character, citizenship, and fitness are enhanced that the program is successful.
- A den—Each boy belongs to a den of similarly aged boys. The den is the boy’s Cub Scout family where he learns cooperation and team building, and finds support and encouragement.
- A leader—Adult leadership is critical to achieving the purposes and aims of Scouting. By example, organized presentations, and one-on-one coaching, the boy learns the value and importance of adult interaction.
- A pack—Each den is part of a larger group of boys of different ages and experience levels in Cub Scouting. The pack provides the resources for enhanced activities, opportunities for leadership, and a platform for recognition.
While there are other parts of the Cub Scout organization (districts, councils, etc.) which are important administratively and to support adult leaders, they are more or less transparent to the boy in Cub Scouting.
On the advancement trail, a Cub Scout progresses from rank to rank, learning new skills as he goes. Each of the ranks and awards in Cub Scouting has its own requirements. As you advance through the ranks, the requirements get more challenging, to match the new skills and abilities you learn as you get older.
Regardless of a boy’s age, the Bobcat Badge is the first step in a boy’s progression after registering as a Cub Scout. Among other requirements, the Bobcat must learn the Cub Scout Handshake, the Cub Scout Salute, and how to give the Cub Scout Sign. Following Bobcat, the other ranks are as follows:
- Tiger Cubs- 1st Grade
- Wolf Cubs- 2nd Grade
- Bear Cubs- 3rd Grade
- Webelos Scouts- 4th&5th Grade
- Arrow of Light - The highest rank in Cub Scouting is the Arrow of Light Award. Earning this rank prepares a Webelos Scout to become a Boy Scout. Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light Award have also completed all requirements for the Boy Scout badge.
Responsibilities to the Boys
All Cub Scout leaders have certain responsibilities to the boys in Cub Scouts. Each leader should:
- Respect boys’ rights as individuals and treat them as such. In addition to common-sense approaches this means that all parents/guardians should have reviewed How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide, and all youth leaders must have taken the BSA’s Youth Protection training.
- See that boys find the excitement, fun, and adventure that they expected when they joined Cub Scouting.
- Provide enthusiasm, encouragement, and praise for boys’ efforts and achievements.
- Develop among the boys a feeling of togetherness and team spirit that gives them security and pride.
- Provide opportunities for boys to experience new dimensions in their world.
Den Leader Responsibilities
In addition to the leader’s general responsibility to the boys in Cub Scouting, the den leader has certain other leadership responsibilities that may be summarized as follows:
- Work directly with other den and pack leaders to ensure that their den is an active and successful part of the pack.
- Plan, prepare for, and conduct den meetings with the assistant den leader and den chief (if Wolf, Bear or Webelos den leaders) or adult partners (if Tiger Cub den leaders).
- Attend the pack leaders’ meetings.
- Lead the den at the monthly pack activity.
- Ensure the transition of their Cub Scouts to a den of the next rank (or to a Boy Scout troop if Webelos) at the end of the year.
Den leaders and Cubmasters (with supporting unit committee members) represent the leadership team that makes the pack go. In general, the Cubmaster (sometimes referred to as the unit leader) is the guiding hand behind the work of other pack leaders and serves as program adviser to the pack committee. He or she is a recruiter, supervisor, director, planner, and motivator of other leaders.