Cub Scout Basics
Cub Scout Lingo
Advancement – The progression that moves the Cub Scouts from rank to rank.
Adventure – Adventures are “collections of themed, multidisciplinary activities representing approximately three den meetings’ worth of engaging content.” Tigers, Wolves, and Bears complete seven adventures to earn their rank badge. Webelos complete six adventures for their rank, Lions and Arrows of Light complete five.
Akela – Anyone who is a leader to the Cub Scout. Akela can be a parent, teacher, den leader, Cubmaster, or any other adult who helps guide the Cub Scout.
Arrow of Light – The highest rank a Cub Scout can achieve. The Arrow of Light (AoL) badge is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Scouts BSA uniform.
Buddy System – The buddy system is used to help Cub Scouts look out for each other. At Cub Scout events, especially outdoor activities, kids should find a partner. The buddies go everywhere together and know where each other is at all times. This helps ensure that the kids always have a partner to help him or her if they get lost or hurt.
Chartered Organization – Community or faith-based organizations that own and operate Cub Scout packs. They work under a “charter” from the Boy Scouts of America.
Class A Uniform – This is the official uniform of Cub Scouts. Lion Cub Scouts wear a t-shirt. Tigers, Wolves and Bears wear a blue shirt, while Webelos and AoLs wear the khaki Scouts BSA shirt. “Class A uniform” is not a BSA official term, but it is widely used by packs.
Class B Uniform – Class B uniforms are Scouting-related t-shirts. They can be pack t-shirts, day camp t-shirts, or any other Scouting t-shirt. They are officially called special purpose or activity uniforms.
Council – A council is a service center, chartered by the Boy Scouts of America, that is responsible for Scouting within its geographical area.
Crossover or Bridging – A Special ceremony where a Webelos Cub Scout “crosses over” or “bridges” from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA. It symbolizes the Scouts' induction into their Scouts BSA troop.
Cubmaster – A Cubmaster is the “face” of the pack. Cubmasters help plan and carry out the Cub Scout program in his or her pack. They support and motivate den leaders and parents. The Cubmaster serves as the emcee for pack meetings and other events. Cubmasters and pack committees work together to develop fun program ideas and activities.
Den – A den is a group of Scouts who are in the same grade. They work together to advance to the next level of Cub Scouts.
Denner – A Cub Scout who has been selected (by vote or appointment) to serve in a leadership role in their den. They have specific duties such as taking attendance, leading a flag ceremony, assisting with den activities and conducting a closing ceremony. Serving as a denner helps develop the Cub Scout's leadership skills.
Den Chief – An older Scout who is a member of Scouts BSA who has been selected to work with a Cub Scout den. They assist with den activities and serve as a role model (and often a friend) to the kids in the den. The den chief position is considered a leadership role by the Scouts BSA troop.
District – The geographic territory within a council is divided into districts. Districts vary in size. Some may span multiple counties, while others are one county. There may be multiple districts within one county, depending on its size.
District Executive – The District Executive (DE) is a paid employee of the local council. His or her role is to support Scouting in the district.
Pack – A Cub Scout pack is a collection of dens of all ranks. The pack organizes the dens, holds monthly meetings, and conducts larger events such as the Pinewood Derby or Blue & Gold banquet. Packs belong to a community organization, such as a church or a service club, which is chartered by the Boy Scouts of America to operate the Scouting program.
Rank – Cub Scouts are grouped by grade or age into specific ranks. Kindergarteners are Lions, first graders are Tigers, second graders are Wolves, third graders are Bears, fourth graders are Webelos, and fifth graders are Arrows of Light. Some people call fifth graders “Webelos,” but they're working on the Arrow of Light rank. The Scouts work toward their rank badge throughout the year. For example, the second grader is a Wolf, but they don't get their Wolf rank badge until they complete seven Wolf adventures.
Blue and Gold Banquet – Because February is the anniversary month of the Boy Scouts of America, many packs celebrate with a Blue and Gold banquet. The banquets are special events that can include games and entertainment. Cub Scouts often bring their whole families including grandparents. Some packs may choose to hold their Blue and Gold Banquet in another month.
Pinewood Derby – Cub Scout racing event. With help from their parents, Cub Scouts design and build a race car using a kit that contains a block of wood, plastic wheels, and axles made from nails.
Webelos – This rank's name has special meaning. It stands for WE'll BE LOyal Scouts. Always use the S even when referring to one Webelos. So, one Webelos, not one Webelo.
Webelos Colors – The Webelos Colors consist of a blue metal bar with the word “Webelos” on it. Below the bar are three woven streamers–one each of gold, red and green. The Scouts can display their adventure pins on the streamers. The Webelos Colors are worn on the right sleeve of the Webelos uniform.
Whittling Chip – The Whittling Chip is an award a Cub Scout can earn that gives them the privilege of carrying a pocketknife to specifically designated events. To earn the Whittling Chip, Cub Scouts have to know how to safely use and care for a pocketknife, make a carving, and promise to abide by the knife safety guidelines and the pocketknife pledge.
Cub Scout Purpose
Sportsmanship & Fitness
Fun & Adventure
Preparation for Boy Scouts
Cub Scout Outdoor Essentials
A first-aid kit. This can be a lifesaver. Literally. Check out how you can build your own first-aid kit.
Water. It can prevent you from facing dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
A flashlight. You need this to find your way in the dark (and make sure it has fresh batteries).
Trail food. You’ll be glad you have fuel to maintain your energy.
Sun protection. This might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat. Applying your sun protection properly is also key.
A whistle. Use it to call for help if you’re lost. Don’t use a whistle for fun!
For longer adventures in the outdoors, add these to your gear list:
Extra clothing. Pack for the weather. Multiple layers are better than single, massive jacket. That way you can stay more adaptable to changing conditions.
Rain gear. Being wet from rain mat result in hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.
A pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. Don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for older Scouts).
A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry if you get lost!
Cub Scout Dens, Packs, and Advancement
All Scouts (except for those who join as Lions) start their Scout Advancement Trail by completing the Bobcat requirements.
New Scouts join a Den based on their grade level as follows:
Lion = Kingergarten
Tiger = 1st Grade
Wolf = 2nd Grade
Bear = 3rd Grade
Webelos/Arrow of Light = 4th & 5th Grade
Uniform Insignia/Patches Placement Guidelines
Youth Protection Training (YPT)
True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, territory, area, council, district, and unit levels. Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers.
Use your Scoutbook login (you should receive an email invite to setup your account shortly after submitting your youths application).
Click here to access BSA's Youth Protection Training