Cub Scouts advance in rank from Tiger Cub to Wolf, to Bear, to Webelos Scout. Explore the Advancement Trail.
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.
No matter what age or grade a boy joins Cub Scouting, he must earn his Bobcat badge before he can advance to the rank of Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, or Webelos. A boy must complete the Bobcat requirements, which include:
- Learn and say the Cub Scout motto, the Cub Scout Promise, and the Law of the Pack and tell what they mean;
- Show the Cub Scout sign, salute, and handshake and tell what they mean; and
- Show that you understand and believe that it is important to be honest and trustworthy.
To begin his path to the Tiger Cub rank, the Tiger Cub (age 7) must learn the Cub Scout promise, the Cub Scout sign, and the Cub Scout salute. When he has learned these, he gets his Tiger Cub emblem, which is a tiger paw with four strings for beads. He wears the emblem on his right pocket.
As a boy finishes each part of the five Tiger Cub achievements, he earns an orange bead (for den activities), a white bead (for family activities), or a black bead (for "Go See Its"). When the boy has earned five beads of each color, he can receive his Tiger Cub badge. The Tiger Cub badge is given to the boy's adult partner at a pack meeting. Then, during a grand ceremony, the adult gives the badge to the boy.
The Wolf rank is for boys who have finished first grade (or who are 8 years old). To earn the Wolf badge, a boy must pass 12 achievements. His parent or guardian approves each achievement by signing his book. When the boy has met all requirements, the Wolf badge is presented to his parent or guardian at the next pack meeting. During an impressive ceremony, the parent or guardian then presents the badge to the boy.
After he has earned the Wolf badge, a Wolf Cub Scout can work on the 23 Wolf electives until he finishes second grade (or turns 9 years old). He can choose from more than 100 elective projects that may show him new hobbies and teach him skills that will be useful during his Boy Scout years. When he completes 10 elective projects, he earns a Gold Arrow Point to wear under the Wolf badge. For each 10 elective projects after that, he earns a Silver Arrow Point.
The Bear rank is for boys who have finished second grade (or are 9 years old). There are 24 Bear achievements in four groups. A boy must complete 12 of the achievements to be a Bear Cub Scout. These requirements are harder and more challenging than those for the Wolf badge. When a boy has earned his Bear badge, he may work on electives to earn Arrow Points to wear under his Bear badge.
Webelos dens are for boys who have completed third grade (or reached age 10). The Webelos den program is different from the Cub Scout den program. Everything in the Webelos Scout program is more challenging than what younger boys in the pack do. Webelos Scouts get to work on the 20 Webelos activity badges:
- Family Member
Webelos Scouts work on requirements during their weekly den meetings. Once a boy learns a skill, he practices it at den meetings and at home on his own. His family helps him at home. Webelos Scouts bring the projects they do at home to the den meetings to show others, and to have the Webelos den leader approve their projects.
When a boy has done the requirements for an activity badge, the Webelos den leader or activity badge counselor, rather than a parent, approves most of the activity badges. It takes three activity badges, including Fitness and Citizen, to earn the Webelos badge.
Besides earning activity badges, Webelos Scouts can earn the compass points emblem. This emblem is awarded after a Webelos Scout has earned seven activity badges. For each four activity badges a Webelos Scout earns after that, he receives a compass point—east, west, north, and south.
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.
This award is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform when a boy graduates into a troop. Adult leaders who earned the Arrow of Light Award when they were young may also show their achievement by wearing a special square knot on their adult uniform.
Academics and Sports Program
Try something new! Cub Scouts have fun with subjects and sports from Art and Astronomy to Ultimate and Volleyball.
The Academics and Sports program gives Cub Scouts extra recognition activities to earn. In Academics subjects and Sports, Cub Scouts learn new skills, become better scholars, learn sportsmanship, and have fun. You can get to know a sport or an academic subject that's new to you --maybe astronomy, chess, computers, science; golf, hiking, tennis, or skateboarding to name a few in the program.
Belt loops and pins are a great way to help fulfill the aims of Scouting—build character, develop citizenship, and encourage mental and physical fitness. Through a variety of subjects, you can stretch your mind and abilities by exploring the wonders of science, learning about the world, and expanding skills in new areas.
This is a chance to try something new, do your best, and earn recognition all at the same time.
Academics and Sports Subjects
|Cub Scout Academics
- Family Travel*
- Good Manners*
- Map and Compass
- Pet Care*
- Reading and Writing*
- Video Games*
- Wildlife Conservation
|Cub Scout Sports
- Flag Football
- Horseback Riding*
- Ice Skating
- Physical Fitness
- Roller Skating
- Snow Ski and Board Sports
- Table Tennis
*New since 2010.
Academics and Sports Letter and Pins
Once you have earned the belt loop, you can stop. But if you want to do more with the activity, you may complete extra requirements to earn a pin.
A good place to display Academics and Sports pins is on the Academics and Sports letter. You can wear the letter on a sweater or a jacket, or display or frame it. The letter does not go on the Cub Scout uniform. There are no special requirements for earning the letter, because it's just for displaying the pins.
* Loops and pins for archery and BB-gun shooting can be earned only in day camps, Cub Scout/Webelos Scout resident camps, council-managed family camping programs, or at council activities where there is properly trained supervision, and all guidelines for BSA shooting sports are implemented. Archery and BB-gun shooting belt loops and pins cannot be earned at the pack, den, or individual level. Requirements therefore are not included.
Awards for your Den and Pack
Some awards can be earned when all the boys and leaders in a den or pack work together toward common goals.
Just as Cub Scouts can earn individual awards for themselves, they can also work together to earn awards for their whole den or their pack. Getting together to work on these awards is a great way to practice teamwork and to show every Cub Scout how important he is as a member of his den or pack.
National Den Award
The National Den Award recognizes dens that have a quality, year-round program. The award goes to dens that do service and conservation projects, Cub Scout Academics and Sports, field trips, character building, and camping. Dens earn the award as a team, not as individual den members. The recognition is a ribbon for the den flag or den doodle.
National Summertime Pack Award
A pack can earn the National Summertime Pack Award by doing three pack activities when school is out for the summer—one activity each in June, July, and August. Packs that qualify get a colorful streamer for their pack flag. Dens that have at least half of their members at the three summer pack events can earn a den ribbon. Pack members who take part in all three events are eligible for the National Summertime Pack Award pin, to wear on the right pocket flap of their uniform.
If a pack is in a "year-round school" (or is part of a home-school association), the pack could earn the Summertime Pack Award by having a special pack activity during school breaks.
National Quality Unit Award
The Quality Unit Award recognizes outstanding packs (and also troops, teams, crews, and ships) that have quality programs for their members. To earn this award, packs need well-trained leaders and they must meet several other requirements, such as holding regular pack meetings, qualifying for the National Summertime Pack Award (above), going on an outdoor activity, doing a service project, having at least three-fourths of the Scouts advance in rank, and having all Scouts subscribe to Boys' Life magazine.
All members, both youth and adults, of a pack that earns this award may wear the Quality Unit emblem on their uniforms. The pack may also display a streamer on the pack flag.
Veteran Unit Emblem
This emblem is a gold embroidered bar worn by boys and adult leaders of packs that have been chartered 50 years or longer. It is worn just below the council patch, above and touching the pack numeral.
William T. Hornaday Unit Award
The Hornaday Awards program encourages learning about natural resources, conservation, and the environment. Respecting the outdoors is an important part of Scouting. Scouts learn to understand and take care of natural resources and to protect the environment.
A Cub Scout pack may earn this award by doing a big, special conservation project. More than half of the pack's members must take part. This award is granted through the Conservation Service of the BSA National Council. Packs must apply for the award through their local council.
Other Awards You Can Earn
Besides the advancement awards and the Academics and Sports belt loops and pins, Cub Scouts may earn other individual awards. Set your sights on these:
Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award
Tiger Cubs, Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award. This award recognizes the Scout for taking part in outdoor recreation and conservation projects. In many cases, you can earn this award while doing other Scouting activities. Click here for more information about this award.
To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, many religious groups have programs for young people to earn a religious emblem. The Boy Scouts of America approves of these programs and allows the religious emblems to be worn on the official uniform.
For a list of emblems programs, and a list of awards provided by each faith or religious group, see the Religious Emblems Programs page.
Cub Scout World Conservation Award
Webelos Scouts can earn the Cub Scout World Conservation Award by earning the Forester, Naturalist, and Outdoorsman activity badges and taking part in a den or pack conservation project.
Cub Scouting's Leave No Trace Awareness Award
Leave No Trace is a plan that helps people take better care of the environment and protect it for future generations. Cub Scouts and their leaders may earn the Leave No Trace Awareness Award. Click here for more information.
Emergency Preparedness Award
"Emergency preparedness" means being ready for all kinds of emergencies. It means you're ready and able to help in times of trouble to save lives and property and to help a community—or even a nation—get back to normal after a disaster happens. To encourage Scouts of all ages to be prepared for emergencies, the BSA has approved an Emergency Preparedness Award program for members of all ages. To learn more about the award requirements and to download an application form, visit the Emergency Preparedness Award page.
Cub Scouts who compete in Cub Scout derbies, field days, and other competitive events can win medals to wear on their uniform.