The Cub Scout advancement program is designed to encourage the natural interests of a boy in a natural way. Each of the ranks (Tiger, Wolf, Bear & Webelo) and awards in Cub Scouting has its own requirements. As a boy advances through the ranks, requirements are progressively more challenging, matching the increased skills and abilities of a boy as he grows older.
Advancement is one of the methods used to achieve Scouting’s aims—character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Everything a Cub Scout does to advance is designed to achieve these aims and aid in his personal growth. These badges are a means to an end—not an end in themselves.
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 demonstrating his understanding of Scouting’s core values. He must be able to recite the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, and motto and demonstrate the Cub Scout sign, handshake, and salute. He must also explain what each of these ideals means, in addition to demonstrating his understanding of the core values of honesty and trustworthiness, and explaining their importance.
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 accomplished these tasks, he will be awarded his Tiger Cub immediate recognition emblem. This is a tiger paw with four strands for beads that he wears on the right pocket. As a boy completes each part of the achievements, he will be awarded either an orange (den activities), white (family activities), or black (“Go See It”) bead. When the boy has earned five beads of each color, he is eligible to receive his Tiger Cub badge. The Tiger Cub badge is presented to the adult partner at the next pack meeting. In an impressive ceremony, the adult partner in turn presents the badge to the boy.
The Wolf rank is for boys who have completed first grade (or who are 8 years old). To earn the Wolf badge, a boy must pass 12 achievements involving simple physical and mental skills. His parent or guardian approves each achievement by signing his book. When all requirements are satisfied, the Wolf badge is presented to his parent or guardian at the next pack meeting in an impressive advancement ceremony, during which the parent or guardian in turn presents the badge to the boy.
After he has earned the Wolf badge, a boy is encouraged to work on the 22 Wolf electives until he completes second grade (or turns 9 years old). More than 100 elective projects are aimed at kindling his interest in new hobbies, as well as teaching 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 additional 10 elective projects completed, he earns a Silver Arrow Point.
The Bear rank is for boys who have completed second grade (or are 9 years old). There are 24 Bear achievements in four categories; boys must complete 12 of these to earn the Bear badge. These requirements are more difficult and challenging than those for the Wolf badge. When the boy has earned his Bear badge, he may work on electives for credit toward Arrow Points to be worn under the 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: Instead of being based on a monthly theme, the Webelos den program is based on one of 20 Webelos activities:
Webelos Scouts work on requirements during their weekly den meetings. Once the boy learns the skill, he practices it at den meetings and at home on his own. The boy’s family is encouraged to help him at home. Boys bring to den meetings completed or partially completed projects done at home to show others, as well as to be approved by the Webelos den leader. This sharing encourages a boy to do his best and helps to build his confidence and self-esteem.
When a boy has completed the requirements for an activity badge, the Webelos den leader or activity badge counselor, rather than a parent, approves most of the activity badges.
In addition to earning individual activity pins, Webelos Scouts can earn the compass points emblem, which is awarded after earning seven activity badges. Metal compass points—east, west, north, and south—are awarded for each four additional activity badges earned.
Arrow of Light
The pinnacle of Cub Scouting is the Arrow of Light Award. The requirements for this badge include developing outdoor skills, gaining an understanding of the values of Scouting, and preparing to become a Boy Scout.
This recognition 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 as a youth may also wear the appropriate square knot on their adult uniform. Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light Award have also completed all requirements for the Boy Scout badge.