Joining Cub Scouts
How old (or young) can a boy or girl be to join Cub Scouting? Cub Scouting is for boys and girls in Kindergarten through fifth grade or 5 to 10 years of age. Boys and girls who are older than 10, or who have completed the fifth grade, can no longer join Cub Scouting, but they may be eligible to join the Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts or Venturing program depending on their age and grade level.
How can I become an adult volunteer in Cub Scouting? Express your interest to the pack leaders—the committee chair, Cubmaster, chartered organization representative, or members of the unit committee. While there’s no guarantee that a specific role or position will be available—and there may be a selection process among several candidates even if the position is currently vacant—there is usually some way in which you can contribute. Most units are glad for any offer of help. There are many single-instance volunteer opportunities such as popcorn chair or pinewood derby chair.
Must I be a U.S. citizen to join Cub Scouting? Citizenship is not required of youth or adult members. If you live outside the United States and are not a U.S. citizen, it may be more beneficial to join the Scouting association in your own nation. The World Organization of the Scout Movement provides contact information for all national Scouting organizations on its website at www.scout.org.
The Cub Scout Program
Are Cub Scouts the same as Scouts, BSA? No. Cub Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America—so in that sense, Cub Scouts and Scouts, BSA are both members of the same organization. However, they are entirely different programs: Cub Scouting is a family-oriented program designed specifically to address the needs of younger boys and girls in grades K-5.
How often do Cub Scouts meet? Cub Scouts with Pack 172 meet in their Dens and the Pack once each week on Wednesday (2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesdays) evening at 6:30. Beyond that, it depends… A den may hold a special activity, such as a service project or visit to a local museum, in place of one of the weekly meetings or in addition to the weekly meetings. Likewise, a pack may conduct a special event such as a blue and gold banquet as an additional event, rather than a substitute for its monthly pack meeting.
May parents attend den meetings? Cub Scout den meetings are intended to be an activity for the individual boys and girls. They are not a family activity, and the presence of parents can be a distraction. However, parental involvement is encouraged, and all meetings should be open to your participation. If you would like to be present at a den meeting, ask the den leader in advance so that the leader can plan a way for you to observe or participate in an unobtrusive manner, or talk to the pack leaders on becoming more involved.
Uniform and Supplies
What supplies and equipment are needed to participate in Cub Scouting? At a minimum, each boy and girl in Cub Scouting should have a uniform and a handbook. Each year, the handbook changes, as does the cap and neckerchief, but other uniform parts remain the same for at least the first three years. When a boy enters a Webelos den, he will need to obtain a new khaki-and-olive uniform that will carry over into Scouts, BSA. Additional supplies and equipment may be needed for certain activities such as camping trips or field days. What equipment is needed, as well as whether it will be provided by the unit, will vary from pack to pack. Den and pack leaders will provide parents with information about any supplies that will be required at the beginning of each program year.
Where can I purchase BSA literature, uniforms, and other program materials? Our uniforms, literature and other Scouting merchandise are available at your local council, Scout Shops, and other licensed distributors. Visit the Supply Group website at www.scoutstuff.org to find a list of distributors in your area. If there aren’t any suppliers near you, you can order directly from the Supply Group by telephone.
How can I save money on the cost of uniforms and equipment? The Cub Scout pack may provide assistance to families. Some packs operate a uniform exchange or uniform bank, or they may hold fundraisers to enable the boys to earn their uniforms. Also, some packs will award boys and girls rank-specific uniform components (hat and neckerchief) and/or the program books that the Cub Scout needs each year—so parents should inquire as to what the pack provides before purchasing the items themselves. Our Pack does indeed operate a scholarship fund for uniform costs. For more information about our scholarship fund, contact the Cubmaster.
Advancement and Awards
If a Cub Scout joins a Bear den, may he or she go back and earn the Tiger Cub and Wolf badges? No. In the Cub Scout program, all Scouts in a den work toward the same badge. If a boy or girl joins Cub Scouting as a 9-year-old or in the third grade, he or she must earn the Bobcat badge (all Cubs in Cub Scouting earn this badge), and then he or she will begin working on the Bear badge with their fellow Cub Scouts. He or she is not required to have earned the Tiger Cub or Wolf badges. Since those badges are for younger Scouts (first grade or age 7 and second grade or age 8), the requirements for those badges are below a third grade or 9-year-old’s current level of ability, so “going back” to pick up those badges are not permitted.
If a boy or girl completes the Wolf badge early, may he begin working on the Bear badge? No. In the Cub Scout program, all boys and girls in a den work toward a badge that is geared to their level of development. If the Wolf badge is completed before the end of the program year, a child may work on electives to earn Arrow Points, or Academic and Sports belt loops and pins, Nova awards, or the religious emblem of their faith. They may not begin working on the requirements for the Bear badge. Their work on the Bear badge will begin the next program year when they graduate into a Bear Den.
When a Cub Scout earns the Arrow of Light, may he immediately join a Scouts, BSA Troop? Scouts, BSA is available to boys and Girls who have earned the Arrow of Light and are at least 10 years old. So a Webelos Scout who has earned the Arrow of Light is eligible to join a troop immediately (provided they are at least 10 years old). A child can join a Scouts, BSA troop if he or she is 11 years old whether they have earned the Arrow of Light or not. However, many packs coordinate with a local Scouts, BSA girl troop or boy troop to facilitate the transition from Cub Scouting to Scouting, BSA. In these instances, it is better for the child, their family, and both units if all Webelos Scouts make the transition together, in a coordinated fashion, rather than having each Scout leave the pack as soon as they are eligible.