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The Basics Of Cub Scouts PDF Print E-mail
Written by jh   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 23:09
Cub Scouting is for boys in grades 1~5 or aged 6~10.  The program focuses on making things, going places, and learning in a fun way.  Boys have already spent most of their day in school, so Cub Scouting is meant to be "hands on."

The founder of the Boy Scouting movement, Sir Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, was friends with Rudyard Kipling, the British author who wrote the popular JUNGLE BOOK stories about a boy orphaned in the jungle of India and subsequently raised by a wise wolf with help from a loveable bear.  Many of the terms and much of the imagery of Cub Scouting was taken from Kipling's stories.

The animals called the orphan boy a "man cub" and from that came the term Cub Scout.  The boy's primary care-giver was the wise wolf.  A wolf face is the Cub Scout logo and the Cub Scout Sign, two fingers raised into the air, symbolizes wolf ears, a signal for scouts to be attentive and listen to their leader.

A large group of wolves is called a pack, the term used to describe a whole group (unit) of Cub Scouts.  A smaller group of wolves is called a den, the term used for the smaller, age/grade specific sub-groups within a Cub Scout pack.

A boy may join Cub Scouting upon entering first grade or reaching age 6.  Boys are grouped into "dens" with other boys the same age or grade.  This makes it easier for the adult den leader because everyone in the den will have about the same skill level and work at about the same speed.  This would not be true if 4th graders were to be mixed with 2nd graders!

If a boy joins the program at an older age, he is placed with his age group.  Such scouts are not required to "make up" any ranks they may have missed as a result of not beginning as a first grader.

As boys progress through the 4~5 years they will typically be in the program, they earn ranks for which they are awarded badges to wear on their scout uniform to signify their achievements.  Each rank takes about one year to earn.

Upon joining, first graders are placed into a Tiger Cub Den.  Not yet being able to read or write very well, every Tiger Cub is required to have an adult partner, usually mom or dad, but a grandparent, aunt/uncle, or even an older teenage sibling may fulfill this role.  It is also OK for adult partners to switch off so long as the boy has an adult partner at every meeting and activity.

 

The first badge earned by all Cub Scouts is the Bobcat Badge.  To become a Bobcat, boys simply need to memorize the Cub Scout promise, the Cub Scout Slogan, and the Cub Scout Motto.  They also learn about the Cub Scout Sign and its meaning.  Most boys are able to do these few simple requirements within their first month of membership.  They then proceed to work on whichever rank is appropriate for their age/grade.
Second graders are placed into a Wolf den.  They are not required to have an adult partner in attendance at all times, but parents are ALWAYS welcome in Cub Scouting and most den leaders will really appreciate extra pairs of adult hands to help boys with projects.
Third graders will go into a Bear den.  The requirements and projects for each successive rank get a bit more challenging to correspond with the boys' increasing abilities.
Fourth and fifth graders are called Webelos.  The term is an acronym and means "We'll be loyal scouts."  Some larger packs have enough scouts to have separate dens for 1st and 2nd year Webelos (4th / 5th graders, respectively).  In smaller packs, all the Webelos may be grouped together.  Advancement during the 2-year Webelos program works a bit differently than for the Tiger, Wolf, and Bear ranks.  Similar to the merit badge system in Boy Scouting, Webelos Scouts earn a series of "activity pins."  These may be worked on in any order, which is why it works for 1st and 2nd year Webelos to be grouped together.

 

Second year Webelos will also work on earning the Arrow of Light Award, the requirements for which are taken directly from the requirements to become a Tenderfoot Boy Scout.

One of the major goals of the Webelos program is to prepare Cub Scouts to eventually "graduate" into Boy Scouting.  One way to help prepare them for this transition is for Webelos dens to go hiking, camping, and participate in other activities with a local Boy Scout troop (so long as the activities are appropriate for boys of their age).  Boys who have a positive experience all the way through Cub Scouting almost always want to continue into Boy Scouting.  Many will "walk the Eagle Trail" to its summit and become Eagle Scouts.

Cub Scouting is very much a family-centered program and parental involvement is important for a boy's advancement.  Even though parental attendance may not be required at every weekly den meeting for 2nd~5th graders, some advancement requirements do need to be completed at home with adult help and supervision.

Cub Scouts will typically take numerous field trips and other "outings" during the year.  Parents, and usually other siblings, will generally be welcome to attend and participate in most pack activities.

As with just about any extracurricular activity, a greater commitment typically results in a greater benefit.  Boys whose parents put forth an effort to be involved in the pack and pack activities will get a whole lot more out of the program than those whose parents can't or won't.

 


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