On the advancement trail, a Cub Scout progresses from rank to rank, learning new skills as they go. 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 Scout joins Cub Scouting, they must earn a Lion badge before they can advance to the rank of Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, or Webelos. A Scout must complete the Lion requirements, which include:
Learn and say the Cub Scout motto, the Cub Scout Promise, and the Law of the Pack and explain what they mean;
Show the Cub Scout sign, salute, and handshake and explain what they mean; and
Show that you understand and believe that it is important to be honest and trustworthy.
To begin the path to Tiger Cub rank, the Tiger Cub (age 7) must learn the Cub Scout promise, the Cub Scout sign, and the Cub Scout salute. When they have learned these, they get a Tiger Cub emblem, which is a tiger paw with four strings for beads. The Tiger Cub wears the emblem on his right pocket.
As the Scout finishes each part of the five Tiger Cub achievements, they earn an orange bead (for den activities), a white bead (for family activities), or a black bead (for “Go See Its”). When the Scout has earned five beads of each color, they can receive a Tiger Cub badge. The Tiger Cub badge is given to the Scout’s adult partner at a pack meeting. Then, during a grand ceremony, the adult gives the badge to the Tiger Cub.
The Wolf rank is for youth who have finished first grade (or who are 8 years old). To earn the Wolf badge, a Scout must pass 12 achievements. Their parent or guardian approves each achievement by signing their book. When the Scout has met all requirements, the Wolf badge is presented to their parent or guardian at the next pack meeting. During an impressive ceremony, the parent or guardian then presents the badge to the Scout.
After they have earned the Wolf badge, a Wolf Cub Scout can work on the 23 Wolf electives until they finish second grade (or turns 9 years old). The Scout can choose from more than 100 elective projects that may show new hobbies and teach skills that will be useful during their Scout BSA years. When the Scout completes 10 elective projects, they earn a Gold Arrow Point to wear under the Wolf badge. For each 10 elective projects after that, the Scout earns a Silver Arrow Point.
The Bear rank is for youth who have finished second grade (or are 9 years old). There are 24 Bear achievements in four groups. A Scout 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 Scout has earned the Bear badge, they may work on electives to earn Arrow Points to wear under the Bear badge.
Webelos dens are for youth 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 Scouts in the pack do. Webelos Scouts get to work on the 20 Webelos activity badges.
Webelos Scouts work on requirements during their weekly den meetings. Once a Scout learns a skill, they practice it at den meetings and at home on their own. Their family helps them 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 Scout 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, they 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 Scout BSA. Webelos Scouts who have earned the Arrow of Light Award have also completed all requirements for the Scout BSA badge.
This award is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Scout BSA uniform when a Scout 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.