The Cub Scout program has a vocabulary all its own! If your family is just starting out, you’ll hear Cub Scout terms being tossed around at every den and pack meeting. This list of 25 terms will help you out as you become familiar with the program.
Cub Scout terms can be confusing to a new Scout family. Akela, Class B, District, and Webelos are just a few of the words that you’ll hear. This list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully, these 25 Cub Scout terms will help you get started on your family’s Cub Scout journey!
Cub Scout Terms
Advancement – The progression that moves the Cub Scouts from rank to rank.
Adventure – Adventures are “collections of themed, multidisciplinary activities representing approximately three den meetings’ worth of engaging content.” Tigers, Wolves, and Bears complete seven adventures to earn their rank badge. Webelos complete six adventures for their rank, and Arrows of Light complete five.
Akela – Anyone who is a leader to the Cub Scout. Akela can be a parent, teacher, den leader, Cubmaster, or any other adult who helps guide the Cub Scout.
Arrow of Light – The highest rank a Cub Scout can achieve. The Arrow of Light (AoL) badge is the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform.
Blue and Gold Banquet – Because February is the anniversary month of the Boy Scouts of America, many packs celebrate with a Blue and Gold banquet. The banquets are special events that can include games and entertainment. Cub Scouts often bring their whole families including grandparents. Some packs may choose to hold their Blue and Gold Banquet in another month.
Buddy System – The buddy system is used to help Cub Scouts look out for each other. At Cub Scout events, especially outdoor activities, boys should find a partner. The buddies go everywhere together and know where each other is at all times. This helps ensure that the boys always have a partner to help him if he is lost or hurt.
Chartered Organization – Community or faith-based organizations that own and operate Cub Scout packs. They work under a “charter” from the Boy Scouts of America.
Class A Uniform – This is the official uniform of Cub Scouts. Cub Scouts wear a blue shirt, while Webelos can either continue wearing the blue shirt or switch to the khaki Boy Scout shirt. “Class A uniform” is not a BSA official term, but it is widely used by packs.
Class B Uniform – Class B uniforms are Scouting-related t-shirts. They can be pack t-shirts, day camp t-shirts or any other Scouting t-shirt. They are officially called special purpose or activity uniforms.
Council – A council is a service center, chartered by the Boy Scouts of America, that is responsible for Scouting within its geographical area.
Crossover or Bridging – A Special ceremony where a Webelos Cub Scout “crosses over” or “bridges” from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. It symbolizes the boys’ induction into their Boy Scout troop.
Cubmaster – A Cubmaster is the “face” of the pack. Cubmasters help plan and carry out the Cub Scout program in his or her pack. They support and motivate den leaders and parents. The Cubmaster serves as the emcee for pack meetings and other events. Cubmasters and pack committees work together to develop fun program ideas and activities.
Den – A den is a group of boys who are in the same grade or who are the same age. They work together to advance to the next level of Cub Scouts.
Denner – A boy who has been selected (by vote or appointment) to serve in a leadership role in his den. They have specific duties such as taking attendance, leading a flag ceremony, assisting with den activities and conducting a closing ceremony. Serving as a denner helps develop the Cub Scout’s leadership skills.
Den Chief – An older Boy Scout who has been selected to work with a Cub Scout den. They assist with den activities and serve as a role model (and often a friend) to the boys in the den. The den chief position is considered a leadership role by the Boy Scout troop.
District – The geographic territory within a council is divided into districts. Districts vary in size. Some may span multiple counties, while others are one county. There may be multiple districts within one county, depending on its size.
District Executive – The District Executive (DE) is a paid employee of the local council. His or her role is to support Scouting in the district.
Pack – A Cub Scout pack is a collection of dens of all ranks. The pack organizes the dens, holds monthly meetings and conducts larger events such as the Pinewood Derby or Blue & Gold banquet. Packs belong to a community organization, such as a church or a service club, which is chartered by the Boy Scouts of America to operate the Scouting program.
Pinewood Derby – Cub Scout racing event. With help from their parents, boys design and build a race car using a kit that contains a block of wood, plastic wheels, and axles made from nails.
Raingutter Regatta – Cub Scout racing event. For this race, boys build sailboats with balsa wood, a mast, a plastic sail, a plastic rudder and a metal keel.
Rank – Cub Scouts are grouped by grade or age into specific ranks. Kindergarteners are Lions, first graders are Tigers, second graders are Wolves, third graders are Bears, fourth graders are Webelos, and fifth graders are Arrows of Light. Some people call fifth graders “Webelos,” but they’re working on the Arrow of Light rank. The boys work toward their rank badge throughout the year. For example, the second grader is a Wolf, but he does not get his Wolf rank badge until he completes seven Wolf adventures.
Space Derby – Cub Scout racing event. Similar to the Pinewood Derby, boys build rockets that fly across a line using a rubber band-powered propeller.
Webelos – This rank’s name has special meaning. It stands for WE’ll BE LOyal Scouts. Always use the S even when referring to one Webelos. So, one Webelos, not one Webelo.
Webelos Colors – The Webelos Colors consist of a blue metal bar with the word “Webelos” on it. Below the bar are three woven streamers–one each of gold, red and green. The boys display their adventure pins on the streamers. The Webelos Colors are worn on the right sleeve of the Webelos uniform.
Whittling Chip – The Whittling Chip is an award a Cub Scout can earn that gives them the privilege of carrying a pocketknife to specifically designated events. To earn the Whittling Chip, boys have to know how to safely use and care for a pocketknife, make a carving, and promise to abide by the knife safety guidelines and the pocketknife pledge.
Leave a comment, and let me know what words you think should be in the next list of Cub Scout terms!
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. Read about how to get an electronic copy of your child’s Cub Scout handbook! Reading it will teach you even more Cub Scout terms.