Cub Scout Advancement

Cub Scout Advancement for Rank Badge

Advancement is one of the methods we use to achieve Scouting’s aims and its desired outcomes. As youth earn the ranks of Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and the Arrow of Light, they achieve important goals in developing skills and favorable dispositions related to personal fitness, good character, participatory citizenship, outdoor skills and awareness, and leadership development. Each level of the program from Tiger to Arrow of Light is designed to achieve these goals through a series of developmentally-appropriate and fun adventures.


Recognition Process

No child wants to wait several months to be recognized for their hard work. The Cub Scout program recognizes completion of intermediate steps leading to rank advancement by awarding an immediate recognition device.
Advancement gives youth a means of measuring their progress. Credit is given to the Cub Scout for each requirement when the adult partner (Tigers), den leader, and/or Webelos adventure pin counselor is satisfied that the Cub Scout has done their best.

Ensuring that youth are recognized immediately and publicly for their efforts is an important part of the advancement process. No child should have to wait for more than two weeks to receive a device and be recognized for their accomplishments. Your pack may approach this in a variety of ways:

  • The den leader may provide the recognition device (a pin for youth working on Webelos and Arrow of Light adventures or an adventure loop for youth working on Tiger, Wolf, and Bear adventures) at the final meeting when the Cub Scouts complete the adventure. At the following pack meeting, the youth would then receive a certificate during a brief ceremony. (Full-size and pocket certificates are available from your local Scout shop.)
  • The pack may provide certificates for den leaders to award when the youth complete the adventure and then present the adventure loops and pins at the next pack meeting. Packs are encouraged to find a method that works well for the youth in the pack, guided by principles that recognition is both immediate to encourage the youth and public to celebrate their success.

Advancement provides a satisfying means of recognizing youth for their progress. Cub Scouts have a ladder to climb, with recognition at each step. Presenting awards to youth in meaningful ceremonies to recognize their accomplishments is a principle of advancement. Advancement is not competition among Scouts. Each Cub Scout is encouraged to advance steadily and purposefully, setting their own goals with guidance from their family and leaders. Measurement for satisfying requirements is “Do Your Best,” and that level can be different for each child.


How the Advancement Program Works

The success of the advancement program depends entirely on how Cub Scout leaders and parents apply it. Careful research has gone into developing the advancement program, but den and pack leaders and families make advancement work in the dens, in the home, and, most importantly, in the lives of youth.

Goals of the Advancement Program

When implemented correctly, the advancement program will:

  • Help build a youth’s self-esteem
  • Help build their self-reliance as they discover increasing abilities
  • Give a child the positive recognition that he/she needs
  • Bring a child and his/her family closer through the advancement activities that family members enjoy together

The Den Leader

The den leader has the following responsibilities related to advancement:

  • Stimulate interest in advancement by delivering fun and exciting den meetings using the Wolf Den Leader Guide and by providing opportunities for youth to work on advancement requirements in den meetings
  • Plan meetings that support the advancement program. The den chief or Webelos den chief can help
  • Help parents and adult partners understand the advancement plan and their role in promoting advancement. Make sure returning parents understand how the advancement process works at each program level
  • Keep accurate records of requirements that youth complete. Promptly provide the pack leadership with the advancement records so Cub Scouts can be recognized at the next pack meeting
  • Identify youth who are not advancing and find out why. This could indicate a weakness in the den or pack program or something you could do to help these youth catch up to their peers.
  • Provide reinforcement for and recognition of advancement at den meetings. These can include advancement charts, den doodles, and immediate recognition items.
  • Make sure that impressive advancement ceremonies and graduation ceremonies are conducted at the pack meetings. For the Arrow of Light rank, involve the Scoutmaster and the troop’s youth leaders.

The Cubmaster

The Cubmaster has these responsibilities related to advancement:

  • Provide a quality year-round program full of action and fun that appeals to youth. See that den and pack activities are planned so that completing required and elective adventures for all levels is a natural outcome of the month of fun.
  • Guide den leaders in the use of the Wolf Den Leader Guide to help organize and deliver each meeting’s program for each level of programming.
  • Work with den leaders to coordinate den activities at pack meetings that support the use of the Cub Scout adventure program materials.
  • Provide advancement reinforcement at the pack meeting, such as colorful and exciting induction, advancement, and graduation ceremonies. Encourage displays of advancement charts and den doodles at pack meetings.
  • Ensure that youth who have earned awards receive them at the next pack meeting. Don’t let Cub Scouts get discouraged by having to wait for recognition.
  • Make sure that den leaders are trained and know how to use the advancement program effectively.
  • See that advancement standards are maintained. Every youth should do their best to complete the requirements as presented in the program.
  • Coordinate with the pack committee to ensure that accurate advancement records are kept. Follow up on youth who are not advancing and find out why.

The Pack Committee

Pack committee membershave these responsibilities related to advancement:

  • Help train leaders and adult partners or family members in the proper use of the advancement program.
  • Ensure that den leaders have program resource materials such as den leader guides and advancement charts to support program delivery.
  • Collect den advancement reports at each monthly pack leaders’ meeting. Complete the multipart Advancement Report to purchase awards from the local council service center. See that badges are presented at the next pack meeting.
  • Help plan advancement and graduation ceremonies for the pack meeting.
  • Help build and/or secure equipment for use in meaningful advancement ceremonies.

How Fast Should a Boy Advance?

A boy’s approach to advancement progress will depend on two factors:

  • His or her own motivation for learning new skills, the encouragement and help he or she gets from family, and the need for recognition
  • The den leader’s preparation for and presentation of advancement activities in the den meetings

The den meeting plans outlined in the Wolf Den Leader Guide provide program opportunities that are generally delivered as two den meetings and an outing each month. This will provide opportunities for youth to advance. A year-round program is composed of required adventures (that will lead to rank advancement) and elective adventures (which contribute to rank advancement and provide program enrichment).

If a youth cannot attend all meetings, the den leader should help that youth and their family complete the missed activities.

Although many packs target their blue and gold banquet for awarding the youths’ new badge of rank, there is no requirement to advance by an arbitrary date such as a blue and gold banquet.