Cub Scout Pack 134 |   Santa Rosa, California
|   38°N 46 51.1422, -122°W 76 11.832
|   23:08 December 8, 2021
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About the Cub Scout Program

How Cub Scouting Started

When the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, membership was limited to boys 12-18 years old. Very soon, however, millions of Cub Scout-age boys and their families were clamoring for a program of their own. As early as 1920, at the first national training conference for Scout executives, the needs of the younger boys were discussed. However, the Boy Scouts of America felt it wise to postpone any action until there was more objective evidence.

In 1925, Dr. Harold W. Hurt, a research psychologist and veteran Scouter, was authorized to study existing organizations for younger boys, such as Boy Rangers, Boy Pioneers, American Eagles, Young Menís Clubs of America (YMCA), and Boysí Clubs. He found that only one boy in 50 participated regularly in any type of worthwhile leisure-time program. He also found that younger boys responded even better to leadership and program efforts than older boys. He worked closely with Ernest Thompson Seton. Both men recommended that the BSA adopt a program for younger boys, with older Boy Scouts as leaders, to tie into home, church, school, and Boy Scouting.

The National Executive Board authorized the Chief Scout Executive to proceed with a thorough scientific study of the whole younger-boy matter. An advisory committee was appointed to work with the BSA in developing a plan and producing the necessary literature. Advice was obtained from leading psychologists, sociologists, teachers, school superintendents, professors of education, college executives, and recreation and welfare directors.

By 1929, the new Cubbing program (it wasnít called Cub Scouting until several years later) was taking shape. It was introduced as a demonstration project in a limited number of communities. Its structure was similar to todayís Cub Scouting, except that dens were led by Boy Scout den chiefs. The plan included neighborhood mothersí committee to encourage Cubs and den chiefs. (Den mother registration was optional for the first few years. By July 1938, 1,100 den mothers had registered and soon became a very important part of Cub Scouting.)

The first dens met weekly at a memberís home where they played games and enjoyed crafts and ceremonies. The pack met weekly or semimonthly for games, den competitions, awards, stunts, and other activities. Cubs advanced from Bobcat (for all new members) to Wolf (age 9), Bear (age 10), and Lion (age 11), and joined the Boy Scout troop at age 12.

In 1949, the age requirement was lowered to between 8 and 10 for Cub Scouts. In 1986 it was lowered again to include second-grade boys. In 1982, the Tiger Cub program was started based on shared leadership of boy-adult teams. It is a school-year-based program.

In 1930, Cub Scouting was formally launched, with 5,102 boys registered at the end of that first year. By 1933 the time had come to promote Cub Scouting throughout the country as a part of Boy Scouting. All experimental restrictions were removed and the first national director of Cub Scouting was appointed.

American Cub Scout Themes

Cub Scouting in America is strongly based on American themes. The adventure and lore of the American Indian are seen throughout the Cub Scout program, just as Setonís Indian lore influenced Boy Scouting. In addition, many Cub Scout themes are strongly influenced by Kiplingís Jungle Book. The terms "Law of the Pack," "Akela," "Wolf Cub," "grand howl," "den," and "pack" all come from the Jungle Book. The Gold and Silver Arrow points, Webelos emblem, and Arrow of Light emblem are taken from our American Indian heritage.