Cub Scout

Last updated
Vietnamese Cubs 3613377 orig.jpg
Vietnamese Cubs
Hong Kong Cubs in uniform Cub Scouts of Hong Kong at Scout Rally.jpg
Hong Kong Cubs in uniform
Indonesian Cubs Indonesian Cub Scouts.jpg
Indonesian Cubs

Cub Scouts, Cubs or Wolf Cubs are programs associated with Scouting for young children usually between 7 and 12, depending on the organization to which they belong. A participant in the program is called a Cub. A group of Cubs is called a 'Pack'.


The Wolf Cub program was originated by The Boy Scouts Association in the United Kingdom in 1916 to provide a program for boys who were too young to be Boy Scouts. It was adopted by many other Scouting organizations. Many Scouting organizations, including The Scout Association, no longer use the Wolf Cub program and have replaced it with other programs but have retained the name Cubs. Others, including Traditional Scouting organizations, maintain the original Wolf Cubs program.

Originally Cubs programs were open only to boys, while young girls could join the Brownies. Some Cub organizations are open to both girls and boys, although not necessarily in the same unit. A few organizations also operate a Sea Cub version of Cubs. [1]


A British Wolf Cub in the late 1960s British Wolf Cub 1960.jpg
A British Wolf Cub in the late 1960s

The Wolf Cub scheme was started by The Boy Scouts Association in 1916, nine years after the idea of the Boy Scouts was conceived, in order to cater to the many younger boys who were too young to be Boy Scouts. During these first years many troops had either allowed younger boys to join or had set up unofficial junior or cadet Scout troops. In 1916, articles in the Headquarters Gazette (a then regular journal for leaders) outlined official "Junior Scout" then "Wolf Cub" schemes. However, Robert Baden-Powell wanted something quite different from a watered down Boy Scout program and recognized that too close an association between the junior program and the Boy Scouts would detract from both. Baden-Powell wanted a junior scheme with distinct name, uniform and other identity and program.

In 1916, Baden-Powell published his own outlines for such a scheme, it was to be called Wolf Cubs. Baden-Powell asked his friend Rudyard Kipling [2] for the use of his Jungle Book history and universe as a motivational frame for the Wolf Cub scheme. The scheme was given a publicity launch at The Boy Scouts Association's Imperial Headquarters in Buckingham Palace Road, Westminster, on Saturday 24 June 1916. [3] Baden-Powell wrote a new book, The Wolf Cub's Handbook , the first edition of which was published in December 1916. He collaborated with Vera Barclay in devising the Wolf Cub training programme and badges, which were published in the second edition. [4] On 16 December 1916, a public display of the new section was held at Caxton Hall, Westminster, [3] to which Kipling was invited; he was unable to attend but sent Baden-Powell a letter of apology, praising his work with the Scout Movement. [5] Vera Barclay co founded Wolf Cubs with Baden -Powell in 1916 .

From the 1960s, many organizations varied or abandoned the Wolf Cub Jungle Book theme. Some organizations changed the name to Cubs, Cub Scouts or something similar but retained the Jungle Stories and Cub ceremony as tradition—such as the use of Jungle Book names (as described below); and the Grand Howl which signals the start and end of Cub Meetings. Other organizations kept the name but dropped the Jungle Book theme totally.

Originally, Cub membership was open only to boys while the Brownies were set up as a parallel section for young girls. This remains the situation in some places. Most member organizations of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) admitted girls to Cubs while others have separate co-ed sections with a different theme. Most member organizations of the Union Internationale des Guides et Scouts d'Europe (UIGSE) have two single sex sections both named Wolf Cubs and both in the jungle theme.

Cub Scouting has ideals of spiritual and character growth, citizenship training, and personal fitness.[ citation needed ] Cub Scouting provides a positive, encouraging peer group, carefully selected leaders [ citation needed ] who provide good role models and a group setting where values are taught to reinforce positive qualities of character.[ citation needed ]


Cubs are organized in packs, which are sometimes linked to a Scout group, providing a community with all age sections known as a "Scouting family ". Adult leaders of Cub packs take the names of The Jungle Book 's main characters. In many countries the leader of the Pack is called Akela; subordinate leaders are named Bagheera, Baloo, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, etc., in order by how many sub-leaders the pack has. A few very big packs need so many sub-leaders that their names must extend to include Tabaqui and Shere Khan, but that tends be the cue for the pack to split into two packs. Cubs have a distinctive two-finger salute according to the Jungle theme, in contrast to the three-finger salute of Boy Scouts. However, in the Scout Association of United Kingdom (UK) and some of its overseas branches the two-finger salute was later replaced by the three-finger salute. Historically, Cubs wear a distinctive headdress, which is a tight-fitting green felt cap with green felt visor, yellow pipings, and an emblem at the front — although in some countries this has been replaced by more contemporary headgear or dispensed with entirely.

Just as Scout troops are subdivided into patrols, Cub packs are divided into small teams. Baden-Powell named the team a Six, which refers to the six members in each team. In most countries Sixes are mixed-age groups with the oldest as sixer ("leader"). In the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the teams are called dens, with each den serving either boys or girls in the same school grade.

Youth leaders from more senior sections of Scouting are actively encouraged to assist as Cub leaders. In the UK and in Australia these were originally called Cub Instructors. Within Scouts Australia the term Youth Helper is now formally applied to such persons, whilst in the United Kingdom they are called Young Leaders. In Canada, a Scout who assists in the Cub program is designated as a Kim. In the United States, the term Den Chief is used.

In many European countries (especially where the Jungle theme still has a strong part in the programme), Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Cubs, because of his relationship with wolves.

Cub Camp, Crivitz, Wisconsin, 2007 PolishCubScouts.jpg
Cub Camp, Crivitz, Wisconsin, 2007

Cubs in national organizations


Baden-Powell Scouts' Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association in Australia operate a 'Wolf Cub' section between its Koalas program and Boy Scout. Wolf Cub packs are themed on "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling, a friend of Baden-Powell. Wolf Cub packs are divided into Sixes, with each six being identified by a coloured triangular patch on the member's arm. Each Six is led by a 'Sixer' and a 'Seconder', who have their rank indicated by horizontal yellow stripes sewn onto their left arm.

Scouts Australia

In Scouts Australia, the Cub Scout program is open to all children (girls and boys) ages 7.5-11. [6] The uniform is a navy-blue, button-up or polo-style, short sleeved shirt with a yellow collar, sleeves and shoulders. [7] Sixes are identified by a coloured round badge (black, white, tawny, brown, red, grey) in the shirt shoulder. Sixers wear an oblong strip on the front of their uniform which says "Sixer", they are supported by their Second, who will step into the leadership role if the Sixer is away, and who also helps at the Closing Parade. One of the duties of the Sixer is to perform flag duty (lowering the flag) at the end of Parade. Sixer and Second walk to the front of the Pack, who are standing in a circle (denotes Council Rock from the Jungle Book), they face the flag and salute, then the Sixer lowers the flag onto the shoulder (or waiting arms) of the Second.


In Pfadfinder und Pfadfinderinnen Österreichs Cub Scouting is the section for children in the age of 7 to 10. The jungle theme is the symbolic framework. The first pack was started in autumn of 1920 in Vienna. At the beginning there were different symbolic frameworks: red Indians (taken from "Kibbo Kift" written by John Hargrave) and Robinson Crusoe. In the 1930s the Jungle theme was introduced.


In 1916, the Cub Scout program was introduced as part of Scouts Canada with a programme similar to that of the UK. Cub Scouting is open to youth of both sexes, ages 8 to 10 inclusive. [8] Sixes wear a coloured triangular patch, rather than a distinctive woggle. (If brown, for example, the six is known as Brown Six.) The Cub motto is "Do Your Best" and the promise, the vow recited in opening ceremonies is: [9]

"I promise to do my best,
to do my duty to God and the Queen,
to keep the law of the Wolfcub pack,
and do a good turn every day."

Hong Kong

The tradition of Cub Scouting in Hong Kong was inherited from the British. It is the largest section of the Scout Movement in Hong Kong. A Pack is headed by a Cub Scout Leader (團長), with several Assistant Cub Scout Leaders (副團長) and Instructors (教練員). The division within a Pack is called a Six (小隊). Each Six has a Sixer (隊長) and a Seconder (隊副 or 副隊長). Each Six is distinguished by a colour and is named after it. Each member of the Six wears a woggle with the colour of his Six. The Promise and Law for the Cub Scouts are simplified from those for Scouts. Traditionally, the logo of the Wolf Cub denotes the Cub Scouts, but it is rarely used. [10] [11]


In Ireland, the section is known as both Cub Scouts and Macaoimh, depending on the tradition from which the particular Scout troop comes.


The jungle theme is the symbolic framework of the Welpen (Cubs). Welpen wear green uniforms. Among a horde ("pack") of Cub Scouts, the cubs are divided into nesten ("nests"). Each nest has a Gids (Guide) and a Helper. Like all sections Welpen is open to both boys and girls, but Scout Groups can have single-sex sections. Starting 2010 the symbolic framework of the Welpen will be based on a modified version of the Jungle Book with two main characters: the boy Mowgli and the girl Shanti. The new Welpen section will gradually replace the four sections in the age group Scouting Nederland had before: Welpen, Kabouters (Brownies), Dolfijnen ("Dolphins") and Esta's. Dolfijnen has a water based symbolic framework, Esta's has a special developed co-ed symbolic framework. The new Welpen contains elements from all four previous sections.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Cubs section is known as Cub Scouts, and largely follows the format of the United Kingdom, though it is administered under the main Scouts New Zealand association. The Cub section is for children aged 8 to 11 years. They meet weekly at their Scout Hall and take part in all sorts of activities. There are approximately 410 [12] scout groups in New Zealand, all of which have a cub section, typically along with other sections for younger kids (Keas) and older members (Scouts, Venturers and Rovers) .Scouts New Zealand Sections.


Cub from Poland, 2009 ZHP Polish Scouting Association Brownie in uniform.jpg
Cub from Poland, 2009

In the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, Cub Scouts and Brownies's section is called "zuchy" and is open to children ages 6–10. Members are organized into cub packs where they learn to integrate into a collective of friends. Any kind of learning is accomplished by playing games. They can earn three Cub Scout Stars "Gwiazdki zuchowe" and a lot of individual and group merit badges. [13]


In Singapore, the junior section of the Scouting movement was known as the Cadet Scouts, until 2005 when it was renamed to Cub Scouts in line with international practice.

Cub Scout 's age group is from 7–12, following the Jungle Book Theme . Each Cub Scout Pack is led by Cub Scout Leader assisted by Asst. Cub Scout Leaders. Pack are sub divided to small group in six cubs called Six. Within the Six, is led by Sixer and Asst. Sixer. Cub Scout Pack in Singapore, majority are in School and the teachers are the Cub Scout Leader and Asst. Cub Scout Leaders, some parent are also involved and actively served as Volunteer Adult Leaders (VAL).

Highest Award for the Cub Scout is Akela Award. It is awarded to the cub scouts who completed the badge scheme and assessments criteria.

United Kingdom

Baden-Powell Scouts' Association

The Baden-Powell Scouts' Association operate a 'Wolf Cub' section between Beavers and Scouts. Wolf Cub packs are themed on "The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling, a friend of Baden-Powell. Wolf Cub packs are divided into Sixes, with each six being identified by a coloured triangular patch on the member's arm. Each Six is led by a 'Sixer' and a 'Seconder', who have their rank indicated by horizontal yellow stripes sewn onto their left arm. [14]

British Boy Scouts

The British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association allow use of the Wolf Cubs program as an alternative to its Junior Scout section. [15]

The Scout Association

In the Scout Association, Sixes are led by a 'Sixer' and have a 'Seconder' (or 'Second') as a backup. The Sixer wears two stripes on his/her uniform and the Seconder one stripe. When a Cub Scout is made a Sixer, the Second's badge (with one stripe) should be removed and replaced with the Sixer's badge. The members of a six are distinguished by the colour of the woggle they wear on their Group neckerchief (known elsewhere as a Group scarf).

The three points of the fleur-de-lys, Scout salute and Scout sign remind the cub scout of the three points of the Cub Scout's Promise: "Duty to God and Queen, Helpfulness to other people, and Obedience to the Cub Scout Law." [16]

An American Cub in uniform, 1968 Cub Scout, 1968.jpg
An American Cub in uniform, 1968

United States

Detroit, U.S. Cubs around 1942 Detroit Cub Scouts.jpg
Detroit, U.S. Cubs around 1942

Boy Scouts of America

Cub Scouting is a division of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Starting in 1918, a number of experiments operated until 1930, when the first official Cub Scout packs were registered. [17] Today, it is a family program for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, with each den admitting boys or girls only. Parents, leaders, and organizations work together to achieve the purposes of Cub Scouting. Families are a core part of Cub Scouts and are included in many activities. Currently, Cub Scouting is the largest of the BSA's three membership divisions. [18]

Baden-Powell Service Association

In the Baden-Powell Service Association, the corresponding section for this age group is called Timberwolves. [19] As with the Scout Association, each pack is divided into Sixes led by a 'Sixer' with a 'Seconder' assisting. The Pack retains Baden-Powell's original Jungle Book theme, with its leader called Akela and assistant leaders using names like Raksha, Bagheera, or Baloo. [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Scouting World-wide movement for the education of youth

The Scout movement, also known as Scouting or the Scouts, is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people. Although it requires an oath of allegiance to a nation's leaders and, in some countries, to a god, it otherwise allows membership without distinction of gender, race or origin in accordance with the principles of its founder, Lord Baden-Powell. The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual potentials as individuals, as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities. During the first half of the twentieth century, the movement grew to encompass three major age groups for boys: Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Rover Scout. In 1910, the Girl Guides was created, encompassing three major age groups for girls: Brownie Guide, Girl Guide and Girl Scout and Ranger Guide. It is one of several worldwide youth organizations.

Scout (Scouting) Member of the Scouting movement

A Scout is a child, usually 10–18 years of age, participating in the worldwide Scouting movement. Because of the large age and development span, many Scouting associations have split this age group into a junior and a senior section. Scouts are organized into troops averaging 20–30 Scouts under the guidance of one or more Scout Leaders. Troops subdivide into patrols of about 6–8 Scouts and engage in outdoor and special interest activities. Troops may affiliate with local, national, and international organizations. Some national Scouting associations have special interest programs such as Air Scouts, Sea Scouts, outdoor high adventure, Scouting bands, and rider Scouts.

Cub Scouting (Boy Scouts of America) Coed program of the Boy Scouts of America for kids in grades K-5

Cub Scouting is part of the Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), available to boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade, or 5 to 10 years of age and their families. Its membership is the largest of the five main BSA divisions. Cub Scouting is part of the worldwide Scouting movement and aims to promote character development, citizenship training, personal fitness, and leadership.

Scout sign and salute

The three-finger salute is used by members of Scout and Guide organizations around the world when greeting other Scouts and in respect of a national flag at ceremonies. In most situations, the salute is made with the right hand, palm face out, the thumb holding down the little finger, and with the fingertips on the brow of the head. There are some variations of the salute between national Scouting organizations and also within some programme sections.

Scouts South Africa is the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) recognised Scout association in South Africa. Scouting began in the United Kingdom in 1907 through the efforts of Robert Baden-Powell and rapidly spread to South Africa, with the first Scout troops appearing in 1908. South Africa has contributed many traditions and symbols to World Scouting.

The Cub Scouts are part of the Singapore Scout Association (SSA). They were earlierly known as "Wolf Cubs" in the pre-1966 era when Singapore Scouting was still under the jurisdiction of the Scout Association, UK.

Kenya Scouts Association

The Kenya Scouts Association is the national Scouting association of Kenya. Scouting was founded in British East Africa in 1910 and became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1964. It has 323,929 members.

Scouts de Argentina

Scouts de Argentina is one of the national Scouting associations of Argentina. Scouting was officially founded in Argentina in 1912, shortly after the publication of "Scouting For Boys" in Spanish, which was granted a National Charter in 1917, and was among the charter members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922. Scouts de Argentina has 75,000 members as of 2020.

Scout leader Trained adult leader of a Scout unit

A Scout leader or Scouter generally refers to the trained adult leader of a Scout unit. The terms used vary from country to country, over time, and with the type of unit.

Cub Scouts (Scouts Canada)

Cub Scouts is the Cub Scout section of Scouts Canada for children aged from 8 to 10. Originally the "Wolf Cubs," the program offers badges to youth members as a mark of achievement in an interest area. The badges are grouped into six activity areas as described in The Cub Book. While youth experience fun and excitement presented by the program, each activity area focuses on a specific purpose and goal, intended to be relevant to modern children while meeting developmental needs. Originally the requirement entry was age 7 until 2001. Each activity area offers a variety of badges that youth may earn and sew onto their uniform sash:

Beavers is a program associated with some Scouting organizations generally for children aged 5 to 7 who are too young for the Cub program.

<i>The Wolf Cubs Handbook</i>

The Wolf Cub's Handbook is an instructional handbook on Wolf Cubs training, published in various editions since December 1916. Early editions were written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell with later editions being extensively rewritten by others. The book has a theme based on Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book jungle setting and characters.

Pathfinder Scouts Association

The Pathfinder & Rover Explorer Scouts' Association (P-RESA) is an independent Traditional Scouting Association in the United Kingdom, with International branches. The Association's training programme runs along the lines of Baden-Powell's original Scouting for Boys, upholding the traditions and practices set out by B-P, using the 1938 Boy Scouts' Association Policy Organisation & Rules (POR) as its basis.

Cub Scouts is the section of Scouts Australia for boys and girls aged 8 to 11 (inclusive), often known simply as 'Cubs'. The Cub Scout section follows after Joey Scouts and is before Scouts. Cub Scouts wear a uniform shirt with navy blue panels, and yellow shoulders.

History of the Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) was inspired by and modeled on the Boy Scout Association, established by Baden-Powell in Britain in 1908. In the early 1900s, several youth organizations were active, and many became part of the BSA.

Cub Scouts (The Scout Association)

Cub Scouts, often shortened to Cubs, are a section of Scouting operated by The Scout Association with a core age of eight to ten and a half years of age. This section follows on from the Beaver Scouts and precedes the Scout section.

The Scouting program has used themes from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling since 1916.

Beaver Scouts (Baden-Powell Scouts Association)

Beaver Scouts, usually referred to as Beavers, is the youngest section of Scouting operated by the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. The core age range for Beaver Scouts is five to eight years, though exceptions can be granted. Individual sections of Beaver Scouts, known as a Colony, are run by the local Scout Group. After reaching the age of eight, a Beaver Scout will then move on to Wolf Cubs.

Wolf Cubs, usually referred to as Cubs, is the second youngest section of Scouting operated by the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association, following on from the Beaver Scouts section. The core age range for Wolf Cubs is eight to eleven, though exceptions can be granted. Individual sections of Wolf Cubs, known as a Pack, are run by the local Scout Group. After reaching the age of ten and a half, a Wolf Cub may move on to Scouts.

Grand Howl scout and guide ceremony

The Grand Howl is a ceremony used by Cub Scouts and Brownies. It was devised by Robert Baden-Powell, the author of the scouting guide Scouting for Boys, and is based on the Mowgli stories in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. In the ceremony, Cubs act out the wolves greeting Akela, the "Old Wolf", at the Council Rock and are reminded of the Cub Scout Promise. Baden-Powell also created a Grand Howl for Brownie Guides, which was in imitation of an owl instead of a wolf. It has been used as an opening and closing ceremony as well as a method of conveying thanks or appreciation by all sections of Scouting.


  1. "The History of Scouting". ScoutBaseUK. Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2006-07-22.
  2. "Rudyard Kipling and Baden-Powell". Scouting Milestones. Colin Walker (Johnny). Retrieved 2012-07-17.
  3. 1 2 "The Diamond Jubilee Book of Scouting (pp. 26-27)" (PDF). Pearson, London. 1966. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  4. Moynihan, Paul (editor) 2006, An Official History of Scouting, Hamlyn, ISBN   978-0-600-61398-5 (p. 56)
  5. Moynihan 2006 p. 59
  6. "Cub Scouts (ages 7.5 to 11)". Scouts Australia. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
  7. Accessed 1 November 2016
  8. "Scouts Canada Programs - Scouts Canada". Scouts Canada. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  9. "Cup Pack Section Snapshot for Parents" (PDF). Scouts Canada. Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  10. "More on Historical Scout Groups" (PDF). Hong Kong Scouting (in Chinese). Public Relation Committee, Scout Association of Hong Kong. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
  11. "Milestones of Cub Scouting" (PDF). Milestones of Cub Scouting. The Scout Association. 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
  12. NZ scout groups in New Zealand
  13. "Summary". The Polish Scouting and Guiding Association. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  14. Baden-Powell Scouts' Wolf Cubs Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  15. The Constitution of the British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association. Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine Version 18/06/2002. page 10, 20. British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association.
  16. "Cub Scouts". The Scout Association. Archived from the original on 2007-11-11. Retrieved 2007-11-02.
  17. "A Brief History of the Boy Scouts of America". Three Fires Council. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2006.
  18. "BSA Fact Sheet: What Is Cub Scouting?". Boy Scouts of America. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2006-02-06.
  19. "Timberwolf". Baden-Powell Service Association. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  20. "TIMBERWOLF HANDBOOK" (PDF). Baden-Powell Service Association. Retrieved 21 November 2016.