NOTE: The following writeup primarily deals with the Cub Scouts organization in the United States of America. Although there are Cub Scout organizations in other nations, notably the United Kingdom, I am only personally familiar with the American incarnation.

The Cub Scouts are a sub-organization of the Boy Scouts. In the United States, Cub Scouts are boys between first and fifth grade. The Cub Scout organization helps introduce boys into Scouting while still providing a very family-centric program.

The Cub Scout organization is structured in a similar manner to the Boy Scouts. The organizational units are, in order of size:

  • National Organization
  • Council
  • District
  • Pack
  • Den

When a boy joins a Cub Scout pack, he is assigned to a den. A den generally consists of a number of boys at the same grade level who are in the same general neighborhood. Depending on the size of the pack and the number of adult volunteers available, a pack may have anywhere between 2 and about 30 dens. If there is a need for more dens, the pack usually divides into multiple packs to better facilitate meetings.

A den will usually meet on a weekly basis at the den leader's house. At the meeting, the cub scouts will work toward the goal of achieving the next Cub Scout rank, which usually takes about a year. The ranks are:

Packs generally meet once a month, where the Cub Scouts are given various awards, sing songs, and do other large-group activities. Additionally, the pack often has a few events that all of the Cub Scouts in the pack attend. Some examples include:

  • Blue and Gold Banquet - This is a meal-oriented meeting which is often the keystone of the Cub Scout year. In lieu of the regular activities, the scouts usually perform skits or talent displays as entertainment for their families.
  • Pinewood Derby - A competitive event where the Cub Scouts (usually with help from their parents) build a wood car from a kit and race them down an inclined plane track.
  • Service Projects - At least once a year, every Cub Scout pack must participate in a service project to benefit their community.
  • Day Camp - An event running between one and five days where the scouts spend the day together doing teambuilding events, competitive challenges, and craft projects.

Cub Scouting has 10 stated purposes. They are:

  1. Character Development
  2. Spiritual Growth
  3. Good Citizenship
  4. Sportsmanship and Fitness
  5. Family Understanding
  6. Respectful Relationships
  7. Personal Achievement
  8. Friendly Service
  9. Fun and Adventure
  10. Preparation for Boy Scouts

Cub Scouting is an excellent program that emphasizes family participation. Generally, a cub scout gets the most out of the experience when his mother or father choose to volunteer. There are many volunteering opportunities in a Cub Scout pack:

  • Cubmaster - serves as the Master of Ceremonies for the monthly pack meeting, and helps guide the pack's activities.
  • Assistant Cubmaster - Assists the cubmaster as needed, may take control of one specific part of the program.
  • Den Leader - Leads, and usually hosts, weekly meetings for the smaller den groups. Coordinates the progress of the scouts toward their goals.
  • Assistant Den Leader - Helps at den meetings, assists the den leader as needed.
  • Pack Committee - Steers the pack's programs, manages the financial affairs of the pack as well as the relations with their sponsoring organization and with the community.
  • Helper - Doesn't have a formal role, but helps out where needed.

Volunteering for a Cub Scout pack can be a very rewarding experience. In addition to enriching the experience for the boys, many volunteers find that it helps to develop their parenting and leadership skills. Also, they tend to develop character, physical fitness, and community spirit through the process of encouraging the boys to do the same. Of course, it also can be very fun for the volunteers as well, allowing the adult to experience childhood through a new set of eyes, especially if he/she was involved in Scouting as a child.

Each Cub Scout pack is usually sponsored by another community organization which provides it a meeting place and may also assist the organization financially and/or with volunteers. Some organizations that commonly sponsor Cub Scout packs are:

Having been a Cub Scout as a child, I can honestly say that it was a very important and formative experience in my life. I felt fortunate that both my mom and dad were leaders and were very active in the pack. They encouraged me and my brother to participate in as many events as we could and joined us whenever possible. A number of boys that I met while I was in Cub Scouts became my friends through school all the way into high school, and we still keep in touch. I think what I remember the most about Cub Scouts is building my pinewood derby car. My dad helped me out with it, making suggestions, and helping me figure out the best way to do things. Working out in the workshop with him on that little wooden car is one of the experiences I will never forget.

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