2017 Cubmaster Training

Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster Position-Specific Training 2017

Compiled by Ken Wood, Great Salt Lake Council
Download the materials for this course:


This course is intended to provide Cubmasters and assistant Cubmasters with the basic information they need to conduct successful pack meetings.

The course is based on the seven parts of a pack meeting using the Pack Meeting Plans on . By conducting the course in a smallgroup setting it can be facilitated by unit, district, or council trainers.

When the training is complete, Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster Position-Specific Training (training code C40) can be entered into the leaders’ training records. Leaders who complete this training and Youth Protection training are considered “trained” as Cubmasters and Assistant Cubmasters.

Welcome to the coolest and most enjoyable position in Scouting and thank you for taking the time to learn more about your role as a Cubmaster or assistant Cubmaster. This training is designed to follow all the parts of a regular pack meeting. The example pack meeting we will use within this training is the Monthly Pack Meeting Plan for November, 2017 entitled Cubs Give Thanks and is associated with the characteristic of A Scout is Reverent from the Scout Law. A copy of this plan is one of the separate handouts for the course.


The things that you do to prepare for the role of Cubmaster and for the pack meeting.

Aims of Scouting

You have volunteered to play an important role but one that is simple and fun—thanks to the support provided by the Boy Scouts of America. This training will help you prepare fun and meaningful pack meetings.”

The Cubmaster’s Role

The role of Cubmaster can seem daunting, especially if your experience with Cub Scouts has been one where the Cub Scout Committee consisted of only the Cubmaster and the Den leaders. However, in a fully functioning pack, the Cubmaster and the den leaders, with the support of the other committee members, are the leadership team that makes the pack go. In general, the Cubmaster is the guiding hand behind the work of the other pack leaders and serves as the program advisor to the pack committee. He or she is a recruiter, supervisor, director, planner, and motivator of other leaders.

The Cubmaster’s main responsibilities include:

  • Work directly with the pack trainer, den leaders, den chiefs, pack committee chair, and committee members to make sure that all dens are functioning well.
  • Ensure that all den leaders have completed Youth Protection training and Den Leader Position Specific Training.
  • Work as a team with the pack committee chair and pack trainer to recruit, educate, guide, support, motivate, and inspire the other adult leaders.
  • With the help of other leaders, plan quality, year-round den and pack programs filled with fun and activities.
  • Lead the monthly pack meetings with the help of others, involving all dens in some way.
  • Conduct impressive advancement, recognition, and graduation ceremonies. For Webelos crossover ceremonies, involve Scoutmasters, the Order of the Arrow, and other Boy Scout leaders.
  • Coordinate pack membership, recruiting, and transition.
  • Maintain good relationships with parents and guardians. Seek their support and include them in activities.
  • Request den chiefs for all Cub Scout dens and, after selection, see that they are trained. Recognize the den chiefs at pack meetings.
  • Establish and maintain good relationships with Boy Scout troops that your Webleos Scouts may work with and/or join.
  • Know about and use the appropriate and available literature (point out the current versions of those publications, which should be on display in the room).
  • Attend monthly roundtables.


You and your pack committee members and parent assistants need to choose the location and gather all of the materials necessary to run a good pack meeting well in advance Of the day of the meeting in order to be prepared and greet early arrivals.

Pack meetings are usually held at the chartered organization’s facility or another location provided or arranged by the organization. The meeting space will need to be large enough to accommodate all Cub Scouts and leaders in several dens, along with their families, and provide space for exhibits of den projects, presentations such as den skits and stunts, group activities, and pack ceremonies. Pack meetings are generally held in the same place and at the same time each month, except when they involve outdoor activities. Blue and gold banquets, derbies, and other special events may also require a different meeting space.

Preparation and planning help a Cubmaster make Cub Scouting more fun for both boys and leaders, help reduce leader stress, and provide long-term benefits for Scouts. Fortunately, the BSA provides the materials to make planning simple. Leaders just need to use them!

Meeting plans can be found in the printed guide or can be downloaded from http://www.Scouting.org/CubScouts. Most pack meetings have seven parts:

  • Before the Meeting Starts
  • Gathering Time Activity
  • Opening
  • Program
  • Recognition
  • Closing
  • After the Meeting

The outline found in the monthly meeting plans describes a typical pack meeting but is not mandatory. The pack meeting can be varied and adapted to suit the needs of the pack or those of a specific activity.

Note: While you, as the Cubmaster, may choose to modify recommended pack meeting themes, it is your responsibility to deliver pack meetings designed to support all points of the Scout Law during the Scouting year.  


It is important to give active, excited Cub Scouts something to do as soon as they arrive at the meeting place and for family members to be welcomed and involved. This is a good time to let the Cub Scouts show off things they have made and done and also get them excited about upcoming activities. Den leaders can be encouraged to display boy-made projects on tables set up for that purpose.

Some ideas for things to do and display before the pack meeting starts include:

  • If the boys have learned a skill, they can demonstrate it to the rest of the pack.
  • Ask den parents to snap photos of den fun during the month, then post the photos on a bulletin board for the rest of the pack to see.
  • Chairs of the upcoming pack activities (summer resident camp, family campout, summertime activities, community service project, fundraiser, etc.) could man tables to excite boys about the upcoming activities and educate parents about the details.
  • It might be appropriate in some months to have a gathering game that boys can do individually or in groups.
  • There are suggested gathering activity ideas for each of the monthly pack meeting plans. More may be found in Group Meeting Sparklers.

You will find that your pack meeting can start on time if the families are arriving early enough to view displays of the boys’ handiwork. In addition, pack activities should have better attendance because the gathering time is used to make sure all families know about the activities and get signed up for them, and the pack meeting is not bogged down with lengthy announcements.

Who Attends

Cub Scouting is a family program. Pack meetings are for families—parents or guardians, brothers, sisters, and other family members—as well as all of the Cub Scouts, den leaders, and pack leaders. District Scouters, such as the unit commissioner, should always be invited to attend, along with members from the chartered organization, community leaders, or anyone the pack wishes to invite. Visitors from another pack, troop, team, or crew may also be present.

Pack Finances

Each pack should have an annual budget to meet basic expenses. This budget is created by the pack committee in conjunction with other den and pack leaders at the beginning of each Scouting year. (Yes, various sponsoring organizations have different ways of providing scout leaders and establishing budges but the closer you can run to the traditional Cub Scout method the easier your pack will run.)

Funding for the budget can come from weekly dues or from participation in a council-sponsored product sale (such as popcorn). The method used to raise funds will be determined by the pack committee, not by the individual den.

The pack budget should include expenses for pack meeting materials. The boys can bring some materials from home, and scrap materials can be used, but most, if not all, out-of-pocket expenses for pack meetings should be reimbursed by the pack’s budget. Pack financing is covered in much greater detail in pack committee training.


Refer to the Course Resource Handout for a copy of the Family Talent Survey Sheet. You should have each parent and adult family member complete this form. It can be done at any time, but it will allow the pack to know which parents are willing to help as well as what talents and abilities are available and can be utilized among the adults in the pack.


The Cub Scout sign is used when reciting the Scout Oath and Scout Law. It is also valuable for letting Cub Scouts and others know it is time to be quiet and pay attention. The two spread fingers symbolize the alert, listening ears of the wolf.


A formal opening is important because it lets the boys know the pack meeting has started. A good opening may provide the boys a chance to help meet the citizenship and spiritual growth parts of Scouting’s purpose or to set the stage for the month’s meetings. The Cubmaster should encourage each den to perform the opening ceremony at least once during the year as it is an opportunity for the den to shine in front of the pack. One way to see that each den gets a turn is to set up a rotating schedule of pack meeting responsibilities. Other responsibilities to be rotated could be performing a skit, doing setup and/or cleanup, providing treats, etc. Because Scouting recognizes the importance of reverence and Duty to God, it is perfectly acceptable for meetings to begin with a prayer. This is a decision that should be made in conjunction with both the boys’ parents and the chartered organization.


Some reasons why proper uniforms are important for boys include the following:

  • Boys in uniform are generally better-behaved.
  • The uniform is the best place to display the patches and awards they have earned.
  • The uniform provides identification with the organization and with other Cub Scouts.
  • The uniform is an equalizer among the members of the den.
  • It is also important for leaders to set a good example for their Cub Scouts by wearing a proper uniform.


Establishing rules for good behavior right from the start is important. It is expected that the rules established in the den will hold true during all pack events as well. These rules may need to be reinforced in the event of a change in leadership or meeting locations. Good conduct during a pack meeting keeps things fun for everyone and makes a positive impression on all. Cubmasters should ask den leaders to remind boys to follow their den code of conduct at pack meetings.

Note: This may also prevent disruptive adults and siblings by asking family members to respect the code as well.


It is important that all leaders understand “normal” behavior so our expectations for the boys are reasonable. (Refer to the Characteristics of Cub Scouts section in the Course Resource handout.) Further, we should remember each boy is a unique individual and boys of the same age develop at different rates.

Ways to reinforce good conduct during a pack meeting may include:

  • Keeping things fun, action-filled, and moving
  • Preparation and communication
  • Seating parents behind the dens

The conduct of adult den leaders, the den chiefs, and parents/guardians is also an important consideration. The Cub Scouts will look up to the adult leaders and den chiefs and will model their behavior on the leaders’ behavior. And, of course, in addition to issues discussed in the Youth Protection session, any verbal abuse is to be avoided.


As the Cubmaster, you are responsible for the program elements of the pack. Part of this responsibility is to ensure Cub Scouts are having fun, learning, and experiencing a variety of activities. Using monthly program themes is an easy way to ensure this is happening.


Each month, the Cub Scout program emphasizes a fun meeting theme associated with one point of the Scout Law around which leaders can plan den and pack meetings. These monthly themes are useful because they simplify planning, they give dens a focus for work, they bring all dens together at the pack meeting with activities related to the same topic, and perhaps most importantly, they teach important values.

The theme may include a special activity such as a raingutter regatta, pinewood derby, or the annual birthday party for Cub Scouting in February—the blue and gold banquet.

Pack Meetings

You need to remember that the dens are part of a Cub Scout pack, and some den meeting activities might work toward the den’s part in the monthly pack meeting. Coordination to support den adventure needs should begin with annual pack planning. Pack meetings should include all members of the Cub Scout’s family. Activities include songs, skits, demonstrations, ceremonies, and recognition of achievement. Each den should have a part in the pack meeting.

Refer to the monthly pack meeting ideas in the handouts for examples.  


One of the methods of Cub Scouting is advancement. Scouting is a game with a purpose, and many of the games teach skills that lead to advancement. The adventures are designed to meet the abilities, needs, and interests of boys in the specific grade or age of each den. While work toward advancement happens in the dens and at home, recognition for that advancement happens in the pack meetings in front of family and friends.


Cub Scout advancement includes Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos and each level has a program handbook. Regardless of when a boy joins Cub Scouting, he must first earn the Bobcat rank. Other Cub Scout ranks work on adventures. Each adventure takes roughly three den meetings to complete. To earn his badge of rank, each boy must complete seven adventures. For Tiger, Wolf, and Bear, six are required and one is elective; for Webelos, five are required and two are elective. For Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting’s highest rank, four adventures are required and three are elective. The pack meeting is the place where the advancement is recognized.

Show a copy of the Den Advancement Report. Share that this form is used by the dens to report boys’ advancement progress to the pack committee member responsible for advancement. The advancement chair uses the submitted reports to obtain the necessary recognition items from the local council service center or Scout shop. Cubmasters, the pack committee chair, or the designee should also enter advancement into the individual Scout’s record in MyScouting Tools at http://My.Scouting.org.

Communication is key in this process so that families expecting their sons to receive awards are not disappointed. Dens and the advancement chair must keep good records and MyScouting Tools is a great way to do that. Advancement reports must be given to the advancement chair with sufficient time to obtain awards. In areas where the council service center or Scout shop is far away, awards are obtained by mail, and additional time must be allotted for delivery.


Getting attention and recognition is of major importance to boys. Giving Cub Scouts a chance to participate in ceremonies provides a natural way to give these boys the attention they crave. Participation is an important way for Cub Scouts to gain recognition for having accomplished something worthwhile, and what parents don’t feel pride when they see their sons recognized for doing well?

Adults also enjoy being recognized for a job well done. An alert pack leadership takes advantage of every opportunity to recognize boys, their families, and their leaders through appropriate ceremonies.

Cubmasters should plan ceremonies that fit the occasion and have “boy appeal.” Remember that  Cub Scouting’s “secret word,” KISMIF—Keep It Simple, Make It Fun—is a Cub Scout saying that  applies to ceremonies as much as to other parts of the program. Seek variety. Do not use a  ceremony repeatedly until boys and parents grow tired of it. Theme‐related ceremonies provide  continuity, ensure variety, and can include action, narration, and costumes. Inviting specialists  such as a police officer, first‐aid instructor, firefighter, athlete, scientist, or conservationist can  lend variety and emphasize the advancement program.

Remember that Cub Scouts have short attention spans, so:

  • Plan for action. Give each participating Cub Scout something to do.
  • Plan to keep speaking parts to a minimum. To add interest and fun, as well as action, use as many people as possible.
  • Plan ceremonies to be colorful, inspirational, and motivational. Make sure they give adequate recognition to each individual.
  • KISMIF!!

The book called Cub Scout Ceremonies for Dens and Packs is an excellent resource. In addition  to the pack meeting plans, it is a place to find appropriate ceremonies of all types. The  ceremonies recommended by the Boy Scouts of America are already simple, fun, and full of  action, but Cubmasters are free to write their own ceremonies as well.


Just as openings are important to start a meeting, closings are important to conclude meetings and are a good time to communicate inspirational messages to the Scouts.


A good pack meeting closing can provide time for a Cub Scout to reflect, to be recognized for achievement, or maybe even to learn a new skill such as folding an American flag. Pack meeting closings can be solemn, patriotic, inspirational, or simply fun. As Cubmaster, you might also want to add a “Cubmaster’s Minute” comment.

Throughout Monthly Pack Meeting Plans, you and your pack leaders will find many ideas for helping you capture the moment and gently give boys a glimpse of the deeper purposes within the fun of Cub Scouting.

  • Cubmaster’s Minute: A pack meeting might close with a Cubmaster’s Minute—a one- or two-minute story that emphasizes values, Scouting ideals, or character. It relates to everyday life encounters of Cub Scout–age boys and ends the meeting with a thought-provoking moment or challenge.
  • Reflecting: Reflecting is a method for leaders to guide Cub Scouts to their own understanding of the deeper purpose of an activity. Open-ended questions guide boys into discussing their thoughts, feelings, and actions about an activity and its effects. Guidelines on leading a reflecting session are found in the Cub Scout Leader How‐To Book. 

It is a good idea to invite the Scouts’ parents to join the pack for the closing.


Explain that the relative quiet of the closing portion of the meeting is a good time to remind Scouts of exciting upcoming pack activities to enhance the excitement for and to promote family discussion of these events. But because you are dealing with young boys—and parents who may not have brought note-taking materials—reminders should be in written form and handed out to parents. Too many announcements can be very boring and consume precious time.

Stress that effective and frequent communication with parents is a very important—if not critical— ingredient in the success of their packs. A pack newsletter, fliers for events, email, and other social media are important communication tools. Knowing about issues, meetings, and activities well in advance will be appreciated and will yield positive results for both packs and families.

Share information about upcoming training opportunities (roundtables, pow wow, university of Scouting, BALOO, Fundamentals of Training, Wood Badge, etc.) for Cub Scout leaders in your area; and include http://www.Scouting.org/training as a resource. Set the example of written communication by putting this information in writing and handing it out. Explain that meeting with and learning from other Cub Scout leaders from the community will significantly enhance their Cub Scout leadership experience.


The pack meeting is the culmination of several weeks of den activities. A well-planned pack meeting makes sure that every boy has the opportunity to shine in front of the families. This is done not only through receiving awards, but also by presenting a song, skit, or other presentation. The role of the Cubmaster is to keep the pack meeting fun, fast-paced, and on schedule so that no one gets bored.


The key to keeping things fun, fast-paced, and on schedule is to plan the meeting well in advance! Here are some specific important points to remember. Also, refer to the meeting plan outlines found at http://www.Scouting.org/CubScouts.

  • Each den should have its participation scheduled in advance, and everyone should know the order in which presentations will occur. In that way, time is not lost waiting for a den to get their props ready.
  • All skits and contributions to the pack meeting are discussed in advance at the pack leaders’ meeting so that events are approved and duplications do not occur. Have a plan for the manner in which dens will enter and exit the presentation area. This makes for a smooth show and everyone looks great!
  • The best pack meeting can miss the mark if everyone cannot see the action or hear what is going on. Arrange the audience in such a way that skits and ceremonies are performed in clear view for photographing. If possible, use a microphone so that even the most softspoken boy can be heard.

Planning is vital to the success of the pack. Well-planned den meetings attract and keep Cub Scouts coming each week. Well-planned pack meetings provide family fun that keeps everyone coming back each month.

Pack Planning Conference

The Boy Scouts of America suggests a monthly pack and den planning sequence and provides many resources to help you through the process. The first planning step is an annual pack planning conference. At this conference, all of the leaders in the pack gather and set the pack’s program for the next 12 months. Pack meetings are scheduled and special community, pack, and council activities are put on the calendar so that everyone can plan for them.

A guide for this conference and pack program planning can be found on http://www.Scouting.org/CubScouts.

Pack Leaders’ Planning Meeting

Each month the pack should have a pack leaders’ planning meeting. At this meeting, final details are covered for this month’s pack and den meetings, and plans and assignments are made for the following month.

Some larger packs might also have a den leader meeting and a den leader-den chief meeting as subsequent steps in the process.

Cubmasters should keep the following items in mind when planning their pack meetings. Note that they will get a handout.

  • Have a written plan. Explain that this is a useful tool to help keep track of who is doing what during the pack meeting.
  • Involve families. The pack meeting is a family event. This is the time to invite parents and siblings to join in.
  • Frequency. Packs should meet every month unless special circumstances such as inclement weather or significant calendar conflicts prevent meeting. A consistent meeting pattern will help families remember the standing meetings and will keep them coming back. Many packs meet year-round, and the pack meeting plans have supplemental meeting plans to accommodate that pattern. 
  • Time and location. Scouting activities and meetings can be scheduled whenever it is convenient for the boys and their families. Meetings can be held at the school, in an outdoor setting, or at any other facility that lends itself to a pack meeting. The chartered organization has the responsibility of providing the pack with a suitable meeting location. Pack meetings should be held at the same location each time so that the boys and their parents can easily remember where to go. This is also true in regard of the meeting time.
  • Length of meeting. Cub Scout–age boys have short attention spans, and they also have family, school, and other community activities that take their time. The formal part of the pack meeting should normally not last more than an hour.
  • The purposes of Cub Scouting. All pack activities should be planned with the purposes of Cub Scouting in mind.
  • Age-appropriate. Scouting is designed to meet the needs and abilities of boys as they grow and mature. It is important for leaders to make sure that all activities and events planned for Cub Scouts are tailored for their ages and skill levels. See the Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities in the appendix.
  • Fun, Fun, Fun! For both boys and leaders! Creating a fun environment for your Cub Scouts is an important skill for a Cubmaster. Scouting is a game with a purpose, and Cub Scouting should be enjoyed by the boys, their families, and their leaders.
  • KISMIF. Keep It Simple, Make It Fun!


It may sound like a lot of work, but Cub Scouting makes planning a snap by providing a large number of resources. You have already taken a look at the No. 1 planning tool, the Monthly Pack Meeting Plans at http://www.Scouting.org/CubScouts. This resource includes plans and ideas for two full years of pack meetings. These are always a good place to look for Pack Meeting resources.
Other Scouting volunteers in your pack, district, and council can be a great resource for you. Experienced Scouters can supply you with new ideas, activities, and moral support, all of which will help make your Cub Scouting experience a great one.

Show copies of Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines, and explain that these magazines provide program information and support for Cub Scouts and leaders. Scouting magazine comes to all registered leaders, and Boys’ Life is a subscription that might be either part of the pack budget or an option for the family.

The local council website is a great place to go for information and ideas. The Great Salt Lake council covers the Salt Lake valley and their website is found at http://www.saltlakescouts.org. Here you will information on council events like camps, ScoutO-Rama and leader training opportunities. You will also find links to the individual district web pages where you get information on events in your specific area of the council.

Please remember that one of the easiest ways to get the latest information and the best way to connect with your district leaders who are eager to help you with your pack responsibilities is to attend your monthly district Round Table. See the Appendix for a list of the Great Salt Lake Council district round table times and locations.

Also remember that parents and families are a great resource for pack programs. Parents may have talents they can share or be able to access places of interest for Cub Scouts. Active, involved parents and families encourage their Cub Scouts to participate more fully in the Cub Scouting program and receive more of the benefits of the program.


“You were selected as Cubmaster and approved by the pack committee because of your interest in helping boys. All leaders bring to Cub Scouting their own talents and skills, their own backgrounds and interests. Your key to becoming an effective leader is to use your own abilities and interets, along with what you learn about Cub Scouting, to plan and conduct the best possible program for the boys.

What happens in the life of each boy during the formative years will determine to a great extent the kind of man he will become. What a tremendous opportunity and challenge for you, Cubmaster!

One of the keys to the success of your pack is to be sure that your den leaders are trained! Be sure to encourage, or plan, training as soon as they start!

We encourage you to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities available to you as a Cubmaster. We thank you for your time today, and for all the time you contribute to your Cub Scouts.”




The Cub Scouting program has 10 purposes related to the overall aims of the Boy Scouts of America—to build character, learn citizenship, and develop personal fitness.

  • Character Development
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Good Citizenship
  • Sportsmanship and Fitness
  • Respectful Relationships
  • Personal Achievement
  • Friendly Service
  • Fun and Adventure

Every Cub Scouting activity should help fulfill one of these purposes. When considering a new activity, ask which purpose or purposes it supports.

The Methods of Cub Scouting

To accomplish its purposes and achieve the overall goals of building character, learning citizenship, and developing personal fitness, Cub Scouting uses seven methods:

Living the Ideals

Cub Scouting’s values are embedded in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Cub Scout motto, and the Cub Scout sign, handshake, and salute. These practices help establish and reinforce the program’s values in boys and the leaders who guide them.

Belonging to a Den

The den—a group of six to eight boys who are about the same age—is where Cub Scouting starts. In the den, Cub Scouts develop new skills and interests, they practice sportsmanship and good citizenship, and they learn to do their best, not just for themselves but for the den as well.

Using Advancement

Recognition is important to boys. The advancement plan provides fun for the boys, gives them a sense of personal achievement as they build skills and capabilities, and strengthens family understanding as adult family members and their den leader work with boys on advancement adventures.

Involving Family and Home

Whether a Cub Scout lives with two parents or one, a foster family, or other relatives, his family is an important part of Cub Scouting. Parents and adult family members provide leadership and support for Cub Scouting and help ensure that boys have a good experience in the program.

Participating in Activities

Cub Scouts participate in a huge array of activities including games, projects, skits, stunts, songs, outdoor activities, family camps, trips, and service projects. Webelos dens may have den campouts. Besides being fun, these activities offer opportunities for growth, achievement, and family involvement.

Serving Home and Neighborhood

Cub Scouting focuses on the home and neighborhood. It helps boys strengthen connections to their local communities, which in turn support the boys’ growth and development.

Wearing the Uniform

Cub Scout uniforms serve a dual purpose, demonstrating membership in the group (everyone is dressed alike) and individual achievement (boys wear the badges they have earned). Wearing the uniform to meetings and activities also encourages a neat appearance, a sense of belonging, and good behavior.


Pack Meetings

The pack meeting is the culmination of four or five weeks of den activities. Dens may participate in the pack meeting by presenting a song, skit, ceremony, or other presentation. Boys will receive their advancement and other recognition items, such as adventure loops and pins, patches for day camp participation, and other awards. Every boy has a chance to be individually recognized. Be sure to recognize parents who have helped during the month, either in the dens or with the pack committee.

In each month’s pack planning pages, there are suggestions for topics for the pack leaders’ planning meeting. All leaders—den leaders, assistant den leaders, Cubmasters and assistants, and all committee members—are invited to this monthly meeting. Make the meeting fun as well as informative.

During the monthly pack leaders’ planning meeting, you will finalize the upcoming pack meeting and will plan in detail the next month’s pack meeting. This meeting is usually held one or two weeks before the pack meeting.

Plan Your Meetings

Use the meeting plan outlines. Solicit additional adult help for activities and tasks. Shared leadership of the pack benefits everyone by getting other parents involved and creating opportunities for adults to share their skills and interests with boys.

Planning for den involvement in pack meetings is most important. Each den should have its participation scheduled in advance. The order of their contribution is important to share as well. For instance, if a den has props for their activity or event, knowing when they are up next will give them time to get ready. Coordinate all skits and contributions at the pack leaders’ meeting so that events are approved in advance and are not duplicated.


Each boy will accomplish milestones along his advancement trail during the program year. Each of these is a very special and significant moment. Make these moments special by planning recognition presentations. Also, you may choose to present the parent’s pin representing each rank to recognize parental involvement in the advancement process.

Staging Events

Events at your pack meetings add to the fun and memories. Families will be taking many pictures of their sons receiving awards and recognitions. Take a little extra effort to arrange things in a way that will allow a clear shot for the perfect picture of the Cubmaster presenting the award. Provide a consistent area at your meeting place where the den displays are placed. When den skits are performed, have a plan for the manner in which dens will enter and exit. This makes for a smooth show, and everyone will look great!

Recognize Your Volunteers

Occasional recognition of the pack leadership and parental involvement in activities will be welcomed by all. Everyone deserves a thank you, and boys will proudly see the adults in their lives being recognized and appreciated.

Family Involvement

Cub Scouts need good pack leaders. They also need family support because Cub Scouting is a family program. Families can be involved by working with their Cub Scouts on advancement at home, providing ways for their Cub Scouts to earn money for den dues, helping at den meetings when needed, providing transportation, attending pack meetings, and presenting advancement awards to their Cub Scouts at pack meetings. Leaders should encourage family involvement throughout their son’s Cub Scouting years.

Service Projects

As noted in an early edition of the Boy Scout Handbook: “To people who know about Scouting, the daily Good Turn is one of the finest features of our movement.” The record of Good Turns, small and large, that Scouts have done since the day Scouting was founded is truly impressive. Many den adventures are designed to encourage Cub Scouts to Do a Good Turn as part of their requirements. Work with your chartered organization on a project.


The pack meeting is a good time to remind Scouts of upcoming pack activities to enhance the excitement for, and promote family discussion of, these events. But because you are dealing with young boys—and parents who may not have brought note-taking materials—reminders should be in written form and handed out to parents. Too many announcements can be very boring and consume precious time. Effective and frequent communication with parents is a very important— if not critical—ingredient in the success of the pack. A pack newsletter, fliers for events, email, and other social media are important communication tools. Knowing about issues, meetings, and activities well in advance will be appreciated and will yield positive results for both packs and families.

Unit Commissioners

A unit commissioner is a volunteer Scouter who represents the councils and works with the pack to help it successfully deliver a quality program. He or she can offer suggestions for solving problems. A unit commissioner is a friend. Pack leaders should get to know him or her. If your pack does not have a unit commissioner, talk to your district executive, the district commissioner, or the district chair. 

National Summertime Pack Award

Summer activities will center on the out-of-doors. Plan and conduct fun pack activities for June, July, and August, and qualify for the National Summertime Pack Award. Boys who participate in all three summer pack events are eligible to receive the National Summertime Pack Award pin. Dens with an average attendance of at least half their members at the three summer pack events will be eligible for a den participation ribbon. A qualifying pack receives a colorful streamer for their pack flag.

National Den Award

Cub Scouting happens in the den. The National Den Award creates an incentive for a year-round, fun, quality program in the den. The National Den Award may be earned only once in any 12-month period (charter year or calendar year, as determined by the pack committee).


(Compiled from various child development sources)

Six-Year-Old Boys

  • Six-year-old Tigers have longer attention spans and continue to prefer structured activities to more open-ended experiences.
  • They enjoy taking on new roles and responsibilities, but still require much direction from adults and frequently ask questions to ensure that they are completing tasks the right way.
  • The language skills of six-year-olds become increasingly sophisticated throughout the year.
  • Scientific discovery for children this age is affected by their tendency to straddle the world between make-believe and reality.
  • Tigers continue to enjoy moving in a variety of ways. Although far from proficient in motor skills, this does little to dampen their enthusiasm for trying out new activities and sports.
  • Their hand-, foot-, and eye coordination is still developing, so skills like throwing, catching, kicking, and striking are still emerging.
  • Six-year-olds are confident and delight in showing off their talents.
  • They start to display an increasing awareness of their own and others’ emotions and begin to develop better techniques for self-control.
  • Predictable routines are important sources of stability and security for children this age.
  • Six-year-olds draw emotional stability from their interactions with adults with whom they feel secure, particularly during challenging situations and circumstances.

Seven-Year-Old Boys

  • The seven-year-old Wolf Cub Scout can have a wide range of development levels and interests.
  • Seven-year-olds are usually beginning to develop motor skills in combinations—such as running up to a ball to kick it. Physical play is important at this age to help them enhance development of this coordination.
  • They enjoy working with simple tools and small items.
  • Wolf Cub Scouts are curious and looking to learn new things. Problem-solving skills are becoming part of their makeup.
  • Seven-year-olds are better at sharing. “Mine” is being replaced by interests in playing together.
  • They are not yet independent, and they like structure. Rules make sense to them, and they tend to think in terms of right-wrong and good-bad, with little middle ground.
  • Attention spans in seven-year-olds are increasing, but they are still looking for a variety of activities.
  • Wolf Cub Scouts are developing a serious interest in the world around them and in nature.

Eight-Year-Old Boys

  • The eight-year-old Bear Cub Scout is full of energy but tires easily. He is restless and fidgety. He will develop some skill in activities and games played frequently.
  • Eight-year-olds seldom get into real fights. They usually resort to name calling. They like responsibility and independence and want to do well. They usually play in groups but also like to play alone.
  • They want adventure. If it is not available, they make their own. They may exaggerate something real, imagined, or experienced, or simply brag. These tall tales are not lies. They reflect a boy’s need to be big, strong, and brave, when in reality, he is not. A den leader can use this thirst for adventure in helping boys explore new things.
  • They are eager to learn and are beginning to solve more complex problems.
  • They like to be challenged and take time in completing a task.
  • Their attention span is good. They enjoy hobbies and like to collect anything and everything. Value is much less important than quantity. A few may organize their collections; others will clutter their rooms with assorted treasures.
  • They dislike criticism and are eager for peer approval. They want to be like others of their age. They are often self-critical and perfectionists.
  • They are sometimes dreamy, absorbed, and withdrawn. They are less impulsive than younger children.
  • They enjoy learning and practicing moral values and are aware of right and wrong, good and bad.

Nine-Year-Old Boys

  • The nine-year-old boy likes active, rough play.
  • They tend to have good body control and are interested in strength, skill, and speed.
  • They tend to like more complicated crafts and work-related tasks. They like to collect things.
  • He will be curious and have definite interests. His attention span is getting longer, and he can do more abstract thinking and reasoning.
  • Individual differences in your Scouts will become more obvious.
  • A nine-year-old may have some behavior problems, especially if not accepted by others.
  • He is aware of right and wrong and wants to do right.
  • You will see them begin to test and exercise a great deal of independence.
  • He enjoys team games and is very interested in friends and social activities. He likes group adventures and cooperative play. He is competitive, and you will often hear “not fair!”
  • They are becoming very independent, dependable, and trustworthy.
  • He has difficulty admitting he made a mistake but is becoming more capable of accepting mistakes and taking responsibility.
  • You will see that your nine-year-old is acquiring a conscience.

Ten-Year-Old Boys

  • Ten-year-old boys are more active and rough and have well-developed motor skills.
  • He has many interests, often of a short duration, but he might begin to show a talent.
  • They are alert, poised, concerned with fads, argue logically, and are concerned with style.
  • He is close and affectionate with his parents. He has pride in his father and considers his mother all-important.
  • He likes his privacy and is selective in friendships. He might have one best friend.
  • This is not an angry age. However, when anger comes, it is often violent and immediate.
  • His main concerns are school and peer relationships. It is important to be “in” with his peers.
  • Ten-year-olds tend to have a strong sense of justice and a strict moral code. They are usually more concerned with what is wrong than with what is right.


chartered organization. A community organization that has been granted an annual charter by the Boy Scouts of America to use the program of the Boy Scouts of America. Responsible for the selection of leaders in the organization’s Scouting programs.

commissioner. A volunteer Scouter, representing the district or council, who serves as a friend and mentor to Scouting units to help them succeed.

council. A geographically defined administrative organization tasked with delivering the programs of the Boy Scouts of America to the community organizations within its borders.

Cubmaster. The top volunteer position in every Cub Scout pack. Responsible for planning the monthly pack meetings and working with the pack committee to make sure the pack is moving together and in the right direction.

den. A working group of six to eight Cub Scouts within a pack. Dens are organized by age and/or grade. In large packs, there might be more than one age- or grade-based den. Dens usually have a number (Den 1, Den 2, etc.).

den chief. A Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer selected by the Cubmaster to help the den leader lead the activities of a Cub Scout den.

denner. A Cub Scout who is elected or selected to be the temporary youth leader of his den. Denners can change every few weeks, each month, or other term so that every Scout gets leadership experience.

district committee. A geographic administrative committee of volunteers within a council organized to serve the Scouting units within its borders.

district executive. A career Scouting professional who works as a staff member for the local council. The district executive is assigned specific communities within the council. Sometimes a district executive is referred to as a “DE.”

pack. The larger group a Cub Scout belongs to beyond the den. All packs have numbers that identify them (“Pack 125,” for example). Packs usually consist of more than one den and are commonly referred to as a Scouting unit.

pack committee. Selected by the chartered organization, a group of registered Scouting volunteers that serves as the administrative support for the Cub Scout pack. It consists of at least three members, including a committee chair. The committee assists with tasks such as program planning, record keeping, correspondence, finances, advancement, training, public relations, and membership and registration.
roundtable. A monthly gathering of adult Scouting leaders designed to provide help with program planning, training, and other useful tools.

Webelos. The Cub Scouting program for fourth- and fifth-grade (or 9- and 10-year-old) boys. The word comes from We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.


The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on providing the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain a safe environment for the boys, the BSA has developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies; reinforces the youth protection message with regular, high-quality training; and provides parents and leaders with numerous online and print resources aimed at the different youth protection needs of the Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing programs. The BSA requires Youth Protection training for all registered volunteers.

All new leaders are required to complete Youth Protection training. To take the training online, go to My.Scouting.org and establish an account using the member number you received when you registered for BSA membership.

If you take the training online before you obtain a member number, be sure to return to My.Scouting.org and enter your membership number to receive training record credit.

Your BSA local council may also provide training on a regular basis if you cannot take it online. For more information, refer to the back of the BSA adult membership application.

Youth Protection training must be taken every two years. If a volunteer does not meet the BSA’s Youth Protection training requirement at the time of charter renewal, the volunteer will not be reregistered. We encourage all adults, including all parents, to take the BSA’s Youth Protection training.

To find out more about the Youth Protection policies of the Boy Scouts of America and how to help Scouting keep families safe, see the parent’s guide in any of the Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting handbooks, or go to http://www.Scouting.org/Training and click on the Youth Protection link.


Frequently Asked Questions

Should our unit have a checking or savings account?

Yes. Unit funds should be deposited in a checking or savings account that requires two signatures on every check or withdrawal. The unit leader could be one of the signees, but it is recommended it be a committee person. It could be that the unit leaders have a petty cash fund (with the limit set by the committee) that is accounted for with receipts each month.

Does a unit need its own tax identification number? If so, where do we get it?

All units need a tax ID number (also referred to as an “EIN”—Employer Identification Number). Units should NOT use the Social Security number of an adult leader. If they do, the IRS will attribute all banking transactions, unit purchases, etc., to that leader as an individual. Units may use the tax ID number of their chartered organization, if given permission. This may be especially useful for the unit if that organization is tax-exempt.

Most units obtain their own tax ID number by completing IRS Form SS-4. There is no fee involved. The current form and instructions are available on the IRS website (www.irs.gov). Also, the IRS now allows you to provide the information over the phone and immediately receive a unit EIN. The IRS phone number is 800-829-4933.

Who is responsible for the finances of the unit?

The unit committee is responsible for the unit’s finances. A treasurer is assigned and the committee chair should receive the bank statement for monthly reconciliation. All unit funds should pass through the bank account; this includes but is not limited to dues, money from unit fundraisers, product sales, and gifts. An exception might be registration fees that are collected as part of an organized School Night program. In this case, fees are collected by district/council representatives and are transmitted to the Scout service center.

Should our unit consider insuring our unit equipment?

Yes. It is suggested that your unit insure its equipment. Remember, the chartered organization owns the unit, and all funds used by the unit remain the responsibility of the chartered organization as long as the charter issued by the BSA remains in place. It is recommended that an inventory of the unit’s equipment be given annually to the chartered organization, and needs for insurance coverage discussed at that time. Frequently, unit equipment can be added to an existing policy of the chartered organization at minimal cost.

Can our unit deposit funds with the local council?

Yes. Most councils allow units to deposit funds to their credit in the council service center, thus making it convenient for units to make purchases without sending cash. A “unit account” is established for each unit that deposits funds with the council. At a minimum—at least annually —the council should provide a detailed statement of activities of your unit account for your unit to review.

What happens to the unit funds and equipment should the unit dissolve?

In the event of the dissolution of a unit or the revocation or lapse of its charter, the unit committee shall apply unit funds and property to the payment of unit obligations and shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the local council. In the case of a chartered organization, any funds or equipment that may have been secured as property of the unit shall be held in trust by the chartered organization or the council, as may be agreed upon, pending reorganization of the unit or for the promotion of the program of the Boy Scouts of America.

When should our unit submit a BSA Unit Money-Earning Application?

For all unit fundraising. All unit money-earning projects must be approved in advance by using the BSA’s Unit Money-Earning Application. Approval must be made by the chartered organization and the local council.

Is our unit considered tax-exempt by the IRS?

That depends on who charters your unit. The only time a unit can be considered “tax-exempt” is if its chartered organization is also tax-exempt and includes the unit. The BSA National Council grants a charter to religious organizations, service clubs, businesses, and others who want to charter a Scout unit. A unit is actually “owned” by its chartered organization. Chartered organizations vary widely in tax status.

What is IRS Form 990-N, and does our unit need to file one annually with the IRS?

Form 990-N is an abbreviated filing for small tax-exempt organizations with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less. The BSA national office consulted with the IRS and outside counsel about whether this filing requirement applies to Scouting units. In their opinion, most Scout units do not have to file Form 990-N. For most units, no filing is required. The only exception is for the very small number of units that have filed for separate, federal tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Those units must file either Form 990-N (if their annual gross receipts were $50,000 or less) or the more detailed Form 990 or 990EZ (if annual gross receipts were more than $50,000).

Can our unit be covered under the BSA’s group exemption?

No. The IRS allows only local councils (and council trust funds) to be included under the BSA group exemption. Scout units cannot be included under the BSA group exemption because they “belong” to their chartered organization. (Note: Tax issues for Girl Scout troops are handled  differently by the IRS because of how Girl Scout cookie sales are structured.)

IRS Form SS-4 asks for a “GEN.” What is that, and do we have one?

The “GEN” is the Group Exemption Number for the BSA. As discussed, only councils are covered under the BSA group exemption. Units cannot use this number. However, once your unit receives an EIN, the unit may still qualify for a number of state and sales tax exemptions as a nonprofit organization under your state laws. Check with your state; this varies widely across the country.

A volunteer suggested that our unit apply for its own tax-exempt status. Can we?

Units should not incorporate or apply for their own tax-exempt status. For one thing, units are not legal entities. Even if they were, this is an expensive and time-consuming process. Units are only permitted to raise funds through approved unit money-earning projects. Units could lose their charter if they tried to get their own tax-exempt status and solicit tax-deductible gifts.

We can’t solicit gifts for our unit?

No. Simply put, units are not permitted to solicit any gifts. Both the Charter and Bylaws and the Rules and Regulations of the BSA make this very clear; only local councils may solicit individuals, corporations, United Way chapters, or foundations for gifts in support of Scouting. Units, unit leaders, and youth members may not solicit gifts in the name of Scouting or in support of unit needs and activities (except in unusual circumstances where the unit has received permission to do so from the local council). Units are also prohibited from soliciting gifts on their websites.

Does that mean people can’t make gifts to our troop?

Units are not supposed to solicit gifts, but they can receive gifts. Anyone can contribute to a unit—and many donors don’t need or care about charitable deductions. Obviously, defining a “solicited gift” is not always easy. But we rely on our unit leaders to set good examples and honor the intent and spirit of these important guidelines. We know it’s hard to stop people from being generous, especially toward Scouting.

Can gifts go to the local council to benefit our unit, then “pass through” the council to us?

No. Your unit “belongs” to your chartered organization, not to your local council. IRS guidelines prohibit any charity from accepting gifts that are “passed through” to a person or unrelated entity. A council could accept a gift in the name of your unit and hold it in a unit account. The unit could then “draw down” on the account for camp fees, uniform and supply needs, etc. (This is how colleges handle student scholarships.) But be sure to first ask your local council if it has the staff and time to do this. This is entirely the council’s decision. A council accepting a gift in the name of the unit does not necessarily extend tax benefits to the donor.

My local company has employee volunteerism grants and will contribute to charities where I volunteer my time. Can these gifts go to our unit?

Employee incentive awards and volunteerism grants usually cannot go to a unit due to the company’s giving restrictions. Corporate donations often can go only to charities that are “501(c) (3) charities,” and many units are not chartered by tax-exempt charities. Also, many companies won’t make gifts to religious organizations. If a unit is “tax-exempt,” it’s often because it’s chartered to a church, synagogue, etc., so it couldn’t receive corporate funds either. Of course, corporate awards and grants may go to any local council for use at the discretion of the council.

Can my unit credit amounts from fundraising to an individual toward their expenses?

No. The IRS has stated that crediting fundraising amounts constitutes private benefit. However, the unit could use the funds (all or a percentage) raised to reduce or eliminate dues and various registration fees, purchase uniforms and Scouting books, and purchase camping equipment. The unit could also use its funds to provide assistance to individual Scouts in cases of financial hardship.

Are purchases by my unit exempt from sales and use tax?

State and local laws vary widely on this topic. The unit may qualify for a number of state and sales tax exemptions as a nonprofit organization under your state laws. Check with the state where you are making the purchase; this varies widely across the country. In some cases, the council may be issued certificates of sales tax exemption; others require only that verbal verification be made to the merchant at the time of purchase that the purchases will be used to benefit the programs of Scouting, while still others allow no exemptions for any not-for-profits.

Questions? Need more information?

Please contact your local council.



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