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A Guide to Cub Scouts for New Parents

August 9, 2013


Thanks for joining us at the start of your son’s Scouting journey and adventure!

If at any time you have questions, concerns or would like to speak with your District’s Scouting representative, please contact the Durham Scout Center in Omaha at 402.431.9BSA (9272) or the Sioux City Scout Center at 712.255.8846.

The Mid-America Council is one of the largest youth serving agencies in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, instilling timeless values of character, citizenship and leadership in each young man who enters the Scouting program. The Council provides educational-based skills and activities. Currently, there are over 20,000 Scouts and more than 7,000 volunteer leaders. The Council also owns and operates four camps and provides an outstanding outdoor experience for youth and adults.


The Mission
It is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America, Mid-America Council to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and in other ways prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential. The values we strive to instill are based on those found in the Scout Oath and Law.

The Cub Scout Promise
I promise to do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, to help other people, and to obey the law of the Pack.

The Cub Scout Motto
Do Your Best.

Promise to Parents
Parents will say Scouting in Mid-America Council offers their family fun and adventurous things to do. This fun and adventure will help their son or daughter develop leadership skills and values important to good citizenship and service to others.

What is Cub Scouting?

Cub Scouting is a home and neighborhood-centered program designed to support the values you teach at home.

Cub Scouts learn respect for God, country and other people, in addition to other positive skills, like:

• Academic accomplishment
• Getting along with others
• Independence
• Personal achievement
• Physical dexterity through sports, crafts and games
• Positive decision-making
• Sportsmanship by “doing your best”
• Appreciation for the outdoors

The Cub Scout program is based on age-appropriate activities. The boys are divided into small groups of 6-8 boys (called dens) according to their grade in school. Scouts work on achievements at weekly den meetings and at home to earn their ranks. Once a month, all the dens attend a Pack meeting where the whole family is invited to come!

I have never heard a parent say “I wish I had never gotten involved in Scouting with my son.”

As the founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell said, “Scouting is fun with a purpose.” This quote is still true today.

Scouting provides a well-rounded program, affecting every area of a boy’s life, and your son works at his own pace. Scouting is good for the whole family. You’ll get to spend time with your son and witness him achieving new heights.

Your son needs to belong to a group of boys his own age. Through this sense of belonging, he builds his self-esteem and learns to get along with others. As a parent, you want to be assured that the groups that your boy joins will teach values consistent with good citizenship, character development and physical fitness.

You can expect to see your son develop skills and confidence that lead to a well-adjusted life. As a parent, you will enjoy the satisfaction of joining your son in fun and constructive activities.

As an added bonus, when you serve as a leader or member of the Pack committee, you can expect the satisfaction of helping other youth in your community, as well as your own son.

In a society where your son is taught that winning is everything, Cub Scouting teaches him to “do his best” and to be helpful to others.

Scouting teaches family values and works to strengthen your relationship with your son. Scouting activities can bring added value to the time you already have with your son.

Scouting provides your son with advantages that will help him in the future.

As one Scout leader said, “Scouting teaches your son skills for a lifetime – not just a season.”

Ranks & Advancement

Advancement is the process by which a boy progresses from badge to badge, learning new skills as he goes. The Cub Scout advancement program is designed to encourage a boy’s interests in a natural way.

No matter what age or grade a boy joins Cub Scouting, he must earn his Bobcat badge before he can advance to the rank of Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear or Webelos. A boy must complete the Bobcat requirements, which include demonstrating his understanding of Scouting’s core values. He must be able to recite the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack and Motto and explain the Cub Scout sign, handshake and salute.

Tiger Cub (1st Grade)
To begin his path to the Tiger Cub rank, the Tiger Cub must learn the Cub Scout promise, the Cub Scout sign and the Cub Scout salute. When he has accomplished these tasks, he will be awarded his Tiger Cub immediate recognition emblem.

As a boy completes each part of the achievements, he will be awarded either an orange (den activities), white (family activities) or black (“Go See It”) bead. When the boy has earned five beads of each color, he is eligible to receive his Tiger Cub badge. The Tiger Cub badge is presented to the adult partner at the next Pack meeting. The adult partner then presents the badge to the boy.

Wolf (2nd Grade)
The Wolf rank is for boys who have completed first grade (or who are 8-years-old). To earn the Wolf badge, a boy must pass 12 achievements involving simple physical and mental skills. His parent, guardian or den leader approves each achievement by signing his book. When all requirements are satisfied, the Wolf badge is presented to his parent or guardian at the next Pack meeting in an impressive advancement ceremony.

After he has earned the Wolf badge, a boy is encouraged to work on the 22 Wolf electives until he completes second grade (or turns 9-years-old). More than 100 elective projects are aimed at kindling his interest in new hobbies, as well as teaching him skills that will be useful during his Boy Scout years.

Bear (3rd Grade)
The Bear rank is for boys who have completed second grade (or are 9-years-old). There are 24 Bear achievements in four categories: boys must complete 12 of these to earn the Bear badge. These requirements are more difficult and challenging than those for the Wolf badge. When the boy has earned his Bear badge, he may work on electives for credit toward Arrow Points to be worn under the Bear badge.

Webelos (4th & 5th Grades)
Webelos dens are for boys who have completed third grade (or reached age 10). The Webelos den program is different from the Cub Scout den program. Instead of being based on a monthly theme, the Webelos den program is based on 20 Webelos activities the Scout works on over a two-year time frame.

Key Activities & Events
Cub Scout Camping
There are many camping opportunities for Cub Scouts and their families in the Mid-America Council. Day Camps offer exciting summertime activities that include games, nature study, sports, crafts, songs and skits. Camps can be one day or multiple days, depending on the age of the Cub Scout.

Themed Camps offer Scouts and their families a chance to participate in a non-traditional camping experience. There are a variety of Themed Camps ranging from sports to fun at the lake! For additional information on Cub Camping, visit

Pinewood Derby
The Pinewood Derby is an annual parent-son project where you can design and build a race car from a block of wood. Cub Scouts learn the valuable lesson of sportsmanship by racing their cars on a gravity track against their fellow Scouts.

Popcorn & Camp Card Sales
Cub Scouts participate in an annual fundraiser. In addition to boosting confidence, earning prizes and helping their Pack, their participation in this sale helps pay for their Scouting program. A commission of their sales goes directly to the Pack to help with payment for activities, badges and summer camp fees. Because popcorn sales commission reduces out-of-pocket spending, popcorn sales also help your family save money for Scouting.

Blue & Gold Banquets
The Blue & Gold Banquet is a birthday party for Scouting and Packs hold an annual family celebration. Many times, Scouts receive their rank advancements at this event.

Scouting For Food
Scouting for Food is an annual food collection drive that helps provide meals for families in need in our service area. Scouts go out on a Saturday in April to hang door tags on residential homes and return the following weekend to pick up donations. Check out for more information.

Friends of Scouting
Friends of Scouting is our annual giving campaign. Scouting families, businesses and civic-minded citizens are asked to support the Mid-America Council in providing the Scouting program to thousands of young people in our service area.

Program Structure
The Pack is owned and operated by a Chartered Organization. These groups, which have goals compatible with those of the Boy Scouts of America, include religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business and labor organizations; governmental bodies; corporations; professional associations and citizens’ groups.

The organization approves Pack leadership, provides a meeting place and appoints one of their members to serve as a liaison between the organization and the Pack. The liaison is called the Chartered Organization Representative.

The Pack committee meets once a month to plan Pack activities and perform the administrative functions of the Pack. The committee consists of parents of Cub Scouts and is led by the Committee Chairperson.

The Cubmaster helps plan and carry out the Pack program and emcees the monthly Pack meetings.

Den Leaders lead and plan weekly den meetings and work hands-on with the boys in their den (grade specific groups of six to eight boys).

There are many ways that adults can get involved, some big and some small. Your son’s Pack can’t exist without your involvement on some level. You will find that the time you spend as an active Scouting parent will be quality time spent with your son, creating cherished memories that last a lifetime.

As parents, you have a short time to influence the life of your son. Scouting coincides with that time – so make the most of it!

Cost & Uniform Information

Upon registration, you are responsible for paying annual national dues, fees for an optional 12-month subscription to Boys’ Life magazine and mandatory insurance, as well as providing your child’s uniform. You can find uniform items at the Gottscahlk Scout Shop in Omaha or the Scout Center in Sioux City.


Uniform Essentials
1. Shirt (long or short sleeved)
2. Neckerchief
3. Neckerchief Slide
4. World Scout Crest Emblem
5. Official Council Shoulder Insignia
6. Unit Numerals
7. Den Numerals
8. Belt

Training helps provide unparalleled experiences for more youth.

Volunteer leaders provide the experiences that last a lifetime and build character in your son. The Boy Scouts of America offers training to these adult volunteers to ensure the safety of youth as they gain these valuable life experiences.

The Boy Scouts of America requires that any adult registered in Scouting must take Youth Protection Training. We take a proactive approach to the safety of youth and also require that any suspected child protection issues be reported to local authorities or the Mid-America Council right away.

To be considered “trained” a leader must take Youth Protection Training, and position specific training.

While these trainings are designed for those in leadership roles, you do not have to be a registered leader to get trained. Start with Youth Protection so you know your son’s rights and how the leaders are trained to protect him. Then take a training that is specific to a Den Leader or Cubmaster to learn more about the program.

How to take Training:

1. Go online to and create a free account.
2. Take two important trainings:
a. Youth Protection Training
b. Leader Position Specific Training (i.e. Den Leader)

You too can get involved in the delivery of the program and training makes it easier and more fun for everyone. Join your son’s Den Leader to help them plan the Den Meetings and make sure your son will get the most out of Scouting. You can also sign up for a great event that offers all kinds of different training – University of Scouting. This training is held each year at Boys’ Town in Omaha, NE on the first Saturday in November. Many fun training topics and a resource midway are offered. Plan to attend with the leaders in your Pack.

Learn more about all trainings at and click on your program (i.e. Cub Scouts) and then “Training.”

More Resources & Support
The BSA Bugle
The Mid-America Council newsletter includes information on Scouting events, news and activities. This can be accessed online at under the Mid-America Council tab.

The Council E-Newsletter
The Council e-newsletter offers specific information for different program areas. There is a subscription for just Cub Scout news. This can be accessed online at Sign up at the bottom of any page on our website.

Roundtable Meetings
A monthly meeting (held the first week of the month) of area Cub Scout leaders where you can receive general information and ideas on how to conduct fun and exciting den and Pack meetings. Ideas are shared on crafts, games, songs and skits, as well as District activities your Pack can participate in.

Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guides
There are also numerous books on various topics available at the Gottschalk Scout Shop (located in the Durham Scout Center in Omaha) or the Sioux City Scout Center (located in Iowa). These guides will help you plan each meeting.

Scout Centers
Your local Council Service Centers are staffed with professionals and volunteers available to help you with Scouting questions and supplies. The Council has locations in both Omaha & Sioux City.

Boys’ Life Magazine
Each boy registered for Scouting has the option of subscribing to Boys’ Life Magazine, our national publication. The mission of Boys’ Life magazine is to entertain and educate America’s youth and to open their eyes to the joyous world of reading. This is accomplished through a proven mix of news, nature, sports, history, fiction, science, comics and Scouting. A special edition is published for Cub Scouts, with age- and program-specific content and feature articles.

Why Boys’ Life?
Good reading. Boys’ Life is an entertaining mix of exciting stories and valuable information. Boys like reading Boys’ Life. Parents can always be confident that the content of the magazine is wholesome, entertaining and educational.
Faster advancement. Boys’ Life follows the Cub Scouting- recommended program themes each month. Boys’ Life subscribers achieve rank advancements faster and more often than nonsubscribers.

Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve never done this. How will we know what to do?
You have resources! The handbook provides terrific overviews of how the program works. In addition, your Pack has information and the Council will always answer questions. Visit our website for more information ( or call 402.431.9BSA (9272).

What is the difference between Pack and Den?
A Pack consists of many individual dens. Dens are formed by rank or grade. Typically, dens have six to eight boys.

What happens at the Pack meeting?
FUN! This is where the achievements of Scouts are recognized as they progress towards rank, where they can show off a little (games, songs and skits) and information is distributed to parents and Scouts.

How do I sign up to receive Council information?
You can sign up for our e-newsletter. All you need to do is enter your email address in the box at the bottom of any page on our site – It is easy and you can safely remove your contact information at any time. We keep your information private. The newsletter goes out once or twice a month to keep you updated!

I’m still confused!
Don’t worry! Bring your questions forward to adult leaders and continue to have fun with your son – things will fall into place! Call 402.431.9272 for any questions.

Questions? Concerns?
Need Scout uniforms, badges, program guides?
Give us a call or stop in today!
Durham Scout Center
12401 West Maple Road
Omaha, NE 68164
Phone: 402.431.9BSA (9272) • Fax: 402.431.0444

Gottschalk Scout Shop
Located in the Durham Scout Center
Phone: 402.431.0700

Sioux City Scout Center
306 Virginia Street, Suite C
Sioux City, IA 51101
Phone: 712.255.8846 • Fax: 712.255.9587

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