Advancement is the way that the Cub Scouts show growth and learning. We encourage all boys to work on advancement on their own as well as in Den and Pack activities. For the requirements for the Bobcat, Wolf, and  Bear badges and the Arrowpoints, you approve of your scout's completion by signing his book. Here's a brief overview of how it works. A list of requirements can be found at the Rank Requirements Page.


Immediately after joining the Cub Scouts, a boy can earn the Bobcat rank. With a parent's help, this can be earned in less than a day if he works diligently. The Bobcat rank is required before a scout can earn any other rank advancement, no matter when he joined or what his age is. Seven of the eight requirements are simply learning things such as the Cub Scout handshake, motto, promise, sign, and a few other things about Cub Scouting. The last requirement is to read and discuss the "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse" booklet that comes included with each Cub Scout manual. We encourage you to help your Cub Scout complete this as soon as possible so he can begin working on his next rank advancement.



Once a boy has earned his Bobcat, he is ready to begin working on his Wolf rank. There are 12 different areas of skills and interests, called Achievements. Each achievement can have between 3 and 12 different requirements, though most have around 5 (some of the achievements with more requirements usually don't ask that he do all of the parts). Once he has completed 3 Achievements, he will get a totem that shows his progress towards earning his Wolf rank along with a yellow bead, and an additional yellow bead for every 3 achievements he completes. When he gets 4 yellow beads, he has fulfilled the requirements to earn his Wolf Badge. While he is working on finishing his achievements, there are other similar requirements called Electives that he can also do. See the next section for more information.


Electives (Wolf)

We don't want your scout getting bored waiting for his 9th birthday, so there are other awards he can work on in the meantime. After earning his Wolf rank, he is eligible to earn Arrowpoints. Arrowpoints are like "extra credit," and the requirements for them are found in the second half of the Wolf handbook. The arrowpoint sections are grouped into 23 Electives, which are like the Achivements, except that a boy need not complete an entire Elective so he can pick and choose anything that looks interesting.  To earn a gold arrowpoint, he must complete any 10 of the 129 elective projects available. For example, he might do 2 requirements from elective 1, 3 requirements for elective 7, and 5 requirements from elective 23. For every 10 elective projects that he completes after that, he will get a silver arrowpoint, and he can earn as many silver arrowpoints as he wants to. He can even do some of them twice as long as he does a better job the second time around. He can complete elective requirements before earning his Wolf badge, but he will not be eligible to receive any arrowpoints until he completes his Wolf.



After turning 9 and joining the Bear Den, your scout can begin working on his Bear rank. The Bear program is very similar to the Wolf program, except that there are now 24 achievements, which are grouped into four categories: God, Country, Family, and Self. To earn the Bear rank, he needs to complete 12 of the 24 achievements, but there must be 1 achievement for God, 3 for Country, 4 for Family, and 4 for self. Like the Wolf rank, as soon as he completes any three achievements he will receive a bead to put onto his totem, but the Bear beads are red. When he gets 4 red beads, he has fulfilled the requirements to earn his Bear badge.


Electives (Bear)

The arrowpoint trail for Bears is similar to the Wolf arrowpoint trail, with one exception: Any of the 12 achievements that were not used to earn the Bear rank can now be used as an Elective in addition to the ones listed in the second half of the handbook. For example, say your boy has completed Achievements 1 (for God); 3, 4, and 5 (for Country); 8, 9, 10, and 11 (for Family); and 14, 15, 16, and 17 (for Self) to earn his Bear badge, Achievements 2, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 18 through 24 can now be used as Electives. However, unused parts of the achievements used to earn the Bear badge may not be used as electives. So using the same example as before, say your scout completed Achievement 14 by doing parts a, b, e, and f. Parts c, d, and g are not available to be used as electives. Just like the Wolf arrowpoints, after completing 10 your scout will receive a gold arrowpoint, and a silver for every 10 completed afterwards



After turning 10 and joining the Webelos Den, your scout can begin working on his Webelos rank. The Webelos program is designed to be a transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, and is a little different from the past programs. First of all, instead of working on Achievements and Electives, he works on Activity Badges. These are somewhat similar to the merit badges of the Boy Scouts. The Webelos den often works on one activity badge per month. When he completes the requirements for an Activity Badge, your scout will be given a small Activity Badge Pin that represents his accomplishments. These are pinned to the Webelos Colors, which are a set of ribbons attached to the right shoulder of the uniform. To earn the Webelos rank, a scout must fulfill several requirements involving learning about the Boy Scout program and then earn the Fitness and Citizenship Activity Badges, as well as one other activity badge of his choice.


Compass Points

The Webelos Compass is somewhat equivalent to the Arrowpoint trail of the Wolf and Bear ranks. To earn the Compass, a scout needs to earn the Webelos rank and then four more Activity Badges. For each additional four activity badges that he earns he will receive a Compass Point pin to add to the compass.

Arrow of Light
The Arrow of Light is the Highest award a Cub Scout can earn, and the only one that will continue with him to his years as a Boy Scout and an adult. A boy need not have earned every badge along the way, but he does need to have earned his Bobcat and Webelos badge. The other requirements include additional Activity Badges, learning the Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto, etc. and visiting a Boy Scout Troop. We encourage all boys to aim for this goal.