Cub Scout Awards

Cub Scout Badges and Awards

Kristy sent in this question:

Hi my name is Kristy and I am brand new to the scouting world and I am a den leader for wolf. I am wondering how the boys earn belt loops badges etc I am lost and the other leaders confuse me more.

 The Cub Scout advancement program can be confusing. Here is a brief explanation, but there will be significant changes to the Cub Scout program starting in May 2015.

For the Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light badges, there is a detailed explanation in the handbook for each level and the requirements are spelled out there. This is just an overview.

Cub Scout Ranks


The first thing all Cub Scouts do is earn his Bobcat badge. Most will do this when they join in first grade, but if you have a boy who joins later he should work on Bobcat first. For this badge, he learns basic things like the Cub Scout promise and sign.


First grade Cub Scout work on their Tiger badge.  There are five achievements for Tiger and he must do all five to earn the badge. Each acheivement has three parts – one to do as a den, one to do with his family, and a Go See It, which is a field trip. Tiger Cubs do all of their activities with an adult partner. This is usually a parent, but can also be a grandparent, aunt or uncle, adult sibling, etc. They get beads for completing achievements, which are attached to a totem which represents completion of Bobcat. After he completes the five achievements, he gets a patch to wear on his uniform.

After they do the five achievements, they can earn additional recognitions by completing electives. He gets additional beads for his totem for doing electives.


Second graders work on their Wolf rank. For Wolf, there are twelve achievements. Each achievement has multiple requirements. For some achievement he must do all of the parts. In other cases you are given a choice of which requirements to do. Details are on the first page of each achievement in the Wolf handbook. When he completes all twelve achievements, he has earned his Wolf rank and he gets the patch to put on his uniform.

After he completes the achievements, he can earn arrow points by working on electives.  For each ten elective requirements he completes, he gets an arrow point to put on his uniform. The first arrow point is gold, the rest are silver. Not that the ten elective requirements do not have to be from the same electives. He can mix and match as he pleases.


Third graders are Bears. Bear is similar to Wolf in that he must complete twelve achievements to get the badge. But there are twenty four achievements to choose from. But he does not get to pick any twelve of the twenty four. They are in four groups – God, Country, Family, and Self.  To earn the Bear badge, he must do one from the God group, three from Country, four from Family, and four from Self. Like the Wolf achievements, each one will have multiple requirements. Sometimes he must do all of the requirements to complete an achievement, other times there is a choice.  Details are in the Wolf handbook.

Like Wolves, the Bears can earn arrow points after they get their Bear badge.  In addition to having the electives to choose from, he can do requirements for any of the Bear achievements he did not use to earn his Bear badge. But unused parts of achievements that were used for the Bear badge may not be counted toward Arrow Points.


Fourth and fifth graders are Webelos. They work on activity badges. There are twenty activity badges divided into five different groups – Physical Skills, Community, Outdoor, Mental Skills, and Technology. Each activity badge has multiple requirements. There are some requirements which must be completed and some they can choose from.  The activity badges are actually pins which can be worn on the Webelos colors (ribbons) which are worn on the arm of the uniform.

First year Webelos work on earning their Webelos badge. To earn this badge, they must do some basic requirements – things like participating in a flag ceremony, learning about the Scout Oath and Law, etc.  They must also earn the Fitness activity badge, the Citizen activity badge, and one more badge from a different group than  Fitness and Citizen. See the Webelos handbook for details. Once they complete the requirements, they can wear the Webelos badge on their uniforms.

After they get their Webelos badge, they can work on their Arrow of Light emblem, which is the highest award a Cub Scout can earn.  They must do some more basic requirements, like visiting a Boy Scout troop and going on an outdoor activity. They must also earn Readyman activity badge,  Outdoorsman activity badge, and at least two more activity badges. Details are in the Webelos handbook. Usually when they complete Arrow of Light they are ready to move on to Boy Scouting. They get an emblem which can be worn on their Boy Scout uniform. It is customary to present them with some other memento of their achievement as well. Usually this incorporates some sort of “career arrow” which reminds them of all of the things they did in Cub Scouting

Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program (Belt Loops and Pins)

The Academics and Sports program is a supplemental program. Cub Scouts should be focused on earning their ranks. But the belt loops and pins provide additional activities and recognitions. In some cases these can be used to fulfill requirements for Webelos activity badges if the work is done after the Cub Scout started Webelos. They can work on belt loops and pins as a den or on their own.

For the belt loops, there are usually three requirements, all which must be completed. These are meant to introduce the subject to the Cub Scout.  When they complete the three requirements, they receive a metal belt loop which they can wear on their Cub Scout belt.

If the Cub Scout wants to learn more about a subject in the Academics and Sports program, they can earn a pin. The belt loop for the subject must be earned first. Then they have a choice of requirements which they can complete.  The pins are meant to be worn on the Academics and Sports letter, It is a large blue and gold “C”, like a varsity sports letter. I have never actually seen a Cub Scout with the letter. Most of the Cub Scouts I have seen with the pins put them on a hat or pin them to their uniform.


More Information

9 Responses to Cub Scout Badges and Awards

  1. Mary March 3, 2014 at 12:19 PM #

    If my son earned his Bear badge in time for the Blue and Gold ceremony this past weekend, can he start earning the Webelos achievements/pins?

    • Scouter Mom March 3, 2014 at 12:29 PM #

      No, he should wait until his den starts Webelos. He should work on arrow points or do some of the belt loops and pins.

  2. Dustin March 3, 2014 at 8:24 PM #

    We have an academics and sports letter. It is not authorized to be worn with the uniform, but can be put on a patch blanket or vest (vests are not authorized either, but they are fun). My son just has it in a patch collection book.

  3. Randy June 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM #

    My son who will be starting third grade this year will be working on his bear. Can my son continue to work on his electives for bear till he goes to third grade.

    • Randy June 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM #

      I asked my question wrong in the previous post. Can my son continue to do his electives for wolf before he goues into third grade and starts his bear requirements?? My son has 97 out 129 arrow electives done so far. Can he keep working on these before going into 3rd grade??

      • Scouter Mom June 3, 2014 at 8:31 PM #

        If he is still a Wolf he may continue working on Wolf electives. But Cub Scouts normally start Bear when they complete 2nd grade. If you are uncertain, you should check with the advancement chair for your district.

  4. Akela June 28, 2014 at 9:31 PM #

    Hi Scouter Mom,

    My son earned the World Conservation Award as a Bear. I read this patch should be worn as a temporary patch on the right pocket. Do you have any suggestions for putting on a temp patch? It is on the adhesive sheet with the other patches so I am confused.

    On another note, I love your website! It’s an awesome resource for leaders & akelas. Keep up the good work!

    • Scouter Mom June 29, 2014 at 7:55 AM #

      Most of the temporary patches have a small loop which can be used to hang them from the button on the pocket flap. Just unbutton the pocket flap, slip the loop over the button, and button the flap over it. I’ve also seen clear plastic sleeves at the scout shop which slip over the button in the same way. The patch goes in the sleeve for display.

  5. Maria Lewis October 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM #

    My son just earned his Fun With Son badge and I don’t know where he should wear it. We just bought his uniform yesterday. He is a bear and we’ve only been involved in scouting for a month.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2012 A2ZWare