A Complete Breakdown of Cub Scout Ranks

cub scout rankings

The Cub Scouts program has been a cornerstone of youth development for decades, offering young boys and girls a structured and engaging platform to learn important life skills, build character, and develop a sense of community. As part of this journey, Cub Scouts progress through seven distinct ranks, each marked by unique activities and responsibilities that contribute to their personal growth. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down each of the Cub Scout ranks and delve into the activities associated with each rank period.

Bobcat Rank 

The Bobcat rank sets the tone for the journey ahead by introducing new Scouts to the basic ideals and practices of the organization. Achieving the Bobcat Rank requires demonstrating knowledge of the Cub Scout Promise, the Law of the Pack, the Cub Scout motto, and the salute. This rank is a requirement for any new Cub Scout, no matter the age.


  • Learning the Basics: Cub Scouts learn about the Cub Scout Promise (“I promise to do my best…”), the Law of the Pack (a code of conduct), and the Cub Scout motto (“Do Your Best”).
  • Salute and Handshake: Scouts practice and demonstrate the Cub Scout salute and handshake.
  • Cub Scout Spirit: Engaging in activities that encourage enthusiasm, participation, and a positive attitude within the group.

Lion Cub Rank: Kindergarten

The Lion Cub Rank is designed with indoor and outdoor activities for kindergarten-age children and their guardians. It serves as the entry point into the world of Cub Scouting. As the kindergarten year comes to an end, the young Lion Cub will embark on the next phase of their Cub Scouting journey. They will transition to Tiger Cubs, where they will have the opportunity to earn the Bobcat badge and continue their engaging exploration of Cub Scouting activities.

Tiger Rank: 1st Grade

The Tiger Rank marks the beginning of a Cub Scout’s exploration of the natural world and community. Tigers, accompanied by adult partners, engage in hands-on activities that promote curiosity, teamwork, and creativity. The Tiger Rank is designed for youth who are in first grade or age seven.


  • Family Involvement: Tigers and their adult partners embark on shared adventures, emphasizing the role of family in the scouting journey.
  • Outdoor Exploration: Scouts engage in nature hikes, learn about different animals and plants, and begin to appreciate the outdoors.
  • Community Engagement: Scouts participate in service projects and learn about the importance of giving back to their community.

Wolf Rank: 2nd Grade

The Wolf Rank focuses on building essential life skills and self-reliance. Scouts work on tasks that help them become more self-sufficient and gain a sense of accomplishment. The rank is designed for those who have finished first grade or are eight years old. Achieving the Wolf badge requires a Cub Scout to successfully accomplish six mandatory adventures and choose one elective adventure to complete.


  • Skill Building: Scouts learn practical skills such as cooking, using tools, and first aid.
  • Physical Fitness: Engaging in physical activities and games that promote health and well-being.
  • Personal Growth: Participating in activities that encourage responsibility, communication, and understanding.

Bear Rank: 3rd Grade

As Cub Scouts progress to the Bear Rank, they delve deeper into areas of personal interest and gain a broader perspective on the world around them. This rank encourages creativity and exploration. The Bear Rank is for kids who have completed the second grade or are nine years old.


  • Artistic Pursuits: Scouts engage in activities related to crafts, music, and theater, fostering creativity and self-expression.
  • World Around Us: Learning about different cultures, historical events, and interesting facts from around the world.
  • STEM Exploration: Participating in science experiments and learning about technological concepts.

Webelos Rank: 4th and 5th Grade

The Webelos Rank serves as a transitional phase for Cub Scouts, preparing them for the more advanced challenges of Scouts BSA. This rank emphasizes personal responsibility and leadership. It is for those in 4th and 5th grade or who are at least ten years old. Within this rank, Scouts engage with the challenge of undertaking the five obligatory Webelos adventures alongside their choice of two from the 18 elective adventures that are shared between the Webelos and Arrow of Light ranks. By successfully completing this combination of seven adventures — comprising the five required adventures and two elective adventures — a young Scout successfully attains the Webelos Rank badge.


  • Outdoor Adventures: Engaging in outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and orienteering to develop wilderness skills.
  • Leadership Development: Learning about leadership roles and responsibilities within a group.
  • Career Exploration: Gaining insight into various professions and career paths through interactions with adults in different fields.

Arrow of Light: 5th Grade

The Arrow of Light is the highest rank a Cub Scout can achieve and represents a significant step toward becoming a member of Scouts BSA. This rank prepares Scouts for the transition to a more challenging and independent scouting experience. The Arrow of Light stands as the sole Cub Scout badge permissible to be worn on the Scout’s BSA uniform.


  • Scoutcraft Skills: Mastering advanced outdoor skills such as fire-building, wilderness survival, and knot-tying.
  • Service Projects: Leading and participating in service initiatives that benefit the community.
  • Personal Growth: Reflecting on their Cub Scouting journey and setting personal goals for the future.

Transition to Scouts BSA with Great Rivers Council

The journey through Cub Scout ranks culminates in the transition to Scouts BSA, where Scouts embrace more complex challenges, leadership roles, and outdoor adventures. The skills and values acquired during the Cub Scout ranks provide a strong foundation for this new phase of growth.

The Cub Scout program offers an enriching and structured advancement trail for young individuals to grow, learn, and develop into responsible and capable members of society. The seven ranks offer progressively challenging activities that foster personal development, teamwork, leadership, and a strong sense of community.  

Is your child ready to join Cub Scouts? Get started today with the Great Rivers Council.