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Cub Scout Pack 163
(Marengo, Illinois)
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                                                        "Cubbing" History


      Cubbing, as it was first know, started in the United States in 1930.  However, it was in 1916 when Baden-Powell published The Wolf Cub Handbook that Cubbing became an official part of scouting in England and endorsements for the program began in the United States.  At that time, James E. West, BSA Chief Executive, felt that this new program might take adult leadership away from the Boy Scouts so initially he opposed the program.

      It is interesting to note that in the beginning, each Cub den was led by a Boy Scout Den Chief.  It wasn't until 1936 that the position of Den Mother was added as an optional position even though Den Mothers had been helping since 1932.  Still, that position was to provide support for the Den Chief. It was not until the late 1940’s to mid 1950’s that the Den Mother assumed full control of the den.

      Dens were formed by age until 1986 when the phase in for grade level began, lasting until 1991.  In the beginning, Wolfs were 9 year olds, Bears were 10 years old and Lions were 11 years old.  They could enter Boy Scouts when they turned 12.  Until 1942, when a boy joined, he would start with the Wolf rank after completing his Bobcat requirements and work his way up regardless of his age.  During these early years, he could only wear his current rank and associated arrow points.

           First Cub Rank Badges Were Wolf, Bear & Lion

      The first rank badges of Cubbing were made of felt with wide borders.  The badges have Cubs, BSA embroidered on them.  This is because the boys referred to as Cubs in the early years, not Cub Scouts.

                                        Bobcat Pin

      In 1938, the Bob Cat pin was introduced as the entry-level badge for a new Cub.  It was only to be worn on civilian clothes.  This first Bob Cat pin can be identified because it has the words CUBS B.S.A. on lower front.  These words changed to CUB SCOUTS, B.S.A. in 1948 when the cloth ranks badges made the same change.  Sometime between 1948 and the 1950's the word BOB CAT on the pin was changed from two words to one word, BOBCAT.  In 1959, the Bobcat pin was approved for uniform wear.

                                Webelos Rank Added

      Several changes were made in the early 1940's.  In 1941, the Webelos rank was added.  It was for a Cub who had completed his Lion badge and had also completed certain requirements for Tenderfoot, the first rank in Boy Scouts.  The Webelos badge at that time looked like the Arrow of Light badge we use today.  In 1943, another change was that a boy could wear all of his rank and arrow points on his uniform shirt.  The positions of the badges as viewed by another person were Lion at the top, Bear to the left and Wolf to the right.  This order lasted until it was changed in 1949 to Wolf on the top, Bear to the right and Lion to the left.
Lion Mane types
     Cubbing became Cub Scouts in 1948.  And at that time the badges began being changed from Cubs, BSA to Cub Scouts, BSA.  There also appears to be two different types of manes on the Lion badges after the change.  The two type of manes continued for many years on both felt and twill.

      In 1949, the age level was dropped one year for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  In the 1950's, the badges were changed from felt to a twill cloth.

Webelos Den Badge

             Webelos Den Created

     In 1954, a Webelos Den was created for boys 10½.  The new Webelos Den badge was introduced as a dark blue "W" on a gold or yellow twill background and was worn on the right sleeve in place of the Den Number insignia.  This badge often gets confused as a Webelos rank insignia.  The size of this den badge is a bit smaller than the rank insignias of the time.

                                    Lion Dropped

     1967 was the next big change in Cub Scouts.  The rank of Lion was dropped, 15 activity badges were added and the last year of Cubs became the Webelos program.  Although a number of references say that it was at this time that the original Webelos rank became the Arrow of Light rank, that name change did not occur until beginning of 1972.  The 1971 printing of the Wolf Cub Scout Book still refer to the highest Cub Scout rank as the Webelos rank.  It is interesting that the same reference states that "Three months before your 11th birthday, you may start to work on requirements for the Webelos Award."  I expect that this three months requirement began in 1967.

      Between 1967 and 1972, Cub Scouts could only wear two diamond shaped patches, Wolf and Bear.  They were worn side by side.

                                     Arrow of Light

In 1972 or at the end of 1971, the old Webelos rank badge changed its name to the Arrow of Light badge and the requirements were for the badge were significantly changed.  The changes meant that Webelos could begin working on their Arrow of Light at the age of 10.

                  Bobcat and Webelos Cloth Badge Added

      Towards the end of 1972, the Bobcat rank badge was added and the Wolf and Bear badges changed to the style that is used today.  It was not until 1977 or 1978 that the diamond Webelos rank badge that can be used today was developed.

      With the development of the Bobcat and Webelos badges, Cub Scouts could who earned all the awards would wear a full diamond badge.  Bobcat was on the top, Wolf on the wearers right, Bear on the wearers left and Webelos in the bottom of the new four badge series.

               Tiger Cub Graduates Get Their First Badge

      In 1982, Tiger Cubs was started as a program only associated with a Pack.  At this that time Tiger Cubs were 7 year olds.  Tiger Cub StripThere was no award initially, but in 1996 when a Tiger Cub graduated to the Pack, he was presented with a Tiger Cub BSA strip that could be worn just below the wearer’s right pocket.  In 1986, the Boy Scouts of America began phasing an aged based program to a grade based program and at the same time they lowered the beginning time for Tiger Cubs to first grade.  This would change the Webelos program a two year program.  In 2001, the Tiger Cub Den became an integrated part of the pack.

                                   Recent Changes

      The most recent changes occurred in 2001 with the introduction of a new oval Webelos badge and a Tiger Cub badge.  When a boy has earned his Webelos award, he may wear in place of the rank badge diamond, the oval Webelos badge in the same manner as a Boy Scout rank badge.  For packs choosing to use the oval Webelos badge, the new Tiger Cub badge can be worn in place of the old diamond Webelos badge hence retaining a full diamond for boys earning their Bobcat, Tiger Cub, Wolf and Bear.

          View images of the Cub Scout rank badges on these pages:

Tiger Cub & Bobcat
Webelos & Arrow of Light
Rank Badge Diamonds