Akela Training

Akela: A Simple Primer

So you wanna be Akela? Wait… you say you didn’t want to BE Akela, its just that you were…asked…coerced…forced… to become a Cub Scout Leader. Guess what? It’s not that bad, and, in fact, once you have the hang of it, quite the privilege. This primer is intended to be an introduction to Cub Scouting, and how to be a Cub Scout Leader, or Akela.

First thing out the door has to be this: If you are a Cub Scout parent, you are also, an AKELA.

This idea of being an AKELA is not just for the leader staff that stands up each week in front of the kids and conducts a Cub Scout meeting. Or even, the leaders that put on the monthly Pack meetings. YOU, as a parent are the most important Akelas in your son’s lives. We, as leaders, are trained and are only a catalyst in the development of your boy’s lives. This primer is to be a small introduction to the Scouting family, and hopefully, provides you with some of the tools necessary to help the leadership give your sons the Scouting experience they deserve, and you expect as a parent.

Got you going didn’t I, thought this was going to be a leaders’ guide, huh? Well, I am sure that any leader reading this would benefit from any information they could glean herein, I know I would. Leadership is generally made up of people just like you and me, parents that volunteered, and never wanted out…or perhaps never figured how to get out. So, pardon my presumptuous position, but I thought that if I could just get your attention, and show you just how easy it is to be a Cub Scout Leader, as a leader, or AKELA, of your own son, perhaps you would consider doing the same for other boys, we can always use another hand.

Please take this document for what it is, a simple primer for being an AKELA to your son, and if, as I hope, you can devote time to you pack, district, or council, please do so with the understanding that there is no greater gift that we, as adults and parents, can give to our youth. That is, the support and dedication to the greatest single organization devoted to the development of the young men of our country into the good men they can become. Our nation is built on the premise that all contribute and are a part of the greater good. Boy Scouting is the personified example of this premise. Your part, however great or small, is greater than that of the parent that fails to do anything. The very simplest concept of Boy Scouting is teamwork. We present this in the form of a patrol, the smallest collective group assembled as a team. Team, we all know the concept of team. Together, we are greater as a group, than as individuals. Every successful team, coach, leader, and Scout knows this. This training primer is to show the basic fundamentals of this concept. What you can do as a parent, AKELA, and ultimately, a part of this great organization we call: Boy Scouts of America.


The Jungle Book and Cub Scouting

Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, based Cub Scouting on one of the stories in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. It was called “Mowgli’s Brothers.” We know it as “The Story of Akela and Mowgli.” A copy of part of the story is in the Wolf Cub Scout Book. The story is continued in the Bear Cub Scout Book. A part of the story is also in the Cub Scout Leader Book. (The Jungle Book and other Rudyard Kipling books are described at the Penguin Books website.)

BSA Cub Scouting has drawn upon the adventure and lore of the Native American, just as Seton’s Native American lore influenced Boy Scouting; but a strong influence from Kipling’s Jungle Book still remains. The words “Law of the Pack,” “Akela,” “Wolf Cub,” ” Grand Howl,” “den,” and “pack” all come from the Jungle Book. The gold and silver arrows, Webelos, and Arrow of Light are taken from our Native American heritage.

Jungle Book Names

The following may be of interest to Scouters not familiar with the Jungle Book nomenclature. It is a table of accepted pronunciations obtained from All the Mowgli Stories; Doubleday, 1936 and from Dee LaRock. These names are used in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many other countries.

Characters in the Story

Akela Ah-ky-la*h* (the Father Wolf, leader of the Pack)
Bagheera Ba*r*-gheer-a*h*; in history (the Panther)
Baloo Baa-loo (the Bear)
Bandarlog Búnder-logue (the Monkey People)
Chil CheelCheel
Hathi Huttee or H*r*-ty
Kaa Kar, with a sort of gasp in it. (the Python)
Mowgli Mow(as in “cow”)-gly (the Boy)
Nag Na*r*g
Rikki-tikki-tavi Rikky-tikky-tay-vy
Shere Khan Share-karn (Tiger)
Tabaqui Tar-bár-kee (the Jackal)
Tha Creator of the jungle
Names Used in Cub Scout Packs
The following (also from the same source) is a list of “Jungle Names for the Cub Pack”.Names held “Ex Officio”

Akela Cubmaster
Baloo Assistant Cubmaster
Bagheera Assistant Cubmaster
Raksha Assistant Cubmaster
Black Plume Sixers (UK)
Brown Tip Sixers (UK)
Grey Brother Sixers (UK)
Red Fang Sixers (UK)
Tawny Fur Sixers (UK)
WhiteClaw Sixers (UK)
Sahi (the Porcupine) Pack Scribe (UK)
White Hood Pack Storekeeper (UK)

Names Awarded for Prowess in Cub Activities

Ahdeek (the Reindeer) Team Games
Apukwa (the Bulrush) Weaving
Blue Smoke Signalling
Chil (The Kite) Singing
Crimson Arrow Throwing and catching
Dahinda (the Bull-frog) Leapfrog, cartwheels, etc.
Ferao (the Scarlet Woodpecker) Woodwork
Golden Quill Artist
Hawkeye Observation
Hiawatha All-round athletics
Iagoo (the Story-teller) Telling stories
Jacala (the Crocodile) Acting
Kaa (the Python) Tree-climbing
Karela (the Bitter Vine) Knotting
Keego (the Fish) Swimming
Keneu (the Great War Eagle) Running
Kotick (the Seal) Wrestling
Kwasin (the Strong Man) Boxing
Limmerskin (the Wren) Message-carrying
Little Beaver Lair-building
Mysa (the Wild Buffalo) Good hearing
Nag (the Cobra) First Aid
Nushka (“Look!”) Guide
Oonai (the Wolf) Reciting
Pukeena (the Grasshopper) High Jump
Scarlet Feather Fire-lighting
Sea Catch (the Seal) Diving
Shaw-shaw (the Swallow) Skipping
Singum (the Lion) Book-carrying
Rann (the Eagle) Good eyesight
Tilji-pho (the Lark) Musician
Toomai Folk-dancing
Wabeeno (the Magician) Walking the Plank
Wawbeck (the Rock) Modelling
White Elk Long Jump
Won-tolla Hopping

Names Awarded by Akela at his Discretion

Hathi (the Elephant) Punctual and regular attendance
Jeebi (the Ghost) Fattest Cub
Kim (Little friend of all the world) Helpfulness
Ko (the Crow) Noisiest Cub
Mang (the Bat) Obedience
Mor (the Peacock) Tidiness and cleanliness
Onaway (“Awake!”) Alertness
Shada (the Pelican) Perseverance
Rikki-tikki-tavi (the Mongoose) Cheeriness, or Courage
Mowgli Friend to animals
Sona (the Himalayan Bear) Good manners
Suggeema (the Mosquito) Smallest Cub
Tall Pine Tallest Cub

A Different Introduction From Many Moons Ago

Akela and the Webelos:

“Hoo,” called the Owl, in the darkness, and Mowgli, the little Indian boy in the tepee below, was wide awake! While he knew the Owl was no enemy, its call always made little shivers run up and down his backbone. He lay very still. His ears were wide open now.

Other sounds came out of the forest silences. One sounded like the “meow” of a great cat, and from a hill across the lake, he heard a wolf call and another answered.

Once in the evening, Mowgli’s father had crept with him up close to a gathering of wolves and he had watched them form a big circle about the Old Wolf, the leader. Mowgli almost jumped when the whole pack gave out a grand howl of welcome to the Old Wolf–and then the whole pack went off together to hunt, following the Old Wolf, each helping as they hunted for their food in the Great Woods. He thought what fun he and the other boys would have playing as wolves–and the next day they held a little Council Ring of their own. All this came quickly to mind as he heard the wolves’ calls fade away.

He wasn’t exactly afraid, because he had already learned that these animals were afraid of fire and outside the tepee there burned a fire, like a mute watchman on guard. Then too the animals had learned to be careful of humans, because when one human was attacked, he had friends who came to his rescue–to help him.

But above these strange noises, Mowgli heard something different from the wolf-noises of the forest–it was a step. It was a step trained to be light, yet his now eager ear could catch it. It was not the step of some animal prowling cowardly about, it was a human step. He could also hear whispers, as the steps died quickly into a strained silence.

“Boom,” went a deep, muffled beat of the great ceremonial drum–and then he knew that the men of the tribe were gathering for some big pow-wow. How he wished he too could answer that call. He wanted to be a man. He wanted to do his part.

That very day, he had dropped a running rabbit with his swift little arrow and had proudly brought it home to his mother. All day he had stalked and hunted and shot, had run and chased and hidden–and now–he was tired–his eyes closed.

“Hoo,” said the Owl–in the darkness–but Mowgli’s ears were shut!

The Council Fire Circle:

Meantime, things were happening at the Great Council Fire Ring on top of the cliff. Here it was they met to worship the Great Spirit. Here they met, to thank Him for success. Here they met also to decide what should be done in war or peace or hunt.

Akela was the big Chief of “the Webelos.” Tall, stalwart, straight as an arrow, swift as an antelope, brave as a lion–he was fierce to an enemy but kind to a brother. Many trophies hung in his tepee. His father was the Son of the Sun. His totem was “The Arrow of Light.”

The “Medicine Man” and “Firemaker” had come early to the Council Ring, and everything was in readiness.

“Firemaker” had builded the ceremonial fire, and it crackled and burned, tongues of flame shot upward throwing strange shadows into the deeper darkness of the forest.

It was out of these strange silences and noises of the Great Woods, that there had boomed the great heavy tones of the stump drum ad the “Medicine Man” beat it as a signal. Three times its heavy tone had boomed out into the night, calling the braves from the village below, where it lay at the edge of the lake and protected by sharp cliffs. One by one, in silence, the braves had answered and quickly scaled the narrow ledge that led to the Council Fire.

The dance began. In turn, each dancer told a story of the tribe’s greatness.

One recited the old legend of the first Chief, who single-handed had bested ten enemy war-canoes filled with braves. They were waiting around the point of the lake to attack the village. He swam under water and broke through each birch bark canoe in turn and then escaped. As the enemies swam ashore, his braves tomahawked and scalped them one by one.

Another told of the Chief’s bear-claw necklace. One day when stalking (or creeping up on) a deer, in passing through a rocky place, the Chief found a grizzly cornering an Indian boy. He dared not shoot an arrow lest he injure the boy. So rushing in, with stones he attracted the grizzly’s attention and the fight began. Like boxers they dodged and rushed at each other until the tomahawk reached its mark and brained the grizzly and the boy was saved. The big hide kept the Chief warm through the long cold nights. The claws became the necklace. When the boy grew up he always fought near his Chief to guard him if necessary. And that boy was the dancer.

Another pictured, by step and gesture, the Chief chasing the buffalo. Food had been very scarce, there was hunger in the tepees, so the Chief traveled far and saw a lone buffalo which he proceeded to stalk. Finally he was so close that he started to run toward the buffalo at close range. Suddenly the buffalo turned and charged straight at him. It was all so quick he could not dodge, so the Chief leaped clear over the head of the bull and quickly turning, sank his spear into the animal’s shoulder. As the buffalo stumbled, the Chief found his heart with a second spear. This food brought much joy to the hungry ones.

Another told of the laws its Chief had urged for the happiness of his people. The law of the forest had been “To live and let live”–they killed nothing needlessly. Then came Chief Akela. He taught a new law, —“To live and help live.”His warriors were brothers. Unmatched in battle, fierce in attack–yet to their women and children they were kindness itself–and with their neighbors they lived in peace–together fighting off outside invaders. Of all the tribes near the Great Woods, they gave most care to helping their boys learn the ways of the brave.

One after another told his tale. Then all was quiet. It was a silence that could be felt! Something important was about to happen!

Akela’s Life Story:

Chief Akela, bright in his warrior’s headdress and in ceremonial paint–stepped into the lighted circle. The tom-tom beaters began. Low and slow, then growing like a storm they beat fiercely as the Chief told in graceful gesture of the greatness of his tribe.

His dance pictured his own life story. He told of the strength and wisdom of his father “Arrow of Light.” He told of his mother, “Kind Eyes,” from whom he learned those wondrous thing that mothers know. His father had helped him make a little bow and arrow, and once when an enemy would have tomahawked his mother–he, Akela, from his papoose basket, shot the pursuing enemy in the eye and his mother escaped.

A little later he began to understand the speech and signs and calls of the Webelos. Then he was taken on little trips into the forest among the great trees and the streams. Here from the Wolf he learned the language of the ground, the tracks, the ways to food. The from the big kindly Bears he learned the secret names of trees and the calls of birds–the language of the air. But before he might become a scouting “brave” upon his own–he first had to look the Lion in the eye and learn the language of the stout heart–which feared nothing and which never gave up.

Then and only then, did his father admit him to the lower ranks of the young braves,–the scouts of the trail. They had the privilege of helping the braves and thus taking a real part in the affairs of the tribe.

As he closed his dance, by gesture and sign, he told the braves that the tribe could be no greater than its boys. He said, “The future is hidden, but if we are strong and brave and help our boys be the same, our tribe will be strong. If our boys are square and game–they will take our places and our tribe will continue to be great.”

The tom-toms closed in a final burst, and all the braves gave the great guttural “How.”

Then, in silence, the warriors stood beside the dying fire, with no noise save the crackle of the embers and the mysterious half-noises of the forest–raising the right hand toward the sky and the Great Spirit, with the left each joined in the “living circle” with his brothers, as a pledge to the tribe and to the Great Spirit–a pledge to the future through the present.


You should read this for yourself, and read it to your son…
It was written for him, but, since Cub Scouting is family, it is written to you as well.

  • We are glad YOU are going to be a Cub Scout. Boy, are you going to have fun!
  • You like to play games, don’t you? Well, you came to the right place. Cub Scouts play lots of games.
  • Making things is OK with you too. With the Cub Scouts you can make boats, airplanes, Indian suits, and other things you like.
  • Do you like to pretend you are someone else sometimes? Well, Cub Scouts in their meetings pretend they are cowboys, Indians, space cadets, firemen, policemen, knights, and almost any kind of hero.
  • Do you know what a cookout is? It is a meal cooked outside – in the backyard or a park – by Cub Scouts and their fathers (or mothers).
  • Sometimes Cub Scout families go on a picnic.
  • In fact, whatever you like to do best, you’ll probably find it in Cub Scouts.


So Your Boy is a Cub Scout

What is it all about? What will it mean to him? And what will it mean to you? This document aims to help answer these very natural questions. As well, we hope to provide insight and understanding for you to be the Akela you long, and NEED to be. This document should help the single moms, and dads become, or at least start you to become, the Akela that your son deserves.

For the boy, the key word in Cub Scouting is FUN. He will have plenty to learn and many new things to do. But so far as he is concerned, it’s just fun.

For you, the key word is LEARNING. Your son will learn how to work with others (in Boy Scouts, this is the Patrol method), both boys and adults. He will have a chance to learn new skills – some of them you may not have done yourself – and he will acquire valuable habits that will stay with him all his life.

You can help him understand how important these things are to him. You can also, help him to learn these things, while you are learning yourself, if it is something new to you. This is the beauty of Cub Scouting… it is a family world.

Your boy will need your help in Cub Scouting. His need will be a dividend for you, because it will help you to understand him and the wonderful world of boys. This can be especially important to single mother parents.

Cub Scouting is for the whole family, not just for the Cub Scout. There is fun for all at meetings of his pack and at home as he works on the skills Cub Scouting teaches. Share the work and the play with your son. He will enjoy his years as a Cub Scout more if you do – and so will you.


You and Your Boy

How well do you know your son? Do you understand him as well as you’d like to? You’ll probably never learn to know your boy so well that he’ll never take you by surprise. That’s one of the things that makes life with him an adventure.

Most boys of Cub Scout age are active, energetic, and on-the-go. They love games and active play. They never walk when they can run. They throw things down more often that they lay them down. They slam doors more often than they close them quietly.

But not all boys are like this. A recent study [ed. This was taken from a 1967 document] of Cub Scout-age boys showed that a few are quiet, inactive, lacking that driving energy that is considered typical of young boys. I consider this interesting because it indicates to me that the same problems that we see today in 2004 are identical to circa 1967 (there are just more ways to do it). I believe we are the same now as we were then. It just seems that the “experts”, you know, the ones that have no kids but go to college to learn all about them, blame today and society. I submit to you that boys are boys, and the downturn in behavior and delinquency is our own fault as a society. Boy Scouting is as viable a solution to giving boys an upbringing now as it was then, and always has been. That is why I believe in what we are doing, and I think that as you learn and use the program designed by many gifted and genius people in and of BSA, you will too.

Many boys of this age have begun to take an active interest in learning new things. They are beginning to think things through for themselves. They want to know the “why” of things they are told as well as the “what.”

The study found that boys of this age cannot be stereotyped anymore that adults can. Some parents characterized their boys as trusting, considerate, and persevering. A few thought their sons were rough and rowdy or lazy and dependent. Some described their boys as affectionate and good-natured, and others said their sons were fearful and sad much of the time.

The most important factor in developing proper attitudes in your boy is your own attitude toward him. Don’t be too critical or too severe. Avoid making issues of the little things; but once you draw a line, don’t budge from it.

The thought that runs through his head very often is, They just don’t understand. (sound familiar in your own childhood thoughts? It does in mine) Your progress will depend largely upon your knack for showing him that you do understand.

Remember that he is an individual. He is not a marvel of the assembly line stamped “boy” who can be expected to behave in exactly the same way as every other creature called “boy.”

Most of all, remember that the day will soon come when you will miss his boyish reactions and enthusiasm. You’ll never have a chance to help him work through this period again. Make the most of it. Laugh with him. Understand him. As you do these things, his attitude toward you will change, too.

When I set out to write this study help and guide to assist new parents in becoming AKELA, I looked for sources of information that could help me collect my thoughts. I went back to my roots, my Cub Scouting days. Lo and behold, the very sentiments I hold true had already been published and used on me by my parents and leaders. I had never read these words in my old Wolf Book� why should I? they were words for parents, yet it is exactly what I believe� amazing the skill of our parents and leaders of that time. We were taught exactly like that which I have typed out for you. How could I reinvent that which has already been perfected, the Scouting program. Read on, and learn with me.

How Cub Scouting Can Help Your Boy

Cub Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America for boys 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 years old. Parents and Cub Scout leaders join in the program for these purposes:

  • INFLUENCING the development of the boys’ character and spiritual life.
  • DEVELOPING habits and attitudes of good citizenship.
  • ENCOURAGING good sportsmanship and pride in growing strong in mind and body
  • IMPROVING communication and undertaking within the family.
  • STRENGTHENING the ability to get along with other boys and respect other people.
  • FOSTERING a sense of personal achievement by developing new interests and skills.
  • SHOWING how to be helpful and do one’s best.
  • PROVIDING fun and joy through the activities of Cub Scouting.
  • PREPARING them to be Boy Scouts.

How You Can Help Your New Cub Scout

The Cub Scout program has been developed to meet these goals. Each of the things your son will be asked to do has a purpose in line with one or more of them. The fun is there for him, but behind the fun is the serious purpose of developing his skills and character.

Your help is essential in achieving these goals. Some of the things your boy will be asked to do cannot be done without your help. This is no accident. Nor is it evidence that Cub Scouting expects too much of boys. Rather, it is that Cub Scouting expects much of parents. Your boy cannot advance without your help.

The greatest gift you can give your son is understanding. He expects it – he deserves it. There are few things in your life more important than understanding your son.

That’s why it’s so important that you meet your Cub Scouting obligations to you boy. No one else can do it for you, and no one else can do it for him, nor should they.

Give him understanding – and time. You cannot give him one without the other. He needs at least a few minutes of everyday that you will hold for him in spite of all your other responsibilities. Do things WITH him, not merely FORhim.


How Cub Scouting Works

As you know by now, the urge for companionship is very strong in Cub Scout-age boys. Cub Scouting uses this urge in its organization.

Your son will be a member, first, of a den – a small group of boys who meet once a week in a home, or perhaps in a classroom at the chartering organization’s facility. (e.g. we all meet each week at the church that sponsors our Pack). Chances are the den will be made up of boys from your neighborhood, or church, or your son’s school. He will also be a member of a Pack, comprising several dens. The pack meets one evening each month, usually in the chartering organization’s facility. You are not just welcome at the pack meetings – you are part of them.

Den skits and stunts are staged for your benefit so you can see what your son has learned at the weekly den meetings. You also take part in award ceremonies at these meetings with your son.

The den is the focus of activity, since most of a Cub Scout’s group work and play occurs at the weekly den meetings. Friendly rivalries spring up among the dens in the pack, and den loyalty and spirit are fostered as each den performs in stunts and games at pack meetings.

The dens meet after school in the afternoon or evening either at the home of the Den Leader, or at the chartering organization’s facility (this what our Pack does). There is some benefit to having all of the dens meet at the same location on the same nights. Each den leader can help one another or have programs / speakers that benefit more than one den, and can be shared. The Den Leader is the most important adult in Cub Scouting, with the exception of you the parent. This is mostly because the den leader has the most contact and training time with the boys.

The den leader gets help from an assistant Den Leader; a den chief, who is a Boy Scout who helps at meetings; a den dad or mom who helps by gathering materials needed by the den and who may help at the pack meetings and outings; and last but not least, a denner and assistant denner. The denner and assistant are members of the den who are elected for short periods by the other Cub Scouts to help the den leader.

From time to time, your son will bring home unfinished projects from den meetings. Encourage and help him with problems on them. Remember that Cub Scouting should be a family affair, not just a once-a-week period away from home for him.

Your son’s pack is governed by a pack committee appointed by the sponsor (called chartered institution/organization) that might be a church, PTA, civic organization, or just a group of interested citizens.

The pack committee selects a Cubmaster who is the adult in charge of the pack. He and his assistants lead the pack meetings and other activities and decide on pack and den programs in conference with the den leaders, den moms and dads, and the pack committee.

The first thing your boy does to become a Cub Scout is to register. He will then be asked to complete his Bobcat requirements, unless he is part of the newest addition to the Cub Scouting program, the Tiger Cubs. If he is a Tiger, he will have a whole series of requirements geared to his age (6 years old or in the first grade) after which, he can earn his Bobcat badge. If he is in the second grade, or is 7 years old, he will be in a Wolf den, and must first earn his Bobcat to begin earning his Wolf badge. The requirements for Tiger, Bobcat, Wolf, Bear and Webelos are all spelled out in their respective books. However, with the exception of Tiger, no rank may be earned until the Cub has successfully completed the requirements for Bobcat. So say if you son was in the third grade, and/or eight years old, he would be a Bear Scout. He would first have to earn his Bobcat, before pursuing the requirements for Bear. The requirements for Bobcat are quite simple – at least for an adult – but be prepared to help learn and understand them.

When he has passed the Bobcat requirements to you satisfaction, you would then notify the den leader, den mom or dad, or even the den chief who will probably give him a small quiz to insure his retention of the knowledge, and make him feel proud of his accomplishment. Then at the next pack meeting, you will be asked to take part in a brief ceremony during which time he will be invested with his Bobcat pin, patch, and rank card.

How Cub Scouting Can Help You

It Will Help You Enjoy Your Boy. – Cub Scouting will bridge the great gap between your adult approach to life and the more imaginative approach of you son. Working and playing together in Cub Scouting, you and you son will find common ground for increasing trust and confidence. Together you will build a relationship that will serve the needs of son in adolescence.

It Will Draw Your Family Closer Together. – In shared interests – hikes and outings, work projects and planning together – the family ties are strengthened. These family ties give your son a sound base for his development as a secure, self-reliant young man.

It Will Make Your Neighborhood a Friendlier Place. – Because Cub Scouting is home and neighborhood centered, it brings neighbors closer together. Mothers and fathers work side by side because of their interest in the den and pack.

Your Responsibilities

It should be clear by now that Cub Scouting is a growth and development process for parents to use with their sons. It promises fun for both – and responsibilities for both, too.

Your first responsibility to your boy is, of course, a home where he finds love and security. No one else can give him that, and it is essential to his development. There is no substitute for a happy home.

Beyond that, Cub Scouting asks three things of you as a Cub Scout parent. They are:

  • Help for Your Boy. – Some of the things he is required to do cannot be done without your help.
  • Interest in His Work. – He must understand that you not only approve of what he is doing but that you want to help him with it. Show your interest by taking part in his Cub Scout work and play.
  • Leadership in the Den and Pack. – Some parents will be asked to serve as Den Leaders, den moms or dads, Cubmasters, or pack committee persons. If you are not needed in one of those jobs, there will be other opportunities for you to help.


Your Son and His Uniform

The first thing your son will want when he joins the Cub Scouts is a uniform. This is natural, because shows that he “belongs.”

See that he gets it if you can. A good way is to help him earn it. Assign jobs for him around the house. Pay him for them and make sure that he saves toward his uniform. He’ll get a special kick out of wearing it if he helps pay for it himself.

The uniform can be bought at stores that are distributors for the Boy Scouts of America. The Cubmaster will know where the nearest one is.

You’ll like the uniform, because it is sturdy and saves regular clothes during strenuous Cub Scout activities. There is no objection to his wearing it at informal family occasions.

For instructions about sewing on your son’s insignia, and placement, see your son’s Cub Scout Handbook.

In the next section I am going to introduce perhaps what has been the most perplexing thing for parents of my new Cubs, Achievements, Advancement and Awards. Lots of parents have had no prior experience with Scouting, Cubs, Boy Scouts, or anything, especially single mothers, or wives of military men stationed out of the area. Hopefully I can present the next section generically enough to get you and your son on the way to his earning his ranks and achievements. Detailed questions can always be directed to the leadership core of your Pack.

The Achievement Plan

The achievement plan is the heart of Cub Scouting. The 12 Achievements in the Wolf rank, as an example, will challenge your son with physical and mental tests. They will also spur him to learn something about himself, his neighborhood, his town, his country, and his religious heritage. The projects are things that experts consider basic to his growth.

His experience with his achievements will do more than help build his self-reliance. It will help him toward the discovery that he is now old enough to meet certain responsibilities toward other people. This is necessary as a foundation for good citizenship.

The achievement plan also provides a means for giving your boy the recognition he needs so much. A boy can develop behavior problems in seeking recognition. If he receives proper recognition, he may not have to do so many exasperating things in seeking it.

Since Cub Scouting is a program for families, it is only natural that the achievement plan is given family emphasis. The whole family can enjoy some of the projects with your son.

Your help is vital to his progress through the achievements. He will not be able to do some of them without aid. In addition to your help, he needs your approval. You must approve his work on each achievement and sign for it in the space provided in his Handbook.

Your son may do the achievements in any order, not necessarily in the order listed. Here are a few things to keep in mind as he works on the achievements:

  • Reading the Book.– Some 6-9 year olds do not read very well. You may find it necessary to help your son. You’ll be able to do this more effectively if you first read his Handbook yourself.
    • Study and talk over the process with him. DO this for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, unless his interest lasts longer. Stop when he loses interest and go back to it some other time – one of those times when he asks, “What can I do now?”
  • Signing for His Achievements.– As already explained, when your son is ready to pass an achievement he will pass it to you. If he succeeds, sign his book. Only one signature is required, but if both parents take part, the achievement becomes more of a family project and more important in the eyes of your son.
    • When an achievement is signed, remind your son to take his Handbook to his den meeting so the Den Leader, Assistant, Den Chief, etc. can record it on the achievement wall chart (or achievement / advancement book)
  • How Much Can You Expect. – Keep in mind your son’s efforts as well as his efficiency. How hard he tries is as important as how well he does. Improvement while he practices is often a good sign. If he needs to be encouraged, urge him to try to beat his own record.
    • Most important, however, is the fact that you know your boy best. Try to measure his work with a yardstick corresponding to his age and abilities. Don’t apply your yardstick of adult performance, or the yardstick of a more gifted boy / sibling.
    • The most significant measurement is whether he has done his best. With this as a standard, you will discourage him from trying to just get by. You will help him develop the attitude expressed in the Cub Scout Motto: DO YOUR BEST.
  • How Fast Should He Advance.– Ideally, he should be allowed to find his own rate. A steady pace of 1 or 2 achievements a month is better than doing all 12 in 1 or 2 months. Your objective should be to encourage him at least to complete the achievements by the time crossover comes around and he moves to the next rank. This is so he can earn his badge, and start on the new achievement plan for the next rank, in the new year.
    • Try to avoid overpressure. Don’t constantly remind him of the progress of the other boys. Don’t feel, as a matter of family pride, that he must excel or even keep up with every other boy in his den or pack.
  • How Much Help Should You Give. – While you should foster a close relationship with your son, you must always remember that he needs to feel more and more on his own. Throughout his Cub Scouting years he will grow increasingly independent. As you sense this, your task will be to strike the proper balance between too much help and too little. Work closely with your boy to show him you are interested and willing to give the kind and amount of help he needs.

When he has passed the achievements for his badge, he continues to work on other projects, called electives, until he crosses over into the next rank. For these electives he earns arrow points to go with his respective badge. He earns a gold arrow point for the first 10 electives and a silver arrow point for every 10 electives thereafter. These electives and achievements only apply to the Ranks of Wolf and Bear. After Bear, your Cub crosses over into Webelos. This is run more Boy Scout like, and has activity pins (20) and a few other specialized awards. Namely the Webelos badge, Compass points, and finally the Arrow of Light. The Arrow of Light is the highest BSA award earned in Cub Scouts, and can be worn on the Boy Scout uniform. The requirements for these awards as well as the activity pins are all listed in your son’s Webelos Handbook.