What are Ranks?
Cub Scouts are divided into ranks, based on the year in school of the boy:
Kinder = Lion Cub
1st Grade = Tiger Cub
2nd Grade = Wolf Cub
3rd Grade = Bear Cub
4th Grade = Webelos (First year)
5th Grade = Webelos Arrow of Light (Second year, transition to Boy Scouts)
The Cub Scout works towards earning the requirements for the rank during that year, so Tiger Cubs will work to complete the requirements for Tiger Cub during the 1st Grade year, and will earn the Tiger Cub rank award near the end that school year. A Cub that enters in some year other than 1st Grade need not earn the prior rank advancements – start as a Bear, and you just have to earn Bear, not Tiger and Wolf, for example.
There is a ‘starter’ rank, Bobcat, which every boy will earn when starting. Typically it is done at the first Pack Meeting, of the year, or at a special New Cub meeting.
How does rank advancement work?
For each school-year rank, the Scouts work to finish the necessary elements to earn the rank for that year. Thus, a Tiger Cub will actually not get his Tiger Cub rank until all of the requirements are done, which is often later in the school year. The other ranks work the same way, except Bobcat which all boys earn first, regardless of grade. For example, a Third-grader who starts as a Bear will earn his Bobcat, and then Bear, and never earn Tiger or Wolf.
The elements for the ranks are a series of “Adventures” which must be completed. Some are required, and some are chosen from among a set of optional adventures (like an elective class in college). Each rank patch below links to a PDF with the rank requirements for that rank. These are new for 2015 and everyone agrees these are going to be more fun for the boys.
What comes next?
During the fifth-grade year, the boys work to earn the Arrow of Light award, which acts as a 'bridge' to the Boy Scouts. In the Spring, the Arrow of Light boys pick a Boy Scout Troop they wish to join and attend a ceremony where they officially join the troop of their choice. There are many Boy Scout troops in the area, some larger, some smaller, each with its own 'personality'.
The ultimate goal is for every new Cub to earn Scouting's highest award: Eagle Scout. Lots of famous men are Eagle Scouts, including a President, Senators, Astronauts, Sports Heros, and captains of Industry. Here's a list.
Cub Scout Pack