Back in England, younger boys were eager to become Boy Scouts. In 1914,
Baden-Powell began implementing a program for younger boys that was based
on Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. The Wolf Cub program began in 1916,
and since that time, Wolf Cubbing has spread to other European countries with
very little change.
In America, hundreds of Cub Scout-age boys and their families were clamoring
for a program of their own. As early as 1920, Scout executives at the first
national training conference discussed the needs of younger boys. The BSA,
however, felt it wise to postpone any action until there was more objective
In 1925, Dr. Huber W. Hurt, a research psychologist and veteran Scouter,
was authorized to study existing organizations for younger boys, such as Boy
Rangers, Boy Pioneers, American Eagles, and Boys' Clubs. He found that only
one boy in 50 participated regularly in any type of organized leisure-time
program. He also found that younger boys responded better to leadership and
program efforts than older boys. He worked closely with Ernest Thompson Seton.
Both men recommended that the BSA adopt a program for younger boys, with older
Boy Scouts as leaders, to tie into home, church, school, and Boy Scouting.
The National Executive Board authorized the Chief Scout Executive to
thoroughly investigate the matter. An advisory committee worked with the BSA
to develop a plan and produce the necessary literature. Advice was obtained
from leading psychologists, sociologists, teachers, school superintendents,
professors of education, college executives, and recreation and welfare
By 1929, the new Cubbing program (it wasn't called "Cub Scouting" until
several years later) was taking shape and was introduced as a demonstration
project in a limited number of communities. Its structure was similar to
today's Cub Scouting, except that dens were led by Boy Scout den chiefs.
The plan included a neighborhood mothers' committee to encourage Cubs and
In 1930, Cub Scouting was formally launched, with 5,102 boys registered
at the end of that first year. By 1933 the time had come to promote Cub
Scouting throughout the country as a part of Scouting. All experimental
restrictions were removed, and the first national director of Cub Scouting
Den mother registration was optional for the first few years. By June
1938, 1,100 den mothers had registered and soon became an important part
of Cub Scouting.
The first dens met weekly at a member's home, where boys played games
and enjoyed crafts and ceremonies. The pack met weekly or semimonthly for
games, den competitions, awards, stunts, and other activities. Cubs
advanced from Bobcat (for all new members) to Wolf (age 9), Bear (age 10),
and Lion (age 11) and joined a Boy Scout troop at age 12.
In 1949, the age requirement was lowered to between 8 and 10 for Cub
Scouts. In 1982, Tiger Cubs was started based on shared leadership of
boy-adult partner teams and the school year calendar. In 1986, Cub Scouts
could register as second-grade boys.
Cub Scouting in America is different from the younger-boy programs of
other countries because it is centered in the home and neighborhood. With
the encouragement of family and leaders, boys enjoy a program that covers
a wide variety of interesting things. It suggests activities that boys
enjoy doing on their own when adults are not supervising them. These
activities are particularly suited to boys of Cub Scout age and are
different from those they will encounter in Boy Scouting.
A strong influence from Kipling's Jungle Book remains today. The terms
"Law of the Pack," "Akela," "Wolf Cub," "grand howl," "den," and "pack"
all come from the Jungle Book. At the same time, the Gold and Silver Arrow
Points, Webelos emblem, and Arrow of Light emblem are taken from our American
*Information taken from Boy Scouts of America (2013) http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Parents/About/history.aspx.