Advancement is one of the methods used to achieve Scouting’s aims—character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. The advancement program is designed to help the Cub Scout achieve these aims and aid in their personal growth. To learn about the Cub Scout Advancement Trail, click here.


Advancement is the process by which a child progresses from badge to badge, learning new skills as they go. The Cub Scout advancement program is designed to encourage the natural interests of a child. Each of the ranks and awards in Cub Scouting (Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light) has its own requirements. As a child advances through the ranks, requirements get progressively more challenging, matching the increased skills and abilities of a child as they grow older.

Advancement gives kids a means of measuring their progress. They learn skills based on a standard that Cub Scouting provides. Credit is given to the Tiger or Cub Scout for each requirement when the adult partner (Tigers), den leader, and/or Webelos adventure counselor is satisfied that the child has done their best.

Advancement provides a satisfying means of recognizing kids for their progress. Kids have a ladder to climb, with recognition at each step. Presenting awards to kids in meaningful ceremonies to recognize their accomplishments is a principle of advancement.

Advancement is not competition among both boys and girls. Each Cub Scout is encouraged to advance steadily and purposefully, setting their own goals with guidance from their family and leaders. Measurement for satisfying requirements is “do your best,” and that level can be different for each child.


The success of the advancement program depends entirely on how Cub Scout leaders and parents apply it. Careful research has gone into developing the advancement program, but den and pack leaders and families make advancement really work in the dens, in the home, and, most importantly, in the lives of boys and girls.


When implemented correctly, the Advancement Program will:

  • Help build a child’s self esteem
  • Help build their self-reliance as they discover that they are now old enough to assume certain responsibilities toward other people
  • Give the child the positive recognition they need
  • Bring a child and their family closer through the advancement activities that they family members enjoy together
  • Develop skills in a variety of pursuits including academics, recreation and hobbies


The Den Leader has the following responsibilities related to advancement.

  1. Stimulate interest in advancement by providing opportunities for boys and girls to work on advancement requirements in den meetings.
  2. Plan meetings (with the host adult partner in Tigers) that support the advancement program. The Assistant Den Leader and Den Chief can help.
  3. Help parents and adult partners understand the advancement plan and their role in promoting advancement. Make sure returning parents understand how the advancement plan changes at each age level.
  4. Keep accurate records of requirements that boys and girls complete. Promptly provide the pack leadership with the Den Advancement Report so boys and girls can be recognized at the next pack meeting.
  5. Notice boys and girls who are not advancing and find out why. This could indicate a weakness in the den or pack program.
  6. Provide reinforcement for and recognition of advancement at den meetings. These can include advancement charts, den doodles, and immediate recognition items.
  7. Make sure that impressive advancement ceremonies and graduation ceremonies are conducted at the pack meeting. For the Arrow of Light rank, involve the Scoutmaster and the troop’s youth leaders.


The Cubmaster has these responsibilities related to advancement.

  1. Provide a quality year-round program full of action and fun that appeals to boys and girls. See that den and pack activities are planned so that completing required adventures and electives and earning adventure loops and pins is a natural outcome of the month of fun.
  2. Provide advancement reinforcement at the pack meeting, such as colorful and exciting induction, advancement, and graduation ceremonies. Encourage displays of den advancement charts and den doodles at pack meetings.
  3. Ensure that boys and girls who have earned awards receive them at the next pack meeting. Don’t let boys or girls get discouraged by having to wait for recognition.
  4. Make sure that den leaders are trained and know how to use the advancement program effectively.
  5. See that advancement standards are maintained. Every boy and girl should do their best to complete the requirements as presented in the program.
  6. Coordinate with the pack committee to ensure that accurate advancement records are kept.
    Follow up on boys and girls who are not advancing and find out why.


Pack committee members have these responsibilities related to advancement.

  1. Help train leaders and adult partners or family members in the proper use of the advancement program.
  2. Collect den advancement reports at each monthly pack leaders’ meeting. Complete the multipart Advancement Report to purchase awards from the local council service center. See that badges are presented at the next pack meeting.
  3. Help plan advancement and graduation ceremonies for the pack meeting.
  4. Help build and/or secure equipment for use in meaningful advancement ceremonies.


A boy or girl’s approach to advancement progress will depend on two factors:

  • Their own motivation for learning new skills, the encouragement and help they get from their family, and their need for recognition
  • The Den Leader’s preparation for and presentation of advancement activities in the den meetings

The den meeting plans outlined in the rank den leader guides are structured so that a den that begins meeting at the start of the school year and meets as a den twice per month will advance its boys and girls around the time of the Blue and Gold Banquet, assuming the boy or girl attends all meetings. If a boy or girl cannot attend all meetings, the den leader should help that child and their family make up the missed activities.

To learn more about the Cub Scouts Advancement Trail, click here.