Emblem of the Month - Rank Badges


Wolf badge

When Cubbing (as it was then known) first officially began in the USA in 1930, boys were able to join at 9 years of age. They would begin with Bobcat and work their way up through the ranks (Wolf, Bear, and Lion) without regard to age, and cross over into Boy Scouts at the age of 12. Initially, boys could only wear their current rank and associated arrow points. The first rank badges had Cubs BSA embroidered on them, were made of felt, and had wide borders.

The Bobcat pin was introduced in 1938. It was to be worn on civilian clothing and was not officially approved to be worn on the uniform shirt until 1959.

In 1941, the Webelos Award was added for those who had completed the Lion rank and meet the requirements for the first rank in Boy Scouts, Tenderfoot.

Beginning in 1943, once the Bobcat requirements were met, boys began to earn the rank that was appropriate for their age (Wolf = 9, Bear = 10, Lion = 11). Also at this time, boys could wear all of their earned rank and arrow points on the uniform at the same time in the now familiar diamond layout. The Lion badge was at the top, the Bear badge on the left, the Wolf on the right, and the Webelos Award was sewn at the top of the left pocket flap of the uniform shirt:


"Cubbing" became "Cub Scouts" in 1948 and the rank badges changed from reading "Cubs BSA" to "Cub Scouts BSA" and lost their wide border. In 1949, the age level was reduced by one year for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, lowering the age for Wolves to 8, Bears to 9, Lions to 10, and Boy Scouts to 11. The order of rank badges on the uniform was also changed to Wolf on the top, Bear on the right, and Lion on the left, with the Webelos Award at the top of the left pocket flap:


In the 1950s, the rank badges were changed from felt to a twill cloth.

In the spring of 1954, the Webelos Den was created for 10½ year olds who had earned the Lion rank. It was thought that this would keep the interest of the older boys and smooth the transition into Boy Scouts. They utilized the newly published Lion-Webelos handbook.


In 1967, the Lion rank was eliminated and was replaced with the Webelos rank, which retained the "Arrow of Light"-style badge design of the former Webelos Award and consisted of a new set of achievements and experiences to better prepare older boys for Boy Scouting. The Webelos colors and activity badges were also introduced at this time, originally numbering 15. Between 1967 and 1972, the Cub Scout uniform only displayed two diamond shaped patches, Wolf and Bear, side by side, with the Webelos rank badge on the pocket flap:


In late 1971 or early 1972, the old Webelos rank badge was slightly altered and was renamed to the Arrow of Light, with a significant change in the requirements.

In late 1972 the Bobcat pin was replaced with an embroidered rank patch and the Wolf and Bear rank badges were updated.:


In 1977, a new diamond-shaped Webelos rank badge was introduced:

In 1982, Tiger Cubs was started as a "Pack-associated" program with Tiger Cubs being 7 years old. They wore special orange T-shirts with iron-on "badges". Beginning in 1996, when a Tiger Cub graduated to the Pack, he was presented with a "Tiger Cub BSA" strip that would be worn just below the right pocket of the blue uniform shirt:

When the grade-based rank system was phased in in 1986, the age for beginning Tiger Cubs was lowered to First grade, and Webelos Scouts became a two year program aimed at 4th and 5th graders. Five new activity badges were added to the Webelos Scout Book in 1987, and the two-year Webelos Scout program became official in 1988.


In 2001, a new diamond-shaped Tiger Cub rank badge was introduced:

At this time, the Tiger Cub Den was fully integrated into the pack; Tiger Cubs now wear the blue Cub Scout shirt.

Also in 2001, a new oval Webelos rank badge was introduced. This badge may be worn either on the blue uniform in place of the rank badge diamond, or on the tan uniform like a Boy Scout rank badge.