Cubbing History - The Virtual Cub Scout Leader's Handbook
The Virtual Cub Leader's Handbook


The following article appeared in the June, 1930 issue of Scouting Magazine. For many readers, this article was their first exposure to the new "Cubbing" program that was formally announced just months before.

The article was authored by Dr. H. W. Hurt, Ph.D. who was responsible for much of the early research that ultimately led to the introduction of the Cub program in 1930. Dr. Hurt was the first Director of the Cubbing Program, and remained in this position until 1934.

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The New Younger Boy Program
by Dr. Huber William Hurt, Ph.D.

Pack 43 - Brooklyn
The first official Cub Pack in America, No. 43 of Brooklyn, N.Y., poses for a picture with Chief Scout Executive West (© 1930, Scouting Magazine)

WHILE it is urged that communities go slowly in their use of the Cub Program, it is important that Scouters everywhere know about the New Cub Section. There are three important facts concerning the new Program:

  1. It has been developed in response to an insistent demand.

  2. It has been developed in the light of a scientific approach involving exhaustive research studies of (a) character, (b) boy nature, (c) boy hobbies, (d) boy games, (e) boy reading, (f) devices and methods hitherto tried.

  3. It was subjected to the censorship of some 13,500 leading educators, sociologists, psychologists, parents and boy workers, here and abroad.
The Program has been prepared and approved by the numerous and various committees involved. The uniforms and badges have been produced. The application and registration blanks have been printed. The routine procedures involved in registration have been set up. In other words, everything is at last in readiness and the registration of Packs of Cubs is now going forward.

Permission to Use Program
Any community or institution desiring to use the Cub Program should:

  1. Ask itself the questions: Can we do justice to this? Can we finance and administer this? Is our Council in condition to undertake this ADDED responsibility?

  2. The Local Scout Council should apply to the Regional Scout Executive for his recommendation and in weighing that application questions like those above, of course, will be faced.

  3. If the informal application is approved, then the National Field Department will send the blanks for the formal application of the Local Council and the starting of the Cub work can then be planned in consultation with the Cub Section at the National Office.
Not Trespass on Scouting
There is however, one basic consideration which needs to be very clear to everyone who is related in any way to Cubbing or Scouting. And that is the two must be kept separate and distinct. Both are operated under the same Council and perchance within the same institution. The Troop Committee and the Pack Committee in the same institution need to be related to each other sufficiently to integrate and -harmonize them as phases of the institutions own boy program. But in the activities of the boys themselves, in the leadership, in the uniforms, names, symbols and so on-they are and should be kept entirely separate and distinct. Experience, as well as theory, indicate clearly that it is unwise to mix these age groups that are as far apart as the 9-10-11 group are from the older 12-13-14-15-16-17 year-olds. Mixing these two groups is good for neither group.

Also, as regards leadership, the Scoutmaster should not be Cubmaster. They are separate jobs-each a full-sized task in itself. They are dealing with vitally different periods with the period of puberty causing vital changes. The 9-10-11-year-old is an individualist -- the early teen age Scout has passed or is passing quickly into a "gang age."

Dens Are Natural Units
Another basic consideration for Cub work is its use o ' f the Natural Neighborhood play group. The Scout Patrol is often a very artificial group - coming together as a unit only at the meeting place. In Cubbing we have developed a new and most significant philosophy.

The "Den" or small unit of the "Pack" is a natural unit. It meets frequently. It has contact at play times -- between times. The use of this natural grouping opens the door for activities and interests AND IDEALS to carry their influence over from the formal meeting and be practiced in the informal leisure time! This leads directly into a fuller and more vital relation with the home and the parents. We know today, that home and boy companions are the two most influential influences in a boy's life. Note that the structure of Cubbing consciously reaches over into those two sets of values.

Policy Determinants
In building the new program it has been the policy to keep as close to International usage as possible, for there are 32 other countries where Cubs are preparing to become Scouts. The name Cub was adopted for that very reason. The name of the leader A-Ke-La (Ah-Key-La) is the same - though with them Akela is the "Old Wolf" and with us he is an Indian Chief. The American Indian (the "Webelos" tribe) has been woven into the story to give atmosphere and color. When you read the program, you will be impressed with the fact that the ideals have been carefully adapted to the level of the boy. "A Cub is Square" and his square "badge" reminds him of it.

There are three books - the Wolf for the 9th year - the Bear for the 10th and the Lion for the llth year.

This was necessary because the 9-year-old Cub has three years before he can enter Scouting so the Cub Program should keep him busy for three years.

We have arranged, therefore, ranks within each year - a minimum or bronze rank, a gold badge for 10 more electives, and a silver for an additional 10.

In this way as well as in the frequent occurrence of "OR" in all requirements - elasticity and election are provided to amply cover individual differences between boys and between communities as well. The effort has been made to thus cover both city boys and rural boys, boys from the so-called "poorer" sections and those from the so-called "better" sections as well.

Tenderfoot Work
Provision has been made for having the Cub "prepare" for his Tenderfoot tests during the 11th or Lion year. This means that the day he becomes 12 he is ready to enter the Scout Troop he will join. He will enter it, not as a candidate to he trained but as one who will at once be ready to receive his Tenderfoot badge. One practical result of this is that his initial enthusiasm will carry him INTO SECOND CLASS work. His acquaintance with his new Scoutmaster has been previously established - all done so as to facilitate his "passing-up," his "going-up," into Scouting.

The Cub plan of Camping, as officially adopted by the National Council, is to "save" the present Summer Camps for the Scouts, just as Wilderness camping is frequently "saved" for the older Scouts.

Boys of Cub age, we find, do much back yard camping. They enjoy little picnics and hikes but come back to the home "hangar" at night.

Here again it is basic that Cubs and Scouts be not mixed, and that no overlap or trespass on Scouting be permitted.

The greater safety hazard at these younger ages, the necessarily greater leadership ratio, the relative susceptibility to pneumonia at these ages, the different kind of program, progress and control needed, as well as economic considerations have united to demand the action of the National Council as outlined above.

The new Program utilizes four kinds of leadership:

  1. Mothers and

  2. Younger boy leaders or Denners which are present natural leadership forces.

  3. There are Den Chiefs (older Boy Scouts) who come into the neighborhood to help the boys with their activities. Note that thus far all three of these types of leadership operate in the neighborhood and back yard environment.

    Then finally,

  4. We have the Cubmaster, in charge of the Pack, with its group of Dens and responsible to the sponsoring institution through its Pack Committee. This multiple, but re-enforcing leadership idea, is an important new -element.
Big Idea
The really big idea in this Cub effort is set forth on page 14 of the Information Book.

"The big objective of the weekly Pack meeting and the mid-week Den meetings is not alone to develop group consciousness and further advancement in rank but also to provide ideas, activities, ideals that may be practiced by the Cubs themselves when on their own, either alone, or under the Denner's leadership in the backyard or street natural daily 'get togethers.' These natural activities, have tremendous character and habit-building power because, in them the boy is himself."

This free time of boys when they can "be themselves," when their action is spontaneous, expressive of their real selves -- is of the greatest character forming value because of that fact. Repetition is necessary to habit forming, satisfaction, joy, liking something - this is necessary, else there will be no "voluntary" repetition.

I covet providing the boy with projects and attitudes which he may VOLUNTARILY use in his own free time. Our Den plan provides for making this effective though some individuals still think we are best to aid a boy to build his own character by keeping him "under orders" all the time. I want a boy to have the chance to do, to decide, to practice - that's the Creator's way for him to learn and grow.

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