Cub Scout Outdoor Program Guidelines
Cub Scout Outdoor Program Guidelines for 2007-2008
A Guide for Volunteers and
Professionals Who Administer the Cub Scout Outdoor Program
Planned, organized outdoor activities at the den, pack, district, and council
levels fulfill the promise made to our Cub Scouts. Young boys have a great
desire for outdoor fun, excitement, and adventure. These experiences encourage
them to spend quality time with family and friends. Quality council camps and
fun pack outdoor events directed by qualified, trained leaders provide an ideal
setting for these activities.
Cub Scouts can camp! Every pack's annual plan should include day camp or
resident camp and many other outdoor activities. Advanced planning will allow
leaders to arrange to attend the training needed to successfully accomplish
the program goals of the units and the training requirements of the BSA. Most
boys join Cub Scouting because of the outdoor activities. Boys in this age
group have a natural curiosity about their surroundings, especially the world
out-of-doors. Introducing these boys to the fun and adventure of Scouting in
the outdoors will benefit them as they mature through the program. Their
participation and enthusiasm will grow for continuing in the program into
Boy Scouting and beyond.
It's More Fun Outdoors!
Why Cub Scout Outdoor Activities?
When a boy and his family join Cub Scouting, they join an organization that
values the fun and excitement of experiencing the outdoors. Each Cub Scout pack
is encouraged to provide its youth members with enriching, positive outdoor
experiences. Many boys experience their first organized outdoor adventure as
a Cub Scout. Good planning using Cub Scouting guidelines should assure a
positive experience. A successful outdoor program that meets the goals of the
Cub Scout program will ensure that all activities are appropriate for the
target age group. Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities and the
Guide to Safe Scouting are both available on the BSA Web site.
In addition, apply these Cub Scouting program-specific criteria:
- The activity is parent/youth or family-oriented.
- The activity is conducted with adult supervision.
- The Cub Scouts are asked to do their best.
- The activity is discovery-based.
- Advancement occurs as a natural part of a well-planned program.
Two-Deep Leadership Required
It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that trips and outings may
never be led by only one adult. Two registered adult leaders, or one registered
adult leader and a parent of a participant, one of whom must be 21 years of age
or older, are required for all trips and outings. The chartered organization of
any Cub Scout pack, Boy Scout troop, Varsity Scout team, or Venturing crew has
the responsibility to stress to the committees and leaders of the unit that
sufficient adult leadership must be provided on all trips and outings.
Outdoor Activity Tips
- Obtain permission from parents or guardians for activities that
are held away from the regular den and pack meeting places.
- File a local tour permit if necessary. Check with your local
council on its policies regarding field trips in your council.
- Be sure to have enough adult leaders for the activity.
- Check out the site before the activity. Check on reservation
procedures, restroom facilities, availability of adequate
drinking water, and any potential hazards.
- Use the buddy system. Coach the boys in advance on what to do
if they get lost.
- Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Be prepared with
- Arrange adequate and safe transportation.
- Always leave a site in its natural condition.
For additional information on specific activities not covered in this
document, refer to Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities and
the Guide to Safe Scouting.
Cub Scout Day Camp
Day camp is an organized, multiple-day, theme-oriented program for Tiger
Cubs and their adult partners, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts. Day camp is
conducted by the council/district under trained leadership at an approved
site during daylight or early evening hours. Day camps do not include any
overnight activities. The day camp program is age-appropriate and
Tiger Cub day camp programs should be geared to the physical and mental
abilities of their specific age group. Program session time schedules and
activities should be geared specifically for Tiger Cubs, with the involvement
of their adult partners. This usually will require adjustment of an existing
day camp program geared for Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts.
Approval to conduct a day camp is granted by the council. Training for
camp directors and program directors is provided through the National Camping
School. All day camps shall be conducted in accordance with established
standards as given in National Standards for Local Council Accreditation of
Cub Scout/Webelos Scout Day Camps, No. 13-108.
- Cub Scout Day Camp, No. 13-33815
Cub Scout/Webelos Scout Resident Camp
Cub Scout and Webelos Scout resident camping is a council-organized,
theme-oriented, overnight camping program. It operates for at least two
nights and is conducted under trained leadership at a camp approved by
Resident camping typically includes the following outdoor program areas:
Showmanship, Sportsmanship, Craftsmanship, Waterfront, Fitness, Campcraft,
Each year, councils change their overall theme to offer different
adventures. Examples of themes include Sea Adventure, Space Adventure,
Athletes, Knights, Circus Big Top, American Indian Heritage, Folklore, and
the World Around Us.
Training of the resident camp director and program director is provided
through the National Camping School. All Cub Scout and Webelos Scout resident
camps shall be conducted in accordance with established standards as given
in National Standards for Cub Scout/Boy Scout Resident Camps, No. 19-108.
- Resident Camping for Cub Scouting, No. 13-33814
Council-organized family camps are overnight camping activities involving
more than one pack. The local council or district provides the elements of
the outdoor experience, such as staffing, food service, housing, and program.
These overnighters often are referred to as Parent-Pal or Adventure Weekends.
In most cases, the youth member will be under the supervision of a parent or
guardian. In all cases, each youth participant is responsible to a specific
Leadership of these functions is provided through the family camp
administrator, who is at least 21 years of age and has successfully completed
National Camping School training in Resident Camp Management. It is his or her
responsibility to promote, schedule, and oversee the family camping
opportunities in the council. The family camp administrator has the
responsibility to train family camp directors and other staff who will be
providing leadership for the family camping activities.
Pack overnighters are pack-organized overnight camping activities involving
more than one family from a single pack, focused on age-appropriate Cub Scout
activities and conducted at council-approved locations (use Pack Overnighter
Site Approval Form, No. 13-508). If nonmembers (siblings) participate, the
program must be structured to accommodate them. BSA health and safety and Youth
Protection guidelines apply. In most cases, each youth member will be under the
supervision of a parent or guardian. In all cases, each youth participant is
responsible to a specific adult.
At least one adult giving leadership to a pack overnighter must complete
Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO), No. 34162, and be
present on campouts. BALOO trains participants to properly understand the
importance of program intent, Youth Protection guidelines, health and safety,
site selection, age-appropriate activities, and sufficient adult participation.
Permits for campouts shall be issued locally, according to council policies.
Packs use the Local Tour Permit Application, No. 34426.
- Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO), No. 34162
Webelos den campouts serve to move the Webelos Scout to the next level of
the BSA's ever-increasing challenge in the outdoors. The boy and his parent
or guardian will be introduced to the basics of Boy Scout camping. A Webelos
den leader who has completed position-specific training and Outdoor Leader
Skills for Webelos Leaders training should conduct these events. Webelos
dens are encouraged to participate in joint den-troop campouts, particularly
in the fifth-grade year. These campouts should be conducted with an individual
troop for the purpose of strengthening ties between the pack and the troop.
BSA health and safety, age-appropriate guidelines for Cub Scout activities,
and Youth Protection guidelines apply. When camping with a troop, Cub Scout
guidelines still apply for all Cub Scout members.
Webelos dens are encouraged to visit Boy Scout camporees and Klondike
derbies. The purpose of these visits should be for the boys to look ahead
with anticipation to their future as Boy Scouts and observe troops they might
join. Webelos Scouts should not compete or participate in activities designed
for Boy Scouts. Webelos Scouts should not spend the night at the event if the
program is Boy Scout-based. A separate Webelos-only event known as a
Webelos-Ree should be provided by the council or district.
To provide leadership for this event, Webelos den leaders should complete
the course, Outdoor Leader Skills for Webelos Leaders, No. 13-33640.
- Webelos Leader Guide, No. 33853
A Webelos-Ree is a district or council overnight camping experience for
Webelos dens with den leadership present. The local council or district
sponsors the event and provides the program and leadership. The location is
approved by an appropriate committee, as determined by the council. The local
council sets the ratio of Webelos Scouts to adults for the event. In most
cases, each boy will be accompanied by a parent or guardian. In all cases,
a responsible adult will be designated for each youth participant. BSA Youth
Protection standards will apply regarding sleeping and bathroom
This camporee-style event is intended for Webelos Scouts, with events and
activities planned for their ability level, according to age-appropriate
guidelines for Cub Scouts. Boy Scouts should participate only in leadership
and support capacity. Key staff members should be trained in Outdoor Leader
Skills for Webelos Leaders, No. 13-33640. A program guide, "Conducting a
Webelos-Ree," is available from local councils.
Other Cub Scout Trips and Excursions
Going outdoors is one of the most exciting parts of Scouting. All Cub Scouts
look forward to taking field trips to museums and local places of interest,
going on hikes, and taking part in sports, service projects, and nature and
conservation activities. All trips should be conducted in accordance with
established procedures. Tour Permits for such tours shall be issued locally
or nationally, depending on the distance traveled.
The National Council has established the following guidelines for non-camping
Cub Scout trips and excursions:
- Trips normally will be one-day excursions.
- Overnight stays are permitted but they are not encouraged.
- When overnight stays are necessary, participants will stay in
private homes, motels, or hotels.
- Lock-ins or overnight programming at local museums or other
appropriate locations may be approved by the local council.
- Den leaders, pack leaders, and parents or guardians are expected
to accompany the boys on approved trips.
- The adult partner must accompany the Tiger Cub on all trips and
Before a BSA group may engage in swimming activities of any kind, a minimum
of one adult leader must complete Safe Swim Defense training, have a commitment
card (No. 34243) with them, and agree to use the eight defenses in this plan.
The Safe Swim Defense plan applies to swimming at a beach, private or public
pool, wilderness pond, stream, lake, or anywhere Scouts swim.
The following information is specific to Cub Scout swimming
- If the swimming activity is in a public facility where others
are using the pool at the same time, and the pool operator
provides guard personnel, there may be no need for additional
designation of Scout lifeguards and lookout.
- The buddy system is critically important, however, even in a
public pool. Remember, even in a crowd, you are alone without
protection if no one is attentive to your circumstances.
- The rule that people swim only in water suited to their ability
and with others of similar ability applies in a pool environment.
Most public pools divide shallow and deep water, and this may be
sufficient for defining appropriate swimming areas.
- Aquatics activities for dens often are held in backyards with
swimming pools. Safe Swim Defense guidelines must apply. A
certified lifeguard, though highly recommended, is not
required. A qualified supervisor must be present. It is
critical that the swimming activity be supervised by a
conscientious adult who knowingly accepts the responsibility
for the youth members involved in the activity.
- Safe Swim Defense, No. 34370A
- Safe Swim Defense Commitment Card, No. 34243
Before a BSA group may engage in any watercraft activity, adult leaders for
such activity must complete Safety Afloat training, have a commitment card, and
be dedicated to full compliance with all nine points of Safety Afloat. (Through
enforcement of these nine measures, most watercraft accidents can be prevented.)
At least one of the adult leaders must be trained in CPR.
The following information is specific to Cub Scout boating
- Supervision—the ratio of adult supervisors to
participants is one to five.
- Skill Proficiency—Canoeing, rowboating, and
rafting for Cub Scouts (including Webelos Scouts)
is limited to council/district events on flat-water
ponds or controlled lake areas free of powerboats and
sailboats. Prior to recreational canoeing, Cub Scouts
are to be instructed in basic handling skills and
- Planning—Canoeing, rowboating, and rafting do not
include "trips" or "expeditions" and are not to be
conducted on running water (i.e., rivers or streams);
therefore, some procedures are inapplicable. Suitable
weather requires clear skies, no appreciable wind, and
warm air and water.
- PFDs—All persons engaged in activity on the open
water must wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved
personal flotation devices (PFDs).
- Scuba—Youth members in Cub Scouting are not authorized
to use scuba in any activity.
- Safety Afloat Training, No. 34159A
- Safety Afloat Commitment Card, No. 34242A
Cub Scout Shooting Sports
Shooting sports provide fun and adventure for boys. Archery and BB gun
shooting teach skills, discipline, self-reliance, sportsmanship, and
conservation, all of which are elements of good character valued by
Archery and BB-gun shooting are restricted to day camps, Cub Scout/Webelos
Scout resident camps, council-managed family camping programs, or council
activities where there are properly trained supervisors and all standards for
BSA shooting sports are enforced. Archery and BB-gun shooting are not to be
done at the den or pack level.
Archery and BB gun shooting belt loops and pins may be earned only at the
camps and activities listed above. These programs are designed to emphasize
safety and marksmanship development under the direction of trained range
officers using nationally approved instructional methods.
- Shooting Sports for Cub Scouting,
Standards for Privacy
on Trips or Outings
To support the BSA policy of two-deep leadership on all trips and outings,
we must address the sleeping arrangements of male and female leaders.
All leaders are expected to reflect high moral standards established by
customs, traditional values, and religious teachings.
Male and female leaders require separate sleeping facilities. Married
couples may share the same quarters if appropriate facilities are
Male and female youth participants must not share the same sleeping
When tents are used, no youth will stay in the tent of an adult other than
his/her parent or guardian.
When housing other than tents is used, separate housing must be provided
for male and female participants. Adult male leaders must be responsible for
the male participants; adult female leaders must be responsible for the female
Adult leaders need to respect the privacy of the youth members in situations
where the youth are changing clothes or taking showers, and intrude only to the
extent that health and safety require. Adults need to protect their own privacy
in similar situations.
Although it is not mandatory, councils are strongly encouraged to have
separate shower and latrine facilities for females. In camps where separate
facilities are not available, separate shower schedules for males and females
should be posted. Exercise the buddy system for latrine use by having one
person wait outside the entrance, or use Occupied or Unoccupied signs on
For more guidelines on camping and supervision for Cub Scouts, see the
Guide to Safe Scouting, No. 34416
Accident and Sickness Protection
For questions about current camper accident and sickness insurance, please
refer to the latest material sent to Scout executives from the Insurance and
Risk Management Service of the Boy Scouts of America.
Cub Scout Pack Centennial Quality Unit Award
Every Cub Scout pack can earn the Centennial Quality Unit Award by achieving
all six of the Quality indicators. One of the requirements is for outdoor
activities. To meet this requirement, the pack specifies in advance the events
that will be used and how many they are establishing as their goal in order to
- 2008 Centennial Quality Unit Award Commitment Interpretation of Requirements and Worksheet, No. 14-190
The purpose of the National Summertime Pack Award is to encourage packs to
provide a year-round program by continuing to meet during the periods when
school is out of session for several weeks or months. If a pack is in a
"year-round school" (or part of a home-school association) that has several
three- or four-week breaks at various times during the year, the award can be
earned during those breaks. The award consists of an individual pin for youth
uniform wear, a certificate for the pack, and a colorful ribbon for the den
and pack. The pin is worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt by
itself, or on the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award, if it has been earned.
- National Summertime Pack Award, No. 33748A
- Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221
Cub Scout World
Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts who have participated in either a den or a pack
conservation project and have completed certain requirements can earn the World
Each age group has specific requirements. Wolf Cub Scouts complete Wolf
Achievement 7 and two electives and take part in a den or pack conservation
project. Bear Cub Scouts complete Bear Achievement 5 and all projects in two
electives, and take part in a den or pack conservation project. Webelos Scouts
earn three activity badges in addition to taking part in a den or pack
conservation project. Tiger Cubs do not earn the World Conservation Award.
The award is worn as a temporary patch, centered on the right pocket of
the uniform shirt.
- Cub Scout Leader Book, No. 33221
Cub Scout Leave No Trace Awareness Award
Leave No Trace promotes an awareness of conservation and consideration. The
principles of Leave No Trace apply in a backyard or local park (sometimes called
the frontcountry) as much as in the wilderness (the backcountry). We should all
practice Leave No Trace principles in our thinking and actions—wherever we
Requirements for Cub Scouting's Leave No Trace Awareness Award are listed in
the Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos Scout handbooks. The award is worn as a
temporary patch, centered on the right pocket of the uniform shirt.
Cub Scout Leave No Trace Pledge:
I promise to apply the Leave No Trace frontcountry
principles wherever I go:
- Plan ahead.
- Stick to trails.
- Manage your pet.
- Leave what you find.
- Respect other visitors.
- Trash your trash.
- Cub Scout Leave No Trace Awareness Award, No. 13-032
Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award
Tiger Cubs, Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts have the opportunity
to earn the Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award. Boys may earn the award in each of
the program years as long as the requirements are completed each year. The first
time the award is earned, the boy will receive the pocket flap award, which is
to be worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt. Each successive time
the award is earned, a wolf track pin may be added to the flap. Leaders should
encourage boys to build on skills and experiences from previous years when
working on the award for a successive year.
Attend Cub Scout day camp or Cub Scout/Webelos Scout resident camp.
- Tiger Cubs—Complete one requirement in Achievement 5, "Let's Go
Outdoors" (Tiger Cub Handbook) and complete three of the outdoor
- Wolf Cub Scouts—Assemble the "Six Essentials for Going Outdoors"
(Wolf Handbook, Elective 23b) and discuss their purpose, and
complete four of the outdoor activities.
- Bear Cub Scouts—Earn the Cub Scout Leave No Trace Award (Bear
Handbook, Elective 25h) and complete five of the outdoor activities.
- Webelos Scouts—Earn the Outdoorsman Activity Badge (Webelos
Handbook); and complete six of the outdoor activities.
With your den, pack, or family:
- Participate in a nature hike in your local area. This
can be an organized, marked trail, or just a hike to
observe nature in your area.
- Participate in an outdoor activity such as a picnic
or park fun day.
- Explain the buddy system and tell what to do if lost.
Explain the importance of cooperation.
- Attend a pack overnighter. Be responsible by being
prepared for the event.
- Complete an outdoor service project in your community.
- Complete a nature/conservation project in your area.
This project should involve improving, beautifying, or
supporting natural habitats. Discuss how this project
helped you to respect nature.
- Earn the Summertime Pack Award pin.
- Participate in a nature observation activity. Describe
or illustrate and display your observations at a den or
- Participate in an outdoor aquatic activity. This can be
an organized swim meet or just a den or pack swim.
- Participate in an outdoor campfire program. Perform in a
skit, sing a song, or take part in a ceremony.
- Participate in an outdoor sporting event.
- Participate in an outdoor Scout's Own or other worship
- Explore a local city, county, state or national park.
Discuss with your den how a good citizen obeys the park
This award is intended for, and only earned by Cub Scout youth
- Cub Scout Outdoor Activity Award, No. 13-228