Keys to Being a Successful Cubmaster

Cub Scouts
Lonely Planet / Getty Images

Pinewood Derbies. Blue and Gold Banquets. Summer Day Camp. Such events cause mixed feelings among those of us who have been a part of the ​Cub Scouting program. In the midst of planning or running an event, we may feel a little overwhelmed and even negative. Reflecting on the overall experience years later, though, there is certainly a sense of nostalgia as well as satisfaction.

Many parents get introduced to scouting in general—and Cub Scouting in particular—when they have a child between 7 and 11 years old. 

Parents can often be invited to serve as a volunteer den leader or Cubmaster while their kids are in the program. When a parent offers to be involved as a Scouter, they will need some help and resources to perform well and succeed in this commitment to their child and to the other scouts in the Cub Scout den or pack.

A Cubmaster's Major Roles

Cubmasters have five major roles in the Cub Scouting program. Here's an overview of their responsibilities.

  • Motivator: Because the pack tends to take on the personality of the Cubmaster, a successful Cubmaster has a duty to keep things moving forward and to keep the leaders and kids motivated in the Cub Scouting program. So they have to be a good example, be enthusiastic about scouting, and be able to recognize and say thanks to those who help.
  • Performer: This role is not to suggest that a Cubmaster cannot be successful if they are not a good actor, singer, or comedian. But there is certainly an element of performance at pack meetings and other events. And it helps to be self-confident and a little uninhibited. The most successful Cubmasters are good sports. 
  • Planner: The Cubmaster is responsible for the monthly Cub pack meeting, as well as other events during the year, so the job takes a lot of planning. That planning involves finding out what kids that age want and enjoy, learning what resources are available, and how to make the events run smoothly.
  • Recruiter: A Cubmaster must be able to recruit others to the pack. This includes kids of the appropriate age, parents, and other adult leaders. They must help them feel needed, wanted, and enthused about the opportunity to build up young people.
  • Supervisor: The Cubmaster has to keep the den leaders and committee members focused and engaged. They are the heart and soul of the Cub pack. The pack and its leaders tend to reflect the enthusiasm and commitment of the Cubmaster.

Tips for Winning Cubmasters

Everyone who becomes a Cubmaster hopes to do a good job and inspire the kids under their charge. Here are some tips on how you can become the best Cubmaster you can be.

  • Attend advanced training: In addition to Roundtable, you also should plan to attend the annual Pow Wow meeting (a Saturday each fall) for tons of information and help on activities for the coming year. At some point, you should consider registering for Wood Badge training for adult scout leaders. Wood Badge takes a week at a camp or is often offered over two or three weekends for those who can't commit a whole week at a time away from work or home.
  • Attend Roundtable: The ongoing training for Scout leaders is called "Roundtable." It is usually held monthly in your local community. For Cubmasters, it is an incredible resource. Each month, the Roundtable commissioners have a mock pack meeting and they will teach you games, crafts, ceremonies, songs, and more to help you make your meetings successful. It is a big time commitment, but it is worth every minute you spend there.
  • Delegate: Being a Cubmaster can seem like a full-time job. If you have a good pack committee and den leaders, they can help share the load. For example, assign refreshments to a different den each month. Have den leaders plan and carry out a flag ceremony at your pack meeting. For the annual Blue and Gold Banquet celebrating the anniversary of the Scouting movement, get parents and committee members to handle the dinner, setup, and cleanup. Getting others involved will give them a reason to attend a pack meeting with their kids as well.
  • Get a uniform: Getting the Scout leader's uniform is critical. Yes, it is expensive. Plan on spending about $125 for new uniform pants, shirt, belt, and neckerchief from the BSA. They can be ordered online or purchased at your local Council's Scout Stuff store. You also can check local thrift stores for good quality used uniforms.
  • Get trained: Training as a Cubmaster begins with what the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) calls Fast Start Training. This training can be obtained online from BSA or you can complete it at your local Roundtable events. After Fast Start, you will want to attend New Leader Training and Leader Specific Training. These trainings are usually scheduled on a district or council basis and will take you about a day and a half for both.
  • Make it fun: Keeping the pack meeting engaging requires songs, skits, ceremonies, unique applauses, jokes of the month, and more. Children ages 7 through 10 love all things that are silly or corny. If you make meetings fun and entertaining, they will look forward all month to the pack meeting.
  • Register: Get your adult leader registration form and fill it out completely. Get the required signatures and get it turned in. As a registered leader, you will receive lots of help from district commissioners, Scouting Magazine, and other publications. You will be put on an email list from your local Council to keep up to date on events and activities.

The uniform identifies you as a Scouter and helps build a sense of unity and teamwork with other leaders and with the kids.

Having a uniform and wearing it is an essential element of being a Scouter. If you can't afford it all at once, get the uniform shirt and neckerchief and patches right away, and save up for a couple of months for the uniform pants and the rest of it.

A Word From Verywell

Being a Cubmaster can be a very rewarding experience and an opportunity to build incredible memories with your kids and their friends. Taking the time and investing the energy by serving as a Cub Scout leader will pay huge dividends now and in your child's future.

By Wayne Parker
Wayne's background in life coaching along with his work helping organizations to build family-friendly policies, gives him a unique perspective on fathering.