Cub Scouts

How Is Cub Scouting Organized?

As a new member of Cub Scouts, you’ll hear a bunch of new phrases thrown around. Pack, Den, District, Council- what are these mysterious organizations?

I’ve put together a simple top-down guide to explain this layout, without going too deep in the weeds.

BSA Scouting Organizational Chart
BSA Logo

Scouts USA

Historically known as simply Boy Scouts, this is the national level of the scouting organization (think the Federal level of government). This level comprises executive groups that manage scouting ranks, camps, jamborees, and other high-level functions. You’ll find the name on each uniform shirt, embroidered about the right pocket.

Grand Canyon Council Logo


Large areas of each state are broken up into one or more Councils (think State level of government). Their focus is the groups and camps that live directly within their borders. You’ll find your council patch on the top left shoulder of the uniform.

BSA District Logo


Each Council is broken up into smaller Districts, made up of several towns or part of a large city (think County government). District volunteers support Pack activities in their area, as well as day camps/hikes and merit badge clinics. There isn’t any District insignia on the normal scout uniform and you may go the rest of your scouting career without hearing the term very often.

Pack Logo


The Pack is simply a group of Dens in a small area that coordinates meeting space, organizes overnight camping trips, and hosts special events like the Pinewood Derby (think City government). Packs are run by a committee of volunteers and most visibly by the Cubmaster. Your Scout will wear the red numbers of his Pack on their left arm, below their Council patch.

Cub Scout Den Logos


The Den is the smallest unit in Cub Scouts. As a Tiger, Wolf, Bear, etc. your child will be a direct member of this group, which is sorted by grade and gender. One or more Den Leaders run each group and specialize in planning and advancement for their specific rank.

You’ll identify your Den on a uniform in several ways: a blue Den patch on the right arm below the American flag and by the neckerchief, neckerchief slide, and hat corresponding to your rank (i.e. Tiger).

Simply put, the further down the rabbit hole you go, the more local in focus you get, down to the Den level.

I hope this simple guide helps explain a few things about your kid’s new organization. Once you have this under your belt, it’s time to discuss the folks who run some of these groups.

Next stop: your Den and Pack Leaders.

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