Blue Ridge Mountains Council


Bear Rank

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The Bear program is a fun family-centered program for boys who have completed the second grade (or are age 9) that encourages the development ethical decision making skills while motivating the Scout to achieve his full physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual potentials as an individual, as a responsible citizen, and as a member of his local, national, and international communities. The Bear program emphasizes shared leadership, learning about the community, and family understanding. The program also provides the Scout with an opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and reinforce ethical standards. Much like the Tiger den, an adult partner is expected to participate with the Scout in all den meetings and activities. The third set of steps along the Boy Scout Trail are provided here as each set of steps continues to build on the basic categories of adventures done in previous ranks.

Much like the Tiger and the Wolf programs, the Bear program is conducted in phases. In one phase, the Bear scout and his adult partner meet monthly with other Bear scouts and their adult partners in a “den,” that consists of a group of boys, the same age, that come together and work on age appropriate adventures for status, rank, and recognition in the Pack. Other phases include, but are not limited to learning more about staying healthy, knowing their home and community, tools for fixing and building, cooking healthy, being safe, making good choices, and much more. The Bear scout and his adult partner will also meet in the home to conduct activities for the whole family. Like our entire our Scouting program, the Bear program follows a school-year cycle where boys remain in the Bear program until they complete third grade, at which time, they graduate into a Webelos den and will have the opportunity to participate in Webelos summer activities, including Webelos Resident Camp. bear_handbook

A boy may begin working on the Bear badge as soon as he joins a Bear den. The adventures that he must complete are somewhat more difficult and challenging than those for the Wolf or Tiger rank. These age appropriate adventures emphasize character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. As he completes the adventures found in the Bear handbook, he will work on activity badges, attend meetings led by adults, and become acquainted with the requirements of becoming a Boy Scout; all leading to the Arrow Of Light award.

During the year, the Bear scout will work to complete six core Bear adventures and one of the thirteen Bear elective adventures. These adventures will be completed at den meetings as well as at home. The scout will learn about the safe use of pocketknives, camping and what gear to pack for campouts, planning and cooking meals, hiking and nature, new games, and much, much more! After completing an adventure each Scout will receive an immediate recognition award in the form of a adventure loop that he can wear on his belt. Each boy joining the Cub Scout program for the first time must earn a Bobcat badge before he can proceed to earn any other badge.

Boys like to belong to a group and the den is the place where boys learn new skills and develop interests in new things. A well-run group of Wolves will continue focusing on the idea of den-wide completions of adventures as a den. Basically, this will help the individual scouts learn sportsmanship and good citizenship as they learn how to get along with others. They also learn how to do their best, not just for themselves but also for the den. A good scout meeting is active, fun, and interesting and is often packed with activities, safe adventures, and games.

Bear Den
Third Grader or 9 years of age

Under the leadership of a Bear den leader, the Bear scout will spend the year working on a series of seven adventures described in his Bear handbook that advances him towards the Bear rank. By completing these seven adventures, the Bear badge, the forth diamond-shaped rank badge is earned.

A knowledgeable, well-trained den leader is critical to the success of a den. All leaders have certain responsibilities to the boys in Cub Scouts. Each leader should respect boys’ rights as individuals and treat them as such; see that boys find the excitement, fun, and adventure that they expected when they joined the program; provide enthusiasm, encouragement, and praise for boys’ efforts and achievements; develop among the boys a feeling of togetherness and team spirit that gives them security and pride; and provide opportunities for boys to experience new dimensions in their world.

The den leader plans the program of activities for the scouting year, carries out that program, and makes that plan available to all den parents. The den leader should enjoy being outside and be comfortable exploring the environment in a safe manner. The den leader also makes advancement opportunities available to each scout and tracks his advancements. The Bear den leader can also recruit other adults to plan and organize individual adventure outings. One of the main roles of the Bear den leader is to be encouraging, organized, and supportive as he or she gives each scout opportunities to lead and make decisions, both individually and for the den.

The Bear den leader is a registered volunteer BSA position. Every Bear den is required to have a registered den leader whose responsibilities include, but are not limited to: working directly with other den and pack leaders to ensure that the den is an active and successful part of the pack; planning, preparing for, and conducting den meetings; attending Pack Committee meetings; leading the den at Pack meetings and activities; keeping accurate records, helping the den earn the National Den Award; and preparing the Bear scout for the future transition to Webelos scout at the end of the year.

The Cub Scout motto Do Your Best is a key part of the Cub Scouting program. There is no level of competence or skill required to complete adventures. Success is achieved by putting forth one’s best personal effort and having fun with fellow scouts.

George Evans

Our Bear den meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Scout Room. (The Scout Room is in the basement of the Literacy Volunteers Of America building across the street from the Dollar General Market in downtown Christiansburg at the corner of West Main and Dunkley Streets.)