How Cub Scouting Is Organized

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. In Cub Scouting, it also takes an organization—or, rather, several organizations and millions of volunteers working together to achieve Cub Scouting’s purpose.

There are two related organizations that support the BSA’s mission. One focuses on program development and administration. The second is related to supporting the Cub Scouts, their families, and the parents and other adult volunteers who work with them.


Certain parts of the BSA organization are focused on defining the Scouting program, making sure the volunteers presenting the program are properly supported, and raising the money necessary to run the program. These functions are served by staff and volunteers at the National Service Center, local council service center, and local district levels.

The Boy Scouts of America

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the Boy Scouts of America is a national, nonprofit organization that operates under a federal charter. National volunteers provide overall direction for the organization and approve organizational and program changes.

At the national level, the BSA develops programs like Cub Scouting, publishes such resources as this Leader Book and the various Scouting magazines, develops leader training, and makes available for purchase uniforms and insignia, equipment, and other program materials.

The Council and District

The Boy Scouts of America charters approximately 270 local councils, which oversee the Scouting program in specific geographic areas. Depending on population, a council territory might take in a single city, several counties, or a large part of several states.

The local council is the administrative body for all Scouting units (Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews, and Sea Scout ships) in its territory. It provides unit service, membership support, leader training, and activities like Cub Scout day camps and Scouting shows. The council is a voluntary association of citizens who function with guidance from a group of professional Scouters led by the Scout executive.

Council Relationships

The council does not give service directly to individual youth but rather offers a program to community organizations that operate Scouting units. Using the Scouting program, these chartered organizations along with adult volunteers provide Scouting directly to individuals.

The council helps the pack by

The pack helps the council by

Volunteer and Professional Relationships

Scouting’s special partnership between volunteers and professionals is the core of its success. When this partnership thrives, Scouting thrives.

The practice of maintaining Scouting as a volunteer movement finds full expression in the organization and operation of the local council. Scouting prospers in proportion to the team effort between professional Scouters and volunteers in terms of the stature, vision, and enthusiasm to plan and carry out the local Scouting program.

Council and district professionals and volunteers support the administrative, training, and fundraising needs of Cub Scouting.

At the same time, the Scout executive and other professional Scouters provide the administrative guidance that shapes the thinking and efforts of many volunteers into a coordinated, efficient endeavor designed to reap the greatest dividends from the volunteers’ investment of time and effort.

Neither the volunteer nor the professional has a monopoly on wisdom, judgment, or experience. When the two work together, the combination is a winning team.

The professional helps Scouting by

The volunteer helps Scouting by

Much of the council’s work is done through districts, which are administrative units of the council. Depending on your council’s size, it may include many districts or just a few. The district’s work is carried out by a volunteer district committee and commissioner staff, both of which are supported by a professional Scouter called a district executive

District Relationships

Each district contains several units, many of which are Cub Scout packs.

The district helps the pack by

The pack helps the district by

Pack leaders should establish a good relationship with volunteers at the district level and the district executive. The role of these individuals is to help packs and leaders succeed.

One of the district’s most important functions is unit service. The commissioner staff is made up of experienced Scouting volunteers whose role is to support units like yours.

The Chartered Organization

The council and district support participants in the Cub Scouting program through the pack, but they don’t run the program. The responsibility of running units falls to the chartered organization, a local organization with interests similar to the BSA. This organization, which might be a religious organization, school-based parents’ organization, service organization, or group of interested citizens, receives a charter from the BSA to use the Scouting program as part of its service to young people. Some chartered organizations operate a single Scouting unit, while others operate several, perhaps a Cub Scout pack, a Scouts BSA troop, and a Venturing crew.

The chartered organization agrees to provide a suitable meeting place, adult leadership, and supervision for each of its units. Some provide financial support, but that’s not required.

A member of the organization, the chartered organization representative, acts as a liaison between the organization and its Scouting units and serves as a voting member of the local council. The chartered organization representative is often someone who is responsible for all of the organization’s youth programs.

The Committee

Every pack is under the supervision of a pack committee, which consists of the parents and guardians of the Cub Scouts and leaders of the pack with at least three specific positions: committee chair, secretary, and treasurer. By handling administrative and support tasks, the pack committee allows the Cubmaster, den leaders, and their assistants to focus on working directly with the Cub Scouts.

Experience has shown that more parents participating in monthly committee meetings, or “pack family meetings,” leads to a stronger, more stable pack that is better able to perform all the required functions to ensure a successful pack program. The pack committee meeting is also a way of involving all pack families in meaningful service to the pack.

The Cub Scout Pack

The pack is the Scouting unit that conducts the Cub Scout program with the chartered organization. It is led by a pack committee, which oversees administrative functions, and a Cubmaster, who oversees program activities. The pack includes all the children, leaders, and parents involved in Cub Scouting.

Most packs meet once a month, usually in a room provided by the chartered organization. The pack meeting is led by the Cubmaster with the help of other adults. It’s the pinnacle of the month’s activities and is attended by all family members.

In addition to regular pack meetings, the pack may take field trips, go camping, and conduct service projects or money-earning activities. During the summer, the pack might conduct outdoor activities such as a swimming party, pack overnighter, family picnic, or sports tournament.

The success of the advancement program depends entirely on how Cub Scout leaders and parents apply it. Careful research has gone into developing the advancement program, but den and pack leaders and families make advancement really work in the dens, in the home, and, most importantly, in the lives of Cub Scouts.

Parents and Family

On the Youth Application, parents or guardians are asked to commit to participate in meetings and activities, help their children grow as Cub Scouts, and assist pack leaders as needed.

Here are some examples of family involvement.