There are a few ceremonies and traditions that Cub Scouts have used since Cubs began in 1916. Cubs share the salute used by all members of the Scout Association, as well as having their own distinct ceremonies, which Cub Packs all around the world use. Here are just a few that we use regularly in our Pack.
The Scout Sign
During ceremonies Cub Scouts may make the Scout sign, which helps them to remember their promise to God, the Queen and other people, which they made when they were invested. Cubs hold up their three middle fingers of their right hand, with their arm raised as shown in the picture.
The Scout Salute
Cubs may also use the “Scout Salute”; while standing at the alert (stood up straight with feet together and arms by sides), the Scout Sign is made with the right hand, and is raised to the side of the head.
The Scout Handshake
Scouts also have their own special handshake, demonstrating their trust for other Scouts. Scouts shake hands using their left hand, while maaking the Scout Sign with their right hand.
This originates from when Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout Movement, was in West Africa. Here, shaking hands with your left hand required putting down your shield, while the other person could still hold their weapon, thus demonstrating your friendship and trust for them.
The Cub Scout Promise Ceremony
The most important ceremony a Cub can take part in. When a new Cub is Invested (officially joins the Pack, and the World Wide Scout Family!), a Cub Scout Promise Ceremony is held to mark the occasion. All the members of the Pack, including the leaders, stand in a circle. Everyone makes the Scout sign, and says the Cub Scout Promise together.
The new Cubs recieve their badges, Group scarf and woggle. They are then welcomed to the Pack by shaking hands (using the special “Scout Handshake”) with the Cub Leaders. Parents are invited to watch their Cubs being invested, although the ceremony may often take place at an excting location to make the experience more memorable.
The Grand Howl
At the beginning of each meeting, the Cubs use the Grand Howl as a special way to greet Akela and the other Cubs. The Cubs form a circle, and, lead by the duty Sixer, will squat down like a wolf would, with their “paws” between their legs.
At the top of their voices, the Cubs shout “AKELA!”
The Cubs then stand up to attention, and the duty Sixer leads them, calling out “Cubs! Do Your Best!”
to which they reply at the top of thier voices “We WILL Do Our Best!”
At the beginnning of every Pack meeting (usually just after the Grand Howl), and each morning while on camp, Cubs hold a “Flag Break” ceremony. The Union Flag is folded and hoisted up the flag pole in preparation for the Ceremony.
The whole Pack form a circle facing the Union Flag, and are called to attention by the duty Sixer using the command “Pack, Pack Alert.”
The duty Sixer will then walk to the flag and pull the breaking rope, allowing the flag to fall free. The entire Pack salutes the Flag, and may then be instructed to stand “At Ease” (legs apart with hands behind backs) or to “Break Away” (1/4 turn to the right and leave the circle).
At the end of every Pack meeting, and sundown each evening while on camp, the Cubs hold a “Flag Down” ceremony. The Pack stand to attention, facing the flag, while the duty Sixer slowly lowers the flag, never allowing it to touch the floor. The Pack may then be instructed to “Break Away” (1/4 turn to the right and leave the circle) or “Dismiss” (1/4 turn to the right, salute and leave the circle)
Presentation of Badges
When a Cub Scout has earned a Badge, they are presented infront of the entire Pack, and Parents are often invited to attend. The Cubs are awarded their badges, and congratulated using the Scout handshake – using the left hand while recieving their badges with the right hand.