A Basic Tiger Cub History: Tiger Cubs, BSA was introduced in 1982. Each boy joins with an adult partner (parent, grandparent or other) and they participate in all the meetings and outings together. The uniform then was simple – a cheerful tiger-orange T-shirt. Tigers were originally “affiliated” with a pack but not listed on the pack’s charter. That changed in 1993 when they officially became part of the pack and were listed on the charter. The uniform was still an orange t-shirt. By 2004 Tiger Cubs were wearing the same blue Cub Scout Uniform as the rest of the boys with an orange neckerchief. They now had their own Tiger Cub handbook and were working towards earning the new Tiger Cub rank/badge. With the program changes to Cub Scouting that happened this year, Tigers now use the same advancement model as everyone else—7 adventures. They also dropped the word “Cubs and got a more mature logo too. They still use the “shared leadership” model, and each boy still joins with an adult partner. Tigers are boys who are 7 years old or in the first grade. So as you can see, Tigers has been a part of the BSA for over 30 years and yet SO many parents and leaders still no little or nothing about the program.
What Tiger leaders & parents have to say: I recently got a list of the packs with Tiger dens in our council and contacted each of them for some first-hand wisdom. Let’s face it, the best way to learn more is to talk to those who actually have real life, first-hand experience. Here are some of the comments about the Tiger program that were shared with me:
“We have loved having the opportunity do fun activities as a boy/parent team. It is great to make time for just your son. It is awesome to see how excited your son and his friends are to try new things. Together we have seen historical sites, a radio station, a tv station, a basketball game; gone hiking, fishing, shooting (BB guns & bow ‘n’ arrows), and camping; and many other fun activities. The boys have loved starting on their Scouting adventures as a Tiger Cub.” – Stephanie Peck, Pack 4802 in St. George.
“I think the Tiger program is awesome! It eases the boys into Scouting and it trains their adult partner as a future Scout leader. We have a lot of LDS boys start in our pack then transfer into their ward’s pack when they turn 8.” – Gloria Fox, Pack 1037 in Vernal
“My oldest son first attended day camp as a Tiger Cub, and can I tell you something? It was the most enjoyable day I had had with him in years. He was such a busy boy always exploring and finding things to get into. But day camp was a dream! He was enthralled with the new world around him, and was an angel all day long. It was then that I realized there must be something to this thing called Scouting, and together we learned what Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouting could do for not only him, but our family. I am so grateful that we knew about the Tiger Cub program, and didn’t wait until he was 8 to get our family involved in this great program.” – Felice Clements, Pack 1456 in Springville
“I love Tiger aged boys because they are so enthusiastic about scouts and eager to learn (and so sweet!). I love seeing how much they grow and mature in just that one year, in a way that doesn’t seem as profound in later ages. I tell parents that joining Tigers is a prime opportunity to begin Scouting because they require an Adult Partner to work with them. The parents and family learn and participate right alongside their boy. Most Tiger parents are new to Scouting, and this way the parents get used to being a part of the pack and learn what Scouting is all about. That momentum carries them through supporting their sons through all levels of Scouting. We already know that parental involvement is absolutely critical to a boys’ success in Scouting, and Tigers will involve them from the beginning. The boys start off better prepared for advancing through Cub Scouts regardless if they choose to join their local LDS unit when they turn eight, or choose to continue Scouting with our pack.” – Amber Worch of Pack 1389 in Sevier Valley.
“I am currently a Webelos leader; I began with these boys as their Tiger leader. I enjoyed the Tiger year the most because they were so proud to be in Scouting and so excited to do the activities. These eight cubs happened to all be in the same 1st grade class together and their teacher said that was all they talked about! It is a really fun age group to interact with.” – Sherri Phillips of Pack 4802 in St George
“Tigers is all about having fun. If you have, or know of, a young boy who needs a little “one on one” attention (and what boy doesn’t) Think of the “alone time” he would get to spend with his adult partner each week for an entire year, doing lots of fun things. And of course there is so much the family can do together also, camping, hiking, games… There are so many fun things that we do as Tigers that I couldn’t begin to name them all. There is an actual Tiger den leader (like Me) but parents have the chance to be in charge of some of the meetings and activities also. It’s a “shared leadership” model that helps both the boys and the parents better understand what Cub Scouting is all about.” – Evan Clements of Pack 1456 in Springville
I started doing Tigers with my son because he had been coming to Cub Scout meetings & trainings with me since he was 18 months old and I figured I needed to spend Cub Scout time with him as soon as he was old enough (kindergarten graduate). I continue doing Tigers with him because of how much fun it is! The boys learn beginning Cub Scout skills in fun way and they LOVE being Cub Scouts like the older boys! -Yvonne Russell, Pack 1275 of Orem
I LOVE Tiger Cubs. It provides the perfect introduction for boys and parents to the scouting program. It is fun, exciting, and very family-centered. Because each boy has a parent partner with him every single week, he is confident, excited, and really looks forward to the bonding time at scouts. It is easier on the Tiger Den Leader, too, because he or she never has to worry if there will be enough supervision to do a fun activity. As an added perk, the pack gets a new pool of registered scouters to draw from in future years. No parent who has had a son in Tigers can say, “But I know NOTHING about scouts. . . ” when asked to help. I wish every boy could be a Tiger! – Julia Oldroyd of Pack 1456 in Springville
So, are you intrigued? Or maybe even convinced that Tigers would be good for your son and family? I sure wish I had joined with my youngest son. Tigers isn’t right for every family but if Tigers is something you want to look into more you may be asking—How do I get started? Well the way I see it you have 3 main choices. (Let me know if you know of another option) Find a Tiger den, start a new Tiger den, or do Tigers as a Lone Cub Scout. Let’s look a little closer to those 3 options.
1) Find an existing Pack with a Tiger Den. This in many ways may be the easiest, IF you live close enough to one already. The list I got from the council (Spring 2015) included 9 packs (I have since added 2 more). Packs in the Utah National Parks Council with Tiger dens are: Pack 51 in Provo, Pack 282 in Price, Pack 1037 in Vernal, Pack 1114 in American Fork, Pack 1179 in Plesant Grove, Pack 1275 in Orem, Pack 1456 in Springville, Pack 1389 in Sevier Valley, Pack 1921 in Lehi, Pack 2008 in Mesquite, and Pack 4802 in St. George. That’s not very many to choose from for as large as our council boundaries are, but if you happen to live close enough to one of them, this is definitely the way to go. Contact your local service center for contact information for the pack nearest to you.
2) Start your own pack with a Tiger den. That’s what Amber Worch did when they were looking into the Tiger program. Here is what she shared with me…” In early 2014, I was able to charter a Cub Scout pack so that my younger son could be a Tiger Cub. At first, we were planning for him to be a lone Tiger Cub, but we were encouraged and supported by our District to try to organize a whole new unit. They already had in mind a chartering organization that historically wanted to sponsor community units in the district… We are currently the only community unit in the central southern Utah region… we recruited the old fashioned way—with flyers and open house meetings.” If you know of others in your area that would like to join Tigers or if your district has an organization willing to sponsor, just think of all the boys that could benefit from Tiger Cubs. This is definately an option worth looking into. (In fact I happen to know that one of our council’s membership goals is to increase the number of Tiger units within our council.) Talk to your district leaders and see what can be done to get Tigers up and running in your district.
3) Lone Scouting, like Tigers, is a BSA program that many leaders know little to nothing about. Not just any boy can join as a lone scout. There are specific situations and regulations and you have to get permission from the council, but It seems to me that in our council, especially since the LDS packs do not include Tiger dens, Lone Cub Scouting might just be the answer for many boys. So, If you can’t find a unit or don’t have the support to start one, you and your son may want to look into doing Tiger Cubs together as a “Lone Cub Scout”. This could be a really great family experience too. In fact, the way I see it, this might be a good way to let those siblings (girls or boys too young) to get to “do scouting” too. They of course wouldn’t be registered or receive the awards but just think of the activities they would get to participate in as his “den”. For more information on how to join as a lone Cub Scout you can visit the Lone Scout page on the National BSA website. You can also find information in the Guide to Advancement under Special Considerations section 18.104.22.168. And by reading the Lone Friend and Counselor Guidebook.
I know this was a very long article but there was just SO much I wanted to share with you. For those who read all the way to the end – Thanks! I hope you learned something new and are at least thinking about a boy you know that could benefit from the Tiger program. Unfortunately Tigers is not without opposition in our council. In fact many parents, leaders and chartered partners are under the mistaken assumption that since the LDS church does not sponsor Tiger cubs then it is something that we should not be a part of. That is simply NOT true! LDS boys CAN be Tigers and every boy would benefit from the fun, family-focused program.