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Lion program for Kindergarten age boys - FAQ

Overview FAQs

Q: What exactly is the Lion pilot?

A: The Lion pilot is a Boy Scouts of America program that is designed to introduce kindergarten-age boys and their families to the fun of Scouting.

Q: Who are Lions?

A: The kindergarten-age boys participating are called Lions. Lions must be 5 years old or the year before First Grade and not yet 7 years old.

Q: What is a Lion den?

A: A Lion den is a group of usually six to eight kindergarten-age boys who meet together to participate in the Lion program with their adult partners. Lions is not a sibling only program—this is a new opportunity for boys far and wide to join.  It’s also a chance to create memories that will last a lifetime, and build a stronger family while enjoying the Scouting program with other families. 

Q: Who is involved in the Lion pilot?

A: The program is run by volunteers at the unit level. A kindergarten-age boy and his adult partner join and attend meetings and activities together. The national pilot is for approved councils. Be sure to check and see if your local council is participating. The list of approved councils is available at Link. If you don’t know your local council, use the council locator found hereExternal Link.

Q: How long will this pilot take place?

A: The national pilot begins in the fall of 2016 through May 2017 and will remain a pilot until otherwise determined by the National Executive Board. Success of the program will be based in part on feedback from the pilot participants.  The pilot will continue for the 2017-2018 school year and if all continues to go as well as it is will be considered to join the official Cub Scouting program soon after this.



Q: Will new applications be changed and reprinted with a spot for Lions?

A:  No, since this is still a pilot, you will continue to use the same standard youth application form you’ve been using.


Q: Then how will we register on the application that we are registering a Lion?

A: Just write in “Lion” at the Top of the form.  And in the grade area, put a “K”.

Q: Will adults be registered on the same application form as the youth?

A:  Yes and one joint registration fee is charged not two.  The only exception is the Lion Guide will need to complete their own adult application like any other leader and pay the adult fee.

Q: Will Lions be able to register via online registration?

A:  Yes, if your council is participating in online registration for your other Cub Scout registrations, then yes, Lion families will be able to register online.


Q: Will we get marketing resources/fliers to be able to recruit new Lions?

A:  Yes, since Lions is not a sibling only program, we want you to recruit!  You may use the newly created Lion fliers or the “Build an Adventure” materials.  The Lion fliers are more age appropriate and will only feature elements in the Lion program.  These are available at Link

Q: Can we create our own materials?

A:  You should use the materials created by national at Link no original designs or logo use is allowed.  But there is often a place to customize these resources with your local council contact information.

Q: What if we need to create something unique for a Lion event?

A:  The Lion program logo/insignia are the intellectual property of the BSA National Council. The council may not grant others the right to use the Lion program logo for any purpose. If national and Link doesn’t have what you need then you can request approval by presenting your idea and design to and we are happy to consider it for your specific situation.

Q: Can we post the materials on our council website?

A:  Yes, you may post anything from the Link website.  In fact, we encourage you to promote it as much as your council desires. 

Your council has agreed not to reproduce, adapt, or distribute the program curriculum (sellable program items) or other materials without prior written consent of the Pilots & Program Development Department which can be reached at


Q: How often and for how long does the den meet?

A: The den meets for eight to nine months of the year, two times per month, once for a den meeting and once for an outing and/or pack meeting. The den meetings usually last for one hour. The outings and pack meetings are longer, depending on the activity.


Q: Does the Lion program support the aims and mission of Scouting?

A: Yes

Q: What methods used by the Cub Scouting program does the Lion program include?

A: Cub Scout sign, Cub Scout salute, Cub Scout motto, Scout Oath, and Scout Law


Q: Tell me more about these.

A: These methods are important guiding principles that are integrated into the value and program of all levels of Scouting.   


Q: Do Lions memorize the Scout Oath and Scout Law?

A: Lions are not asked to memorize the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The Lion program is an introduction to Cub Scouting.  The goal is for Lions to start becoming familiar with the ideas and not emphasize memorization.

Helpful Leader Hints:

  • The adult leader should practice leading the group in saying the Scout Oath and Scout Law together.
  • A poster can also be a good support tool, as Lions develop literacy skills during their kindergarten year.
  • The Lion Guide or Adult Leader is encouraged to emphasize and help the youth understand with practical examples the meaning of the Scout Oath and Law throughout the year.You may want to consider taking a different concept each month and focusing on how that applies to a 5 year old’s daily life.

Q: Do Lions complete the Cub Scouting Bobcat rank requirements?

A: Because Lion is a pilot and a precursor to the Tiger rank in Cub Scouting, they will not earn the Bobcat rank until they become Tigers. 

Q: What is a Lion “adventure”?

A: A Lion adventure is a content theme that will tie together a den meeting activity and possibly an outing that share a common focus.

Q: In what order should the adventures be completed?

A: There is no prescribed order for the adventures; however it is recommended that a Lion den begin with the Lion’s Honor adventure. Consider local needs, including the weather, local holidays and school schedules, and other resources, and then plan the adventures in an order that makes sense for your circumstances.

Q: Can the boys work on Lion elective adventures before the rank required adventures?

A: Yes, the adventures are designed so that the families and Lion Guide may determine the most appropriate time to deliver each adventure.

Q: Can we change the information in the Lion den meeting plans or deliver it differently? If the Lion program cannot be changed, doesn’t that deny talented and creative leaders the opportunity to design and run a program for kindergarten-age boys?

A: To achieve the desired outcomes of the pilot program and to gather survey data for the Lion program, we are asking that you use the den meeting plans as they are written and deliver the program as developed. The Lion den meeting plans were developed to help Lion Guides and Lion adult partners deliver a fun and engaging program with all needed resources available or identified in a single document, the Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook.

You are to use the material in the Lion den meeting plans to achieve those goals. And you are encouraged to use your creative energy to make the program fun and active for the youth. Deliver the curriculum as written and keep it fun!

Q: What happens if my Lion misses a meeting?

A: The Lion adult partner and his family will work with him to bring him up to speed on what was missed. Communicate with the Lion Guide to verify what was missed and to inform him or her that the Scout has completed the activities.


Q: What type of uniform does the Lion wear?

A: A Lion T-shirt and an optional cap specifically designed for Lion youth is in local council Scout shops. 

Q: Do the Lion Guide or adult partner have a uniform?

A: The Lion Guide or adult partner may wear the same official adult uniform as other Cub Scout leaders in the pack. Also an appropriate uniform is either the Adult embroidered Lion Polo or Lion Adult T-shirt.


Q: What is the leadership of the Lion den?

A: The ideal Lion Guide is an experienced Cub Scout leader. The parents or Lion adult partners take turns leading the activities and den meetings for the youth. The Lion Guide helps mentor each Parent to prepare for their meeting/outing.  The Den Meeting Plans are outlined in the Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook with simple easy to follow step by step instructions listing everything down to any supplies needed.

Q:  What does a Lion Guide do?

A: A Lion Guide sets the stage for a successful Scouting experience for families in your Den.

  • Oversees the den
  • Communicates with participating families
  • Watches the free Lion Guide and Parent Orientation video
  • Leads initial den meetings and outings
  • Mentors adult partners as they lead den meetings and outings during the year
  • Is the point person for integration with Pack and Pack meetings
  • Helps create an atmosphere of fun and family within the Den for families and youth

Q:  I am an Adult Partner what do I do?

A: You

  • Attend all Den Meetings and outings/Pack meetings with your son.
  • Watch the free Lion Guide and Parent Orientation video.
  • Take turns in leading a Den meeting and outing during the year.
  • The Lion Guide will help mentor you to prepare for the Den meeting/outing you will lead.The Den Meeting Plans are outlined in the Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook with simple easy to follow step by step instructions listing everything down to any supplies needed.
  • Have lots of fun with your son and other Scouting families!

Q:  What does co-leadership mean and why is it important?

A: The success and part of the fun of Lions is that you get to take the leadership role at one meeting and outing. This is really important for several reasons. 

  • It shows you leading and your son will be so proud of you and your involvement.
  • It makes the leadership easier by everyone taking a small part.
  • It’s fun to be a part of making your Den great by everyone contributing to its success.

Q:  How do I get started?

A: View the free Lion Guide and Parent Orientation video and PowerPoint.

  • Get the contact information for the other families in your Den.
  • Determine with the other families when and where your Den will meet.
  • Have each family select the Den meeting topic and month they will be presenting.
  • Get familiar with your Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook and your selected Den meeting Plan in the back of the guidebook.
  • Talk with your Lion Guide to prepare for your presentation topic.
  • If you want more, check out the website and resources at Link


Q: What type of training is required for the Lion Guide and the Lion adult partners?

A: A variety of resources are available.

  • Youth Protection training and Lion Guide and Parent Orientation are available. Youth Protection training is mandatory for Lion Guides and is highly recommended for all adults and is available free online. The training is an important aspect of Scouting that will familiarize you with the safety measures in place for your family.
  • Lion Guide and Parent Orientation Video is available at Link free for all Lion volunteers.This 2 minute video is required for both Lion Guide and Parents.
  • Lion Guide and Parent Orientation PowerPoint is available at Link.It is required for Lion Guides and recommended for Parents.
  • A really good guide to help keep your children safe is referenced here.It is available at Link and is highly recommend for all families.
  • A Lion Guide is ideally an experienced Cub Scout Den Leader, so no other training is required.


Q: What types of resources are available to deliver the Lion program?

Lion program kit is $9.99 for set of three


  • Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook
  • Lion Adventure Book for Youth
  • Stickers for Youth
A: The following resources are available:


  • Lion Pilot Program Overview flier(1 pager)
  • FAQs
  • Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook
  • Lion Adventure Book for youth
  • Stickers for youth to accompany the Lion Adventure Book
  • Link will have all the latest information
  • What’s new for 2017-2018?



  • Lion Guide and Parent Orientation Video
  • Lion Guide and Parent Orientation PowerPoint
  • Youth Protection Training
  • Promotional Lion Video
  • Build an Adventure recruitment materials
  • New Lion recruitment flyer


  • New Lion merchandise flyer
  • T-shirt for youth
  • Cap for youth (optional)
  • Lion patch for achieving the five required den meetings
  • Adult Lion Embroidered Polo (optional)

    Lion Items Available via Customer Specialty Services

  • Adult Lion T-shirt
  • Youth Lion daypack
  • Recruitment patch “ask me about Lions”


  • Member Care Contact Center at 972-580-2489 or email
  • Lion Merchandise questions at 1-800-323-0736 or email
  • Lion Guide and council Cub Scout leaders and other experienced volunteers


Q: Do Lions have advancement like the other levels in the Cub Scouting program?

A: The Lion level will use immediate recognition stickers and a completion badge as part of a fun introduction to Scouting. Lions will begin their advancement trail and adventure belt loops when they begin working on the Bobcat rank in Tigers. 

Q: What recognition is given when a Lion completes an adventure?

A: When an adventure is completed, the Lion will receive a sticker that matches the adventure. These stickers are designed to be placed on the “My Lion Trail” page in the adventure book.  Supply is working on an additional item which would be presented during Pack meetings for 2018-2019.

Q: When is the recognition given?

A: The Lion Guide may give the youth the sticker during the den meeting or pack meeting as desired. The major consideration should be so the timing provides immediate opportunity to encourage and reward the youth. The closest time to completion of the adventure is usually best.

Q: When the Lion completion badge is earned where can they wear it?

A: The Lion badge is earned when the Lion has completed the 5 required adventures.  It may be worn on the T-shirt or cap or placed on a blanket or in a collection album as desired.

Q: I see that the Lion badge is the same diamond shape as the Tiger, Wolf, and Bear rank badges. Can my Lion wear his Lion badge on his Cub Scouting uniform when he becomes a Tiger?

A:   There is currently not a permanent place for the badge on the Cub Scout uniform. The badge should be treated as a great recognition piece for the hard work of earning the 5 required adventures, but as it represents a pilot program, it should be worn in the temporary patch location on the right hand pocket as part of the official Cub Scout uniform.   If/when the Lion pilot program becomes part of the official Cub Scouting program potentially after 2018 then we will make a new design of the rank patches and then communicate the placement at that time.

Q: Is there a pocket certificate available to give when the Lion badge is presented?

A: Not at this time, Lions is a pilot program, and it will not have a certificate until it becomes an official part of the Cub Scouting program.


Q: Will Lions be a part of the pack?

A: Yes.  For units participating in the pilot, Lions are a part of the Cub Scout pack.  All Lions should at least attend 2-3 Pack meetings per year and more if their families’ desire.  The Lion program is designed to introduce 5-year-old kindergarten-age boys to the fun and excitement of Scouting, but in ways that maintain age appropriate expectations.  Because of their age, development level, physical abilities, and stamina, Lions should participate in pack activities as their families feel comfortable with the age appropriateness of the activities.

For example, Lion dens should not participate in overnight Den specific camping but Pack and Family camping are ok.  Day camp and activities such as shooting sports are reserved for the older Cub Scouts.   Instead, keep the Lion dens focused on their exciting (and age-appropriate) adventures and fun family outings. Family camping with the Pack is totally welcome and encouraged!

Remember, the Lion program is an introduction to the world of Scouting. It’s good to save some of the fun for them to look forward to Tigers!

Q: What is meant by attending a few Cub Scout pack meetings?

A: Invite them to attend two to three pack meetings throughout the year.  You might think of some special times like a Holiday Pack meeting or Blue and Gold or end of the year fun time.  Be sure to include them in special activities, but only if appropriate for kindergarteners. If the Lions are planning to attend a Pack meeting—be sure to have some things they can participate in that are age appropriate.  But if families and the youth want to attend more Pack meetings then that is fine.  It will certainly help them see the larger family side of Scouting quicker by doing so.

Q: May Lions receive patches for participating in special pack, district, and council events?

A: Yes, if that is the practice in your local council, then you may expect that it will continue.

Q: Do Lions go to day camp?

A: Day camp begins when the Lion becomes a Tiger and goes to day camp.

Q: Is there anything else that is saved only for Tiger ranks and above?

A: Yes these items and activities should be saved for Tiger ranks and above:

  • Bobcat, Day Camp, Shooting Sports, Adventure Loops and Awards
  • Fundraising should be an individual family option or begun in the Spring. We want families to take the Lion year and simply enjoy the Scouting experience.There will be plenty of time to help support the Pack, Den and Scouting.But if the Lion family wants to begin to raise funds that will contribute to their summer activities they may do so at their individual family choice.



Q: How did the Lion program really start?

A: It began when a council or two saw a need with families and responded to meet that need.  They served this market and then brought it to the attention of the National Council.  The curriculum was reviewed, refined and tested with 4 councils, youth and adults, and experts in education. Then after a few years, it is now expanding to a National Pilot to broaden the testing and get feedback from a larger national segment.  

Q: What were the qualifications of the development team that wrote the Lion pilot?

A: The curriculum was developed by a team of experts, including representation from the fields of childhood development, education, and child psychology.

  • Locally-developed content was reviewed by that team, and the best pieces woven into the new curriculum. With a focus of fast paced and hands on activities that were age appropriate.In addition, consideration was paramount to make the Lion curriculum fit in as a precursor to the first level of Cub Scouting, Tigers.
  • That team worked to ensure that the organization’s high standards were met in delivering effective (age-appropriate) character and leadership programs.
  • A small number of councils have tested the new curriculum over the past two years, which lead to the broader expansion of a national pilot.In 2016-2017 over 200 councils participated and over 30,000 youth.
  • All Lion pilot task force members are experienced Cub Scout leaders. In addition, all have contributed previously to Cub Scouting on national task forces involving program support materials and the recent development of the 2015 Cub Scout adventure program. Team members also have professional expertise in curriculum design and/or professional expertise in youth development.

Q: Why continue Lion in the pilot phase?

A:  It is important to pilot new Scouting programs in order to gather critical feedback from parents, volunteers and youth. As such, the organization has outlined a process to ensure newly developed programs are tested and evaluated. They must meet BSA’s high standards in driving character and leadership outcomes. Piloting is a critical part of that process. The data and what we learn this year will guide the next steps.

Q: What are some positive results you can share from councils that have already piloted Lions?

A:  The Pilot Councils have been extremely positive about their Lion program experience. Several common themes emerged from those initial pilot units.

  • It was a positive recruitment experience for all levels in elementary school to be included.This comment was voiced by school administration, families and leaders alike.
  • The pilot helped new families engage in Scouting earlier before they got a full commitment calendar with other non-Scouting related activities.
  • The pilots identified future leader for Dens and Packs. Because the Lion program uses a shared leadership concept – introducing parents to the idea of leading just a few meetings or activities throughout the year. This gives the parents a chance to try their hand at leading activities and gives units a way to interact with those parents.
  • In addition, the pilot units showed very strong Tiger recruitment the following year. There will be much more data learned this fall as the pilot expands nationally.
  • Lion families had lots of Scouting fun and are eager to get started!

Q: Is Lions just about growth?

A:  Absolutely not! The development of a kindergarten program is driven by the desire to reach more of America’s youth with the purposeful outcomes only Scouting can provide. Oftentimes, families make “joining” decisions at about the kindergarten age. As they enter First Grade, schedules are often full and we’ve missed the opportunity for Scouting. We know from the recent Tufts studyExternal Link that Scouting works! It has a tremendous impact on the lives of young people. The Lion program is a way to reach more of America’s families with the benefits of Scouting.


Q:  I have additional questions.  Where do I go first?

A: Most of your questions should be answered in either the Parent and Leader Guidebook or the FAQs.  But if you’d like to speak to someone further the best place is Member Care Contact Center,

call 972-580-2489 or send an email to

Q:  I have a question about Lion Merchandise?

A: The best place to go for questions about Lion Merchandise is to contact your local Scout Shop or the Supply Customer Service at 1-800-323-0736 or email

Q:  Is the Lion merchandise available for customer online ordering?

A:  No, the Lion merchandise is available to the public only in stores.  It is a restricted item only available to “Approved” Lion Pilot Councils and their stores.

New Updates for 2017-2018

During the evaluation of the expanded national Pilot several key themes were discovered.  We would like to make these following modifications in the Lion program now based on feedback from those who participated this last year.   We heard you loud and clear!

Q:  What’s Changing for 2017-2018?  Can we let Lions participate in Pinewood Derby with the Pack?

A: Yes, You want to do Pinewood Derby (PWD) for Lions too.  You now have 3 options. 

1) Include Lions as you do in PWD with the rest of your pack.

2) Encourage your Lions to use the “wedge” available at Scout Shops—so there’s no cutting involved.

3) Consider a fun Veggie Car Derby—this could be in-place of the Pack’s PWD or to get prepared and just have fun!  Information is available online at Link 

Q:  What’s Changing for 2017-2018?  Many Lions families want the option to participate in more Pack Meetings with the Pack—can they do that?

A:  Yes, many of you expressed an interest to allow the families to self-select attending more Pack meetings as desired.  We would still like the requirement to be 2-4 Pack meetings per year as not to overwhelm those families that just want to go slow.  But for those families that can and want to attend more—then allow them and encourage them to do so—we want them to feel welcome and included.

Q:  What’s Changing for 2017-2018?  Many Lion parents want the option to participate in Fundraising activities—is that ok?

A:  Yes, many of you expressed an interest to allow the families to self-select participating in fundraising as desired.  We would still like it to be a choice of each family.  Some packs that insist on a specific amount for each child to reach in popcorn sales is often viewed as too harsh and too quick as to when they joined Scouting.  Spring fundraising is often a good tool for those that are trying to fundraise for summer Scouting activities.

Q:  What’s Changing for 2017-2018?  A few of our families would like to get the official blue Cub Scout uniform shirt in addition to the cute Lion T-shirt.  Is that allowed?

A:  Yes, this is entirely up to each family and youth.  The required uniform for the Lion Den activities is still the Lion T-shirt.  But if some families want to go ahead and purchase the Cub Scout uniform they may. 

Q:  What were some of the highlights from the focus groups and Lion survey?

Participants said

  • “The program content is really good.  It’s the right length and hits the sweet spot of this age group very well.”
  • Parents appreciate the cost factor to be able to participate in Lions for lower cost of the T-shirt verses higher priced shirt.
  • “Overall, the Lion pilot program was a big hit with our Pack.  In my opinion, this is the best idea the BSA has come up with, next to allowing girls to join Venturing.”


  • 61% of Lion parents indicate they have no other child in Scouting.  This means we are reaching our intended audience of recruiting new families to Scouting as well as serving siblings of our existing Scouts.
  • 91% of parents say their Lion will be moving to Tigers and 82% of Lion Guides say most will be moving to Tigers.
  • Satisfaction is high 90% for the T-shirt, shared leadership, age appropriate activities, youth Adventure book and immediate recognition stickers.  Also pleased with the meeting duration, frequency and content.  Leader Guidebook was not intimidating and was simple and easy for new parents to follow for effective meetings.  Adventures were engaging for the boys.

For the latest updates check Link website.


FAQs for Councils from the 5/11 Webcast


Q: Do Lions count toward membership and market share and what about JTE?

A: Lions count in membership and market share, but do not count against Journey to Excellence.

Q: Can you explain this further?

A:  Further JTE Clarification

Boys participating in the Lion pilot program will count toward your membership and market share.  Because there is no expectation of advancement within that Lion year, nor overnight Den camping, nor fundraising or community service, Lion participants will not be factored into those JTE measures.  It would skew your numbers downward.  As a result, the organization made the determination that Lion youth participants will “count” toward membership and market share, but not factor into…negatively impact… your other JTE measures. 

Q:  Is this entire Lion program just to boost National and Council membership?

A:  The Lion pilot program is meant to reach more boys (and their families) a younger age...with the benefits and positive outcomes only Scouting can provide.  Today, families are joining activities when their kids are at a very young age.  Scouting, with all of its positive outcomes, should have a place in that decision set.  With many families, our current 1st grade entry point into Scouting is simply too late.  

Q:  Will the Lion completion badge count for Cub Scout Advancement?

A:   No, it is not a reportable Rank and so therefore won’t need to be recorded during the Pilot period.

Q:  Sounds like there will be no advancement records to record, right?

A:  As a pilot program, there will be no advancement reports or advancement recording required to award the Lion completion badge or any of the Lion adventure stickers.


Q: The Lion Parent and Leader Guidebook says the age requirement is age 5 by September 1. Local schools / state law vary and our state says age 5 by September 30. How do we handle this difference?

A:  Yes, different states have different age requirements for kindergarten.  We took the average age around the nation.  

Clarification and updated answer.   To be eligible for the Lion program, a boy must be age 5 or the year before First Grade and not yet 7 years old.


Q:  Are there PowerPoints or materials we can use for training or communication purposes?

A:  Yes, there is a Lion Guide and Parent Orientation PowerPoint on the Lion website for your use.  You may also use any of the materials on the Link website.

Q:  Can we use the materials to make presentations at Roundtables?

A:  Yes.  You may also use any of the materials on the Link website.

Q: What training materials can we use?

A: The Lion Guide and Parent Orientation video and PowerPoint are available at Link.


Q: When will Scout shops get the Lion items up for sale?

A:   Once a council is approved the national office notifies Supply and the Scout Shops for that Council have the Lion merchandise available to them. 

National Scout Shops supporting approved councils have received their Lion kits and Adult polos. Council distributors in approved councils will need to order their Lion product through Supply Customer Service. 

Since this is a pilot program and requires Council approval, this product is not available on-line.

Q: If the kit is $9.99 for the 2 books and stickers, can we get just additional books and stickers without leader guides?

A: Yes.  These are available in your Scout Shops.


Q: Do councils need approval to participate in the pilot?

A: Yes, Scout executives, through multiple communications and channels, have been made aware of the application procedures.  If questions exist as to that process, the Scout Executive is encouraged to reach out to her/his Area Director for assistance.  For a list of participating councils, please refer to Link.  For specific questions about your council’s participation, please contact your Scout Executive. 

Q:  Can they put the Lion completion badge on their uniform once they reach Tiger?

A:  It can be worn on the right temporary pocket as part of the official Cub Scout uniform.   There is currently not a permanent place for the badge on the Cub Scout uniform. The badge should be treated as a great recognition piece for the hard work of earning the 5 required adventures.  

Q: Was there a consideration of using the term Lion Pride instead of Den?

A:  Yes that term was considered, but for simplification and consistency within the overall Cub Scout program the term Den was selected.

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