Cub Scout Rank Advancement and Crossover Ceremony

One of the many lessons I have learned since becoming a Cub Scout Den Leader and subsequently becoming Cubmaster is ceremonies don’t exist. Okay, they do exist, but there is not handbook on how they should be conducted or what they should include or how they should look. Even something as simple as opening flag ceremony is not standardized between units. You could argue the pros and cons of this all day, but the fact of the matter is Packs don’t have a guidebook for this one.

Make It Up As You Go

When I took over, I didn’t have much guidance or any materials passed on to me, so when it came time for our Advancement and Crossover ceremony at the end of the scouting year, I scoured the internet. I found lots of options with pieces I like, but no one script seemed quite right for our Pack family. I spent some time compiling all the best parts of what I could find and created out own version. The kids and parents liked it well enough that when discussions started for this year’s ceremony, the decision was to keep it the same.

How Our Pack Celebrates Rank Completion

In our Pack, adventure loops, pins, and awards are given out as they are earned at monthly Pack meetings, but Rank patches are held until towards the end of the year when we do one large ceremony for everyone. This script starts with Rank Advancement first and ends with Arrow Of Light rank patches awarded separately. You could pretty easily split the script to hold these two separately if your AOLs are ready to crossover to a troop before the rest of the Pack has completed ranks. We also have a “reception” with cupcakes and all the snacks leftover from our campouts, so it doesn’t go to waste over the summer months.

Webelos Cub Scout Removing Neckerchief while crossing bridge at advancement ceremony

A Few Notes

We use face paint, but make it optional for the cubs. Most choose to get it, but some don’t. Rank badges are prepared ahead of time by our Advancement Chair. She attaches the parent pin to the top of each rank badge. The parents can then use this pin to temporarily attach it to the cub’s uniform. Cubs are asked to pause on the bridge and remove their neckerchief and slide. This helps ensure they don’t run across and gives families an extra second for a photo op while they are on the bridge.

Before starting the ceremony, I also make a point to recognize out volunteers. From Den Leaders and Committee Members to parents who help run activities at campouts, make sure to show them some love too. After giving some heartfelt thanks, I wrap up with the following:

What most of you probably don’t know is how much your den leaders, treasurer, and committee chair do behind the scenes. And what they may not even realize is how much I rely on them. In addition to their actual roles and responsibilities, they are my go-to support team. Whether it’s input on pack plans, last minute supply runs, or a much needed sanity check, they have been my A team this year. Nothing I have done as Cubmaster would have been possible without them.

With that in mind, I issue you each and every one of you, scouts and parents alike, a challenge. Think of someone in this room who has had a positive impact on your scouting journey this year. Consider the impact they had on you, your cub, or your experience with the Pack. And before you leave today, seek them out and share that with them.

And now, what you came here for, the scripts…

Cub Scout Rank Advancement Script

Today, our Cub Scouts will be awarded their rank badges. A badge alone is nothing but a piece of embroidered cloth. It is not worth a lot of money. The real value of the badge is in what it represents – all the adventures you had and everything you learned this year to earn it. 

Each scout gathered here today has put in time with their Akela to complete many Cub Adventures. Your den leaders, parents and I are proud of all you have done and look forward to all you will do.

Robert Baden-Powell said “Scouting is a game with a purpose.” With each adventure, scouts played as they learned. So it seems fitting we should honor those accomplishments today with a story. 

Scouts, as you listen to the story you will hear your name called. When it is, please come up here and stand in a row. You will be sent to walk over the bridge one at a time. Please be sure to WALK. Before you cross the bridge, we will give you the colors of the den you are leaving on your right cheek and the den you are joining on your left cheek. If you do not want faceprint, just let your den leader know and they won’t put it on. As you cross the bridge, stop in the middle, face the audience, and remove your neckerchief and slide.

Parents, when your scout’s name is called, you will come up to the opposite side of the bridge where you will be given your scouts badge. After they cross the bridge, you will place their badge on the flap of their left pocket – their left, your right and place their new neckerchief and slide on them.

At the end of the ceremony, we will call each den up to take a group photo.

Let us begin the story of Akela’s Test.

Many moons ago, a lion cub sat outside a tent watching the stars in the sky and listening to the rustle of the trees in the night. Somewhere in the distance he could hear the call of the Bobcat, the Tiger, the Wolf, and the Bear. The cub listened closely and with great courage, set out to answer their call. He came to a campfire with a great gathering where he was welcomed and invited to hear the tale of Akela.

*Call out your Lion Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward.

You have done well this year and are ready to begin your journey.

(Apply face paint)

You may now cross over the bridge to receive your Lion rank badge and answer the call of the Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf and Bear.

(scouts cross one by one)


Akela was a brave young man and dreamed of becoming chief. First, he had to pass a test to prove himself worthy of leading. Anyone desiring to be chief was given four arrows and sent out to survive alone in the wilderness. These were special arrows: once used, they shattered. To become chief, they could eat only food they caught themselves and the one who stayed out the longest would become the leader of the Pack. And so, Akela set out on his journey.

Akela took his four arrows and walked far from camp where he stopped at the side of a clearing. He waited quietly all night for a deer to come by. When one appeared, he took careful aim and shot. His arrow hit its mark and the meat of the deer provided him with food for many days. Its hide provided him with clothing.

This showed that Akela had learned the basic skills to survive. It also showed the virtue of patience. The rank of Bobcat indicates the Cub Scout has learned the basics of scouting, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. 

Akela walked along the trail near a stream. There, he came upon a friend laying by the side of the trail. Akela’s friend had used up all his arrows and was starving. Akela saw a squirrel in a nearby tree. He wanted to save his arrows for bigger game, but his friend was starving. So, Akela shot the squirrel to provide food for his friend.

This showed that Akela learned the value of friendship and that he was unselfish. The Tiger badge indicates the Cub Scout has learned these values on the trail of Scouting. 

*Call out your Tiger Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward. 

You have done well this year and been a friend to your fellow scouts. 

(Apply face paint)

You may now cross over the bridge to receive your Tiger rank badge and continue your journey.

(scouts cross one by one)


As Akela followed the trail by the stream, he came face to face with a huge wolf. It growled and snarled and started running toward him. Akela strung his bow, took careful aim, and when the wolf was near, Akela shot and killed it. The wolf provided Akela with food. The wolf’s warm coat provided Akela with shelter from the cold nights.

This showed that Akela was brave. This is also why we honor the Cubs with the next level of accomplishment, the Wolf badge. 

*Call out your Wolf Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward. 

You have done well this year and been brave as you tried new things. 

(Apply face paint)

You may now cross over the bridge to receive your Wolf rank badge and continue your journey.

(scouts cross one by one)


The meat from the wolf lasted for many days, but soon Akela had to continue on in search of more food. He came upon a bear that had just killed a deer. The bear saw Akela and ran off. Akela was hungry, but he had promised to eat only food that he had killed himself, so Akela left the deer and walked on.

This showed that Akela was honest. To earn the Bear badge, the Cub Scout must learn and follow the Scout law which includes honesty. 

*Call out your Bear Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward.

You have done well this year and been committed to the Scout Law and your fellow scouts. 

(Apply face paint)

You may now cross over the bridge to receive your Bear rank badge and continue your journey.

(scouts cross one by one)


Akela was now many days from camp. He needed food to give him strength, so he tracked the bear he had seen before. Akela strung his last arrow, took careful aim, but missed. He was scared because he had no food or arrows. As he started back to camp, he prayed for help. Suddenly, Akela saw the arrow he had shot from his bow; it was still whole! Akela followed the bear’s trail again. He took aim, pulled back the arrow, and let it fly. This time the arrow found its mark! Akela now had enough food to return home.

Akela learned that sometimes you have to ask for help. To earn the Webelos badge, the Cub Scout must learn to ask for help. Their den leaders and parents provide that help. 

*Call out your Webelos Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward. 

You have done well this year as you tried many new things and asked for help when you needed it. 

(Apply face paint)

You may now cross over the bridge to receive your Webelos rank badge and continue your journey.

(scouts cross one by one)


From here, Akela continued his journey home. With him, he took the lessons he had learned and the support of his friends.

Just like Akela, a Cub Scout faces many challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. The Pack exists to help each Cub Scout learn and watch them grow as they continue their journey in scouting.

Congratulations Cub Scouts!

Cub Scout Crossover Script

Now we turn to our Arrow of Light scouts.

When you earned your Bobcat rank, you completed the first step in Cub Scouting and embarked on a fun journey through many ranks.

Along the way, you have had the support of your fellow scouts and lots of help from your Akela. Akela has been your parents, your den leader, and even your cubmaster. It has been our great pleasure to share this time encouraging you through every adventure, award and accomplishment

Today, you come before your Pack having completed Arrow of Light, the final step in your journey as a Cub Scout, and your time with the Pack must now come to an end.

Will the parents of *Call out your AOL Cub Scouts Names*, please come forward.

(Direct parents to the side of the bridge where the Cubs come to – this time they will start on the same side as their cubs and their new Troop will receive them when they cross the bridge)

To the parents of the Scouts who have earned the rank of Arrow of Light, thank you. Thank you for the care and dedication you have shown your scout and the pack. They have come this far thanks to your support and the Pack carries on thanks to your efforts along the way.

I take great pride in presenting the Arrow of Light badge for you to present to your scout. They have completed the requirements to earn the highest rank in Cub Scouting. The Arrow of Light is also the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn on the Scouts BSA uniform.

(Pass out AOL badges)

Will the following scouts please come forward and join their parents.

*Call out your AOL Cub Scouts Names*

Parents, please pin your scout’s Arrow of Light award on the flap of their left shirt pocket.

Scouts, as a symbol of your achievements and in celebration of your time with Pack 484, your den leader will present you with your Cub Arrow. This arrow represents the path along which you have come and the journey that lays ahead.

The arrow shaft is straight and narrow – just as the path that you should follow throughout your life. On this arrow, you will find each of your completed adventures recorded and the colors of your many ranks displayed. Its tip points the way – the way to success in all that you do.

May this arrow serve as a reminder of all you are capable of accomplishing. With the gift of this arrow, I charge each of you to soar to the great heights of an Eagle, just as the arrow flies to its target. May each of you continue to live by the ideals you have learned in Cub Scouts, especially the Cub Scout motto: “Do Your Best!”

(hand out Arrows)

Now we turn to our guests. Will the representatives of the receiving Troops please come forward.

(Scoutmasters/scouts come forward to opposite side of the bridge)

Please state your Troop number and the scouts you will be receiving today.

(Troop introduction)

Pack 484, do you believe these scouts are ready to crossover?

(encourage audience to shout “YES!” – Repeat the question to get louder cheers)

Scouts, are you ready to crossover to your troop?

(encourage scouts to shout “YES!” – repeat question if necessary to get a good shouting “YES”)

Our scouts have prepared themselves for entrance to their Troop and declared they are ready to continue on their journey. As we send them over this bridge, we celebrate all they have accomplished and recognize the effort they have put forth to prepare to embark on the trail to Eagle. Just as an archer knocks his arrow, we prepare to send our Arrow of Light Scouts on their way.

Troops, we send our scouts on to you with trust that you will support and love them as we have and with gratitude as you will now take on the responsibility of guiding them. Just as a loosed arrow flies to its target, our hope is each of these amazing scouts will reach their ultimate goal and attain the rank of Eagle.

Scouts, as I call your name, please remove your neckerchief and slide and leave it with your parents before crossing over to join your troop.

(Announce scouts names one at a time and send them to cross the bridge)

Closing – After One or Both Ceremonies

Congratulations scouts. And congratulations to all of our cubs. I am so proud of each and every one of you. Let’s hear it for our scouts!

Now, let’s celebrate! After we close out with the flags, please join us for snacks and cupcakes.


Military spouse and mom of one with experience in marketing, volunteer management and, most recently, web design, project support and copy writing. Currently leveraging a BS in Marketing from a top University to negotiate with a pint-sized version of myself. Outside of work and managing the household, I am a serial dabbler and have rarely met a craft or hobby I didn't enjoy. Whether it's painting, volunteering, or running through the sprinklers, there's always some small way to make every day its own adventure.

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