The Cub Scout advancement plan encourages youths through recognition. The Scouts are rewarded by earning badges or pins as they complete various tasks. These tasks are structured as fun activities completed with their fellow scouts under the guidance of their den leader or at home with the scout's adult family members.

The Lion program is for youths who are in Kindergarten.

The Tiger Cub program is for youths who are in the first grade. Scouts have fun with a purpose while becoming familiar with the Pack.

These monthly gatherings have themes related to the five Tiger Cub achievements: Making My Family Special, Where I Live, Keeping Myself Healthy and Safe, How I Tell It, and Let's Go Outdoors.

The Bobcat badge is an introduction to scouting and is required of all youth who join Cub Scouting, regardless of when they join. There are eight steps to earning this rank, which are completed by the scout with their family and den. All Scouts, regardless of age or rank must earn their Bobcat badge before earning any other rank awards.

The Wolf rank is for scouts entering the second grade.

Earning this rank entails completing 12 achievements consisting of simple mental and physical skills.

The Bear rank is for youth who are entering third grade. There are 24 Bear achievements of which 12 must be earned to obtain the Bear badge. These requirements are slightly more challenging than those for Wolf rank.

The Webelos program is for youth entering fourth grade. This program spans over two years, leading to a transition into Boy Scouts towards the end of the second year. The Scouts complete achievements as outlined in the Webelos book, and are rewarded with activity pins. After three pins, they earn the Webelos badge, after 7 pins, they earn the Compass badge.

With at least 8 pins and some additional requirements, the boy will earn the highest of the Cub Scout awards, the Arrow of Light. At this point they are ready to "cross over" into the Scouting program.