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God, Country, Family, Self

" As Mowgli became older, Baloo taught him the law of the pack, and the secret master words that let him talk to the other jungle creatures... all except the Banderlog who did not obey the law of the pack. "

The trail of the Big Bear contains 12 steps. When a Bear Cub has completed these, he is ready! The following 30+ ceremonies can be used to help recognize boys who have learned, through the Big Bear experience, to obey the law of the Pack, just as Mowgli did. Banderlogs need not apply!


* Candles and Flashlights for Bears
Learn the stories the stars tell.
* Bear Neckerchief Ceremony
It's time to walk with Baloo.
* Bear and Family Advancement
A family award recognition.
* Hunters-Bear Advancement
"Shhhhh, I'm hunting Bears!"
* Bear Ceremony Finder Tool
Find that special ceremony.
* Major Bear Ceremony Sites
20 more ceremonies by the masters!

Wolf Graduation to Bear
Author: an unknown Scouter

Cubmaster, Cub Scouts.

Candles or penlights, Bear neckerchiefs, copies of The Big Bear Cub Scout Book, electric council fire.

Cubmaster: The wolf was greatly admired by the Indians for his swiftness, his hunting ability, and his endurance. In fact, the Indian scout was called a wolf, and the sign was two fingers spread apart, symbolizing the erect ears of the wolf. The wolf was considered a great 'medicine animal" and in some tribes, the Indian scout wore the skin and head of the wolf when on a scouting expedition.

(The Cubmaster calls the Cub Scouts forward who are going to be Bears. They are handed a lighted candle or penlight and stand in front of the council fire.)

You have followed the trail of the Indian by attaining the rank of Wolf Cub Scout. You have proven yourself brave, swift, and alert, as your Indian brothers of the past. Now you must go on to greater honors for yourself and your parents by earning the Bear badge to prove your greatness. Learn the ways of our animal friends. Learn about the earth and how to grow food. Look up to our skies and learn the stories the stars tell.

Let this light be a sign to others that you are now a Bear!


(Blue neckerchiefs and Bear books are handed the boys as they blow out their candles or turn off their penlights.)


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Bear Neckerchief Ceremony
Author: an unknown Scouter

Leader, the Cub Scout, and parents.

A display of the four neckerchiefs of the Scouting program: Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Boy Scout; a Bear neckerchief and slide.

Leader: When a boy becomes a Cub Scout he starts on an upward trail. I say 'upward' because as he grows older he advances in Cub Scouting. He does not join a Cub Scout pack and then wait idly for 3 years until he becomes a Boy Scout.

As a boy moves along the Scouting trail, his badges of rank and his changes in uniform show his progress. One of the changes in uniform is the neckerchief. These are the four neckerchiefs of Scouting. On the bottom is the yellow neckerchief worn by those working in the Wolf Cub Scout Book. The next neckerchief is the blue one worn by those working in the Big Bear Cub Scout Book. The third neckerchief is for the Webelos Scouts. The neckerchief on the top represents those worn by Boy Scouts.

[Boy's name], tonight you will receive your Bear neckerchief. The Bear neckerchief is blue. Blue stands for truth, loyalty, and obedience. You must learn to obey before you can expect others to obey you. This blue neckerchief stands for obedience to the Law of the Pack:

The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

Will the parents now remove your son's yellow neckerchief and replace it with his new Bear neckerchief.
(One parent removes the yellow neckerchief and holds it while the other parent places the Bear neckerchief around the boy's neck and secures it with a slide.)

Leader: Let's have a round of applause for [boy's name].
(The audience claps.)  

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Bear Advancement
Author: an unknown Scouter

This ceremony emphasizes family participation in Cub Scouting. Exact wording is unimportant; don't worry about memorizing. Present it in a conversational tone. If you have more than one Cub Scout receiving the award, have all boys and parents come forward at the same time. This ceremony is easily adapted to all ranks.

Cubmaster, Cub Scouts, parents, den chief.

Bear badges and certificates, safety pins.

Cubmaster: Cub Scouts and parents, tonight we want to honor those Cub Scouting families who are advancing in rank. Den Chief [den chiefs name], one of the Cub Scouts in your den is ready to receive his Bear badge this evening. Is that right? Will you please escort Cub Scout [name] forward. (The den chief does so.)

[Cub Scout's name], we're really glad that you've reached the Bear rank in Cub Scouting. It's one more step up the ladder. (The Cubmaster gives him the Cub Scout handshake.) Are your parents here with you?

Cub Scout: Yes, they are.

Cubmaster: Den Chief [name], will you please escort the parents forward so they can take part in our ceremony? (The den chief does so.) We are glad to have you here tonight. (The Cubmaster shakes hands with the parents.) We want to tell you how much we appreciate the cooperation you have given. Without it your son might not have reached his Bear rank. Cub Scouting is a family program, and that means not only that your son is advancing to the Bear rank, but that the whole family has taken another step upward, too.

As the Cubmaster, I haven't earned the privilege of presenting the badge to your son, so I am going to give it to you, [parent's name], and ask you to present it to your son. (Parent does so and congratulates son.) Now, will all the Cub Scouts in the audience stand and give [boy's name] a hand for the fine job of advancement he is doing. (Cub Scouts applaud.)

I'm sure we're all aware of the contribution of [boy's name]'s den leaders. Will they stand and be recognized? (All applaud.)  

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Hunters-Bear Advancement
Author: an unknown Scouter

Two leaders dressed as hunters, advancing Cub Scout and parents.

Bear badge.

The two leaders walk through the pack while talking:

No. 1: I'm going on a bear hunt.

No. 2: For a big bear?

No. 1: No, not in size, but big in ideals.

No. 2: Can I go along?

No. 1: Yes, but I am looking for a Cub, and you may have to help me with his parent(s).

No, 2: OK, but are they dangerous?

No. 1: No, but they are smart.

No. 2: Why is that?

No. 1: Well, you see, they have taught the Cub many things.

No. 2: Oh, you mean they are wise.

No. 1: Yes. (Quietly:) I think I see him. Yes, that's him. I'll get the Cub; you get the parent(s).

(They escort the boy and parents forward.)

No. 2: Wait a minute. These aren't wild animals!

No. 1: I never said I was going after wild animals. This is [boy's name], and he has completed 12 very exciting achievements.

No. 2: Congratulations, [boy's name]. I see you have done a fine job.

No. 1: Yes, he has done a fine job indeed, but he had help at home from his family. Before we give [boy's name] his Bear badge, I would like to say thanks to his family for helping [name] grow.

No. 2: Are these his parent's?

No. 1: Yes.

No. 2: [Parents' names], would you please present your son [boy's name] with his Bear badge? (They do.)

No. 1: [Boy's name], you are indeed like a Bear. You have shown yourself to be keen of eye and spirit. Go forth and continue to grow.


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Major Bear Ceremony Sites

    Nine Bear Rank Advancement Ceremonies - From the MacScouter mega-site, there is a large (9) collection of ceremonies for your Bears. Included are: "Why the Chipmunk has Black Stripes", "Unknown Scout Bear Advancement", "A Bear Ceremony", "Bear Advancement", "The Second Great Step Along the Cubbing Trail", "The Fourth Bead Den Ceremony", "Akela's Bears", "Bear Award Spear" and "Family Participation in the Bear Rank Ceremony"

    Advancement Ceremonies -- Wolf/Bear - Two really nice Cub Scout Ceremonies by Ellen DeVilbiss, Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, Arapahoe District. Included are the "Headdress Ceremony", and "Painted Paws" Check 'em out!

    "Unknown Scout" Bear Ceremony - From the Suffolk County Council Ceremonies Galore collection from Pack 339. This ceremony starts off: " One day in 1909 an American businessman named William Boyce was having trouble finding his way in the London fog. As he stood on the street, a young boy approached him and asked if he could help. Mr. Boyce told him the address he was looking for, and the boy led him to his destination. When Mr. Boyce attempted to give him a tip for his help, the boy said, "No thank you sir, I'm a Scout and Scouts do not accept rewards for doing good turns." This meeting inspired Mr. Boyce to form the Boys Scouts of America.."

    Why the Chipmunk Has Black Stripes - Another good Bear ceremony from the Pack 339 "Ceremonies Galore" collection. This ceremony comes from a native American story, and is adapted for use in Cub Scouting. It starts: "Once upon a time, long ago, the animals had tribes and chiefs just like the people. One night, Porcupine sent out a message requesting all the animals to come together for a great council of the tribes. He had a very important matter for them to consider. At the Council meeting, Porcupine stood up to address the animals. His quills quivered and gleamed in the firelight. "I cannot decide," he said, finally. "I cannot decide whether we shall have night or daylight all the time."

    "Akela Met The Bear" Ceremony - From Pack 339, a well written and very traditional Bear ceremony. It starts off: "When the scout reaches third grade he begins working from the Big Bear book. Just as Akela met the bear with courage, the scout walks the Big Bear trail. On that trail he finds and conquers twelve challenging achievements in the categories of God, Country, Family and Self. He then receives his BEAR badge."

    Painted Bear Ceremony - From Pack Pack 3804 in Camarillo, California. Written by Lou Leopold, Webelos Den Leader. Lou says: "I came across these ceremonies in an old Pow-Wow book. It states that these originated in Pack 6 from the Mt. Baker Area Council. Pack 19 of the same council added to the original ceremonies and these are reflected here. The boys love the painting and this encourages them to complete the work on their rank so that they may be painted at the next pack meeting. Their parents also make sure that they are at the pack meetings to see their boys become painted Bobcats, Wolves, Bears, and Webelos."

    The Pack 92 Advancement Ceremony - From their Blue & Gold Banquet in 1996. "This ceremony is a combination of several that were found on other sites, reworked for our purposes. It was quite impressive. The "Ooh's" and "Ahh's" when Akela shot the arrows were well worth it. Here's the setting: Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster at the ceremony table, AOL candleholder on table with candles not lit. Spirit of Scouting candle lit. Lights low, or spots on table. Drum beat in background. OA Scout in full Indian regallia, with archery bow over shoulder walks on stage near the "campfire" .....And so the stage is set. Check this baby out. It's GREAT!

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Search the Net for MORE Wolf Ceremonies!

UseNet Bear Ceremony Discussions - Search the UseNet rec.scouting discussion groups for 'Bear Cub Ceremonies' ideas.

SCOUTS-L on Bear Ceremonies - Search the SCOUTS-L archives for topics involving Bear Ceremonies. SCOUTS-L is the roundtable that never ends, and now contains over 7 years of Scouting discussion wisdom.

Search the Web for Bear Ceremony info - Search the AltaVista index for Web-sites you can visit, that contain information on 'Bear Ceremonies' ideas.


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