Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

Lions start date?

I’m getting conflicting information as to when a “Lion” can officially join. Is it the summer prior to them being in Kindergarten, once they start Kindergarten, or as long as they turn 5 by September 30 of that year?


They cannot register until they are in Kindergarten. So there are no Lions at Day Camps, either.

All dens (outside of Covid exceptions) advance to the next den at the end of the school year. Once - for example - the first grade school year ends that youth has completed first grade and the next day they are in second grade. Just because school does not start til the fall is irrelevant.

Using that logic youth can join BSA, be a Lion den member the day after the end of school and, enjoy Scouting through the summer before attending kindergarten classes in the fall.


@DanielWeber is correct - to be a Lion you have to be IN Kindergarten - so Lions start at the beginning of the Fall School year at Most Rounfups

1 Like

So, a new-to-Scouting youth that completed second grade yesterday cannot register with BSA today and be in the Bear den?

That National allows - they have said Lions start in fall though - it is a head scratcher that does not add up

1 Like

If you have one, please point me to a reference for this.

When Lions was a “Pilot” program, the start date was “5 years old by September 30”.

Which is where I got that date from in the original post. I have yet to find something to contradict that, other than that they need to “be going into Kindergarten”.

This clearly says “or 5 to 10 years of age”.

First FAQ

1 Like

From the Youth Application:

Joining Requirements
Cub Scout Pack
Pack membership is open to youth in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Lion—Kindergarten (year before first grade)

Right column of the second page.

From the Registration Guidebook of the Boy Scouts of America:

Lions are youth who are in the year prior to first grade or are age 6.

Top of page 8

Here’s the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America in which I found nothing applicable:

1 Like

Interesting that the guidebook contradicts what their FAQ says…which is why I have some kids in limbo land.

It’s not entirely surprising to me, given that kindergarten is not required in many jurisdictions. As a result, any youth who doesn’t attend kindergarten would be excluded from Tigers by a rule requiring them to start after they begin kindergarten.

Our council is really pushing for Lions to join and attend summer camp. If they cannot start till fall how can this be?

My second son will be a Lion in 2022 and would like him to go to summer camp with us. Can he start as soon as he graduates 4k and would officially be in kindergarten?

It sounds like your council has already answered this question for you (that youth can become Lions in the year prior to starting first grade). If you’re not sure what they’re saying, I would reach out to your unit commissioner or, failing a clear answer from them, your district commissioner or district executive. They should all know what the council/national policy is regarding when youth can join at any given level.

I often find that I get clearer answers if I ask a very specific question like “I can’t find anything that says a Lion has to wait until they start kindergarten in the fall before they can join. They can join in the summer as soon as they finish pre-K, right?” That’s a clear yes-or-no situation, which encourages both clearer and faster answers.

They can not officially start working on advancement till the school year starts, but don’t let that discourage you from doing “unofficial” fun events during the summer, pre-school year, to get them interested in the program!

It is interesting that they are choosing to directly contradict the Guide to Safe scouting camping guidelines. It explicitly forbids day or summer camp for Lions. Cut and dry.


I was mistaken. After looking into it further. The council is just pushing for recruitment and to attend summer camp. It was not specifically targeted at Lions. Our Summer Camps do not specifically cater to Lions.

I think why I was mistaken is the addition of Lion requirements for Shooting Sports Award which in our council is primarily offered at Summer Camp.


I asked the same question last year to my council in June 2020. The answer was they could register starting in June of the year they were to enter Kindergarten. I registered 4 Lions that summer. National did accept the registrations.


They accepted those registrations, processed them because policy allows it.

The only “prohibition” I know of is that they can’t attend day or resident camp that summer.