The tradition of scouting has persisted since the founding of the Boy Scouts in 1910. This tradition begins with cub scouts. The cub scout experience is often marked by painting stripes on an arrow, symbolic of the final achievement for the cub scout, the Arrow of Light. This arrow is often referred to as the Arrow of Honor, and serves as a reminder to the scout of their achievements.
The first stripe on the Arrow of Honor signifies the rank of a Bobcat. Bobcats are any scouts that have attended at least two scout meetings. When a new scout starts the program, purchase an arrow for the scout from a scouting supplier or sporting good store. The rank of Bobcat is marked on the arrow with a 1/2" black stripe. Use masking or painter's tape to mark off 1/2" section of the arrow, about 1/2" inch back from the arrowhead. Use the appropriate medium paint for arrow material, and cover the area marked by the tape. Let the paint dry and remove the tape
Another potential first stripe on an arrow is the rank of Tiger. Tiger scouts are first grade scouts, and are represented with an orange stripe. Mark off a new 1/2" section, leaving approximately 1/8" of blank space between the new Tiger stripe and the already painted Bobcat stripe. Keep this spacing throughout the arrow between each stripe. If the scout was never a Bobcat, start the arrow with the Tiger stripe closest to the point end of the arrow shaft.
Scouts that remain active in second grade achieve the rank of Wolf. A Wolf rank is shown on the arrow by a 1/2" painted red stripe. As a wolf, scouts can earn gold or silver arrow points. These points can be shown on the Arrow of Honor by painting 1/4" gold or silver stripes after the red stripe.
In third grade, scouts move to the rank of Bear. This rank is shown by painting a 1/2" green stripe. Once again, any stripes for gold or silver arrow points earned while a Bear scout can be painted on the arrow after the green stripe, leaving the recommended space between.
Scouts in fourth grade, or new scouts that are fifth graders, achieve the rank of Webelo. The Webelo stripe is a 1/2" inch blue band. Along with the additional stripes for silver and gold arrow points, Webelo scouts may also earn other achievements that can be marked on the arrow after the blue Webelo stripe. These include a 1/2" tan stripe for world conservation, 1/2" purple stripe for the religious award or 1/4" white or black stripes for each activity pin.
Arrow of Light
A scout achieves the honor of the Arrow of Light once they enter the fifth grade and have met all the necessary requirements. The Arrow of Light is marked on the arrow in one of two ways. The first is just a 1" yellow stripe. However, this stripe can also be painted as a 1" gold stripe with three thin colored stripes on each side, painted in the order of blue, gold then red.
Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.