The primary difference is the age groups. The Cub Scout program is for Kindergarten to 5th grade (5yr – 10.5yr), whereas Scouts BSA (formerly “Boy Scouts”) is designed for older Scouts 6th grade and above (11yr – 18yr).
Additionally, Cub Scouting is “parent-led”. Parents and leaders are fully engaged in each activity and outing, leading and teaching the young scouts in the pack.
Scouts BSA, on the other hand, is “Scout led”. The older scouts teach the skills, lead their patrols (the Scouts BSA version of dens), and impart the Scouting Principles to the younger scouts. Adult leaders are there to help and advise the older scouts.
The Webelos (a portmanteau of “We’ll Be Loyal Scouts”) program in Cub Scouting serves as a transition between Cub Scouting and Scouts BSA. Webelos begin to learn more tangible scouting skills like camping and cooking.
Webelos are expected to be more independent. They are able to camp as a den (other dens are only able to camp as part of a pack event), and the Arrow of Light (Webelos 2nd year) group will even do some camping with local Scouts BSA Troops.