Webelos Scout Resources for a Great Program
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Webelos is a 20 month program for 4th and 5th grade boys to prepare to join a Boy Scout troop while learning outdoors skills and participating in 20 different activity badges. A well-run group of Webelos is a gradual change from being an 'adult-run' den to being a 'boy-run' patrol ready to fit right into an adventurous scouting troop. This migration requires the parents and den leaders to give the scouts more and more control, decision-making power, and responsibility as they progress in skills, abilities, and maturity. A good program also provides the scouts with many opportunities to grow in the Webelos Virtues.
How to Join:
- Go to BeAScout.org
- Click the 'Cub Scouts' tab.
- Enter your zipcode and click the arrow button.
- Click on a Pack near you to see its contact info so you can call the Pack or your local Council about joining.
- Complete a BSA Youth Application and Health Record and give them to the Cubmaster of the Pack you choose.
Our Webelos den has been very exciting to watch as the boys change from being squirrely 3rd graders mostly intent on running around and playing to being a patrol that can recognize a goal, the requirements to fulfill the goal, and the ambition to accomplish the goal. The trail to the destination is as rewarding as the destination, but they learn to plan the work and work the plan and enjoy the process. Of course, we did not turn everything over to the boys at the First Webelos Meeting - we gradually give them more tasks to do, such as taking attendance, checking uniforms, leading flag ceremonies, making announcements, preparing snacks, planning Webelos activity badge outings, organizing campouts, and leading entire meetings.
We are having very good success running the Webelos program more adult-led up through January of the 4th grade, gradually passing responsibility to the scouts. By that time, each scout earns his Webelos rank badge so it is a good time to change from blue shirts to tan, receive the Webelos badge, and start morphing into a patrol.
It is also a good point to start promoting the fact that each scout is responsible for his own advancement and there will be few 'den-wide' completions of activity badges - each boy will complete on his own schedule. We concentrate on having more patrol games, contests, and skill-building rather than activities directly related to an activity badge at our den meetings - this causes each scout to perform more of the activity badge requirements on his own and then contact the den leader for sign off. Again, this is a gradual change over a few months and we still do activity badge projects and tasks at the meetings, but not all of them.
The Webelos program has two major milestones - the Webelos rank badge to be earned around February of 4th grade and the Arrow of Light to be earned around February of 5th grade. The final part of Webelos is bridging over into a Boy Scout troop selected individually by the scout.
Once the goals of Webelos are understood, the methods of the program make a lot of sense! There are a few major changes between Cub Scouts and Webelos scouts that are very important to the success of your program. Some adult leaders and parents find it difficult to adjust to these changes so a Parent Meeting to discuss expectations and changes from Cub Scouts is critical to your success. Use parents to plan and lead individual activity badges. The Webelos den leader will have more paperwork and tracking than the wolf or bear den leader.
Important differences from Cub Scouts to Webelos:
- Advancement Sign Off - each Webelos scout is supposed to take his handbook to the den leader or assistant den leader for sign off when a requirement is completed. This is a change from having a parent sign off every activity. This change prepares the scout to have a ScoutMaster sign off each advancement requirement in Boy Scouts. There is more responsibility put on the scout to remember and bring his handbook to meetings and get it signed.
Tip: Help the scouts along until they get the routine. Have them bring their Webelos handbook to every meeting and reward them for bringing them until they get it. Have a list of activity badge requirements that you plan on completing at a meeting so you, your assistant, or a parent on your behalf can sign off those that are completed right away. This will help the scouts understand the importance of the handbook.
- Webelos Activity Badges - Bear and Wolf scouts earned red or yellow progress towards rank beads to string on a totem. Once enough were earned, they received the rank badge. Webelos moves closer to the Boy Scout merit badge system with a recognizable pin for each activity badge earned. Individual scouts may earn different badges at different times and there are only a couple badges that are mandatory to earn ranks. This change gives the scout more control over his advancement and lets him choose areas he enjoys more.
- Camping - Webelos dens should Camp! Cub Scouts can camp as a pack, but Webelos should go out as a den as much as possible to give the scouts opportunities to learn and use their Outdoorsman, Naturalist, Forester, and Readyman skills. Each Webelos scout needs to have an adult responsible for him on each camping trip. Campouts in the backyard with dinner and s'mores made on a gas grill can be a great way to ease your scouts into the world of camping. Taking your den to a district or council organized summer Webelos camp should be a required part of your program. Most councils have a one or two day overnight camp every summer for Webelos. A Packing List is helpful for a short campout.
Tip: Be sure you follow Rules for Safe Scouting practices on your camping trips.
- Patrols - a patrol is just another name for the den but it does have some significance. Boy Scouts are organized into Patrols, each with their own name, flag, yell, leader, and emblem. As Webelos, a den can begin to operate as a patrol and select an emblem for their uniform, make up a yell, name, and flag. This can really get the scouts to become a team. Taking their flag along on a campout or hike and announcing themselves with their yell is pretty fun.
Tip: A great time to start working as a patrol is when everyone in the den earns their Webelos rank. Have a den meeting with the goal of becoming a patrol - choosing a name, selecting an emblem, coming up with a yell, and designing a flag. You might also elect a patrol leader (a denner) to serve for the next month. Each month, a new patrol leader should be elected so each scout has the opportunity to practice his leadership skills. The den leader should spend some extra time with the patrol leader explaining how to run a meeting and giving him encouragement to lead his friends.
Webelos Den Leader:
A well-trained, organized, and caring Den Leader is critical to the success of a Webelos Den. The Webelos Den Leader takes on the responsibility of making advancement opportunities available to the scouts and then tracking their advancements. The leader also recruits other adults to plan and organize individual activity badge meetings and outings. One of the main roles of the Webelos den leader is to give each scout opportunities to lead and make decisions, both individually and for the den.
Every parent should be expected to lead two of the 20 Webelos activity badges. A den should be able to complete an activity badge each month. The first two or three activity badges should be led by the den leader or assistant den leader as examples to the other parents on what is expected. Having parents actively leading lets the scouts interact with other adults and lets
Webelos Den Leader is a registered volunteer BSA position. Every Webelos Den is required to have a registered den leader whose responsibilities are:
- Work directly with other den and pack leaders to ensure that the den is an active and successful part of the pack.
- Plan, prepare for, and conduct den meetings with the assistant den leader and den chief.
- Attend pack leaders' meetings.
- Lead the den at pack meetings and activities.
- Ensure the transition of Webelos scouts to Boy Scouts.
More Webelos Scout Information to Use:
Webelos Scout Activity Badges - Activities to earn the Webelos badge and Arrow of Light award
Track Webelos Activity Pin Completions
Webelos Activities - great den meeting ideas
Webelos Scout Awards - see what awards are available to Webelos scouts
Webelos Scout Ceremonies - a few ceremonies
Webelos Scout Games - den or pack games just right for 4th and 5th graders
Webelos Scout Graces - fun meal graces
Webelos Scout Jokes - funny, gross, and silly jokes for scouts
Webelos Scout Projects - community or conservation projects for your Webelos den
Webelos Scout Recipes - tasty food recipes for fun snacks at campfires or on overnights
Webelos Scout Skits - skits that Webelos Scouts like to do
Webelos Scout Songs - songs for scouts
Webelos Scout Stories - choose stories that Webelos scouts will enjoy and understand
Webelos Scout Uniform - make sure you put all those badges and patches in the right spots
Cub Scout Academics & Sports - extra recognition opportunities
Webelos Scout Tests - online tests for Webelos Scouts to test their knowledge
Webelos Scout Schedule - sample schedule of meetings and activities
Jul 28, 2012 - Jason Jester
I also want to thank you for putting this site together. It is so very helpful.
Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners. Parents and partners do not earn loops or pins.
Can you call his den leader and arrange for a hike tomorrow afternoon? That would fulfill that requirement.
Regarding your other questions...
- That statement about belt loops does not apply to everything else in Scouting.
- If his den did not do activities to meet the requirements, then he did not meet the requirements. I would assume that no other scout in his den gets the Arrow of Light either.
- It's always up to the adults to decide how much to bend, break, fold, spindle, and mutilate the requirements. Unfortunately, that happens and the program (and benefits to the scouts) diminishes.
The only 'memorizing' required for Arrow of Light is the Scout Oath and Law. There is nothing in the requirements that would require any reading if someone else helped him verbally memorize those two things.
The Cub Scout motto - Do Your Best - is the standard used for advancement in Cub Scouts.
Yes,requirements,even memorization of the law and oath, can be modified. I have four kids. My oldest has SPD and my seven year old has autism. I have a special needs den. You absolutely may modify. It's all about your son doing his BEST. Your pack/den should support you and your son in this. Any pack or den that does not fails to understand the point of scouting.
Thankyou for your help.
Do you know of any available resources for him to continue his advancement, and will BSA accept me signing off his requirements?
I really want him to be able to step right in to his role as a Boy scout when he returns, as he is one of those rare keeners who can go far!
If he is registered in a US pack, you should talk to his Den Leader about accepting your evaluations of his progress since it is at the Den Leader's descretion.
There are three ways he can meet the joining requirements:
1. He has completed the fifth grade AND is at least 10 years old.
2. He has earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old.
3. He is age 11.
According to the BSA Youth Application (and around page 279 of the Bear Handbook), a boy can join a Webelos den after he completes third grade or reaches his 10th birthday. If any of your scouts meet that requirement, they can join a Webelos den.
A Cub Scout may not work on advancement for Webelos while a Bear, just like he may not work on Bear requirements as a Wolf. He may only work on the rank advancement requirements for his current den program. After completing his rank requirements, and before joining the next year's den, he can complete arrow point requirements, belt loops, or other scouting awards and achievements until the next den year begins.
But, any belt loops required for Webelos rank advancement need to be completed "while a Webelos scout" not while a Bear.
Only Webelos den leaders may sign off on rank requirement completions. In Tiger, Wolf, and Bear dens, 'akela' signs off and that may be the parent, but not in Webelos.
Or is it up to the Pack?
With that said, you absolutely can work on any badge you want, at any point in time. Most work on the ones required for the next rank first, then work on the others.
My son is on Webelos 1 (fourth grade)... his den first worked together on the Science pin. Next my son earned his Outdoorsman on his own. He earned it while on a invitational campout with the Boy Scouts. He was the only boy in Webelos 1 to participate (all of our Webelos 2 went as well). He also earned his Leave No Trace at the same time.
While my son was on the camp out with the Boy Scouts, his den had a meeting were they worked on the Handyman pin. Now they are all working on Citizenship together and he is working on Fitness and Handyman on his own.
Anyway... Scouter Paul is correct, the den leader is misinformed.
Have you tried bringing this up at your pack's Committee Meeting? You could ask your Cubmaster who needs to signoff on the things completed at home.
The Troop Scout leader stated this scout will partake in the ceremony to Crossover in February at their Blue & Gold.
If the Webelos den leader has recorded that the scout completed the requirements then he can wear the patch. A ceremony is just a time to recognize the scout - it's not a requirement.
If the requirement completions have not been reported and recorded then that needs to happen firts.
Also, the Denner position gives each scout opportunity to have a taste of being "in charge".
Regarding the "disadvantage" of size and development, this should be a non-issue. Boy Scouts should not be a competition between scouts - your son progresses and advances at his own pace. If bigger, older scouts are "winning" then that troop is doing things wrong.
Webelos Scout - "Must have completed third grade but not completed fifth grade, or be age 10 but not yet 11 1/2."
As long as your son meets those requirements, he can be a Webelos scout.
You should also check the requirements for Boy Scouts since that may be a concern when your son is in 5th grade.
Does this den leader insist on being present whenever any other advancement effort is performed? If he is consistent and that is how the den has been run, then it makes sense to have the same criteria for Aquatics. But, if he allows activities to be done out of his sight and accepts the word of the scout after the fact for other advancement requirements, then it doesn't make sense that he change it up just for Aquatics.
You can look at the official BSA Youth application for answers to your grade/age questions. It depends on when scouts register for the next program year in your Pack.
It states "Webelos - Must have completed third grade but not completed fifth grade, or be age 10 but not yet 11 1/2."
And, "Boy Scout - he has completed the fifth grade and is at least 10 years old, or is age 11, or has earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old."
First, to answer your question, there is only one troop meeting visit and one boy scout outdoor activity visit required of your den - and that is just for the Arrow of Light award.
Each individual scout family should choose which troop seems like the best fit for that scout. If there are multiple troops from which to choose, it sure makes sense to me to check them all out.
It sure sounds like your Pack/Troop relationship is in dire need of help. Losing virtually all your Webelos is not the way the program should work. Both the Pack leadership and Troop leadership need to work together to transition Webelos to Boy Scouts. See this BSA page - I wonder how much of that actually happens in your community.
We have one Pack in our town that feeds two troops. We are lucky in that both Scoutmaters are excellent, but that is where the troops diverge. Each troop has a completely different dynamic from the other.
In fact, we had two twins cross over last month, and they did not go to the same troop. So even though they were twins, like the troops, they each had a different personality.
GO SEE BOTH!
That doesn't mean the den leader must accept him into his/her den, or that it makes sense for him to remain in Cub Scouts. That's something his parents would need to discuss and decide.
Also, please see Age-appropriate Activities from the BSA. Webelos can kayak, but only on flat water at council/district programs. The same is true for rowing. A den can not go on a rowing or kayaking outing on their own.
Regarding advancement, he would first earn his Bobcat and then proceed with the Webelos requirements and Arrow of Light. If it's important to your son to earn his Webelos rank and Arrow of Light award, it would be good if you became familiar with those requirements by reading through his Webelos handbook. Then, discuss with his den leader about how to best progress since your son may need to do quite a few activities that the rest have already done.
On the other hand, it's most important that your son enjoy himself and his time with the guys so that they can move on to Boy Scouts in a few months.
If your son wants to complete his Arrow of Light and move on to a troop as soon as possible, then you and he should discuss it with his den leader to find out what requirements are left and how best to complete them.
If your son just wants to move on to Boy Scouts and doesn't care about his Arrow of Light, then all you need to do is find a troop and join it now.
Bill O'Brien on Webelos Activity Badges
Henry J. Legere Jr. on Swimming MB
bryce sweeney on Tracking MB
michelle cohen on Brownie recipe
Ian Stuart on Art m.b.
Scouter Paul on Square Knots
Gabe on Square Knots
Scouter Paul on Arrow of Light
Greg on Arrow of Light
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