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Prepare a Cub Scout to be a Scout
Webelos is for 4th and 5th grade youth to prepare to join a Scouts BSA troop while learning outdoors skills and participating in many adventures. A well-run group of Webelos is a gradual change from being an 'adult-run' den to being a 'scout-run' patrol ready to fit right into an adventurous Scouts BSA 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.
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.
The Webelos program has two major milestones - the Webelos rank badge to be earned toward the end of 4th grade and the Arrow of Light to be earned in 5th grade. The final part of Webelos is bridging over into a Scouts BSA troop selected individually by the scout.
Once the goals of Webelos are understood, the methods of the program make a lot of sense!
Webelos Scouts do adventures described in their Webelos handbook that advance them towards their Webelos rank. By completing at least six adventures, the Webelos rank is earned.
Webelos Rank Requirements:
- Be an active member of your Webelos den for three months. (Being active means having good attendance, paying your den dues, and working on den projects.)
- Complete each of the five Webelos required adventures:
- In addition to the five required adventures listed, complete at least one Webelos elective adventure of your den's or family's choosing: Aquanaut, Art Explosion, Aware and Care, Build It, Castaway, Earth Rocks!, Engineer, Game Design, Into the Wild, Into the Woods, Sports
- With your parent, guardian, or other caring adult, complete the exercises in the pamphlet entitled How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide.
- Watch the Protect Yourself Rules video for 4th Grade, Webelos.
(The video is located at https://vimeo.com/325064315 and can be watched on-line or downloaded and viewed off-line.)
OR Earn the Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure for Webelos.
Webelos Cub Scouts may also complete the Protect Yourself Rules, Yo-Yo, or Modular Design Preview Adventure for requirement 3. If Cub Scouts use the Protect Yourself Rules Adventure in requirement 5, the adventure can not be used as an elective for requirement 3.
There are a few major changes between Cub Scouts and Webelos scouts that are very important to the success of your program.
- Advancement Sign Off - each Webelos scout is supposed to take the 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 the Scouts BSA program. There is more responsibility put on the scout to remember and bring the 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 adventure 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 Adventure Pins - Tiger, Bear and Wolf scouts earned belt loops. Webelos earn pins which can be displayed on the Webelos Colors device. This moves closer to the Scouts BSA merit badge system where recognition items are displayed on a sash.
- 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 new skills. Each Webelos scout needs to have an adult responsible for the scout 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. Scouts BSA members 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 could be elected so each scout has the opportunity to practice leadership skills. The den leader should spend some extra time with the patrol leader explaining how to run a meeting and giving encouragement to lead the other scouts.
Webelos Den Leader:
A well-trained Den Leader is critical to the success of a Webelos Den. The Webelos Den Leader makes advancement opportunities available to the scouts and tracks their advancements. The den leader can also recruit other adults to plan and organize individual adventure 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 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.
- Plan overnight campouts and other outdoor activities.
- Attend pack leaders' meetings.
- Lead the den at pack meetings and activities.
- Help the den earn the National Den Award.
- Work with local scoutmasters to ensure the transition of Webelos scouts to Scouts.
There are many resources available to help the den leader plan and run a successful, interesting program for the scouts. The Webelos Den Leader Guide is the most important one. It has complete den meeting plans for each adventure and many ideas for activities that promote the purposes of Cub Scouting. Using this guide minimizes the time needed to plan worthwhile den events.
Tip: The Cub Scout motto of Do Your Best should still be a key part of the Webelos program. There is no level of competence or skill required to complete adventures. Putting in personal effort and having fun with fellow scouts is success.
Tip: Many available Awards are never earned by Webelos. Learn about additional awards offered to your scouts such as the World Conservation Award and Outdoor Ethics Award and try to work them into your schedule, especially for scouts that are completing the adventures quickly.
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