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. 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.
- 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 boys 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. 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 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 parents have a sense of ownership of the success of the group.
An actively supportive parent is crucial for any scout hoping to attain
the Eagle Scout rank since there will be many times when a parent is asked
to help out with that boy's progress.