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Webelos to Scout Guide for Scouts BSA Troops

Webelos to Scout Guide for Scouts BSA Troops

Webelos to Scout Transition

All youth in the New Birth of Freedom Council should have the opportunity to benefit from a Scouting program. 

The transition from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA is often a point where youth leave Scouting.  There are a number of reasons for this including being tired of the Cub Scout program after 5 years, more competing activities, or they are simply not asked.

The first two are more challenging to address; however, the last should never be a reason for a Scout to not continue.  It is important that packs and troops work together to make sure that Scouts and their families are aware of local Scouting opportunities and get a chance to visit them and try them out before having to commit to which troop they want to join. 

The crossover ceremony should not be the Scout’s first introduction to the troop, but should be the culmination of “getting to know you” opportunities where the Scout and family are excited about this next big step on their Scouting journey. 

Webelos to Scout transition shouldn’t be a time where troops sit back and wait for Scouts to them.  Just like a pack works to recruit Scouts and families a troop should do the same. This guide is a blueprint for troops to be successful in recruiting Scouts and their families.

Webelos to Scout transition is everyone’s responsibility—Webelos Leaders, Cubmasters, Parents, Scoutmasters, Commissioners, and District Committee. All must work together to ensure that Webelos and their parents know all the great fun and adventure in store for them as they become Scouts BSA.  Remember, Webelos is not the end of Cub Scouts.  The transition from Webelos to Scouts BSA is a normal and expected part of the program.

Resources

Eligibility

Youth can join Scouts BSA if they have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10 years old, OR have earned the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 years old, OR are age 11 but have not reached age 18.

All new Scouts, either through transition, or otherwise must make sure to submit a new youth application. 

Responsibilities of the Troop

  • Troop Committee Chair appoints a Troop Membership Chair (download a position description here) and reports name and contact information to the District Membership Chair. Some troops go so far as to name this person the Webelos to Scout Transition Chair or New Member Coordinator.
  • Troop Membership Chair with the advice and agreement of the Scoutmaster selects Scouts to serve as den chiefs for each Webelos Scout den and Cub Scout den in Packs associated with your troop. Arrange for Den Chiefs to attend training.
  • Troop serves as a resource for overnight activities. The troop can be of service to provide equipment, leadership, and logistics for Webelos parent-child campouts.
  • Troop Membership Chair conducts an orientation in the Bear Cub Scout dens to explain the changing role as Scouts become Webelos Scouts, and then again as they become Scouts BSA. Explain how being a Webelos Scout will help prepare them for Scouts BSA. Take some Eagle Scouts with you.
  • Webelos den/Scout troop campouts should show Webelos Scouts and their parents what to expect when they move into the troop. The troop should cook and camp by patrol, and use skills in which the Webelos Scouts can participate.
  • Troop Membership Chair arranges for Webelos dens to visit a troop meeting. This should be planned several weeks in advance.
  • Troop Membership Chair provides each Webelos Scout a copy of the troop’s activities for the upcoming year. Troop Membership Chair/Scoutmaster works with Webelos den leaders to encourage them to plan to move into the troop with their Webelos Scouts and to serve either as committee members or assistant Scoutmasters.
  • Troop Membership Chair arranges to have a Scoutmaster conference for each Webelos II under the guidance of the Scoutmaster or the assistant designated by the Scoutmaster. This conference should cover the meaning of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the advancement program, troop camping, the patrol method, summer camp, and personal equipment.
  • Troop Membership Chair works with the Cubmaster in planning a meaningful crossover ceremony at the pack’s blue and gold banquet. Coordinate the ceremony and arrange for each Webelos Scout to receive a troop neckerchief andScouts BSA Handbook along with his Arrow of Light Award. Members of the Order of the Arrow may assist in the ceremony.

Timeline

The time-line should be modified to accommodate the Arrow of Light dens that complete all requirements and are prepared to cross-over to Scouts BSA, some as early as December. The Troop Membership Chair and Pack Membership Chair are responsible to ensure that Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, and Webelos and Arrow of Light Leaders are informed of and follow the timeline.  Download a printable version of the timeline here.  

June

  • Arrow of Light Den Scouts receive Webelos to Scout Transition Guide for Scouts and Parents

August

  • Get names, addresses, and telephone numbers of second year Webelos and parents from the packs from which your troop recruits. Record the information on the Webelos to Scout tracking form.
  • Plan a joint Scouts BSA Troop/2nd year Webelos Den/Arrow of Light Den camping trip for October.
  • Select a Den Chief for each Webelos Den.

Other “connecting” activities: Scouts BSA Scouts assist with Pack School Nights or Sign Up Nights, organizing games for the incoming Scouts while their parents sign registration forms. Scoutmaster attends Pack Committee meeting to explain how the Den Chief program works and find out how many dens are interested in securing a Den Chief. This gives the Scoutmaster adequate time to recruit Den Chiefs and send them to Den Chief training.

September

  • Mail a letter of introduction from Scouts BSA troop to the Arrow of Light den to introduce them to the troop.
  • Pack distributes: Questions to Ask When Visiting Troops,Webelos Troop Visit Checklist,and Parent Troop Visit Checklist to parents and guardians of Arrow of Light Scouts. Forms are at the end of this Recruiting Guide and are part of the Webelos to Scout Transition Guide for Scouts and Parents that families should have received in June
  • Invite Arrow of Light Den Scouts to the mailing list to receive the troop newsletter.
  • Continue planning the joint camping trip for October.

Other “connecting” activities: Scouts BSA Scouts assist with Pack School Nights or Sign Up Nights, organizing games for the incoming Scouts while their parents sign registration forms.

October

  • Conduct the joint camping trip with Arrow of Light Den.
  • Webelos leaders go through Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training and Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills.
  • Send invitations to Arrow of Light Den to visit troop.
  • Discuss with Webelos leaders fundraising opportunities in which Arrow of Light Scouts may participate with the Troop to have funds for camp next summer.
  • Encourage Webelos leaders to begin discussing Scouts BSA summer camp with Webelos and parents. Troops should provide printed material for Webelos leaders to distribute.

Other “connecting” activities: Scouts BSA Troop should plan a Webelos campout and invite the first and second year Webelos. The troop could teach skills needed for a variety of Webelos advancements, particularly ones that need to be done outside. Troop conducts a campfire with skits & songs.

November

  • Attend an Arrow of Light den meeting to teach the Scouts how the troop works.
  • Have Den Chiefs attend Den Chief training.

Other “connecting” activities:Scouts attend the pack meeting to show camp video/pictures and “talk up” summer camp to the Arrow of Light Scouts. The troop gives the Arrow of Light families the dates the troop will be attending Summer Camp along with the annual troop program plan. The Scoutmaster should prepare a list of basic Scouting equipment that the brand-new Scouts BSA Scout will be needing, like flashlights, pocketknives, mess kits, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc., so that these items can be Christmas gifts. Help the parents by giving tips on best prices, best brands, best sources – remember the Scoutshop is the source for official BSA clothing and equipment.

December

  • Set a date for Arrow of Light Scouts and their parents to visit a troop meeting in January if they have not already visited.
  • Send a small holiday gift or card to each Arrow of Light Scout.

Other “connecting” activities: Troop Membership Chair should attend Pack Committee meeting to introduce themselves to Webelos Leaders. From now until February crossover, the Troop Membership Chair should work closely with the Den Leaders to assure that all Scouts will be earning the Arrow of Light and to get youth applications completed. This person should attend a Den Meeting in January to explain troop operations, answer questions, and establish a good relationship with all Arrow of Light parents.

January

  • All Arrow of Light Scouts and their parents attend a Scouts BSA troop meeting.
  • Plan a crossover ceremony for the Blue and Gold Banquet.
  • Attend a meeting for 1st year Webelos to introduce them to Scouts BSA.
  • Accommodate those Packs and Arrow of Light Scouts that wish to cross-over early with an appropriate ceremony.

Other “connecting” activities: Have some Scouts from the troop attend the Pinewood Derby and act as announcers, interviewing winners and “calling” the races. Encourage interaction between the Scouts and all the Cub Scouts.

February

  • Hold the crossover ceremony at the Blue and Gold Banquet.
  • Depending on troop policy/preference: form a new Scout patrol for the new Scouts; or complete assignment of new Scouts to existing patrols with specific mentors to help with the transition to Scouts BSA.
  • Get new Scouts actively involved with the troop through troop activities.
  • Recruit parents of new Scouts to become assistant Scoutmasters or troop committee members.
  • Conduct a summer camp orientation for the Scouts and parents to encourage attendance.

Other “connecting” activities: Scoutmaster and several Scouts attend the Pack’s Blue and Gold Banquet to welcome the Arrow of Light Scouts into their new troop. Form an honor guard for the flag ceremony using a mix of graduating Arrow of Light Scouts and Scouts BSA Scouts for the honor guard. The Scouts should change out the Arrow of Light Scouts’ shoulder loops and give them their new neckerchiefs, handbooks, etc. Don’t forget those Webelos Leaders, they need new green loops too!

March

  • Plan a troop activity for new Scouts to get them involved with their new troop.
  • Start training new Scouts for camping, don’t forget proper equipment, first aid, and survival skills. Conduct a Scoutcraft competition with prizes. Do a campout tailored to new Scouts needs and to accommodate weather. Don’t scare them off by making it difficult or a Bootcamptype environment.
  • Follow-up with the family by phone, email, and letter of every youth that did not crossover into your troop from the packs where your troop recruits. Assure them it is not too late, describe the fun events scheduled, and invite them again.

Other “connecting” activities: Troop and pack committees should coordinate service project activities so Scouts can work as teams and parents of new Scouts can get to know the other parents. Plan a pizza lunch for the whole crowd after the work is done.

April

  • Ensure all new Scouts are planning to attend summer camp. Provide additional briefings and summer camp materials for new Scouts and parents as necessary.
  • Ensure new Scouts are working on requirements for Scout and Tenderfoot.
  • Attend a meeting of Bear Cub Scouts to introduce them to Scouts BSA.
  • Attend a meeting of 1st year Webelos and pick a date with Den Leader for a field trip to summer camp one day during the week you are at camp.
  • Sponsor a troop activity for the new Scouts. Camping is why they are there.

Other “connecting” activities: Troop invites Webelos (4th graders) to district Camporee or other district event. They can join with the recently crossed-over Scouts to learn basic Scoutcraft, which will meet Webelos/Arrow of Light requirements for the Webelos and Tenderfoot requirements for new Scouts BSA. If the District Camporee isn’t conducive to this, the troop could put on its own campout to teach these skills to the younger Scouts. Invite any Scouts who still have not crossed over and use this event as an “Invite a Friend” activity. Be sure to let the younger Scouts help cook and help tend the campfire.

May

  • Work closely with new Scouts and parents during their transition to the troop, ensuring their needs are met and that their move has been natural and fun.
  • Work on rank advancement with new Scouts. Ensure new Scouts are well on the way to Tenderfoot before camp.

June/July

  • Make sure all new Scouts attend summer camp with the troop.
  • New Arrow of Light Scouts take a field trip to summer camp for one day the week you are at camp. Someone from the troop gives them a guided tour of camp.
  • Troop offers Scouts to assist Webelos leaders at Webelos camp, for example the evening when there is cooking in the campsite.

The Troop Visit

Either by invitation or by research, it is important for an Arrow of Light Scout to visit the troop(s) that he or she is interested in becoming a part.  Scouts are encouraged to visit multiple troops with the information below being what visiting Scouts and their families are encouraged to look for.  By following the timeline above, Troops should be able to do a great job of orienting prospective new Scouts and their families.  When a Scout officially becomes an Arrow Light Scout in June, he/she and his/her family will receive a Webelos to Scout Transition Guide that includes things that they should be looking for in a troop as well as suggested questions to be asked. 

Those documents are provided below so that the troop can be prepared to answer these questions when Scouts visit. In addition, we have provided some examples of what a unit visit might look liket as well as a camping trip so that a troop can make sure they do their best in sharing information with new Scouting families. 

Top Ten – Things to Look for in a Troop

When looking for a troop, this is a great list of some of the best things to look for in a local troop.

  1. Fun – It’s got to be fun! Most of the activities within the troop have to be understood by the Scout as a fun, friendly, pleasurable, and rewarding experience. If a troop is too strict and regimented the Scout will lose interest.
  1. Program – this is key to a well-run troop. The program has to be planned out by the troop committee with input from the Scouts. This should be done annually and tied to a budget. The program needs to include all the elements of Scouting, weekly troop meetings, monthly outings/events, weekend campouts, and yearly summer camps. The activities have to be new, exciting, and fresh to keep the Scouts interested.
  1. Adult Leadership – All troops should have ―Trained adult leadership. Trained leaders are crucial to any well-run troop. The training provides the leader with the knowledge to understand the aims and methods of the Scouting program. The training presents a wealth of advice and resources to run a successful program. When you visit a troop, look for the trained patch on the leader’s uniform.
  2. Youth Leadership – The Scouting program is designed to have the youth elected and appointed into leadership roles. A troop should have periodic elections to fill those positions. In addition, the troop should provide leadership training for those roles. The troop should conduct Junior Leadership Training (JLT) and/or send Scouts to council JLT training. Look for the trained patch on the youth leader’s uniform.
  3. Scout-Run Troop – the whole philosophy of Scouting is for the Scouts to run the troop. The adult leaders are there to provide guidance, counsel, and support. The weekly meetings, troop campouts, and troop activities should be planned and executed by the Scouts and the junior leaders. The troop should encourage and strive to have its junior leaders run the troop. When observing a troop in action, see if the Scouts are running the program or the adults.
  1. Patrol Method – A troop should divide its Scouts into patrols of not more than 8. These patrols act like a team within the troop. They will elect a patrol leader and have periodic meetings either at the troop meetings or at a separate time and place. The troop should provide competitive activities at meetings and outings for the patrols to work as a team. This allows them to demonstrate their Scouting skills and plan for camping events or district camp-o-rees. The troop should also have functioning monthly Patrol Leaders Council, which plans the troop activities.
  1. Meetings – Weekly troop meetings are pretty much the norm in Scouting. The troop should have a calendar for the year with the dates established for regular meetings.
  1. Uniform – the field uniform is an important part of Scouting and should be required in troop functions, like: ceremonies, religious activities, troop dinners, and district & council events. An activity uniform, which usually consists of a scouting T-shirt and Scout shorts or pants, is commonly used for troop/patrol meetings, day activities, and weeklong camps. Troops may define or require uniforms in different variations, but should have some defined requirements and periodic inspections.
  1. District & Council Involvement – A troop should have representatives attending monthly district roundtable meetings. The district and council provide a wealth of experience and knowledge to help the troop run a great program. They are a wonderful resource for information on training, activities, advancement, planning, and ideas.
  1. Recruiting – A troop needs to bring in new Scouts. New Scouts provide the older Scouts with opportunities to mentor and teach them what Scouting is all about. It helps them build leadership and charter. The best source for new Scouts is from the Cub Scouts Webelos program. A troop should have established a working relationship with local Cub Scout pack(s) to help bridge graduating Webelos to Scouts BSA.

Resources

Questions

For questions or more information on Webelos to Scout Transition contact your District Executive or your District Membership Chairman.