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Prepare a Cub Scout to be a Boy Scout
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.
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 Badge Requirements
- Have an adult member of your family read and sign the Parent Guide in the front of the Webelos Scout Book.
- Be an active member of your Webelos den for 3 months.
- Know and explain the meaning of the Webelos badge.
- Point out and explain the three parts of the Webelos Scout uniform. Tell when to wear the uniform and when not to wear it.
- Earn the Fitness and Citizen activity badges and one other activity badge from a different activity badge group.
- Plan and lead a flag ceremony in your den that includes the U.S. flag.
- Show that you know and understand the requirements to be a Boy Scout.
- Demonstrate the Scout salute, Scout sign, and Scout handshake. Explain when you would use them.
- Explain the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
- Explain and agree to follow the Outdoor Code.
After completing the rest of requirement 8, do these (a, b, and c):
- Know: Tell what you have learned about faith.
- Commit: Tell how these faith experiences help you live your duty to God. Name one faith practice that you will continue to do in the future.
- Practice: After doing these requirements, tell what you have learned about your beliefs.
And do one of these (d OR e):
- Earn the religious emblem of your faith*
- Do two of these: (Use this Worksheet to track activity)
- Attend the mosque, church, synagogue, temple, or other religious organization of your choice, talk with your religious leader about your beliefs. Tell your family and your Webelos den leader what you learned.
- Discuss with your family and Webelos den leader how your religious beliefs fit in with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and what character-building traits your religious beliefs have in common with the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
- With your religious leader, discuss and make a plan to do two things you think will help you draw nearer to God. Do these things for a month.
- For at least a month, pray or meditate reverently each day as taught by your family, and by your church, temple, mosque, synagogue, or religious group.
- Under the direction of your religious leader, do an act of service for someone else. Talk about your service with your family and Webelos den leader. Tell them how it made you feel.
- List at least two ways you believe you have lived according to your religious beliefs.
Remember there is no such thing as a Webelo Scout. Whether there is one or a hundred, they are always called Webelos with the 's'.
Webelos Scout Activity Badges
The following is a list of the Webelos Activity Badges and their requirements.
We have prepared worksheets that can be used (if desired) to document the work on each Activity Pin.
Click on a Webelos Activity badge name below for the current requirements. Right click on a worksheet link to save or print the optional worksheets in either Microsoft Word DOC format, or Adobe Acrobat Reader PDF format. Worksheets can help Scouts organize notes, listen actively, and document their work.
There are two markings that show the required Pins for the Webelos Badge and for the Arrow of Light. The markings are as follows:
* = Required for Webelos Badge ** = Required for Arrow of Light
The twenty Activity Badges are divided into five groups of four activities each.
The Groups and Activities are as follows: