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Webelos Transition

  

 

It’s that time of year when Arrow of Light’s (Webelos II) crossover into Boy Scouting.  It’s a right-of-passage into adulthood repeated annually as 5th graders leave the adult led program of Cub Scouting and join the youth led program of Boy Scouting.  Although Webelos transition happens in February, the process to transition youth into Boy Scouts should have started at least a year in advance.

The transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts is when we lose a large percentage of our membership.  An effective Webelos to Scout Transition plan is essential for retaining our current Cub Scouts by moving them into a Boy Scout troop. 

To have an effective plan, we must address the following issues:

Youth are tired of the Cub Scout program  after five years. They do not have an understanding of the Boy Scout program and we need to ensure that they do.

  • Invite the Webelos II den to attend at least one troop meeting and one campout during their 5th grade year.
  • Have the Webelos II dens, between their 4th grade and 5th grade year, take a “field trip” to Cuyuna for one day during summer camp to visit a local troop.  Have someone from the troop give them a tour of camp.
  • Conduct “Webelos Talks” within the Webelos II dens telling them about the fun and exciting things they get to do within the troop.  Share the annual troop program plans of outdoor adventure including monthly campouts, canoe trips, backpacking trips, etc.
  • Assign a Den Chief from a troop to each Webelos II den.  The Den Chief ideally would serve as the “Troop Guide” once this group moves up into a troop.
  • Have monthly “connecting activities” between the pack and troops. 

Webelos Leaders don’t know anything about the Boy Scout program and are not encouraging their boys to move on.  They see it as an end to their volunteer involvement in Scouting.  We need to change that misconception.

  • Talk to the Webelos Leader early about the Boy Scout program.  Invite them to be an Assistant Scoutmaster within the new troop.
  • Encourage the Webelos Leader to go through Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training and Outdoor Leader Skills while still in Cub Scouting.
  • Invite the Webelos Leader and den to participate in troop campouts.
  • Have leaders within the troop help the Webelos leader teach the adventure pins.
  • Teach our parents and leaders that Scouting is a continuous program from Cub Scouts through Boy Scouts that will yield the greatest benefit for youth if parents and youth persevere.  

More activities competing for time.  It is  true, but we need to show them why Scouting is worth the stress and how the time can be managed.

  • Build it and they will come.”  A well-planned program filled with outdoor adventure will attract youth.  Communicate a troop’s annual program plan to the Webelos and their parents.  Invite them to participate in activities.  If they see the fun and adventure firsthand, they will pick the Scouting program over another.
  • Be flexible in attendance requirements.  Encourage youth to participate in other programs and know they are always welcome to attend when their other program is done for the year.  Offer a “Saturday” van to troop campouts for those who have Friday night commitments.

Boy Scouting is not seen as “cool” among their friends.

  •  Camping, canoeing, rock climbing, rappelling, backpacking, swimming, and sports are cool.  Communicate your well-planned annual program plan to the Webelos and their parents.  Sell the program!

  • Use peer to peer recruiting.  If their friends are in the program and they know it, they are more likely to join.

They are not asked.

  • Many times a Webelos II and his parents are simply not asked to join a troop.  Studies show that a boy has to be asked six times to join before he feels invited.

  • Have your New Scout Patrol “mentor” a Webelos II den.  Encourage them to finish their activity pins, invite them to troop campouts, and personally invite them to join the Troop.

  • Ensure that the parents also know that they are welcome and that the current group of uniformed leaders is not exclusive but counts on their participation and support.                                                                                          

Below is a year-round timeline your unit can use to effectively transition youth from Cub Scouting into Boy Scouting.  The time-line should be modified to accommodate the Webelos II dens that complete all requirements and are prepared to cross-over to Boy Scouts, some as early as December.  The Troop Membership Chair and Pack Membership Chair are responsible to ensure that Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, and Webelos II Leaders are informed of and follow the timeline.

August

  • Get names, addresses, and telephone numbers of second year Webelos and parents from the packs.
  • Select a Den Chief for each Webelos Den.

September

  • Mail a letter of introduction from the Boy Scout troop to second-year Webelos to introduce them to the troop.

  • Put second year Webelos on the mailing list to receive the troop newsletter.

October

  • Conduct the joint camping trip with Webelos II den.

  • Webelos leaders go through Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training and Outdoor Leader Skills.

  • Send invitations to Webelos to visit troop.   

  • Encourage Webelos II leaders to begin discussing Boy Scout summer camp with Webelos and parents.  Troops should provide printed material for Webelos II leaders to distribute.  

November

  • Attend a Webelos den meeting to teach the Webelos how the Boy Scout troop works. 

December

  • Set a date for Webelos and their parents to visit a Boy Scout Troop meeting in January if they have not already visited.

  • Send a small holiday gift to each Webelos II.

January

  •  All Webelos II’s and their parents attend  a Boy Scout troop meeting.

  • Plan a crossover ceremony for the Blue and Gold Banquet in February.

  • Attend a meeting for 1st year Webelos to introduce them to Boy Scouting.

  • Accommodate those Packs and Webelos II that wish to cross-over early with an appropriate ceremony.

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 Boy Scouts.

  • 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 boys and parents to encourage attendance.

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 “Bootcamp” type environment.

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 Boy Scouting.

  • 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.

May

  • Work closely with new Scouts and parents during their transition to the Boy Scout 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.

 

Yours in Scouting

Raymond W. Brauer | Scout Executive/CEO

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