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Keeping Webelos Scouts and Transitioning them into Boy Scouts

(By Paul A. Wilkinson, Scout Executive)

Over the past 31 years, I have observed that some Cub Scout Packs and their associate Boy Scout Troops do a very good job of keeping Webelos Scouts in the Cub Scout Pack and transitioning them into Boy Scouting while other Packs/Troops struggle in this area. We have way too many boys who drop out of Scouting before experiencing the adventure of the Boy Scout program. I have listed below some of the common practices of Packs/Troops which are successful in this endeavor.

 

  • Webelos (Both First and Second Year Webelos) Participating in Boy Scout Troop Outings and Activities:  By the time boys become Webelos Scouts, they have been in the Cub Scout program for 3-4 years.  They are looking for more adventure as they are getting older, and they have already experienced the Cub Scout program.  Successful Packs/Troops will make certain that the Webelos are involved with the Troop as much, if not more, than with the Cub Scout Pack.  They make sure that they are invited on most, if not all, Troop campouts and other activities.  Some Troops plan a special “Parent/Webelos” camping event with the goal of informing the Parent/Webelos what they can expect when they cross over into the Troop.  They also conduct Boy Scout activities at these events.

 

  • Den Chiefs:  Troops that provide Den Chiefs to all the Dens in their associate pack have a much higher rate of boys both staying in the Webelos Program and Transitioning into Boy Scouting. The right Den Chief can make all the difference in the world, but it really needs to be a Scout who likes, and is good at, working with the younger boys.  When one of my son’s served as a Den Chief, he knew that his job was to “sell” his Webelos Den on all of the activities our troop was doing and convincing them to crossover into the Troop at the appropriate time.

  • Webelos at Cuyuna Boy Scout Camp:  Webelos get a taste of Boy Scout Summer Camp by attending Webelos Camp at Cuyuna Summer Camp.  By attending this camp, it not only shows them what awaits them when they crossover into Boy Scouting, but it makes them much more comfortable when they do crossover and go up to Boy Scout Summer Camp for the first time.  Webelos that attend Webelos Camp at Camp Cuyuna cannot wait to crossover into Boy Scouting so they can experience a Boy Scout Summer Camp experience.