Welcome to Webelos Scouting!

A guide for new Webelos Leaders

August, 1996

Disclaimer: Webelos scouting is performed with slight variations in different Councils. New leaders should check with their Cubmasters and District staff as to particulars in their unit or area.

Adventure! That's what Scouting is! (Official Boy Scout Handbook, Chapter 1, Page 1)

Welcome to Webelos Scouting! You have embarked on an adventure that is unique in Scouting! Boys at this age are maturing and learning to be more self sufficient. Soon they will be Boy Scouts. And it is your job to help them make this transition in a fun and adventurous way.

Webelos stands for "We'll Be Loyal Scouts." The major goal of Webelos Scouting is to give the Scouts a taste of what it is like to be a Boy Scout and to get them use to how Boy Scouting is structured. As a Webelos Den Leader you will be introducing the Cub Scouts probably the most adventurous boy led organization in America today!

Webelos are the oldest Cub Scouts in the Pack and as such carry the responsibility of being good role models to the younger Cub Scouts. It also falls upon the Webelos to help explain what exciting activities await the younger Cubs and to help the Cubs during Pack activities.

In Tiger, Wolf and Bear dens the family unit was central to the forming of the Cub Scout and activities revolved around the family unit. The emphasis in Webelos scouting shifts from these home-centered activities to group-centered activities similar to those they will be encountering in Boy Scouts.

Webelos dens in some areas are also known as patrols. The patrol is central to both Webelos Scouting and Boy Scouting. Because Webelos Scouts do most of their activities as a den, parents play a new, more supportive, and less directive role in Webelos scouting.

Webelos Scouts learn that it is their responsibility to earn their activity badges. They are helped by their Webelos Den Leaders and Activity Badge Counselors (adults who volunteer to host an activity badge) and it is the Webelos Den Leaders who pass the Webelos Scout on the requirements.

The boys should become involve in program planning. They will learn simple leadership skills and they will surprise you with their ideas. The Webelos should also get involved in setting a code of discipline for the group. They will learn what it is like to set rules and live by them.

The den conducts some projects that can be credited towards the ranks and activity badges that the boys earn, but not all of the requirements are addressed at den meetings. This is deliberate. The Webelos Scouts learn that if they wish to advance, they are responsible for meeting the requirements outside den meeting times. These requirements are challenging, but very reachable by boys in this age group. These surmountable obstacles and steps to overcome help a boy grow in self-reliance and the ability to help others. This is patterned after the merit badge and advancement process in a Boy Scout Troop.

Unlike most Cub Scouts, their den meetings are typically held on evenings or Saturdays. This is to get the Scouts use to meeting when Boy Scouts meet. Also Webelos do not follow the monthly theme of the Pack, but have their own program centered around the activity badges that are earned.

Webelos Scouts also take on more responsibility for the running of their den however the actual responsibility resides with Webelos Den Leaders. This is to get the boys use to making their own decisions. When they enter Boy Scouts they will run the entire show. Adults will advise and guide.

It is in Webelos that the world of outdoor Scouting begins to open up. The Webelos are able to camp and go on other outdoor activities. Most of these activities are not with the Pack, but with their den, other Webelos dens and with Boy Scout Troops. They also participate in Boy Scout Troop meetings, Camporees and other Boy Scout events.

In short, Webelos Scouting is the senior level program in Cub Scouting. It is meant to help transition the boys from Cub Scouting into Boy Scouting. Webelos are under the direction of the Cubmaster, hold their own activities, and do many things too advanced for the younger boys. At the end of the Webelos program, the Scouts should have a taste for what Boy Scouting is all about and have a head start in proceeding through the Boy Scout program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where a reference can be found in a printed guide, I placed it in parentheses at the end of the answers. A legend for reference acronyms is found at the end of this guide.

Q. Are Webelos Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts?

A. Webelos Scouting is the senior level program in Cub Scouting. It is meant to help transition the boys from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. Webelos are still under the direction of the Cubmaster. They are allowed to wear the khaki and olive colors of the Boy Scouts, but wear Cub Scout insignia on the uniform. Webelos Scouting has more outdoor activities than in the other parts of Cub Scouting but less than Boy Scouting. See the Safety pages and the Guide to Safe Scouting and "Planning the Webelos Overnight Campout" in the Cub Scout Leader Book for a little information on what is part of the Webelos outdoor experience. (WSB)

Q. When do the Scouts change to the khaki and olive uniform?

A. Families choose when they wish to change to khaki. Many families purchase the khaki uniform when the blue one is either out grown or damaged. Don't buy the Boy Scout (olive) belt, see the next question and answer. (WSB, CSLB-Webelos Scout Uniform)

Q. How do I get the belt loops on the Boy Scout (olive) belt?

A. The belt loops do not fit on the Boy Scout (olive) belt. Webelos Scouts can either wear their blue, Cub Scout belt, or any narrow belt that the belt loops will fit on. (CSLB-Webelos Scout Uniform)

Q. Do we call our group of Webelos a patrol or den?

A. Webelos dens are usually called dens, however the boys may obtain patrol insignia patches from the Scout Shop that replace the den number on the uniform. Show the boys the Scout Catalog and let them pick a badge from there. Den names are sacred to the boys, so let them choose it themselves. This will also help teach them the democratic skills they will need when they get into Boy Scouts. The name should be 'theirs' and it is encouraged to allow the boys to be creative. For example, they don't need to be the Eagles. They can be the 'Soaring Eagles.'

Webelos Dens also have a den yell and a den flag. The den flag should be brought to each den meeting, pack meeting, and other relevant den activity. Den flags are created by the boys.

Q. Do we wear the activity pins on the hat or on the shoulder ribbons?

A. The activity badges (I know they are pins, but they are called badges) the boys earn are patterned after merit badges in Boy Scouts. The den should decide if they wish to wear them on their hats or on a set of ribbons called the Webelos Colors. The colors are worn on the arm, just below, and touching, the American flag. In either case, they probably should only be worn at Pack meetings since they tend to get caught on things and lost. (IG)

Q. The leader's guide said that I need to build a relationship with a Scout Troop. When and how do I do this?

A. Work with your Webelos Coach, or Unit Commissioner on this. Scout Troops normally have an Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to Pack - Troop relations. Make your initial contact during the first year. Webelos can participate in a number of Troop activities. The troops can also help you accomplish some of your Webelos requirements. (CSLB, WTST)

Q. Does the Webelos Den Leader teach the boys about the activity badges?

A. Yes and no. It is highly discouraged to have the Webelos Den Leader do all the teaching. In Boy Scouting (which we are trying to introduce) the boys go to Merit Badge Councilors who assist the boys in achieving their badges. It is encouraged that you get the den parents to act as Activity Badge Councilors to help the Webelos through their activity badge requirements. See the attached Webelos Den Resource Survey. However you sign the boys off. Parents no longer sign boys off indicating that they have completed requirements. (WSB, CSLB-Planning the Webelos Den Meeting).

Q. Do we follow the Pack's Cub Scout monthly theme?

A. No, you will be busy enough trying to cover one activity badge a month. Make sure the Webelos know what the monthly theme is, but unless you are putting on a skit, don't spend a lot of time on it. Nearly everything the den does is focused on one of the 20 activity badges, the Webelos badge, or the Arrow of Light. The few exceptions are when the Webelos take part in such pack events as the Pinewood derby and the blue and gold dinner.(CSLB-Planning the Webelos Den Meeting, CSWSPH)

Q. Is there a certain order we should follow in covering the activity badges?

A. Some activity badges are designed to challenge forth graders and others fifth graders. Refer to the Cub Scout & Webelos Scout Program Helps for a suggested calendar. If you follow this calendar you will be synchronized with articles in Boys Life magazine and presentations held at the District Round Tables. Note that if you follow the suggested calendar, the boys should be ready to receive their Webelos Badge around February of their first year, and bridge to Boy Scouts in February or March of their second year. (inferred in: CSWSPH)

Q. Should we try to achieve all twenty activity badges?

A. The program is not designed for the boys to normally earn all twenty activity badges. The reason for the twenty badges is so that there will be enough to keep the very active boy from getting bored. Remember, activity badges are not the reason for Webelos scouting. Lord Baden-Powell (the founder of scouting) said that awards and badges should be like a tan, something you achieve effortlessly, while having fun in the outdoors.

Q. When is the earliest the Webelos can become Boy Scouts?

A. The earliest is six months after completing fourth grade that is, normally, the end of November in their second year. This is the earliest they can earn their Arrow of Light. (WSB)

Q. When is it recommended that the Webelos become Boy Scouts?

A. A Webelos Scout is eligible to join a Boy Scout troop when he completes all the requirements for the Arrow of Light Award. Most Webelos who are graduating the 5th grade and going into the 6th want to be Boy Scouts and should move over, if eligible sometime after February. This gives the boys time to familiarize themselves with their new troop before the summer recess and summer camp.

Q. If the Scouts will bridge in March, why do the program guides show a two year program?

A. The activity badge program is designed for 24 months to accommodate those who need the entire time. However, if the program is followed, a Webelos Scout will earn the proper number and type of badges to qualify for the Arrow of Light by February. (CSWSPH)

Q. Can the Scouts continue to earn activity badges after they bridge into Boy Scouts?

A. No, activity badges are for Cub Scouts. As Boy Scouts, they will be very busy earning their First Class Rank during their first year, and earning merit badges.

Q. When can the Webelos use the Boy Scout salute, handshake and oath?

A. In the process of earning their Webelos badge, the Scouts learn the Boy Scout salute, handshake and oath. At your discretion, they can start to use these instead of the Cub Scout equivalents.

Q. Where can I get more information?

A. Go to Round Table. At Round Table you will meet Webelos Leaders and Scoutmasters who will help you establish a fun and adventurous program.

Also get trained. Not only will you obtain formal information, but you will also network with other Webelos Leaders who will act as resources. If you have already attended Cub Leader Basic, review the Webelos section of the Fast Start Tape (available from the Pack Library) and attend Webelos Overnight training.

More information can also be found in the Webelos Scout Book (WSB) (33235), Webelos Den Activities Book (WDAB) (33853), Guide to Safe Scouting (GSS) (10212), First Month's Webelos Den Meetings (1WDM) (3147), Webelos Den Leader Fast Start (WDLV)(video) (AV016), Cub Scout Leader Book (CSLB) (33220), The Boy Scout Handbook (BSH) (33229), Cub Scout & Webelos Scout Program Helps (CSWSPH), Webelos to Scout Transition (WTST) (33870), and the Insignia Guide (IG) (33064). Many of which are available free from your Pack Library. For an even larger list of resources, see the Cub Scout Leader Book (33220) and Scouting's Library of Literature (70-278)

Edited by: Bill Nelson, Unit Commissioner, Tempe District, Grand Canyon Council, Boy Scouts of America. Please let me know of any additions or corrections.

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