Welcome to Webelos Scouting!
A guide for new Webelos Leaders
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.