I always thought that the wooden bridge was meant to be used by a Webelos crossing over to a Troop showing that they are bridging from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts...my son when he was a Tiger, was truly in awe when he watched a bridging ceremony and his comment to me was that he couldn't wait until he would be able to cross the bridge. Next week he is finally crossing over and tonight at a meeting, it was brought up by a pack member/leader that they would like their Tiger den to walk the bridge to be met with their new Wolf neckerchief and slide. It was shared that at a local scout camp, they had the Tigers cross a bridge as part of a special tiger ceremony and so now the parents want all the boys to walk across a bridge. I was just wondering what the take is on this. I don't think it is appropriate for anyone but a Webelos crossing over to a Troop to be walking across the bridge at a ceremony. If all the dens were allowed to walk across a bridge at the end of each year then it would take away completely from the significance of "crossing over" to a Troop. Was just curious about opinions??
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More youth sport parent types like the ceremony where everyone crosses the bridge.....Ya know everyone get the trophy.....
Only the webelos that join boy scouts cross the bridge......that means a completed application in the den leaders hand........So if your scout isn't sure about it he doesn't cross the bridge.
Hard feelings a couple of times......but it just isn't proper for a boy who isn't going to join the troop cross it.......Explain to me exactly what they are crossing too.
- Jul 2011
they are crossing to the next rank... it's just fun for them. Ask the boys. In my Pack, all the boys cross the bridge from one rank to the next. A Pack near us has the younger ranks cross their little homemade Pack bridge, and the Webelos cross into Boy Scouts on the Burnside Bridge in Antietam. Even boys who are not joining Boy Scouts cross the little bridge... they are crossing out of Cub Scouts.
Thank you for the comments- I appreciate it- I did talk to some of the boys - the Webelos - and they shared that it made it less special if everyone gets to walk across a bridge - they thought it was supposed to be a really special moment reserved for Webelos where they finally cross over to a troop after 4 years of working hard in cub scouts. Over the past 4 years we did some kind of special Graduation ceremony for the Tigers/Wolves/Bears where they did something like walked across a line of "lava" rocks and such like that as something fun to show they are graduating from one den to the next but the bridge was only used for the Webelos crossing into Boy Scouts.
- Apr 2013
When I joined Cub Scouts as a Tiger Den Leader, our Pack had all the dens cross over a bridge to signify their moving up to the next level. We continued that tradition until this year, when I learned that it was supposed to be reserved just for the Webelos crossing over to Boy Scouts. As one of their Craftsman reqiurements, my Webelos built an advancement ladder to be used instead of the bridge. Each boy in our Pack did a leather stamping project and made a leather strip with their name on it that hangs on the rung of the ladder corresponding to their den. At our advancement ceremony this year, the boys will walk across the stage, receive their new neckerchiefs, and move their leather strip up to the next rung on the ladder. I envisioned the Webelos taking their leather strip off the top rung of the ladder and then crossing over the bridge. I had assumed that all boys graduating out of Webelos would cross the bridge regardless of whether or not they were going to join Boy Scouts. Based on comments here, I might have to rethink that. I will probably ask the local Scoutmasters what they've seen in the past and what they are comfortable with, since I intend to have them there at the meeting welcoming my Webelos as they cross the bridge.
When I started more than a few years ago.....Every webelo crossed the bridge, they got a troop hat, tshirt, scout book and new epaulets....No small investment from the troop. Many of the boys left the blue and gold never to be seen again.
Then they tried the book and epalets....well we still were out $10 if they didn't show up at the troop meeting.
Before the Blue and gold, we have a brief parent meeting and discuss their intent......The parents fill out their scouts application for the troop, and transfer papers for any money in their scout account to the troop.....So we are back to.....all the bling......
Everyone who has earned their AOL is called up and participates in that ceremony.....The boys and parents who are not joining the troop are asked to return to their seat after the presentation.
The boy and parents who are joining the troop stay on stage.....The parents participate in the ceremony and it is as much for them to realize that their scout is on a different adventure.....Not one where mom dad and the sibs tag along. The boy crosses the bridge alone to his brothers in the troop.......
- Sep 2011
I agree. The bridge should be reserved for those scouts crossing into Boy Scouts. It is a big deal and it signifies the transition into more adventure and responsibility.
Our Pack leaders and AOL parents have this discussion every year as to whether or not they all cross or only those that are committed to Boy Scouts. We had one mom go so far as to talk to the SM about purchasing the troop necker, numerals and epaulettes so her son could cross the bridge and not be singled out. Wise SM told her not to worry about it. When her son finishes up his spring sports and joins the troop mid-summer, the troop will give him a special joining ceremony.
- Oct 2007
I have read several posts over the years about all ranks crossing the bridge to the next rank. It can be exciting for the scout, but it doesn't seem (to me) to be much of crossing over. As a CM, I created a bridge that all the Cub Scouts could help build (each rank puts together a single step level (2x4 boards and wood pegs) of respective color (orange-tiger, gold-wolf, blue-bear, green-4th grade Webelos, red-Webelos leaders or non-crossing Webelos). We tried to make the crossing over of the Webelos to Boy Scouts special to everyone in the Pack.
I would try to make advancing to the next rank level special without using a bridge. We used to give special neckerchief slides as they advanced (use polymer clay with Tiger/Wolf/Bear paw print or an arrowhead for Webelos). Giving the next rank neckerchief is good, too.
I prefer the bridge for crossing into Boy Scouts. Using it for all ranks does take away from the meaning for the Webelos-to-BoyScout crossing.
- Mar 2013
I agree with BD others. The bridge is special and the crossing over should be decoupled with AOL. Preferably at different times. My opinion is we should stick with immediate recognition and award AOL when the individual scout earns it and not wait until cross over night. I have not won that argument yet.
Our Pack holds B&G latter than most, late march/early April on a Friday night. The Webelos leave immediately to go on their first campout as a Boy Scout with the Troop. I think that adds an extra special importance to the ceremony.
Venividi commented05-20-2013, 10:58 AMEditing a commentI like the idea of leaving from the B&G directly to a campout. This happened occasionally for us; i.e., if a troop had a campout scheduled for the same weekend as the B&G, and boys crossing over chose to go to that troop. With 4 troops in the area, it was rare for all of them to join the same troop.
A troop that a lot of our boys cross to brings a rope bridge to B&G. After the ceremony and close of the meeting, the otherboys are allowed to go across just for fun.
I let my son do it when he was a tiger last year.
This year I told him no. Even though the other boys were doing it, I think it will be much more special to him when "crosses" it for real.
Now that I'm active on the committee, I'll likely bring this up next year when planning for the B&G, and strongly suggest that we not let the other boys play on it.....
Blw....you wouldn't happen to have a picture of that bridge would you????
Always looking to improve our ceremony gear...... I think it sounds like a fantastic troop project.
- Jun 2002
I get a chuckle out of all the conversation about what is "supposed" to happen. Since all this is local tradition, the locals can decide what they want.
IMO, we put way too much emphasis on "crossover", AOL and bridging. For far too many families, this simply creates a big opportunity to leave the program -- we've "finished" Cub Scouts and now get to decide whether or not to join a Troop. I'd do away with all the hype and focus on making the fifth grade a seamless transition from Cubs to Scouts. You start the year as a Webelos II and the next thing you know it's June and you're at Boy Scout camp with a troop.
- Jun 2006
I went to a "crossover" picnic for a pack last night. They had a crossover bridge and the new Tigers crossed over to the pack, old Tigers crossed over to Wolf, etc.
Everyone got a new book, slide and necker when they got to the other side. My Web II boy crossed over and got his troop necker. There was no AOL ceremony. The other Web II boy wanted the summer to work on finishing his AOL.
All-in-all the bridge was never seen as the end of anything, only the crossover to a new beginning along a progression of events/transitions.
The "bridge" can signify a lot of things, but unless there's a destination on the other end of the bridge, there's no reason to even use it. Boys not going into a troop cross over to what? And to think that Congress is the only group that makes bridges to nowhere. Surely the BSA has them beat on that. I attended a Blue-Gold that had 7 Web II boys. None were interested going on into a troop. I was asked to participate in the ceremony, I asked why. When they didn't have an answer, I politely sat it out.