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  • Webelos Crossover Ceremony

    I ran across the situation recently where the Cub pack with Webelos crossover scouts invited the SM to attend to be part of the ceremony. I found it rather strange that this process would be considered in light of the patrol method of Boy Scouting.

    When my troop attends a crossover ceremony, the PL's are the ones to be invited. It is their patrols that will be recruiting new boys and should be the ones to welcome their new members into their patrols. I as SM attend with the PL's in case there is a group of Webelos that wish to stay together and come into the troop as a NSP and haven't decided on their PL as yet. These boys are welcomed into the troop by the SPL who will assist them the selection of their PL.

    Has anyone else found this to be an issue?


  • #2

    I have never really seen this as an issue.

    What I have seen locally (and with our pack) is that any troops "receiving" crossovers are invited to serve and assist with the Blue & Gold in general. Ceremonies vary from pack to pack (or den to den), and may affect who is where. Around here, the OA often does the crossover ceremony, and they and the pack have the biggest say on how things are done (not the troop). The OA ceremony generally had the Webelos crossing the bridge, stopping in the middle, saluting the Cubmaster and walking across (followed by parents) to the reciving troop. Usually it is the Scoutmaster who shakes his hand, and the SPL who remove his Webelos neckerchief and blue Cub Scout epilates to be replaced with the Boy Scout green epilates. Most troops also place the new neckerchief on the scout, but our troop's neckerchiefs are only presented after the scout camps with the troop. For those Webelos who have attended a campout with the troop, this is done at crossover (otherwise none is adorned at this time).

    If the Webelos are crossing over as a den or with dens from other packs to be forming a new scout patrol, then being received by a PL seems less necessary. Likewise, if the new scouts will be "absorbed" into existing patrols, it is unlikely that these new boys will have had a chance to commit in advance to one patrol or another; again, making the receiving PL somewhat moot.

    The Scoutmaster is (ultimately) responsible for the new scouts, not the SPL or PLs. This "perception" is reinforced to the Webelos parents, whether accurate or not.

    Just my $.02.


    • #3
      I guess it just boils down to whether the method being promoted is troop or patrol.

      What got me thinking about how we think about troop vs. patrol method and how important or unimportant the patrol concept is in today's scouting. The real kicker was that the pack was inviting only the SM which of course shows how much it's still assumed that adult led is acceptable.

      If one is going to promote, maybe some of these subtle and not so subtle messages need to be reevaluated.

      I have read many books from the early years of scouting and it was always the responsibility of the patrols to recruit their own members to fill out their 8 man patrols.



      • #4
        >>I have read many books from the early years of scouting and it was always the responsibility of the patrols to recruit their own members to fill out their 8 man patrols.


        • #5
          The early years would include those that were in the first 50 not the last 50 :^)

          I wouldn't press the issue at the ceremony, this would be something that should be clarified when the invite goes out.

          "Mr. SM we would like to invite you to our crossover ceremony"

          "We are a boy-led, patrol-method troop, would it be better if I sent over the patrol leaders and maybe the SPL instead?"

          That should open the discussion with the pack as to what kind of troop they are preparing their boys for in the years to come. Like I said, it's the message that needs to be brought forward, not the hassle.

          If they insist on just the SM, so be it. Instead of recruiting the webelos dens as a troop, recruit as patrols when they go and visit and when they come and visit, break them up and introduce them to patrols, not a huge group that may overwhem them. If I had 2 - 3 patrols wanting me to be a member of their patrol it may offer more mileage than joining a huge troop and getting what someone else says you get.

          We had a pizza party for our boys at Christmas time and invited the Webelos. They tried to sit with their parents, but eager patrol leaders snatched them up to sit with them in their patrol grouping. The parents had to sit with the adult leaders, where we had a nice discussion about boy-led, patrol-method while the boys were off enjoying their pizza together.



          • #6

            "Patrol", "Patrol method" and "adult-led" are not typically in the vocabulary of any Cub leader unless they are experienced Boy Scout leaders, or have read alot of non-Cub-specific materials, or have gone on Boy Scout leader training.

            In addition, from the Cubs and their families' perspectives, the boys are bridging/crossing-over from a Pack to a Troop, not from a Den to a Patrol. This crossover is the "graduation" from Cubs to Boy Scouts and any mention of a patrol/troop distinction would be lost on 99% of the parents and boys. At least with the troops we deal with, formally assigning/selecting/choosing boys to patrols typically happens after cross-over once the Cubs are officially Boy Scouts (although some Troop certainly are more pro-active on planning and recruitments than others).

            Finally, a Webelos scout typically has a few interactions with their troop before cross-over and probably doesn't know which Patrol he will be joining (especially if the Troop is still setting up NSPs or hasn't figured out where all the new boys will be going). In some cases, I would imagine that a Webelos scout crossing over may not even be able to define "patrol", depending upon how well he was prepared by the incoming Troop or current Den Leaders.

            That being said, however, as a Cubmaster, I would encourage and support as many PLs, SPLs, ex-Pack members, or whomever to come and receive new boys into a Troop. We have OA come for the AOL ceremony and we also invite the receiving Troops to meet their new scouts on the other side of our bridge. First point of contact is always the SM and, depending on the troop, the SM may defer to the SPL or may orgainze things him/herself. We have boys bridge into 4 or 5 different troops in any given year, so things vary from troop to troop.

            I guess it's a matter of perspective. To me as a Cub leader, bridging and cross over are Cub Scout events to which the Troops are invited. They aren't Boy Scout events that are directed and led by the Troops to promote the patrol method (although the inclusion of PLs to welcome boys into a particular patrol is a fine idea).


            • #7

              stosh's last post just came through as I was typing mine...

              I agree with everything you said. Having an SM-only invite and sticking to it, doesn't seem to serve any good purpose. In my experience, the more the Cubs see and interact with the Boy Scouts, the better. Ideally, it's the SPL, PLs, older brothers or other scouts that would be handling the receiving of new scouts into the troop.


              • #8
                I agree that the terminology of Boy Scouts is far different than with Cubbing. However, the message I wish to get to the new Webelos boys is that they have been part of a small group (den) and that often times when crossing over into a huge troop is often overwheming. When a Cub joins in first grade he has no idea he's joining a Pack, it's the Den that catches his focus, a small group of his buddies. Well, in Boy Scouts, shouldn't the dynamics be the same? I'm joining a patrol of my new friends and not some huge organization that has sway over what's going to be going on with me for the next 6-7 years. With patrol recruiting, each grouping takes an interest in just a few of the boys and focuses their attention on just a couple of boys they will be welcoming into their group. The contacts, even if minimal show that a personal interest is being taken into consideration directed just to them. When they finally cross over, they are not joining a patrol, they are joining in with a small group of boys they already know by name and face.

                If the Den of 8 wishes to stay together, then the SPL welcomes the whole group of boys into the Troop with the help of maybe the TG who's going to be taking them under his wing and setting them up as a NSP. I see nothing wrong with this either. What would be fantastic is their DC welcoming them over and then becoming their TG for the first year. The bonds are being set up to promote a patrol-method program and the whole process is being run by the boys.



                • #9
                  You have an interesting perspective on the recruitment/transition process.

                  In the 4 years that I've been to Roundtables, Troop Nights, troop visits and have talked to Troop leaders, I can say that "patrol" is not something that I've heard at all in the context of recruiting and new scouts coming on board (other than maybe that the new scouts will be part of a NSP or somehow integrated into existing patrols). While I can clearly see that there are many troops that use the patrol method internally as a core part of their program, it seems that most/all troops in my area really don't emphasize this aspect of Boy Scouting when recruiting at least.

                  The focus is pretty much exclusively on stuff like "Our troop goes to camp at ..." or "Our troop is boy-run because.." or "Our troop is very active and does alot of ..." or "Our troop really had a great time at ...". The concept that a patrol (as opposed to the troop) is trying to recruit new members never comes across at all (i.e. "Hey, Johnny, it'd be great if you'd join our patrol!"). Even though the older boys do try to connect with the prospective scouts, it's more of a general troop-wide effort to show the Webelos a good time and get them to join the troop and not much deeper than that.

                  How much contact do your patrols typically have with new scouts before crossover? Given that our Pack doesn't have a default troop to join under the same CO, our Webelos dens go on several troop visits in the fall/winter but typically wouldn't see a troop more than once or twice as a den. As a result, any "extra" contact between a boy and a patrol/troop would need to be initiated by the patrol/troop. I've never seen that happen with maybe one or two exceptions. Troops tend to sit back and wait to see who joins once the den visits are over, rather than actively keeping in touch with the boys from the dens that have come through.

                  From your perspective, what would you like to see Packs do with regard to the transition and recruitment process that they don't do well or enough of?

                  From a Pack/Den perspective, the focus tends to be on AOL, making your troop visits, getting the boys exposure to Boy Scouts through troop/den events, camporee visits and the like. No where (?) in the Cub literature or AOL requirements is there any emphasis (or even mention) of "patrol", so it would seem like (in the general case), if the patrol method is to be encouraged as part of crossover, it would need to be from the Troop side of things since that's where the knowledge lies.


                  • #10

                    Back when I was a webelos leader we had the SM, SPL, and other boys from the troop came to the crossover and when the cubs crossed over the bridge one of the boy scouts took off their webelos neckerchiefs, another put on their new troop neckerchief, and the SM gave each boy a boy scout salute and presented them with their BSA handbook. The crossover was always done with style and class which both the boys and their parents really enjoyed, and the younger cubs always thought it was "really cool".


                    • #11
                      As a first year Cubmaster, I have been learning more and more about the Patrol Method of Boy Scouts. As an ACM last year, I did try to add more responsibility in the Pack meetings for the oldest Webelos (1st year Webelos take over responsibility after AOL/crossing over). I hadn't thought of the idea of having the SPL and PL at the crossing over, but I like it. I don't think I would want to SM to not be there, if possible, mostly for the parents. I think the parents would wonder why the SM wasn't there as their son was crossing into that troop. I am looking forward to seeing our Webelos take the next step into Boy Scouts.


                      • #12
                        I have never heard of ANY Pack that refused to allow SM's to bring along their SPL, or any other of their boy leaders (although they might have a number limit based on the fire occupancy of the meeting facility). If the Pack that Stosh was involved with did that, then that Pack has more problems then simply ignoring the Patrol Method (which is NOT a CUB SCOUT method).

                        In the one or two visits to a Troop that a Webelos makes prior to crossover, they are not usually put into the Patrols that they would be in IF, by some chance, they ended up registering with that Troop. So they are NOT getting to personally know their Patrol mates. They are getting an OVERALL feeling for the Troop and it's boys.

                        A Webelos Crossover ceremony is PRIMARILY a CUB SCOUT ceremony. The Pack might work with the Troop, but it is the Pack that makes the decisions on the ceremony. The SM represents the entire Troop, not just one Patrol. The SM's, ALONG WITH their SPL's, of the Troops that the Webelos will be moving into should be there to welcome the new Scouts, and their families, into their Troops.


                        • #13

                          I'm not saying the SM stays home! My boys prefer to be the hands-on contact with the process.

                          When the Webelos cross over, their first contact should be with the boys whom they have visited and had an outing with prior to the ceremony. If a PL has expressed a specific interest in them joining in with their patrol/group, shouldn't it be the PL be the one to meet them first as they step off the bridge? Shouldn't the patrol be there to greet them and shake their hands first? These are the buddies he's going to be looking to for assistance his first year of orientation.

                          I have often wondered if I were a Webelos boy to cross over, meet the SM first and then be assigned a grouping of people I know little or othing about to help me. It's a little like showing up at school after one's parents moved to town and life is what's handed to you. I would think that a little on the part of the group to welcome me would be a good thing.

                          Maybe this PL and his patrol showed up at my Webelos meeting and introduced himself to me on my turf. Then when I went to visit, he had a spot for me to sit and something to show me about how the patrol works on his turf. Then when I go on an activity, he's there to show me the ropes about how this Scouting stuff really works. Now when it's time to cross over to a whole new world/program, there's someone on the other side of the bridge that's waiting just for me and has a place for me to be when I get there. When the SM asks me at the first meeting after the cross-over which patrol I want to join, it's an easy choice to make. All the Cub stuff might be totally different than Scouting, but someone took the time to help me make the cross-over and understand what's different. If I have a question, who do I turn to? new PL of course.

                          As SM, I'm there to encourage and assist in this boy-led process, not do it for them. Never do anything a boy can do. Handing out neckers and books or welcoming new boys is not the SM's job.

                          Someday, when the boy-led program catches on completely, then and only then will the boys quit asking me what to do and begin to direct their questions to their PL's without having to be reminded. If the PL's have a question, they address it to their SPL. If he has a question, he talks to the SM. The boys should always have first chance at leadership and the decisions that go along with that before an adult steps in and takes over.



                          • #14
                            Last year, when my older son was going through the transition process, I ran into the full gamut of crossovers. Our pack uses a set script, which they've probably used for several years in a row (after hearing it twice, I'd like to help switch that up this year). At the same time, I heard an SM say "the crossover ceremony is ours -- we handle it". Although I don't know for sure, since my son didn't choose that troop, my assumption is that their feeder pack takes care of an AoL ceremony while they do a separate crossover.


                            • #15
                              Did a crossover at a Blue and Gold yesterday. As SM, I stood in the background during the ceremony. At the end, I shook hands with and welcomed each boy and his parents. I think that is appropriate. But the boys were obviously in charge of the "Scout side" of the bridge. We used our two Patrol Leaders and the Scout who served as Den Chief for the Webelos Den.

                              We don't have enough new Scouts this year to form a new patrol. In talking to our Patrol Leaders, they came up with an interesting idea. They figure it will take a couple of weeks for the boys to "earn" their Scout Badge. During those first several weeks, the new Scouts will not be assigned directly to a patrol. Older Scouts will help them as they work on Scout Badge. After those several weeks, the new Scouts and the Patrol Leaders should have a good idea of who will fit well in each of our current patrols. I think it's an idea worth trying. And it came from our 11 and 12 year old PL's!