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Webelos to Scout Transition when to Start

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       In reading another thread titled District Indecision I came across this; as the Webelos II leader, I recently sent out requests for a list of local Boy Scout troops and contact names so I can begin to schedule visits and interactions in our area. I tried spinning off this thread but couldnt so thought Id reference it .

       As Webelos to Scout Transition Coordinator for my district I was shocked to find out how many Leaders believe that W2ST begins at Webelos II. I was taught back in 89 that the entire Webelos program is a transition program designed to, slowly over a period of 20 months, move the boys thinking from Cub Scout mode to Boy Scout mode. We were told that W2ST started in April as a Bear Den with a meeting between the boys, parents and representatives of a Boy Scout troop. The meeting was to be chaired by the current Webelos I Den Leader and the purpose was to explain the Webelos Program to the boys and their parents. The troop representatives were there to show what the end result will be and to explain the hopeful inter action between the Webelos Den and the Troop. Parent surveys are handed out and activity pin counselors are recruited. This way in June when these boys become a Webelos I den they are ready to start the transition. What I find however is a belief that, as the Den Leader in my quote implies, transition starts in September of the Webelos II phase and goes into full gear in October allowing only a few months of interaction between den and troop. My question to the forum is two fold;

First, when do you think W2ST should begin?

Second, what steps are taken to achieve this transition?


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First let's look at goals:


BSA/Council/District - have 100% of Cub Scouts become Boy Scouts

Pack - varies

Webelos Den Leader - varies

Scouts - varies

Parents - varies

Troop - have 100% of Cub Scouts become Boy Scouts (good ones join their troop, bad ones, other troops ;-)


So, I think the Pack, Webelos Den Leader, Scouts and Parents need to judge what they want. Ideally, all should be open about continuing on to Boy Scouts. When I was a WDL, I had an interest in havingthe boys continue on with Boy Scouts and had tehm exposed to Boy Scouts as a Bear den with Den Chiefs and we had troops help out with join Scouting nights. As first year Webelos, we attended summer camp which was staffed by the same staff that was used for Boy Scout summer camp - more exposure. In the fall of the second year of Webelos, we had outings with Boy Scout troops. The majority was interested in moving on and liked the idea. Those who were not interested, skipped some of those activities.


Another consideration is the Pack to Troop(s) relationships. In my area, very few Packs have a strong relationship with a single Troop. For instance, in our troop, I have boys from six different packs and in the five mile radius of our Charter Organization is somewhere like 10 different troops!


So, to answer you question - first judge the interest of the boys in your den. Make sure they are aware of the Boy Scout program and the differences wrt Cub Scouts. Then tailor your program based on that interest.

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My youngest son will soon be in Webelos I. My oldest son is starting his second year as a Boy Scout, and my second son just crossed over last month. Going from Bears to Webelos is enough of a transition, without thinking so far ahead to Boy Scouts. Let the Webelos program itself do what it's intended to do and gently lead them towards Boy Scouts. Their parents become less involved in their advancement, more is done with the den instead of at home, and they go on two non-family campouts per year, the second of them camping with a troop. As they prepare to earn their Arrow of Light in the second year, they do more with the troop. My husband was the leader for our middle son's den, and successfully crossed over all six of his boys. In the first year, he concentrated on activity badges. The second year, there were few badges left to earn, and he spent a lot of time transitioning them to Boy Scouts, even holding their den meetings in the same room as the troop.

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As you can see by the date of my original District Indecision posting, my W2ST started just as the school year ended for my Webelos I.

These are IMHO the timeframe I used...

I thought I would get ahead of the curve so that the Troops in our area knew we were interested in visiting them.

I liked meeting them in between WEBEI and WEBEII, but I think that the WDL's need a bit more time and help to understand what the transition entails.


I would like to use the end of the Bear year for leaders to help them with their transition and introduce them to Troop leaders for a Q & A period. This way they can set their agenda for the next 20 months and feel comfortable knowing, contacting and visiting (or having visits) from local Troops (networking). This timeframe allowed me to work on the technical side (requirements) of the Webelos requirements and set up for an extremely fun WEBEII year (camping, canoeing, etc.) so the boys get excited to head to Boy Scouts.

Then right before the summer starts for the kids moving into WEBEII, a visit from a Troop Leader (SM and ASM) will help the boys understand what adventures are to come with their final year in Cub Scouts so the boys can enjoy their summers, go to camp, ask questions of the camp counselors based on what they have been exposed to and head into their WEBEII with enthusiasm instead of trepidation. The more the scouts know, the more they are inclined to transition successfully.

My Troop experiences did not happen at the end of WEBEI but at the beginning of WEBEII which was not that bad either.


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Check out the Webelos to Scout Transition Disappearing Packet supplied by the Greater St. Louis Area Council...




The packet indicates that you should begin planning the transition when the boys finish fourth grade.


However, I found that a Webelos Leader needs to be a little more forward thinking than the packet shows. A Webelos Leader needs to understand the age requirements to join Boys Scouts, the inter-relationship of the requirements for the Outdoorsman Activity Badge and the Arrow of Light, and provide a couple opportunities each year to ensure his 10 year olds complete the rank in order to meet the joining requirements.(This message has been edited by MarkS)

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Get them out to visit the troops EARLY. For years I have watch Webelos leaders bring their boys on the overnight trip in Oct or Nov. For many boys this may be there first expierence camping and they come during the coldest time! From what I have seen the Webelos who get out with Troops in Aug and Sep on campouts hang around longer as they had a better first expierence during the warmer days.

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And don't forget, "A person who has not been classified as a "swimmer" may ride as a passenger in a ... canoe, raft, or sailboat with an adult certified as a lifeguard or lifesaver by a recognized agency."



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       One thing I have not seen mentioned here in relation to Cub Scout/Webelos according to the GTSS Age Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities all the water craft related activities must be done at Council or District Activities which would necessitate BSA qualified Aquatic personnel to be in charge. Short version is you can't do any of this as a Pack. Quote from #6 Safety Afloat found in the GTSS "For Cub Scouts:Canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and rafting for Cub Scouts (including Webelos Scouts) are to be limited to council/district events on flat water ponds or controlled lake areas free of powerboats and sailboats. Prior to recreational canoeing and kayaking, Cub Scouts are to be instructed in basic handling skills and safety practices."


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I hope everyone had a rewarding weekend.

I would like to continue the original topic of when and how employ W2ST. I am by no means an expert and National does not have any formal training material on this. We have different publications and many contradict each other especially on when to target crossovers. I would like to gather opinions and experiences to take back to my Council in hopes of improving our W2ST program.

First let me say that crossover percentages are not indicators of a successful W2ST program. When we elect a new president in November we know we will have a new administration, the transition between the old administration and the new administration is not graded on whether the new administration takes over on January 20th, but rather the smoothness with which the change is incorporated into the functioning of the government. That they cross over does not indicate that they have changed their mind set or personal view point on Scouting. A successful W2ST program can be more accurately judged on the number of scouts remaining in Scouting after the first or second year. Did the Webelos Scout cross over into the right troop for him? Did he understand the differences he would be encountering? Did his Activity Pin program help prepare him for the Merit Badge program in Scouting? Was the change from parental testing to troop leader testing made in a way that helped the boy become comfortable presenting himself for testing, rather than being sought out for testing.

Acco40 suggests we tailor or approach, to me that would be like saying if the majority of my students didnt seem interested in college I should just forget the classes intended for that continuation of education. Who uses algebra? What good does English Lit do the average person who does not intend to read for enjoyment? Why read when we have DVDs? The reason the Webelos program was introduced in 1952 was to help the Cub Scout adjust to becoming a Boy Scout. The Leader training introduced in 1959 helped spell out that goal. If there is a Webelos Leader whos goal is other than 100% crossover how can that person be said to be delivering the program? How can a Pack justify allowing a Webelos Program that doesnt embrace the purpose of the Webelos Program which is to prepare Cub Scouts to become Boy Scouts?

Mbscoutmom first says that going from Bear to Webelos is enough without looking all the way forward to Boy Scouts and then repeats what I originally said, that the Webelos Program should slowly over 20 months transition the boys thinking. Mbscoutmom, was it the April meeting with the parents as Bears that you objected to Im not clear. When you refer to two non-family outings a year, were you saying that the first year outings should be den outings and the second year outings den/troop outings? Again I didnt understand.

MarkSs reference to the Disappearing packet caused me to focus on the difference between transitioning Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts by means of the Webelos Program and crossing Webelos Scouts over into Boy Scouts. I see the focus of the Disappearing packet, which we use in Chicago Area council as well, as being less with transitioning the boy and more with retaining the membership.

Im looking for insight into transitioning the boy from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts using the Webelos Program and as a separate focus how to co ordinate a successful crossover from Webelos to Boy Scouts. Im try8ing to get ideas to strengthen our program and teach those coming for training.



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Thanks for bringing us back on topic. To be honest with you I think the REAL transition from Webelos to Boy Scouts is the parent (mindset) transition.


Let me explain. I work with both a Pack and Troop (and Crew as I have children at all three levels) and the boys seem to transition from Webelos to Boy Scouts now matter when you start.


The parents are a different story. I have found that if you don't start changing the mindset (or as my 40 year SM vet father would say, "cutting the cord" lol) of the parent early, you have problems. Many parents of young scouts seem to get upset that there son is not advancing fast enough. They are used to signing off there sons advancement (sometimes even if he only kind of knows it), but when they hit the Boy Scout level and the boy has to demonstrate his ability to an ASM, Patrol Advisor or SPL, they get frustrated. They are used to there boy getting a patch at every pack meeting, so when an COH comes up and he doesnt get something they feel he was left out.


A second reason I would give to start them early, even in the Webelo I (4th grade) year is to get them used to the outdoor activities, in particular camping. If a boys first experience camping is miserable or cold that will be his association. Get them out to the summer campouts with troops.


Lastly, get them out early to SEVERAL TROOPS. Some troops are a better fit for boys than others. My oldest son and I visited 6 different troops SEVERAL TIMES, and I let him pick which one he liked (luckily it was the same on I liked). If a boy visits several times throughout a year, the boys of the troop will get to know him as well and he will feel more welcome each time.


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I was about to say the St Louis Council had it all wrong but decided to actually look over their W2S "Disappearing Packet" and I'm glad I did before I spoke up.


What I was going to say was that serious planning for W2S transition begins as soon as a third grader finishes his Bear year -- that's the time to get him, his family and his DL to think about Webelos resident camp, *before* he starts his 4th grade Webelos I year.


Without summer camp and the 3-4 outdoor activity pins they work on, the boy will be seriously behind his fellow 4th grade Webelos Is who *did* attend Webelos resident camp.


I'm not sure if this is consistent with what the planning guide says, because their use of terms like "3rd grade Webelos" is very confusing.


As far as I know, there's no such thing as a "3rd grade Webelos" (well, maybe in an LDS Pack). There are "graduating" 3rd graders, who will be 4th graders in the fall, and those boys are encouraged to attend Webelos resident camp.


Although it never too late to start the transition, if you ask me, I do think that waiting to start W2S transition until the end of the 4th grade year wastes 12 precious months.


Fred Goodwin

former WDL

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I am the Webelos to Scout Transition chairman for my district and I realize that people don't understand when to start the transition process. If you look at the Webelos handbook you will realize the transition starts the moment that the boy becomes a Webelos. First remember what Webelos means "We'll Be Loyal Scouts".


Now we go to why I say that the transition process starts immendiately when the boy becomes a Webelos. They can start by changing there uniform from the Cub Scout uniform to the Boy Scout uniform. Next they can start using the Boy Scout sign instaed of the Cub Scout sign. Then each den can choose a patrol name istead of going by a den number. Webelos can also go camping without the rest of the pack and all the parents of the boys being there. Finally, we need to start treating these boys with a little bit more responsibility since they are getting closer crossing over.


About the crossover process the boys can start visiting troops. They can also go camping with the troops so that they get some of there camping requirements done and start getting acquanted with some of the Boy Scout units. Don't hold the boys back. Now when it comes down to the crossover a lot of units do there crossover at the same time as there arrow of light ceremony. My suggestion is to do both at different Pack meetings. Try doing the arrow of light ceremony with the Blue and Gold banquet and then within the next few months between March and May do your crossover cermony. The reason that you might want to do the crossover early is so that the boys can get acquated with the troop that they croosover to and get a few camping trips under there belts before they go to Boy Scout camp.

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