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BelieveinScouts

What do Webelos really need to know for Boy Scouts?

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Hello,

 

I am a Cub Leader from SW Ohio. I have 10 boys that will start in Jr. Webelos next year. I read some posts recently that spoke of Cubs not being ready for Boy Scouts when they crossed over. I've also heard comments from our own Troop Leader that some Cubs cross without even knowing how to use a compass, etc.

 

We've introduced the boys to compass use on our camp-out last year, but only as part of a scavenger hunt to find their Breakfast. They were given clue cards that said things like "Go North for 130 paces". That worked out great ant they had a lot of fun. Bless two of my parents for staying up until 1:30am the night before to walk the Campground and plot out the trail.

 

This year I plan on introducing Geo Caching, and orienteering. Members of the Miami Valley Orienteering Club were kind enough to send me Topographical maps of a local orienteering course. Unfortunately, I have no sense of direction, so one of my Dads, a former Army Captain, is going to help out there. Someone (please forgive me for not remembering your name) from this forum was kind enough to e-mail me the Compass Game which I plan to use as well.

 

My question, (sorry for taking so long to get to the point) is what else do Troop Leaders think are essentials for Cubs crossing over to Boy Scouts? As we enter their last two years of Cubs, what things should I really focus on so that they're ready? Camp fire cooking (Heaven help them, I can't cook)? Knot tying? What do you think? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for all your help.

 

YIS

 

 

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Good question! I think you'll end up with more advice than you'll ever be able to follow...but here's mine, for what it's worth.

 

1. Specific skills: if you have not already done so, get a copy of the boy scout handbook and the field guide. Look at the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, and 1st Class. These are the basic "skill" ranks. Many, though not all, of these requirements dovetail with various webelos requirements, particularly for the outdoorsman, readyman, and citizenship pins. (the boy scout requirements are more detailed of course but it is the same basic set of skills). The better you can prepare your boys on these skills, the easier time they'll have when they cross over.

 

2. Youth Leadership: DON'T feel like you need to teach them everything yourself. Invite older boys from local troops to come to your meetings to do presentations and teach skills. The scouts will be learning in large part from other boys when they cross over anyway so it not only ok to do this but also smart to get them used to listening to other youth as authority figures.

 

3. Scout independence: it is a big shock for a lot of boys to go from webelos, where adults (usually) run everything, to patrols, where they need to make decisions for themselves. We just had a boy tell us that he wants to go back to webelos because "you have to do everything yourself in boy scouts and it is too hard." (well and there were other issues too in this particular case, but I think that's a common enough sentiment among brand new scouts). So as they go through their webelos program, build in progressive steps where they have to make real decisions themselves. And if it falls through ocassionally because they made poor choices (short of safety concerns), let it fall through rather than "rescuing" the situation, and then talk about what happened with them later.

 

4. Get them outside as much as you can.

 

5. One thing to consider NOT doing: Don't get overly hung up in the webelos activity pins as the basis for your den meetings. This is something that, in hindsight, I wish I had approached differently with our guys. The activity pins are fun (mostly) and they are similar in some ways to the various bear/wolf achievement chapters so it is easy to fall into working on these as the core of the meeting. BUT...many of them do very little to prepare the boys for moving on to boy scouts and it is really easy to set up a situation where the adult leaders are making all the decisions (ok today we're working on pin X...).

 

I think if I had it to do over again, I'd work with the boys to pick out a handful of pins to work on together at meetings but the rest of the time I'd spend on other activities and skills, and I'd encourage them to work on any additional pins that they want to earn at home.

 

Lisa'bob

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Excellent ideas from LisaBob! If she's not careful, her old Pack will have her signed up as a Webelos leader again!

 

You could also get specific ideas from the troops in your area. My older son's troop does NOT expect the newbies to know how to use a compass, be a good cook, be proficient at knot tying, etc. They appreciate exposure to these activities, but personally, I wouldn't want to over-teach my Webelos, so that they end up bored with the rank requirements for Tenderfoot, Second and First Class. One troop in a near-by town tells their local Packs that they prefer that the cubs NOT cook with dutch ovens, because the troop likes to have that as something special that they teach their new scouts. Keep in mind that boys with NO cub scout experience can still become Boy Scouts, so anything we teach will be better than that!

 

I agree with LisaBob that you don't want to get hung up on helping the boys earn ALL the activity pins. At the beginning of Webelos 1, I let the parents know which ones we would be doing as a den (definitely those required for Webelos rank and Arrow of Light)and which ones they would have to work on at home, if desired.

 

I guess I never really thought about having to be READY for Boy scouts. With my older son, we just followed the Webelos book and also tried to teach them the basic boy scout skills that would be needed for participation in Klondike Derby. This is where the Boy Scout handbook comes in handy.

 

Have fun!

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BelieveinScouts,

 

first if you haven't already do so... try to get Webelos leader outdoor training...if you're lucky, it will be some of the best BSA training you will ever get...virutally all of it is 100% usable!

 

Run through the webelos program helps...the activity pins can be almost always worked into outdoor (fun) activities...so do not rush to (either) go whole hog or toss them to the side...use them in outdoor settings to have fun and earn a pin...steady work will always be rewarded.

 

PLAN, PLAN, and then Plan some more...you want them to be successful and have fun and that mean you need to be prepared...Its hard to have fun when nothing is ready or working the way it should. Use all resources... local BSA troops, cub parents and friends...

 

Get the boys outdoors as much as possible, doing fun things 'with a purpose'. And remember they are cubs not boy scouts...don't push too hard...and never ever make a fun activity a chore...if it isn't building towards a smile it isn't working...The older they get the more you can expect of them but avoid making "work" out of it...look for the fun...

 

If they are familiar with Knots and ropes(its a webelos thing too) it will help. If they are comfortable in the woods...its good. If they know basic kitchen skills and team work they will do well. Compass is nice but it can overwhelm younger cubs...go slow...work on basics don't get too hung up on bearing and azimuths or UM lines there is time for that later.the

 

If you can work on cutting the ties to "mom/dad" doing it all "system" to "I can do some of it, myself", they will do well. If you can make learning scouting stuff fun they will do exceedingly well.

If in the two webelos years you build their expectations of the fun they can have in scouting you will have done a fine job.

 

take a deep breath, get out the helps, webelos manuals and scout handbook, work out a two year plan...do this over the next couple of months so you have time...go to round table and chat with Webelos leaders and scout troop leaders- they will give you lots of suggestions if you ask...I am betting they will also offer to assist here and there...

 

If you keep them interested the Webelos Years are the best years in cubs.

great luck

Anarchist

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When my boys started Webs, I went down and bought a Boy Scout Handbook. THis way I could plan my program around what they needed to know when they moved into the troop. I focused on Tenderfoot requirements. I also would sit down with the boys and they would look thought the book. This also gave them an idea of what would be expected of them and what they could look forward to.

 

 

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I agree, Lisabob's post is spot on.

 

Another thing I found helpful with my Webs during their second summer and fall was doing a few events with a Boy Scout troop. We visited a couple of different troops (coordinated with their Webelos nights, or a night where they were doing something visitor friendly, like a cooking competition, or egg drop) and went on an overnight camping event with a Troop -- letting the webs be as independent as possible. This gave them great vision, as they had a "been there done that" attitude towards camping (we've done alot of family camping).

 

Not all the boys went on, I think we had a 50% retention, and they all went to different troops. But even those who left, left with a positive attitude towards scouting; they just decided to follow different interests.

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"... what else do Troop Leaders think are essentials for Cubs crossing over to Boy Scouts?"

 

I think the best thing they can do as Cub Scouts is to be Cub Scouts. The time and place to learn Boy Scout skills is when they become Boy Scouts.

 

As a Scoutmaster, I'm always happy to see Webelos cross over with the Arrow of Light award. Fulfilling those requirements is all the preparation they really need. And they really don't even need that. We happily sign up totally green boys with no Scouting background and no skills at all.

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Im with FScouter here, don't teach Webelos too many Boy Scout skills too often. The program will be boring to them if once they get to scouts.....they've already been there and done that. The best preparation for Boy Scouts that you can do is to get them outdoors. If your district or council runs a summer resident camp, fall weekend campouts, etc., take advantage of them. You can even plan your own Webelos den campouts. Just get the boys used to camping. They don't need to do everything a Boy Scout does like setting up tents, cooking, cleaning, etc. They do need to be used to sleeping in a tent in the woods and riding out a good rain. They need to get used to using a latrine. Being comfortable in the outdoors is the best prep for moving to Boy Scouts and being ready to learn all the skills they need once they are in the troop.

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I'm with SR540, eh? You can leave a lot of skills instruction to the troop, but it really helps if da webs have gotten past the basic social/emotional hurdles to camping with other guys:

 

Using a stinky latrine

Sleeping in a tent, without mom or dad

Being out in the dark.

Cleaning their own dishes.

Eatin' some food that isn't their "first choice."

At least trying to keep track of their own gear (without someone pickin' it up for 'em).

Knowing how to dress (themselves!) properly for conditions.

Coping with weather and mild discomfort cheerfully.

Dealing with bumps and bruises without excessive tears.

Being away from home&family for longer than a weekend.

Being fit enough to keep up with an active peer group.

Developing some basic swim skills.

Have some (successful) experiences pushing themselves physically & emotionally.

Have some experiences with older boys (particularly for da lads who don't have older brothers, eh?)

 

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I wouldn't want anybody to see or to use the webelos program as ONLY prep. for boy scouts. They are not boy scouts and they shouldn't be given simply "boy scouts light" as a program either. Webelos is not merely a feeder program for troops.

 

I do think there's a fine line to be walked between preparing and over-preparing. I think it depends a bit on the boys, a bit on the troop(s), and a bit on the leaders.

 

In our case, what I've seen is that the troop we tend to cross into takes an extremely hands off approach to their first year boys. This may not be ideal but it is what it is and there's a lot of resistance to change at the moment. And that troop uses New Scout Patrols where sometimes, it is a little of the blind leading the blind. So boys who join that troop with at least SOME skill are likely to be ok, while those who join with very little skill are probably going to struggle.

 

Also I don't know but I think our pack seemed to attract a disproportionate number of boys with developmental and behavioral issues. Those boys seem to struggle more during the transition phase and if having some basic skill helps them fit in and have fun right from the start, then I'm all for it.

 

If it were a troop with a great first year program, I might be more willing to say hey, worry about basic skill instruction once you get there. From what some folks have posted about their troops, I think they're closer to that end of the spectrum in their own situations.

 

Lisa'bob

 

 

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I've been a Tiger Partner, Den Leader, Webelos Den Leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster and a Unit Commissioner. My take - the Webelos really don't have to learn any specific Scout skills before they cross over to Boy Scouts (that is why there is no requirement that youth needed to be Cub Scouts to be a Boy Scout). Things Scoutmasters like to see in new Scouts joining their troop (the troop to which they belong!) is maturity, self-control, respect for others, leadership, etc. These are life skills that the boys will develop on their own time with an assist from the BSA programs.

 

The boys are not the biggest stumbling block when transitioning from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. The parents are the ones that need to be sent to 'reeducation camps." Boy Scouts is not Webelos III. Our goal as Scoutmasters is to partake in leadership training and character development. Compass skills, how to pitch a tent, cook a meal, cold weather camping, knot tieing, first aid skills, etc. are just a ruse to keep the boys interested while we try to do our main job. I know most don't see the Scouting program in that light but really, that is what it is all about.

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Hello again,

 

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I agree that I don't want to over prepare them. If I take them Orienteering a couple of times before they cross, I don't think that will over prepare them. Most of them seem to forget everything I teach them 10 minutes after I teach it anyway. LOL

 

 

We've worked on knots a little. I know that Webelos is their own program, but most of my boys seem to see themselves as "Boy Scouts in Training" now. I've even heard them call themselves that. They think they are the Big men in our Pack now.

 

I've been their Den Leader since Tigers, and I still have seven of my original boys. Because of that, we've never repeated a Field Trip (I'd heard of Scouts quitting because they only went to the Fire Dept and Police Station every year). I try to keep it fresh and entertaining for them. I'm always trying to re-invent the wheel so every year is different so they keep coming back.

 

I appreciate the suggestions. We're going to really implement the Denner and Asst. Denner program this year. I'm hoping that will help them transition into a Patrol setting. It should be fun.

 

If I run into a problem, I'm sure all of you will be the first to know. Thanks again.

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BIS: Your situation sounds very similar to mine. Been DL since Tigers with 6 original boys in our den. We are also going to use denners and we've told them the denner will have to prepare an opening activity and lead the flag ceremony. We've surveyed our boys to see what kinds of outings they wanted and tried to fit those into the activity badges. (We are not shooting for all 20.) By the dedication we've seen from these amazing boys, we are fully expecting all 8 to crossover into Boy Scouts. We want to give them a good foundation, but still remember that they're not middle-schoolers. Plus, we're also making a concerted effort to "educate" our parents not to jump in at the least struggle!

 

I'm keeping Beavah's list close at hand. Those sound like very reasonable goals :-) As for the real "Boy Scout" skills, we'll be working on knots, fire building, making fire starters, how to set-up tents, choosing tent sites, etc. But it'll be very basic...they just want to have fun on their camp-outs! These boys have waited a long time to finally be able to go on DEN camp-outs - yippeeeeee!

 

BTW, we've chosen WOLVERINES as our new den name! Just call us the X-Men!

clyde

 

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They need to know they're not alone when they move into Boy Scouts.

 

When they cross over or just come straight in to Boy Scouts, there's all kinds of people wanting to see them succeed. For a while, they'll probably be overwhelmed and not sure what to do because the safety nets might seem to have been taken away. Boy led vs adult led is something they need to get an idea of and see in action. Interaction with a troop on several different occasions can help releave most concerns they (or their parents) might have.

 

But let them be Webelos. Focus on "DO YOUR BEST". Get them to understand that and you'll give them a foundation to build on for the rest of their lives.

 

As a leader, your focus should be to remember to keep it fun, for the boys, and for yourself.

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