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A unique Webelos II den

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I'm a Cubmaster and have an unusual Webelos II den situation. For the last two years I've had one one-boy den, for both the Bear and Webelos I years. Each year he participated in lots of pack activities and some activities with another den, either a year younger or a year older. (BTW, each of our other grades has a full den.) For the last two years we've had plenty of new boys join, but none were his age.


Skip ahead to this fall. We have not one, but two new 5th graders in the pack! This is my quandary: each boy has a very different level of Cub Scout experience. The boy I mentioned already has been in the pack since he was a Tiger and has earned his Webelos badge. One of the new boys transferred from another pack and has already earned his Arrow of Light. And the other new boy is brand new to Cub Scouting.


Any thoughts on what I should do?

- Try to get boy #3 to his Arrow of Light before our spring crossover? That's a tall order, and I run the risk of boring boys 1 & 2 by covering things they've already done.

- Have boy #3 work with the big and active Webelos I den to get his Webelos badge instead? Then he'll be with kids who are younger than he, and won't have a bond with the other 5th graders when they cross over to Boy Scouts.

- Have den meetings that aren't particularly focused on advancement, but just on fun activities? Advancement would be more on the parent than the leader, which isn't the way Webelos should typically work.

- Recruit a new den leader and let her/him figure it out? :)


I'd appreciate any advice you've got. Thanks!


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Den size and structure aside, whenever I've had boys join as Webelos IIs I tell them they have two options:


1. They and their parents put in extra time and effort required to do 18 months of work in six month. It can be done but takes a strong commitment from the Scout, his parents and the den leader (who still has to meet with the boy to sign-off on his requirements.) It also takes a fair bit of planning and organization.




2. Look at the next six months as one big ramp-up to Boy Scouts. Focus on learning the stuff he will need in the troop, like outdoor skills, learning the Oath and Law and the other stuff which will carry over. Be sure he makes the troop outdoor activity and troop meeting visit.


I don't think the den should spend a lot of time rehashing the Webelos I year for the benefit of the new kid. But it is important that you make an effort to make the program open to him. There is a real Scouting culture which can be foreign if you haven't grown up with it. "You mean doing the stuff isn't enough, I have to bring you my book and get you to sign off on it too?" Don't use a lot of jargon or TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Don't assume he knows he has to bring his own knife and fork on campouts (or whatever you local traditions may be.)

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One might want to consider having the two experienced boys "teach" the new boy and work with him in his advancement. It may go a long way for the three boys to bond before going into Scouts. It'll be good review for the older boys who will make great Instrutors/Troop Guides when they get older. They may also do well as a Den Chief with such experience of working with a new Cub as well.


Design activities that will be helpful for the boy, not just today, but tomorrow as well.



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