Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Sniktaw

How to transition Webelos to Boy Scouts

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone. I am a Webelos I den leader and would like advice on helping the boys transition to Boy Scouts. The requirements for the next year and a half are different enough from Cubs, and we have plans for visiting troops, but I need concrete ideas for how to introduce the Boy Scout mindset to my Webelos. As far as activities, one obstacle I feel stuck on is that we meet for an hour during the week when it is dark, so our outdoor activity possibilities are limited, and an hour isn't a lot of time to get bigger things accomplished. We are shooting for one weekend outdoor activity a month, but of course many Scouts only come to weeknight meetings. But I digress--what I'm really looking for is that mindset change. My ultimate goal is to get these boys to stay in Scouting so I want their transition to be as smooth as possible. What should I be doing to help them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, a current Boy Scout, past Cub Scout here. My den if I can recall correctly, started us on Boy Scout "things" such as weekly quizzing on Scout Law, Oath, Motto, Slogan. Requirements were completely different for me, which was about 5 years ago. 

 

I suggest you read this, it plans for the year prior to transitioning to Boy Scouts. It is meant for a Troop on how they should transition their Webelo Scouts, but you can follow it if a troop is not doing it already.

 

I read most of this, and it was pretty accurate and seems like a great resource.

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Webelos_to_Scout.pdf

Hope it helped.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would suggest going on a campout with a boy scout troop.  Get yourself a copy of the boy scout troop leader guide book seen here: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2013/08/15/first-look-troop-leader-guidebooks-set-to-replace-the-scoutmaster-handbook/It will help you understand the way a troop should work.  

 

Have the boys start learning how to plan and pick the activities will help them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been a Webelos Den Leader for a couple of years now, and I have found that the best way to prepare my boys for the transition to Boys Scouts is to put a lot of emphasis on the Scouting Adventure adventure and then spread its activities out over the course of the year. 

 

For one, my boys start using the Boy Scout sign and salute as soon as they enter my den. We begin every meeting with a full-on flag ceremony, the reciting of the Oath, Law, and Outdoor Code, and a question drawn from the requirements for that adventure - what do the two stars on the 1st Class emblem represent? Who signs a blue card? What is the Boy Scout slogan? Et cetera; I make sure they are reviewing at least one or two principles at every meeting.

 

Another thing I do is to really emphasize the transition from being in a Den to being in a Patrol. I make the position of Denner a little more important than it would have been in Bears or Wolves. The Denner opens the meeting, meaining he has to ask boys to run the flag ceremony, offer the opening and closing prayers, and read the announcements that I have printed out on the podium. I then let the boys decide in which order we will run out meeting's activities; if they want to do the game first, or the adventure requirements, or whatever - they get to decide, with the Denner having the final say.

 

I make our Den identity a big part of our group's culture. Our flag is a big deal, and carrying it in our flag ceremonies is something the boys will fight over if not supervised - they really care about it! They all have a little streamer with their name attached, made by themselves, and they love reading the names that have moved on to Scouting - I add a fabric Webelos pin to a boy's streamer when he earns that rank, another with the Boy Scout symbol when he earns his Arrow of Light (to show he is ready to become a Boy Scout), and when they start earning their Eagles I will add another pin with the Eagle emblem to the streamer of all boys who achieve that rank. The boys LOVE looking at what others have done, and it motivates them to do so as well. We use our Den yell wherever we go, and I talk to them constantly about carrying over that Den spirit on to their Patrols when they become Boy Scouts.

 

I also remind them that the requirements for the Scouting adventure are the same as those required for the rank of Scout; my expectation is that they can go to their new Scoutmaster when they cross over and pass off their Scout rank at the first meeting they attend. So I talk to the boys about what that entails, and what they will need to know. Usually the boys want to make a good impression when they pass over, so they work really hard to be ready. Also, I always devote the last meeting I have with any of my boys to going over the requirements and prepping them emotionally for the change that's about to happen. So far I have never had a boy drop out of Scouting, so fortunately it seems the method has been working so far. But you have to adapt it to each boys; some are ready to cross over right away, others require more one-on-one prep time before they really feel ready. Just let them know you are there to help them and that you believe they will succeed in Scouting, and they likely will trust you.

 

The most important this is to get them EXCITED to become Boy Scouts! The Webelos program really is one of the most important years in a boy's Scouting career - it defines what he will remember of Cub Scouts, and how he will prepare for Boy Scouts. Make it the best that you can!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This batch of crossovers to our troop hit the ground running. Not sure if that's a testament to the new program, or the DL, or a combination of both.

 

In addition to all of the above, ask one of the troops if they would be willing to provide a den chief. A DC gives the boys a good sense of what a Boy Scout should be like.

 

Finally, like David said, adjust your goals. So much can happen in a boy's life, there's no guarantee they can stay in Scouting. I think it's great when they do. But, it's also great when they grow up strong and good in other activities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This batch of crossovers to our troop hit the ground running. Not sure if that's a testament to the new program, or the DL, or a combination of both.

 

I attribute it to the DL. While I like the new program, it got watered down in December 2016. We had 2 batches of Webelos cross over: one in January, and one in April.  Both groups started with the new, 2015 program. The January group had two outstanding WDLs who made the transition smooth.The April Group started with the June 2015 program, but 1/2 ended up using the easier December 2016 requirements to get AOL, and one had to get his Webelos Badge under the 2016 requirements!

 

Some things the January DLs did were the following:

 

1) Took WDL training and IOLS instead of WLOT.  Not only did we not have WLOT available, the idea was he wanted to know what Boy Scouts was like, might as well take the training.

 

2) Used the denner position and gave them responsibilities . Grant you the pack didn't use them until Webelos.

 

3) gave expectations to the Webelos.

 

4) Had a chat with the parents while is AWDL ( she became the WDL when he became a TigerDL) about how Boy Scouts is about growing, accepting responsibility, etc. Told the parents they need to start backing off and letting the Webelos do things on their own. He then reminded the parents they needed to back off when they started to interfere during the year he had them.

 

Aside: I believe this was the #1 most important thing in the transition: getting the parents to back off and not hover. Every issue I've faced workign with Boy Scouts is new Scout parents interfering. That is a major issue with my current troop.

 

5) If it hasn't happened already, take them camping. I know LDS packs has limitations on that.

 

6) Hook up with a troop and camp with them. be advised,

 

Good luck and have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest problem I see with incoming webelos is a lack of understanding teamwork. They each have a different job to do and they need to do it for the patrol to function on its own. The result is everyone trying to do the same thing at the same time. That results in scouts arguing over who gets to do this, whatever this is, and nobody doing that, or the other. If if you've ever seen 6 year olds playing soccer everyone wants to kick the ball and nobody wants to spread out.

 

Activities that have several different parts would be great. Go on a hike, for example. Someone helps figure out where to go. Someone comes up with a menu for lunch or snacks. Someone reviews the list of things to bring.

 

Another aspect of teamwork is listening. If someone is in charge of picking a menu then he has to listen to what others want and everyone has to abide by his decision.

 

Get all this working and boy scouts will be an easy transition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talk to your local Scoutmasters about getting a Webelos Den Chief or two. Having Boy Scouts at your meetings and activities will definitely ramp up the excitement level in your Webelos Scouts. We are looking at a class of 12 Webelos crossing to our Troop in early 2018. We have 2 Den Chiefs- one is a Life Scout that is on his game, the other is a 1st Class Scout who is young enough that the Webelos know him from when he was in their Pack. Between the two of them, they can reach most of the boys in a positive manner. We are also being very proactive with the boys and their families. We are having a local camping trip over Veterans Day weekend (next town over from where the Troop is located). We have invited these 12 boys to come and hang out with us one afternoon. They will have lunch with us (dividing them up among the Patrols), we will run through the requirements for the Scouting Adventure and brush them up on Outdoorsman and Castaway Adventure requirements as well. We have also extended them an invitation, if they have a willing parent, to stay over and camp that night. The few that may take us up on that will have dinner with our Patrols (while their parents eat with the Troop adult leaders), and will be part of our campfire program that evening. We want them to get the flavor of life in the Troop, and we want their parents to see what a boy-led Unit looks like in the field. All of this is to get the entire family comfortable with how Boy Scouts is different than Cub Scouts in so many ways, and nothing shows them those differences more than seeing it with their own eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest problem I see with incoming webelos is a lack of understanding teamwork. They each have a different job to do and they need to do it for the patrol to function on its own. The result is everyone trying to do the same thing at the same time. That results in scouts arguing over who gets to do this, whatever this is, and nobody doing that, or the other. If if you've ever seen 6 year olds playing soccer everyone wants to kick the ball and nobody wants to spread out.

 

 

This.  This is probably the biggest issue with the crossovers as the come in...getting them to work as a team.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The BSA looses more scouts in the first year of the troop program than any other age. The reason is because they step from an adult run hand holding program to being pushed by a lot of strangers to make their own decisions, and that is very scary.

 

Most Scoutmasters are prepared to take a boy who knows nothing about scouts skills and get him up to speed to where he can mumble the oath and law along with the rest of the troop. Where troops loose their first year scouts is assimilating them from adult guided to self guided.

 

It's not so much of getting Webelos comfortable with what is expected, the challenge is getting Webelos comfortable with confronting the unexpected. MattR kind of hinted to that with team work. But also it's getting comfortable with the idea of having to make a single decision that affects their next action. You would be amazed at the number of young boys who rarely decided on what they eat during the day or where to go from hour to hour. Between parents, teachers and den leaders, a boy has his agenda planned out for him from the moment he gets up to the moment he goes to bed. Adults don't even realized they do it, but once a boy steps from the expectation only slightly, the adult will guide them back on track. 

 

All the suggestions being given are good. What I did with our Webelos was expose them to larger bodies of people and force them to plan simple agendas. At each den meetings, I delegated a different scout to organize an opening that basically resembled a troop opening where the leader gave command for the flag team to march up and present colors. The leader organizes the color guard and then leds the group in the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Law, Scout Oath and a prayer. Basics, but repetition over and over while handing the responsibility of deciding who and how the opening will be performed.

 

Along with that, the Webelos also lead the opening at the pack meetings. The two Webelos who lead the open are expected to show up an hour early to help set up the room and work with the a tiger/wolf/bear den who will carry the colors. My intent here is for the Webelos plan and teach the Den what to do. They will give all the commands. Very simple, but all these things are building confidence for making decisions, working with strangers, and preparing for the unexpected. I also directed the Webelos to write, practice and perform at least two skits for each Pack Meeting. Again, they are being pushed to be creative and to prepare for standing in front of large groups. I found that our Webelos got so good that this that they didn't practice their skits until before the meeting. They got so good at creating and planning that they actually got pretty cocky about it. And they enjoyed the cheers from the audience.

 

Along with those activities, I asked a troop if we could have our Den Meeting with their troop the for about three months before crossover. The den would stand with the troop during opening, then we would go do our den thing. But I did this to get the scouts used to being around boy scouts and the more chaotic environment of patrols. We rarely participated in troop activities, but I did find the patrols found some of our Den activities more interesting than their patrol actitivities.

 

As for camping, I found that Webelos age boys need about two campouts to gain the confidence of sleeping in a tent without adults in the dark scary woods. I didn't worry so much about the cooking or other patrols skills because the patrols will teach that in what ever troop they join. I just wanted them to have enough confidence to confront the unexpected. Camping one night with a troop would be fine too. But the key is less adult hand holding so the boys get a feel for making the decision to go forward by simply moving one foot forward. They don't need to become expert boy scouts, they just need to not be scared of the next thing, whatever that thing is.

 

Barry

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The BSA looses more scouts in the first year of the troop program than any other age. 

 

Yes, and it is a big problem for the troop. Every year, we got a number of crossovers who really liked cub scouting, but they just didn't like boy scouting. As a scoutmaster, I wished that the weeb transition process would have made some effort to help the scouts to discern whether or not they would actually like to be boy scouts.

 

I don't consider a transition to be successful when the scout signs up in a troop. I think it is successful when the scout makes a good decision. Scouting is about making good decisions. Sometimes a good decision is to join a troop, but sometimes its not.

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, and it is a big problem for the troop. Every year, we got a number of crossovers who really liked cub scouting, but they just didn't like boy scouting. As a scoutmaster, I wished that the weeb transition process would have made some effort to help the scouts to discern whether or not they would actually like to be boy scouts.

 

I don't consider a transition to be successful when the scout signs up in a troop. I think it is successful when the scout makes a good decision. Scouting is about making good decisions. Sometimes a good decision is to join a troop, but sometimes its not.

Yes, but a decision can't be made until the facts are known, which requires some experience. Scouts generally know by six months (after summer camp) whether the troop experience is for them or not. And that is when they discern whether or not they like boy scouts. I don't know how most boys can make that decision without at least a few months of a troop experience. The Webelos program certainly doesn't give them the experience.

 

The issue that I'm talking about which drives so many new scouts out of the BSA is the shock and awe of jumping from an adult controlled environment to patrol method environment that can blind even the best scouts from seeing the fun side of the troop. Some troops expect new scouts to suck it up and get used to it, while other troops work to wean the scout into the Patrol/Troop environment. 

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I don't know how most boys can make that decision without at least a few months of a troop experience. 

 

Almost all of the them can. My sixth graders are a whole lot smarter than many people give them credit for. 

 

The problem isn't that sixth graders don't know their own minds. The problem is that their adult leaders are in recruitment mode rather than helping mode. 

 

Most boys don't join scouting. They do make the decision without any troop experience.

Edited by David CO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost all of the them can. My sixth graders are a whole lot smarter than many people give them credit for. 

 

The problem isn't that sixth graders don't know their own minds. The problem is that their adult leaders are in recruitment mode rather than helping mode. 

 

Most boys don't join scouting. They do make the decision without any troop experience.

Smart has nothing to do with it. How can anyone make an intelligent decision without knowledge? 

 

You are missing a very big piece of the big picture. But I'll leave that for a different discussion.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×