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Webelos AOL & Crossover

Curious: AOL and Crossover - Same Event or 2 Events?  

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  1. 1. Are your Webelos AOL and Crossover ceremonies the same event or two different events?

    • Our Webelos earn their Arrow of Light in one ceremony, and cross over into Scouts BSA in another ceremony.
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    • Our Webelos earn their Arrow of Light and cross over into Scouts BSA at the same time.
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I know different packs do this differently, and I'm curious about what's more common.

Do your Webelos earn AOL first and cross over into Scouts later? Or do they cross over as soon as they earn their AOL? 

My older kids' pack did both at the same time, but I am leaning towards doing them as separate events with our Webelos den. I just wonder what other people are doing and why. 

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Ours finish AoL whenever they get it done, but we do crossover as a group.

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As an LDS pack, we move our boys up to Scouts BSA based on age (on their 11th birthday), not the school year. As a result, we have boys crossing over throughout the year, making a group crossover illogical. As for the Arrow of Light, boys receive it when they earn it - for some that happens as soon as they meet the 6-month requirement, for others it takes the whole year they are in the Webelos den, but again, that means there are AofL ceremonies being conducted throughout the year. 

The advantage to this is that each boy gets more individual attention, and there is no push to move boys along so that they can "catch up with the group" and not "fall behind." Each Scout moves along at his own pace if needed, with support from the den, and usually it makes for a pretty good system! I also like keeping the AofL ceremony separate from the crossover, as each event is distinct and represents its own accomplishments, and I like highlighting those specifically, just as I like giving each boy the individual recognition instead of herding the kids like cattle towards some mass awarding. But of course, to each his or her own. :rolleyes:

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Just a couple more thoughts....

  • The group crossover ceremony is better from a "recognition" perspective. A boy is going to feel more special when there's 40 people witnessing his accomplishment than when there's 5.
  • A crossover early in the year (January) gives the boy a better "leg up" in Boy Scouts. By crossing over halfway through 5th grade, he's got 5-6 months to earn some rank cred before summer camp. (Also, some troops that have strong in-house First Class programs have some activities fairly early in the year).On the other hand, the kid who crosses over in May might feel left behind, or he may have missed his chance to sign up for summer camp, etc. Early is better.
  • While I see Latin Scot's point about letting scouts move at their own pace, I'll point out that not all of the kids are needing nudges to "catch up".  There are often kids who are "go getters" who finish requirements early, meet age requirements, and are just itchin' to get into the Boy Scout program. There can be advantages to any crossover strategy you might like. Depends on the kid.

 

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In general, I would rather a qualifying Webelo cross over when he wants to. There might be something in the pack he/she wants to do. Or, maybe he/she hasn't settled on a troop yet. Or, maybe he/she wants to stick with his buddies.

Our pack does have a single crossover at the Blue-and-Gold banquet. That's nice because the scouts can plan to attend. But, we now have enough older scouts with various free schedules that at least one of them could free up time to welcome an "off schedule" crossover.

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21 minutes ago, qwazse said:

In general, I would rather a qualifying Webelo cross over when he wants to ...

Webelos SCOUT! 

I'm sorry, it's in my signature so I am obliged to be a pain about it. :laugh:

25 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Just a couple more thoughts....

  • The group crossover ceremony is better from a "recognition" perspective. A boy is going to feel more special when there's 40 people witnessing his accomplishment than when there's 5.

I don't entirely understand this logic. Does your pack meeting attendance vary that much from month to month? Ours is pretty consistent throughout the year, so a boy crossing over in October has as many "witnesses" as a boy who crosses over in May. And with fewer Scouts with to share the limelight, the focus on him is all the greater. Though, this reminds me that it's not about how many people are there as much as who those people are.

Also, my point about "catching up" wasn't actually referring to the Scouts - it was more about their parents, who at this age are, unfortunately, the ones who seem overly concerned about getting their kids to the same "level" as their peers - a mindset which perpetually troubles me, deeply. In the end however I agree with @mrkstvns' main point: there are advantages to every crossover strategy which ultimately depend on the child for whom they are designed.

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7 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

Webelos SCOUT! 

I'm sorry, it's in my signature so I am obliged to be a pain about it. :laugh:

I don't entirely understand this logic. Does your pack meeting attendance vary that much from month to month? Ours is pretty consistent throughout the year, so a boy crossing over in October has as many "witnesses" as a boy who crosses over in May. And with fewer Scouts with to share the limelight, the focus on him is all the greater. Though, this reminds me that it's not about how many people are there as much as who those people are.

We probably have different ideas about how the crossover is done.  Most of the packs around here do not do crossover as part of a regular pack meeting, or even as an activity during Blue & Gold.

Instead, the crossover (or bridging ceremony) is done as an independent event. The pack sets a time for their AoL Webelos SCOUTS to crossover and invites the local OA lodge ceremonial team to conduct the ceremony and welcoming teams from local troops to come. It's kind of a 2-part event: 1) the OA team recognizes the AoL recipients, 2) the scouts ceremonially cross a bridge at which time their Webelos colors are removed and boy scouts present them with new neckerchiefs etc.

I imagine this kind of ceremony will be a thing of the past though now that BSA has decided to Lame-ify the OA ceremonial teams...

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The pack I had been in for the past 10 years, and many packs I had the honor of either performing at, or watching my OA chapter team perform at, had BOTH ceremonies done the same night. Depending upon the pack, or the situation in the pack, either the AOL Ceremony had a specific ending and the troop(s) took over for the Cross Over Ceremony, or the two ceremonies were interconnected. But it is always two separate ceremonies.

Why two Ceremonies? Not everyone continues into Scouting. I have seen some Webelos just receive the AOL, then not Cross Over. I personally would rather see this, than the Webelos Cross Over, then never be seen again, especially after handing out over $100 of troop neckers, slides, etc. Yes a Troop I was in was told a bunch of Webelos were Crossing Over to them, when the pack knew before the ceremony they were leaving Scouting after earning AOL. Not only a huge chunk of change was lost when we were on a very tight budget, but  a lot of time was wasted as the neckers and slides were handmade by adults in the troop.

 

I have also seen Scouts who did not earn AOL, but had turned 11 and were Crossing Over with their den anyway. Usually these were the guys who joined either late in 4th grade, or in 5th grade, and had to earn Bobcat, Webelos, and AOL. With the 2015 Program Change, and its 2016 revision, that won't happen as they now need to earn Bobcat and AOL.

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From the pack perspective, the AOL ceremony should not occur on the same night of the crossover because combining two ceremonies for one Den makes for a very long boring pack meeting for the other 4/5ths of the pack. From the Den leaders perspective, planning one AOL award ceremony for a whole den at one time forces the den leader to perfectly time the program to get all the scouts AOL advancement completed to that specific date. Otherwise, forcing scouts that finish early to wait for the rest of the den, and that's not fun.

What we did when I was CM was award the AOL "patch" to each individual scout after they completed their requirements. Then , as kind of a last respects ceremony for the Web IIs, we awarded all the Webelos together the AOL "Pin". Scouts loved it and that ceremony can be done at any meeting, even Pinewood Derby if need be. Then the pack can do the crossover at any other pack gathering/meeting of their choosing. Breaking up the ceremonies has it's obvious advantages, but I liked not obligating the crossover to a specific night because some Webelos Den Leaders don't like to be forced to crossover their scouts on a specific time. The bridge can be pulled out anytime at any meeting. 

I miss the old days that The Latin Scot talked about, mainly because crossing over all the Webelos at once creates the problem of forcing pushing troops to advance the scouts as a group, and discourages the idea of giving scout individual independence for making decisions. It also intuitively drove the troops away from mixed age patrol to same age patrols. I believe that one policy change did more harm to Patrol Method over the last 60 year than any other policy change.

Barry

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7 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Yes a Troop I was in was told a bunch of Webelos were Crossing Over to them, when the pack knew before the ceremony they were leaving Scouting after earning AOL. Not only a huge chunk of change was lost when we were on a very tight budget, but  a lot of time was wasted as the neckers and slides were handmade by adults in the troop.

Wow. That's frustrating. 

I remember one boy in my oldest child's den did not earn his AOL. He skipped the entire AOL/Crossover ceremony because he (or more likely his parents) didn't want to have to watch all the other kids get their AOLs. He did join the Troop with the other kids, although he didn't last long in Scouting (neither did a few of the boys in the den who had earned their AOLs). But all the kids who crossed over at least started on the path with the Troop. I would not have stood for it if someone wanted to participate in Crossover and be given whatever items (neckerchiefs or whatever) came with that if they had not at least intended to follow through with joining the Troop. Surely all the kids can be made to feel a part of the ceremony without actually inducting them into an organization they do not wish to join.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

As an LDS pack, we move our boys up to Scouts BSA based on age (on their 11th birthday), not the school year.

Sorry for the slight derail.  With the Church no longer chartering packs will the LDS method of promoting to next rank upon birthday continue (or be allowed)? Or will all Scouts be required to follow the more traditional approach of promotion at end of school year?

Edited by Pale Horse

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18 hours ago, Liz said:

Wow. That's frustrating. 

I remember one boy in my oldest child's den did not earn his AOL. He skipped the entire AOL/Crossover ceremony because he (or more likely his parents) didn't want to have to watch all the other kids get their AOLs. He did join the Troop with the other kids, although he didn't last long in Scouting (neither did a few of the boys in the den who had earned their AOLs). But all the kids who crossed over at least started on the path with the Troop. I would not have stood for it if someone wanted to participate in Crossover and be given whatever items (neckerchiefs or whatever) came with that if they had not at least intended to follow through with joining the Troop. Surely all the kids can be made to feel a part of the ceremony without actually inducting them into an organization they do not wish to join.

The crossover ceremony can celebrate Webelos graduating the Cub Scouts program instead of crossing over to Troops. The pack could still use the bridge to symbolize moving on by recognizing every Webelos with a hand shake before crossing the bridge. Have the troops meet their new scouts after the meeting. I think a new scout getting their neckerchief handed to them by the SPL at their first Troop opening ceremony in front of the whole troop would be more fun and appropriate. 

AOL award is a little harder if the packs insist on doing group awards. One solution is award each scout the AOL after they earn it like all their other awards. The award will have a lot more meaning for the individual scout standing by himself and the other scouts who haven't earned the AOL yet don't stand out. 

Barry

 

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11 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

Sorry for the slight derail.  With the Church no longer chartering packs will the LDS method of promoting to next rank upon birthday continue (or be allowed)? Or will all Scouts be required to follow the more traditional approach of promotion at end of school year?

Well, all LDS units will effectively be cancelled after the end of the year, so if any units do continue to exist, it will be under new chartered organizations. Thus it will be up to them to determine how their Scouts will approach the issue, since the CO is ultimately the primary voice governing how each unit operates. 

I will say that if I am asked to help out with any of these units, I will strongly encourage them to follow something like the LDS model. Having used it all that time I was a Webelos den leader, I can comfortably say that I avoided many of the planning and scheduling woes which afflicted my non-LDS friends in other units within the district. It gave me flexibility and the freedom to give every boy a greater deal of personal attention, and I found my relationships with their families were much closer and more meaningful because I was able to tailor the program to every family rather than to the school year. I love our approach.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Well, all LDS units will effectively be cancelled after the end of the year, so if any units do continue to exist, it will be under new chartered organizations. Thus it will be up to them to determine how their Scouts will approach the issue, since the CO is ultimately the primary voice governing how each unit operates.

Right, so I guess my question is: Are other Chartered Orgs allowed to operate under that method or was that an exemption for LDS units and no longer allowable?

Edited by Pale Horse

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On 5/8/2019 at 12:53 PM, The Latin Scot said:

As an LDS pack, we move our boys up to Scouts BSA based on age (on their 11th birthday), not the school year.

 

17 hours ago, Pale Horse said:

With the Church no longer chartering packs will the LDS method of promoting to next rank upon birthday continue (or be allowed)? Or will all Scouts be required to follow the more traditional approach of promotion at end of school year?

 

1 hour ago, Pale Horse said:

so I guess my question is: Are other Chartered Orgs allowed to operate under that method or was that an exemption for LDS units and no longer allowable? 

First off, the more traditional approach is by birthday -- though the age used to be 12, not 11.

And the promoting-by-age is not an LDS-only exception.  The brand new Scouts BSA Handbook for Girls says, on the inside front cover

Quote

To become a Scout, a youth must : Have completed the fifth grade and be at least 10 years old OR be at least 11 years old OR have earned the Arrow of Light Award and be at least 10 years old. . . .

Our troop knows of one girl (not a cub scout) planning to join as soon as she turns 11.   Oddly enough, her mother was not aware of the age-instead-of-AOL grounds for joining scouts, even though the girl has two brothers who have gone through cub scouts.

 

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