Every graduating Webelos Scout deserves the opportunity to continue his Scouting experience as member of Boy Scout troop. Your help can make a difference.
Here's a plan that bridges the gap between Webelos Scouting and Boy Scouting. It results in better prepared and more enthusiastic new members for the troop, a strong feeling of success for the pack, and-most important of all - an outstanding new Scouting experience for the boys.
Many Webelos Scouts go on to Boy Scouting with no help at all, but a lot of them need to know more about their opportunities for fun and adventure in the troop.
That's the purpose of the Webelos-to-Scout transition plan: to give every Webelos Scout a sampling of the troop program, troop leadership, advancement opportunities, and the fun and excitement of Boy Scouting. We also must let him know that he is wanted.
The boy's progress toward the Webelos badge and the Arrow of Light Award introduces him to some of the basic elements of Boy Scouting, and gives him an early taste of Scouting skills and the Boy Scout advancement program. He learns more about the troop through joint den/troop activities, which let him see boy leadership at work and sense his own potential as a leader. He becomes more confident and enthusiastic about his Scouting future as he becomes more familiar with the boys and adult leaders of the troop he will be joining.
Here's How It Works
The Webelos-to-Scout transition plan offers a clear path into Boy Scouting for every Webelos Scout, beginning early in his fifth grade year. By linking his Webelos den and a Boy Scout troop in a transition partnership, he is provided an opportunity, through joint activities, to sample the fun of Boy Scouting. As his Webelos advancement plan helps him prepare for Boy Scout advancement, he might also learn more about Boy Scouting through council and district activities designed to support the transition plan.
In the early spring, after he has earned the Arrow of Light, he graduates with the other members of his den into the troop.
The Den/Troop Partnership
The key factor in the transition process is the establishment of a working partnership between the Webelos den and the Boy Scout troop that most of the Webelos Scouts will join. This partnership should be firmly in place by the start of the Webelos Scouts' fifth grade year. Every fifth grade Webelos den should be linked to a troop, and every troop should have one or more Webelos dens as partners.
Of course, in many cases these partnerships already exist, and have been effective for many year But some Webelos dens are not linked to troops, and need help from their district in establishing a partnership. Similarly, troops with no "feeder' Webelos dens might need help.
No Webelos Scout should start his fifth grade year without a clear path ahead of him that leads to a Boy Scout troop.
The partner already familiar and friendly situation.
Webelos Scout Advancement
The Webelos Scout advancement pattern has been developed to lead naturally to earning the Webelos badge in the fourth grade year and the Arrow of Light Award in ths fifth-graders (or 10-year-olds) to earn both ranks. By following the pattern detailed in the Webelos scout Program Helps (Webelos Activity Badge Schedule - BSA Recommendations), the Webelos den leader will ensure that most Webelos Scouts will earn the Webelos badge in January of their fourth-grade year and the Arrow of Light Award in January or February of the fifth-grade year.
Early Spring Graduation
Summer camp is a vital part of the Boy Scout experience, particularly for the new Scout, The expanded Webelos Scout program gives us a great opportunity to guarantee that graduating Webelos Scouts participate in summer camp by getting them into the troop in time to prepare for Boy Scout camp.
Webelos Scouts may become Boy Scouts as soon as they have earned the Arrow of Light Award. For most Webelos Scouts, this happens in January or February of their fifth-grade year.
From Den to Patrol
Webelos Scouting and Boy Scouting have been designed to neatly dovetail together, and the Webelos den can move right into the troop as a new Scout patrol. When the whole den moves into Boy Scouting together, they continue to provide friendship and support to each other, which allows each boy to make a smooth transition with his friends into the troop.
Council and District Support
There are several ways that the council and district can help packs and troops with the Webelos-to-Scout transition process:
Webelos tracking. Every district needs to have a system to identify and track each fifth-grade Webelos Scout to ensure that he has the opportunity to continue his Scouting experience as a Boy Scout. Follow-up should be planned to maintain contact with each boy until he is enrolled in a troop. This may be assigned as a responsibility of the commissioner staff or the membership committee.
Webelos Woods. Usually conducted on a council wide basis, Webelos Woods is an outdoor program activity designed to introduce graduating Webelos Scouts and their parents to the fun and excitement of Boy Scouting. The best troops in the council are involved in the program, and it is held, where possible, in the early spring at the council camp. For more details, see Webelos Woods, No. 33838.
District Ceremony. Many districts have found that a district wide graduation ceremony for all Webelos Scouts who are joining Boy Scouting helps motivate the boys to move ahead. The ceremony may be held as a part of Webelos Woods or at some other event, such as a spring camporee It is important, however, that the district graduation ceremony be held in addition to - not in place of - the pack graduation.
Joint Roundtables. A joint roundtable, where Webelos den leaders and assistants, Webelos den leader coaches, and Cubmasters are invited to participate in a special Boy Scout roundtable event, is an excellent way to match up Webelos dens with troops in the transition partnership. Once a year is probably enough, although some districts do it twice, and October seems to be the best month.
In Summary. The Webelos-to-Scout transition plan links fifth-grade Webelos dens and Boy fifth-grade den moving into the troop as a new Scout patrol.
The Webelos Den Chief is a registered Boy Scout, active in the troop and selected by the Scoutmaster to serve as a program assistant to the Webelos den leader. He should be skilled in conducting ceremonies, leading songs, teaching skills, giving demonstrations, leading games, and helping to prepare the Webelos Scouts for the troop experience ahead. By his example, he may be the single most important person in influencing Webelos Scouts to join the troop.
The Scoutmaster, as the primary leader of the troop directs the establishment of a cooperative link between the troop and the pack. He or she selects and appoints the Webelos den chief. The Scoutmaster encourages joint activities and the graduation of Webelos Scouts into the troop Through the troop's junior leaders, he or she sets the tone for welcoming new members.
The Assistant Scoutmaster, (for Webelos to Scout Transition - added by editor) in addition to guiding the new Scout patrol in the troop, serves as liaison between the troop and Webelos den. He or she, along with the Webelos den leader, helps plan joint activities, including an exciting graduation ceremony. The assistant Scoutmaster also is principally responsible for the smooth transition of' Webelos Scouts into the troop by working closely with the Webelos den chief, Webelos den leader, Webelos den leader coach, and the Scoutmaster.
The Unit Commissioner provides continuing program support to pack and troop, and helps establish working relationships between the troop and the fifth. grade Webelos dens of the pack. He or she also encourages and supports joint activities as well as graduation, and promotes participation in district and council transition activities such as Webelos Woods.