Read Hints for Webelos Leader
or Hints for Scoutmaster
This is a list of points for a Webelos den leader to keep in mind to ensure a successful transition of scouts into a Boy Scout troop.
The preparation begins before the Webelos program starts, but no matter where in the program you currently are, you can make
changes to improve now.
- Attend Webelos Den Leader training before you start your program.
- Understand, believe in, and always use the Guide to Safe Scouting - always.
- In the spring while your scouts are Bears, talk to the current Webelos leaders for ideas, suggestions, and advice.
- Start your program in May or June for fourth grade Webelos to get all of them to Arrow Of Light and have opportunities to try every activity badge.
- Plan ahead - make a schedule for the next 20 months, which activity badge for each month.
- Remember the 5th grade program ends in February - they transition to Boy Scouts in March.
- Share the load - have a sign-up sheet so every parent can lead one or two activity badges.
- Have a Parent Meeting at the start of the program to explain differences between Cub Scouts, Webelos, and Boy Scouts and what you expect of them.
- From the very start of the program, expect the boys to become Boy Scouts. Never say 'if', always say 'when' and keep them looking forward to being in a troop.
- Plan outdoor badges like Naturalist and Outdoorsman to fall in prime outside seasons. Artist, Family Member, .. can be done more easily indoors.
- It is important that boys experience camping before joining Boy Scouts. Start early to get boys ready for camping. Have backyard campouts.
- A parent must be with a Webelos scout on all campouts, but the scouts can do all the work.
- Keep the program going during the summer between 4th and 5th grade.
- Fun summer activities like backyard campouts or campfires, hikes, swimming will give scouts a good taste of what to expect in Boy Scouts.
- Encourage scouts to attend Webelos Camp before 4th and 5th grades.
- Help scouts create duty rosters and menus for campouts. Healthy meals during Boy Scout camping is one of the bigger challenges so making the habits now is good.
- Plan a service project for school, church, or community each summer.
- Start presenting the requirements for 'joining Boy Scouts' early in the program and continually until they finish.
- Keep your program outdoors as much as possible - a little rain or snow won't kill you.
- Employ experts to present skills for more excitement and value, for example a retired Forest Ranger for Forester or Paramedic for Readyman.
- Using a trained Den Chief from a local troop gives the scouts great exposure to what a Boy Scout is - get one!
- Attend the Roundtable meetings to pick up information and ideas from others.
- Meet the Scoutmasters of local troops. Arrange some visits for your scouts to see the Boy Scouts in action.
- Work together on requirements to earn the Webelos badge. Try to have all scouts earn it and receive it at one pack ceremony.
- After reaching the Webelos badge, transition to individual progress. Each scout is responsible for completing a badge, not all together as a den.
- Make the scouts more and more responsible for the program, from leading games, to leading entire meetings, to planning the upcoming month's outings. As Boy Scouts, they will plan and execute their entire program.
- Become thinking as a Patrol rather than a Den once everyone earns their Webelos badge. This is a good time to transfer to tan uniforms. The patrol also chooses a patrol name, emblem patch, patrol yell, and makes a patrol flag. These are all things they'll do in Boy Scouts too.
- Proper insignia placement on the tan uniform is important - it will carry over to Boy Scouts.
- Present EVERY activity badge. Get another adult to lead those that require different skills than what you have.
- Offer a hike at least every other month.
- Teach how to safely camp, and have the scouts CAMP often.
- Teach how to safely cook, and have the scouts COOK often. Healthy, tasty, hot food is critical to success in scouting.
- Teach how to safely use knives, and have the scouts USE them often. Every scout should have his Whittling Chip card.
- Teach how to safely build fires, and have the scouts BUILD them often. A scout should build all campfires and you should have many fire-building contests.
- Encourage inactive parents to participate. A successful scout needs the support of his parents.
- Buy a Boy Scout Handbook for your reference, and to make your Webelos drool.
- Ask a Boy Scout troop representative (scout and adult) to come to your den and tell you all about Boy Scouts.
- Work with your Cubmaster to ensure a good AOL ceremony with Order of the Arrow participants.
- Know which troops your scouts are going to so the Scoutmaster can be at the ceremony. Contact the Scoutmaster well before the ceremony and ask him to attend.
As a Scoutmaster of a troop, the ongoing success of the troop is directly dependent on new boys joining the group. Most boys
join by crossing over from a Webelos den so a good relationship with the packs in your area is important. The end of the
Webelos program is also a time when many scouts drop out of scouting because they saw it as an end rather than a beginning.
Many troops have a 'Webelos Transition Chairman' or 'Recruiting Chairman' that handles much of the tasks listed here.
- Expect to be the driving force of getting Webelos to move on to Boy Scouts. Most Webelos den leaders are not familiar with
Boy Scouts. They volunteered to be a Tiger leader out of necessity for their son and now feel they are nearly at the end of their
time commitment. Many of them do not understand that the Webelos program's main goal is to prepare boys to join a troop.
- Know the Cubmaster of your feeder pack and have his/her email and phone number available. Ask when in the year Webelos den leaders are
identified and then ask for their names, email, and phone numbers as soon as they are chosen.
- Offer to have scouts help with Pack events such as Pinewood Derby, Blue and Gold, or Conservation projects.
- Introduce yourself to each Webelos den leader as early as possible. Set up a 15 minute meeting to get to know them and make sure they
know how valuable their work is to your troop. Offer the services of your scouts to help with their program.
- Select a Den Chief from your troop to help with each Webelos den. Have them attend Den Chief training. If your troop changes leadership positions in September or October, a scout becoming Den Chief at that time for a 5th grade den can become their Troop Guide in the spring. This consistency is good for the new scouts. It does require a one year commitment from the Den Chief scout, but it is a great opportunity to increase his leadership skills.
- Work with your Senior Patrol Leader to ensure there are activities on the fall schedule to support the Arrow of Light requirements that the Webelos can attend. They need to attend a troop meeting and one outdoor scout activity.
- Make sure Webelos den leaders and Cubmasters are aware of your scheduled events well in advance. Give them copies of the coming year's schedule - enough copies so every Webelos scout can have one.
- Promote the Summit Award and take advantage of returning to the pack in the fall with some of the scouts to present their award.
- Contact Cubmaster in January to find out when and where the pack cross-over ceremony will be held. Offer to have troop representatives there to welcome Webelos crossing over into your troop.
- Contact Webelos den leader in December or January to arrange scoutmaster conferences with each Webelos scout earning the Arrow of Light.
- Attend Roundtable meetings and greet Cubmasters and den leaders that you see.
- When Webelos decide to join your troop, remind them that this is the BEST time for a boy to join scouting. It is a new adventure in a new group so it's all brand new. Ask every new scout to invite one non-scout friend to visit a troop meeting with him. Let him know that he can earn a Recruiter strip if a friend joins the troop.