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How to have a smooth — and successful — Webelos transition

How to have a smooth — and successful — Webelos transition

CrossingBridgeCATHY BURKS, a Webelos II leader in Pack 177 in Belton, Texas, was looking for the perfect Scout troop for the boys in her den but had no idea where to start.

And Kathi Robertson, a Webelos I leader in Pack 3959 in Salt Lake City noticed her den meetings were too boring — not a good way to get the Scouts pumped for their move into a troop.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Each year as Webelos Scouts advance into Scouting, many of these potential Scouts — because of lack of interest, poor relationships or unfamiliarity with the new program — fall through the cracks and leave Scouting for good.

“One of the purposes of Cub Scouts is to prepare Scouts for the next level,” says Bob Scott, the BSA’s Cub Scout experience manager. “It’s very important that Cub Scout leaders understand and plan toward that transition.”

Planing your Transition

Ceremonies leave lasting impressions on boys and girls and teach important principles to those involved and those watching. The BSA says the Webelos Scout’s graduation ceremony should clearly signify his or her transition to a new level of Scouting. While ceremonies are as unique and varied as Cub Scouts themselves, here are a few tips for planning an unforgettable one.

Take It Literally

Make sure the ceremony visually represents the progression from Cub Scouting to Scouts BSA.

Many packs use a physical bridge — indoor or outdoor — to symbolize the crossover. Simple bridges can be built, dismantled and stored for later reuse. Outdoor bridges at parks or nature centers provide free crossover locations in a natural setting. (Search “Scouting crossover bridges” online to find tons of ideas and options.)

Include Both Sides

Even without a bridge, Cub Scouting and Scouts BSA should clearly be represented during the event, with leaders and Scouts present from the Scouts’ pack and their future troop (or troops).

“We did our crossover at the fire ring of the local Scout camp,” remembers Texas Cub Scouter Cathy Burks. “Scoutmasters and Scouts came from each chosen troop and gave a neckerchief and slide to the Scouts joining their unit. It was awesome.”

Webelos Den Leader Alice Herrick of Pack 171 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., organizes a dinner with formal written invitations. “The Scouts present their mom with a pin and read a letter of thanks to each of their former den leaders before they cross the bridge to their new troop.”

Many Pieces of Flair

Finally, don’t forget the pizzazz — this is Cub Scouting, after all. Your pack’s crossover ceremony should include a theme, symbolic gifts or even special lighting.

Marc Dworkin, former Cubmaster of Pack 252 in Allendale, N.J., gave each of the graduating Webelos Scouts an (imitation) eagle feather as they crossed the bridge.

Dworkin told the Scouts, “This feather is not really a gift. I want you to return it to me at your Eagle Scout court of honor.”

When ceremonies are meaningful — and Scouts feel welcomed — Webelos Scouts and parents understand the significance of their advancement and naturally want to continue on the Scouting trail.

Record their Transition so they can immediately begin working on Rank and Merit Badge advancement

As your Arrow of Light Den(s) finish their time in the Pack, be sure to complete the Webelos Transition Roster and send to the email to with this information to our District Executive Jim Bollback jbollback@northernstar.org

Each Pack Leader should have received an Webelos Transition Roster that included all of your Webelos (both 4th and 5th grade). Please be sure to complete the form and send in, regardless of whether the youth is transitioning to Scouts BSA or not.

2020 Webelos Transition Roster

Best Practices Webelos Transition:

At the night of your crossover/Arrow of Light (or Blue and Gold) meet with the Arrow of Light den before the meeting and obtain parent signatures on the Webelos Transition Form. Items to remember!

  • If the Webelos Transition Roster is completed, no new application is needed for your Scout
  • Packs should work to obtain the parent signature
  • The Troop Leader receiving the Scouts should sign the form and send the form in
  • If your Cub Scouts are going to multiple Troops, you can always send in the form without the Troop Leader signature (and we’ll work with Troop Leader for approval)
  • You can always send in multiple forms! If you don’t have all parent signatures, send in what you have immediately so the form does not get lost!

Dealing with Questions about Transition? Check out our FAQs on Webelos Transition!

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