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Webelos to Arrow of Light transition gets a second option

The exciting changes to Cub Scouting are still a year away, but there’s good news for leaders of Cub Scouts, especially second-year Webelos, to ease the transition process.

Cub Scouts who have earned the Webelos rank as of June 1, 2015, and are moving on to earning the Arrow of Light will now have two options for completing the Arrow of Light:

Option 1: He may continue to work out of the current handbook and complete the Arrow of Light requirements as stated.

Option 2: He may begin using the new Webelos Handbook and the Webelos Den Leader Guide for the Webelos adventures. If he chooses this option:

  • He must complete the four defined required adventures.
  • To satisfy the requirement for three electives, he may use EITHER the new adventure electives OR activity badges earned under the current program but not used to fulfill Webelos rank requirements.

Previously only Option 2 was available, meaning when first-year Webelos transitioned to the second-year Webelos program in 2015, they would need to get the new book and earn their Arrow of Light Award under the redesigned program.

They may still do that, or they may choose Option 1 and stick with the current handbook and requirements as they finish Cub Scouts.

How do you decide between Option 1 and Option 2?

Webelos den leaders should look closely at the requirements for both the current and new programs prior to making the call on which way to go in 2015.

The new program has been built with an increased focus on the transition to Boy Scouts and may well be the best way to go for some dens and boys.

So sit with your fellow leaders and choose carefully! Your boys deserve it.

More about the transition

The updated transition plan was first announced on June 30 on the Program Updates page of scouting.org and was the result of continuing feedback about the transition from Webelos rank to earning the Arrow of Light. (In other words: Yes, the BSA is listening!)

That same announcement (PDF) includes guidance for how LDS units can seamlessly transition to the new Cub Scouting program.

What about Tigers, Wolves and Bears? Their transition remains the same:

Webelos-transition-new

Every Cub Scout deserves a great experience this year, too!

Some leaders are so excited about the changes to Cub Scouting in 2015 that they’re losing sight of the full year of Cub Scouting fun between now and then.

Don’t let that happen in your den or pack. Be sure that the 2014-2015 Cub Scouting season is one filled with learning, growing and having fun.

33 Comments on Webelos to Arrow of Light transition gets a second option

  1. Bev Armstrong // July 7, 2014 at 8:20 am // Reply

    Will you please address the 1 year program, as will continue to be done in the LDS units? Are we still going to be able to complete all necessary recognitions?

    • Bev – the transition document that Bryan linked above has specific suggestions for LDS units.

  2. YES! The biggest flaw in the new program has been corrected. It’s nice to see BSA showing some flexibility here by listening to the many complaints about how Webelos II scouts would have been negatively affected by the transition.

    Thanks, Bryan, for providing this forum where we can voice our complaints and suggestions. Without it, I doubt the message would have gotten through to BSA in time.

  3. Nutmegger // July 7, 2014 at 8:28 am // Reply

    First off, bravo for finally getting this right. Hopefully the supply division continues to stock sufficient quantities of activity badges to meet demand through May 2016. Does this also mean that webelos who choose to keep the old requirements will be able to earn the belt loops that are baked into the activity badges? Will those still be supplied?

    Secondly, Bryan writes, “Some leaders are so excited about the changes to Cub Scouting in 2015 that they’re losing sight of the full year of Cub Scouting fun between now and then.”

    Is this based on anything but conjecture? I haven’t seen a single piece of evidence to support it.

    Frankly, if you’re NOT seriously thinking about the changes this year you’re doing a disservice to your cub unit. This is the last year to earn a&s awards, it’s presumably the last year of the current Nova requirements too. It’s impossible to put off until next year what needs to be accomplished this year or never.

  4. What about the boys that just earned their Bear rank and are just getting started with Webelos? Most likely they will not be finished by June 1, 2015. Should I start them in the new handbook now?? But, now that I say that, I don’t think it’s out yet. Advice?

    • Oh, I’ve seen plenty in inline forums about how leaders are going to ignore the program and do what they want til their son gets I to a troop. So, it’s real.

      • Nutmegger // July 7, 2014 at 9:41 am // Reply

        Adam,

        I’m guessing this is in reply to my question about Bryan’s comment that scouters are losing sight of the coming year.

        I, too, have seen comments here and elsewhere about leaders proclaiming their future defiance of the new program but that has nothing to do with the suggestion that scouters are “so excited” by the new program that they’re “losing sight of” the 14-15 program year.

        • Yup. Answering on an iPhone is hard. ;)

    • Mary – you and your new Webelos will use the current hand book between now and next June. At that time, you and your Webelos have a choice: keep the same handbook and complete the Arrow of Light rank using the current materials or start using the new program beginning on June 1, 2015.

    • Kenneth Tillman // July 7, 2014 at 10:19 am // Reply

      If you are taking more than a year to complete a 3 month requirement, there is something seriously wrong with the scouting program you are delivering. In this area, the kids start their scouting year in August when they start school, so by December, they are receiving their Webeloes Award. That is six months before the June 1 deadline identified in this article. If your scouts just earned Bear and are starting the Webelo program, there is no reason for them to NOT be able to complete the Webelos, AOL, and Transition to Boy Scouts under the current system. Those scouts that just earned Wolf and are starting Bear will use the new Webelo program, when they finish the current Bear program. Good luck.

      • Sorry, Kenneth. I am new to this…I have one son and all I know/knew was that we have Webelos I and II and they don’t cross over into scouting until around February of their second year. I didn’t know earning the actual Webelos badge/rank was relatively quick.

      • Nahila Nakne // July 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm // Reply

        Kenneth,

        Every unit, district, and council is different.

        Some units meet year round, so the new Scouting year starts June 1st. So the Cubs are working on stuff at day camp and resident camp

        Some districts and councils schedule so many cool things to get the new Cubs pumped up, that having “normal” meetings isn’t possible until Nov. I know we had a lot of new folks sign up, and with 3 different district/council activities going on, prepping for them took time away from normal advancement.

  5. And my dad reminds me that before they had Webelos and Arrow of Light as they are now. (it used to be a 1 year webelos program for everything), He earned the Lion rank back when he was a kid. I can’t help wonder why the change to the webelos Program.

  6. “Adventures?” Seriously? Calling something an “adventure” doesn’t make it one. Scouting delivers the real deal. Why dumb it down with the phony Madison Avenue hype?

  7. Does the mean the current supply items (old handbooks, Webelos activity badges) will continue to be stocked by National for sale in scout shops for an additional year?

  8. Thank god! This was the biggest issue with the new program that is coming. I am concerned that the scout shop will not stock the necessary pins and patches for the boys for the 6 months of the Webelos 2 time period.

  9. LDS in the past have not let their Cub Scouts participate in Camping as a Pack. New requirements have camping as part of the program. Are LDS going to change their rules so that the boys can earn their Ranks?

    • LDS comprises around 30% of scouting. It is highly unlikely that these changes were made without their input.

      • Sorry to disagree, but just want to clear up this common misconception. While LDS does account for over 30% of the unit charters with BSA, LDS units tend to be much smaller than non-LDS units so LDS does not comprise around 30% of scouting.

        According to BSA membership stats provided at the end of 2013, on average, there are only about 12 youths per LDS-unit compared to about 28 youths per unit for non-LDS units. So, from a membership standpoint LDS only accounts for about 18% of the total BSA membership, followed closely by the Methodist church at about 14%. But, I do agree that the BSA has worked with LDS to come up with the LDS version of the new program. The updates site does includes details of the new program for LDS units (and, no, camping will still not be required).

  10. With the announcement of finishing Weblos/AOL requirements in the extra time, does this mean that the super achiever award is now going to be available in the full year and a half program or should we continue to plan on completing all 20 activity badges by May 2015?

  11. Yep, Lion Cub, then Webelos, then Boy Scout….

    I am reminded of when, at work, a new department chief is named, suddenly new procedures and requirements are declared, often without any meaningful conversation with the workers or consideration of the ultimate results. The rank and file adjust, true, but it is often done “just because ” they can. Maybe things become more efficient, maybe more fair, maybe more reasonable, but don’t depend on it.
    There is a reason why new Cub folks seek out the old Cub Scout Leaders Program Pages and BALOO Bugles.

  12. chinapete65 // July 7, 2014 at 11:31 am // Reply

    I attended the first “Getting the 411 on the NEW Cub Scout Adventure Program” at the Philmont Training Center last month, A volunteer task force worked on this program and is still fine tuning aspects. The NOVA program is being worked on now. The National Supply Service will keep pins in stock for a while. Dennis, a lot of thought, time, and effort was put in to creating the program. The current program was deemed too sedentary. The new Webelos and Arrow of Light programs will have the boys better prepared to cross over to Boy Scouts. Bob Scout, the National Council Professional, summed it up, “More fun for the boys. Easier for the leaders.” The new program IS great. You can find more information at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/programupdates.aspx

    And for those so set in their ways that they can’t see the forest for the trees, The Eagles have a comment for you: http://youtu.be/Gek3maVEoLY

    • chinapete65 // July 7, 2014 at 11:33 am // Reply

      Make that Bob Scott, not Bob Scout ;-)

    • I’m curious about a couple of things, Chinapete65. Did anyone in the PTC training session you attended complain about Cyberchip being added as a requirement for each of the ranks (even Bobcat!)? I’m fine with the Cyberchip program being available as an option, but it seems silly to me to add this as a requirement to each of the ranks.

      Also, was there any discussion about how much more difficult it will now be to earn the Tiger rank? The current program has just 15 requirements to earn the Tiger rank, and many brand new Tiger Den Leaders struggle to get all of their Cubs to complete them by the end of the year. The new program has over 35 requirements to earn Tiger (depending on which elective adventure is used for the 7th adventure) so I imagine many units will struggle to get the Tiger rank completed.

      • Georgia Deakin // July 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm // Reply

        See, in my mind, the Tiger program has always been too easy – you had to really slow things down to NOT finish early…and the electives were so easy, that many of them could be done in a meeting. The program needed more depth, IMO.

        • gregonwp // July 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm //

          Sure, if you have the leadership in place and active parents who are willing to sign on as Tiger Den leaders from the start, then Tiger is a breeze today, which allows it to be a nice, low-stress intro to scouting for boys and parents. Some years, though, it doesn’t work out that way and families are still working in May to complete the Tiger requirements.

          While I’m OK with adding more challenge to the Tiger program, it seems we’ve gone to the extreme by nearly tripling the requirements (if you include the steps needed to complete Cyberchip). The lucky (or well-run) units that have eager and knowledgeable Tiger Den Leaders on day one will now have more of a challenge, but should be able to complete the required part of the program by the end of the school year provided they have 2 or 3 den meetings every month, though they likely won’t have much time left to get to any of the elective adventures. I think those units will be a minority, however, and I predict there will be a noticeable decline in the number of Tiger rank patches that are earned during the 2015-16 school year compared to the prior years.

      • I have to ask, are you familiar with the Cub Scout Cyber Chip requirements? Boys should be able to complete them in about 90 minutes. This requirement will probably eventually be added to all levels of the scouting program.

        • gregonwp // July 28, 2014 at 10:22 pm //

          Sure I’m familiar with it and am completely fine with it being an optional program that all Cub Scout families have access to and can choose to use how they see fit. We’ve had a handful of Cubs earn it the couple of years since it was introduced, but frankly we’re glad not many showed an interest because the ridiculous $3.60 pricetag of the Cyber Chip patch could have wiped out half of our awards budget if all 60-70 Cubs in our Pack had earned it.

          Many parents politely smile when you tell them about the program, but then roll their eyes because they are quite capable of teaching their children how to stay safe online without their son’s Cub Scout Pack requiring them to do so. Most of their kids get enough computer use (with accompanying safe surfing instructions) at home and in school as it is. Part of their reason for signing their sons up with Scouts is to get them away from the screens.

          How shall we work this new requirement into our first Pack Meeting? Maybe: “Hello everyone and thanks for joining our Pack. I know you’re anxious to get started on all those fun outdoor activities we promised you’d get to do on Rally Night – camping, fishing, hiking, rockets, archery, bb shooting, and so on – but before you can do that, you have to pass this 90 minute course on how to stay safe on the internet, you know, since we’re going to be spending soooo much time playing on the internet during our Pack and Den meetings and camping trips….”

          Part of my annoyance with it is that I’ve yet to hear a single valid explanation for why it was added as a requirement for every rank. I’ve asked this question in several forums and no one has provided a sensible reason. Hopefully, BSA will come to their senses like they did with the Webelos options, and return this one to it’s rightful place among the optional programs.

  13. Rob Carignan // July 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm // Reply

    I’m really excited about the new program and am disappointed to have to wait another year now that I have seen glimpses.

    I with there was a way to mold the current program to work much like the new program; a way to reorganize the current achievements and elective to mimmic what is to come.

  14. Darrell Meece // July 8, 2014 at 9:14 pm // Reply

    Rob I appreciated reading your comment. I have only seen a little bit of the preview of the new program. I have Webelos 2 this year. I really liked how the new program organized the transition activities to Boy Scouting, and I think I will use the new materials for that – from a cursory look, it looked like they would fit well with the current requirements.

  15. Teri Limber // July 9, 2014 at 6:52 am // Reply

    Does this mean that the Academic and Sports Loop program will be extended by one year also?

  16. Glad the choice is there! Way easier to keep Webelo 1 the same. For the parent who is new, read through the book. A lot is done at home – by the end of summer, our son will have done artist, family and traveler, handyman badges and completing multiple other requirements from simple hikes and summer things that we do. One thing for handyman is washing the car. Aquanat is swimming. Just make some intentional time and have a plan. It’s fun and rather easy. And it’s great family time…even our 4 year is into it…he thinks he is a bear: )

  17. I still remember being tossed the khaki shirt and being told “you’re the leader” three years ago when my son was just entering Tiger Cubs. And even though I’ve managed multimillion-dollar projects and led many teams and committees through the years, we were still working on our Tiger beads in May. It happens – especially when the leaders and parents are busy and burdened outside Scouting. But we’ve had 100% rank progress from the boys that stayed in the den and program.

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