Edited by Robert Peterson
Illustration by Bill Basso
It has become a tradition in our pack that the very first night our boys become second-year Webelos Scouts, they have a camp-out with the Boy Scouts in our area. The campsite is not far from where we hold pack meetings, and as soon as the pack meeting is over, the second-year Webelos Scouts hike to the site, where the Boy Scouts are waiting for them.
The Scouts teach them things like fire building, cooking, and campfire skits and songs. The Webelos Scouts have waited a long time to be able to camp with Boy Scouts, and this makes it a special night for them.
D.P. should talk with the Scoutmaster of a local troop about arranging something similar.
Our troop plans certain camp-outs for advancement and enjoyment by Cub Scouts and to give them a taste of what they have to look forward to. We plan well in advance and invite all interested Cub Scouts, parents, and leaders to attend. We demonstrate proper camping gear and show how (and what) to pack, We answer questions and encourage participation by everyone.
If a Webelos den usually funnels it members to a troop that is not doing well, the leader should feel free to check other troops. As cross-over time approaches, the den may want to visit several troops before the boys decide which one to join.
Our troop has a camping trip to a local tree farm each September, and we invite all second-year Webelos Scouts and their parents from packs in the area to join us for an overnight stay. Our Boy Scouts set up a monkey bridge and demonstrate various Scouting skills to show the Webelos Scouts what our troop is all about and how we conduct a camping trip.
Each year we get a positive response from the Webelos Scouts, their parents, and leaders. I feel that this is the best way for them to meet the requirements for the Arrow of Light and to introduce them to our troop.
Because the campsite is close by, boys who play sports can do both sports and Scouting on the weekend.
Assistant Scoutmaster D.M.
When I was a Webelos den leader, I found that a number of troops in our area invited second-year Webelos Scouts to their camp-outs as a recruiting tool. The entire camp-out weekend was organized with programs adapted to the Webelos Scouts, and it was a great experience.
I believe Cubmaster D.P. is confusing the separate requirements to attend "a Webelos overnight camp-out" and "a Boy Scout-oriented outdoor activity." There is no requirement to attend a Boy Scout camp-out.
In our troop, we set up a special, separate outdoor activity just for the Webelos Scouts to fulfill their Arrow of Light requirements. The most recent one was a day trip to the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, with an opportunity to earn the Historic Trails Award.
Troop Committee Chairman J.W.G.
D.P.'s dilemma is not that uncommon. Here are some things that can be done.
First, if the chartered organization has both a pack and troop, the natural inclination would be to have the units work together to develop a successful Webelos-to-Scout transition. But if the pack is the chartered organization's only unit, then a call to the district commissioner or district executive is in order. They should have a good insight into how nearby troops are functioning and which ones would be willing to help the Webelos den.
National statistics indicate that most Boy Scouts come into troops through the Cub Scout program. Webelos den leaders should begin planning for a successful Webelos-to-Scout transition when Webelos Scouts are early in their first year of the program. This will eliminate any 11th-hour running around trying to complete requirements for the Arrow of Light and finding a troop for the graduating Webelos Scouts.
Assistant District Commissioner T.H.B.
Sinking Spring, Pa.
Our district camporees always have separate programs for Webelos Scouts. Camporees in D.P.'s district doing likewise should help solve the problem.
D.P. should also check local troops. A well-balanced troop will have outings targeted to younger Scouts that should be appropriate for Webelos dens. The district commissioner staff will be able to suggest qualified troops.
Tell Scoutmasters what you need, and you'll get an invitation. The Webelos den usually provides its own tents, food, and transportation, and must file a tour permit.
If the troop is good, it may be the one your Webelos Scouts will want to join.
Assistant Scoutmaster G.P.
San Ramon, Calif.
Our district membership chairman is responsible for tracking the Webelos-to-Scout transition. To do this, he has established an affiliation list of packs and troops.
Packs that do not have a natural affiliation with a troop through the chartered organization are given options of at least two troops that are near them. A list of Scoutmasters and Cubmasters is included in our annual district directory so that leaders of the units can find each other. In this way an open line of communication is established between the Webelos den and troop.
All of our Webelos dens are invited to district camporees. A separate program is provided for them by our Cub Scout Activities Committee.
District Program Vice Chairman C.S.
Our troop sponsors Webelos dens routinely, especially at camporees and Klondike derbies. We encourage our Scouts who are Webelos den chiefs to invite the dens to our monthly outings, particularly our new-Scout and family camp-outs.
We also maintain a liaison with nearby Cub Scout packs. If P.D.'s pack does not have a close relationship with a troop, I suggest that the leaders contact troop leaders at monthly roundtables.
Our troop's brother Cub Scout pack has a family camping outing twice a year. They rent the staff cabin at our council's camp. The troop goes along for the spring outing, tenting at the camp.
The older Scouts plan activities for the Cub Scouts and get experience dealing with younger boys. The Cub Scouts get to know some of the older boys. This helps in recruiting graduating Webelos Scouts because there are familiar faces across "the bridge."
Assistant Scoutmaster F.B.W.
Our district centers its fall camporee on activities directed at both Boy Scouts and Webelos Scouts. It takes a little more coordination and planning to make sure that activities are appropriate for Scouts and Webelos Scouts. But it has the advantage of allowing Webelos Scouts and their parents to visit a number of troops at one time rather than scheduling a camp-out with each troop to see how the boys like them.
A fall camporee is best for this because first-year Webelos Scouts can get an early taste of Boy Scouting and second-year Webelos Scouts can get in one last visit before their crossover in February or March.
Assistant Scoutmaster J.D.
I think camporees are the best examples of Scouting's ultimate experiences. But if P.D. feels a camporee is not appropriate for a Webelos den, he needs to work with the patrol leaders' council and troop committee of a good troop to plan a camp-out for both the troop and Webelos den.
There needs to be careful planning and teamwork between the committee, Scoutmaster, the Webelos den leader, and most importantly, the patrol leaders' council.
Pack Committee Chairman C.F.C.
For several years it has been the policy of our district to encourage troops to invite second-year Webelos Scouts to the district's fall camporee. The troops set up camp Friday evening, and the Webelos Scouts arrive Saturday morning.
The Webelos Scouts have their own program during the day but join their host troop for dinner and an evening campfire. This provides a great opportunity for the Webelos Scouts and their parents to interact with the troop and its leaders, asking questions and seeing how things are done. This not only satisfies the Arrow of Light requirement but gives the Webelos Scouts a dose of camp life with the troop. It's a great experience for all.
Troop Committee Chairman C.W.
In our district, we encourage Webelos Scouts to attend our camporees (with at least one parent) to see what Boy Scouting is about. We include them in as many activities as possible and also have one or two activities just for them.
One of our camporee traditions is a potluck meal on Saturday night. The Webelos Scouts and their parents are the first to be served. Later that night at our campfire we encourage the Webelos Scouts to participate with skits, songs, or whatever they wish to share with us. After the campfire, the Webelos Scouts and their parents are again first in line for dessert.
Another method we use to help Webelos Scouts with the outdoor requirements for the Arrow of Light is to invite them on troop camp-outs. Each Webelos den has a special campsite, and we tailor the weekend for them. It helps to meet their requirements, and it makes for a great recruiting tool for the troop.
I was intrigued by the question because my 10-year-old Webelos Scout and his father had just spent two nights at a camporee, and I was curious to know if there is some reason they should not have done this.
Also, a contingent of leaders in our pack insisted that this participation was required to earn the Arrow of Light. The requirements state that the Webelos den must visit at least one troop meeting, one Boy Scout-oriented outdoor activity, and a Webelos overnight camp-out or day hike. There is no requirement that they spend a night at a Boy Scout camp-out.
Bear Cub Scout Den Leader J.J.
Editor's Note: Visiting a camporee or Klondike derby is a great activity for a Webelos den, and meets the requirement for the Arrow of Light. However, the Cub Scout/Webelos Scout Outdoor Program Guidelines for 2001 (No. 13-631) states:
"The purpose of these visits should be for the boys to look ahead with anticipation to their future as Boy Scouts and observe troops they might join. Webelos Scout dens should not compete against or participate in activities designed for Boy Scouts. Webelos Scout dens should not spend the night as participants at the event if the program is Boy Scout-based."
It's great for a Webelos den to camp with a troop, and it's very much encouraged. The experience for the Webelos Scouts will be much better, however, if they camp with the troop when its members are prepared to invest time with their guests.
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