Front Line Stuff
Edited by Robert Peterson
Motivating Webelos Scouts to Earn the Arrow of Light
J.R. of Atlanta, Ga., asks how he can encourage second-year Webelos Scouts to earn the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting's highest award. He says leaders emphasize the award's importance and even schedule requirement classes, but the boys don't seem interested.
We have been successful in motivating nearly all of our second-year Webelos Scouts to earn the Arrow of Light using a two-pronged approach. First, our Webelos den leaders plan activities so the boys meet the requirements almost without knowing they are working on them.
Good planning also gives opportunities for the boys to interact with Boy Scouts at local council events such as troop camp-outs. Good communication and coordination with our Scout troop is also key to providing opportunities.
Secondly, we reinforce the importance of earning the Arrow of Light by separating it from graduation into the troop. We have an elaborate Arrow of Light presentation ceremony at our blue and gold banquet in February. This approach reinforces the importance of the award and also allows the boys to wear the patch for a month before they bridge to Boy Scouting in March.
Our pack found that coupling the Arrow of Light with Boy Scouting has yielded positive results. We emphasize that the Arrow of Light is the only Cub Scout award that is worn on the Boy Scout uniform.
I have encouraged my Webelos Scouts by showing them my own Arrow of Light Award from 30 years ago and by pointing to the Arrow of Light knot on my current leader's uniform.
Assistant Cubmaster J.W.
We had the same problem, so our council, Samoset, created the Arrow of Light Honor Roll. Second-year Webelos Scouts who earn the Arrow of Light and submit an application to join a troop by Dec. 15 have their names printed in the council newsletter. They also don't have to pay the troop transfer fee, and they get a discount on the summer camp fee.
The success of this program has been exciting. Ninety-five percent of Webelos Scouts in our pack earn the Arrow of Light, and most stay in the troop.
A solution I found successful is an "Activity Badge Weekend," a program that includes requirements for the Arrow of Light, camping, and work on activity badges. The stations are laid out round-robin style for badge work.
The boys have fun setting up tents, learning knots, making rope, cooking meals, and so on. Parents join in the fun, allowing leaders to discover talents that the den may use.
To finish off the weekend, awards are presented to the Webelos Scouts, leaders, Boy Scout volunteers, and guest speakers.
Troop Committee Chair L.L.
Our nine Webelos Scouts had all earned the Arrow of Light by last January. Many of them had been together since they were Tiger Cubs. Perhaps the competitiveness of boys has kept them advancing.
We did most of the requirements in den meetings or at camp. We have a wonderfully involved group of parents and a very supportive Cubmaster. This combination makes all the difference.
A high percentage of our Webelos Scouts earn the Arrow of Light for two reasons.
First, we let the boys know that the Arrow of Light is special as the only Cub Scout badge that can be worn by Boy Scouts.
We award the Arrow of Light at pack meetings all year long, not just at the end of the year. Our ceremoniesabout 10 different onesrequire music, lights, movies, candleswhatever it takes.
Second, we try to complete 90 percent of the requirements in den meetings. That way, a boy with limited support at home can earn the badge.
Webelos Den Leader D.J.
I suggest J.R. find a Scout troop that is willing to help. Pair off each Webelos Scout with a Boy Scout and plan a special troop meeting full of activities relating to Arrow of Light requirements they can do together. Let them sit down and plan an outing. This will give the Boy Scout a chance to work on his leadership skills. The parents of the Webelos Scouts must assist and support you to make it happen.
Troop Committee Chair B.G.N. Jr.
In our pack, every den meeting and activity ties in with advancement requirements.
At pack meetings I visit with parents and encourage them to help in our activities and to keep their sons motivated. We keep excellent records of den activities and the boys who were present. Sometimes Webelos Scouts are close to earning the Arrow of Light and don't know it. It is difficult to stay motivated if the goal seems unattainable.
Make a chart and put it where the boys can see it. Keep the goal in sight and mark each boy's progress.
Webelos Den Leader N.V.
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