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.”

Why is the transition so crucial?

“Studies show that the longer a Scout stays in the Scouting program, the more likely he or she is to demonstrate those behaviors and attitudes associated with good citizenship, character and fitness,” Scott explains. “For Scouts to benefit fully from the Scouting program, they need to experience not only the fun of Cub Scouting but also the skills and leadership opportunities of Scouting.”

The BSA’s guidelines recommend the Webelos transition passage from Cub Scout pack to Scout troop be smooth, with no time lost in between. To help Cub Scout parents and leaders ensure an effective transition into Scouting, we’ve compiled the following tips:


  1. “fit” should be an individual thing. If a boy joins a particular troop ‘because everyone else in the den’ is joining that troop he might end up disappointed because that troop does not meet his individual needs.

  2. This is true but I find that a majority of the boys want to go along with their Patrol so they know someone in the new Troop, so they don’t feel as though they are the only one on display they have their friends as backups. My first Webelos group their latter part of their Webelos 2 Rank we decided on a Troop and asked if we could hold some of our Den Meeting along with the Troop. It work great at the transition they knew a lot of the boys and felt part of the group already.

  3. An excellent article on Webelos to Scout Transition explaining methods to increase success of this important activity. Missing is a tie to the Journey to Excellence Objective, for Packs and Troops it is JTE Objective #4-Webelos-to-Scout Transition. Each program has different objective measures however the intent is the same, make appropriate plans for the transition and then work to make those plans come to life. Two joint activities, Pack (or Webelos Den) with a Troop, Troop with a Pack (or Webelos Den) measure out as Bronze, then based on success on how many Webelos transition the unit is either Silver or Gold. The point is to make a plan, make contact with other units, have exciting joint activities and the Scouts will follow.

  4. When half of the Webelos in your Pack want to cross over to one Troop and the other half would like to cross over to another Troop; how would you handle the cross over? Would representatives from both Troops be present at the cross over and each do their own ceremony?

    • Tom,

      I am scoutmaster in NY and went to a pack Blue & Gold last night (Thursday) where four scouts were getting their Arrows of Light and crossing over to boy scouts.

      All four boys had visited a number of troops in the area, including mine, Three crossed over to the troop ‘attached’ to the pack but one crossed over into mine.

      I was there with our neckerchief & slide for the scout, along with two senior scouts to welcome him in.

      It was an easy and smooth process; helped in part by the fact that the other scoutmaster & I are friends and have worked together before.

      Our newest scout liked what we offered and the others were more comfortable his my friend’s troop.

      The pack has its own bridge cross over ceremony and the troop representatives stood on the other side and said a few words of welcome to their newest scouts. So the Webelos crossed over together as a den, which is how it should be, honestly.


      Scoutmaster Troop 67 (Scotia-Glenville, NY)

    • Yes, have both troop representatives present. There should be only one ceremony though. Usually, the crossover ceremony is run by the pack and the troop representatives just play a role. We have the boys cross over a bridge one at a time and are met on the other side by the troop representatives. It’s easy enough to have both troops on the receiving side of the bridge.

    • Our Webelos will visit multiple Troops before our bridging so the boys can see the different styles. When the boys choose a troop, we invite each troop to be a part of the bridging.

    • In our pack, members representing each troop that has scouts transferring in, attends the crossover ceremony. In most cases there are at least 3 troops rep represented. I think this helps keep the upcoming Webelos I and II looking forward to their crossover knowing that they have options for continuing in scouts.

    • Yes! We’re all in the BSA Scouting family. I would encourage you (and the other Pack leaders) to attend the monthly RoundTable meetings for more of these great exchanges of ideas.

  5. As I read the article in Scouting Magazine I kept saying to myself, “it sounds like the pack is doing the planning for the crossover. Shouldn’t the troops have a major part in planning the crossover to their troop?” We are a feeder pack so have a troop that most of those crossing over go to. The pack does any AOL Ceremony needed. Sometimes we have them cross over “our” bridge but then the troop takes over and plans and runs the crossover. Don’t other packs do it this way?

    • We do an Arrow of Light rank ceremony, that merges into crossing the bridge (an actual wooden bridge which each boy gets to sign) into Boy Scouts. Representatives of the Troops the Webelos are joining are present to receive them into their Troops on the other side of the bridge. If the boys in the den have chosen to join more than one Troop, then representatives from each Troop are present.

      People are really pretty good about being supportive of the Scouts and being cooperative for the ceremony.

      Most of the planning is done by the Pack, but some Troops want to do special welcoming ceremonies so it’s a joint effort in the end.

    • There are a variety of ways of doing Cross Over. Some packs have a set format, some use the order of the Arrow to do the ceremony. Some have the troop the Cubs are joining do the ceremony.

      And there are some troops that , while they welcome Cubs into the troop at Cross Over, the troop does a formal “Investiture Ceremony” when the new Scout earns the Scout Rank. In addition to the Scout Rank, they also receive the troop necekr chief and slide.

  6. @ last years crossover we told the crossover to bring a backpack. He crossed over, loaded up and went to our campsite. Made sure the cubs new it.

    This year we had 4 cross and those available met up for a cookout and movie. Makes them feel a part of the troop and makes the cubs wish they were crossing.

  7. I think the parents need help with the transition just as much as the boys. I meet a lot of parents that don’t understand they don’t sign off on requirements anymore, or that they need a blue card sign for their child because they worked on a merit badge over winter break. I also here a lot of the camp outs are too expensive, I have to pay for 6 people to go. They don’t get that the entire family doesn’t go on every one anymore. I’m not saying the family shouldn’t be involved, but that Boy Scouts is more of a transition to independence and doing things for themselves. Parents aren’t getting that.

  8. This was really interesting: “The boys and their parents used a chart to track the differences and similarities between each troop,”
    it would be great if articles like this included resources like that – our pack is taking our Web2s to visit all six area troops, but so far all we’re hearing is that they all seem alike except that two of them are smaller than the rest. We haven’t been able to lead the families to see where there are differences (because of course there are differences) – a tool like that would be very useful.

  9. Our main den leaders are leaving with 3 kids and crossing over to Boy Scouts. They want to take over 80% of the Cub Scout money with them, claiming their boys earned the majority and have been in it longer. Is that common or are the Cub Scout boys getting taken advantage of?

    • Brittany, assuming your pack raised that money for the pack then that is pack money and shouldn’t leave. How much are we talking about? The recipient troop should have their own money and fundraising vehicles. Even if they operate on the scout account format in the troop, the crossovers need to start afresh once crossed over. Having said that, when my son crossed he was a fundraising machine and was a source of $2-3 thousand worth of income into the pack so while that hurt the pack when he crossed, he didn’t have rights to that money. The pack had a perk program for summer camp depending on popcorn sales so the only money he took with him was the cost of a cub summer camp and that check was written out to the troop. You need to have policies in place to prevent leaders just taking the funds. Nothing wrong with earning funds for cubcamp but just walking away with the funds is a no go. What is the troop saying about this? Maybe they can help stop this by being unwilling to take the funds. You may need to get the charter rep and council involved.

      • Thank you for replying. They are taking $3,000 out of $4,500 or something like that. The parents moving forward are going to an out of town Boy Scout pack because our town doesn’t have one, and they said they don’t have enough boys to start one. There are 3 boys transitioning over. They said they need to take that money over to pay for camps and that the out of town pack expects them to bring money over. They also said Boy Scouts doesn’t do anymore fund raising so they need this money. The parents moving up to Boy Scouts are our committee members. They told us we could vote on either plan they laid out to split money, or they would vote and not take our considerations into it. There were 4 of them and 3 of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.