Many den leaders make the mistake of assuming that the Webelos program is conducted the same way as the Wolf and Bear program. In doing so, they usually shortchange the boys from the excellent features of the Webelos program, sidetrack the transition to Boy Scouts, and find they are falling behind on where they are supposed to be. Scouting is age-based and progressive throughout its continuum, which means that the program changes to adapt to the boys’ skills and abilities as they get older.
With that in mind, here are some of the differences between the way the Wolf and Bear programs are run and the way the Webelos program works.
|Advancement||Home and family-centered. Boys work on most achievements at home. Parents sign off on achievements and den leader records them. (The new Den Advancement Fast-Tracks program brings some achievements into the den meetings.)||Advancement mostly done in the den. Boys work on activity badges. Only the den leader (or someone he/she designates) can sign off on requirements.|
|Uniforming||Blue uniform shirt and pants. Blue and gold neckerchiefs and hats.||Transitioning to khaki shirt with blue shoulder loops and olive pants (but with blue Cub Scout belt). Hat and neckerchief contain blue and gold for Cub Scouts and red and green for Boy Scouts.|
|Insignia||Diamond shaped rank insignia worn cumulatively. Advancement trail recognized with temporary Progress Toward Ranks emblem and beads. Arrow points symbolize achievement beyond rank requirements.||Oval shaped rank insignia worn alone. Activity badges worn on Webelos Colors shoulder ribbon. Compass Point temporary emblem tracks activity badges at and beyond Arrow of Light.|
|Dens||Numbered (Den 1, Den 2, etc) chosen by pack committee||Can have patrol names (Dragons, Falcons, etc) chosen by boys – but are still a den|
|Outdoors||Camp only as part of a Pack Family campout or council camping. Beginning understanding of the outdoors.||Webelos dens camp by themselves and with Boy Scout troops. Start to develop outdoor skills.|
|Time frame||One year, June to May||18-20 months, June to January/February. Boys generally cross over to a troop during winter of their 5th grade year.|
|Leadership||Den Leader sets schedule, leads den and runs program with help from Assistant Den Leader and parents. Denner has some responsibilities.||Den Leader coordinates program. Activity Badge counselors run badge work. Denner has more responsibilities (e.g., call meetings to order). Boys can participate in activity planning. Den Chief helps with program, teaches skills and assists in planning.|
|Associations||Parents and the Pack||Other adults, other scouts and Boy Scout troops|