New program changes are coming to both the Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs. The new changes to the Boy Scout program go into effect in January of 2016, still a ways out. But in May of 2015 elements of the Cub Scout program will be changing that will affect you as an eleven-year-old (EYO) Scout leader. As the EYO Scout leader you will want to be aware of the changes and new requirements in both programs to better plan, align, and execute your Scouting program as newly designed.
Understanding the Changes in the Cub Scout Program—in 2015 the Webelos program splits into two ranks: Webelos and Arrow of Light. The boys working on the Webelos rank focus their efforts on Scout skills introduction—now called adventures—with five required adventures: Cast Iron Chef (cooking), Duty to God and You (faith), First Responder (first aid), Stronger, Faster, Higher (physical fitness), and Webelos Walkabout (hiking).
The Arrow of Light rank will have four adventures: Building a Better World (citizenship), Camper (camping [not overnight for LDS Webelos Scouts]), Duty to God in Action (faith), and Scouting Adventure (preparing to join a Boy Scout troop). Of particular note are the requirements of the Scouting Adventure that necessitate the Webelos Scout visiting a Boy Scout troop twice, resulting in a closer relationship between you (as the leader) and the Webelos Scouts.
The first visit is to attend with the whole den and with their parents or guardians. The focus is on learning and observing Boy Scout troop leadership. The second visit is to participate in a Boy Scout campout or other outdoor activity and use the patrol method.
Here are the new requirements:
Troop visit number one: Requirement 2. Visit a Boy Scout troop meeting with your den members, leaders, and parent or guardian.
- Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership
- Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement
- Describe ranks in Boy Scouting and how they are earned
- Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned
Troop visit number two: Requirement 4. With your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, participate in a Boy Scout troop’s campout or other outdoor activity. Use the patrol method while on the outing.
Understand the Impact on EYO Scouting—one difference you will experience is that the new program requires the EYO Scout leader to spend more time planning with the Webelos leader and preparing your young EYO Scouts to welcome the Webelos Scouts making their visits exciting adventures. Much of the detailed planning for the actual visits should be done by the EYO Scouts themselves, which will develop their leadership skills. Non-LDS troops have troop guides whose job function is to teach Scout skills to new Scouts. This is more challenging for LDS units that traditionally do not have troop guides for EYO patrols. You will need to dedicate some time for your EYO Scouts to plan and make assignments or coordinate with the deacons quorum or teachers quorum to provide an older Scout to assist your EYO Scouts in planning the activities for visits by the Webelos den.
The Way Ahead, Your Annual Plan—as you can see, the program changes require more coordination and closer association between you and the Webelos leaders. You need to lay out your annual plan in such a way that your EYO calendar can accommodate the two distinct visits for the Scouting Adventure requirements 2 and 4. One solution is to have the Webelos leader participate in your annual planning meeting. Further, you may already have an annual plan that goes through the summer that may need to be modified to accommodate for boys currently working on the Arrow of Light Award and turning eleven years old during the summer of 2015.
The changes to the Webelos program provide the EYO Scouts opportunities to learn leadership and planning skills that will help them as priesthood holders to design and execute program and project planning. In the first visit by the Webelos den, your meetings will need to exemplify the patrol method. In the second meeting/outing, EYO Scouts will reinforce their own Scout skills and develop planning skills as they design the activities and then use the EDGE method (explain, demonstrate, guide, and enable) to instruct Webelos Scouts in Scout skills. The EYO Scouts—through strengthening their own Scout skills—will build their confidence and self-esteem.
The EYO Scout is a future priesthood bearer. If we as EYO Scout leaders catch the vision, we will use the interface between the Cub Scout and the Boy Scout programs to build our youth into the priesthood leaders of the future.
-Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current positions include district roundtable commissioner, district Cub Scout training chairman, and assistant Scoutmaster for a new Scout troop. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.