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The Transition Time is Now

The crossing over ceremony is about to begin, the Scout has recently earned his Arrow of Light Rank and stands before the small wooden bridge ready to move on to the troop and greater Scouting adventures.

The bridge stands before him, not only as a physical structure, but symbolic of the importance and necessary
connection there must be between the Pack Webelos/Arrow of Light Dens, and the Troop and new Scout patrols.

The Webelos to Scout Transition is a critical time in the life of not only the Scout, but also the troop. Keeping youth in Scouting is an
important goal, and this can only happen when important steps are taken to ensure a relationship is created between pack and troop.

The first step is for pack leaders to develop a relationship with troop leaders. Cub Scouts may have the choice between more than one troop to join upon leaving the pack and it's important that they are given opportunities to visit and see the troop in action. Is there a particular focus of a troop that will better align with a Cub Scout's interest? A troop can be great at leadership, offer spectacular outdoor opportunities, or may be focused on STEM activities.

Webelos/Arrow of Light den leaders should use the Scouting Adventure as an opportunity to connect Cub Scouts with the available troops. Requirements include visiting a troop and observing how the troop provides leadership and also participating in a camp-out or other outdoor activity with the troop. Relationships begin right away with these combined activities. Cub Scouts and their families should be welcomed, feel comfortable, and ready to jump in and experience Scouting.

Den leaders should be focused on helping Cub Scouts transition, having earned the Arrow of Light rank. The Webelos and Arrow of Light Ranks are the perfect platform for being prepared for Boy Scouts. Many of the adventures are primers for the upcoming merit badges. A Cub Scout who leaves with the Arrow of Light Rank on the tan scout shirt is ready and prepared for Boy Scouts.

Packs should recognize that Cub Scouts may transition at times other than the end of a school year, also leaders should prepare for a proper send-off at the Cub Scout's final pack meeting through a Crossing-over ceremony. Ceremonies may include actual wooden bridges or even members of the pack can face each other and create a pathway for the boy to walk through with pack leaders on one end and the new Troop leaders at the other end. Passing by the members of the pack while receiving handshakes or high-fives can leave positive feelings about the past. Pack leaders should invite the new Scoutmaster, Senior Patrol Leader, and Patrol leaders and members to be a part of the welcome committee.

Cub Scouts is a fun and adventurous opportunity for Cub Scouts and their families, however a proper bridge between the Pack and the Troop can make sure that the Scouting Adventure continues for many more years.

(Reprinted from January-February 2018 Advancement News)

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