Its been a long time since I was a Webelos Den Leader. Last night I was invited to come to a Webelos Den meeting and teach them some things about packing a backpack and the kind of gear they will need for an upcoming camp out.
Each year our district hosts a camp out called Webelos Woods. It is an opportunity for Webelos, their parents and especially their Den leaders to see Boy Scouting. A valuable part of the Webelos to Scout Transition. Troops invite Webelos Dens to camp with them, and during the day the Webelos Scouts see Scouts in action. They get to do hands on activities like fire building, cooking over an open fire, and of course shooting BB Guns.
Well last night I visited a group of first year Webelos. At first I thought, man, these little guys are still Cub Scouts, they are so small and lack focus.
Then, as the meeting went on, I realized that in a few short years they will be working on their Tenderfoot and starting their trail to Eagle.
They were very receptive to my talk and had many questions. I tried to explain to them why we use things we use and why not to use others. As luck would have it there were parents there also to take notes.
Things like not wearing cotton in the winter. Picking a headlamp over a big flashlight. Why your “Slumber party” sleeping bag won’t keep you warm in the woods….in October…in Oregon.
I figure that if we want these guys to be good Boy Scouts, we need to start them now. I don’t want to rush them, but at least get them thinking about what Scouting is going to look like in a year or two. I think this is helpful for the parents too. They need to know what to expect, for some its a shock, for others a relief.
In a recent post I said that the Tiger Cubs are our life blood. And that is true. Webleos Scouts however are our immediate future. It is important that we maintain relationships with them and assist them in the transition from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. Nationally we loose more Scouts in this transition period, so we need to get in front of the Webelos and help them make the choice to stay with Scouting.
Last night I told them the best is yet to come. In a room full of future Eagle Scouts, I saw the next few years of my Troop. And to be honest with you… it’s looking good!