Successful college coaches (or their underpaid assistants) spend a lot of time at high-school games, not because they enjoy hanging out in hot, noisy gymnasiums or cold, windswept stadiums but because that’s where their next crop of players come from. In addition to seeing individual prospects in action, they also get a sense of what today’s high-school athletes are learning and what their culture is like.
Scout leaders should take a page from the coaches’ playbook. Our future Scouts are wearing Webelos uniforms right now, and it behooves us to get to know them and their leaders by visiting their meetings, assigning den leaders, volunteering at district or council Cub Scout events, and learning more about what they’re learning in the Webelos program.
That last point is especially important this year because what Webelos Scouts (and their younger brothers) are learning is about to undergo a complete overhaul. Beginning June 1, a whole new Cub Scout advancement program takes effect. While the names of the ranks are staying the same, everything under the hood is changing. Instead of working on achievements or activity pins, boys will now complete adventures on the way to rank advancement.
Fortunately, the BSA has done a great job of communicating the changes through its special Program Updates web page. This page is a one-stop shop for all the changes affecting Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing. You’ll find webcasts, samples from the new Cub Scout handbooks, and complete sets of requirements.
Of particular interest to Boy Scout leaders, I think, are these adventures: Cast Iron Chef, First Responder, and Webelos Walkabout (Webelos) and Camper and Scouting Adventure (Arrow of Light). These adventures outline what next year’s crop of Boy Scouts should know and show you how your troop can support the Webelos program in the coming year.