Advancing Scouts to the next rank when they didn't earn the last

Is there a way to advance Scouts in the system from Webelos I to AOL if they didn’t earn the rank/complete the adventures?
(I’m sure there is, but how do you do it?)

if you mean Den - an AOL den IS a Webelos Den. There is no transition - if they did not get rank go to Edit Profile and Change to Working toward AOL

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So if moving from Bear to Webelos, but the Scout did not earn the Bear rank and all associated adventures you would just change that Scouts den to Webelos den?


Cub Scouts dens advance regardless of whether or not they have completed all of the adventures.

That is correct. You advance the den not the individual.

4th and 5th graders can work on both the Webelos and AOL ranks.

This is incorrect. A change in the 2021 edition of the Guide to Advancement reads:

However, Adventures required for the Arrow of Light rank must wait until the Webelos rank has been earned.

Section page 17, found here:

Based on the context, I believe this refers to the required Adventures and not to the elective Adventures. The electives can be done anytime during the 18ish months a scout is in a Webelos den.

For all ranks, it would apply to both. All ranks have a required amount of electives that are supposed to be completed to earn the rank patch. Basically, as long as the the kid is a member of the pack, it doesn’t matter what they actually complete. They will still be promoted with the rest of the den whether or not they complete the requirements/electives.

A Webelos, who did all of the core requirements but none of the electives would not be considered as completing the Webelos Rank requirements but they would still be moved to the Arrow of Light Den when the time came. A Webelos that did only the electives and none of the core requirements would still be moved to the Arrow of Light Den.

Since an AOL scout is still a Weblos, there is no promotion involved even though moving to the AOL den is a promotion of sorts. There’s no option to advance a Webelos Den in Scoutbook. In my Pack, the Den name is simply changed from Webelos to Arrow of Light to differentiate the Webelos Dens. If they didn’t finish all of the requirements from the 1st year of Webelos, they are still moved to the AOL Den for the 2nd year.

Based on the Guide to Advancement, a Webelos Scout that doesn’t finish the 1st year requirements does not earn the Webelos Rank patch. They can still earn the Arrow of Light Award in the 2nd Webelos year. The Guide also says you are not supposed to work on the requirements from the previous year once you advance to the next level. I assume that is true for AOL scouts that did not finish the 1st year Webelos requirements including the one elective since the two years of being Webelos are treated as essentially two separate ranks.

The electives you choose from are the same between both Webelos years, but if a scout does no electives in the 1st year and does 5 in the AOL year, the ones done in the AOL year should not count toward the 1st year of Webelos requirements, and as far as I know, Scoutbook doesn’t give retroactive credit if you enter the elective completion from the list that’s under the AOL requirements.

If I’m wrong about that, I would be happy to be corrected because it does happen that a 1st year Webelos doesn’t finish everything (core + 1 elective) before moving on the to the AOL requirements and I know that can be disappointing to them.

Regardless, promotion to Boy Scouts is not dependent on completing all of the requirements either. If a Webelos doesn’t finish everything (core and/or electives) then they just don’t earn Webelos rank or the Arrow of Light Award.

As long as they meet the requirements to join a troop, they can just cross over when the Pack has its crossing over ceremony regardless of what they did or did not complete in their two Webelos years. For that, there’s 3 options: 1) Completed 5th grade and are at least 10 years old; 2) Earned the AOL award and are at least 10 years old; 3) Be 11-17 years old.

My troop has had a couple of scouts join who left Cub Scouts (they did not enjoy it) but wanted to be a Boy Scout. They just come in with no AOL award for their Class A shirt and it’s no big deal since all new Boy Scouts are forced to start with no rank and essentially on an even playing field.

Thank you for pointing that out to me.

This should also be noted as well.


Same page you referenced.

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That’s not quite right. In the Webelos Scout’s profile, if the working towards is set to Webelos, the first elective will count toward webelos and the second toward AOL regardless of what grade they are in. If it is set to AOL, the first elective earned after it is set will count toward AOL.

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Thank you for this information - I did not know that there was a toggle in the profile where you could specify Webelos vs AOL.

Am I right to assume that once the rank of Webelos is leader approved/awarded that the toggle goes away? I looked at a current AOL scout who did earn Webelos Rank and the toggle is no longer there in the profile.

If a scout does not complete Webelos Rank by the end of the 4th grade school year, meaning it’s not marked as leader approved/awarded, then the Pack leadership would need to set the toggle to AOL manually? Does the toggle disappear when it’s set to AOL this way or can it be switched back?

To add on to that, if the guidance in the Guide to Advancement is to not work on requirements from the previous year, should we then not allow the Webelos elective to be completed once the den has been promoted at the end of the school year or is Webelos different because it’s the same rank but with two parts to it?

With this new knowledge, it seems I have lots of questions! :wink:


Sort of. I would focus on completed, rather than leader approved or awarded though.

You can always change it back if you need to.

The guide to advancement says they cannot work on required adventures for AOL until they earn Webelos. It does not say anything about not doing additional electives.


So, if at the end of the 4th grade year the scout has not earned Webelos Rank, I should be setting the toggle to AOL since it won’t be the default due to not actually completing Webelos Rank.

The guide to advancement says they cannot work on required adventures for AOL until they earn Webelos. It does not say anything about not doing additional electives.

Let me clarify since I did not word that clearly. I tend to just call all the adventures, core & elective, requirements.

Let’s say I have a Webelos scout finish 4th grade and they do not complete the one elective needed to earn Webelos rank but they are now “promoted” to the AOL den at the end of June (when school ends in NYS) with the rest of their den.

The Guide to Advancement as I read it would mean that they should not be allowed to have an elective earned during their AOL year count toward the Webelos rank because the Webelos rank was from the previous year. To me, that suggests I should set their toggle to AOL when they are promoted to prevent that from happening.

I do realize that they can earn as many electives as they want/are able to during either year and that the AOL award can be earned without obtaining Webelos Rank.

I’m mostly asking because there’s a decent chance I will have a scout in this very situation once we finish our Bear year next June and move on to Webelos. I want to make sure that I do right by the scout, so I’m asking about it now before it’s even an issue.

I don’t want to prevent a scout from completing Webelos rank if it’s allowable to have them complete the required elective after they’ve been promoted to AOL at the end of 4th grade.
It doesn’t seem like that’s permissible, but I could certainly be mistaken.

I think that’s generally correct, but the guide to advancement has an exception that with pack committee approval, you can give a scout a couple extra weeks to earn their rank. Then on top of that the covid faq gives even more time. The trick is that while a scout has extra time to continue working on their old rank, they cannot begin working on the new.


Something is getting lost in this discussion.

Historically, the ranks of Webelos and Arrow of Light were done concurently in 12 months by LDS scouts.

If a scout wants to do both ranks, they should be allowed to. If it takes them a bit longer than one year to finish Webelos, then allow it. The only restriction I know of is it must be completed in Scoutbook before Aol is completed in Scoutbook.

If a scout chooses not to complete Webelos, but wants to complete AoL, then make it so.

If a scout joins in 5th grade, then they work on AoL, so as to not pressure them into trying to do too much in a short time. This doesn’t prevent them from doing any Webelos Adventures that they want to do.

As far as “going back” and working on a previous rank, the typical Webelos scout is a Webelos scout for 18ish months and has two ranks to earn. Earning Webelos after their one year anniversary in the Webelos den is not going back, as they never left.


@DougWright Definitely would have agreed with everything you said a month ago. With the addition of the one line in the GTA about not starting required AOL adventures until the webelos rank is earned, it draws a line between the two that didn’t exist before. As such, I’m not sure if that line applies when talking about not going back. I sidestepped the issue by referring to the covid faq that gives unlimited extra time. When/if that is lifted, it’ll be important to get that clarity.


On the February 26, 2021 episode of Cub Chat Live, Lisa Wylie, chair of the national Cub Scout subcommittee, says that under the special pandemic extension rules, Scouts may continue working on an uncompleted rank AND begin working on the next rank simultaneously. You can skip to about 5 minutes into the video. That’s where they begin talking about this topic.

For instance, suppose a Bear still has one required Bear adventure to complete and s/he finishes third grade. The Bear may go to resident or day camp and work on Webelos adventures. Later, the Scout may earn the missing required Bear adventure and compete the rank, even though s/he has already earned Webelos adventures. The ban in the Guide to Advancement against working on two ranks simultaneously is suspended during the pandemic.

The extension only applies to things the Scout needs to do to finish the uncompleted rank. For instance, a Wolf who has completed everything for his or her Wolf rank except the youth protection discussion with his or her parents, and has earned every adventure except one elective adventure may not earn that final elective Wolf adventure (for the satisfaction of being called a Super Achiever) after completing second grade, because it is not needed to earn the Wolf rank. The only Wolf thing the Scout may do after completing second grade is have the discussion with his or her parent.

I wish the FAQ released last year had been this explicit about how the COVID extension works. This is not at all how I understood and administered it. Last year, I gave parents a choice to continue working on the uncompleted rank until July 31 (the original end date of the extension) or move on and begin working on the next rank after the school year ended. Later, when the July 31 end date was removed, I still believed that, because the Guide to Advancement says so, the Scout taking advantage of the extension may not work on two ranks at once.

Last spring, in my capacity as a Supernova mentor, a parent of a Bear approached me and wanted her son to work on the Dr. Luis Walter Alvarez Supernova Award. This award may be earned only by Wolves and Bears and generally must be completed by the Scout’s last day as a third grader. Mom told me that she had not yet had the youth protection conversation with her son, and that was all he needed to earn the Bear rank. As I understood the COVID FAQ last year, the Scout could remain a Bear until July 31, and, therefore, he could earn the Alvarez Award as long as he did so both before July 31, and before earning the Bear rank, something completely under his mother’s control. I was all set to let him work on the Supernova Award.

I bluntly commented to the Scout’s mother about how purposefully withholding the youth protection discussoin from her son, so he could remain a Bear just to earn the Supernova Award, was within the letter but certainly outside the spirit of the COVID exension. She never contacted me again.

Of course, based on what the Cub Chat Live video says, this was all wrong and not the intended way the pandemic extension was to be administered. The Scout became a Webelos Scout the day after completing third grade, and he remained eligible to earn the Bear rank. He was not eligible to earn the Alvarez Award or any other awards specific to Bears that are not part of completing the Bear rank.

I really wish the COVID advancement FAQ were updated to state this explicitly. Not everyone responsible for packs is a loyal viewer of Cub Chat Live.

My pack presently has a Scout who joined in March as a second grader. She did not complete the Wolf rank before finishing second grade, but she is close. We think she’ll be able to earn the rank in September. Meanwhile, we consider her a Bear, and she can work on Bear adventures.


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