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Advice/Benefits of holding off AOL advancement to BST

I am new to my current Pack, but have been involved in CS since my oldest was a Tiger. My currently Pack wants to hold off advancement of our AOL’s till May, I have never seen this done before. So I have two questions.

I already know all the benefits to performing advancement in Feb/March. What are the benefits of holding off till May to advance our AOL’s?

If my Pack decides to continue this tradition, and I don’t agree, is there a way for me to advance my CS without doing it with the rest of his Den?

I appreciate any advice as I am curious to the benefits of holding off, and I don’t want to cause waves in my Pack since I am new.

when you say advance @SkieBretana do you move from Webelos to the AOL year? or move to a troop? If move to a troop that seems like that would be rough - advance, BOOM welcome to summer camp.

As long as Scout is 11 or in 5th grade they can join a troop. Maybe not get AOL rank, but they can join a Troop.



And if the Scout is 10, they can join a troop as soon as they complete AOL. If the Scout has earned all of the adventures needed for AOL, this can typically happen as early as December. You could always move your Scout to a troop as soon as the AOL requirements are complete even though he has not been presented with the award.

I would talk to the pack leadership and find out WHY they want to hold off until May. Is it that they don’t want to present ranks before the last pack meeting of the year? This would be in violation of the Guide to Advancement which says awards are supposed to be presented as earned and not held.


Have the AOLs completed the requirements for the AOL rank? If so they should be earning the AOL rank as soon as the requirements are completed and can move along to a troop once they have the rank. They can even go at different times as each completes the requirements. Do not have to wait for all the den to finish and go together. I wonder what they are doing that it would take until May to get the rank completed.


Yeah, this is pretty crazy and for sure not the program. Webelos really is about a 1.5’ish year program. There are many reasons that they should crossover in Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar. Part of it is past data. We want / we need the Webelos to see Scouts as a continuation and not an abrupt stop or one and start of the other. They need to go to Summer Camp with their new troop. They need to get comfortable with their new troop. A big part of the later half of Webelos is that transition.

I thought our pack was late with Webelos crossing over about 3/15 normally. We may be done 2/1.


Thank you, yes, this is to move from CS into Boy Scouts. All advancement is currently on track to be completed Jan/Feb. I plan to present to the parents the benefits of moving in March. I have already discussed it with the Troop and they are ready and willing to help us with the ceremony and add our boys to their Troop….should they all decide to join the Troop that the Pack is attached to. But I have hit some resistance from the Pack on doing the ceremony early and since I am presenting it I wanted to know what the benefits were, because I can only see the pitfalls to that design. I was also planing to present the option to move all scouts that want to move to the troop in March the opportunity even if they had to wait and do the official “ceremony” in May. I think that some parents are wanting their kids to stay and do the Pack activities instead of joining in the Troop ones.

I guess what I was curious about was if anyone had any ideas as to what the benefits of staying till May were so that I could make sure I was presenting a good full picture for the parents to make the decision.

Well there is nothing Official in the ceremony - it is just a ceremony. I like the webelos that basically come to every Troop meeting for a year and then join, cause they come in knowing all the scouts already


My experience as a district training chairman is that MOST LEADERS IN CUB SCOUTS ARE NOT TRAINED . They really don’t know how the program is supposed to be run. they do it like those before them did or they are making it up as they go along. This would be a good place for the question to be asked and have the Unit Commissioner bring in what the BSA policy is. Also a good place to bring up training as many councils are having their University of Scouting programs in Feb or March. More training means better leaders. Better leaders- better programs. Better programs- more retention and growth. Good luck.


What activities are they not wanting to miss? if you do the pinewood derby in the spring, I could see that being a big one. They could always come back for that one after they cross over though.

As others have pointed out, your own son could transfer to the troop as soon as he is eligible by earning AOL, being 11, or completing 5th grade. Of course, he could be moving alone if that’s the case. I usually recommend waiting for his buddies if that’s the case. Scouts are more likely to have fun and feel comfortable when they move to the troop with others. In my experience, the chances of quitting are increased significantly when moving up alone.


And it is tradition. Around here move up is at Blue and Gold, and most packs shut the doors till round up in September; so I could see the benefit to keeping AOLs around so packs DO Scout year round

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We had planned to have them stay till at least PWD was complete as that is always one that my older son wishes he still did every year. My younger son is looking forward to joining his brother in the Troop so thankfully that is not an issue. We are also military and move frequently, so friends are in constant flux with us. Scouting is the one constant in their lives! Many of our AOL’s have friends within the Troop as well, but I would love to see them all move up together instead of staggering it based on parent/pack opinion. Along with reaching out here I have reached out to some of the ranking people in our Pack to get their view point on why we would wait to advance our AOLs to the troop. Hoping to have as much information as possible come our next parent meeting. You all have been so helpful in supporting my opinion on the matter, now I just hope I am able to convince our leadership as well.

Nothing says that if they cross over in March, they can’t come back for a pinewood derby a month or 2 later.

So “advancement” and “bridging” (i.e. moving to a troop) are two different animals.

“Advancement”, as several others have noted earlier in this thread, should be awarded as soon as is practical after completion by the scout. It should not wait for others to complete their advancement requirements, nor should it wait for a special ceremony later. The ceremony can also occur, and should recognize both those who have previously received their rank advancement and those who are just receiving it.

“Bridging” is a fuzzier animal. Advantages of bridging “earlier” include more time to adjust to the many differences between Scouts BSA and Cub Scouts (scout-led vs adult led, self-directed/self-paced advancement vs den-paced advancement, completion of requirements as written vs “Do Your Best”, etc). In addition, the newly-bridged scouts have more time to adjust to their new peers in the troop prior to summer camp (and can sign up for summer camps, which often end up having registration deadlines in early to mid-spring).

There are rules as to when (i.e. how early) starting in a troop can occur – based on a combination of age, grade level and rank completion – which have been cited above by others.


I think there is too much talk about what parents and leaders want here. They are supposed to be transitioning into a scout led experience and that starts with their decision to transition into the troop. If they want to stay until May, let them stay. If they want to transfer as soon as they earn their AOL, let them transfer. It should be their decision and not that of the leaders. The role of the leaders and parents is to present the options to them and listen to what they want and feel.


Thank you John! That was well put. Putting it onto how the boys feel about it is a wonderful way to address it with the parents. I do agree that as parents/leaders we do get stuck in the belief that we “know best”. As a Webelos den leader I have always stressed with the parents how they need to allow the boys to do their thing, make mistakes and learn from them. I should not have seen this as any different from that. I have stressed since the beginning of this scouting year that they are to start stepping back and allowing them to do things independently in order to help them transition to the Troop.


Lots of information on this thread telling you what you already know. Its all a red herring. Here is the answer you are looking for:

Benefits to waiting until May to crossover:

  1. None

Yes, you read that right, there are NO benefits to waiting until May. Most CS parents still think of their cubs as “babies” and want to keep them that way for a few more months. When your scouts complete their requirements for AOL, you owe it to your SCOUTS to present it to them as soon as possible and have them crossover to Boy Scouts so they can start their next BIG adventure.

Pack leadership sometimes don’t understand the Arrow of Light rank is the Cub scout Equivalent to the Boy Scout Eagle, and thusly should have its own ceremony, separate from other Ranks. The entire pack should attend, but the ceremony should be strictly geared for the AOL.

Good luck.


Very good summary @KennethTillman . I couldn’t agree more.

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You have all been great in responding and you did all echo my own thoughts but gave me some great way to present the information to our Den. I was able to speak to what I believed would be of benefit to our scouts and have ultimately been overruled and they plan to do the actual ceremony in May. But I also presented the option for boys to join the troop before the ceremony was performed and it looks like I am the only parent/scout unit that plan to do so. But at least I gave them all the information to make the decision on their own and you all were of great help to me in organizing my thoughts.

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Just curious, but what is their reasoning for waiting until May? Is it just pack tradition? Or are there other reasons?

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