Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

AOL and Boy Scout at Same time?

My Son is in 5th Grade and has been active six months and is well over the 10.5 months in age plus he will have completed all of his AOL requirements by the Second Week of December. The only activity he lacked is the Patrol Method that the AOLs started last week.

My plan was that he would get his AOL in December and join Boy Scouts before the winter school break so he can start working on those requirements.

I also thought we would have him continue to go to his AOL Den meetings when the rest of the den was not working on units he already completed (he is ahead after doing a few Webelos College events plus we did several in the summer camping).

I read in another discussion thread however that a kid can not be in BOTH Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts at the same time. Can anyone confirm and post references?

If so I need to talk with my son. The rest of the kids will transition in March/April but because my sons birthday is early and he has completed most of the Webelos/AOL activities already I have been open to both our Cub Pack and the two Boy Scout troops he is considering that he was going to go early - but I didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to keep doing AOL stuff once he starts working on Boy Scout Requirements!

They cannot be a member of both Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA simultaneously. However, a Webelos scout can visit and camp with a troop as much as the troop will allow. I don’t have a reference handy. I’ll get back to you if I can find one.


One question I would ask is, why the rush to crossover so much earlier than the rest of the den? He clearly still wants to hang out and work with his AOL den mates, and there are plenty of challenging electives to work on as a Cub. Hopefully he would be crossing over with all or most of his den, giving him a support network of friends in the troop, which is very important for kids this age. The pomp and circumstance of the crossover ceremony is also fun for the scouts.

Another thing to consider is whether the troop is able to accommodate him crossing over out of cycle. Many troops run their new scouts through a coordinated orientation program over the course of a few months. During this time they get instruction on what to expect during a camp out, as well how to conduct themselves as a Scout. His first camp out many not go so well if he is not prepared for an outing in January, both equipment-wise, and maturity-wise. Having him ease into the program in March or April with friends might be better overall. Given how quickly he has advanced through the AOL requirements, I doubt the delay will set him back at all in Scouts.


Any troop that cannot accommodate a new scout “out of cycle” is one you should run from. While they may have a new scout program that they start in March, there should be no shortage of stuff for him to do- IF, indeed, he wants to cross over earlier than his den (which it sounds like he does not want to do).

1 Like

I am not sure that read the way I intended. I agree that any troop should be able to accommodate a new scout of any age at any time. My intent is to set the scout up for success. Arriving in December when the local custom is to arrive in March could make it very awkward for a 10/11 year old scout. My general advice would be to engage the den leader, and the prospective troop leader, and figure out the best path for this child.

For what it is worth, my son is in the exact same position. Nearly finished working on AOL, and we could probably move him up early. However we will wait for his den, and enjoy some of the final activities as a cub scout.

1 Like

@KennethWestervelt If he wants to continue working on Webelos / AOL elective adventures and awards, he can continue to do so after earning the AOL rank and while still registered with the pack. As a Webelos Scout, he can visit Scouts BSA troops.

While he can learn things with the troop, he cannot get signed off on any Scouts BSA requirements until he officially joins a troop. However, as soon as he registers with a troop, his membership will be transferred from the pack to the troop, and he will no longer be eligible to earn Cub Scout adventures or awards.

What does your son want to do?


He can’t be registered in both, as described above. My advice, make advancement a very low priority. The important thing: activities.

  • If the troop activities look very exciting; and the pack activities, dull, then transfer to the troop.
  • If the pack activities look very exciting, then stay in the pack. Visit the troop for whatever activities look interesting.

The second important thing: friendship

  • If he is more connected with friends a year older than the guys in his den, then maybe transferring to the troop is a good idea. He could still visit his den to tell them what it’s like.
  • If his best friends are in his den, then keep him there so he can help the rest get that AoL and they can cross over together.

The next important things that he can do while still a member of the pack:

  • skills. If there’s something important your scout wants to master he might want to just read his book and practice that. (E.g., maybe those knots for AoL we’re kinda “Oh, nice try. Close enough.” That won’t cut it in Scout’s BSA. He should really know how to tie them with zero assistance on his own.) He can work on that skill and teach his den mates how to do it better.
  • gear. It’s really hard getting a scout the right gear at this age. Saving up for a decent knife or tent or pair of boots.
  • reading. Lots of scouts haven’t really read their handbooks, a merit badge pamphlet, or Boy’s Life. A scout who comes in to the troop with a little knowledge of how things should work will raise the bar for other scouts

Things like that should take a front seat to advancement. I’ve found that starting a few months early in Scouts BSA does not translate into earning ranks or awards any earlier than the boys who cross over at the usual time.

1 Like

my son visited his troop for almost 6 months before he crossed over - so he was IN with the older scouts and known by name by most of the troop.

1 Like

Thanks for the advice. First, both Troops he is considering has first year Boy Scouts that he has been with before and he has been camping with both groups and done at least 2 if not 3 Troop nearing with. In addition, I have already confirmed with both Troops that they would be ready early.

As for his AOL Den Lead, well that would be me along with three other parents that are all trained so the AOL Den which has 12 Scouts including my son will not be adversely affected.

As for the outstanding units, sure there are several he could do but the Scouts are picking their electives and as I said before for many upcoming units he has already done those.

As for what my Son wants, he wanted to cross over early and work on Boy Scout stuff. Again he is older than most in his den because of his birthday and because we camp a decent amount in the summer with no electric or internet he liked working through the book.

So, it’s logical for him to move up and the issues are ➀ he can’t come back to do activities with his den ➁ he could stay with AOL den and practice Boy Scout skills until March but he can’t sign off on anything until he bridges (3) If he decides to Bridge now Should we do a mini ceremony now (and/or) wait to do it with his friends in March at the larger ceremony after he has already been a Boy Scout for 3+months.

We have a committee meeting on Sunday with all our leaders so I can bring it up then to discuss with our Scout Leaders what the best approach would be.

EDIT: I cross posted with the two previous replies. I think most of not all Boy Scouts at both Troops know him by name now. He has close friends at both Troops already. The only thing my son does need is physical conditioning as he isn’t ready for 10 mile hikes with the Troop!

Well put. Thank you for your input.

  1. he can’t come back to do activities with his den

Regarding this, there is no policy that would prohibit a Boy Scout from attending and participating in the activities of an AOL den meeting. Den Chiefs do this all the time, except that is not his role here. He just can’t receive credit toward whatever adventure the group was working on. Given the situation, I would not have a problem with this, and he might just become a cheerleader for the troop, facilitating an easier transition for his younger friends.


Since it sounds like you’re leaning toward him crossing over early, you certainly could do as you suggested and have a mini-cross over for him, now, and have him participate in the big one in three months or so. That said, it may not be important to him at that point. I’d actually do as much as possible to create a full crossover experience for him, now… whatever that means to you and your son. Is there anyone else who is close to finishing AOL and ready to cross over early? I know some packs hold as many as three per year as scouts are ready to move up.

My son transitioned to boy scouts in November prior to his pack in March. That is because he was ready. He had earned all of the webelos/aol electives and even his supernova. He was bored with cub scouts and ready to make the transition and really wanted to start earning merit badges. He did go back and do the aol/bridging ceremony to be officially welcomed to the troop when the pack held theirs in March (because I wanted him to and know he worked hard for the arrow). Since joining his troop, he jumped right in and thrived with the new advancement and opportunities. He joined at 10.5 and is now 13.5 and has earned 96 merit badges and just had his Eagle BOR last night. I say if your son is ready and chomping at the bit don’t make him wait. Also, he will be fair more prepared for the week away at summer camp if he has multiple months camping with the troop.


Waiting until March for sign-offs is no big deal, really. But, based on his interests, it makes sense to transfer him to the troop. He can visit his den and pack anytime. Things like pine wood derby participation may be an issue, but you can sort that out with the cubmaster.

If the cubmaster is willing to fit it in the next pack meeting, do a brief crossover then. Maybe the CM can say something like “Have fun in the troop, but if you want to do a favorite activiey with us, come back and visit.” That way there’s an “official okay.”

Otherwise, he can come back and join in the ceremony that will be held for the rest of the AoL’s.

BTW: 10-mile hikes are out of the league of most cross-overs, so six months is unlikely to change that. But, if it does, more power to the scout!

Just my two cents here. I’m a den leader and my son has just completed the requirements for AOL. The planned den crossover is in March.

I feel like it might be nice for scouts to have a little time between completing AOL and crossing over to Scouts BSA. They don’t have to be so focused on requirements and can just enjoy having fun with their den-mates or helping them finish their requirements. My scouts who are done are enjoying coming up with things to do in their den meetings that are just fun and have nothing to do with requirements (i.e. some are inventing a new trading card game, others have proposed a cooking contest). What’s the rush? Just enjoy being a Webelos without having requirements looming overhead.


The kids are supposed to be “Just having fun” then entire time they are in scouting. If Scouting is just about working on requirements, something is being missed.


If your Scout is ready to cross, be a Scout, work on merit badges, etc. then he’s ready, it is a Scout driven program, Scout leaders should be able to accommodate the Scout that is gung ho and an Eagle at 13, or the Scout that takes it slow and finishes at 17. I tell my Scouts, the Troop earns it’s Eagle every 2 1/2 years. I have seen way to many Troops lose Scouts because “it’s a journey” and “what’s the hurry” Tge fact is Scouting is becoming younger by the year, I see very few Scouts over 13 at summer camp, and I was there 3 weeks last year, there are many reasons, including sports, band, and other activities demanding critical time. If a Scout is driven, let him loose, if Scouts BSA says 10.5 and they are ready to go…go for it. I have had Scouts from A-Z and everywhere in between, they are all different, never put them in a box, let them drive their journey. Included in all my Scouts over the years are my own 4 sons, one Eagle at 17 and 11 months, one at 17, one at 16, and my youngest will be 11 next month, he is a first class with 26 merit badges, and 22 nights of camping including 3 weeks of summer camp. He loves it, if he keeps this pace, great, if he slows and finishes at 16, whatever, it’s his ride! Best of luck, and enjoy the journey with your son, the memories can not be beat!

They cannot be registered in both Webelos and ScoutsBSA at the same time under the same membership id. One or the other. There are pluses and minuses to crossing-over early:


  1. Establishes with a Troop early and get’s incorporated into the Patrol method
  2. Could possibly advance to First Class (or close) BEORE Summer Camp and then be able to take other MB at Summer Camp
  3. Sticking with his AOL might become boring because they are behind his effort and boredom is a curse for Scouts and the Troop will have a lot of new things to do


  1. he could break relationships he has with his Den buddies and that could be troublesome when he wants to work together with them on things in the future.
  2. He may not be prepared for the rigors and expectations of ScoutsBSA - with Webelos there is a lot more guidance on Adventures. With ScoutsBSA being more boy lead, the objective is for the Scout to take ownership of his or her path and ask for help when needed, not necessarily direction. Your Scout might not be ready for that yet.
  3. Pinewood Derby - every kid should get one last shot at nailing the trophy!

In the end it is up to you and your Scout and the advice from the Troop on a best path forward.

Be sure he has earned the AoL in Scoutbook (Leader Approved) before he registers with a Scouts BSA Troop. Once he has registered it is virtually impossible for him to go back to get it …

1 Like

As long as the AOL rank was completed while still registered with the pack (prior to registering with the troop), the council can add it. It’s just easier overall if the pack adds it and marks it approved.