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Cub Scout Advancement Problem

Be an active member of your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old.

The Cub Scout program is tied to birthday, not grade, as the ending point which is a problem because the beginning is by grade

Because Arrow of Light was disconnected from the Webelos badge, but they’re still one program, you no longer earn one before the other, the two can be earned in parallel.

This requirement allows a family to entirely skip the second year of Webelos and join Scouts BSA as a 4th grader, which I’m certain is not the goal.

Scoutbook signs off the second elective earned as a 4th grader as counting towards Arrow of Light. Our camp has Scouts work on AoL badges entering the 4th grade.

My Scout finishes his six months for AoL in March of his 4th grade year.

The AoL program needs to be separated fully from Webelos and make it so you must be in the 5th grade to earn it.

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It states clearly in the Guide To Advancement “Arrow of Light. For youth who have completed fourth grade.”

And Section “All youth who are in Webelos dens and are in the fifth grade shall work on Arrow of Light requirements. They can earn the Arrow of Light rank without earning the Webelos rank.”


Then I just found a major Scoutbook bug.

Because Scoutbook auto signs off Arrow of Light work during the 4th grade.

AOL is part of the Webelos program at this point - there is no Bug


So then you can work on the two ranks at the same time.

Do you see the circular logic there? You can complete requirements for Arrow of Light as a 4th grader, but it’s a program for youth who have completed the 4th grade.

If you can complete any requirements, you can complete all of them in the 4th grade.

That’s consistent with the BSA handling of Webelos/Arrow of Light advancement at least since the transition to the Adventure system. For example, AoL requires earning at least one elective adventure beyond the “required” AoL adventures. However, if a motivated Webelos scout earned all of the electives while in 4th grade, they would be unable to earn Arrow of Light because no further elective adventures were available.

ETA: It is relevant to note that the “restriction” on permitting scouts who have completed the 4th grade to work on the Webelos rank was not in place when the BSA first changed to the Adventure model. As a result, new scouts joining in 5th grade often “went back” and worked on Webelos, as well as working on Arrow of Light. They were simply prohibited from obtaining the Webelos rank after having obtained the Arrow of Light rank. I personally don’t agree with the restriction of 5th graders to work exclusively on AoL, but it’s not my call. I think that is more inconsistent with the treatment of Webelos as a single den level with two ranks than the limited “inconsistency” due to overlap of elective adventures.


The Guide to Advancement also says: Cub Scout Ranks
Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining. Likewise, Cub Scouts do not “move ahead” to work on the next rank until the completion of the current school year (or until their next birthday if their chartered organization transitions by age), with the exception of those who earned the Webelos rank in the fourth grade. (emphasis added.)

Which matches the information at this BSA website:


The intent is for 4th graders to earn the Webelos rank, before they start working on the Arrow of Light rank.

However, elective adventures are shared between both ranks (Webelos / AOL), so electives may be earned at any time as long as the Scout is in a Webelos den.


You keep proving it’s a Scoutbook bug.

If the intent is to finish the Webelos Rank first before they work on Arrow of Light it shouldn’t assign any elective completion to Arrow of Light before they at least finish their Webelos Badge. Sure, someone could game the system with dates, but that’s a different issue than doing an elective in June of their 4th grade year and counting it for AoL

In the pre-2015 program the requirement was much clearer
" Earn five more activity badges in addition to the three you already earned for the Webelos badge"

It’s really easy to solve this. If you earned ALL the badges as a 4th grader you waive the requirement as a 5th grader.

You don’t waive the requirement to earn an elective as a 5th grader if you earn two electives as a 4th grader.

The reason Scoutbook was designed to work this way is because there are (or were) some chartered organizations who advanced their Cub Scouts based on age – not school grade. For these packs, their Webelos Scouts worked on both Webelos and AOL ranks between their 10th and 11th birthdays. For this reason, Scoutbook does not do a grade check, because it does not apply to all situations.


Sounds like you need three den types

  1. Webelos
  2. AoL
  3. both (today’s setup)- available on charter org request

So it’s not a bug, but It’s certainly not the right decision to enable every 5th grade den in the country to ignore the advancement rules for a subset of units.

You’re quoting rules there’s apparently no intention to care about. Once the guide to advancement stops being the source of truth for how to run the program people will stop looking at it.

@KevinCarlyle - there is only the webelos den type and there has never been an AOL den as long as I have been involved in cub scouts.


I don’t see your point. If you complete an elective that goes towards AOL before you are done with the Webelos rank how is that against the G2A?


@KevinCarlyle - in the end … who the flip cares about the minutia except perhaps you


@KevinCarlyle I appreciate your desire to follow the guide to advancement. I feel it simply left out one sentence the wording at The Advancement Trail | Boy Scouts of America is clearer.



Scoutbook puts the second elective Webelos adventure in the Arrow of Light reqiurements, even if the Scout has not yet earned the Webelos rank, because, absent the AoL Yo-Yo adventure and the AoL Protect Yourself Rules adventure, it would have been possible before the existence of the preview adventures for a fourth grader to earn every elective adventure before completing the Webelos rank, making it impossible for him to earn the Arrow of Light.



In my pack, we do not begin the six-month clock for 10-year-old fourth graders until the Scout has earned the Webelos rank, since the Arrow of Light requirements should be completed by fifth graders or by fourth graders who have already earned the Webelos rank. The only AoL requirement we consider completed prior to earning the Webelos rank is the elective adventure.

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Certainly, a main goal of the Cub Scout program is to get youth into Scouting and recruit them into Scouts BSA. If a youth is 10 1/2 and has earned the Arrow of Light, lets get them over to the Troops without delay. Forcing a scout to stay several months or another year before crossing over only hurts the scout and the Scouting program. Forcing them to delay, could prevent them from being able to participate in the upcoming summer camp.

Cub Scouts is already an incredibly long program, and is parent-intensive. Many parents, youth too, burn out on Scouting in the Cub Scouts program before discovering the great adventure and personal growth opportunities in a Scouts BSA Troop.

I disagree with the characterization of the current advancement parameters as an advancement problem. Rather, it can be argued there is a retention problem, and we should strive to avoid having unnecessary barriers to advancement.

The Webelos program includes working towards the Arrow of Light award, and is the capstone recognition for a Cub Scout, part of which rewards the youth with the opportunity to join a Scouts BSA troop ahead of other kids their age or grade.

In Service,
Roger S.


I’m not sure what your question is but, of course the Cub Scout can work on and earn both Webelos and AOL requirements regardless of 4th or 5th grade. They cannot earn their AOL rank until six months after completing 4th grade. And then they can join Scouts BSA if they have their AOL and are at least 10. Otherwise, they do have until the end of 5th grade to complete any Webelos/AOL requirements in totality.

The separation of AOL from the Webelos badge was to allow for kids just joining in grade 5 to be able to earn the AOL. Not the other way around.


True but not completely correct.

“1. Be an active member of your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old.”



A post was split to a new topic: Webelos Protect Yourself Rules Adventure Counted Twice