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New Scout, 5th grade, Webelos adventures?

Greetings! My local community is starting a new pack. I’ve seen similar topics and questions, but I’m not certain on the answer:

Can a 5th grader (brand new to Scouting) earn the following pins?

“Cast Iron Chef”
“First Responder”
“Stronger, faster, higher”
“Webelos Walkabout”

In service,

George Yacus
Eagle Scout c/o 2003

it seems they can - but they cannot earn AOL before Webelos rank and they need to prioritize doing the AOL Required Adventures.

And if you are asking if they can be used as AOL Electives the answer is no. As the Requirement says Elective Adventure - and these are called Webelos Required.

Thank you, @DonovanMcNeil, follow up questions for clarification.

  1. Can a 5th grader (who is new to Scouting) earn the Webelos Badge?
  2. Does a 5th grader have to earn the Webelos Badge? Or can they just earn the Arrow of Light Badge?


  1. It is unclear - but I have never heard no
  2. They can earn the AOL rank without Webelos
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The answer used to be “yes”, but the BSA made some changes earlier this year (around February 2019) that seem to say “no”.

BSA Guide to Advancement: 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.

And also:

At any rate, Webelos Scout who are in the 5th grade should be focused on earning the Bobcat and Arrow of Light ranks. The Webelos rank is not required in order for a 5th grader to earn the Arrow of Light rank.


I agree 100% with your reading/interpretation of the rule. However, a member of the BSA Cub Scout Committee posted in the Facebook Cub Scout Volunteers group a few months ago that it was never the intention of the committee to prohibit newly joining fifth graders from earning the Webelos-rank required adventures or the Webelos rank itself so long as they have not already earned the Arrow of Light.

Regardless of the intention, the rule appears to do just that. I am not one that is interested in cheapening the system, so I am following the rule as written with the fifth grader who just joined my pack last week. But there are many others who are relying on this particular comment made on Facebook to do otherwise.

Okay, so it appears that the letter of the rules and the spirit of the rules are somewhat at odds. I hope more formal clarity arrives from BSA. Until then, thank you all for your recent help!


If that’s what a member of the BSA’s Cub Scout Committee said, then it’s probably fine. I think the intent is that they do not want new Scouts who join in the 5th grade feeling overwhelmed, especially when most crossovers take place around January-March.


For a Scout joining in September to finish both ranks, s/he would not be able to do so before June, in order to satisfy the three-month requirement for the Webelos rank and the six-month requirement for the Arrow of Light, unless someone decided those time requirements could be met simultaneously.

In the school district where my pack meets, the last day of school is already a few days short of nine months away. So, the Scout would not be able to earn the Arrow of Light before completing the fifth grade.

the 2 times are concurrent as both just say spend X months in a webelos den

An AOL only has to do AOL requirements. If they join in 5th grade, there are no Webelos requirements. That said, we had 3 new 5th graders last year. The AOL requirements are considerably light compared to Webelos, so I had them do some of the Webelos requirements to keep the year interesting and fun. The AOL elective adventure is the EXACT same list as Webelos.

New cub scouts that join in 5th grade cannot crossover in January, no matter how much councils push units to do so. In order to earn AOL, they must be active for at least six months. This means joining in September = bridging no earlier than March. There’s only 4 requirements with one elective. One requirement being Duty to God, which is done at home. So essentially 4 things over 6 months - snoozefest for the kids. We added the more important Webelos adventures for going into scouts - first responder and cast iron chef. They enjoyed doing these and I think it prepared them more for scouts BSA.
Councils push for cub scouts to bridge early only so they will go to summer camp with the troop, which equals $$ for council. I really dislike the push.

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We have had Scouts bridge as late as late April and still be able to go to Summer camp. We camp second week of summer camp.

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