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Webelos Rank Ensignia

As we’re awarding ranks to the scouts, this caused me as the Pack Advancement Chair to question if we should be buying the Oval Webelos badge or the diamond badge. So I started off by researching the old forums and the best post I could find was dated over a year ago and read:

One of the videos on the Family Scouting Program also indicates that once stock of the yellow Wolf hats and neckerchiefs is sold, Wolves will transition to a red neckerchief and hat to match the Wolf rank emblem. The Bear rank emblem is changing from a blue/green to blue to match the hat and neckerchief. The diamond Webelos rank emblem is being retired and all Webelos will wear the tan shirt with green pants starting with the 2018-19 program year. The blue shirt and pants will be for Tigers, Wolves and Bears with Lions continuing to wear a blue t-shirt.

So off I go with more research. I found the video on scouting.org that supports this information and also confirmed with the current Cub Scout Insignia Guide. On the other hand, I am a little surprised that at least in our council and a year later, the Scout Shops are still carrying the traditional items (yellow Wolf, teal Bear, Webelos diamond, etc) and in my conversations with 3 of the local shops, it doesn’t appear that’ll change anytime soon.

So … what have folks done in the past for the Webelos badge? Did you award both the oval and the diamond? Did you only award one of them and have the parent by the alternative badge based on their choice of shirt as an AOL? Or did you ask each scout’s family in advance their preference?

Since “old” uniforms are always “good” uniforms, I don’t want to force parents who would otherwise still have their AOL scouts fit in a blue uniform have to buy a new tan uniform just because of a badge change, perhaps getting one more year of use before buying new when they crossover.

Hi, Brian,

When I was a Webelos DL, we only awarded the oval Webelos badge. I caucused with the den parents to see if everyone was OK with buying the khaki shirt for the scouts. Based on that, we decided that, as each scout earned the Webelos rank, he (our scouts were all boys) would transition from the blue to the khaki. For the new parents, I recommended the khaki/olive field uniform so they only had to buy one uniform and it could bridge over with their scout to the troop.

Another item that played into the decision was that most of our scouts had been in since Tigers, so there was nowhere for them to sew on the diamond. Historically (i.e. back in the Dark Ages when I was a cub scout), the Webelos diamond went in bottom middle position, which is where the Tiger emblem now goes. Is there actually a spot for most of them to sew on the diamond?

Excellent point, and that’s part of my confusion as to what folks have been doing since the current Tiger diamond badge has been around for quite some time now. I don’t have the answer and was curious what folks were doing in the past. The Tiger program wasn’t available so I didn’t have this dilemma.

Warning, this is digressing from my original question and is more editorial opinion …

Maybe I’m trying to be too fiscally conservative here. I just remember “back in the day” where my parents only had to buy me two uniforms. The first was way too big, but it lasted half of my Cub Scout years, and then my second uniform (still blue) got me through AOL Crossover. The best part is that my final Cub Scout uniform could display ALL of my hard earned ranks and arrowheads. Now, parents are likely buying 3 uniforms while in Cub Scouts. Based on the current insignia, a Cub Scout will barely be able to display their Bear rank (pending on when in the year they earn it) and their final Cub Scout uniform will only have Webelos badge, assuming they don’t buy a brand new shirt for the start of Scouts BSA, otherwise they don’t have a final “Cub Scouts” Class A. Sad in my opinion.

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< Hopping on the digression express >
I tend to agree that it’s unfortunate that more parents don’t buy big. I think my son only had one blue shirt, and has only had one khaki as well (got it for Webelos II year and it’s only now just about the right size). He bridged just over two years ago. Maybe it was just our pack parents (I know i wasn’t the only cheapskate!), but most of the scouts wore their field uniforms until they wore out or until they no longer fit by even the most generous definition. We had a couple who didn’t get a khaki uniform blouse until well after they had earned Webelos, “because his blue shirt still fits…”
< shrug >

I taught my den parents about velcro for uniform components that change, like rank badges and POR patches. Not sure how many ultimately adopted it, but my “why do twice what you can do right once” philosophy has saved my wife or my son (since my hands won’t fit) a ton of needle sticks trying to sew on new rank badges. The process is:

  1. Cut oval piece of khaki velcro.
  2. Sew loop-side oval velcro onto pocket by hand.
  3. Sew rank patch to hook-side oval velcro with a sewing machine.
  4. Repeat step 3 with each successive rank badge.
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My process is similar to yours except that:

  1. Cut sticky back Velcro (hook side) so that it is smaller than the rank patch and attach it to the patch. It is sticky enough that I haven’t lost any patches (so far), although your mileage may vary.

It was my understanding that back in the era during which the diamond-shaped Webelos badge was still considered current, the oval badge was to be presented to those who had earned the Tiger rank, and it was fine to wear this on the blue uniform short. I believe the oval-shaped Webelos rank badge and the diamond-shaped Webelos rank badge were introduced at the same time (2001?) for this reason. The idea was that since the Tiger rank was being granted elevated status (now a higher rank than Bobcat), the preference was to take all the diamond-shaped badges off rather than single that one out. But a Scout with a blue shirt could wear the diamond-shaped one, if he had never earned the Tiger rank. It was also fine to wear the cluster of diamond-shaped rank badges on the tan uniform shirt.

Currently, the Guide to Awards and Insignia specifies that the diamond-shaped rank badges are to be worn by “Cub Scouts”, whatever that means. It is impossible for me to tell whether that terms includes or excludes Webelos. But the diagram shows a “Cub Scout” pocket with the diamond-shaped badges and a Webelos Scout pocket with the oval badge. If the intention is for the diamond-shaped badges to not be worn on the tan shirt, Webelos should no longer be transferring them, when they get new shirts. Curiously, this means that a Scout who first joins as a Webelos Scout will never wear his or her Bobcat badge of rank. Personally, I would tell the Scout to put it on the tan shirt and remove it when the Webelos rank is earned. If I’ve interpreted the rule correctly, it also means you cannot tell the rank of a properly uniformed Webelos Scout who has not yet earned the Webelos rank.

As Cubmaster, I’ve been telling parents the official rule (tan shirts only for Webelos) but that it is acceptable to let the Scout continue wearing the blue short as long as it fits.I have one first-year Webelos Scout who joined as a Bear. The shirt fits fine. I told him he could wear his oval Webelos badge of rank on the blue shirt, if that was his preference.

I’d rather have Webelos in a blue shirt than in no uniform at all.

Peter

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Even prior to the current rule, my pack only awarded the oval patch since most scouts had been in since Tiger and would have nowhere to put the diamond patch.

I am a bit surprised to NOT see this, but the diamond is for wear on the blue uniform and the oval for the tan uniform.

As for the uniforms, would point out that when I was a cub, that program lasted three years. Now there are five years of uniform wear. When I bought my son his shirt it was the smallest size to not fall off. His short sleeves went past his elbows. Alas, his shirt was too short to stay tucked in as we transitioned to Webelos.

It was a tradition in my sons’ Pack that 4th grad Webelos wore the blue shirt, and part of the recognition for earning the Webelos rank at the end of the program year was “moving up” to the tan shirt with the oval rank badge.

Yeah - old pack always said to buy tan but buy it big so it would last a few years. The Webelos loved the Tan Shirts as they were not Blue. And the Leaders loved them as we could say “Your in tan now - be the example” to straighten up behavior fast.

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The latest Guide to Awards and Insignia has dropped the diamond Webelos rank patch.

Often Scout Shops continue selling discontinued items until they deplete their stock.

Remember, there’s no prohibition about wearing retired uniform components, as long as you match!

The diamond-shaped Webelos rank patch could be worn on either the navy blue or the tan shirt.

The oval Webelos rank patch may only be worn on the tan shirt.

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What is the recommended approach for Bears transitioning to Tans but not having the Webelos badge yet? Do they transfer previous ranks to Tan uniform until they earn Webelos badge, then remove them to put on Webelos badge?

David,

That’s what some of our Webelos did when they outgrew their blues and decided to just buy a khaki shirt.

I’m not sure if there is clear official guidance one way or the other. The Guide to Insignia implies that you only put the oval Webelos rank patch on the tans, but doesn’t specifically prohibit having the other ranks on there first.

Below is the 4/2018 version of the Webelos Sheet Uniform Inspection Sheet:

https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/resources-forms-applications/

The only rank patches mentioned are the Webelos (oval) and Arrow of Light ranks.

Hunh. I guess the blue shirt is gone the way of the dodo for Webelos. The inspection sheet only mentions the tan shirt.

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As an aside I like the way of the dodo…only because I earned the pyramid building merit badge. For our pack we let the rising bears make their own decision on the uniform. I will say though that as the oldest Cubs it does start making them think troop level.

So a Bear scout receiving their Bear at Blue & Gold then going to Tans right after because all advance to Webelos will never wear the Bear Badge… Does not seam to be in the spirit of recognizing accomplishment of rank.

We will be allowing Bear to Webelos scouts to transfer rank badges to their Tans until they earn the Webelos badge. I will need a thimble glove after all this is done but it is worth it…