Scouting Forums

Webelos rank

If a Webelo hasn’t completed all the requirements for their webelo rank can they work in them as they move up their Arrow of Light?

Webelos and AOL are part of the same 18 month program. Once a Scout enters the 5th grade - focus needs to be on the AOL requirements. They can work on Webelos but they need to prioritize the AOL ones. And once AOL is earned Webelos cannot be earned, Webelos has to be earned first.


My understanding is that once a Webelos Scout is a fifth grader or reached the age of 11 regardless of his or her grade in school, the default rule is that s/he should no longer be working on the Webelos rank. The Guide to Advancement sec. says: "Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining."

However, sec. says: "… If a Cub Scout is close to earning a badge of rank when it is time to transition to a new den, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give the youth added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank."

So, this is a judgement call. In my opinion, they use the term “a few weeks” to make sure the pack committee can decide what is best for the Scout. A few weeks could be lots of different things, but it probably is not the entire summer - at least in my opinion.


This would be a pretty significant departure from previous standard of performance, in which a scout who joined as a 5th grader could (but was not required to) earn both Webelos and AoL, as long as the AoL was not awarded until after the Webelos rank was completed. Granted, my data is a couple of years out of date (I was a Webelos DL in the 2015 and 2016 program years), but the G2A, Webelos DL guide, and Webelos handbooks were all pretty explicit about that, as it was a significant change that Scouts were no longer required to earn the Webelos rank in order to earn AoL.

The 2019 G2A (pg 19, § actually has an interestingly phrased statement in one of the boxes:


That statement was not present in the 2015 G2A, the latest I have to hand prior to the current (2019) one. I think it’s notable that this is not marked as one of the significant changes to the program in the G2A prefatory material. That said, the phrasing requires them to work on AoL, but doesn’t appear to me to prohibit them from working on Webelos.


The text in that box confirms the conclusion I drew in my post above. Shall is an exclusionary term, and it is not a word that is frequently used accidentally. By saying fifth graders shall work on Arrow of Light requirements, they are implying that they may not work on other rank requirements. Well, I’m pretty sure they don’t mean that those who join in fifth grade cannot work on Bobcat.

The 2017 printing of the Guide to Advancement has a similar box at the end of section on page 20. It reads: “Boys who join Cub Scouting for the first time as a member of an Arrow of Light den, or boys who were previously members of a Webelos den but did not earn the Webelos rank, shall work on Arrow of Light requirements during their fifth-grade year. They can earn the Arrow of Light Award without earning the Webelos rank.”

In the significant changes section of the 2017 printing, #9 says: “Added a paragraph to clarify Webelos and Arrow of Light age/grade requirements,” for section So it appears this is when the change occurred.


How close is the scout to completing the requirements? Our local custom is to give scouts until the end of the summer to complete requirements for their current rank, even if the rest of the den has moved on. The requirement making Webelos a pre-requisite for AOL was dropped in 2016, with the caveat that 4th graders cannot begin to work on AOL adventures until Webelos is done. In short, if the scout is close, let them finish, however if they just joined, then forget Webelos and just get started with AOL.

Thank you for the help everyone

Cub Scouting gives latitude to your local Pack to determine how to make this work and be fair to the efforts your Scouts have made. Don’t worry about it and keep your Scouts moving forward and motivated.