We do all we can to help new Scouts transitioning from Webelos – let’s not forget that Webelos den leaders stepping into new roles will need some help too.
Thirty-plus years ago I was a Webelos Den Leader for eighteen (!) Webelos. I was recruited to be a Scoutmaster a year later, but it was a while before I stopped being a Webelos den leader and started being a Scoutmaster.
I had a lot of support and mentoring from experienced Scouters, and I have been privileged to help a couple of dozen Webelos den leaders make the transition since then.
Here’s what I share with transitioning Webelos Den Leaders:
What happens now?
We understand bringing your Webelos to this point required a lot of dedication; we respect and value that experience tremendously. There are many practical things that we’ll ask you to do! Before we press you into service we’d like you to relax and observe for a while. What we do may all look overwhelming and exciting – and it can be both! For the first few months we’ll focus on getting you up-to-date with training, mentoring, and leadership development.
Your role in Scouting has changed significantly.
The other Scouters in the troop will help you with the transition and keep in mind most of us have been where you are now. Most of us started off feeling uncomfortable, antsy and doubting the ability of youth leadership, we know it can be challenging and frustrating at times. Welcome to the club!
The Scouts who were in your den are now the responsibility of a patrol leader.
If this responsibility is to have any integrity he must be given plenty of latitude to do the job as he sees fit. Both the senior patrol leader and the Scoutmaster will be monitoring the patrol leader.
Your former Webelos will naturally look to you for direction.
When they do direct them to their patrol leader for answers (even if you know the answer). You will hear us all say “ask your patrol leader” frequently!
Any concerns you may have should go directly to the Scoutmaster rather than the youth leadership.
Our youth leadership is respectful and responsive to any direction or comments from adults. What you may think is an offhand comment or observation will often be understood as a direction, or possibly a criticism. What you say may also conflict with directions from the senior patrol leader or Scoutmaster. To avoid confusion and misunderstandings all adults direct their interaction with youth leaders through the Scoutmaster.
When should you step in?
If you observe a situation that is an immediate physical danger (you’ll find this is a pretty rare occurrence) you should, of course, step in and correct it immediately.
Our newest Scouters are energetic, excited, and motivated folks. We should make sure our newest leaders don’t feel like they are “thrown into the deep end” or “drinking from the fire hose”. We want to be welcoming and supportive, remember the whole experience can be a little overwhelming.