A SUMMARY OF THE CHANGES
Ever since the WeBeLoS Cub Scout rank was introduced, the program has gone through a continuous, but gradual evolution. Originally, the Webelos rank was only offered to Cubs that had completed the Lion rank. There were no handbooks dedicated to the rank, just a single page in the Lion Cub Scout Book. With only 5 requirements, it was specifically aimed at transitioning a boy to the Tenderfoot rank of Boy Scouting. In 1954 the word Webelos made it to the cover of the Lion handbook, and finally in 1967 a handbook was published that specifically focused on the Webelos rank and the 'new' Arrow of Light award.
Since the early 1950's, this evolution has been communicated to the Cubs and leaders via a long lineage of handbooks that now includes 5 editions and 10 printings.
The 1998 version of the Webelos Scout Book is yet another step in this evolution. The new handbook has gone from 416 to 470 pages. It has been completely re-formatted and re-published with a significant quantity of new and refined program information and excellent graphics.
The majority of the changes in the new book are concentrated on either modernizing language or making 'cultural' corrections. For instance, "grown-ups" are now "adults" and references to "your parents" are now "a parent."
There were no sweeping changes to the Webelos rank requirements. There are, however, several changes in the text of the requirements, and some clarifications made regarding the Webelos religious requirements. It should also be mentioned that virtually every Activity Badge requirement has been upgraded and/or changed in the new handbook.
Finally, the insert: "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse and Drug Abuse" is replaced by "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse" and drug abuse is now dealt with in the required reading (and subsequent discussion of) "Don't Be Tricked by Drugs: A Deadly Game." This is a new requirement for the "Fitness" activity badge (requirement number 7,) and is required to earn the Webelos Badge.
ARROW OF LIGHT AWARD
There are two changes to the AOL requirements! Specifically, Webelos that aspire to earn the AOL award must learn how to "Tie the joining knot (square knot)" and they must "Complete and turn in a "Join Boy Scouting" application to the Scoutmaster during the conference."
There has been a lot of discussion about need to "turn in" the Boy Scout application. My interpretation is as follows:
- "Turn in" the Boy Scout application does not mean "join the Boy Scouts."
- "Turn in" the Boy Scout application does not mean "join a specific troop."
Virtually every activity badge was changed. Some just included a little re-wording, and some were changed significantly with NEW requirements. The new handbook has 77 more pages than the older handbook that are devoted specifically to activity badge resources!
Re-worded without any impact on requirements.
SOME GOOD REFERENCE MATERIALS
In the Virtual Cub Leader's Handbook, several of our "Requirements" pages illustrate the changes in the new handbook. The following pages have been updated with the new requirements, and have been color-coded to assist you in recognizing "CHANGED" and "NEW" material.
Over at the United States Scouting Service Project, Mr. Paul S. Wolf, the "Scout Requirements Section" author, has created an excellent comparison of the old and new Webelos handbooks. He shows, in detail, ALL of the new handbook's additions, deletions, and changes. Check them out at:
Does all of this mean you NEED to purchase a new Webelos handbook right now? The answer is "NO." There is NO regulation that requires the use of the new book. Our Pack probably won't start using the new books until next summer when our Bears move into the Webelos I program. The BSA would like all of the old handbooks to sell first anyway, so help the BSA out and buy those old books! They'll be collector's items in a few months anyway!
Back To Top