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Is Webelos Badge Required for Arrow of Light (AOL)?

Is Webelos Badge Required for Arrow of Light (AOL)?

One of the most exciting things about scouting is the different ranks and badges that scouts can earn as they progress through the program. However, it can be challenging to navigate the various requirements for each badge and rank, especially when new scouts join the program midway through.

This is the issue that Kathy is currently facing. She is a den leader for a pack, and a new scout has joined her den in fifth grade. He was part of another pack in fourth grade but did not earn his Webelos badge. Kathy is now unsure whether this scout needs to finish his Webelos badge before he can work towards earning the Arrow of Light (AOL) badge.

We have a boy who just transferred in from another pack. He is currently in fifth grade. He was in a pack for fourth grade but never earned his webelos badge. I know new boys joining in fifth grade can start working on their AOL without completing the webelos badge. But I’m finding conflicting information because he was a scout in fourth grade as to whether he needs to finish webelos too. We are only a few months to crossover so I don’t think he will be able to finish both.

Some of the confusion around this issue stems from the fact that the Webelos badge used to be a requirement for the Arrow of Light badge before 2014. However, the requirements have since changed, and scouts can now earn the AOL badge without completing the Webelos badge.

An Answer

As long as the scout meets the following requirements, they are eligible to earn the AOL badge:

  1. Be active in their Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old.
  2. Complete each of the four required adventures.
  3. Complete at least one elective adventure of their den’s or family’s choosing (for a total of at least five adventures).
  4. With their parent, guardian, or other caring adult, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide.
  5. Earn the Cyber Chip award for their age. (The Cyber Chip portion of this requirement may be waived by the parent or guardian if the scout does not have access to the internet.)

As you can see, there is no requirement to earn the Webelos badge. The way the program works now, Webelos is for fourth grade and Arrow of Light is for fifth grade. After a fourth grader completes Webelos, he or she may start working on Arrow of Light. But as I understand it, a fifth grader who did not complete Webelos can still work on Arrow of Light, much as a third grader who did not complete Wolf can still work on Bear.

However, that being said, this is a good question to run by your local advancement chair. In my experience some advancement rules are interpreted differently from one council to another, so it is best to see what the norm is for your area.

It is essential to note that the AOL badge is the highest rank a cub scout can earn, and it prepares them for their transition into Scouts BSA. Scouts who have earned the AOL badge have demonstrated a significant level of commitment, dedication, and skill, which prepares them for the challenges and opportunities that await them in Scouts BSA.

In conclusion, the AOL badge does not require scouts to earn the Webelos badge, and as long as they meet the AOL requirements mentioned above, they are eligible to earn the badge. For more information about the AOL badge requirements, see my Webelos and Arrow of Light resource page.

Frequently Asked Questions about Webelos and AOL

Can a fourth grade Cub Scout skip the Webelos badge and go directly for the Arrow of Light (AOL) badge?

No. Fourth graders must complete Webelos before starting on AOL.

Is there a time limit for earning the AOL badge?

To earn this badge, a Cub Scout must complete the requirements before completing fifth grade.

Can scouts who join scouting in fifth grade still earn the AOL badge before transitioning to Scouts BSA?

Yes, scouts who join in fifth grade can work on the AOL badge and complete it before crossing over to the Scouts BSA program.

Do fifth grade Cub Scouts need to earn the Webelos badge to be eligible for the AOL badge?

No, completing the Webelos badge is not a requirement for earning the AOL badge as of 2014.

What is the Webelos badge, and how does it relate to the Arrow of Light (AOL) badge?

The Webelos badge is a rank badge in cub scouting that serves as a crucial stepping stone toward earning the AOL badge. It prepares scouts for the more advanced AOL requirements.

Is earning the Webelos badge a prerequisite for fifth grade scouts working on the Arrow of Light badge?

No, earning the Webelos badge is not a prerequisite for the AOL badge. As of 2014, scouts can work directly on the AOL badge without first completing the Webelos badge as fourth graders.

How does the Webelos badge help scouts become better prepared for the Arrow of Light requirements?

The Webelos badge adventures are designed to challenge scouts and build their confidence. They introduce concepts and skills that are useful when working on the more advanced Arrow of Light requirements.

Are there any specific Webelos adventures that directly relate to Arrow of Light requirements?

While the Webelos adventures are not a direct match for Arrow of Light requirements, they help scouts develop skills and knowledge that can be applied to the AOL adventures.

What is the significance of completing the Webelos badge as a Cub Scout?

Earning the Webelos badge signifies a scout’s commitment to personal growth, outdoor skills, and preparation for more advanced scouting adventures in the Arrow of Light program and beyond.


6 responses to “Is Webelos Badge Required for Arrow of Light (AOL)?”

  1. John Avatar

    Can AoL still be worn on the Boy Scout Uniform? Since it is now stand alone, I would expect not, but not sure.

    1. J-Lo Avatar

      John – I don’t think there’s been a change on that but hopefully someone will answer who knows.

    2. tom taylor Avatar
      tom taylor

      Webelos first year earn the Webelos badge then in the Second year can earn the Arrow of Light. and yes. the AOL is the only cubscout award that can be worn on the boy scout uniform

  2. Randi Avatar

    Interesting, however I disagree. In the den leader information it says “All Cub Scouts, except for those boys who join Cub Scouting for the first time in fifth grade, must earn their Webelos rank prior to earning Arrow of Light. The requirements for Webelos and Arrow of Light may be worked on at the same time but the tenure requirements for each must be met and the awards must be earned and presented sequentially.”

    I found this in the den leader materials on that is currently online. I do not know if this was changed in the revamp of the program, but I haven’t seen that it was. Here is the link to the page:

    1. Julinda Avatar

      Randi, that is good to know. I know our leadership was unsure on this. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Christopher Rutz Avatar
    Christopher Rutz

    The Webelo handbook states that and the Cub Scout Leader Handbook in the Advancement section under Webelos Advancement:
    A child is Cub Scouting who is the 4th grade must earn the Webelos rank badge before working on the Arrow of Light.

    It’s also listed on the official webage:
    Fourth Grade – Webelos Requirements

    Fourth graders work toward the Webelos rank. The Webelos rank is earned by completing six adventures as described below. Scouts who are in Cub Scouts in fourth grade must complete the Webelos rank before working towards their Arrow of Light.

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