In the pre-2015 Cub Scout program, the Webelos Craftsman activity badge was my favorite of all the activity badges. The boys had opportunities to make very fun projects, and they learned valuable new skills in the process.
So, I was a little bummed when I realized that there wasn't an equivalent adventure in the new Cub Scout program. As I read through the requirements, I discovered that there are several Webelos/AoL elective adventures that have the boys building or creating something.
These Webelos/AoL projects take time to complete–especially if you pick a project that is a little more advanced. However, don't let that deter you from doing the fun projects that the boys really want to do. Yes, a craft stick picture frame is much easier to make than a cool Pinewood Derby car display, but which one will the boys still have 6 months from now? Which one will help him learn skills he doesn't already have?
Here are the electives and the project requirements:
Webelos/AOL Elective -Adventures in Science 3d: With adult supervision, build and launch a model rocket. Use the rocket to design a fair test to answer a question about force or motion.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Adventures in Science 3e: Create two circuits of three light bulbs and a battery. Construct one as a series circuit and the other as a parallel circuit.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Art Explosion 3d: Create a freestanding sculpture or mobile using wood, metal, papier-mâché, or found or recycled objects.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Build It 2: With the guidance of your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, select a carpentry project and build it.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Engineer 2b: Using the blueprints or plans from your own design, construct your project. Your project may be something useful or something fun.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Engineer 4: Pick and do two projects using the engineering skills you have learned. Share your projects with your den, and also exhibit them at a pack meeting.
Webelos/AOL Elective – Maestro! 2a: Make a musical instrument. Play it for your family, den, or pack.
As my Webelos 2 den completed Craftsman, I learned several lessons along the way that might be helpful to you as you plan to complete the projects required in these electives.
- Each of the projects will take longer than you expect–even the simple ones.
- Select your projects early.
- Pick several options for each project. I considered cost, difficulty, safety and availability of needed equipment.
- Let the boys make the final decision about the projects. I had the boys vote on the ones they wanted to do out of the options I had picked.
- Make a prototype of your project prior to the meeting. This will help the boys visualize what they need to do. It will also give you an opportunity to modify a bit if you need to.
- Consider whether you need to write your own instructions. For some of the projects, I simply printed the online instructions. Other times, I wrote my own to make them more clear or to simplify them.
- If you need a special tool, check with others in your den and in your pack. For example, you might need a table saw. Most likely, another family in the pack has one.
- Prep your supplies prior to the meeting. Pre-cut or pre-drill anything that you need to. For example, we drilled the holes in the Altoid tins because we thought it would be unsafe for the boys to do it themselves.
- Plan for the most appropriate meeting place. Woodworking is best done in a garage rather than a classroom at a church or school.
- If possible, have a parent present for each boy. Ask your pack committee members to help if necessary. Our Cubmaster filled in for a dad who was out of town.
- Give the parents the instructions for the projects prior to the meeting. This gives them an opportunity to review what they'll be helping with.
- Schedule longer meetings. My goal is for the boys to finish the project before they leave. A half finished project sent home may not be completed.
- Consider changing dates of meetings. We met for an entire afternoon while the boys were out of school for winter break, and we were able to complete two projects. Think about meeting on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
- Have enough tools for all the boys if possible. One of our projects required an electric drill. I forgot to ask parents to bring theirs, so we had 4 boys sharing 1 drill. This left too much waiting time for the boys.
- Plan activities for the waiting times. I made posters of the Boy Scout Oath, Law, Motto and slogan that I hung around the room. During down time, the boys practiced these.
- Have fun! The boys (with your help) are not just making projects; they are building memories.
I hope these ideas will help you and your den as they complete their Webelos and Arrow of Light electives.
Yours in Scouting,
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