Are you in the process of planning a memorable and fun an Arrow of Light (AOL) ceremony for your Cub Scout pack? These AOL events are a monumental moment for Cubs who have successfully navigated through Cub Scouts and are about to enter Scouts BSA (if they choose to continue their journey)!
If you’re looking for more general information about an AOL ceremony, check out our article “What Is an AOL Ceremony (and How to Hold One).” In that article, you’ll learn some of the best ideas I’ve found and used for planning an Arrow of Light ceremony, setting the date, inviting guests, and giving gifts!
PS. This article is a guest post collaboration between Cub Scouting volunteer Jaci H and Cole 🙂
Before we dive in, here’s what’s on the agenda: I’ll give a quick recap on what an AOL ceremony is, and then go more in depth on the different types of AOL crossover ceremonies. Some are short and simple, while others are more involved and unique. Whichever is best depends on the needs and wants of your pack! 😀
The Significance of an Arrow Of Light (AOL) Ceremony
As Eagle Scout rank is the ultimate achievement in Scouts BSA, AOL is the highest rank for those in Cub Scouts! These are both important celebrations that tend to involve special ceremonies, and should be made as memorable as possible. Because of this, you’ll want to have adequate time to plan your ceremony and invite guests!
I took an informal poll on a Cub Scout Facebook page to see how many packs hold stand-alone AOL ceremonies and how many incorporate the AOL crossover into their annual Blue and Gold banquet. I wasn’t really surprised the vote was almost even! 53 percent combined the two, while 47 percent held separate ceremonies.
In my son’s pack, we set up a bridge for our indoor ceremonies and even the younger Scouts crossed it when they completed a rank and were ready to move on to the next one. However, the passage over the bridge always held greater significance when crossed by the AOL Scouts, as they were being received by their new troop on the other side!
No matter whether it’s a stand-alone ceremony or a part of a Blue and Gold banquet, the AOL crossover event typically involves the introduction of the AOL Scouts, some type of bridge to symbolize the crossover, a script (short or long), and the Scouts BSA troops receiving the Scouts.
Helpful resource: This document from Scouts BSA outlines the bridge, items presented, outdoor ceremonies, simple pack ceremonies, and a ceremony involving Akela (denoting wisdom in Scouts and generally referring to leaders and parents). This document provides a great overview for someone who has never witnessed a crossover!
Where to Hold Your Arrow Of Light Ceremony
Many packs combine Blue and Gold banquets with rank achievements. The simpler ideas for ceremonies in this article might work best for that scenario! Others that are more complex would work better as stand-alone ceremonies. Feel free to pick and choose your own favorite aspects of the AOL ceremony to include!
Helpful Link: Hosting a combo event? Check out our article on how to plan a Blue and Gold banquet!
If you’d like an indoor location for your AOL ceremony, consider your pack’s normal meeting location, a local banquet room, your charter organization, schools, places of worship, or community event spaces. These spots have the advantage of being convenient and weatherproof!
If you’d like to host an AOL ceremony outdoors, think about actual bridges in your community. Could you safely arrange a ceremony nearby crossing a true bridge? I’ve also read about Scouts creating a “makeshift bridge” of tree branches and lumber with lashings. A campsite or park could provide a wonderful outdoor venue as well!
Scripts for Cub Scout Arrow Of Light Ceremonies
There are a lot of resources for scripts for the AOL ceremony. You’ll determine which script is best for your pack by answering the following questions:
- Will your ceremony be indoors or outdoors?
- How long do you want the ceremony to be?
- How many people should be involved? An emcee and the AOL Scouts? Younger Scouts? The Cubmaster? Other leaders?
- What will you use as a symbolic bridge?
- Do you want to incorporate the use of candles?
- Do you want an overall playful tone or a more serious one?
As I was conducting research for this article, I was impressed by the variety of scripts and themes for AOL ceremonies. Below, I’ll share a few of my favorites with links to the original sources. Hopefully this will give you a starting point for a fun, meaningful AOL ceremony of your own! 😀
AOL Ceremony Idea: Scouts BSA
The first ceremony script I’ll share is a 15-minute nationally-approved ceremony from Scouts BSA that uses the 12 points of Scout Law to describe how the AOL Scouts are on a path to becoming Eagle Scouts. Several Scouts can easily participate, and Scouts BSA recommends the script be memorized.
Scouts BSA describes the crossover as “designed to have a powerful inspirational effect, not only on the Webelos Scouts participating in it, but on the other Cub Scouts witnessing it, giving them a glimpse into what lies ahead on their Scouting journey.”
An alternative version of this script has two Scouts (not the honorees) performing the ceremony dressed in summer gear and with props, such as backpacks, hiking sticks, and compasses. The two Scouts discuss the Scout Law and trail to Eagle. This script gets the younger Scouts involved, too!
I really liked the second script. It was very engaging and mimicked a skit — and you know how much Cub Scouts love skits! I think this AOL ceremony would be a blast to perform, and work well to keep everyone’s attention. However, there’s a lot of dialogue, so the presenters might need to do a bit of practicing for it to flow smoothly.
Either of these ceremonies could be part of a Blue and Gold banquet, although personally I think the second one would be better as a stand-alone AOL crossover celebration. The second one would also be fun to do at an outdoor location or even by a campfire!
Helpful Link: Looking for a great way to keep your Scouts entertained? Check out this list of 50+ fun riddles and jokes for Scouts!
AOL Ceremony Idea: Colorful Candles
This ceremony from the Boy Scout Trail website involves leaders in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA as well as AOL Scouts and their parents. The script begins with Cubs being blindfolded. After the blindfold is removed, the AOL Cubs are asked a series of questions about what they have learned and what their intentions are. Various colored candles are lit.
I like how this script mixed in the blindfolding for fun. I also liked how it relayed the importance of the initial guidance of parents with Cub Scouts and how the AOL Scouts will transition to be more independent in their journey forward. 😀
Due to its use of candles (whether they are real, flameless LED, or battery powered), this particular ceremony seems best suited to an indoor setting. The candles add to the aesthetics of the ceremony, and each color has a different meaning as well!
AOL Ceremony Idea: Up the Ranks
This ceremony from the Wacky Scouter website utilizes a leader plus Scouts from each rank as well as AOL Cubs and their parents. The Cubmaster asks questions of each of the lower-rank Scouts. When they get to the Webelos Scouts, they describe where to proudly wear the AOL award on a Scouts BSA uniform.
What I liked most about this script was the involvement of the younger Scouts. It provided a look back at where the AOL Scouts came from and explained how it was not an end for AOL Scouts, but a new beginning! I really liked a reminder of that perspective.
This ceremony is simple and straightforward, so it could be used at any location. It would definitely be great for the participating Scouts to rehearse or practice enough so that their parts were memorized!
AOL Ceremony Idea: Crossing in Canoes
In this mom’s blog, she shared several ceremony ideas. I invite you to read them all, but I’ll focus on her son’s crossover ceremony (#4 on her list). This outdoor campsite ceremony involves leaders, four Scouts BSA members, AOL Scouts, and their parents. It describes the legend of Scout founder Baden-Powell and involves ashes from a past campout.
What makes the ceremony so cool is that the AOL Scouts are transported across a lake in canoes instead of a bridge! They went directly to camp with their new troop. I know not everyone has a body of water near them to replicate this idea, but it might still spark a creative alternative!
AOL Ceremony Idea: Searching for Scouts
The final script came from Cub Scout leader Casey H. from Kansas City, Mo. She’s revised an AOL crossover script a few times and wanted to share her wisdom! 🙂 She describes the script as “gender neutral and generic enough to accommodate both large and small packs.” She hasn’t officially timed the script, but said it took about 30 minutes with four Scouts.
Leader H.’s script has three parts to it. I love how it begins with “searching for the AOL Scouts” at each of the tables in the room. The ceremony goes on to involve leaders, parents, and younger Scouts. I found the script playful, yet symbolic. I think it would work best at an indoor location.
After reading through the ideas shared in this article, you might find that you want to combine parts of these scripts to create your own. I’d definitely encourage this sort of creativity! Maybe your new script might include blindfolding, participation from younger Scouts, and crossing over a small outdoor bridge in your hometown!
I hope you find inspiration from those awesome Arrow of Light ceremony scripts. They’re all different and they’re all worthy of being used. Have fun putting your event together — and don’t forget to have the participating Scouts practice their lines! Best wishes for a wonderful and memorable AOL ceremony. 🙂
Thanks so much for checking out this article! If you enjoyed learning about Arrow of Light Ceremony concepts, I’d highly recommend also checking out any of the following articles:
- What Is an AOL Ceremony: And How To Hold One (a continuation of this article!)
- Transitioning From Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA: Tips For Parents And Webelos
- Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquets (Your Guide to Plan and Run One)
- Scout Parenting: 7 Keys To Helping Your Child Reach Eagle
- The Value And Benefits of Scouting (58 Highlights From Scouts)
I hope this article helps you to create a fun and memorable AOL ceremony for your pack. Also, once your cubs cross over to BSA Scouts, make sure to come back to this website, ScoutSmarts! Here, you’ll find tailored resources helping Scouts to earn Eagle and get even more from their Scouting journey. 😀