News & Notes, November 2021

This month’s Scouting topics to be aware of:

Inviting new members to join your unit

It’s easy to invite new members to join. You can send them a link to follow, which will take them directly to register for your pack or troop. Just sign in to my.scouting.org, click Menu, then your unit number. Click Invitation Manager, then Copy URL. Paste this URL into your invitation email, and the prospective member will be taken to your registration page where the national (and, in most councils, local) registration fees will be collected. Note that starting in October, fees are also collected for the following year so you won’t need to collect again when you recharter.

And don’t forget to promptly follow up on leads that are generated from your “pin”. The unit Key 3 will get daily reminder e-mails when unanswered inquiries are pending.

Vaccination policy updated

With COVID vaccines on the verge of becoming available to youth as young as five years old, the BSA has taken the opportunity to review and update its policy on vaccinations for youth and adult participants. While stopping short of requiring many vaccines, including for COVID, the policy clarifies the required vaccines for all, and provides a list of recommended ones, following CDC guidelines.

Vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and polio are required for all individuals, as are those for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for those born in 1957 or later, and varicella, or chicken pox, for those born in 1980 or later. Some vaccines require boosters to be given periodically, such as every ten years for tetanus.

Those recommended, but not required, include COVID, influenza, hepatitis, meningitis, shingles and pneumonia. The latter two are generally recommended for older adults.

You can find the latest on vaccination requirements in this update from the BSA. Please share the information with your families. You can also find BSA’s answers to frequently asked questions about COVID and an updated FAQ about the annual health and medical record. 

 Safe Scouting updates

The new Guide to Safe Scouting for 2021 is out, and there are, as usual, a few changes and updates.

  • Aquatics: Updates to the SCUBA program, lifejacket language to reflect performance levels, and a prohibition on full-face snorkel masks.
  • Camping: There are updates to the camping policy, and Age-Appropriate guidelines for camping have been integrated into the Age-Appropriate for Scouting section.
  • Medical: Updates to the immunization policies (see previous item).
  • Activity planning and risk assessment: The Sweet 16 of Safety is replaced with the SAFE Checklist, and the exception allowing the use of cannons by councils has been eliminated.
  • Transportation policy has been updated.
  • Exploring program section has been added.
  • New sections for Wilderness First Aid and Hazard Trees (dead trees and trees with dead branches that may fall and pose a hazard).

Download the latest Guide here, become familiar with its contents (especially the prohibited activities), and keep a copy on your smartphone (it’s only a bit over 1 Megabyte now) so you can refer to it at a meeting or when camping or on an outing.

Youth Protection Training

On the topic of safe Scouting, check your adult members’ Youth Protection Training status. (From my.scouting.org, under your unit, select Training Manager.) Make sure that anyone whose YPT expires by the end of the year (and, preferably, into the first few months of 2022) is reminded to retake YPT, otherwise your charter renewal may end up as defective and won’t be processed.

Supply chain issues at Scout Shops

It seems that the supply chain disruptions that we’ve all heard about are affecting availability of event patches and other materials this year. I called one of my council’s Scout Shops to ask if they had the 2021 Jamboree On The Air patch in stock but was told they hadn’t received them yet. In fact, the salesperson told me that the last thing they received for 2021 was the Pinewood Derby patch – and that was early this year. Nothing has come through the pipeline since, and he was doubtful that any other Scout Shops in our council had 2021 merchandise either. I had difficulty placing an order for the item from the scoutstuff.org website as well. So, you might have to ask your Scouts to sit tight for a while if they’re expecting a patch for a recent activity or event.

Position changes for registered adults

If you have adults who are changing positions (such as from den leader to Cubmaster or committee member to assistant Scoutmaster), their position registration can be done online by the chartered organization representative without requiring a new adult application form to be completed as in the past. The CR signs in to my.scouting.org, selects the unit from the menu, then follow Organization Manager, Position Manager, Registered Positions. Functional roles (such as training coordinator, advancement coordinator, etc) can also be assigned by a Key 3.

Advice on Multiples

A Multiple is a youth or adult member who is registered in more than one unit (such as a Cub Scout den leader who is also a troop committee member), or in a unit and holding a council or district position (such as a troop committee member who is also a member of the district committee). Multiples only pay a fee in one unit; there is no fee due to the other unit.

This can cause an issue in small units, such as Venturing crews, which require at least five youth members. The five members must be paid in the crew, so if any are also in a Scouts BSA troop, make sure you pay for five in the crew and make them Multiples in the troop. The rest can be paid in the troop and be Multiples in the crew.

As always, stay in tune with the changes that take place regularly in our programs and policies. We’ll do our best to keep you informed. If you have any questions, your first point of contact is your Unit Commissioner.

News & Notes, October 2021

Information you need to know this month:

Online rechartering changes

Internet rechartering, version 2, is here. It’s more straightforward than the previous system. It works through the existing my.scouting portal. Unit Key 3 have access, and there’s no access code needed. Documents can be uploaded into the system.  Payment can be made online, and the chartered organization representative can approve the recharter application online. The Key 3 can Continue reading “News & Notes, October 2021”

Guide to Advancement 2021

Guide to AdvancementThe Boy Scouts of America’s National Advancement Team has completed its biennial review and updates to the Guide to Advancement, BSA’s canonical reference to all things related to advancement.

First published in its current form in 2011 and updated every two years since, the Guide has chapters covering all aspects of advancement across all the BSA’s programs. In the past, updates have been quietly published with little fanfare, but in recent years – and especially with changes necessitated in the last year or so – there’s been more publicity surrounding its release. So you’ve probably heard or read about some of the changes.

Just in case you haven’t, though, here’s a quick rundown: Continue reading “Guide to Advancement 2021”

Fees to rise again

The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America has announced another in what has become an annual increase in membership fees.

Effective August 1, 2021, the fee for an individual Scout in traditional programs (Cub Scouts, ScoutsBSA and Venturing) along with Sea Scouting will increase from $66 to $72. Adult volunteers and those in the Exploring program will see a rise from $42 to $45. The one-time joining fee will remain at $25, and the annual charter fee stays at $75. BSA has provided an infographic explaining the new fee structure.

The three-year fee increase progression was not unanticipated. Continue reading “Fees to rise again”

Let’s just have some fun!

Summer is approaching – something we may have lost track of, despite the change in weather, because our routines have been substantially altered over the last year. Pack and den meetings have taken on a completely different look from what we were used to. Many of the ways that Cub Scouts took part in activities that lead to advancement in rank have had to adapt to the changing circumstances of social distancing and meeting remotely.

The National Advancement Team of the Boy Scouts of America reminds us that even though our Cub Scouts roll up to their next rank in June, special provisions are in place for them to complete the ranks they are departing while they begin to enjoy activities of their next rank. Continue reading “Let’s just have some fun!”