Order of the Arrow updates

Recent developments and changes in the Boy Scouts of America have resulted in the need to revise a few policies and procedures of the Order of the Arrow.

The OA, sometimes called Scouting’s society of honor campers, has been around nearly as long as Scouting itself. We’ve written about the history of the Order and what it means to troops, packs and the Scouts themselves. An organization within an organization, it strives to foster a sense of cheerfulness, brotherhood and service in those Scouts chosen by their peers for espousing those traits.

Here’s a summary of the updates that have been announced or taken effect in the last few months. Continue reading “Order of the Arrow updates”

A mid-year checkup

Depending on where you are, school is probably out, or will be out soon. Packs are wrapping up their program year and reminding parents of the summer’s planned activities. Troops are still meeting, though perhaps on a relaxed schedule, and are getting ready for summer camp, the highlight of the year. But in general, the pace of activities steps down a notch or two.

There’s one thing you should consider doing before heading for camp, or for the lake, or hitting the road for that summer vacation: Do a mid-year checkup of your unit. Continue reading “A mid-year checkup”

More Q&A: Committee approval of advancement, smartphones at camp

The mailbag brought a couple more questions to the Bobwhite’s attention in the last few weeks. I’ll take a stab at answering your conundrums this week.

First, a question from an experienced den leader – and thank you for your service, as you are the front-line deliverer of Scouting to our Cub Scouts! – about a committee chair’s role in advancement: Continue reading “More Q&A: Committee approval of advancement, smartphones at camp”

Youth Protection update

You might have heard a story recently, first reported by National Public Radio, about how cases of child abuse in the past by volunteers of the Boy Scouts of America were significantly under-reported. The existence of the Ineligible Volunteer (IV) files, or “perversion files” as they were sometimes called internally, was revealed in 2012 as the result of a court case. These files were secretly kept by the BSA as far back as the 1920s and contains information on thousands of volunteers suspected in tens of thousands of incidents of child abuse.

As one lawsuit led to another, the BSA began exploring bankruptcy protection proceedings last year in order to shield itself from eventual destruction by a potential onslaught of “me too” cases. That’s not to diminish the concerns of those aggrieved, but as we have seen with other organizations, we could be on the verge of extinction as an organization if these lawsuits proceed to destroy the BSA.

I’ve been asked by friends and co-workers about the latest news. Continue reading “Youth Protection update”

How the Methods strengthen Scouting

The aims of the Boy Scouts of America – character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness – are carried out through application of the methods of each program. You can probably name at least a few of them off the top of your head. Advancement, uniforming and the outdoors come to mind right away, but they all work together to help ensure that our core values are carried out.

For example, in Cub Scouting, the first two methods are Living the Ideals and Belonging to a Den. Continue reading “How the Methods strengthen Scouting”