Group instruction of merit badges

You find them in just about every council. They can take place once or several times a year. Sometimes they’re run by the council; much of the time they tie in with a local college, museum or company. They’re attended by dozens or hundreds of Scouts.

I’m referring to events known by various names: Merit Badge College, University, Clinic, Badge-a-Palooza, Badge-O-Ree or just Merit Badge Day.

These are events, typically on a weekend and often lasting anywhere from a few hours to a couple days. They offer instruction in anywhere from a handful to dozens of merit badges, conducted by a field of experts and merit badge counselors.

They can be very efficient ways for a Scout to earn one or more merit badges in a short period of time. Continue reading “Group instruction of merit badges”

How do you onboard new parents?

As young people cross over from Cub Scouts to ScoutsBSA‘s programs, their parents frequently follow. Often, the more involved adults have been volunteer leaders in their childrens’ packs, and it is this source of talent that many troops seek to help do the many things that adults do for the Scouts.

The ScoutsBSA program differs substantially from Cub Scouting in that the responsibility for carrying out the program rests on the youth members rather than on the adults. The transition is meant to be a smooth and continuous one for the youth, but can be disruptive to the adults who have been used to running the show for the last several years. Continue reading “How do you onboard new parents?”

Lead before you’re a leader

A couple weeks ago, I was at a quarterly Court of Honor for one of the Scouts BSA troops in the area. I had been invited to give a Friends of Scouting presentation to the troop families. As was customary with the troop, the master of ceremonies asked each patrol’s Scouts to introduce themselves by name and rank and to tell their position of responsibility.

I noted that most of the Scouts would say “I don’t have a position in the troop” before concluding their introduction by telling their favorite video game. That didn’t seem right to me – there were only four or five out of thirty or so Scouts who said they had a position. Continue reading “Lead before you’re a leader”

Guide to Advancement updated for 2019

As the Scouts BSA program continues to roll along, our published materials are getting caught up with the changes. After the Guide to Safe Scouting updates released earlier, there is a new Guide to Advancement for 2019.

Typically updated every two years, the current edition mainly edits content to reflect the addition of female youth members in the traditional programs, but there are a few other updates. The Guide can be found online at the Guide to Advancement section of the Boy Scouts of America website.

Here are the major changes in the latest version: Continue reading “Guide to Advancement updated for 2019”

Guide to Safe Scouting updated for 2019

Scouting safety is important enough that the guideposts we must follow are continuously reviewed and updated. The Boy Scouts of America maintains the latest version of the Guide to Safe Scouting online and provides a new printed version every year or so.

This year’s Guide includes several changes and updates. Some, as usual, are cosmetic or represent wording changes and clarifications. Others revise sections or an entire chapter.

Here’s a summary: Continue reading “Guide to Safe Scouting updated for 2019”