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”

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”