Adults on troop outings

A reader wrote to me a few weeks back asking for advice on how to select adults to go along on troop campouts, particularly those featuring above-the-norm, interesting activities. This reader felt that certain adults were given first crack repeatedly, that most of the adults were being bypassed when it came to offering the chance to participate, and he asked if some sort of a lottery or rotation system should be put in place.

I responded by saying that first and foremost, Scouting is for the Scouts. It’s not something that the adults plan and do because they like it or find it interesting, and include the youth in the process. Adults are there to make it possible for the Scouts to do Scout stuff. Continue reading “Adults on troop outings”


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More advancement updates

No sooner had the Boy Scouts of America published the 2017 revision to its omnibus reference work Guide to Advancement, which we reviewed in a recent article, than it announced a few changes.

Eagle Palms

There are some important changes to the way Eagle Palms are earned and awarded. Most significantly, the new rules allow a newly-minted Eagle Scout to receive Palms for his aggregate total of merit badges up to the date of his board of review. This will be a benefit to Scouts who earn Eagle late in their Scouting careers, and who would not have otherwise had an opportunity to earn Palms. Continue reading “More advancement updates”


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There is only one Scoutmaster

I once had four bosses in the same job, all at the same time.

At one point in my career, I was a department head at a branch location of a company that had a half-dozen locations around the country. Our branch had two divisions, which my department supported, and each division had a manager. The location had a general manager who ran the overall branch operation, and the corporate headquarters had a chief of the department that I headed. I effectively answered to all of them.

Talk about confusion!

There were times when I felt like I was being pulled in four directions. Manager A wanted something done, but it went against what the corporate head’s policies permitted. Meanwhile, Manager B and the general manager were asking me to do different things as well. There was no clear managerial chain of command, and the way things ran in this organization made it difficult to rectify the situation. I left after a couple years, primarily for greener pastures, but also because the conflicting structure made it difficult for me to satisfy everyone.

If this befuddled me, think of how it would affect a Scout-age boy. Continue reading “There is only one Scoutmaster”


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2017 Advancement Updates

January first is usually a significant day in the advancement process. Most rank and merit badge requirement changes become effective as of the first of the year. New Year’s Day in 2016 marked significant and sweeping changes in Boy Scout requirements. Most ranks saw changes or an overhaul, and Scout was added as an official rank and not just the joining requirement. The permissive period started January 1, 2016, meaning that Scouts who were working toward a rank could continue to use the old requirements until they completed that rank, but had to use the new requirements if they started after that date. As of January 1, 2017, all Scouts have to use the new requirements.

Possibly less noticed were the requirement changes that took effect January 1, 2017. Yes, there were a few – some you probably didn’t hear about – but they are worth noting. Continue reading “2017 Advancement Updates”


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Summer camp, or merit badge factory?

Summer camp is one of Scouting’s great traditions. For youth and adult alike, it’s great to get away for a week or more, camp under the canopy of trees, enjoy the fine summer weather (yes, even the liquid sunshine!), and get back in touch with the great outdoors and what’s really important.

However, most camps are set up just like school. Scouts are up and off to breakfast, then fill their days with a schedule of classes. There’s a short break for lunch. Dinnertime comes around, and there are more merit badge opportunities in the evening. If a Scout wants to work really hard, he can earn seven or eight merit badges.

Is that the point of going to camp? Continue reading “Summer camp, or merit badge factory?”


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