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”

New Eagle project workbook available

As we move into 2019, there are some advancement changes in the offing. Significant is the issuance of a new Eagle Scout leadership service project workbook, now available from the national forms library or your local council.

The new form must be used for all Eagle projects started after January 1, 2019, but projects started using the old form can continue to use that form for the time being. The BSA will most likely sunset the old form, probably in a few months.

One change is the file format that the new workbook uses. Continue reading “New Eagle project workbook available”

Accepting refugees

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

If you follow the news at all, there’s no way to avoid hearing about what some are portraying as a grave threat to our country – an “invasion” by a caravan of “dangerous criminals” with plans to “attack our borders”. The claims are that there are “ISIS” “terrorists”  who are “unknown Middle Easterners,” “hardened criminals” and “very tough fighters” who are “bringing smallpox” and have intentions of spreading mayhem. Tens of thousands of military troops have been dispatched to the border to quell this “insurrection.”

Cooler heads realize that the caravan – many hundreds of miles from our border – is composed of, at most, a couple thousand people, mainly from Honduras. For these mostly women and children, many with nothing but the clothes on their back – shoeless, even – things are so bad in their home countries that they are willing to risk the trip Continue reading “Accepting refugees”