Dealing with the fee increase

Update: On October 23, the BSA announced the new fees, as you’ve probably heard:

  • Youth members in Cub Scouts, ScoutsBSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting, $60 per year
  • Youth members in Exploring, $36 per year
  • Adult members, $36 per year
  • Annual charter fee, $60 per unit (previously $40)

More information and links in this post on the Scouting Magazine blog.

We now rejoin this post, already in progress.

By now you’ve heard about the Boy Scouts of America’s plans to increase the annual registration fee for youth and adult participants. The fee, currently $33 per year, is charged of all registered youth members and adults (with a few exceptions, such as Merit Badge Counselors, parent partners and such). Many councils add a local insurance fee to this, but the $33 goes to National. We’ve been told that it will be going up effective with charters that renew starting this fall. We are in suspense about the amount of the fee increase; it hasn’t been announced at press time, but the BSA has informed us that the increase will be considered and acted upon by the National Executive Board and conveyed to us no later than October 23.

Naturally, this announcement has landed like a ton of bricks with nearly every unit. Continue reading “Dealing with the fee increase”

Even leaders make mistakes

To err is human, said the poet Alexander Pope over three hundred years ago. Everyone makes mistakes. Scouts make mistakes. In fact, the Scouting program is built partly to allow young people to safely make mistakes and learn from them. In the words of Samuel Beckett, No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

But while making mistakes is a common and not often fatal attribute, in certain cases they can cause disruption in an organization. The fatality arises from the inability to recognize mistakes for what they are.

You’ve probably encountered someone who just can’t admit having made a mistake. Continue reading “Even leaders make mistakes”

Fill in the blanks – the right way

With fall comes our surge of new members in the Boy Scouts of America – mainly in the Cub Scouting program – and with it comes the paperwork. The BSA membership of our current members gets renewed at recharter time, but those new to Scouting or new to our units (including transfers from other packs) need to complete a membership application. And of course, this means both youth and adults.

For the last year or two, it’s been possible to submit applications online. This allows the new member to complete a paperless application, have it routed automatically to the unit leader or committee chair and chartered organization representative for approval, and forwarded to the council for processing. Key unit leaders must be registered on my.scouting.org, and will receive emails to notify them of new applications needing their action. The system makes the process smooth and foolproof with no paper to handle.

For various reasons, though, this approach isn’t optimal for many units: Continue reading “Fill in the blanks – the right way”

The blessing and curse of email

Sometimes I wonder what we ever did before email became ubiquitous. I remember having phone lists and calling trees, phoning the pack leaders to let them know about an important item or change, and calling all my den parents to remind them about the upcoming den meeting or outing. We had printed newsletters, calendars and activity handouts, which got revised frequently resulting in lots of paper thrown away or recycled.

Email has become the most important way to distribute information. What better way than to type a few lines and hit Send and have your message instantly appear for others to read?

When used properly, email is a powerful tool. Continue reading “The blessing and curse of email”