The recent National Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America dropped a few newsworthy bombshells that’ll get out to everyone soon, but here is a quick summary of what we’ve heard.
- In Cub Scouting, dens will be co-ed (boys and girls together) up to the fourth grade. Many dens already function that way, even though they are still administratively separate, so for some there’s no practical change. But they can officially meet together. In Arrow of Light dens (fifth grade), they will still be organized separately, to prepare the Scouts to join either a boy troop or a girl troop.
- The Cub Scouting program will be changing as well. All ranks will have six required Adventures, and Adventures will carry the same name across all ranks but with different, age-appropriate requirements. For instance, an outdoor-themed Adventure will have the same name in all ranks (Wolf, Bear, etc) and all requirements will focus on the outdoors, but with different requirements for each rank. This will allow packs to theme their pack activities along the lines of an Adventure, simplifying program planning and bringing the dens together and providing for a more exciting program. Look for changes to start phasing in later this year with the target to become effective in June 2024.
- As with all things, the national registration fees will increase effective August 1. Youth registration will be $80 per year and the adult fee rises to $60. New will be a fee for Merit Badge counselors. Previously registered at no charge, MBCs will now pay $25 per year if they are not registered in another paid position.
- And rechartering, as we know it, will be going away, replaced with an annual registration based on the join date of the Scout or adult, rather than in step with their unit’s charter renewal. Thus, a youth joining in September will pay the full year’s registration fee; his or her membership will be valid for twelve months and will expire the following September. This will remove the tedium of renewing members as part of the recharter process; individual membership renewal will be handled by the national office in an online process, eliminating the need for units to collect their membership fees and remit them to the council. Of course, some councils (and units) charge activity fees of their own, which will continue to be handled locally. The removal of membership renewal from the recharter process leaves rechartering to focus more on the relationship between the BSA and the chartered organization.
There are lots of unanswered questions, and many of these changes are still being worked on. More information, as it becomes official and available, will come from the BSA and your local council, so be sure to pay attention for updates.This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.