Each year, each and every part of the Boy Scouts of America must renew its charter, giving it authority to operate for another year. This applies to packs, troops, crews, districts, OA lodges, and even councils. The annual renewal process allows for an opportunity to review a unit’s performance over the previous year, review its membership and leadership, and re-commit to the ideals of Scouting so that we may serve the youth who have come to us seeking fun and adventure.
In a troop or pack, the task of preparing and submitting the charter application falls to the troop committee. Among the committee chair’s responsibilities is to conduct the annual charter review with the chartered organization representative and/or head and the unit commissioner, and to timely submit the charter application. This can range from a simple to a highly complex operation depending on the makeup of your membership and adult leadership.
Most Cub Scout packs have a continuous churn in membership. You will have added Tiger Cubs and perhaps boys of other ranks during the fall recruiting drive; you will have lost boys as they crossed over to a troop in the spring; and you may have picked up a few new members (or lost a couple) along the way outside of these activities. Each new member should have completed an application and been registered with your local council promptly upon joining the unit, and when a Webelos scout crosses to Boy Scouts, he’ll have submitted a new application transferring his membership to the troop.
Boy Scout troops have a fairly stable membership. They do most of their recruiting in the spring as Webelos Scouts cross over. Some also pick up members who move to town, are told about Scouting by their friends, or who just come our way looking for adventure. Normally, applications are filed with your council when they join, and their membership with your unit is a matter of record.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go so smoothly. An application might not have been filed. You may lose members who don’t return for one or more reasons: they might move away, stop coming to meetings, or age out (become too old for the program). These result in mismatches between what your council has on file for you and what you actually show on your roster.
Adult leaders come and go, too, and new adult members of your unit must file an adult application when they join as well as any time they change positions. For a pack, this includes all den leaders, the Cubmaster and assistants, the committee chair and committee members, and the pack trainer.In a troop, there are no den leaders, of course, but your Scoutmaster and assistants, as well as the committee chair and members, must also file when the join or any time they change to a different position.
The best way to make sure your membership records are correct is to provide a copy of your roster (from your own records, such as Packmaster/Troopmaster or the pack or troop/team record book – not from Scoutnet or the online advancement system) to your unit commissioner, council registrar or district professional, and ask them to compare your roster with what they have on file for you, in case any remedial action is necessary. This might require completing a new application (youth or adult), getting it signed (for youth, by the unit leader, and for adults, by the committee chair and chartered organization representative), turning it in to your council service center, and paying the appropriate pro-rata registration fee. Here’s a little trick: Most councils will back-date your applications as far back as the last charter renewal date, as long as you pay the fees for the correct number of months. Therefore, if you discover that a Scout who crossed over in March and since completed Tenderfoot, but isn’t on your unit roster, he can be registered effective in March so his advancement date will not come into question.
Having a correct and complete unit roster is the first step to an easy recharter experience. In the next article I’ll go into some of the fine points of rechartering that the committee chair needs to observe.