In the last post, we discussed an important step to take before you embark on the annual rechartering process for your unit. It’s essential, for many reasons, to ensure that everyone that you think is a member of your unit is actually registered with the BSA. The best way to do this is to ask your unit commissioner or district executive to compare your own roster against what they have on file for you, and submit any missing applications before you sign in to begin the rechartering process online. Once you make that initial login, your roster is frozen, and any changes have to be submitted with the charter package.
Here are a few other things to think ahead about when it comes to rechartering:
- Get your charter packet from your unit commissioner. This includes your login information for the BSA’s online recharter system as well as any council-specific information that you need to know. These are usually available at least two months prior to your charter expiration date.
- One, and only one, person should be the rechartering administrator for your unit. All information needs to funnel to this person to ensure that conflicting information doesn’t get entered. The committee chair is responsible for rechartering; sometimes this task is delegated to another committee member, but the chair is ultimately responsible.
- Decide how, and how much, you will charge for membership renewal. Your unit’s current budget plan should allow you to determine this. Some units charge just the BSA fees (registration, Boys’ Life, insurance); some add an administrative overhead; some don’t charge anything or a reduced rate and rely on fundraising to cover it.
- Decide when to collect membership renewals. Depending on your troop or pack calendar, your membership year may or may not not coincide with your charter year. Cub Scout packs, for instance, usually process membership renewals in the fall when they recruit new members, since their program year tends to run from September to August. Many Boy Scout troops follow the same calendar, but others follow a charter year system or handle renewals in the spring when the Webelos scouts cross over. In any event, remember that your Scouts’ and adults’ BSA membership coincides with your charter year, not your unit program year.
- Contact your chartered organization representative and unit commissioner and set up a meeting a month or two prior to rechartering. If your chartered organization representative isn’t an active member of your troop committee, he or she will appreciate receiving an update on your pack’s or troop’s activities. It also serves as an opportunity for a reminder of the upcoming deadlines and the need to obtain the executive officer’s signature on the charter renewal application.
- Attend charter renewal training if it’s offered in your district, especially if this is your first time processing your unit’s recharter.
- Find out the deadline for turning in your charter paperwork. Your charter may expire on January 31 but your council office may want you to turn it in a week or two early to allow for checking and fixing anything that’s missing. Your district executive will help you with this. (Remember that your district is evaluated on the number of units that recharter on time, so do your part to help!)
- Don’t forget your Journey to Excellence evaluation! Check with your unit commissioner or district executive for the due date and submittal process.
- Allow plenty of time for your chartered organization’s executive officer to sign the paperwork and get it back to you.
- Get a check from your troop treasurer, or ensure that your unit deposit account has sufficient funds to cover the registration fees. The online chartering process will give you your total. Some councils have a supplemental worksheet as well; instructions would be in your charter packet.
- Start thinking about a charter presentation ceremony. Charters usually come back a month or so after the turn-in deadline. Arrange with your chartered organization representative and commissioner to present the charter at a meeting of the group, church service or other occasion with its members present. Besides yourself and some of the other adult leaders, a few Scouts (all in uniform, of course) should attend as well.
Rechartering is one of the more complex administrative operations you will conduct in the course of your year, but it need not be daunting if you take the proper steps, are well prepared, and allow enough time.