News & notes – April 2022

I’m back with a look at some topics that you may find of interest.

National Jamboree 2023

Registration is now live for the 2023 National Scout Jamboree, to be held again at the Summit Bechtel Family Reserve in West Virginia July 19-28, 2023. As that is only fifteen months away, councils are assembling contingents and making travel arrangements. Jamboree is the adventure of a lifetime for Scouts. Tents are about the only thing Jamboree has in common with summer camp – it’s ten days of challenges, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, friends and fellowship. Scouts must be twelve  years old by the first day of Jamboree to attend. And because of the cancellation of the 2021 Jamboree, there will be an accommodation for young adults over eighteen up to age 21 to attend as part of a council contingent. Applications are also open for the Jamboree Service Team (aka Staff), who must be at least sixteen years old with discounted fees for those under 34, and staff can choose to attend for the entire Jamboree, or just the first or second half. Spread the word in your troop, watch for contingent information from your council, and visit for everything you need to know about Jamboree.

Safe Swim Defense training updated

Units conducting swimming activities must have leaders trained in Safe Swim Defense. The training, required every two years, just got a little easier to access as the course has been updated to be compatible with mobile devices. The training is taken by logging into your account, as with other online training. You’ll find more about Safe Swim Defense in the Guide to Safe Scouting.

New Eagle Scout rank application form released

The Advancement Team has released the new Eagle Scout rank application form. The new form should be used in all cases except when a Scout has started the process using the older form.

Spring is here!

In most parts of the country, the cold weather is receding along with the snow, and more people are getting outside again. It’s the perfect time to invite young people and their families to join Scouting. While troops generally receive crossovers in the winter and spring, there’s no reason we can’t ask Cub Scout-age youth to come and enjoy some of our fun. You may have seen a recent article in Scouting Magazine’s blog about spring recruiting for Cub Scout packs. We’ve been discussing the subject in our district as well. Many areas hold joint activities with several packs putting on a community activity day, or have an exhibit at a spring festival. Put on your thinking cap and come up with some ways that your pack can get the word out to the youth in your community, and you may find your pack growing to replace those who’ve moved on to Scouts BSA.

Summer camp merit badges

Summer camp can be a great way for a Scout to get ahead on his or her merit badges, especially some of the harder-to-achieve ones that benefit from the facilities at a Scout camp. Shotgun Shooting, Welding, Wilderness Survival and Environmental Science are some of the ones that are difficult to complete outside of a summer camp setting. There is a tendency for a Scout to fill up his schedule with as many merit badges as there is time for, and earning seven or eight in one week is not uncommon.

And while summer camp shouldn’t be considered a vacation, it can be thought of as a time for a young person to get away from the daily grind at home and explore some new opportunities. The push to complete merit badge classes at summer camp – “Scout school”, if you will – would bewilder Baden-Powell, who viewed camping as a way to give young people a chance to observe the natural world, interact with his buddies, and enjoy quiet reflection.

It’s okay for a Scout not to schedule merit badge classes in every available period. There’s no minimum number that is considered appropriate. Younger Scouts may wish to take advantage of the opportunities, but older Scouts in particular can benefit from just having time to enjoy some exploration and relaxation. My sons would go on hikes, work on independent Scoutcraft projects, go kayaking, or just read a book under the forest canopy during their free time at summer camp.

Encourage your Scouts to follow their own vision for their summer camp experience.

That’s all for this month. Be sure to get in touch if there’s anything I can help with, or if you have any ideas for topics in future articles. Stay well, stay inspired, and always Do Your Best!

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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