News & Notes, December 2021

A few items for this month:

Citizenship in Society Merit Badge

The requirements for the new Citizenship in Society merit badge have been released, along with guidelines for counselors for the badge.

There is great concern that counselors for this badge have the correct understanding about how the badge is to be facilitated (not taught), and that they have a temperament that will foster discussions without promoting particular views.   Because of this concern, the districts in our council will rely on each Scoutmaster to nominate one or two people who they will vouch for having those characteristics.  Not every current Counselor has the temperament to handle the personal opinion conflicts that can occur in the discussions involved and avoid fostering personal points of view.

Scoutmasters are asked to review the Scout orientation and counselor orientation videos and consider adults in their units who they believe can facilitate the badge. Ask those adults to review the videos and the Scout and counselor requirements. Nominees can be currently-registered merit badge counselors or may register as one.

With proper care, the Citizenship in Society merit badge will be off to a great start.

Journey to Excellence

Our self-assessment tool, the Journey to Excellence, is wrapping up 2021 with the same exceptions in place for the pandemic as were in effect previously. As part of your recharter process, please be sure to get together with your unit commissioner to review your JTE scorecard. The completed scorecard gets turned in prior to December 31. If you qualify for the Bronze, Silver or Gold recognition levels, you can purchase 2021 JTE patches for your members at the Scout Shop. (Supplies may be limited or delayed, though, so check with the shop first.)

Along with JTE, your commissioner will complete what we call a “detailed assesement”. Despite the name, it’s not a job performance review or a final exam and you’re not graded on it. It’s a tool that can help identify trouble in units before it gets out of control. For instance, we can usually flag leadership succession problems before your Cubmaster or a den leader decides to step aside without a ready replacement. Your commissioner will share a checklist with you (one that closely follows JTE), go over some key points, and set up some goals for the coming months.

Journey to Excellence as we’ve know it for the last decade or so is undergoing review, so the 2022 JTE, or whatever replaces it, may look quite a bit different. A new evaluation tool has already been announced for councils and districts. Stay tuned, but keep doing what you’ve been doing.

Friends recruiting friends

If you don’t have enough Scouts in one of your dens to be able to have an effective and fun program, try the normal friend invitation method that was recently described in the Scouting Magazine blog. Friends inviting friends along for the fun has always been a highly effective tool to bring new members into your pack. It worked for one pack – the one I’m chartered organization representative for. The sole Lion Scout invited some of his friends to come to the fall pack activity – a hayride and corn maze. His friends liked it so much that all four joined that night!

That’s all for this month. I hope you take some time to be with family and friends during the holiday season. Best wishes for a happy holiday and a happy New Year.

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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