2017 Advancement Updates

January first is usually a significant day in the advancement process. Most rank and merit badge requirement changes become effective as of the first of the year. New Year’s Day in 2016 marked significant and sweeping changes in Boy Scout requirements. Most ranks saw changes or an overhaul, and Scout was added as an official rank and not just the joining requirement. The permissive period started January 1, 2016, meaning that Scouts who were working toward a rank could continue to use the old requirements until they completed that rank, but had to use the new requirements if they started after that date. As of January 1, 2017, all Scouts have to use the new requirements.

Possibly less noticed were the requirement changes that took effect January 1, 2017. Yes, there were a few – some you probably didn’t hear about – but they are worth noting. Continue reading “2017 Advancement Updates”

The merit badge counselor’s role

If you’re a merit badge counselor, you’re probably pretty familiar with the role that merit badges play in the Boy Scout advancement system. Once they reach First Class, Scouts must earn a certain number of merit badges to continue advancing, with some drawn from the list of badges required for the rank of Eagle Scout and the rest on any subject at the Scout’s discretion.

The merit badge counselor, therefore, has a pivotal role in the advancement process for our older Scouts, and the Scouting experience for all Boy Scouts. Continue reading “The merit badge counselor’s role”

Mid-year Cub Scout program updates

cub_scout_sign_200If you follow Scouting Magazine on social media, you might have heard about some updates to the Cub Scout Adventure program that were announced last week.

(Look in the comments for links to the updates that you can print and paste into the Scouts’ books. Thanks Tom!)

The BSA Advancement Team found that, after the Adventure program was introduced last year, there has been a decline in the number of Cub Scouts advancing. As advancement and re-registration numbers start to appear, it has become apparent that an alarmingly low number of Cub Scouts completed their rank requirements last year.

Was this due to the newness of the program and the unfamiliarity of it among den leaders? Or could the requirements have just been too complex and rigorous?

The Advancement Team concluded it was probably the latter, and so have made a few easements to hopefully allow more boys to complete their rank advancements. Continue reading “Mid-year Cub Scout program updates”

Obsolete? Says who!

buggywhipA friend sent me the link to an article on the website of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) titled 10 Skills Our Kids Will Never Learn. It’s a rundown on skills that those of the Baby Boomer generation have come to take for granted but which today’s youth view as useless or otherwise irrelevant, thanks to technology, societal changes or a shift in our education system. There’s not much call for making buggy whips any more, but what about these skills?

As a Boomer and the parent of two Millennials, I can see their point and have seen some of these in my own kids. But the skills in the article are far from obsolete. Rather, they are great things to know that could come in handy when you least expect it.

From a Scouting perspective, it means Being Prepared – for there are times when your smartphone’s battery runs flat, or you need to figure something out that can’t be looked up on Wikipedia or YouTube.

Just for fun, let’s look at some of the supposedly obsolete skills, how Scouting manages to teach them to our young people anyway, and why it matters. Continue reading “Obsolete? Says who!”

Barriers to entry

fence_250Have you ever joined something – a club, team or organization – and had to cross a hurdle in order to be a member?

Clubs have membership requirements. Most sports teams have tryouts. You have to meet the job requirements as a step in getting hired.

Scouting has its membership requirement. For Cub Scouts, it’s really simple – be a boy in grades one through five. Boys need only be eleven years old but not yet eighteen to be a Boy Scout. Simple, right?

We also have our joining requirements, but we let new members in the door before they complete, or even start, fulfilling them. Continue reading “Barriers to entry”