How Scouting helps identity development

seven_arrows_200Last week I attended an orientation session at the university my son is attending in the fall. There were separate sessions for the new students and for the soon-to-be parents of a college kid. Besides the expected talks on dorm life, financial aid and how to pay the bill, several university staffers presented segments on various aspects of adjusting to college life.

One of the most interesting talks was on the topic of student well-being. Going beyond adjusting to a roommate and using the health center and recreation facilities, the speaker enlightened us on the steps of identity development that our students would most likely go through during their years in college. Continue reading “How Scouting helps identity development”

Advancement educational presentations

g2a_tutorial_screenOne could argue that uniforming is the most visible of the eight methods of Scouting, even though a lot of boys would rather be invisible while in uniform! The method of advancement, however, certainly has a lot of impact and affects just about every aspect of what we do. Scouts like to advance and earn badges for the things they do. Much of the Scout handbook is devoted to rank advancement requirements and ways to get there.

To define exactly how advancement is handled, the Boy Scouts of America provides us with an excellent publication, the Guide to Advancement. Issued in 2011, the Guide covers nearly every conceivable aspect to advancement across all programs of the BSA. But one book can’t do the job by itself, so there are supplemental educational presentations that help Scoutmasters, committee members and merit badge counselors navigate the maze of administering the advancement program within the unit. Continue reading “Advancement educational presentations”

More advancement changes

Here are a few other advancement-related items that have been changed or clarified in the recent Guide to Advancement that affect the troop committee:

  • If you’ve ever been caught short on a board of review night without enough committee members on hand, there is relief. The new rule allows for adults who aren’t registered committee members to serve on a BOR. Here’s the exact language: In units with fewer than three registered committee members available to serve, it is permissible to use knowledgeable parents (not those of the candidate) or other adults (registered or not) who understand Boy Scouting’s aims.Smaller troops may only have three registered committee members, and if the son of one of the committee members needs a board of review, it would otherwise be impossible, since parents can’t participate. This change would also seem to give troops with more committee members greater flexibility to assemble a board of review when we are unexpectedly overloaded with candidates, say during a troop meeting or on a campout. We really don’t want to turn away a Scout who only needs a BOR to advance for lack of registered committee members. They don’t define “available to serve”, so it could mean that while you may have many committee members, they might not all be able to make it to a board of review session. The catch here is that if you have knowledgeable parents or adults who understand Boy Scouting’s aims, they belong on the troop committee anyway, and if you find you need to press them into service, you should invite them to register. Continue reading “More advancement changes”