News & Notes, November 2021

This month’s Scouting topics to be aware of:

Inviting new members to join your unit

It’s easy to invite new members to join. You can send them a link to follow, which will take them directly to register for your pack or troop. Just sign in to my.scouting.org, click Menu, then your unit number. Click Invitation Manager, then Copy URL. Paste this URL into your invitation email, and the prospective member will be taken to your registration page where the national (and, in most councils, local) registration fees will be collected. Note that starting in October, fees are also collected for the following year so you won’t need to collect again when you recharter.

And don’t forget to promptly follow up on leads that are generated from your “pin”. The unit Key 3 will get daily reminder e-mails when unanswered inquiries are pending.

Vaccination policy updated

With COVID vaccines on the verge of becoming available to youth as young as five years old, the BSA has taken the opportunity to review and update its policy on vaccinations for youth and adult participants. While stopping short of requiring many vaccines, including for COVID, the policy clarifies the required vaccines for all, and provides a list of recommended ones, following CDC guidelines.

Vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) and polio are required for all individuals, as are those for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) for those born in 1957 or later, and varicella, or chicken pox, for those born in 1980 or later. Some vaccines require boosters to be given periodically, such as every ten years for tetanus.

Those recommended, but not required, include COVID, influenza, hepatitis, meningitis, shingles and pneumonia. The latter two are generally recommended for older adults.

You can find the latest on vaccination requirements in this update from the BSA. Please share the information with your families. You can also find BSA’s answers to frequently asked questions about COVID and an updated FAQ about the annual health and medical record. 

 Safe Scouting updates

The new Guide to Safe Scouting for 2021 is out, and there are, as usual, a few changes and updates.

  • Aquatics: Updates to the SCUBA program, lifejacket language to reflect performance levels, and a prohibition on full-face snorkel masks.
  • Camping: There are updates to the camping policy, and Age-Appropriate guidelines for camping have been integrated into the Age-Appropriate for Scouting section.
  • Medical: Updates to the immunization policies (see previous item).
  • Activity planning and risk assessment: The Sweet 16 of Safety is replaced with the SAFE Checklist, and the exception allowing the use of cannons by councils has been eliminated.
  • Transportation policy has been updated.
  • Exploring program section has been added.
  • New sections for Wilderness First Aid and Hazard Trees (dead trees and trees with dead branches that may fall and pose a hazard).

Download the latest Guide here, become familiar with its contents (especially the prohibited activities), and keep a copy on your smartphone (it’s only a bit over 1 Megabyte now) so you can refer to it at a meeting or when camping or on an outing.

Youth Protection Training

On the topic of safe Scouting, check your adult members’ Youth Protection Training status. (From my.scouting.org, under your unit, select Training Manager.) Make sure that anyone whose YPT expires by the end of the year (and, preferably, into the first few months of 2022) is reminded to retake YPT, otherwise your charter renewal may end up as defective and won’t be processed.

Supply chain issues at Scout Shops

It seems that the supply chain disruptions that we’ve all heard about are affecting availability of event patches and other materials this year. I called one of my council’s Scout Shops to ask if they had the 2021 Jamboree On The Air patch in stock but was told they hadn’t received them yet. In fact, the salesperson told me that the last thing they received for 2021 was the Pinewood Derby patch – and that was early this year. Nothing has come through the pipeline since, and he was doubtful that any other Scout Shops in our council had 2021 merchandise either. I had difficulty placing an order for the item from the scoutstuff.org website as well. So, you might have to ask your Scouts to sit tight for a while if they’re expecting a patch for a recent activity or event.

Position changes for registered adults

If you have adults who are changing positions (such as from den leader to Cubmaster or committee member to assistant Scoutmaster), their position registration can be done online by the chartered organization representative without requiring a new adult application form to be completed as in the past. The CR signs in to my.scouting.org, selects the unit from the menu, then follow Organization Manager, Position Manager, Registered Positions. Functional roles (such as training coordinator, advancement coordinator, etc) can also be assigned by a Key 3.

Advice on Multiples

A Multiple is a youth or adult member who is registered in more than one unit (such as a Cub Scout den leader who is also a troop committee member), or in a unit and holding a council or district position (such as a troop committee member who is also a member of the district committee). Multiples only pay a fee in one unit; there is no fee due to the other unit.

This can cause an issue in small units, such as Venturing crews, which require at least five youth members. The five members must be paid in the crew, so if any are also in a Scouts BSA troop, make sure you pay for five in the crew and make them Multiples in the troop. The rest can be paid in the troop and be Multiples in the crew.

As always, stay in tune with the changes that take place regularly in our programs and policies. We’ll do our best to keep you informed. If you have any questions, your first point of contact is your Unit Commissioner.

Guide to Safe Scouting updated for 2019

Scouting safety is important enough that the guideposts we must follow are continuously reviewed and updated. The Boy Scouts of America maintains the latest version of the Guide to Safe Scouting online and provides a new printed version every year or so.

This year’s Guide includes several changes and updates. Some, as usual, are cosmetic or represent wording changes and clarifications. Others revise sections or an entire chapter.

Here’s a summary: Continue reading “Guide to Safe Scouting updated for 2019”

Cubs can canoe! New aquatics rules now in effect

When you think about Scouting, you think about doing things in the great outdoors. Fishing, archery and hiking all come to mind. So do aquatics like swimming and boating. But certain activities have traditionally been off limits or restricted for various age groups because of safety, training, or other considerations. You’re probably aware that Cub Scouts weren’t supposed to go canoeing, kayaking or rowing unless it’s at a camp or program operated by the Boy Scouts of America or your local council – but not as an activity conducted by your pack.

In April of this year, however, the rules for Cub Scout aquatics changed to allow a range of activities permitted at the unit level. Continue reading “Cubs can canoe! New aquatics rules now in effect”

Guide to Safe Scouting 2015 update

g2ss2014Although the print edition of the Guide to Safe Scouting gets updated each year or two, the information in the Guide is revised quarterly when changes are made. A printed or downloaded copy should be part of every Scouter’s kit, and while traditionally published as an 8 1/2 x 11 stapled booklet, recent paper editions have been in a smaller format and spiral-bound for easy reference and for fitting into your duffel or backpack.

The April 2015 edition of the Guide is now available online. This version contains a few changes and updates over the most recent printed edition issued last year. You should make note of the changes, especially if your program is affected. Continue reading “Guide to Safe Scouting 2015 update”