Journey into 2020

The end of the year is hectic, with packs, troops and crews wrapping up their roster review, collecting membership fees and filing their recharter paperwork. It can be a big job, especially if there’s lots of turnover either with youth members leaving as well as joining. And getting those disclosure forms is causing a lot of gray hair – almost as much as trying to figure out how to pay registration fees that have doubled with funds that are most likely already collected.

Sometimes relegated to an afterthought is the Journey to Excellence scorecard. A one-page checkup on the health of your unit, JTE is a handy way to see where you’re doing well and where you might consider improving. When you sit down with your unit commissioner and go over the form, you can gain some valuable insight into how to help your unit better serve your youth. Continue reading “Journey into 2020”

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”

Safety first!

The world was on the edge of its seat last week over the fate of twelve young men  and their coach in Thailand. They had decided to visit a cave following soccer practice one day, and a sudden rainstorm flooded the cave and trapped them deep inside. A literal army of thousands of military and volunteers took extraordinary measures to rescue them after days of worry and hope. The technical skill, preparation and good fortune came together and, except for one rescuer who perished,  everyone was brought out safely.

Besides happily hearing the good news, my thoughts turned to what if this had happened to a Scout outing. After all, Scouts do some pretty adventurous things – caving being one of them. Continue reading “Safety first!”

Dealing with health forms

Along with welcoming new members into our packs and troops and starting the program year, fall is the time when many units collect updated health forms from their youth and adult members.

The Boy Scouts of America recommends that each member have on file with his or her unit a completed copy of the General Information and Health History form (Part B) so unit leaders can provide essential health information to medical personnel in the event someone needs assistance or treatment. Part B, along with Part C, Pre-Participation Physical, is required by most camps for long-term camping, such as summer camp or resident camps.

Maintaining these records can be a confusing process. Continue reading “Dealing with health forms”

Tour plan requirement discontinued

It’s now official: The requirement to file a Tour Plan for unit activities is no more.

The BSA released word to councils (some time ago) that the procedure would no longer be required. We announced it on Twitter on March 15 when word came down to the Commissioner staff. Now, they’ve publicly announced that the need to complete and file the multi-step questionnaire won’t stand in the way of your next weekend campout or trip to Philmont.

(And yes, like Scouting Magazine’s editor Bryan Wendell remarked, I thought it could be an April Fool’s joke until I checked with our council program director for confirmation.) Continue reading “Tour plan requirement discontinued”