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.

Bullying prevention: it’s our job

We usually think of bullying as taking place between youth. Whether they lack the filter of age and experience or just don’t know that it’s wrong, young people – particularly teenagers – can be genuinely mean-spirited at times.

But it’s not just young people. One of my readers wrote to me a few weeks ago to relate a situation in his troop where the Scoutmaster was, in his description, verbally and mentally abusive to Scouts in the troop. He didn’t go into specific detail but from the circumstances surrounding the incidents, one could describe the behavior of the Scoutmaster as bullying.

After making progress toward greater awareness of bullying and its effects and consequences, it seems like the discourse is becoming less civilized. Continue reading “Bullying prevention: it’s our job”

Dealing with the fee increase

Update: On October 23, the BSA announced the new fees, as you’ve probably heard:

  • Youth members in Cub Scouts, ScoutsBSA, Venturing and Sea Scouting, $60 per year
  • Youth members in Exploring, $36 per year
  • Adult members, $36 per year
  • Annual charter fee, $60 per unit (previously $40)

More information and links in this post on the Scouting Magazine blog.

We now rejoin this post, already in progress.

By now you’ve heard about the Boy Scouts of America’s plans to increase the annual registration fee for youth and adult participants. The fee, currently $33 per year, is charged of all registered youth members and adults (with a few exceptions, such as Merit Badge Counselors, parent partners and such). Many councils add a local insurance fee to this, but the $33 goes to National. We’ve been told that it will be going up effective with charters that renew starting this fall. We are in suspense about the amount of the fee increase; it hasn’t been announced at press time, but the BSA has informed us that the increase will be considered and acted upon by the National Executive Board and conveyed to us no later than October 23.

Naturally, this announcement has landed like a ton of bricks with nearly every unit. Continue reading “Dealing with the fee increase”

Youth Protection update

You might have heard a story recently, first reported by National Public Radio, about how cases of child abuse in the past by volunteers of the Boy Scouts of America were significantly under-reported. The existence of the Ineligible Volunteer (IV) files, or “perversion files” as they were sometimes called internally, was revealed in 2012 as the result of a court case. These files were secretly kept by the BSA as far back as the 1920s and contains information on thousands of volunteers suspected in tens of thousands of incidents of child abuse.

As one lawsuit led to another, the BSA began exploring bankruptcy protection proceedings last year in order to shield itself from eventual destruction by a potential onslaught of “me too” cases. That’s not to diminish the concerns of those aggrieved, but as we have seen with other organizations, we could be on the verge of extinction as an organization if these lawsuits proceed to destroy the BSA.

I’ve been asked by friends and co-workers about the latest news. Continue reading “Youth Protection update”

Two-deep leadership updates

By now, you should have taken the new Youth Protection Training course online to bring your training current. As we’ve discussed before, everyone must take the new course, which was released in February, regardless of the expiration date of your YPT. If you haven’t taken the new YPT, do it now!

The recent revisions to the Boy Scouts of America’s youth protection practices include updates to the policy requiring two adult leaders at all Scouting activities. The national youth protection team has provided some important clarifications and answered many questions about the new policy: Continue reading “Two-deep leadership updates”