Dear Andy, We have a Scout transferring from a Troop in a Virginia council to our council in New Jersey. I’m pretty sure he should fill out a standard application and indicate that this is a transfer from the other council, but how do his advancement records get transferred to the Scout’s new Troop and our council? We also have a Troop-to-Troop transfer inside our Council. In this case, the Scout’s “old” Troop didn’t keep good records, and he needs to get his advancement records transferred over to his new Troop so that he can keep working on his ranks. Would our own Council have records, assuming the old Troop filed advancement reports, and if they didn’t, then what? (A.M., DC, Basking Ridge, NJ)
Two good questions! I’ve asked a Council Advancement Chair to help me out, so here’s a “combined answer.” For the first Scout, you’re right that on his new application form he should check off the “transfer” box. He should also get in touch with his “old” Troop and ask them to send him his own records, from the Troop and from the Council (“ScoutNet”) too. If this is difficult, but the Scout is First Class or less, then all his “new” Troop needs to do is verify advancement by checking the Scout’s own set of advancement cards, merit badge cards, and/or “applicant’s record” stub from his “blue cards” and turn in an Advancement Report. This applies to BOTH Scouts and BOTH situations. If the Scout is Star or Life rank, he can still use his own records (they are “official” and he should know this!) and cards. Or, he can even check with our Council Service Center to see what’s been entered for him in the “ScoutNet” system. And there’s an important lesson in this: The one person who’s MOST responsible for advancement record-keeping is – Yup! – THE SCOUT HIMSELF!
Dear Andy, When I was at the 2001 Jamboree, I saw some odd looking beaded “necklaces” that had claws at the bottom of them, worn by some Scouts and Scouters. They didn’t seem to be “OA.” What the heck were they?(D.D., SM, Garwood)
Aha! You were looking at The Tribe of MIC-O-SAY! (Check the Internet–there are Web sites that explain more than I’ll do here.) MIC-O-SAY is, like the OA (founded in 1915), an “honor camper fraternity,” founded in 1925 in the St. Joseph (Missouri) Council and spreading over the years to several other councils in the Missouri-Kansas area, to become a major Scouting force in the area. MIC-O-SAY was created by a locally famous Scouter and Scout Executive–H. Roe Bartle–to “reinforce the principles of the Scout Oath and Law, and foster continued participation in Scouting—especially camping.” The “coup beads” and claws you saw represent advancement through the “ranks” of MIC-O-SAY.
Dear Andy, I’m turning 18 and I’m heading to college next fall. I can’t be as involved with my Troop as I’d like, but I’d like to stay a registered member of the BSA (Heck, I started almost 11 years ago, as a Tiger Cub). What can I do? (H.D., Kenilworth)
You should be able to stay registered as Assistant Scoutmaster in your pre-sent Troop, but maybe that wouldn’t be practical if your college is not close by. So, what I think I’d do is, first, make sure I’m registered here until the end of this calendar year. Then, when I got to college, I’d contact the council in the area and register with them as a Merit Badge Counselor for a Merit Badge I’d actually like to do. Being a Counselor costs nothing, keeps you registered, and gives you opportunities to continue to “help out” in Scouting!
Dear Andy, When Webelos Scouts join our Troop, that’s great, but we’re having trouble getting their parents involved in the Troop, too. They think they should “drop-and-run” when it’s Troop meeting time, and we never see their faces! Help! (D.G., SM, Montague)
Had the same problem when I was a Scoutmaster, too! Here’s how I solved it: I held a “new parent orientation meeting” (with refreshments prepared by our regular Troop parents), and our Committee Chairman explained how EVERY FAMILY in the Troop had a job. On the table were a bunch of index cards, each with a different job and description on it (like, “Outing Driver—Responsible for transporting Scouts to or from our hikes and camp-outs”). We explained that every family should take at least one card (we recorded who took what) and that any “leftover” cards would be “assigned.” Guess what happened? Since this seemed so “normal” everybody took a card, and we were up and running!
Hi Andy! I’ve enjoyed your columns on the NetCommish site for a while now. Thanks for simple and common sense answers to everyday Scouting questions. Great job! As our Council Commissioner I put together a newsletter for our Commissioner Staff to keep them up to date and give them something more to share with their units. I’d like to include your Q&A’s—You’d be a standing column in our newsletter. Is this okay with you? (A.R., Council Commissioner, Ventura, CA)
Thanks for reading and enjoying! Go ahead—I’d be honored! And I’d be happy to send you originals of past columns, so you don’t have to re-type.
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(Issue 7 – December 2002)