This is J.C. from Montague again. I want you to know we were able to find and contact our Commissioner, and he met with our Pack Committee. He’s going to help us iron out our Cubmaster problem, and we’re all working together now. I don’t think we would have called the Commissioner if it hadn’t been for you. Thank you so much! I think we’re on the right track now! (J.C., Pack Committee, Montague, NJ)
That’s really great news! I’m glad I could help–that’s what we Commissioners are for! Keep on keepin’ on!
We have a new Scout in our Troop – He’s from another country and he doesn’t swim and nobody in his family does, either. Because of this, he can’t pass the Second Class swimming requirement and he’s on the edge of dropping out of Scouting and our Troop because he can’t advance. Are there any “alternate requirements” he can do instead of this swimming one that he can’t? (C.B., ASM, North Branch, NJ)
Your question’s an interesting variation on the same requirement, last month. It raises two important points. The first is rank requirements, and the second’s about boys learning new skills. I did some more research on the requirement part of your question, and here’s what I found out: Yes, alternate requirements can be substituted for what’s in the book, says the BSA National Council, so long as we’re talking about “a permanent physical or mental disability” confirmed by “a licensed physician or educational administrator.” But that doesn’t sound like what we have here. What it seems more like is that you have a “pre-swimmer” in your Troop (“pre-swimmer” sounds better to me than non-swimmer, because “non” sort of suggests an impossibility but “pre” just says that there’s something new to learn!). So what we’re really looking at is learning a new skill. That’s part of the Troop’s responsibility–including you and the Troop’s other adult leaders. So the real question is this: Where and how are you going to find a way for this Scout to learn to swim? At camp? Maybe a local Y or swim club? How about the backyard pool of a qualified swimming instructor or Swimming Merit Badge Counselor? Whichever way you go, be sure to use the “Buddy System” – It’s not only safe; it helps the Scout feel not so “alone.” And here’s the best part—When this Scout succeeds, as I’m confident he will, he’ll be the very first swimmer in his family! How cool is that!?
One of the fathers in our Troop is an expert on Indian Lore and would like to be a Counselor for the Merit Badge, but just for the Scouts in our Troop, since he has a hectic business schedule and not a lot of free time. Is this OK? (B.E., Milford, NH)
In a word: Nope! It’s really terrific that he’s willing to step forward and counsel Scouts on a Merit Badge that’s fun, informative, and helps boys understand more of the American heritage. But he can’t be restrictive, and that’s a BSA policy. It’s a pretty good one, too, because one of the finest things about Scouting is that it’s always inclusive and never exclusive! I hope you can convince him that the rewards of counseling far outweigh the inconveniences of making time in his busy schedule.
In the last two years I’ve had three Eagle Scout dads sign their sons up for our Pack and positively refuse when asked if they could help with Pack activities. Any suggestions how we can get them back into active participation? (E.L., Cub Pack Chair, Lawrenceville, GA)
Ouch! Been there! Here’s what I did… Instead of shuffling my feet and staring at them while sorta hinting around that we could use some help or wouldn’t they like to help out, I held “New Parent Orientation” meetings whenever a new boy joined the Pack. Then, the Cubmaster and I (I was Committee Chair) described our Pack’s activities and program, and told how Cub Scouting is a PARTNERSHIP between parent and child. We pointed out that folks whose sons are in this Pack all have jobs. Some, like Den Leaders, a lot; others, like “Snack Parents” at our Pack meetings, a little. Then, we put a bunch of index cards on the table – each card naming and describing a job, like: “Pack Activity Driver-Drives 6 Cub Scouts to-and-from the annual Cub Circus” or “Den Leader-Is responsible for weekly meetings, in your home…” We told the new parents that they can look over these cards and pick one or more that fits them best, and EVERY card must be chosen. We recorded who chose what card, for follow-up. And guess what – The smart parents picked their cards right away and ultimately every card was chosen by someone! Now, what about someone who absolutely refuses to pick a card? Well, you may have to “hang tough” and simply say that, in this Pack, folks contribute and if this can’t happen maybe there’s another Pack in their area where they might be happier – and then stick to it! If you need to go that route, I can promise you this: This will only be difficult the first time; after that, you’ll be more relaxed and comfortable, and word will get out that this is how you operate. Hey, what would you rather have – a moment of being uncomfortable or three or more years of frustration on your part and grumbling by the parents who are contributing and getting the job done?
I’m a Commissioner, and in one of the Troops I serve there’s an overzealous committee chair who feels that she needs to tell people how to do their jobs. She’s even tried to tell me how to do mine! She has no son in the troop; she’s the wife of one of the Assistant Scoutmasters. Is there a way to deal with an overzealous committee chair without resorting to the old “just yes them to death” routine? (S.C., UC in New Jersey)
Every unit has its own personality, and so does leadership! Personalities aside for just a moment, when you visit this Troop, here’s what you want to be observing and asking yourself:
– Do the meetings have a PLANNED PROGRAM?
– Are they STARTING & ENDING ON TIME?
– Are MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE SCOUTS SHOWING UP?
– Are there SCOUTCRAFT & SCOUTCRAFT GAMES? INTERPATROL?
– Is the SENIOR PATROL LEADER running the meeting? Through the PLs?
– Are they using the PATROL METHOD, with ELECTED LEADERS?
– Are ADVANCEMENTS evident?
– Can you see PLANNING FOR FUTURE ACTIVITIES?
– Are they PARTICIPATING IN DISTRICT & COUNCIL EVENTS?
– Does the Troop do LONG-TERM COUNCIL CAMPING?
– Are there HIKES or CAMPOUTS planned or done?
– Does the Troop do an ANNUAL SERVICE PROJECT for their sponsor?
– Are ADULTS TAKING TRAINING?
– Do the COMMITTEE AND PARENTS SUPPORT the TROOP’S PROGRAM?
If these things are happening, then I’d say tolerate the Chair’s personality. If not, then the question is really: Does this personality bother the other Troop leaders? Because this is really an “inside-the-Troop” issue, and if they’re OK, you’re OK!
We have a new Scout in our Troop who’s a vegetarian. His parents want to know what menu adjustments the Troop and his Patrol will make on hikes and campouts, to accommodate him. We’ve not had this situation before, and don’t really know what to tell them. (S.D., SM, Metuchen, NJ)
Being a vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Hindi, no-meat-on-Friday Roman Catholic or Episcopalian, or having any other non-“mainstream” dietary preferences or restrictions is usually a personal decision, and is likewise certainly a valid one that no Scouting unit would purposefully interfere with, treat lightly, or demean in any way. This said, such personal dietary preferences or restrictions are usually best accommodated by the individual. This assures accuracy and guarantees that “the letter of the law,” as it were, is met. Consequently, the Troop might want to advise this Scout and his parents that there will always be “room” in the Troop for his preferences, always “room” in his backpack for whatever special foods he may need to bring with him, and never any demands that he consume exactly what his Patrol cooks or Troop provides.
What are the restrictions for fund raising at the Troop level. In other words, what activities are prohibited and what activities are acceptable to raise funds for our Troop. The reason I’m asking is because a gracious patron has offered to donate a Jet-ski and trailer to the Troop. Based on Guide to Safe Scouting, personal, powered watercraft like this are prohibited, so the Troop has no use for the equipment. We tried giving it to the District for use at our Aquatics Base, but of course the same rules apply, so they can’t use it, either. So, we’re thinking about either raffling or auctioning it off, and then use the proceeds to fund Troop activities. I was told raffles are prohibited since they are too close to gambling, so I suggested a silent auction. The other alternative is to simply sell it and add the cash from the sale to the Troop’s piggy bank. What are your thoughts on this type of fund-raiser. (M.M., ADC, Atlanta, GA)
First, let’s talk about fund-raisers in general. The BSA’s “Guide to Safe Scouting” is worth checking out, because it has a whole list of ways to make sure whatever you do is done safely and appropriately. For any fund-raiser, you’ll want to be sure to get a FUND-RAISING PERMIT from your Council Service Center before starting. Then, my trusty TROOP COMMITTEE GUIDEBOOK tells me that you want to get approval from your Council, your Unit Committee, and your Sponsor (Chartered Partner) before you start any fund-raiser (this includes methods, dates, location, and so on). All fund-raisers also have to conform to not only local ordinances but also with the ideals and purposes of the BSA (like, nothing to do with gambling, fireworks, paint-balling—you get the idea). There are other stipulations, but these strike me as some of the main ones. Be sure to check everything out yourself, first—Like Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right; then go ahead!”
Now, let’s tangle with that jet-ski! Now I’m no expert on the nuances between raffles and lotteries and gambling and such, but I sure can tell you this: At virtually every Boy Scout patch Trade-O-Ree I’ve ever been to, there’s a silent auction, and at several council-level fund-raisers silent auctions went on all night. So, that’s the route I’d look at, first, and there’s a better than even chance you’ll get the OK from your council. But maybe an even simpler way to do this is to tell the Troop’s patron that you can’t accept the jet ski for BSA policy reasons, but if he’s willing to sell it himself, you’d be happy to give him a receipt for his cash donation.
I have a Scoutmaster who wants me to find a Counselor for Fly Fishing Merit Badge. I’m not aware of a Fly Fishing Merit Badge. Is this a new one that I’ve not found information on or is he mistaken? Also where on the internet can one find a list of all active merit badges? Thanks!
In late May 2002, Fly Fishing Merit Badge became “official.” Check out the requirements here: http://www.meritbadge.com/bsa/mb/135.htm and while you’re at it, check the rest of this site for a list of current and “old” Merit Badges. Your council or district may not have a Counselor specifically for Fly Fishing yet, and if that’s the case, tell that Scoutmaster that he can check out the Counselors for Fishing and he’ll probably find a fly caster among them! Good hunting… er, fishing!
I’m the grandmother of a 17-year-old Life Scout who did his project and was Senior Patrol Leader in his Troop, but still has just a couple of Merit Badges missing in order to earn Eagle. Is there anything I say to him, to encourage him to do this? He’s got a girlfriend now, and that’s where he seems to be spending all his time lately. (C.G., Pensacola, FL)
Here’s a message for the young man who’s about to become a “Life for life”… Scout, if you have a few months between now and your 18th birthday, that’s enough time to get a couple of Merit Badges! On the other hand, if, let’s say, you’ll turn 18 in 2 months and you still need Personal Management (which takes 3 months, minimum), then you’ve run out of time! So, you’ll end your “Boy Scout career” as a Life Scout, and that’s pretty darned good! But, if you do have time, then you might want to go for it—maybe just to prove to yourself that you can do it! And I can promise you this: If your girlfriend’s really, really cool, she’ll be on your side and want you to be an Eagle Scout (Hey, it tells all her friends she’s hanging with a real winner!). So, the choice is yours, and whatever decision you make, you’ll “own” it for the rest of your life. As you’re thinking it over, you might want to know that being an Eagle Scout isn’t “everything,” but it does do three things – It will give you the satisfaction of knowing you can “do it,” it will delight your family, and it will thrill the parents of your date! Promise!
This year, our Philmont Trek crew has a Scout who’s allergic to any and all corn products. I had a Scout in our Troop years ago that had the same problem, and he went to Philmont and had a great time. This Scout and his family are sending me detailed information, but I could use help and information on this subject, and how Philmont assists. (W.P., Crew Advisor, Philadelphia, PA)
In the Philmont Guidebook to Adventure, (see pp. 21 and 22) they explain the procedure for special trail menus. There are many reasons crew members may have a need for special meals including allergies, dietary needs, religious preferences, and so on. In most cases, Philmont Trek crew members with special dietary needs are expected to package and bring their own food. However, Philmont will help with the logistics of getting the food to the right place, at the right time (the famous “food drops”) in the backcountry, so that there’s no food-related reason why these people can’t enjoy taking a Trek. Also, if you call Philmont Camping Headquarters (505-367-2281), they’ll be happy to send you a copy of the latest Trail Menu. Give the crew member and his family a copy of this, so they can determine what adjustments may need to be made.
Our Troop was formed about 18 months ago with a small group of scouts from another troop. When we began, we—the committee—appointed the oldest Scout as Senior Patrol Leader. He took his leadership training and has served in this role for 18 months. We now have over 25 Scouts in our Troop! Last week, after consultation with the committee, our Scoutmaster appointed the next Senior Patrol leader. But, right after the announcement was made, another Scout came forward seeking this position as well. It had been decided since our Troop inception that the Scout just chosen by the Scoutmaster was the most mature, and since he had also attended junior leader training, he would be the next SPL until our Troop had time to create by-laws and policy to govern elections. Nonetheless, our Scoutmaster met with all of the older Scouts who would be eligible, and explained why he had chosen the one he had, for SPL, and all of these Scouts were offered an opportunity to speak about this privately. Of the four, two Scouts had no desire to be SPL, one had been waiting for the change, and the fourth only voiced his interest after all actions had been completed. At this point the Scoutmaster has asked that a “committee” of the Scouts and some adults be formed, to create the rules that will govern the process, thus allowing the SPL that was appointed serve his term while this process is established. Is what we have done ok, or should we now sacrifice the one Scout who thinks he’s SPL to provide “Scout #2” the opportunity for an election, or should we ask that second Scout to wait six months while we put together the rules? We don’t want this action to be nothing more than a popularity contest. Please advise your thoughts. (Tom)
Well, the Scouts have had Junior Leader Training, but I’m wondering what training you adults have had. I’m wondering, because, right on page 13 of the Scoutmaster’s Handbook (1998 Edition — but it’s been in every edition of every SM Handbook since the first) it says: “The Senior Patrol Leader…is ELECTED BY ALL MEMBERS (meaning the Scouts; not the adults) OF THE TROOP.” That’s it. That’s the bottom line. You don’t need “by-laws” on this. It should be a “done deal.” Now, there’s no question that sometimes you get a Senior Patrol Leader who’s real sparkplug, and sometimes you get a sack ‘o hammers. But that’s part of what Scouting is all about, and that’s how boys learn to make decisions! If we “all wise and all-knowing” adults get in the way of this, we’re getting in the way of a Scouting fundamental. Same with Patrol Leaders – They’re elected by the members of their Patrol. It isn’t this way “by accident,” and this isn’t “optional.” This is a fundamental part of how boys learn and how boys grow. It’s what sets Scouting apart from every other youth-oriented organization there is! Next, let’s talk about “popularity contests.” OF COURSE elections are popularity contests. Think about it… Would it make sense that the Troop goof-off, clown, no-show, fumble-fingers, still-tenderfoot-after-three-years, gets elected? Not likely. The “popular Scout” gets elected because he shows up, he helps out, he wears a smile, he’s willing to shoulder tasks others avoid, he SHOWS SCOUT SPIRIT! He’s popular — he gets elected. Pretty simple when you look at it this way! And, trust me, when it comes to something like this, THE SCOUTS THEMSELVES ALWAYS KNOW BEST! So, with these considerations in mind, what do YOU think is the right thing to do? (One more point—18 months is probably 12 months too long. Try holding elections every 6 months, with the understanding that the incumbent can run again! Yup, this is in the Scoutmaster’s Handbook, too!)
I have a Scoutmaster who needs me to help find a Fly Fishing Merit Badge Counselor. I’m not aware of a Fly Fishing Merit Badge. Is this a new one that I haven’t found information on, or is he mistaken? Also, where on the Internet can one find a list of all active merit badges? Thanks! (B.S. Unit Commissioner)
In late May of 2002, Fly Fishing Merit Badge became “official.” Check out the requirements at http://www.meritbadge.com/bsa/mb/135.htm. Your Council or District may not have a Counselor specifically for this one (yet), so check out the Counselors for Fishing and you’ll probably find a fly caster among them! Good hunting…er, fishing!
Our son earned his Eagle at the age of 17 yr and worked on earning his first two Eagle palms, completing the 2nd palm just before he turned 18. Our council has everyone recharter by December and we just paid $10 in December 2002 so he could finish earning his 2nd palm before his next birthday. Now that he’s 18, they want another $10, since he’ll now be registered as an adult. We know about the $1 transfer when you move from one unit to another and the $1 transfer for bridging from Webelos to Boy Scouts. We say it should be just $1 to transfer from being a Boy Scout to being an adult Scouter in the same Troop. Is this correct, or does he now fill out an adult form and pay another $10? My husband and I are Unit Commissioners, too, and we’d like to pass on the correct information to others. Thanks! (D.A.)
Congratulations to you and your Eagle Scout son! Now, on this registration thing, I’d love to give you a direct answer, but part of it depends on the twelve-month “charter/recharter cycle” in your council. BUT, if the $10 was paid in December and they’re asking for $10 more just two or three months later, sounds like someone can’t count right! You say he’s staying in the same Troop, and changing from “Boy Scout” to “Adult Leader” (probably an Assistant Scoutmaster). Then of course he’ll fill out a new application (he needs to complete the ADULT Application now) but his paid fee from December should carry forward without even a $1 “transfer” fee, because there’s no change in units. BUT (yeah, another “but”), consider how much of a hassle this’ll be, trying to convince somebody who can’t even count up months right! For ten bucks, I’d be tempted to just pay it and let that make the problem go away. All depends on how feisty you want to be! (This is in the “pick your battles department”!)
Our Troop was formed in September of 2001 with a small group of scouts. When we began, we-the committee-appointed the oldest boy as senior patrol leader. He took his leadership training, attended summer camp and Junior Leader Training. He’s served in this role for 18 months. We now have over 25 Scouts in the Troop. Last week, after consultation with the committee, our Scoutmaster appointed the next Senior Patrol leader. Our Scoutmaster picked a Scout in the Troop who actually expressed an interest in being the next Senior Patrol Leader, and he was the only Scout who asked. But, after the announcement of who the next SPL would be was made, another Scout announced that he was interested in being SPL, too. Now the one picked to be next was, in the minds of the committee and the SM, most mature, and he had attended the training as well. So, we figured he’d be the next SPL until our Troop had time to create by-laws and policy to govern elections. But the other Scout still expressed his interest in being SPL. Our Scoutmaster met with all of the older Scouts who would be eligible and explained why he had chose the Scout he did. He spoke to four Scouts, and none of them spoke up strongly about wanting the job. At this point, the Scoutmaster has asked that a committee be formed of the Scouts and some adults to create the rules that will govern the process, thus allowing the SPL that was appointed serve his term, since he’s a good role model, while this process is established. We’re a new Troop, and any issue that’s come up thus far would have been easily resolved had we had by-laws. Is what we’ve done OK, or should we now sacrifice the one Scout who thinks he’s SPL to provided Scout #2 the opportunity for an election, or should we ask him to wait the six months while we put together the rules. We don’t want an election that’s nothing more than a popularity contest. Please advise your thoughts. (T.V.)
Glad you got a new Troop off the ground – You’re truly the backbone of responsible citizenship in America (but don’t tell the Scouts that – tell ‘em they’re gonna have FUN!) Now, let’s look at your situation here. It’s great that the Scouts have had Junior Leader Training, but I’m wondering what training you adults have had! I’m wondering, because, right on page 13 of the Scoutmaster’s Handbook (1998 Edition — but it’s been in every edition of every SM Handbook since the first) it says: “The Senior Patrol Leader…is ELECTED BY ALL MEMBERS (meaning the Scouts; not the adults) OF THE TROOP.” That’s it. That’s the bottom line. Now, sometimes you get a real sparkplug, and sometimes you get a sack ‘o hammers. But that’s part of what Scouting is all about, and that’s how boys learn to make decisions! If we “all wise and all-knowing” adults get in the way of this, we’re getting in the way of a Scouting fundamental. Same with Patrol Leaders. They’re elected by the members of their Patrol. It isn’t this way “by accident,” and this isn’t “optional.” This is a fundamental part of how boys learn and how boys grow. It’s what sets Scouting apart from every other youth-oriented organization there is! So forget writing your “by-laws” – they’re already written for you! Now, let’s talk about “popularity contests.” OF COURSE elections are popularity contests. Think about it… Would it make sense that the Troop goof-off, clown, no-show, fumble-fingers, gets elected? Not likely. But, even if this does happen, then it’s up to the Troop to deal with it, including the Scouts, most of all! The “popular Scout” gets elected because he shows up, he helps out, he wears a smile, he’s willing to shoulder tasks others avoid, he SHOWS SCOUT SPIRIT! He’s popular. He gets elected. Pretty simple when you look at it this way! And, trust me, when it comes to something like this, THE SCOUTS THEMSLEVES ALWAYS KNOW BEST! So, with these considerations in mind, what do YOU think is the right thing to do?
Oh, one other thing: 18 months is probably 12 months too long. Try holding elections every 6 months, and the incumbent can run again! (Yup, this is in the Scoutmaster’s Handbook, too!)
I’m planning an outing for our Den of Tiger Cubs in June. The place we’ve picked to go is willing to give us a 50% discount, which will be an enormous help, but they’d like me to write them on Scout letterhead. This seems like the sort of thing where Council can help. Yes? (C.L., Tiger Cub Leader)
If you give the name and address of the place to your District Executive (the person in the Scout Service Center who provides direct services to units in your District), I’m sure that he or she would be delighted to write and sign a letter on Council stationery that would help your Den go – and maybe even help your Pack earn the Summertime Award while you’re at it! A phone call should do it!
I heard a rumor that the Crime Prevention Patch had been discontinued (of course, these things are all overheard by someone’s friend). Is there any truth to this? We have had our Webelos Den complete Citizen and Family Member Activity Badges, had a talk by a NYPD detective on Internet safety, and we’re are making 30 mouse pads with Internet safety rules for the local school (the PTA there is our Chartered Organization). Do I need to find an alternate special patch? (M.D, CM, White Plains, NY)
Check with the BSA National Supply Division (they have both a Web site and an “800” phone number). They can tell you whether this patch is still available and, if it is, how to order it. And, while we’re talking about special activities, be sure to check this out: www.nationstrails.com/USHeritage/ Here, you’ll find a really terrific program for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts!
We’ve just had one of our leaders die. He was a great guy and he was only 44. He left behind 2 young kids – just 12 and 14 years old. We want to honor him by wearing something on our uniforms, such as an armband or black string tied into square knot hung from a pocket. Is there a BSA uniform standard for showing honor to a fallen leader? I’m hoping “national” had a policy about this. I wonder what they did when Lord Powell died? Thankx. (B.D., ASM) .
When my own Troop lost our Assistant Scoutmaster to “The Great Master of all Scouts,” the Scouts of the Troop formed an honor guard at the funeral, and as we filed past his final resting place, each of us placing a memento there… A Troop numeral, a patch from a Scout camp he had gone to with the Troop, a photo of the Scout in uniform. Each of us chose for ourselves. We wore black neckerchiefs that day, instead of our usual Troop colors. At the time, I didn’t know whether this was “official” or not. It simply seemed the right thing to do. Since he, as my assistant, was truly my right-hand man and “unsung hero” of the Troop, we created a special award in his name and presented it at Courts of Honor to the most helpful Scout in the Troop, as decided by the Scouts themselves. So, is it “official” or not? From one who’s “been there,” don’t worry about “policy” in a situation like this – go with your heart and you’ll never be wrong! Godspeed.
I’m a new Assistant District Commissioner. For the past year I’ve been asked to sit on Eagle Boards of Review for the District that I serve in. I just had the pleasure of sitting on the Board for an Eagle candidate who had completed all of the requirements for Eagle, but about two years ago, he had joined a Venturing Crew that has the same sponsoring organization as the Troop. He hasn’t participated with the Troop recently, but did have his tenure in a leadership position in the Troop before he went into Venturing. The real question is what to do with a Scout who gets to Life, joins a
Venturing Crew, stays registered with, but doesn’t participate with the Troop, completes his Eagle requirements as a member of the Troop, and would like to come back to the Troop for his Eagle Board and Court of Honor? (G.H., ADC, Howell, MI)
I’m going to assume from your description of the Eagle Board of review you attended that the Scout had completed the tenure and leadership positions in his Troop. The other Eagle requirements aren’t directly tied to Troop participation, so I’m not concerned about them, in the context you described. This being the case, what a wonderful compliment to his Scouting experience with the Troop that he wanted to “return” for his final step to Eagle! Yes, being “active” with the Troop remains a requirement, and there can’t be substitutions. But “active” is judgmental — it doesn’t mean every meeting or even an arbitrary percentage of meetings or outings. It follows from the principle of “do your best.” So, as long as the six months of “active” involvement (usually coupled with the leadership requirement — and that’s TROOP leadership!) is met, everything’s fine. And “dual registration” is definitely the way to go! The Venturing-Boy Scout relationship anticipates this, and it should work just fine. (By the way, did you know that the members of an Eagle Board – with the exception of the Council representative, of course – DON’T have to be registered in the BSA?)
Thanks for your reply (right above). Since you did so well with that one, here’s another. Situation: A Scout is Life rank, and he’s been working on his Eagle requirements. For the past year, he’s has been the Chapter Vice-Chief in our Order of the Arrow Lodge. Not much involvement with the Troop, right now, but some day he’ll want to finish his requirements for Eagle. He’s 15 years old right now. He’ll need to get back involved with his Troop, in order to finish Eagle – do I have that right? I could use a “second opinion” because not a lot of the Scouters know me, since I’m a new ADC, and they continue to go to the DE in our area when they have questions like this. Thanks again. (G.H., ADC, Howell, MI)
You actually have two questions here, although you may not know about the second one just yet… Let’s tackle the first one. For Eagle, requirement 4 states: “While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility…” And one of those is now OA TROOP REPRESENTATIVE. Notice that this doesn’t say “in the last six month period before Eagle…” It just says “six months.” ANY six months! And once a requirement is completed, it never expires and never has to be repeated (that’s true for Merit Badge requirements, too!). So, when this Scout completes his six months of active leadership, he’s done, and this requirement should be signed off right then and there!
Now, let’s talk a little about how a Commissioner works with a DE who hasn’t relinquished his second job as Commissioner. Buy him a cuppa java and say this: “As a Commissioner, I need something from you. I need for you to not do my job, and do your job instead. Specifically, when someone in one of the units I service asks you a question that’s really a Commissioner’s job to answer, I need for you to refer that person over to me instead of answering the question. In exchange for this, I’ll do the same thing for you, and I’ll give you a ‘heads up’ that the question is coming your way. This way, I can do my job better, and you can concentrate on doing the things a DE has to do to be successful, and you’ll always have my support.” If the DE doesn’t “get it” at this point, don’t get frustrated or angry. Just say to yourself, “This DE’s got a LOT to learn!” And then just go do your job. But, a really smart DE will take you up on this in a heartbeat!
HERE’S THE ANSWER TO MARCH’S “SCOUT TRIVIA” QUESTION:
I asked, “In the movie, ‘Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade,’ young Indy’s wearing a red, heart-shaped rank badge on his Boy Scout uniform. What’s the next rank he’ll earn?” The answer is STAR–At that time, the order of ranks above First Class was Life-Star-Eagle.
The first one to get it right (he emailed me on March 13th) is Marty Doyle, who’s Cubmaster of Pack 20 in White Plains, NY!
Have a question or problem? Got an idea that will help others? Send an email to AskAndyBSA@yahoo.com (Include your town and state, please)