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Issue 130 – April 1, 2008

It’s OFFICIAL! The BSA has changed policies and procedures! We can all now start doing the things we’ve always wanted to do, knowing they’re now all legal! Here are the new rules…

  • The new “hours” line on the Eagle rank application is a requirement – the number of hours must be 100+ or you can fail the candidate.
  • “Troop pants” are legal! That’s right! It’s anything goes, from the waist-down. Jeans, baggies, and the “Gang Look” are “in” and green pants are history!
  • Hey Cub Moms and Dads – No more hassle of doing Wolf and Bear achievements and electives at home with your kid! The Den Leaders will do ‘em all, right in the den meetings! Saves time, saves having to interact with your own kid! HooHah!
  • Patches can be put anywhere! Your sonny boy just got another cool patch but there’s no more room on the front of his shirt? No problem – just sew it on the back!
  • OA elections are officially declared “popularity contests” and if a Scoutmaster wants to keep the OA outa his troop, he just locks the front door!
  • All boards of review will re-test the kids on every requirement, going straight back to Tenderfoot. Plan on two hours, minimum, and be sure the Scout brings compass, ropes, knife and ax, backpack, first aid kit, and leaves from at least twelve poisonous plants to his Eagle board.
  • Training’s optional. The BSA recognizes how precious your time is and that they’re unrealistic expecting you to actually learn what you’re supposed to be doing, and why, is just too much of a burden. So, all training courses are now be on a “request-only” basis.
  • No more of those dumb ceremonies! They waste too much time and, besides, they’re a pain-in-the-you-know-what to do a pack meetings and courts of honor! Kids just love to get badges and pins in Ziploc bags, anyway! And this makes their parents sooooo proud!
  • Saluting the flag’s no longer required. The BSA recognizes that not everyone likes U.S. policies, so if you or your kids don’t feel like saluting or saying the pledge, hey, no big deal!
  • “Fun with Fire” is the new July theme! Be sure to bring a can of lighter fluid for every kid, so they can all gather up in a circle around the ole campfire and spray it into a fine blaze!
  • Requirements for ranks are just “minimum standards,” so committees can add whatever they like, whenever they want. Like, don’t stop at two half-hitches and the taut-line hitch for Tenderfoot – Go ahead and add the Bozeman Quadri-Knot, the Thripleback knot, Bosun’s Toegranny or whatever.
  • Troop leader elections take way too much time, so just appoint your Senior Patrol Leader and PLs and be done with it!
  • For campouts, all food will be bought only by the Scoutmaster, and he and his wife will package up all meals for the kids, making certain that there’s no trace of peanuts, gluten, red meat, lactose, polyunsaturates, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, animal fat, fish oil, carbomonoglycerides, manganese-preroxylids, quovadis extract, modified corleone powder, hypoglycemic cantabars, or other non-nutrient allergens. (By the way, SPAM is gonna be yer best bet, with Wonder Bread and mayo shmears.)
  • All merit badges get re-tested by Scoutmasters before they sign the Blue Card. That way, the SM can stay “in control.”
  • Commissioners now out-rank Cubmasters, Scoutmasters and all unit committees, and their decisions are final. If you don’t like it, they’ll just “pull your charter.”
  • Cross-over ceremonies include all Webelos, whether they’re going on to a troop or not. That way, we don’t crush their little spirits by making them feel left out of the clique that actually made a decision!
  • The Boy Scout Oath and Law are much more realistic. Now, they’re “I’ll try to do my duty…etc.” and “A Scout tries to be trustworthy…etc.”
  • If a kid finds completing a rank requirement or merit badge just too difficult, the troop committee can waive it and advance the kid anyway. That way, he doesn’t feel excluded from the “sprinters.”
  • No Eagle-required merit badges can be earned before a kid’s 15 years old, and no work on an Eagle project can start until he’s 17. This will help keep kids in the program longer. Besides, they won’t have the right level of maturity to understand what we’re bestowing on them if they advance too fast!
  • The unit organization and programs described in leaders’ manuals are changed to “recommendations” and “suggestions.” If you find a better way to do things, just go do it.

And finally…

Dear Andy,

You just wouldn’t believe what a mess things are here. I was trying hard to get to my first meeting of the Troop Committee as the Committee Chair. I only got about a mile down the road when the engine conked out and shuddered to a stop. I walked back home to get help.

When I got to our house the lawn was littered with all the table decorations I had made for the Troop’s annual Court of Honor and dinner. Now who is going to believe the dog dragged them all out on the lawn and left them where they would get sprayed by the sprinkler.

When I got in the house, my son told me that that crazy old coot, who’s our Assistant Scoutmaster had stopped by and asked for the Troop checkbook. My son explained that he rummaged around in my desk, found the checkbook and gave it to him. I asked whether he said anything about why he wanted the checkbook and my son said, “sure, he wanted to go get a new tire for his car so he could pull the trailer for the campout.

Just then the phone started ringing. The committee wanted to know where I was, so I explained that my car broke down. Well, they decided to come to my house and presented me with a signed petition wanting to fire the Scoutmaster for letting the boys use knives and axes that could get them hurt. I mean after all those things should be handled only by adults and not boys.

The committee also wanted to make sure we fixed the Troop program so that every boy got the same number of merit badges every year so that nobody would feel cheated. One dad said he could be the counselor for about forty merit badges and would make sure they all did well in weekly merit badge classes. Another said we should have an award for the most badges on a uniform to encourage the boys to really get out there and earn more badges.

After the meeting one of parents told me that he was real upset with the behavior of one of the boys. He only shows up for campouts and says he can’t come to Troop meetings because it is the same night as band practice at the high school. This parent says we should kick this kid out as a no-account for not coming to meetings like the other boys and for darn sure we shouldn’t pass him through any ranks if he can’t make Troop Meetings a priority.

Later that night the Assistant Scoutmaster’s wife dropped off the checkbook and said they didn’t need it anymore since the Troop trailer had been stolen and there wouldn’t be a campout after all.

What should I do? (Name and Council Withheld)

When a car stalls after being started and then driven just a short distance, there are several things that could be wrong. First, check the fuel line. If it’s clear, check the jubilee clips holding the vacuum pipes onto the intake manifold. If they’re OK, it could be that the fuel pump is causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber. But the good news is that you may only have to re-gap the spark plugs! I sure hope this helps.

Happy Scouting!!


Oh, yeah, one more thing I almost forgot… Did you happen to notice this column’s date? Happy April Fools Day!

Have a question? Idea? Suggestion? Thought? Something that works? Just write to me at (Please include your COUNCIL or your TOWN & STATE)

(April 1, 2008 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2008)


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

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