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Issue 200 – November 29, 2009

Dear Andy,

Shortly after my son returned home from his troop meeting last Tuesday night, he received a text message on his cell phone that called him terrible, profane names and saying for him to shut up, or better yet, just quit the troop, and then used another profanity. (Yes, my son saved the message, and there’s a sender’s name, phone number, time stamp, and date of delivery.)

The Scout in question was elected Senior Patrol Leader five months ago. His way of “motivating” is to yell, belittle, and place blame on others for his own inadequacies. My son isn’t the only Scout who has endured this Scout’s wrath, but he’s not being held accountable for it by the adults of the troop, and it keeps continuing. I do know for a fact that he had been disciplined on at least five separate occasions for major infractions, including threatening other Scouts, stealing personal property, excessive horseplay, and the like, but the problems continue anyway. With the BSA’s “zero tolerance” stand on intimidation and bullying, and knowing that his parents have been informed and that he’s been formally counseled, I feel this is the last straw.

I’m a troop committee member, so I’ve spoken with others on the committee about this most recent incident and they also feel this is the last straw and that he should be removed before next Tuesday’s troop meeting. I’ve included the Scoutmaster in this discussion and will be notifying the Committee Chair today or tomorrow, at the latest. However, before taking this further, I’d like to get your appraisal of the situation, and what you see as a proper course of action for us to take (no one is sure of quite how to proceed from here). (Name & Council Withheld)

Since the identity of the message sender, the content of the message, and the date and time of the message have all been retained, then it’s a straightforward matter of showing the message to the Scoutmaster and members of the troop committee, in a special meeting called specifically for this purpose. Based on this, the Senior Patrol Leader can be brought into the meeting and simply told, “For conduct unbecoming a Scout and a Senior Patrol Leader, you are hereby removed from your position. There will be a new election Tuesday evening. If there is a further incident like this, you will be asked to leave the troop. If, however, we see a marked improvement in your attitude and behavior over the next six months, we will permit you to run for leader election, if you choose.”

After delivering this decision, bring in one or both of the parents and tell them in equally precise terms what you just told their son, pointing out that this decision has been made and carried out and is not subject to discussion or negotiation.

For support in “BSA language,” refer to The Scoutmaster Handbook, page 13: “Senior Patrol Leader… Each troop sets its own requirements…” so that one of your requirements is that the Scout is expected to model for others the Scout Oath and Law, and this particular Scout has not done that.

This is a surgical procedure that must be carried out immediately. It should not take place at a troop meeting, so as to keep any repercussions from spilling over into the troop meeting. Best to call a special meeting of the Scoutmaster and committee over this weekend, or Monday night. The group forms a half-hour before the Scout and his parents are asked to arrive, so that everything can be agreed upon before the Scout is brought in. Have one member sit with the family outside the closed meeting room, and then escort each in, at the appropriate time.

Of course, the committee must make the effort to be available, because something like this can’t be allowed to percolate. If, on the other hand, the family is “unavailable,” then you all reach the decision and then no less than two of you (“Buddy System” is absolutely necessary!) go to the family’s home and present the decision.

Finally, at next Tuesday night’s troop meeting, the Scoutmaster simply announces that a Senior Patrol Leader election needs to take place that evening, and then you proceed as you normally would for elections.

Dear Andy,

I hope I know the answer to this, but want to know your take on it before I proceed… I’m a Scoutmaster and have a Scout who’s lost his handbook. He last had it at summer camp several months ago and hasn’t been able to locate it since. He’s a Second Class Scout and I’ve been waiting for him to ask me for a conference for First Class. I’ve looked at his handbook in the past and knew that he had just one requirement to complete, which he did prior to camp, but since he’s not asked for a conference, I never pushed him to ask, and just waited. He’s since asked me, but doesn’t have a handbook any more. If he gets a new handbook, do we need to fill in anything under the Tenderfoot and Second Class records, or just the First Class requirements, and are there any issues with me just signing all the requirements and pre-dating them as complete, since I’ve seen them complete? (In our Troop, I don’t sign all requirements; we allow older Scouts, the ASMs, and a few committee members to sign off on requirements, too.) Any thoughts? (Gary Tibbets, SM, Knox Trail Council, MA)

Yup, Scouts lose stuff… even handbooks, sometimes. Our job is to be their “invisible safety-net,” because, as someone much wiser than I once observed, “Scouts is a place where a boy can biff up, safely.”

So the Scout gets a new handbook (might as well be the new 12th Edition, while we’re at it) and, from memory (his and yours and other leaders who may have had a hand in it) reconstruct what he’s completed for First Class, so that he can wrap up anything that’s left and advance in rank. As for Tenderfoot and Second Class, a simple signature for each, corresponding to the date of each board of review (which your troop has a record of, of course), should be all that’s needed. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Help the Scout continue to move forward.

That said, there’s something more… As Scoutmaster, a part of your responsibilities is to help the Scouts your serve to move forward. The notion of a Scout having completed all requirements for a rank way back some six months ago, and you just sit back till he asks for a conference is just a bit too casual, especially since, as Scoutmaster, you’re supposed to know when each Scout in the troop is ready to advance! Yes, I know you want the Scouts to “show initiative.” But let’s remember that they’re young teens and even pre-teens, and you’re a big ol’ adult—and some boys are taught to not be impertinent. So, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your saying to a Scout who’s ready, “Hey, Scout, I’m looking in your handbook and it seems like you’re ready for your Scoutmaster conference… What do you think?” Then, when you get the grin, go for it!

Dear Andy,

I’m involved with a Venturing crew made up of inner-city, special education students. Scouting has been a good influence on their lives on a multitude of levels. Where some of their peers from the ‘hood are already in prison for significant crimes, we’ve been blessed with not one of our crew members getting into trouble in school or directly with law enforcement… until now. Recently, a crew members was arrested and held in jail (the details are sketchy and we don’t want to rely on the hearsay that abounds right now). Apparently, he threatened a police officer (which wouldn’t surprise me, since his defiance of authority is something that we’re working on with him, in the crew). But he’s one of the crew’s officers, and his mother called me, wanting to know what time he needs to be at the meeting place for a trip the crew has planned. My concern is, to what extent should we continue to let him participate, with these charges pending and without knowing the full details of the crimes of which he’s been accused? On the one hand, we believe that no one needs Scouting more than young men like this; on the other, we need to be concerned for the safety and well-being of the other crew members (and exposure to liability on our part). I doubt that there is any BSA policy on-point, but thought that if anyone could give us some guidance, it would be you. (Name & Council Withheld)

Let’s start here: I have nothing but admiration for what you’re doing. You’re unquestionably where Scouting needs to be! This is precisely what Baden-Powell had in mind when he originated the Scouting concept. Many of our white-bread, suburban, soccer team young people would probably turn out just fine if they hadn’t had Scouting in their lives, but what you’re doing is literally changing the world for these teens.

You’re correct that searching for “BSA policies” won’t lead to an answer—there isn’t one to be found there, unless we’re specifically talking about the possibility of this young man bringing harm to himself or others. But fundamentally, I don’t think you have enough information, yet, to make an informed decision. I think you need to know more about what the situation actually is… OK, he was arrested and held, but what are the circumstances of his being released? Is there bail? Or not? Will there be a court appearance? If so, what is the exact charge? What was the altercation with the police officer about, in the first place? What was the nature of the “threat”? Was a weapon (or a reference to one) involved?

You may also learn about his school situation and social services intervention, if any… Has he been suspended, for instance? Has a child study or family counseling team come into the picture?

The only way to learn these things is with a sit-down with the young man and perhaps a parent. And they’ll have to be open and straight with you. No “double-speak” or vagaries. If you can make this happen, you may learn enough to make whatever decision needs to be made. It also gives you a first-hand look at the young man himself, so you can assess his attitude (rebelliousness, contriteness, and so on). If this can’t be accomplished, then I’d probably inform the parent that it would be best for all, including her son—temporarily—that he hold back on participating until after the court appearance, at which point everyone can evaluate the situation and decide what should happen from there on out.

That said, we also need to recognize that Scouting is a “safe haven.” It’s a place were a young man or young woman can mess up and the world’s not going to come crashing down around them. Moreover, whatever the confrontation was, it wasn’t within the crew or between crew members, so there’s no formal “jurisdiction” here. Yes, safety is important, but so is saving young people from themselves—especially when they have personal issues that aren’t solved with the wave of a magic wand.

Further, don’t hesitate to reach out to your own Scout Executive… This is what we pay these folks for, so let him do his job! And also keep in mind that most all councils have legal counsel available for situations like this, and you might ask the Scout Executive if perhaps a half-hour of legal counsel’s time might be made available to you, or even to this young man.

We can’t “save” young people if they’re excluded from the very movement that can help them save themselves.

Dear Andy,

I have a Scout who will be 18 in just a few months. He’s expressed an interest in becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster. He’s also a member of a Venturing crew. I’ve been advised that as long as he’s a “youth,” as a crew member, he can’t be considered an “adult” in a Boy Scout troop and hold an ASM position of ASM. The thinking behind this is that you can’t have a youth member of a crew acting as an adult ASM with a troop when he’s interacting from time to time with the same group of Boy Scouts. I’m also not sure that an individual can be registered with the BSA as both a youth member and an adult volunteer at the same time. Can you help? (Jeff Lim, SM, Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, CA)

I’m thinking that maybe the solution here is for the young man to decide what he’d like to do… Does he want to be an Assistant Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop, or does he want to be a member of a Venturing crew? As an ASM, he’s of course no longer a Scout, and will be interacting with the adult volunteers in the troop, including camping separately from the Scouts when on overnights, etc. As a Venturer, he gets to actually participate and interact with his peers, go hiking and camping and have a whole bunch of other exciting activities, and of course enjoy a co-ed group. If he does want to be an ASM, then of course he can’t “be a Venturer” along with the Scouts of the troop at the same time—this would be way too confusing for everyone! Sometimes, we need to make choices, and this may be one of those times… This is sorta what life’s all about!

Dear Andy,

I’d like to become certified for several merit badges that I feel I’m qualified for. After reviewing the requirements for these merit badges, it caused me hope that there are guides for the counselors for the specific requirements. Are there guides for the merit badges? (Adam Allen)

Go here: Awards/resources.aspx and scroll down to “Merit Badges.” Then, select the proper forms to fill out, fill them out, and contact the local council where you live. You can find your local council by going to and clicking on “Find your local council” and then entering your ZIP code. The local folks can tell you more about Scouting, merit badge counseling, merit badge requirements, and available merit badge pamphlets.

Hi Andy,

My son earned his Eagle rank three months ago. However, although the Scoutmaster will do conferences twice a month (the first and third Tuesdays), boards of review are held just once a month (on the fourth Tuesday) and not in December. If I understand it correctly, the three-month tenure for Eagle palms must be met before the Scoutmaster conference. At this time of year, this means that my son will need to wait until the first week of December for the conference and then he’ll need to wait until the fourth week in January for his board of review—so that even though he’s ready right now, the troop’s schedule will force him to wait two more months to earn his palm. First, can you clarify for me whether the Scoutmaster conference can occur prior to the three-month mark, so long as the board of review occurs on or after three months? And second, do you have any advice on how to accelerate this process? (Gil Fein, Chester County Council, PA)

Scouting volunteers who have educated themselves on how a troop is properly run (including the advancement part of the overall program) would know that Scoutmaster’s conferences are conducted as soon as a Scout has completed all other requirements for a rank, and that boards of review are ideally scheduled “on demand” rather than by strict, inflexible, and infrequent schedule. Unfortunately, I get the impression from you that this troop isn’t among the better educated.

As for your son’s Eagle palm conference and subsequent board of review, December’s first Tuesday is the 1st, so that the actual delay here is merely a week, and a board of review can be convened on that very same evening, with little effort (it requires only three members of the troop committee!). I’d certainly encourage the troop’s volunteers to make this happen, especially because there’s no rationale for undue delay, and Eagle Palm reviews are simple, straightforward and brief (maybe 10 minutes, tops).

To help this troop get on track, enlist the aid of their Unit Commissioner, who—with you—can sit down with the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair (and, ideally, the troop’s advancement coordinator, too), to go over what they should be providing to the Scouts, and how better to do it.

(Sometimes, adults get it in their heads that the Scouts are there for them, forgetting that it’s the other way around—the usefulness of adult volunteers is directly measured by how well they deliver the Scouting program to the youth they’re there to serve.)

Thanks for the quick and through response. Just so you know, we’re not sweating the December 1st date for the Scoutmaster conference —the bigger issue is that there won’t be any boards of review at all in December, and then the board won’t be convening until the end of January. My son wants to respect the Scoutmaster and not make waves; however, I’m thinking that the communication is best coming from him first, and not Dad. Any further thoughts?

If I were Dad, I’d have an in-person, informal conversation with my son’s Scoutmaster… I’d keep it casual and keep it on the basis of “There must be some way a simple board of review can be pulled together, since it’ll only take maybe ten minutes and only needs three committee members…won’t you help this happen?” (Big caution: DON’T USE EMAIL! Make this an eyeball-to-eyeball chat!)

Dear Andy,

I was asked a question recently regarding a troop’s fund-raiser where Scout participation is “mandatory,” and was at a loss for a definitive answer. Here’s the situation…

There’s a troop chartered by a Catholic parish and that troop wants to hold a fund-raiser at Sunday Mass. The troop’s committee chair has decided that it’s mandatory for all Scouts to participate in the fund-raiser and, by participating, each Scout would receive dollar “credit” for use for camp, expenses, and so on, depending on how much they bring in. But here’s the rub: Not all of the Scouts in the troop are Catholic, yet they’ve been told that they’re still required to participate, and if they don’t they’ll be penalized. Some of the Scouts who aren’t parishioners have even offered to the Committee Chair to sell the items at their own church, but this was rejected.

Obviously, there’s some dissention and disagreement on this matter among some of the troop leaders, and apparently Committee Chair is sticking to his point-of-view, unless there’s “proof” to the contrary as to why the idea is unacceptable by BSA standards.

On its face, the whole idea of segregating Scouts because of religion doesn’t pass the smell test. I seem to recall that the BSA forbids a unit from requiring attendance at meetings or functions, and has a prohibition on endorsing one particular religion or denomination over another, but I can’t find any reference to a BSA policy, rule or regulation. Can you please provide an answer and where I might find the BSA policy, so I can provide a reference. Any help would be appreciated. (Pete O’Malley, District Committee Member, Heart of America Council)

Surely, on Scout Sunday each year, all Scouts and leaders in the troop go to their chartered organization’s service, to show the parishioners Scouting at its finest, to support their sponsor, and to demonstrate “A Scout is reverent” (which includes respecting the beliefs of others) to one another, yes?

In light of this, why would any Scout not want to participate in a special event that will benefit his entire troop, and himself as well, especially when the troop is being given “open access” to an audience by its own chartered organization? How much worse would it be if the church said no, you can’t do this? The latter would be a problem; the former is an open door!

This isn’t so much about “rules” or “standards” or “policies” as it is about an opportunity.

Let’s suppose, for instance, that the church laid down an edict that said only its members could do service projects there–that would be segregation!
But, in this situation, the church is simply saying that everyone’s welcome! Wouldn’t we normally call that ecumenical?

Now “mandatory” is usually one of those words that can cause discord, and maybe that’s the problem. So, let’s drop that word and simply have the understanding that all Scouts will be there because this is what Scouts do and because this is, after all, our sponsor.

Less angst and more enthusiasm for an opportunity will go a long, long way.

Thanks for the feedback. I’ve always found your columns both informative and “no nonsense,” and this is no exception. I agree that the big hang-up here is making the event “mandatory.” Those in disagreement with the Committee Chair feel that she and others on the committee are forcing Catholicism on the non-Catholic Scouts, which makes some uncomfortable. You’re absolutely correct in your assessment that above it all is “a Scout is Reverent” and the bottom line is to be ecumenical and support the chartered organization—after all, wasn’t it B-P who said, “Scouting is a game with a purpose”? I’ll certainly share your comments with those who voiced concern. (Pete)

“Mandatory” is one of those incendiary words that we need to make go away… Take it away from this situation and folks should settle down. This isn’t, after all, about “forcing” any religion on anybody—It’s a wonderful opportunity for an important fund-raiser, coupled with high visibility for Scouting, amongst a pretty much “captive” audience, by the troop’s own sponsor! It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Hi Andy,

I was a Cub Scout in the early 70s, and remember earning the Cub Scout religious award. Is it OK for me to wear the square knot badge for this and, if so, which one and how do I get it?

Also, I picked up an old Cub Scout shirt at a resale shop. It has no collar (it was made that way) and the “Cub Scouts BSA” and American flag patches are above the right pocket. Do you know what years this was used? (I’d like to show it to my den!) (Kevin Roszko, DL, Detroit Area Council, MI)

If you remember that you earned it, just go to your local Scout Shop, buy it, and sew it on your uniform shirt—it’s purple background with a silver knot.

That yoke-collar Cub Scout shirt probably dates to the mid-60’s through mid-70’s, but if you need more accuracy than this, ask Mitch Reis (he’s a memorabilia expert). You’ll find him – and tell him Andy McCommish sent you!

Hi Andy,

I need some advice. We have a parent asking that her 11-year-old 6th grade son be allowed to finish his Arrow of Light, because the family had to move and he didn’t get to finish it. My gut tells me OK, but I suspect that the bureaucracy won’t be so accommodating. Is there a drop-dead-too-late cutoff, or can this be left to the judgment of the unit committee? (Gerry Moon, District Commissioner, Central Florida Council)

What “bureaucracy” would that be? Do you mean the BSA… the movement that has joining requirements, like age and gender?

Maybe someone should ask the boy (the boy—not the parents) what he’d like to do: Be a Cub Scout, or be a Boy Scout?

As DC, are you being asked this by a pack or a troop? If a pack, maybe they’ll want to find out how many requirements this boy has left to finish before offering a recommendation. Maybe the pack can simply register the boy and assign him to a Webelos den for a couple of months, where he can finish up. If, on the other hand, you’re being asked by a troop, then they’ll need to send these folks to a pack, because Boy Scouts don’t do Cub Scout advancement.

Dear Andy,

I’ve just accepted the role of Scoutmaster in an established troop. Prior to that I was a leader in the troop’s “feeder pack.” While with the pack, I was placed in the unfortunate position of having to turn another leader into the council for violating a BSA policy. Now, in this troop, one of the committee members is a good friend of this individual and it’s not hard to see that they are not only unhappy with the troop’s choice of Scoutmaster but also my decision to follow BSA policy. I know most folks say that the person with the problem will have to deal with it or move on, but this person has sons in the troop who will soon be Eagle scouts, so we know realistically that that’s not going to happen. Being a brand-new Scoutmaster and still learning the ropes, how should I approach this situation? (Name & Council Withheld)

How to approach being a brand-new Scoutmaster: Take Scoutmaster training, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, YP and Risk Zone training, and start reading the Scoutmaster Handbook, so that you better understand the Boy Scout program (like, it ain’t “Webelos 3”) and help this troop deliver it as it’s written to be delivered.

As far as “ancient history” is concerned, leave it alone—this means stop talking about it, too.

Dear Andy,

Are there training guidelines for leaders, detailing how long training for a specific position is good for? I’ve heard by the council office that certain leaders had to be retrained after a period of time, but I can’t find any guidance for that. (Chris Sears, Buckskin Council, WV)

“Offices” don’t talk; they sit there while people occupy them. If someone, specifically, told you something, then revealing the capacity from which that person spoke helps me understand what’s going on.

The cards that participants receive after taking a training course will either have expiration dates on them (Safe Swim Defense and Youth Protection, for instance, are good for three years from the date of completion) or the won’t. In the latter case (VLS and SSOST, for instance), this technically means they don’t expire.

Individual councils may have further stipulations, and so it’s worth checking with your council training committee chair—a person, not a structure—to determine what their specific stipulations may be.

(Yeah, I’m being crabby right now… I get far too many “council said…” type comments, and then it turns out to be some part-time Scout shop clerk. Volunteer Scouters need to identify their sources by name and relationship with the Scouting program, so that they don’t take on a life larger than reality. A BSA policy is just that; a store clerk is just that; a District Executive is just that. Let’s stay specific—it helps to keep separate the sheep from the goats.

Dear Andy,

What’s the meaning behind the Boy Scout badge? Do its parts have specific meanings? (Jesse Bye)

Do you have either a Boy Scout Handbook or a Webelos Scout Handbook? If you don’t, go here – – for an excellent description.

Hello Andy,

Do Scouts have to wear their full “Class A” uniforms when they’re traveling? (Aaron Hothem)

Absolutely! The entire troop should be in full and complete uniform. The only things you wouldn’t wear are merit badge or OA sashes, because these are “ceremonial.” In fact, the Boy Scout uniform is made to be worn at all times – not just for troop meetings!

Dear Andy,

I’m a bit old for Scouting now, but I was a Cub Scout a little over 50 years ago. Yesterday, my wife and I were talking about the term, “square,” and I recalled that our Cub Scout Promise said “…to be square and to obey the Law of the Pack.” Today I Googled “Cub Scout Promise” and the words displayed didn’t say to “be square.” Did the Promise change at some point, or am I not remembering it correctly? (Steve Stroot)

When you and I were Cub Scouts, the Promise was, “I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to be square, and to obey the Law of the Pack.” Nowadays, “to be square” has been replaced, as you noticed, by “to help other people.”

“Square” is one of those words that preceded dweeb and nerd and so forth, generally meaning “egghead” or, sometimes “goody two-shoes,” but always meaning “out of it.” So the BSA wisely replaced it with something actually more in line with the Boy Scout Oath.

Dear Andy,

My son is currently a Wolf Cub Scout. He’s very active and the pack’s and his Den Leader are concerned that he’s going to get bored with Cubs, because he’s already three-quarters done with the Wolf rank requirements and has already earned eight belt loops. Looking down the road a bit, he’ll turn 8 while a Wolf, 9 while a Bear, and he’ll actually start Webelos at age 9 and will be a few months past his 10th birthday when he would graduate into Boy Scouts as a Webelos II. He’s said that he wants to earn all 20 Webelos activity badges, and he’s also said that he doesn’t want to go through the second-year of Webelos, but start on Webelos II in June and have his Webelos badge by the end of November. This would then give him from December to late May to complete his Arrow of Light, so that, come the first of June he moves to Boy Scouts and heads off to his first summer camp. This has him going through the whole Webelos program from June 2011 through May 2012. How much of a problem is this? (Cub Scout Dad)

Before we start running off with ourselves, notice that your son’s Wolf book contains nearly a hundred electives for Arrow Points—all of which he can do with Dad or Mom as Akela! So, even when he completes what he needs for his Wolf badge, he’s got a boat-load o’ stuff he can do, right up to the end of his Wolf “year” and 2nd grade. Then, because the Cub Scout advancement program is age- and grade-specific, he’ll start Bear, and also have a bunch of Arrow Point electives, next year. Focus on these… Webelos will likely take care of itself in a couple of years, and do keep in mind that the Webelos program is age- and grade-specific, too.

Yes, three years from now, your son may wrap up his Webelos Badge by the end of fourth grade and Arrow of Light early in his fifth grade year, and then knock off any remaining activity badges, but there’s lots of other stuff for him to do, too. There’s Donor Awareness, World Conservation, Leave No Trace, Physical Fitness, CS Sports & Academics pins, and a rash of activities available to him and his den, as well.

By the time he’s a second-year Webelos, he’ll have bonded pretty closely with the other boys in his den, and he’ll most likely want to stick with them when they all become Boy Scouts together, and form their own Boy Scout patrol in the troop they join.

So, all in all, I’d say listen to him, and direct him toward age-appropriate activities, and don’t fret the future—It’ll all work out! Just relax, and enjoy your son, and—most of all—have fun together!

Dear Andy,

As a Scoutmaster, I recently received a letter, on behalf of a Life Scout in our troop, from the Scout’s father (not the Scout himself!), and my concern is that the parents are doing their son’s project work for him. Here’s the main text of the letter to the Scouts in the troop…

“I’m involved along with my family and church, in a mission constructing a junior high school in a remote fishing village in northern Mexico. We would like to enlist your help to get enough school supplies for 250 students. My little sister’s Girl Scout Brownie troop has started on this effort, but needs more help. We only have enough supplies for about 40 students. We would like to have all supplies in by (date), since our next mission trip is scheduled to leave on (date). I would like this to be a joint troop project. Please deliver the donations to my house.

“I know I should be putting all my energy in finishing my Eagle rank, but this project exemplifies what Scouting is all about. This project will help other young people to achieve their goals and dreams.”

My impression, from this letter, is that this isn’t an Eagle project at all, or even a project by this Scout… This appears to be a project by this young man’s church that his entire family is participating in, and the family’s reaching out to their son’s Boy Scout troop, and their daughter’s Brownie troop, because Scouts “Help other people…” I don’t think you need to have any rank-related concerns. In fact, I’d consider this a wonderful opportunity to “do a good turn”!

Happy Scouting!



Got a question? Have an idea? Send it to (Please include your POSITION and COUNCIL NAME or TOWN & STATE)

(November 29, 2009 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2009)

Letters to AskAndy may be published at the discretion of the columnist and the editor. If you prefer to have your name or affiliation withheld from publication, please advise in your letter..


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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