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Issue 231 – November 3, 2010

Dear Andy,

How does a Boy Scout wear his merit badge sash and his Order of the Arrow sash at formal events like courts of honor? Does one of them go on the belt and, if so, which one? (Byron Bifford, Alhambra Council, CA)

Thanks for asking—I see far too many instances when the Arrowman is clueless as to what to do and hasn’t taken the time to do any homework on the subject (the answer’s, of course, right in his OA Handbook).

Here’s the answer: He doesn’t. The merit badge sash would be worn, over the right shoulder (never, ever draped on the belt, and that’s a BSA uniform standard!) at a formal Scouting event, at the wearer’s option (in other words it’s OK to not wear it, and it’s the Scout’s choice). But unless the event is specifically an Order of the Arrow event (a conclave, for instance) or the Scout is specifically representing the Order of the Arrow (a troop OA election, or OA call-out at a Camporee, for instance), that sash is left home. Yes, even if it’s a court of honor, the OA sash is left at home. And, like the merit badge sash, it’s never, ever draped over the belt.

Dear Andy,

As a Commissioner, I get to visit quite a few troops, for both regular troop meetings as well as courts of honor. One thing’s continued to puzzle me. It happens right at the end of courts of honor (and the occasional troop meeting), when the Senior Patrol Leader calls the color guard forward and then instructs them to “retreat the colors.” “Retreat”? Is that really the right term for this? I’d always thought it was retire the colors. Can you shed any light? (Pete Swope, Tecumseh Area Council, OH)

A standard dictionary will tell you that the first definition of “retreat” is military in nature, and refers to withdrawing in the face of action from an enemy. This would make “retreat the colors” to mean something along the lines of “get the flag outa here before we’re wiped out or it’s captured.” There are, of course, other definitions, including the flag-lowering ceremony at sunset, but that first one isn’t, I don’t think, what those Senior Patrol Leaders have in mind. What we want to do is remove the flag from the front of the room and put it away, and that would make “retire” the just-about perfect term! Thanks for asking.


Hi Andy,

We have a recently approved Eagle Scout in our troop, but his ceremony won’t be held for at least three months. He’d like to get his Eagle rank badge to wear in the meantime. Does he have to wait until he takes the Eagle Oath at his ceremony, or is it OK to wear the badge starting now? (Kathi Dills)

Neither the court of honor nor the “Eagle oath” (which is, frankly, nothing more than a ceremonial nicety) signals when a Scout is officially an Eagle Scout and entitled to wear the Eagle rank badge on his uniform. The date he became an Eagle Scout is the date of his board of review. So yes, he is absolutely entitled to wear that badge, and he should be given it so he can sew it on his uniform as quickly as possible.

Dear Andy,

Can you help settle an argument? Does the adult leader BALOO training need to be repeated every two years, or not? And, is it required for all outside meetings of a den or pack? (Margaret)

You don’t need me to settle an argument of this type; you need the BSA, and in this case the BSA states clearly that BALOO is a locally-administered training course that does not require repetition, biannually or otherwise. As to your second question, your council’s Local Tour Permit form will tell you precisely what BALOO training is necessary for.

Hi Andy,

Our troop’s Scoutmaster of the past several years has two sons: one is a teen-ager in the troop and the other is Tiger Cub-aged. For the past several years, he brought both of his sons to troop meetings and activities, with the typical result that the Scouts provided free babysitting for the younger one. Now, this father-Scoutmaster wants to bring his younger son along on the troop’s fall camp (apparently, his wife is working all weekend). We on the troop committee are opposed to the younger boy coming along with the troop; the Scoutmaster claims that it won’t be a problem because he’ll monitor the kid. Are we correct, or off-base, in saying no to the idea of the younger boy camping along with the troop? (Name & Council Withheld)

A Scoutmaster, whether on a camp-out or at a troop meeting or the meeting of the troop’s PLC, needs to give 100% of his attention to the Senior Patrol Leader at all times and the Patrol Leaders as necessary. Therefore, this well-meaning but obviously overburdened gentleman needs to either find a sitter for his younger son or resign as Scoutmaster; it’s quite impossible to do both as they need to be done. The Committee Chair needs to have a heart-to-heart chat with the Scoutmaster, pointing out that the younger brother is inappropriately being brought to troop meetings and this must stop immediately, and that bringing him on a camp-out or, in fact, any troop activity at all is equally inappropriate and must stop immediately. If the Scoutmaster is “insulted” by this, the Committee Chair only needs to remember that the Boy Scouts themselves are being more than insulted by someone who expects them to baby-sit or even tolerate a younger kid “along for the ride”—Boy Scouts begins at age 11 for a reason, and this reason must be preserved. If the Scoutmaster threatens to “pull” his older son from the troop if he isn’t allowed to bring his younger son along, then he needs to be told to do that and waste no time about it, because you have taken his threat to be his resignation, and thank you for your services up till now. End of story.

Dear Andy,

Our Troop always strives to be Scout-led. We recently defined each youth leadership position and laid out the duties of for Senior Patrol Leader, Scribe, Chaplain Aide, Quartermaster, and so on. One of the requirements the committee defined was that service as a youth leader included attendance at more than 50% of the seven troop camp-outs during the Scout’s tenure in that position. The rationale behind this was that a Scout shouldn’t get credit as a leader if his assistant performed his leadership role on as many or more camp-outs than he did. We have had situations, for instance, where a Scout is elected to a leadership position and then is busy with sports and doesn’t fulfill his obligations as a leader. But this new requirement is causing problems, including two Scouts literally leaving the troop because of it. Is it correct for the troop to put expectations like these on a leadership position, or are we off-base here? (Jay Morgan, CC, Sam Houston Area Council, TX)

Yes, you have a serious problem. Whenever Scouts resign from a troop, you know there’s a problem. It must be fixed as fast as possible, and the Scouts who “voted with their feet” need to be told of the mistake and asked to return.

That being the top-line, let’s now back up a bit… In the first place, “the troop” is the Scouts; it’s not the committee. Further, the committee doesn’t have the authority to create “duties” of a troop’s youth leaders, because the BSA has already done that, and they’re written very clearly in the Scoutmaster Handbook and elsewhere. This means that the first error was for the committee to believe that they somehow needed to do something that’s outside their province. The purpose of the committee is, fundamentally, to support the program created by the Patrol Leaders Council and to manage administrative details. Moreover, the BSA stipulates that it is prohibited to use a number, proportion, or percent to define “active.”

Your troop committee needs to rescind this and any other inappropriate strictures immediately and, just like good Scouts, fess up to having made a mistake and be sure that every Scout in the troop knows that he feet aren’t going to be held to the fire here.

If a Scout wants to be elected, let’s say, Patrol Leader, the responsibilities of leading his patrol should be shared with him beforehand, and he should be asked if he anticipates having the time and schedule to do this. If he says he does, then we take his word, of course. If he says he does and it turns out that he’s having problems showing up when he needs to, then it’s time for the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster to have an informal chat with him, because maybe he’d like to have his patrol elect someone else, and he’ll stand for the next election after the current sport season (or whatever’s going on) is over.

Bottom line: Don’t substitute edicts for conversations and flexibility. We can’t legislate morale or create leaders by fiat.

Dear Andy,

If an adult volunteer is registered as an Assistant Scoutmaster but also holds an important position on the troop committee, does this person have voting rights at committee meetings, such as voting on where or how monies are spent, what equipment to purchase, and so forth? I’m sure I read it somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t remember where. Is it an actual rule or is this something our committee made up? (C.P.)

Actually, the BSA policy (see page 2 of the BSA Adult Volunteer Application) is that no individual may hold more than a single position in the same unit, with the sole exception that the CC may simultaneously serve as CR. So, if someone in your troop is double-registered, and the council registrar didn’t pick this up, the honorable thing for him or her to do, after verifying what I’m telling you here, is to resign one of the two positions. If he or she is registered on one position, SA let’s say, then he or she does not serve on the troop committee, even informally.

Hi Andy,

I thought that the BSA’sAdvancement Committee Policies and Procedures book stated that the committee was not supposed to flunk a Scout on his board of review, and, instead, the committee was supposed to suggest in writing to the Scout what he should do before he advances to the rank. In our troop, there have been several cases of boards of review failing Scouts —even for Eagle—to the point where the Scout transferred out, and over to a neighboring troop, to complete his board of review for Eagle. Is there anything written that I can show to our troop committee, to dissuade them from doing this, or can they keep on flunking Scouts? (Name & Council Withheld)

They need to read pages 121-122 of the Scoutmaster Handbook (SKU No. 33009), and pages 28-32 of the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures (SKU No. 33088).

Dear Andy,

My son, I’ll call him Phillip, has been working on the paperwork for his Eagle project for the past several months and will soon secure the last signature (he’s been chasing down signatures for several weeks now, which has chewed up valuable time). At last week’s troop meeting, Phillip’s Scoutmaster told him that he may not sign off on the project after it’s complete, because Phillip hasn’t been as active this past year as he’s been in the past. Phillip is a 4.0 student, plays three Varsity sports, is on his high school debate team, and is also active in our church’s youth group. He’s pulled back from the troop because many of the boys in his age group have ostracized him for not being a “party animal.” He’ll be 18 in little more than a month. Right now, he’s so demoralized that he wants to cancel his project, despite the fact that theCommittee Chair and Advancement Chair have both signed off on his project concept, so that he can proceed. What should he do? What can we, his parents, do? (Name & Council Withheld)

This is, of course, a dreadful situation, and certainly the Scoutmaster seems to be in process of what’s become known as “Eagle Candidate Ambush”—unfortunately, it’s not all that unusual.

The job at hand is for your son to do, and quickly. At nearly 18 years old, he can certainly speak up for himself, and should.

First, he should definitely proceed with his Eagle project, and get it completed, including the write-up, before his 18th birthday. He also needs to schedule his Scoutmaster conference, to happen before his 18th birthday too, and if the Scoutmaster has “scheduling difficulties,” then your son should immediately contact the troop’s Committee Chair and Advancement Coordinator to inform them of this potential delay and ask that the substitution of an Assistant Scoutmaster be made.

While these things are happening, your son concurrently needs to get the name and phone number of the District Advancement Chair for the district the troop is located in (the council service center can give him this information when he calls them on the phone). With that name and number, your son should call that person and schedule an in-person meeting. He goes to it, in full and complete uniform (nothing missing; nothing out of place), and describes his situation to the District Advancement Chair, including two important facts: (1) that he’s already been more than active for six months since his Life rank board of review, even though he’s been very busy in his senior year of high school, and (2) that he’s fearful that the Scoutmaster will sabotage his efforts in completing all requirements before his 18th birthday. (This is something your son must do—not you or his father.)

If any of the adults involved fail to respond rapidly to your son’s reasonable requests, they this is absolutely the time for you, his parents, to get involved, beginning with the troop’s Committee Chair and, if necessary, right to the District Advancement Chair. This way, your son gets the first salvo, and you’re right there to back him up, if necessary.

Dear Andy,

I hope you can please clarify a few issues that seem to remain unclear to some of us Den Leaders. Is the annual Blue & Gold Banquet for only crossing over boys from the pack to the troop of their choice? Also, what month can a Cub move up from one rank to the next? Both my husband and I are Den Leaders, and I’m also the pack’s Committee Chair, and we’re at a loss. I don’t think it’s fair for the younger Cubs to not be able to move up in rank and have to just sit and watch. (Rae Machado, Southwest Florida Council)

Cub Scouts advance in rank (Wolf to Bear, Bear to Webelos, etc.) when they complete the requirements for the rank, and then they work on either Arrow Points (Wolf and Bear) or more Activity Badges (Webelos)—It’s that simple and straightforward. There are no “magic months.” It happens when the work is done. A responsible Den Leader and pack will work hard to make sure the necessary paperwork and purchasing are completed before the next pack meeting, so that the boy receives his earned recognition(s) without untoward delay. This applies to the Arrow of Light rank as well: When a boy completes the requirements, he gets the badge as soon as possible.

The Blue & Gold is a double-birthday party! Yup, it’s the traditional party to celebrate the birthday of Lord Robert S.S. Baden-Powell, Scouting’s founder (born February 22, 1857) and also the birthday of the BSA (founded February 8, 1910). Whether or not there’s a graduation that night isn’t the central purpose.

The “cross-over ceremony” is for Arrow of Light (formerly Webelos II) Scouts who have, in fact, earned their Arrow of Light (because this makes them eligible to join a Boy Scout troop) and who have chosen a Boy Scout troop they’d like to join. This may or may not coincide with the B&G, although it often does.

All of this is in the Cub Scout Leader Book.

Oh yeah, one more little wrinkle here… Did you know that the BSA has a policy against serving in two registered capacities in the same unit?

Dear Andy,

Last year, my youngest son—I’ll call him Danny—followed his two older brothers into our troop, along with several others,most having been together since Tiger Cubs. In short order, Danny was elected Patrol Leader of the new Scout patrol.

Meanwhile, the father of one of the other boys in the den-now-patrol, an Eagle Scout, was helpful to the Webelos den whenever needed; however, since his son joined the troop (and is in Danny’s patrol), this father has appointed himself the leader of the patrol, and does so in no uncertain terms.

As a consequence, Danny’s first clash with this dad was when he, as Patrol Leader, asked the patrol members to come to our house on a Saturday, to make their patrol flag, but this father, instead, told the patrol members that they were to come to his house, on a Thursday night, essentially sabotaging the patrol’s own Patrol Leader. Then, at a troop meeting right before one of their first campouts, Danny suggested a menu of that hobo sandwiches and beef stew might be fun to do, instead of the usual Ramen soup and hot dogs, but (again) this father insinuated himself into the discussion and told the Scouts that Danny’s menu would be too complicated and was a bad idea, so the patrol chose soup and franks instead. Then, because some of the Scouts in his patrol weren’t able to be at troop’s “new Scout outing,” where they get to start on their requirements for Tenderfoot, Danny proposed a patrol trip to a local camp, with the Scoutmaster and second registered leader, where they could have some fun and at the same time get the other Scouts caught up on their Tenderfoot requirements. The Scoutmaster agreed, and the patrol was ready to go, but this same father got wind of the plan, told the Scouts it’s a bad idea, and killed the trip.

Time and again, this one father continues to both undermine Danny’s responsibilities as Patrol Leader and simultaneously throw a wet blanket on anything the patrol is het up to do that’s not his idea. Danny has appealed to both the Scoutmaster and the Assistant Scoutmaster to intercede with this father and get him to stop taking over as “The World’s Oldest Patrol Leader,” but on both occasions, he was told that this father would be spoken with, but nothing ever happened.

Danny has since asked to be assigned to a different patrol, but the Scoutmaster and ASM won’t allow that to happen, either. And this father continues to run the patrol. Danny’s become so disillusioned with this stuff, and now Scouting overall, that he’s talking about quitting Scouts altogether, and I’m having trouble convincing him to hang in there and stay in Scouting.

I’m a registered BSA volunteer myself, and trained, but I’ve tried to stay out of the middle of this situation,urging Danny to work this through with his troop’s adult leaders. I don’t want to be one of those meddling parents, but I feel something needs to be done. No one seems to be paying attention to him or towhat is happening. Are Danny and I being too nit-picky, or is there something really wrong with this picture? (Name & Council Withheld)

Of course this is entirely messed up! You know this. The Scoutmaster and ASM know this. And your son knows this most of all! Unless you want that 800-pound gorilla that you all know is mucking about to continue being the world’s oldest patrol leader (and shame on him! What sorry excuse for an Eagle!), it’s high time you went to the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair both, and told them both that unless something is immediately done to get this jerk of a parent away from the troop and patrols, you’re pulling your son out of the troop and taking as many of the other families who want their sons to have a Boy Scout experience as you can. This “Webelos 3” nonsense has to stop on a dime or you’re out of there and over to a troop that gets it right and whose leaders have a spine.

“Never do for a boy what he can do for himself” is still the guideline to follow, but we don’t ever ask a boy to confront a bullying adult and two who need spine transplants. To ask or expect your pre-teen year-old son to confront grown adults isn’t the way to go, and I believe you know that, too. So take charge and get it fixed, or get your son out of that sick situation. He’s been enormously patient with all of you, and it’s time you and his Scoutmaster get this job done.

Dear Andy,

As Cub Scouts earn their ranks (Wolf, Bear, and so on) is there a set or fixed time during the year that these badges are supposed to be presented to them, or can they be presented to the boy when he’s completed the requirements for the rank, arrow point, or activity badge? (Chris Greene, Mecklenburg County Council, NC)

As soon as the requirements are completed and the Den Leader turns in the necessary paperwork to your pack’s advancement person, go get the badge(s) and award them at the very soonest pack meeting! (This is what the BSA instructs us to do, in the Cub Scout Leader Book.)

Hi Andy,

At a recent Roundtable, I asked when a Boy Scout can begin working on merit badges and was told that he can’t do this till he’s Second Class. Is this right? What do you think? (Etta Dougherty, CC, East Carolina Council, NC)

It’s not what “I” or anybody else “thinks”… It’s what the BSA has to say, and the BSA says that a Scout can start earning merit badges anytime he darned well wants to. That’s right in the Boy Scout Handbook, the Scoutmaster Handbook, Boy Scout Requirements, and Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures.

Dear Andy,

Our chartered organization’s fund-raising chair is proposing the idea of the Scouts in our troop provide aid and assistance at a weekly bingo game held at our local high school. The Scouts, in uniform, would sell the bingo sheets to people as they come in, and then, during the games, they’d circulate around the room among the bingo players and sell “50-50” tickets. For these “services” they’d receive a percent of the “gate” or a proportion of the excess revenues for the evening.

Is there any BSA guideline about something like this? Even though most of the troop’s parents seem to be on board with this, and some might argue that “it’s only bingo,” it still feels like gambling to me, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate for our Scouts. Is there anything by the BSA on this, so that I won’t appear to be totally weird when I tell them that my sons won’t be participating in this? (Name & Council Withheld)

You may be happy to know that your sensibilities are 100% correct. The current BSA Guide to Safe Scouting for Unit Activities states: “A Unit Fund-raising Permit must be obtained from the local council service center” (page 44), and when the troop does this, they will be asked: “Does your plan comply with local ordinances; is it free from any association with gambling…” (italics mine). Further, the Scoutmaster Handbook states: “Is your plan free from any suggestion of gambling?” (page 163). Finally, ARTICLE XI, Section 1, Clause 1 (e) of the RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA states: “Any fundraising project on a unit, council, or national basis that includes activities related to gambling, including raffle tickets and bingo, is not permitted” (italics mine).

This means that not only should your own sons not participate in this activity, but no Scout should, either! This is the time for you and your fellow parents to stand up and be counted, as you initiate getting your troop’s leadership back on a path toward True North.

But let’s not just stop here; let’s do a sensible fundraiser! Your own council’s POPCORN fundraising program is perfect for this! In the first place, the program’s already in place and there’s nothing to “invent.” Plus, since this is a council-level fundraiser, your troop’s Scouts can do this in uniform! Third, most councils have special prizes for top-selling Scouts built in! This means that this can be successful for your individual Scouts as well as your troop as a whole. Go for it!

Dear Andy,

I have a Bear Cub Scout who would like to earn the God and Me religious emblem. He and his mother plan to work on it, since the family is of the Muslim faith. Is there an approved award for this faith? I don’t see it listed anywhere, so if it’s not approved, how do I tell this family that they can’t earn a religious emblem? (Michelle Clark, DL, Coronado Area Council, KS)

Of course, a Muslim, who practices the Islam faith, would hardly wish to earn the God and Me religious emblem; he’d want to earn the Bismillah or the In The Name Of Allah religious emblem, depending on his precise age right now. The pamphlet for this is available at

For more information on this, and many other religious emblems, go to

Finally, it’s important to understand that the religious emblem programs aren’t programs of the BSA. The BSA does, however, recognize all achievements in this important dimension in the lives of the young people we all serve.

Hello Andy,

Eagle Scout commendation request letters to dignitaries are sent by whom…? Would it be the Scout himself, or his parents, or someone else, or does it not matter? (Gary Taormino)

Definitely not the Scout himself—That would smack too much of a personal ego trip and would reduce responses dramatically, I’m sure! Parents would be OK; so would the Scoutmaster or the advancement person for the troop.

Dear Andy,

Can active service and participation in a Venturing crew count as the three-month tenure requirement for an Eagle Palm, or must it be in a Boy Scout unit? (Tad Halbach, Sam Houston Area Council, TX)

Referring to the Boy Scout Requirements book, and doing a little extrapolation, I think it’s fair to say that, yes, this can be done. Since it’s OK for a Venturer to earn Eagle rank as a member of a Venturing Crew, it should reasonably extend to Palms, also, so long as the remainder of the requirements are observed, of course. The upper age limit would, likewise, remain 18, just as if the young man were a Boy Scout. If you want to check further, contact your council’s advancement committee chair.

Dear Andy,

I keep seeing references to the Webelos Scout Parent Guide, but I can’t find it anywhere on the site. My son is a first-year Webelos. Is this guide a book that I can order, or a PDF I can download? (Patrick Hair)

It’s the insert at the very front of your son’s Webelos handbook AND it’s pages 1-22! But I encourage you to not stop there… You need to read the Webelos handbook right along with your son, so that he knows what’s going on, and you do, too!

Dear Andy,

Can a Scout decline working with a Merit Badge Counselor that’s been assigned to him, with no just cause given? For example, a Scout is assigned a Merit Badge Counselor for a particular merit badge and, after speaking with that Counselor, the Scout says he doesn’t want to work with him or her, but gives no reason. (Sandra Perrone, Advancement Chair, Westchester-Putnam Council, NY)

The BSA has no “policy” on this, of course, because it’s an individual decision and certainly any Scout would have the right to decide on the Merit Badge Counselor he’d prefer to work with… It’s the Scout’s merit badge, after all, and we need to remember that important point! So, in this case, the Scoutmaster should simply give this Scout the name and contact information for a different person, so that the Scout doesn’t lose momentum. That said, if this happens, with regard to any one, particular Merit Badge Counselor more than once, you may want to alert the district person in charge of maintaining the Counselor list.

Hello Andy,

I’m a new District Commissioner, in this position for just a few months (before this, I was Venturing Roundtable Commissioner for two years and Unit Commissioner for a year before that).

Right now, our district has at least three Unit Commissioners who neither come to Commissioners’ meetings nor visit any of their assigned units. Two of them I’ve never met and the only contact information I have for them are email addresses. I’ve sent each of them a couple of email messages, but there’s been no response. The one whom I have actually met travels on business for weeks at a time, and has no time to visit units. I’ve asked him about his interest (or not) in continuing on, and I know he can and does receive the district newsletter via email, but no response to individual messages. A fourth Commissioner has only one unit (he won’t take more than this) and it’s dwindled in his care to no more than about a half-dozen Scouts. And our fifth and final Commissioner, who has one troop and two packs and, according to the volunteers at these three units, has not so much as visited them once in the past three years at least.

I don’t want or need Unit Commissioners like this, but in the absence of their responding to messages or attending meetings, I don’t know how to remove them from their positions. I know that Commissioner training courses suggest sending people like these letters, but I don’t really know what should go into a letter. Any suggestions or advice? (David Swift, DC, Longhouse Council, NY)

I had a situation similar to yours some years ago… I was a newly recruited District Commissioner, told that I had a dozen or more active UCs and that my job as DC would be a breeze. Turned out they were either “paper Commissioners” or actually doing damage wherever they went! Double-Ouch! So yes, I had to bite the bullet and choreograph a way to retire them. It worked, so here’s my suggestion…

Start with a heart-to-heart with the other two members of your district “Key 3.” Tell ’em your problem, especially your District Executive, and get agreement that you’re going to get rid of the dead wood and the rotten wood all at once, and then begin re-building from the ground-up. If you can get all three of you on the same page here, you’re good to go. If not, you’re going to be shoveling water upstream with a pitchfork for the duration of your tenure, which, to my mind, is a pretty lousy situation!

Here’s the letter to send these guys (modify it as you need to)…


Thanks for your service. We’re presently in process of updating our Commissioner Roster for the district, and it’s critical that all of our Commissioners are prepared to stay on the job, including personal visits to their designated units no less than six time per year, attending at least 60% of all monthly Commissioners’ meetings, and providing written summaries of all unit contacts on a monthly basis. If you’re ready to continue as a Commissioner, including the obligations attendant thereto, please mail back to me the enclosed postcard, with your signature demonstrating your commitment for the coming Scouting year.

Thank you, (all three signatures of the Key 3)

(The enclosed postcard repeats the requirements set forth, beginning with a “Yes, I’m prepared to serve the X district of Y council as a Commissioner for the period ending [date], including [here, you repeat the stuff about visits, etc.], signed, _________________)

Are you getting what happens next? That’s right: You don’t get cards mailed back to you, which signifies that these jokers are now history. Game over. Start new. And, if you get any flak, remember that the Key 3 stands together, shoulder-to-shoulder on this one!

Dear Andy,

Your columns are totally addictive. I started reading a couple of months ago, and now that I’m raising my own new questions, I can’t help but need to write to you…

I’ve been reading a lot about “young” Eagles, particularly the situation where some troop leader wants to artificially hold the Scouts back, in order to keep them in the troop. This prompted me to think about my husband, and why he stayed in his troop to the ripe old age of 18. He was 15 when he earned his Eagle, and I don’t think he would’ve considered dropping out, but when you add in that his younger brother was about to cross over from Cub Scouts and his dad was a troop committee member, it would’ve looked plain silly if he had. I’ve been trying to emphasize to my Cubs that Scouting isn’t about going to
meetings; it’s about family. If you want someplace to go on Tuesday night, go play basketball or something; but if you want a way of life, be a Scout. (Jen Haubrich)

My wife actually chose me because I’m an Eagle Scout (of course, being a guy, and therefore pretty clueless about such things, I had no idea at the time that I’d been “chosen”). Today, after I’ve sat on a successful Eagle Scout board of review, or if I’m making a presentation at a court of honor, I’ll tell the new Eagle this: The three best things about being an Eagle Scout are, first, it will be a part of you and who you are forever, second, it will delight your parents, and, third, it will absolutely delight the parents of your date.

Happy Scouting!



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

(November 3, 2010 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2010)

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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