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Issue 261 – June 24, 2011

Dear Andy,

Can an Eagle Palm also be awarded at an Eagle ceremony, at the same time a Scout’s receiving his Eagle Badge? (Mike Bowman)

Assuming that the three months’ tenure has passed since the date of the board of review for Eagle rank, the five additional merit badges have been earned, the other requirements fulfilled, and a board of review was successfully held, it would be completely proper to present the Bronze Palm.If six months have passed, the Bronze Palm has been completed, five more merit badges and the other requirements have all been completed, then of course the Gold Palm would be presented. And so on.

Hi Andy,

Our son and the other Scouts in his troop are having a problem with an Assistant Scoutmaster, who literally screams at the Scouts, has told more than one that “You’ll never amount to anything,” and makes highly personal selections when it comes to which Scouts have “passed” Scout spirit and who is allowed to have a Scoutmaster Conference. We, his parents, have spoken to both the Scoutmaster and the full troop committee about this, but nothing has really changed, despite this man having apparently enrolled in an anger management group of some sort. Possibly related to the lack of action thus far is that this Assistant Scoutmaster is also a member of the church that sponsors the troop. Is there anything we, as parents can do about him? If there’s a way to fix this, we’d prefer that route to changing troops. (Names Withheld in Cape Fear Council, NC)

This isn’t a time to walk small around the elephant in the room. What this gentleman is doing is called emotional abuse of minors and in some jurisdictions this is an offense for which one can be arrested. This needs to be pointed out to him in a private conference by three key people, together—the head of the church, the troop’s Committee Chair, and the Scoutmaster—and the only two options for him are that he cease this behavior instantly or that he resign. If he’s unwilling to do one or the other of these, then these key three people must instantly remove him from his position with the troop.

To help the three key people understand the severity of this problem and provide them with the steps they must take with no further hesitation, I suggest that as many parents as possible meet with these three to describe the damage to your sons that’s being done, affirm that you all are unwilling to tolerate it further, and describe precisely what you expect the three of them to do.

(IMPORTANT: The solution to this situation will NOT be found in the email channels. This absolutely must be done face-to-face.)

If the three key people associated with the troop are unwilling to do this, then it seems to me that you as a parent have just one option and that is to protect your son from further abuse by removing him from the troop and immediately finding a troop that he can transfer into. Following this, if you wish to inform other parents of what you’ve done and where your son is, you would be doing them and their own sons a huge benefit.

Dear Andy,

Someone wrote to you in one of your previous columns that it would be a good idea to give rank pins instead of badges at the troop meeting after Scouts complete their boards of review because it would be more convenient to write a single and comprehensive advancement report for all the badges to be obtained before the court of honor, which can’t be purchased without them, while the rank pins can be bought in advance. I personally think it’s a great idea, but I have just a minor concern: Why is this suggestion not made in anyBSAliterature (particularly the Insignia Guide, because it makes no mention to where a rank pin would be placed on the scout’s uniform)? I’ve always believed that the rank pins only go on the ribbon and nowhere else. Would it go on the pocket flap? Pinned on top of the old badge? Or do you remove the old badge and put the pin there? I’m a little bit confused here.

Different issue: Is Scouting officially “boy-led,” or “boy-run”? This doesn’t present a problem to me, but I feel like some adult leaders might interpret these terms to mean different things. They may interpret “boy-led” to mean that although the Scouts are executing a plan, the troop is really “adult run,” whereas “boy-run” may be interpreted to mean that the Scouts are actually running the troop, including creating a plan and executing it. I feel like this may be due to a change in rhetoric over the years; for example we call Senior Patrol Leaders and Patrol Leaders “youth” leaders now, instead of “junior” leaders, and this has now carried over to the change from JLT (“Junior Leader Training”) to TLT (“Troop Leader Training”). I’ve seen “boy-led” used many times in the Scoutmaster Handbook, which is in need of an update, and I believeI’veseen “boy-run” used in the newer editions of the Patrol Leader Handbook and Senior Patrol Leader Handbook, while the BSA website uses both, and states that “Boy Scouts is a boy-led, boy-run organization.” Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill here, or is there an actual explanation for this? (Matt Urbanek, National Capital Area Council, MD-VA)

There are rank pins, and there are rank badges, and there are miniature rank pins for mothers. We’re talking about the first two, which are synonymous; not about the third. Rank pins are worn by Scouts in precisely the same place that rank badges are worn: Centered on the left pocket. With that part put to rest, let’s look at the remainder… I absolutely did not say that rank pins are substitutes till courts of honor. Assuming that boards of review are held concurrently with troop meetings (a typical practice with many troops), the purpose of the pin is to provide recognition on the very night that the review is held. That same night, the troop’s advancement report is written out and signed, or computer entered, as the case may be, but then, in the coming week, somebody from the troop needs to go to the Scout Shop to buy the badges, per the report. Since this can take a week and sometimes longer, the pins allow the Scout to be honored for his advancement without delay. It’s totally appropriate, since the date of the rank earned is the date of the board of review (not the court of honor date), just as the date of the merit badge earned is the date the “blue card” completion is entered into in the troop’s records.

To be clear: Courts of honor are for public recognition of advancements since the last court of honor; they’re not for awarding badges.

For your second question, continue to refer to the Scoutmaster Handbook, particularly Chapter 3, page 11: “THE BOY-LED TROOP.” Here, it states (page 12), “One of your most important challenges as Scoutmaster is to train boy leaders to run the troop by providing direction, coaching, and support…” (italics mine). And, “The boys themselves develop a troop’s program…”

On the language change from “junior” to “youth,” I can tell you first-hand that this occurred in significant part through the lack of comfort adult volunteers had with the term, “junior.” Having attended and then staffed the NATIONAL JUNIOR LEADER TRAINING CAMP at Schiff Scout Reservation, and more recently staffed the NATIONAL JUNIOR LEADER INSTRUCTOR CAMP at Philmont, I can tell you that none of us ever had a problem with “junior” leaders anymore than we had a problem being Junior Assistant Scoutmasters! That said, the most important thing to always keep in mind is that while the word may have migrated the responsibilities have not: Scouts run their troop, and they run their patrols, and anything less than this just isn’t Scouting. Period.

Hello Andy,

The other day our District Executive stated that she’s working to have our pack’s Cubmaster “black-balled” (her terminology) from Scouting. Our Cubmaster’s been a wonderful leader for many years; however, our pack’s recently become stagnant, so he’s actively encouraging three long-time volunteers to move on to positions beyond the pack, so that a dozen or so new and enthusiastic parents can fill new slots with the pack. The “old” leaders are now making false accusations about the Cubmaster and those who support him, and the D.E. is, apparently, buying into them. Meanwhile the pack continues to stagnate. So, can a D.E. actually have a Scouting volunteer black-balled? (Name & Council Withheld)

For anyone to make a statement about getting a Scouting volunteer “black-balled” is highly unusual, and even more rare when the statement is purportedly made by a District Executive, especially since District Executives have no direct authority over unit-level volunteers (at this level, only the executive officer of the chartered organization and/or the Chartered Organization Representative have the authority to bring aboard or dismiss a unit volunteer). But, we do know that—in or out of Scouting—people are people and will more often than is beneficial make such remarks without having thought them through. This can happen in business, education, government, religious institutions, and not-for-profit organizations and is more a reflection of the individual’s error of judgment than a reflection on the sector within which the statement is made.

If you truly believe, as this Cubmaster seems to, that what he’s trying to do is for the best interests of the pack and the Scouting movement, then full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes! Don’t attempt to “convince” your supposed enemies, and certainly don’t try to defend or even explain yourself—there are none so blind as they who refuse to open their eyes. Aim for True North and stay the course.

Meanwhile, get those new parents registered with the pack and you’ll have a solid force that will be pretty tough for three geezers to overrun!

Hi Andy,

You advocate wearing our Scout uniforms for everything, and I couldn’t agree more! Here’s another “fringe benefit” you can add to the list!

On my way home from a camp-out, driving down a highway with a car full of Scouts, I forgot to pull over to the left lane when passing a stopped police car. Well sure enough, he pulled out, caught up with me, pulled me over. When he walked up to my car and peered in the window, there we were, all in uniform (with me a bit red-faced). He could have ticketed me and fined me $500. Instead, he grinned and gave me a warning. How cool is that? (Diane Berson, Atlanta Area Council, GA)

That is indeed VERY cool! Thanks for adding to the “uniform ammo”!

Dear Andy,

Our council is reorganizing and consolidating its districts, which up till now have operated pretty independently of one another, including procedurally. I’m thinking that it would be helpful and coherent for at least the new districts to have a unified standard procedure for the handling of Eagle projects and Eagle boards of review. What are your own views on these areas, particularly with regard to how a Scout should submit his project for district approval? The reason I’m asking is that three of the districts are being consolidated into one, and each of the three has had a different way of managing both of these, which means that if we don’t unify these processes the new district’s troops will be following three different ways of doing things. (Georg Dahl, Council Advancement Chair, Tidewater Council, VA)

Let’s start here: It’s the council advancement committee that determines what such procedures will be, and the districts—through their own DACs—carry out the procedures specified by the CAC. So, the first order of business would be to hear from each of the districts on what they’ve been doing and how well that’s worked, including where the hiccups are (the latter are very important, because these are the things you’ll be trying to clean up). Then, after you’ve heard from all districts, ponder. Put together a matrix, listing each method, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and the things that might make each work better. Then determine if there’s truly one set of procedures that has a high probability of succeeding across all districts—old, new, and consolidated. If so, then that’s what you’ll ask all districts to implement, and you’ll give them the support descriptions and documents they’ll need to communicate this to all the troops, teams, and crews in their service area. If, by chance, a district needs a variation in procedure of some sort, for some reason, be sure to write down exactly what the situation is, in that district, that calls for a modification, and what modification of the overall procedure is being made to accommodate the unique situation. Then, track it. If the situation changes at some later date, so that the modification isn’t necessary anymore, then you all can eliminate it so that all districts will be handling things the same way!

Importantly, in addition to the “path” of the project from inception through the four green-light signatures, to final sign-off, the method for scheduling boards of review and whether they’ll be handled at the unit level with a district/council representative present or at the district or council level, you’ll also need to decide the method by which the references will be obtained (phone calls with notes taken, requests for letters, etc.), to whom they’ll be sent, how the reviewers will obtain them, and how their post-board of review disposition will be handled and by whom.

Hi Andy,

I think you blew it on the Pledge of Allegiance a while back. There’s absolutely nothing in the Boy Scout program that requires a Scout to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact, the joining requirement—to earn the Scout badge—is to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. Once suffices, and neither “ceremony” nor “salute” is included in the concept of “repeat.” Neither is there anything in the concept of “duty to country” that requires a recitation of those words, and the phrase-by-phrase explanation of the Scout Oath on the handbook’s page 22 confirms this.

If the Scout’s non-participation in the Pledge is a matter of religious practice, as the most commonly-encountered cases are, this is a teaching moment for everyone. He is upholding his duty to God as he sees it, and has said nothing about not recognizing or doing a duty to country…he just places God first.

You’re a pillar of our Scouting community when it comes to encouraging people to read the BSA’s policies and procedures and then follow them, pointing out tirelessly that there’s almost never a need for interpretation. The same dictum applies here. Thanks again for everything you do. (Glenn Overby, Prairielands Council, IL)

Referring top the specific scenario to which I responded: In the absence of any religious rationale for not wanting her son to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to our country’s flag, and with no indication that we are discussing a family of foreign nationals or expats (who expect to be returning to their home country at some not-too-distant time, and, further, with no indication of any special circumstances beyond a mother’s edict that her son will not repeat the Pledge, my response stands.

One of Scouting’s three aims is to build CITIZENS… Happy, responsible, productive citizens. This is one of the things we in Scouting do to accomplish this.

I don’t need to “interpret” the joining requirement, and the Boy Scout Handbook (12th Ed.) itself points out (page 19) to the Scout that “The Pledge of Allegiance is recited on many occasions where Americans honor their flag.” The handbook goes on to observe (page 20) that one of the uses of the Scout salute is to honor the American flag. Young people who are Americans are expected to regularly salute the American flag and recite the pledge of allegiance in school. At sports events, the entire stadium or ball park, arena, or grandstand will rise to honor our flag and remove headgear and salute while the National Anthem is sung. Both houses of Congress do this. The openings of meetings of Freemasons, Rotarians, Knights of Columbus, Jaycees, Kiwanians, Lions, Elks, Oddfellows, Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, American Legionnaires, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, to name just a few, include the Pledge to our flag. We in Scouting do this because it’s something Americans do and it’s certainly something Scouts across our country do. Among the vast majority of all religions, pledging to the flag of one’s country as a representation of one’s duty to country in no way conflicts with one’s further beliefs in or duty to one’s god-by-any-name. Which is my long-winded way of suggesting that it’s unlikely that my view on this will ever change. If anyone wishes to label me an over-the-top-patriot and/or steadfast American, to my dying breath I’m happy to raise my hand and claim, “Guilty as charged!”

Dear Andy,

A while ago, there was a question about the “utility value” of the BSA’s Scout pants. My own Scout son has both the light-weight, nylon switchbacks (he’s used them during the summer and at Philmont and the National Jamboree) and the heavier, canvas switchbacks, for winter use. They’re both available at if not from the council store. Oh, and as far as “utility” goes, maybe I should mention that my son’s a Scout in Eagle River, Alaska. (Carolyn Wehr, Great Alaska Council)

Hoo-Rah! Somebody else who GETS IT!

Hi Andy,

I’m pleased to be an active parent alongside my son’s Scouting endeavors. I started as a Tiger Den Leader and shortly joined the district staff as well. Unfortunately, my son’s pack doesn’t seem to like it that I have all sorts of information directly from the district. I was the pack’s secretary and as such went to Round-tables to stay current with program information—I’d thought this would help the other pack volunteers plan upcoming months’ activities. A year ago, they asked me to step down as Den Leader, and as my son was about to hit Webelos, I agreed. But communications seemed to further deteriorate so, shortly after completing my Wood Badge “ticket,” I decided to withdraw from the pack committee and simply enjoy being a Cub parent. If only life were that simple… Now, just two months after I resigned from the committee, the pack has decided to expel my son! What seemed to be the catalyst for this is that the pack leaders didn’t follow the procedure we’d set up for when a pack event cancellation or not has to be decided based on snow/ice conditions, and when I questioned this the Committee Chair simply replied that she can change procedures whenever she feels like it. Having some district connections, I subsequently called in the Unit Commissioner to help sort this out, but he told me that this was really none of my business. So I went up the ladder to the District Commissioner and District Executive to get assistance with what could have been a very poor decision by the pack, in deciding to hold a pack meeting during an ice storm on a day that school had been canceled, when our own pack procedure was to cancel when the school does. Apparently, once the district is called in the pack gets in trouble and so, to get rid of the trouble they want me gone, so they’re expelling my son. The only people they involved in the decision that I know of is the Unit Commissioner, Cubmaster, Committee Chair, Chartered Organization Representative, and the Pastor of the church that sponsors the pack. This almost makes me think this was a religion decision, because my family isn’t Christian and apparently all the other families are.

I’d gladly move my son to another pack, but he has friends here and was looking forward to having one last round of events with them (he’ll be joining a different troop from the others next year).

So, can they actually expel a child from the pack for this? (Name & Council Withheld)

When the relationship between folks involved in a Scouting unit become so strained, for whatever reasons, that it filters down to the youth level, it’s definitely time to move on. You could probably “fight” this and have your son “reinstated,” but to what good end? Will this make the rancor go away? Will this eliminate further exposure of your son to the back-and-forth stuff at the parent-leader level? I have to suspect that it won’t. Consequently, since all we want is the best for our sons, the best bet will be to find another pack, where he’ll be happy, and just let him be a boy in his den, making new friends. It might be awkward at first, but these things sometimes do take a little time to work themselves out. Give it a try… The last thing you want is for your son to think there’s something wrong with “Scouting” when it’s really nothing more than a clash of personalities that could have happened on the sidelines of a soccer game just as easily! As for “missing” his friends, in only a few more months he’ll be joining a different troop anyway, you told me, so I’m thinking that the friendship bonds are probably not that strong to begin with. Besides, the boys can always reconnect anytime you and their parents decide to get them together, just for fun!

Dear Andy,

I’m currently the Chartered Organization Representative for a Cub Scout pack sponsored by our church. I’m being confronted by our Assistant District Commissioner (“ADC”) about pack funds in the neighborhood of $6000 that have gone missing. (The treasurer has already stepped down and the accounts have been secured.) The Cubmaster has been following the advice of the ADC since the discovery of the missing funds, and they, for unknown reasons, have been excluding me from their conversations and course of action…until now. They’ve thus far spent three months with emails, phone calls, certified letters, and personal visits by various pack volunteers, and all they’ve accomplished is locating a blank ledger book and an empty cash box. Now, the Cub whose mother was the treasurer is being ridiculed by classmates and peers, claiming that his mom “stole money from the Cub Scouts” when absolutely nothing has been proven and these are mere allegations and have been allowed to “go public.” Obviously, although this problem should have been managed only among the volunteers of the pack, and us, their sponsor, any number of less-than-intelligent decisions were made instead, and the fallout isn’t pleasant.

Our church doesn’t have the resources to pay for legal council to pursue locating the missing funds; moreover, I feel that if we’re to be held responsible for such a mishap—which is, apparently, what this Commissioner is attempting to do—we as a church should be handling the pack’s funds for them, rather than the method to date, which has been that the pack handles its own money.

This Commissioner is now, rumor has it, suggesting that since the pack doesn’t have the money to support the Scout council’s annual “Friends of Scouting” fund-raising campaign, the church itself should make up the expected short-fall.

I’ve done my research and have only found that, as the pack’s sponsor, we’re obligated to support and promote the Scouting program and provide a facility for the pack to meet. Now I’m being told by the ADC that the church “owns” the pack, but if that’s the case, then why has this ADC interceded between me, as the church’s representative, and the pack? Can you help? Just what are my obligations, as the Chartered Organization Representative, in addressing this, and what is the church’s obligation? (Name & Council Withheld)

Here are some facts that may be helpful to you. These are BSA policies and rules, and you can confirm these with the Scout Executive of the BSA council that your church is located in.

– Commissioners have no direct or indirect “jurisdiction” over any Scouting units or unit-level volunteers. The Commissioner position is either one of administration or diplomacy; Commissioners have no authority over units or their volunteers—they “out-rank” no one.

– The “owner” of each Scouting unit is indeed its sponsor…what’s now called the chartered organization. In the case of this pack, the owner is in fact the church.

– As the owner of the unit, the church owns all of the pack’s assets as well. The BSA council does not own anything that “belongs” to the pack, including flags, other equipment, and money. These things belong to the pack and, in turn, the church.

– The chartered organization is responsible for providing such things as a safe meeting place (check your annual re-chartering agreement for more details) but it is not responsible for funding the unit or the BSA council. Your church can certainly make a donation to the council (it is a 501(c)(3) organization also) but it is under no contract or obligation to do so.

– Missing funds, especially when they’re in the thousands, are definitely a major problem, because in most jurisdictions this is grand theft or grand larceny (check your local laws). I certainly hope your church’s administrators can work with the pack volunteers to recover at least some of that money–it’s the boys‘ money, for goodness sakes!

Now understand this: I’m not an attorney and I’m not providing legal advice, and I’m also a BSA volunteer and not a “professional.” So be sure to check further with local people who can best advise you on a course of action.

That said, I’ll tell you this much more: Tell that ADC to go fly a kite—he’s way out of line here—and then tell the Committee Chair that it’s his responsibility to communicate directly with you, first and foremost, not only on this issue but on anything pertaining to the pack. (The Chair and Cubmaster serve at your pleasure, by the way.)

Last item: Unless this pack has well over 200 registered youth members there is absolutely no reason for it to have an account balance anywhere near $6,000! In a Scouting unit’s general funds, there’s simply no need for funds in that order of magnitude. Consequently, if replacing the money via some sort of fund-raiser is considered, the goal need not be anywhere near that amount. And when whatever money is raised or replaced, it would definitely be helpful to ask your friendly local banker what sorts of safeguards would make sense, so that this sort of thing can’t happen again.

Dear Andy,

My son is a Wolf Cub Scout. We’ll be visiting the White House on a family vacation trip. We’ve contacted our Congressman and have been approved for a White House tour. We’re wondering if we can incorporate any Cub Scout achievements or learning experiences for my son. I’m debating if he should wear a suit, or his Cub Scout uniform. Any advice would be appreciated. (Lucy Murillo, CM, Alamo Area Council, TX)

I don’t know whether there’s a badge to earn here or not… But is that really what it’s all about? Anyway, read through your son’s handbook and see what you can find. Meanwhile, so long as he wears a complete Cub Scout uniform (belt, neckerchief, pants, socks—the whole nine yards), I’m sure he’ll have a fun time visiting the White House that way!

Dear Andy,

I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster responsible for a new-Scout Patrol. My question is, how important are ceremonies? I’m asking because, as far back as I can remember, we just don’t do ceremonies in this troop or its pack! In talking with one of my new Scouts, he received his Arrow of Light, but there was no big deal made about it—it was just handed to him at a pack meeting. By contrast, I remember receiving my Arrow of Light as a Cub Scout myself, and it was a big and very memorable ceremony.

I guess I’m trying to find out how to motivate the other leaders here—the pack leaders in particular—to do more and better ceremonies, but I can’t find anything in the training materials either online or in print that mentions ceremonies. I suppose that means that such ceremonies aren’t necessarily a part of Scouting, but somehow I think they’re important. Am I off-base here?

I’m not attempting to badmouth the other leaders—they show up, they’re working hard, they do a good job. I just wonder if we could be doing a better job.

I think some of it may be because our unit is fairly young, and there are no real traditions yet. I don’t know how any prodding will be received, and I don’t want to come off as a jerk (which may well be the case)…I just want to make sure that we’re doing what we should. So… How important are ceremonies to Scouting? (Name & Council Withheld)

Ceremonies have been a part of Scouting before there was even the BSA! It’s fundamental. It’s fun. It’s tradition-building, it’s bonding, morale-building, it makes boys feel special, it’s memorable. I well remember my own Tenderfoot Investiture Ceremony, and the BSA wasn’t half as old as it is now when my Scoutmaster laid his hands on my shoulders and welcomed me into the troop as a “real” Scout! These things stick! Without them, we’re just a sort of boys’ club in blue, or tan and khaki, and so what’s the big deal…

Ceremonies, my friend, are one of the things that make Scouting a BIG DEAL! Just like SINGING! (Read my column titled “The Day The Music Died”) If Scouting didn’t endorse and encourage ceremonies, they wouldn’t be publishing books about how to do ’em, for goodness sakes!

What do you think a Court of Honor is, if not a 90-minute ceremony with special ceremonies inside it? What do you think a pack meeting is, if not a 60-minute series of ceremonies? Heck, if these are just meetings where we pass out badges and such using the infamous “Zip-Lok” method (you get what I mean, yes?) then why bother…why not just mail ’em to the boys, for all the inspiration Zip-Lok bags command! The BSA offers “Meetings & Events Openings & Closings” DVD (SKU 605685-$14.99), “Cub Scouts-Ceremonies for Dens & Packs” book (SKU 33212-$7.99). We here are offer 16 different Cub Scout ceremony categories at and for all Scout ranks at and you’ll find even more with just a little research of your own.

Your troop is in the perfect position to create and start doing ceremonies of your own, without having your feet stuck in the mud. Go for it, with all the gusto you can muster!

Dear Andy,

Thank you so much for your column! I enjoy it very much. I also appreciate the common sense that you add to Scouting when things get out of control!

Here is my current dilemma. I’m the Committee Chairman for a Cub Scout pack.We’re only five years old, so we don’t have the attitude of “this is how we’ve always done it,” thank goodness!

We participate in the annual council fund-raiser by selling popcorn.In the past five years, we’ve worked to make fund- raising efforts equitable for the Cubs. We track each Cub’s sales, and credit a percentage of their sales to each Cub’s “account,” with the idea that those funds can be used toward pack outings and/or camps. Two years ago, we offered the option of a Scout Shop gift card as well. We now have a parent asking to use her son’s account funds for camping gear, and this is the one that opened a huge can of worms at our last committee meeting.

Does the BSA put any limitations on access to funds earned as part of BSA fund-raisers? Can youth members buyanything they want, and then submit a receipt for reimbursement from their accounts? There was discussion of an “approved” list of supplies… tents or sleeping bags are straight-forward, but what about water bottles? Or wool socks? Or moisture-wicking underwear? Where would we draw the line on what’s approved and what isn’t? And then somebody else raised a point about returning an item after reimbursement, which just puts cash from the account in their hands. Obviously, we could make ourselves crazy with this!

Any ideas, insights, and common sense you can offer would be appreciated! (Beth Fjeld, CC, Glacier’s Edge Council, WI)

You all are gonna make yourselves crazy over this, and somebody’s gonna go cardiac before the day’s over! Relax! Let’s start with the fact that this isn’t your money—it belongs to the Cubs who earned it. You all are simply holding it for them. Frankly, you could write them all checks for what they earned, pass out the checks, and be done with it! Or, you can stipulate that it’s “all for (fill in the blank)'” but then you’re going to have a valid exception, and then another one, and there you go again…

The BSA has no “policies” on this sort of stuff because this is a pack issue; not a BSA or even council issue. So, why not brainstorm amongst yourselves on the very simplest way to handle the commissions the boys earn for themselves, and then select the best idea and stick to it.

Maybe the simplest way to create a win-win is that the money can be used for any item available for purchase at the local Scout Shop or online at – this, at least, keeps it in the “Scouting family.”

Dear Andy,

Can the Chartered Organization Representative participate in a board of review? (Amy Zwally)

The BSA tells us that participants in boards of review for all ranks with the sole exception of Eagle must be registered members of the troop committee. The CR position is the only one in a troop that can hold a double-registration (CR and CC), and of course this person can participate in a board of review as chair of the troop committee. If the CR is registered only in this capacity, then that answer’s no. However, for an Eagle Scout board of review, the CR is a wonderful person to invite, along with the chartered organization’s executive officer!

Happy Scouting!


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

June 24, 2011 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2011)

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.

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