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Issue 519 – February 28, 2017

Hi Andy,

Our troop was having its regular weekly meeting and, while the other Scouts are busy with how to make a pizza in a Dutch oven, the Senior Patrol Leader and ASPL walked over to where we parents are sitting around yakking with one another. They got our attention and told us they needed three things from us…

First, and very politely, if we’re going to conversations during the Scouts’ meetings, would we please take them upstairs in another room or outside, because it’s hard to stay focused with a bunch of background chatter from us parents?

Second, they pointed out that our last couple of troop outings were a problem. One was almost canceled, in fact. We need more drivers willing to drive our Scouts to where we’re jumping off from when we go on our monthly hikes and campouts

Then, a real wake-up call… These two Scouts “reminded” us “older” parents that we’re not going to be with the troop “forever,” so would we please start finding replacements for ourselves—parents of new Scouts who can shadow us in our troop committee jobs, learn from us, and then make smooth transitions when the older Scouts—along with their parents—“age out” of the troop in a year or so?

How did these young men “grow up” so fast?! It seems like just yesterday they were clueless, silly little boys, and now they’re running the troop…and maybe us, too! Could it really be that SCOUTING WORKS?! (Jerri Bell, Sunderland, MD)

Thanks for taking the time to write – We need to hear about lots more successes like this!
Dear Andy,

Does the Hunter Safety certification count in the Rifle Shooting merit badge shooting requirements 2K and 2L? (Alison Sunderland)

The very best answer to your question will be from a qualified and currently registered Rifle Shooting Merit Badge Counselor. If your district or council doesn’t happen to have such a person available at the moment, let me know and I’ll do my best to find one for you.
Hi Andy,

Following the GUIDE TO SAFE SCOUTING, particularly “two-deep leadership” and “no one-on-one contact, I’m very strict. However, there are times at public events like booth sales, swimming at public pools, fun nights at local businesses, and—most importantly—short periods of time at our troop meetings (in a church building), that Scouts will be present with a single adult leader present. I’ve questioned this, but a long-time Commissioner once told me that, indeed, in public places and troop meetings, since you’re not on a trip or outing, it’s okay to have a single leader present. Is this accurate? Here’s the BSA statement on this: “One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is not permitted. In compliance with the BSA’s ‘two-deep’ leadership policy, two registered adult leaders or one registered leader and a parent of a participant, or other adult, one of whom must be 21 years of age or older, are required on all trips and outings.” (Michael Thornton)

Of course we know that the “Two-Deep Leadership (by adults)” rule applies to “trips and outings” and not troop meetings (which can correctly include just the Scoutmaster and the troop of Scouts or, as for PLC meetings, the Scoutmaster and the Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leaders plus Scribe. And, as you point out, a single adult is all that’s required if we’re taking about some sort of local event that’s public in nature.

We also know that all it takes for there to be “no one-on-one contact” is for any third person to be present (including but not limited to one or more additional Scouts) OR for the “contact” to be in public. Examples of the latter include: A merit badge counselor and a single Scout meeting at the town’s public library or other public location, in full view of others; a Scoutmaster conferring with a single Scout at a troop meeting, in full view (but out of earshot) of others; etc.

That’s pretty much the story on this, and so long as you avoid trying to re-interpret language that’s quite straightforward, you’re on solid ground.
Dear Andy,

I can’t seem to find anything, anywhere, on training for Eagle Advisors. Can you help me? (Paul Peery)

The hiccup here might be that there’s no BSA-designated position titled “Eagle Advisor.” What you’re looking for is “Eagle Scout Service Project Coach.” Google this, instead, and you’ll discover an excellent BSA-produced Power Point presentation.
Hi Andy,

I’ve seen some patrol patches out there on the Internet that were non-BSA and a few that weren’t two-inches and round. Is there anything that says a Scout patrol medallion must be a two-inch round patch? Is the actual patrol patch regulated by BSA, or is there some flexibility allowed? (Lee Murray, Nevada Area Council)

Yes, there’s a standard set by the BSA: round and two-inch diameter. Now here’s the good news… Check an embroidery company called Class B. This company is an authorized BSA provider and so all their patrol medallions are “BSA-legal”! Class B is one of several BSA-authorized providers, so do check out as many as you like. Just Google “scout patrol patch” and you’ll find a whole bunch of different designs plus opportunities for custom embroidering as well.

The key here isn’t so much patch design as it is the actual name. Give your Scouts the freedom to choose their own patrol names, but do plan on informally (but intelligently) vetting the names in advance. This not only alleviates duplications but also assures that parents’ and other adult-types’ hair doesn’t catch fire when the names are announced (you get my drift here, yes?).
Hello Andy,

Just to satisfy my curiosity (not because we have a problem in our troop!), is it safe to say that an Assistant Scoutmaster serves at the pleasure of the chartered organization, and can be removed with or without cause? (Name & Council Withheld)

It’s certainly correct that every one of a Scouting unit’s adult volunteers serve having been approved by the unit’s chartered organization. It’s also correct that, as volunteers and not employees, all adult associated with the unit do serve at the pleasure of the chartered organization and may be reappointed annually or removed by the head (“Executive Officer” is the title used on the local BSA council’s charter renewal forms and unit rosters) of that chartered organization, or by his or her designee: the Chartered Organization Representative, who is appointed by the chartered organization and a registered member of the council and BSA (position code: CR). It is also the purview of the unit’s Committee Chair (position code: CC), in consultation with the CR, to retain or remove adult volunteers. (You’ll find the essentials of this on page 2 of the BSA Adult Volunteer Application.)

A further aspect to be considered is this: To whom do ASMs report? This would be the Scoutmaster, of course. Consequently, if an ASM is to be removed (for whatever reason), it would be expected that the Scoutmaster and CC would confer before any action is taken.

Finally, keep in mind that, since adult unit volunteers are just that—volunteers, not employees—there need be no such formalities as “three strikes documentation,” etc. If a volunteer does need to be removed, it can be done via a single conversation followed by appropriate action on the parts of the CC and CR.

Final thought: I’m sincerely hoping that the original question was indeed one of curiosity! Let’s be kind to one another, folks.
Dear Andy,

Our Cub Scout pack is a small one, in a small rural town. I’m the pack’s Committee Chair and my husband serves as Cubmaster.

A short while back, the key volunteers before my husband and me found a new sponsor (aka “chartered organization”) when out prior one became problematic. At that time, our pack’s adult leaders recognized that the pack needed to retain some “distance” from our new sponsor, largely because members of that group had a tendency to meddle with the pack, as if they “controlled” what the pack did, sometimes disregarding what we might call “the Scouting way.” (Not an ideal situation, but, without a sponsor, that’s the end of Cub Scouting in town!)

More recently, interference by members of our sponsor has become, in a word, ugly—ugly to the point where our District Executive needed to step in and tell them to leave us alone to run the Scouting program as it’s designed to be run.

For instance, our pack’s Cubs, adult leaders, and parents like to go to our district’s monthly Roundtables and other district-level events, but our sponsor’s members interfere and actually tell our Cub parents to “have as little to do with the district as possible.”

My husband and I have made every effort to keep things between the pack and our sponsor as neutral and friendly as possible, including inviting them to pack events and including them on our activities flyer distribution list. But this doesn’t seem to have built any positive bridges; it’s still more-or-less their way or highway, despite our best efforts.

Andy, is there a way to diffuse this ongoing situation in any sane way, without becoming totally subservient to their overbearing approach to sponsorship? (Name & Council Withheld)

There’s probably not much hope of a coming-together here. Your unit and your chartered organization seem simply too far apart in their thinking for there to be a reasonable middle ground. Consequently, my suggestion is to have a conversation—sooner, not later—with your District Executive to see if you all can find a replacement sponsor that’s more in line with your philosophy and approach. If no existing organization in your town is available and open to this, don’t give up hope. Scouting units can be sponsored by “Friends of…” groups, like a “Friends of Pack XXX” that’s made up of the parents of the boys in the pack! Of course you’ll need to find a large enough space for your monthly pack meetings, but a local school with a gym or all-purpose room should be able to accommodate you. Get together, get creative, and I’m sure you’ll succeed!

Happy Scouting!


Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)

[No. 519 – 2/28/2017 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2017]


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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