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Issue 541 – August 22, 2017

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Hi Andy,

Just read your last week’s comments about “how any knots?” and just had to share this with you…

A couple of my own uniforms have 12 square knots, which drives at least one Scouter friend of mine nuts! He actually TOLD me—on three separate occasions—that I MUST remove the District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver, and International Scouter Award, and to stop wearing my Wood Badge “beads” because “These all expire after three years.” Another time, I watched him tell a brand-new Eagle Scout to remove his Order of the Arrow flap, because “Eagles aren’t allowed in the OA.” Then, at a Roundtable, he told a group of Scouters that if they’ve been in the same position for two years or more that they should “go the Scout Shop and get one of those ‘overhand knots’ (District Award of Merit) and wear it.” Here’s the capper: He’s a District Commissioner! (Dean Whinery, La Higuera, México)

Seems to me at least three of “Andy’s Rules” apply here…
No. 18: Beware any Scouter who’d rather be wrong than take the time to look it up.
No. 44: Never argue with idiots. They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.
and…
No. 1: Stupid has no cure.
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Hi Andy,

After reading your column about that BSA merit badge poster, I checked around… I could find images of the old poster with around 120 badges, but nothing showing all 137 currently.

So, since I had image files of all of the merit badges already, I created one myself, and posted it to our website. Here’s the URL:

http://usscouts.org/advance/docs/MeritBadgeChart.pdf

I also added a link to the chart on our “Advancement Documents” page: <http://usscouts.org/advance/Documents.asp> with this description:

Merit Badge Chart – This is a PDF file of a chart that shows all of the 137 current Merit Badges offered by BSA displayed in a table in alphabetic order. Each badge is shown with the BSA ID number and the badge name. The chart can be printed full size on an 11″x17″ sheet, at a reduced scale on a standard letter size (8.5″x11″) page, or oversize as a poster on a 22″x34″ or 24″x36″ sheet. (Paul S. Wolf, USSCOUTS.ORG)

Folks, Paul is one of the key volunteers behind our website—our advancement expert who’s been keeping us updated for over 20 years. Thanks, Paul!
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Dear Andy,

Thank you so much for your recent responses to the questions about the Scoutmaster conference for Eagle rank and the subsequent board of review. In particular, I appreciate your comments that Eagle boards of review should concentrate on the complete Scout, and not become hyper-focused on the Scout’s service project.

My oldest son earned his Eagle a couple of years ago at the age of 16. Unfortunately, he walked out of his board of review experience almost crushed rather than celebrating his well-deserved achievement. This was due to one of the three reviewers choosing to focus solely on my son’s service project, repeatedly questioning him about whether he had “shown enough leadership” during his project (a months-long collection drive for reading books and pajamas for a local foster-children’s center, which had been pre-approved and signed off after completion by all unit, district and beneficiary representatives). As I was later informed by one of the others sitting on this review-cum-inquisition, this one reviewer was ready to reject my son’s Eagle application and had to be convinced by the other two members of the review that he was indeed “worthy” of the rank.

This reviewer’s sole focus on the service project clearly left her blind to the rest of my son’s accomplishments as a Scout. He started as a Tiger Cub, joined this troop and, by the time of his Eagle board of review, had camped over 70 days and nights, hiked at least 140 miles, and completed 150 hours of service to his community. NYLT-trained, he was a tenured Assistant Patrol Leader, Den Chief, Patrol Leader, and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. In addition to the Arrow of Light, he had earned 38 merit badges, the 50-Miler Award, and the World Conservation Award.

My son has probably put this miserable experience out of his memory by now, but as you can tell, as his father, it still sticks in my craw. I hope that those who have the privilege to sit on Eagle boards of review take your advice to heart and get to know the whole Scout. I think they will find that those young men who have made it that distance have demonstrated many accomplishments beyond the service project, both inside and outside of Boy Scouts. Thanks. (Mark)

It strikes me that any reviewer who disregards “Courteous-Friendly-Helpful-Kind-Cheerful” of the Scout Law needs to be immediately counseled (yes: call a halt to the review, counsel the reviewer, and then reconvene the review). The chair of the review has the authority to do this, including asking and then, if necessary, telling a wayward reviewer to get with the program or remain silent for the remainder of the conversation. This particularly abusive woman was obviously so far off the reservation with her apparent inquisition that she was worthy of dismissal from the review if she continued to attack your son (this is one of the reasons why it’s always a good idea to have a minimum of four—even though three is the stated minimum—qualified reviewers at all boards of review).

I’m sorry your son had to endure this nonsense, but he’s to be congratulated for having a spine strong enough to withstand the onslaught this woman delivered. I’m hoping that whoever was in charge of this review has made certain she’s never invited to review another Scout for any rank.
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Hi Andy,

I’m a 73-year old Eagle Scout and have been asked to be the keynote speaker at an Eagle court of honor this coming weekend. Whenever I talk to today’s Scouts, I get asked what my project was (in 1959!). We didn’t have special rank-required projects back then. Can you tell me when that became a part of the requirements? Thanks. (Tom Muller)

As also an Eagle around the same time as you, we didn’t have “Eagle Projects” then… We were expected to give service to others ALL THE TIME!

Here’s the evolution of today’s Service Project requirement…

1911-1951: No Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project.

1952: Handbook for Boys
No formal requirement: “…do your best to help in your home, school, church or synagogue, and community.”

1963: Supplement to Scout Handbook (6th Edition, 1961)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and carry out a service project helpful to your church or synagogue, school, or community approved in advance by your Scoutmaster.”

1965: Scout Handbook (7th Edition, req. 3, p. 367)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and carry out a service project helpful to your church or synagogue, school, or community approved in advance by your Scoutmaster.”

1972: Scout Handbook (8th Edition, req. 5, p. 91)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to your religious institution, school, or town. This project idea must be approved by your Scoutmaster and troop committee before you start.”

1979: The Official Boy Scout Handbook (9th Edition, req. 5, p. 537)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to your religious institution, school, or town. This project idea must be approved by your Scoutmaster and troop committee and reviewed by the council or district before you start.”

1990: The Boy Scout Handbook (10th Edition, req. 5, p. 596)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community…The project idea must be approved by your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and approved by the council or district before you start.”

1998: The Boy Scout Handbook (11th Edition, req. 5, p. 447)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community…The project idea must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Life-to-Eagle packet, BSA publication no. 18-927, in meeting this requirement.”

2009: The Boy Scout Handbook (12th Edition, req. 5, p. 441)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community…The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927 in meeting this requirement.”

2015: The Boy Scout Handbook (13th Edition, req. 5, p. 451)
“While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community…A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927 in meeting this requirement. [To learn more about the Eagle Scout service project, see the Guide to Advancement, topics 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.16]”

Happy Scouting!

Andy

Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Just to me at: askandybsa@yahoo.com. 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. 541 – 8/22/2017 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2017]

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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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