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Issue 556 – January 16, 2018

Hi Andy,

We have a pack in our home town with around eight Webelos Scouts: Three were born in 2007 (two in August, one in October). Will they need to “cross-over” to a Boy Scout troop when they turn 11 years old? Thanks. (John Burnham)

Here are to become a Boy Scout, of which only one (any one) needs to occur:
– He turns 11 years old, or…
– He completes 5th grade, or…
– He earns the Arrow of Light.

So when these Webelos Scouts earn the Arrow of Light, they can “graduate” and transfer right then and there. Yay!
Dear Andy,

I’m a Unit Commissioner for a Cub Scout pack, and I have a question about dues and Webelos Scouts. The troop they’re crossing over to feels that any money they earned while in the pack should be turned over to the troop—one check for each Webelos who joins the troop. This troop also doesn’t feel the troop should have to pay to register them.

I don’t believe this troop needs to pay a registration fee for them until rechartering time, anyway. Can you clarify this for us? (Name & Council Withheld)

So let’s see here… this troop wants the money earned by these boys while members of the pack, but they don’t want to “pay forward” to register them with the troop upon transfer. Wow! Seems a bit avaricious, as you’ve described it.

This one’s a judgment call, and you may want to invite your local District Executive to help out with mediating. For me (as a fellow volunteer and unit commissioner), I’d be inclined to say that the new troop can easily pay the $1 transfer fee so that these Webelos Scouts can pretty painlessly “graduate” from pack to troop. But if this troop’s leaders are really bent out of shape over this, then how about the pack and the troop share this “expense” by each contributing 50 cents for each transfer. As for past money earned, if these Webelos have individual “credits” with the pack, for their own personal use buying Scout gear and other stuff, then so long as the troop also keeps records of individual Scout “credits,” transfers make sense. But if what these Webelos raised is considered a part of the pack’s overall funds, then I’d suggest that there’s nothing to transfer because this is the pack’s money.

I hope this is making some sense here… Do make a point of reaching out to your DE to help get through this little hairball.
Hi Andy,

We’ve just started a Venturing crew with our troop. Because Venturing is co-ed, in addition to having some of our Scouts in the crew, we have some girls who are excited to learn and participate also attending our troop meetings (they don’t have any Scouting experience and are very eager to learn all they can to get ready for their new adventures).

On to the meat and potatoes of my question… At troop and crew meetings, do we need both male and female adults, or are we okay with either an adult female leader or an adult male leader? Thanks! (Michael Thornton)

Guests are always welcome at Boy Scout troop meetings, and this doesn’t exclude female guests, so having girls show up to learn stuff is perfectly legit…and you don’t have to have adult women present, either.

For the Venturing crew, the BSA’s “Guide to Safe Scouting” says, “Adult Supervision/Coed Activities: Male and female adult leaders must be present for all overnight coed Scouting trips and outings, even those including parent and child. Both male and female adult leaders must be 21 years of age or older, and one must be a registered member of the BSA.”

Note, specifically, that this pertains to “OVERNIGHT TRIPS…” The GTSS is silent on the presence of adult women (BSA-registered or not) at regular crew meetings that aren’t “overnights.”

This means you’re in the clear for regular meetings, whether troop or crew.

That said, and since you’ll ultimately need a woman to sign on for crew overnights and such, it would be a smart idea to recruit one or more right now!

Just make sure—whether troop or crew—that the adult volunteers regardless of gender understand that neither Scouts nor Venturers are “Cub Scouts but wearing tan/green shirts.”
Hi Andy,

I’m our council’s Training Chair, and we have a point of confusion at the moment. A Scouter who was our NYLT Course Director about 15-20 years ago has asked if he’s eligible for his fourth Wood Badge “bead” by way of having been NYLT-CD back then.

Was the “fourth bead” awarded for NYLT course directors in the late 1990’s-early 2000’s? When did this recognition go into effect? Is there any BSA publication (e.g., an NYLT syllabus or staff guide from that period) that can be referenced? What criteria do we use to help decide this (e.g., “attend an area or regional course director training course” wasn’t a requirement then, as it is now)? (Ron Krawczyk, Greater Niagara Frontier Council, NY)

Yup, this being the BSA, there’s a form for that! For information on “bead” protocols go to:

For your second, related question, sometimes recognitions like this are grandfathered; sometimes not. I think a call to the BSA National Office is probably the best route to the answer…and please let me know what you learn. I’d be happy to publish it.
Dear Andy,

About your comments last week on phone-email-texts… As a Communication merit badge counselor myself, I agree with your reasoning on the issue of who makes contact and why.

My eldest son had a supposedly “current” council-provided list of counselors, but here’s what happened… The first phone number he called had been disconnected (okay, no big deal), but the second was a counselor’s angry ex-wife, and the third was a recent and still grieving counselor’s widow! I think it’s fair to say that these latter two are definitely a bit too much for a 13-year old Scout (or Scout of any age, for that matter) to be confronted with.

I don’t fault our council—personal situations can change quickly. But, going forward, my husband and I now make it our practice to make the first call, as a way to “vet” the list. Following our own success, one of us will then give our sons the numbers of “viable” counselors whom they can call. Seems to be working okay. (Jean Fellows, MBC, Water &Woods Field Service-Michigan Crossroads Council)

Smart “parental oversight”! The hiccups you’ve described happen when councils and their operating districts don’t exercise the full due diligence we’ve come to rely on…It’s their responsibility to be contacting all MBCs on their list(s) every year to (a) determine if the counselor wishes to continue, (b) update contact information, (c) determine whether badges counseled require updating, and (d) catch those cases where someone’s moved, died, divorced, or something else. Of course, we can’t catch all the hiccups (somebody moves/dies/etc. a week after the annual check), but most will be caught.

Meanwhile, when a Scout emails me, I immediately reply via email to (1) tell him I’d be delighted to be his counselor and (2) give him my phone number and ask him to call me to schedule a meet-up. This usually works well, but there are definitely Scouts who sorta “disappear” rather than pick up the phone :/
Hi Andy,

On communicating, I’d like to respond. The telephone is your own preference, and everyone has one. I find that most people I communicate with rarely answer a telephone or listen to voicemail; for many of us, those phone calls are from people we don’t know and whom we rarely wish to speak with. It’s important to ask and advertise the best way to be reached. Thank you for all you do! (Robin Autry)

You bet it’s my preferred method for an initial contact, whether Scouts or business or education or anything else, for that matter.

Here’s the key: When you’re going to ask for something (like a first meeting with a merit badge counselor), you need to figure out what method the recipient of the request might prefer and not what you might happen to prefer. I have a spine resilient enough to deal with cold calls from people or businesses I’m not interested in. In the more than 20 years that I’ve been a merit badge counselor, I’ve never, ever dodged or turned down a Scout with the gumption to pick up the phone and call me. And, as I pointed out, when I get an electronic message from a Scout, I don’t duck him, either; I email or text him back, give him my phone number, and ask (yes, ask) him to call me. It may be of interest to you that, although the Scout may have used his own “preferred” method, I don’t side-step: I answer using his method (not mine), and while most will then pick up the phone, others don’t and that’s their decision.

Happy Scouting!


Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Just write to me at:

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. 556– 1/16/2017 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2018]


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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