What does ‘active in Scouting’ mean? Scouting, unlike many other activities, is not designed to monopolize our Scout’s available time. Beyond that Scouting considers Scouts being involved and engaged in their communities, families and schools as goal of the program. Most of the other activities our Scouts involve themselves with do not reciprocate. Teams, bands, choirs, choruses, clubs, youth […]
All About Advancement
Quality of an Eagle Scout
One of the more common emails I receive concerns the frustrations of Scoutmaster’s who are faced with a boy they just don’t consider has done enough, cares enough or is good enough to become an Eagle Scout. They want to know what to do. There’s a big gap between my idealized Eagle Scout and what’s required to earn the […]
Eagle Scoutmaster Conference
Google the title of this post and you’ll find some pretty elaborate plans and opinions for the Eagle Scoutmaster conference. Some of them leave me thinking I should don a wizard’s robes and start boiling up some eye of newt because I am about to do something magical and mysterious. There’s nothing magical or mysterious about it – […]
Stop doing rank requirements.
That’s right, stop doing requirements for ranks. Instead focus on doing the things Scouts do. What do Scouts do? Scouts go camping and while they are camping they- Cook the food that they selected, purchased and packed Light campfires Set up tents and tarps. Build things with sticks and string. Learn how to experience the natural world without leaving a trace. […]
Who Makes Eagle Medals?
St. Louis’s Stange Company (run by an Eagle Scout) produces Eagle Scout medals and pins. When David Bouchein won his Eagle Scout medal in the 1970s he had no idea of the prominence that award would play later in his life. “Who would have thought I’d be running the company that made my Eagle medal?” […]
Scout Advancement, Parents and Pressure
I received this question from a reader; I’m a assistant scoutmaster and was recently contacted by a dad of a scout that after one year is still at Scout rank. It seems that his dad is looking for shortcuts, as many other scouts have bypassed him and our recently added Webelos are already achieving their Scout rank. […]
Fledge Eagle Scout
In ornithology ‘fledge’ generally means independence of the chick from parents; a young bird whose feathers and wing muscles are sufficiently developed for flight. Fledge is also a term that describes raising a young bird. Ornithologists apply the term differently to individual species because individual species develop differently. Our Scouts develop individually too. Each one is a bit different […]
National Outdoor Award
The National Outdoor Award program recognizes Scouts for some above-average participation in challenging outdoor activities. A combination of merit badges, rank, and activities qualify Scouts for hiking, aquatics, camping, adventure and riding awards. The five National Outdoor Awards badges recognize a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who demonstrates knowledge and experience in camping, hiking, aquatics,riding, […]
What Makes an Eagle Scout?
Here’s what makes an Eagle Scout; A Scout completes the requirements as issued by the B.S.A. and is approved by a duly constituted board of review. That’s it. So what about those oft discussed and argued qualities like maturity and leadership ability and active service? All of these things are embodied in the requirements – they are not requirements […]
Changes to the Eagle Scout Process
My son passed his Eagle board of review in late September and I was invited to join the district advancement committee to review Eagle projects in mid-October. A few days later, the new advancement book was released, so I’ve been reviewing it in detail. These changes are now in force. The BSA Advancement Resources page […]
Guide to Advancement Mandated Procedures and Recommended Practices
In my work with our local planning commission we are charged with interpreting and applying standards in the Zoning code. These interpretations often turn on little words; in fact one becomes adept at finding the little words because they usually clarify the situation quickly. Terms like ‘must’ and ‘shall’ are understood to indicate things that are mandated; […]
Three Tests for ‘Active’ Scouts
A significant addition the Guide to Advancement walks us through the sometimes thorny issue of evaluating active Scouts. I have struggled at times, as have many of us, with judging how to interpret this requirement. The guide has made this process simple and clear. Evaluating the ‘active requirement is a three step process: 1. Is the Scout […]
Reasonable Expectations for Scouts
Years ago there was some question as to whether one of my Scouts who was a candidate for Eagle had satisfied the ‘active’ requirement. He had not attended many meetings or outings in the last six months. He was a high school senior and a wrestler. We set up a meeting with him, his father and […]
New 2011 Guide to Advancement – First Thoughts
The 2011 Guide to Advancement has been released: The Guide to Advancement is the official source for administering advancement in all Boy Scouts of America programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, and Sea Scouts. It replaces the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures and Advancement and Recognition Policies and Procedures, which are no longer valid. I will do my best to […]
3 Reasons Scouts Don’t Advance
Here are three reasons Scouts don’t advance, and some simple ways to recognize and resolve them. REASON ONE They don’t want to “do requirements”. WHAT’S HAPPENING When Scouts don’t advance it may be we’re preoccupied with a list of stuff Scouts need to do (the requirements). If we have an active program of camping Scouts meet requirements as […]
Why Chess Merit Badge?
Judith Bruner was the love of my life in second grade. Miss Bruner was a young, idealistic new teacher who played guitar. In 1968 she taught me how to play chess. I will never forget her for it. I was on our high school chess team and played a great deal during those years. Now I play chess […]
The Big Picture in Scouting
Scout leader training tends to focus on the practical and, I fear, often misses the big picture. Most of the questions and comments I receive are about action oriented, practical matters. More often than not problems arise because people have missed the big picture rather than their lack of knowledge of some procedural process. What is the […]
What’s an Active Scout? – Ask Andy
When a rank requirement says ‘active’ what does it mean? How do we determine what constitutes an active scout? Here’s the policy – A Scout will be considered “active” in his unit if he is: 1. Registered in his unit (registration fees are current) 2. Not dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons. 3. Engaged […]
Ask Andy – Scoutmaster Conferences
Here’s an excerpt from Ask Andy’s December 10th column. Hi Andy: My question has to do with BSA national policies and why so many troops seem to stray… For example, my son recently “failed” his Scoutmaster conference for First Class… His Scoutmaster will quiz the Scouts on all requirements up to the rank being sought. […]
The Merit of Badges
One of the more ingenious ideas in Socuting is recognition through the advancement program. Humankind has always had some way of marking achievement through decorations of one kind or another; it seems to be a fundamental impulse. Cub Scouts have no pretense when it comes to badges. They pursue them arduously and uncompromisingly because they […]
The Pace of Scout Advancement
A reader asks about the pace of Scout advancement: “Our troop seems to think we should hold off the scouts until they are older (ie end of Junior Year) to do their Eagle Projects and try to control the pace of advancement in the troop because they want the scouts to be more “mature” and stick around to […]
Merit Badge Days – Good or Bad?
This email came from a listener/reader. I answered it in Podcast number 4 as well as in this post; Hi Clarke- I really enjoy your thoughtful blogs and podcasts, and I’m interested to learn about your views on merit badge days. Your podcast item about BP’s view on badge-hunters vs. badge earners was timely as […]
Why Life to Eagle Guides?
Do we need “Life to Eagle Guides”? We already have a Scout Handbook and an Eagle Project Workbook – any Scout can understand and work their way through the trail to Eagle with these resources alone. Yet every Council and District seems to have ‘resources’ that are often confusing and often contain information that is contradictory […]
A Question of Scout Spirit
I recently received this question about Scout Spirit via email: I am a new Scoutmaster and I think I have a bit of background on Scouting. However, I have been reading your Eagle posts with some confusion and need some enlightenment. I have a Scout, who is a Life currently, and is 17 years 1 […]