All Scouts, Leaders, and Parents;
We are living through an unprecedented period in history. During this time, we need to follow the guidance given to us to break the spread of the Coronavirus. As part of that guidance, we are not having Scout meetings or events as long as the schools remain closed nor District or Council activities until at least April 13. This however does not mean that Scouting and advancement needs to stop. Scouting is about “Family” – Family Scouting.
For those in Cub Scouts:
Cubmasters and Den Leaders – work with the members of your Den’s and Pack. Use email, phone calls, video conferencing (see the rules below) – (while always following Youth Protection Guidelines) – to help provide:
Ideas of things / items that the Scout Family can do for Rank Advancement.
Provide a safe positive outlet for the “cabin fever” that will probably strike all of us.
Cub Scout Activities from Home
For those in Scouts BSA:
Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Members, Scouts, Family, etc….. – this is a time for Scouts to work on “Scout” through “First Class” Rank(s). Work with your Unit Leaders (following Youth Protection Guidelines) to complete items that can be completed with your family and/or with remote instruction. That said, requirements may NOT be changed or waived. Some requirements may be done, except on a Troop campout.
Scouts may work to complete those partial Merit Badges that have been hanging around.
Look into starting a new Merit Badge in consultation with your Scoutmaster.
REMEMBER – if a Merit Badge says “with your counselor’s approval”, or “approval of your counselor”, or “approved by your counselor” – you need to communicate with a Merit Badge Counselor – PRIOR to starting that requirement. Remember- REQUIREMENTS may NOT be Changed.
If you need a list of Merit Badge Counselor(s), contact your Scoutmaster.
Summer Camp will be here before we know it:
Many Merit Badges have pre-requisites, this is a perfect time to get them done. REMEMBER – if a Merit Badge says “with your counselor’s approval”, or “approval of your counselor”, or “approved by your counselor” – you need to communicate with Merit Badge Counselor before starting / doing that requirement.
Eagle Service Projects during this period
For working on Eagle projects, our guidance so far is that:
Regardless of the size of the work group (i.e., even if under 10 people), a Scout should not announce and hold a work time for an Eagle project.
Scouts can work with their own household members, but must be careful to think through how they are still planning and managing the project. At a minimum they must lead at least two other people for it to qualify.
If a Scout has been in regular physical contact with a couple of friends (so that they are well aware of each other’s health condition and risk factors) and they meet to work on an Eagle project activity, they must still maintain social distancing of at least a 6 foot radius for each person.
Below are the BSA Guide to Advancement (Section 126.96.36.199) requirements for Eagle and Other BOR
1. For Eagle Scout boards of review, the local council must grant permission to hold it by
videoconference. Other ranks do not need approval but should follow the requirements below.
2. Test all equipment, including cameras, lighting, microphones, software, and internet connection.
3. Make sure everyone is visible — including all members of the board of review, the Scout and any observers with the Scout. No one within hearing range on either side shall be off-camera. It is important to consider your technical capabilities when planning how many board of review members to involve. Observers should be minimized for any board of review, and this applies especially to videoconference reviews. Their presence can change the discussion dynamics.
4. A parent or guardian of the Scout, or two registered adult leaders (as required by the Guide to Safe Scouting) who are familiar with these requirements for videoconference boards of review, must be directly present with the Scout at the beginning of the conference. The Scouters may be from the nearest council, district or unit. Their role is to verify that the Scout is in a safe environment and that the board of review appears to be in compliance with these requirements. Once all the members of the board of review are present on their end of the call and introductions are completed, and the review is about to begin, anyone present with the Scout must leave the room or move out of hearing distance unless they have specifically been approved to remain as observers.
5. Once the review process has been concluded, if the Scout is under age 18, the Scout’s parent or guardian, or two registered adult leaders, must rejoin the Scout. Their purpose is to be available to answer any questions that may arise, to join in the celebration of the Scout’s accomplishment, or to be party to any instructions or arrangements regarding the appeals process or the reconvening of an incomplete review. Once this is done, the board members end the call and sign off.
6. Videoconference boards of review must not be recorded.
7. If an appeal is necessary (as outlined in the Guide to Advancement), this may be conducted via videoconference as well.
Look presentable. Just as you would want to look sharp in your uniform for an in-person board of review, the same should apply to one conducted via video.
Find a quiet space with a clean background. Try to minimize audio and visual distractions.
Test your equipment. Enlist a friend or family member to help you test your connection, making sure they can see and hear you with minimal lag.
Try for eye contact. Though your instinct will be to look at the screen to see the board of review members, spend some time looking directly into the camera. It may feel strange, but it will look better to the people watching.
Free videoconferencing options
Note: Each of the options below has a paid option, but I’m outlining the features of the free tier.
Google Hangouts: Easy to use, no time limit, allows up to 10 participants
Zoom: Great features, 40-minute time limit, allows up to 100 participants
Skype: Good stability, four-hour time limit, allows up to 50 participants
UberConference: Excellent video quality, 45-minute time limit, allows up to 10 participants