National Council

Chief Scout Executive on co-ed choice

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Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Patrick Sterrett’s new boss, made these remarks the day after the vote to go co-ed. Surbaugh is a good speaker and worth a listen.

It is too bad these types of posts did not precede the vote.

https://livestream.com/bsa/nationalcouncil/videos/164161163

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BSA rolls out 100% co-ed

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You may have heard, but all programs will be co-ed by January 1, 2019. Cub Scouts start, as I read it, June 1, 2018.

Here is the announcement from CAC Council Commissioner Ron Penczek:

Team,

I wanted to take a moment to forward on to you official communications from our National Council regarding girls in Cub and Boy Scouting.  While it is too late for my girls to stand beside their brother in earning Eagle Scout, I am very excited to bring our program of citizenship, leadership and fitness to girls around the country, I hope you are as excited as me.  I know for some Scouters, this change will be concerning and their concerns are not without merit, but as a Commissioner Corps, I am sure we can help deliver a positive message.  We can be the agent of change that helps everyone to see the benefits of such a change and help implement such change in a positive way.

Please cascade this to your District and Unit Commissioners and begin talking with your units about this change.

I look forward to talking with you next week.

Kind regards,

Ron

BSA Expands Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts Programs to Welcome Girls

The BSA’s board of directors has unanimously approved welcoming girls into our Cub Scouts program and delivering a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls. The BSA evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders — as well as parents and girls who have never been involved in Scouting — to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.

Linked below (or attached) are a few resources to help you learn more about today’s decision, as well as respond to any inquiries you may receive. As always, please direct all media queries to pr@scouting.org:

Official BSA news release

Family Scouting page on scoutingnewsroom.org

Family Scouting FAQ

Social for all Districts

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On Friday, November 3, 2017, the Council Commissioner Service is hosting a council-wide social the evening before the Commissioner College. The event is free. You can RSVP here.

SPECIAL KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

  1. Al Lambert, Central Region Director, BSA
  2. Kandra Dickerson, Central Region Commissioner, BSA
  3. Bob Hoffmeyer, Ass’t Area Commissioner, National Commissioner Tools Team and former CAC Commissioner

Friday, November 3rd: Social Mixer, Keynote Address, Refreshments, and Fun together!

Theme: “ENERGIZE AND BUILD TEAM PERFORMANCE””

For BSA Board Members, All Commissioners, District Committee Chairs and District Committee Members, and BSA Professionals.

Where: Camp Belzer Activity Center, 6102 Boy Scout Rd,, Indianapolis IN 46226

Registration/Check in: Starts at 5:45pm, Event starts at 6:30 pm

Watch Facebook feed for more

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Over the last several weeks, I have increased the use of Facebook for interesting snippets of information. A perfect example is this article on positions of responsibility. You can find more examples of highlighted articles like this by following the district commissioner feed on Facebook. Look in the right column (on your desktop) or the bottom (on your mobile device) of this page to access it.

Unit listings updated

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I have been working to make sure the unit listings on this site are up to date.

Each unit chair should assign someone to provide me udpated information or contact me directly to confirm the accuracy of the information posted.

Many Cub Packs and Venturing Crews do not have websites. This is very damaging to your ability to look credible and inviting. Please seriously investigate having a website hosted on a service like WordPress (which I use for this website), a FaceBook page with multiple administratiors, or using a built-in web service for advancement like TroopWebHost.

The Cub Packs are listed here.

The Scout Troops are listed here.

The Venturing Crews are listed here.

Hurricane Maria: An update on BSA members in Puerto Rico. Ways you can help.

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Bryan on Scouting has just posted this article on how to help after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

To my view, the most important part of this article is that the councils and units affected have been slow to report their needs. This creates a risk of their needs being forgotten or overlooked by the rest of the BSA.

This slow response to state needs makes a lot of sense. First, the BSA is built on a diffused organizational system. National Council needs information from local councils. Local councils need information from districts. Districts need information from units. Units need information from unit leaders. Unit leaders are busy caring for their families, work or businesses, and places of worship.

Now the information trickle is beginning. The BSA has created several central clearinghouses of information. Units can make direct appeals for help. The BSA has created a central fundraising website. Now we know where to look for what is needed.

So the next question seems to be, “What can our unit do?”

What you can do is still limited by BSA regulations. Let’s take a quick look so that these are all fresh in mind.

Read the rest of this entry »

Other Rumored Changes

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I cannot independently verify these yet, but Bobwhite Blather is a reputable site about scouting. He reports that in addition to the fee increase one change that is moot to the Crossroads of America Council (i.e., YPT before initial registration, a long-standing CAC practice) two other changes are coming in 2018:

  • All adults at summer camp must be registered. In the past, a parent of a Scout could camp with the troop, subject to local requirements such as completing YPT or being cleared by the state’s human services central registry. Beginning in 2018, however, any adult who accompanies a troop to a long-term (over 72 hours) resident camp or other activity (such as high adventure) must be registered with the BSA, even if they are the parent of a Scout on the trip. This is to allow the BSA to conduct the criminal background check and for the chartered organization to explicitly approve of the adult. They can be registered with the unit in any of the positions available, including Assistant Scoutmaster, committee member or Unit Scouter Reserve. The latter is preferred if the adult has no other responsibilities with the troop – but if you have vacancies on your committee, this might be a good way to bolster it.

  • Internet Rechartering is improved. I haven’t seen too many specifics, but the new rechartering process is more in line with the tools available at my.scouting.org. Most of us have suffered with the previous Internet rechartering system, including its reliance on a specific browser to complete some of the steps. If the new system is like the other current tools, it’ll work with a variety of modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It’ll also include many convenience improvements such as allowing electronic authorization and online payment.

Any time the BSA says that they are “improving technology,” I start having heart palpatations. If past experience is any indication of future performance (since this is not an SEC compliant website), we could be in for a bumpy rechartering year.

BSA Dues Increase for 2018

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From National Council Commissioner Facebook feed:

Just announced at Top Hands at the end of August, BSA will increase registration fees by $9 (to $33 per year) effective 1 December. Please get this information to your units ASAP as it most likely affects many units as they enter their prime membership recruiting season when annual dues/fees are often collected.

This fee increase comes 47 months after the last fee increase, but I personally wish to apologize for what some may find to be a very short fused notification. While it may not make the ‘pill’ any easier to swallow, I do want to let you know that after considerable personal communications on this topic I have been assured that this fee increase and the timing was unavoidable.

From the FAQs included in Thursday’s Scout Executive Council Packet Special Edition communication this fee change will affect Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, Sea Scout ships, and Exploring posts/clubs. However, it will NOT apply to LDS-sponsored units, nor to those units with council-paid memberships.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Scout Executive.

If this is confirmed by Crossroads of America Council that will make the cost 2018 membership $33.00 dues and $1.00 local insurance = $34.00.


UPDATED 9/6/17: Crossroads of America Council’s Council Commissioner Ron Penczek has confirmed the dues increase with the following email:

Commissioner Team:

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

I understand that over the weekend, there have been some Social Media discussions on BSA membership fee increases.  I wanted to take a moment to provide the official guidance that was received over the weekend allowing you to work with your units as questions and concerns arise.

As I know you are aware, the mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. To do this — while delivering the nation’s foremost youth development program — the BSA must remain vigilant in controlling costs.  Although we have been successful in reducing our expenditures in many areas, it has become necessary to evaluate our annual membership fees.

Based on feedback from both volunteers and employees, the BSA membership fee will increase to $33 for all registered youth and adult leaders, effective December 1, 2017.

Services funded by our membership fee include; primary liability coverage for all volunteer leaders and chartered organizations, ongoing advances in technology, fundraising support, new program development, membership recruiting strategies, and support materials.

In 2016, the BSA served approximately 2.3 million youth members through approximately 270 councils. With the help of all our volunteers we will continue toaccomplish the mission of Scouting for young people and the communities we serve.

Attached is a Membership Fee typical question and answer sheet to reference when talking with volunteers.  You are welcome to start communicating the fee increase with your district and unit leadership.   I will be meeting with our Section Commissioners to ensure any additional tools needed are available for Section meetings in September.  Once again thank you for all your leadership and support.

Yours in Scouting,
Ronald W. Penczek
Council Commissioner

[As sent on his behalf by:]

Karrie Schlegel |  Executive Assistant supporting;
Scout Executive: Patrick Sterrett
Director of Field Services: Nathan Young
Marketing & Public Relations

Ron makes reference to an FAQ on the subject. It is available here.

UPDATE 9/29: Interesting price comparison of youth activities.

Does your Unit know if it has new-members-in-waiting?

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The BSA has a recruiting website called http://www.BeAScout.org. Prospective new members are driven there to express interest in your unit.

Right now we have had nearly 200 prospects grow through the system throughout the district. We currently have 32 invitations hanging out there. If you have already reviewed the Inviation Manager as the Chartered Org Rep, Committee Chair, or Cubmaster/Scoutmaster, you know your status. If you have not, log in to my.scouting.org. If a red number appears in the upper right-hand corner, you have invitations to send.

If you have one done on paper, then you can mark it complete. This purges it.

If you have sent the invitation, you can then move to the Application Manager to watch to see if the family has done the paperwork. We have two applications that are awaiting approval right now.

Please make sure that you have reviewed your settings. This allows you to set your dues, decide who can approve the application, and communicate stock information to new members such as website and calendar information.

If you use it, you may find problems, but your prospects are already using it. Are you closing the deal for low-hanging fruit?

National Jamboree Preparations

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How many of your scouts or venturers are participating in the quadrennial National Jamboree at the Summit, Bechtel Scout Reservation, West Virginia?

One item to add to the scout’s toolkit is the Jamboree App. The Summit is a Wi-Fi friendly zone. Scouts are encouraged to use the system for many purposes.

BSAJamboree_May2015_headerMake sure you download the app before you go, so you can use it at arrival!