146 Edition Pioneer Press © 1999 May 1999
Troop calendars for 146 are in the process of being sent out to all members. This will help you plan ahead for events. Please let your patrol leader know if you do not receive one soon.
April 30th to May 2nd will be the Camporee. Every year has been a lot of fun. This time of year the weather is unpredictable, so bring warm clothes and rain gear.
Scout Monthly Dues
This is a reminder that each month all scouts need to pay troop dues of $10.00. This is a basic fee that covers expenses and camping fees. You can pay monthly, six months at a time or for the whole year. Give your dues to Mr. Atkins, Mrs. Heath or your patrol leader. Please stay current with your dues. Thanks.
Eagle Scout Ceremony
Ian McFarlane celebrated his achievement of Eagle Scout last Saturday at City Hall. His Eagle project was creating a web page for the city of Rivergrove. Check it out if you have not seen it. It is really nice and informative. This was a new type of project and helpful to our community. Congratulations Ian!!!
Learning and using Scout skills in first aid, citizenship, and camping are an important part of scouting. In a rush to advance, sometimes scouts are earning requirements for skills that they have not yet completely mastered. BSA POLICY for this is: teach a scout a skill, have him demonstrate that skill CORRECTLY AND WITHOUT ASSISTANCE, and THEN earn the requirement.
Another problem is that sometimes new scouts are explaining to older scouts how or when they did a particular requirement and the older scout is entering a date from months back into the handbook because that is when (more or less) the new scout says he earned/did it. Unfortunately, my records will show that in some of these cases the new scout never went on the campout being used to date that skill. Therefore, only the current dayís date should be used in the handbook because that is the day the boy is explaining the skill - even if the scout had done the skill months before.
Finally, I am having a continuing problem with scouts forgetting to request a Board of Review. Last month three scouts notified me in advance and three arrived at the meeting expecting Boards of Review. A minimum of three adults must be on a Board. The result was that three adults had to do SIX Boards of Review when they had only planned for THREE. Had ALL scouts given advance notice, I could have had additional adults there to do Boards. Taking extra time to do Boards denies the scouts the proper recognition they deserve to receive when awarded their advancement patches.
With this in mind, follow these new steps beginning with the next meeting (April 20, 1999):
Re: Book signing
1. ALWAYS put the current date in a boyís book when signing off on a requirement for FIRST CLASS AND UNDER -
EVEN IF THE SCOUT DID THE
REQUIREMENT MONTHS AGO. All dates AFTER
FIRST CLASS ARE TO BE PROVIDED
BY MRS. BIGLER.
2. ALWAYS notify Mrs. Bigler when you need a
Board of Review. No appointment, no Board of Review, NO EXCEPTIONS. Mrs. Bigler needs to arrange to have parents there to conduct your Board.
3. Any requirement about "number of activities" is to be signed by Mrs. Bigler only. (2nd and 1st Class)
4. NEVER SIGN OFF ON A REQUIREMENT UNLESS THE SCOUT CAN TRULY DEMONSTRATE THE SKILL. BSA policy is to teach the scout the skill, have the scout demonstrate the skill without mistakes or help, earn the requirement.
If there are any questions about these procedures, please let me know.
ADVANCEMENT - PART II
In Part I, I talked about the road to First Class and the importance of trying to attain First Class within the first 12-18 months your son is a Scout. Part II will provide detailed information about Merit Badges, an important part of advancement after First Class.
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MERIT BADGES
For both the parent and the scout, this is probably THE MOST CONFUSING part of scouting. The older boys and seasoned adults usually have the system down pat, but frequently the "inís and outís" are not passed along to the new Scouts and their parents. Because there are two different ways of going through the Merit Badge process, confusion can persist. Print this sheet and put it in a good place to refer to whenever confusion sets in.
1. A boyís introduction to Merit Badges (MB) usually takes place at summer camp. There, the campers complete a blue
(or green or tan or white) Merit Badge card for each Merit Badge he is working on - or hopes to be working on - that week. (The fact that 99% of the Merit Badge cards are blue is what has earned them their nickname of "Blue Cards".
However, blue is NOT the only official Merit Badge card accepted.) The Scoutmaster signs and dates the card. The Merit Badge Counselor your son works with also signs the card, lists the requirement numbers, and dates as the requirements are completed. If your son does not have time to complete the badge, the Counselor will circle the word PARTIAL on one side of the card and list the requirements there, which have NOT been completed.
The MB card - partial or complete - is given to the Scoutmaster at camp. When he returns home, he gives them to me. I record them in my Troopmaster computer program as a completed MB or as a MB in progress.
When the MB in progress has been completed, I delete it from that list and then add it to the scoutís MB earned list. I then go to the Council Office and purchase the needed badges to award at the next Boy Scout meeting. The scouts will be recognized for their badge work again at the next Court of Honor.
When the scout receives his MB, it will be stapled to a MB card and two sections of the blue card. I retain the third portion of the blue card until he is no longer in scouting. Sew the MB onto his sash and put the remaining cards in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or other place where your family keeps important records. They may be needed again should your son ever apply for Eagle Rank and there is a question about when a MB was earned.
2. During other times of the year when the boys are not at summer camp, a slightly different procedure is used for blue cards. When a boy decides to work on a badge, he obtains a blue card from either the Scoutmaster or me. He completes his name, address, troop number, Council name, name of badge, and then has the Scoutmaster sign the card.
Next, the scout calls a MB Counselor associated with that badge to make an appointment to meet with him/her. BSA POLICY STATES THAT HE MUST TAKE ANOTHER PERSON WITH HIM TO THIS APPOINTMENT. THAT PERSON STAYS WITH THE BOY DURING THE WHOLE APPOINTMENT. BSA RULES STATE THAT A MB COUNSELOR MUST NEVER BE ALONE WITH A BOY. THE MB COUNSELOR HAS THE RIGHT TO TURN AWAY A BOY AT THE DOOR IF THERE IS NO ONE WITH HIM. The boy and the Counselor may a plan for the completion of the MB.
Sometimes, if all requirements have been completed before the appointment, the MB Counselor will just listen to the boy and sign and date the card as completed. Other times, the boy and the Counselor will need to make plans to meet again. Note that on badges requiring a certain period to complete the badge (such as Family Life, Personal Fitness, and Personal Management) THE CLOCK CANNOT START TICKING UNTIL THE BOY HAS TALKED WITH THE MB COUNSELOR. Thus, DO NOT do the work for 90 days and expect the MB Counselor to sign off on that requirement. The boy returns the completed MB card to me for processing as above.
3. Sometimes, the troop as a whole works on a Merit
Badge at meetings or at campouts. In this case, either the Scoutmaster or another adult is the designated Merit Badge Counselor. He keeps track of which requirements each boy has completed. In some cases, the Scoutmaster does not provide me with blue cards, but tells me that everyone who went on that campout earned a particular badge. I will follow my processing procedure AS IF I HAVE A COMPLETED & SIGNED BLUE CARD. The scout will NOT receive a blue card for his files in this case.
However, in most cases, the Scoutmaster or other responsible adult Counselor will provide me with a completed blue card when the boy has completed all the requirements. If the campout or meeting(s) ends without the boy finishing the badge, it is up to him to work out a plan to complete it - if he desires - with the adult in charge of that badge. The adult will NOT pursue the boy to finish the outstanding work. I will have a record of what the boy HAS completed toward that badge ONLY IF THE ADULT OR SCOUTMASTER HAS SHARED IT WITH ME.
Merit Badges plan an important part in advancement after the scout has attained first class. The other three areas of importance are participation in the troop, leadership skills, and service projects.
These three items will be discussed in my next section on Advancement.
The campout this month is May 13-15th. The location is not definite as of yet. Let your patrol leader know if you plan to come. Merit badges and outdoor skills are often demonstrated at these events. There are many things the troop learns on campouts and they are a lot of fun. Scouts always need to be prepared. Think of the things and clothing that would best serve you in a variety of conditions. Common things to bring are flashlights, extra socks, hats, first aid items and your scout book.
New Treasurer Needed
Last, I heard the position held by Mrs. Heath still needs to be filled. Mrs. Heath has managed the scout money for a long time. Since she is moving, we need someone to take her place. Please let Mr. Atkins know if you can do the job.
Please send stories, jokes or any items you wanted printed to Kai firstname.lastname@example.org call me if you do not have email. I would like to have more articles from the troop members in the newsletter. Thanks.