(Reprised From March 2012 BSA National Advancement Newsletter. This is reprinted from the current issue, page 6.)
Myth No. 1: The Scoutmaster (unit leader) conference is the last step before a board of review.
Myth No. 2: A Scout can “fail” a Scoutmaster conference and be held back from a board of review.
Topic 126.96.36.199 in the Guide to Advancement breaks both these myths. “While it makes sense to hold [a Scoutmaster or unit leader conference] after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review.” Some leaders hold more than one conference long the way, and any of them can count toward the requirement.
Requirements for each rank state, “Participate in a Scoutmaster conference.” This is not a pass or fail requirement. Topic 188.8.131.52 states, “[The conference] is not a ‘test.’ Requirements do not say he must ‘pass’ a conference.” If an Eagle Scout candidate’s conference is denied or the unit leader refuses to sign a candidate’s Eagle application, a board of review under disputed circumstances may be held (see the Guide to Advancement, topic 184.108.40.206).
A Scoutmaster conference should not become just another requirement for rank advancement. It should be a rewarding opportunity for a unit leader to form a bond with each member, whether advancing or not. It is more about using the Scouting method of positive adult association than it is about using the method of advancement.
Location is important to a good conference. While virtually any place that supports BSA Youth Protection guidelines is acceptable, some settings provide for more relaxed conversation. A unit leader may find, for example, that conferences held during outings are less subject to interruption than those held during regular meetings.
When we examine the four steps to advancement, the unit leader conference is the first part of the “Scout Is Reviewed” step. The second part is the board of review. However, neither is a retest of skills or knowledge. A unit leader should plan conferences carefully. Trust is a vital element. Listening is another. Hearing about the Scout’s life outside troop activities is just as important as his experiences in the unit. Emphasizing the Scout Oath and Scout Law, setting goals, promoting additional responsibility, sharing ideas, and providing positive reinforcement will go a long way in producing growth through personal reflection. This all leads to retention.
The new Guide to Safe Scouting has been released online.
Probably the biggest change I found was in the Age Appropriate Activities chart where the use of pocketknives for Tiger and Wolf Cub Scouts has been removed. I don’t think it has a great impact on the program – we used to do our Whittling Chip activities near the end of Wolf year in the past – but I’m also not sure if the BSA saw a rash of severed fingers coming back in from younger Cubs inappropriately using their pocketknives either.
Reasons aside, pocketknives are now prohibited until the boys turn Bear.
Scoutmasters, Crew Advisors and Committee Chairs,
NYLT is an intense week-long, youth-oriented leadership training experience. Highly qualified youth staff, under the supervision of adult advisers, will teach participants the concepts of what a leader must BE, what a leader must KNOW, and what a leader must DO. Participants will learn and practice valuable leadership skills they can use in Scouting and beyond.
Detailed information concerning this year’s course can be found in these documents:
If you have questions, please contact Jim Reeder at firstname.lastname@example.org
Very sorry for the extremely late notice… Reservations are due Friday March 15th, 2013!
Please join me in congratulating fellow Scouter, and soon to be Silver Beaver recipient Ken Penge! Ken is one of a very select few honored with this award for the tons of selfless dedication he has put in not at the unit or district level, but his contributions to making our Council a better program for all kids.
It would be a great show of support for those in Fox River District to join Ken at the Council Recognition Dinner celebrating his contributions on Tuesday March 26th.
Additionally there are awards for all of the young men in the 2012 Eagle Scout Class (the 100th anniversary!), the Venturing Leader Award, and the Life Saving & Meritorious Action Awards. Truly outstanding company to be honored with!
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