Archive for the ‘Advancement’ Category


Troop Record BookOctober 29th was a busy Scouting day for me. It began with the troop’s roadside cleanup service project, followed by a trip to the council Scout Shop, and ending with the troop’s spaghetti supper fundraiser in the evening. The trip to the Scout Shop was with the new scoutmaster who needed a new uniform. While we were there I decided to pick up a few needs for the troop also.

One of the items on my list was a Troop Record Book. If you have been a reader of this blog you know that I am not a happy camper that the Boy Scouts of America did not come out with a new record book when the new rank advancement requirements began in January of 2015. A few weeks ago I finally broke down and made some charts on the computer. I still wanted another record book though because they are a good place to keep basic Scout information and attendance records. Even though we can not use them for rank requirements we could still use them to keep track of  merit badges.

I saw three record books on the shelf at the store and at first planned to grab all three since I thought the BSA supply division might plan to drop this item from their inventory. After opening one book and looking through its pages I quickly changed my mind.

I was shocked! I was surprised! I was actually excited! It was an updated Troop Record Book featuring the current rank requirements! I could not believe it at first. It took our Scout Shop nearly a year and a half to get them, but I was finally holding one in my hands.

A question came to mind. When did these new books become available? Has my council Scout Shop been holding out on me for the last 18 months? Why couldn’t I find it when I did a search on the scoutstuff.com website? I looked for a printing date on the inside cover and discovered they were printed in 2016. Okay, so they only started printing them this year. After inquiring about it, I discovered they became available this summer.

I bought two of the Troop Record Books, one for myself as the troop’s advancement coordinator, and one for the scoutmaster. It will be nice to once again know where the Scouts are in their advancement progress. (Our troop does not yet do online advancement. I have not been successful getting into the online program.)

My goal is to now get the information from the old record book, along with the informations in the Scouts’ handbooks, to have an updated record book. It is going to be a challenge but it will be worth it when it is completed.

Scout Rank record

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    angler awardI was in the local Scout Shop last weekend and saw something new posted near the merit badges. There is an award called the Complete Angler that can be earned by Boy Scouts who love to fish. The requirements seem fairly simple. Earn three required merit badges and earn this special patch. What are the merit badges, you ask? They are a) Fishing, b) Fly-Fishing, and c) Fish and Wildlife Management.

    I know that a few Scouts in our troop have earned the Fishing merit badge. Several of them have earned the Fish and Wildlife Management badge at summer camp. I do not recall any of the Scouts earning the Fly-Fishing merit badge. We do not see very much fly-fishing done in central Minnesota. Of course, that does not mean the Scouts cannot earn the badge.

    The picture shown contains interesting information about each of the three merit badges so I invite you to read it. Has anyone in your troop earned the Complete Angler award? Or is this the first time you have heard about it? What do you think about the patch design?

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      Eagle MedalAs a scoutmaster I did not plan any Eagle courts of honor. After all, that was not my job. The Eagle Scout plans his court of honor with the help of his parents. I did give advice and help a bit when asked, but I usually stayed away from the planning. That is not to say I was not involved in the court of honor. As a scoutmaster I often spoke about the Scout during the ceremony, and many times I was the presenter of the award. Since stepping down from the scoutmaster position I have served as the master of ceremony for one court of honor.

      Monday night was the first time I found myself involved with the planning of an Eagle ceremony. The new Eagle Scout sat down with me, the assistant scoutmaster, and another Eagle Scout of Troop 68, and threw around various ideas as he decided on what he liked and did not like. Text messaging came in handy as he contacted a few people to see if they could participate in the ceremony. By the end of the meeting we had the agenda pretty well planned, and he seemed happy with the way it looked.

      So why did I become involved in the planning this time around? Because the Scout has a short amount of time to get things organized. He is currently in college, working most nights, and to put it simply, is quite busy. His court of honor is going to be held this Sunday so yes, he needed some assistance getting things planned. I have agreed to be the master of ceremonies and his scoutmaster will be the presenter of the Eagle award. He does have a few people lined up to say a few words.

      I have seen some fairly elaborate courts of honors over the last 36 years, and I have seen some simple ceremonies. This one will not be an elaborate one, and that is okay. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the court of honor is planned by the Eagle Scout to be the way he wants it to be. That is what matters. Too tell the truth, that is all that really matters. It is his moment and no one else’s. I think Sunday’s Eagle Scout court of honor will be a nice ceremony, and I am looking forward to being a part of it.

       

       

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        Remember my last post? I went shopping at the local Scout Shop and bought several closeout items, some for actual use, and some for the collection. I left one item out of that article, the one that was rolled up in the tube. It was something I thought the troop could find useful. In fact, it was something the troop has not used for several years, but as the advancement coordinator I thought it night be time to use one again. What is it? It is a troop advancement chart with the current requirements listed.

        When I was in the Scout Shop I stopped at the advancement chart rack to see if the B.S.A. had come out with a new chart yet. I found a few of the old advancement charts, a lot of Cub Scouting charts, and a few posters, but not a current advancement requirement chart. So I asked Jenny, who was working the at the store, if one was available. She told me there was and we walked back to the rack. I felt like a fool when she showed me the new chart hanging on the wall above the rack. I never even noticed it when I was looking. My eyes were on the advancement rack’s contents, not the wall.

        She looked through the rack for the new advancement chart. She did not find one. Well, now I felt a little better. She checked the computer and it said they had three of them. She went to the back room and found them. The chart is not small. It measures 36″ wide by 23″ high. It will not fit on the old chart’s piece of hardboard. I was quite happy with the price which was only $2.49.

        I wish I had a larger picture to show you. I guess you will just have to go to the nearest Scout Shop and see it for yourself.

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          scout_ranksI have recently accepted the position of advancement coordinator for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68, so I have been checking out the 2013 Committee Guidebook to see what my new responsibilities will be, and how much work I have gotten myself into. Let’s take a look.

          1) Encourage Scouts to advance in rank.

          This one should be easy enough. I was a scoutmaster for thirty years. I was always encouraging the Scout to advance. Now I will do it while wearing a different title.

          2) Work with the troop scribe to maintain all advancement records.

          This will be an interesting challenge since our troop has never asked this of the Boy Scout who holds the position of Troop Scribe. Do any of you readers have any suggestions that have worked well in your troop?

          3) Arrange quarterly board of reviews and courts of honor.

          This is an easy one. Our troop already does board of reviews as needed during committee meetings, once a month. Quarterly courts of honor have been a part of our yearly program since the early 1980’s.

          4) Develop and maintain a merit badge counselor list.

          This one is going to require some work. Our council is in the process of updating its counselor list so that will help a little. I think my goal needs to be finding more local counselors. We only have a few within Melrose. I will start with the parents of the Boy Scouts, and then try to find more outside of the troop. I think it would be great to find a local counselor for at least each of the Eagle Rank required merit badges.

          5) Make a prompt report on the correct form to the council service center when a troop board of review is held. Secure badges and certificates.

          We already do this quite well on the committee. This duty should not be a problem.

          6) Work with the troop librarian to build and maintain a troop library of merit badge pamphlets and other advancement literature.

          The troop librarian already has a small collection of merit badge pamphlets but it may be time to go through it with him and see if the books are outdated and need replacement, along with what other pamphlets may be needed.

          7) Report to the troop committee at each meeting.

          When I was the scoutmaster I made regular advancement reports at each committee meeting. The current scoutmaster does the same thing. I guess the main goal here would be to check in with him each month, at least once if not more, to catch up on the latest advancement completed and possible needs. Is there a way to help him achieve more advancement?

          One thing not listed as a responsibility but something encouraged by the committee guidebook is to check out internet advancement. Our troop has never used it. As a scoutmaster I could not use it because, at the time, it was not compatible with the Macintosh computer I use at home. No one on the committee back then was interested in taking on that responsibility. I understand that today it should work on a Macintosh computer so I shall have to check it out sometime. Until then we will continue to use the Troop Advancement Report form and turn it into the council office when we pick up the awards.

          Are there any other things your troop advancement coordinator does?

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            committee org chartShortly after I retired as the scoutmaster of Troop 68 a few years ago I became the troop committee treasurer. It did not take me long to realize that I did not care to hold that position. It was not that it took a lot of work. It was just that I did not enjoy it. Even when I was a scoutmaster I tried to stay away from the financial stuff of the troop. Now here I was smack in the middle of it.

            During last week’s troop committee meeting I was pleasantly surprised to find out another committee member was willing to take over the role of treasurer. He wanted to take on more responsibility within the troop but due to his schedule he was not able to make many of the meetings or outings. He thought this role would be a good fit for him. He and I will be getting together later this week to discuss the accounts and responsibilities of the position.

            Of course, this leaves me open to take on a different position on the committee, one that I have wanted to do for the last couple of years – the advancement coordinator. I think it is kind of ironic that this position has been offered to me right at the time the new Boy Scout advancement requirements take affect. I pretty much knew the old requirements by heart. I guess I better start reading that new handbook I just purchased.

            Our troop has never really had an active advancement coordinator. We did have someone who was going to do it a few years ago but he retired from the committee shortly after accepting the position. To tell the truth, as I look over the advancement coordinator’s responsibilities, I think I did many of them when I was the scoutmaster. Maybe, as I take on this role, I can lighten the load of the current scoutmaster.

            The main reason I accepted this new position was to work with the boys on their advancement requirements once again. It was one of my favorite things I did as the scoutmaster. Now, I realize this is mainly the scoutmaster’s job, but name one scoutmaster would does not like a little extra help. I would help out a couple times a year but I always felt like I was intruding on someone else’s responsibilities. I will have to have a talk with the scoutmaster about my new role.

            The worse part about accepting this new position is that I am currently serving as the cubmaster of the Cub Scout Pack. The pack meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. The troop meets on the first three Mondays of the month. After thinking about it, that might be for the best. By having a limited amount of time with the troop I will have to try to use the time to the best of my abilities.

            Do any of you have any suggestions for this new advancement coordinator?

            The committee organization chart was found on The Volun-told Scouter Blog, found at http://voluntoldscouter.blogspot.com/2011/01/committee.html

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              2016Handbooks - 1Gosh! I do not know if you have heard or not but the Boy Scouts of America have changed the requirements for the Boy Scout advancement program. Scout is now a rank, which means there are seven ranks instead of six. Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have changed a fair amount. Star, Life, and Eagle Ranks not so much. These changes could bring a few changes to your troop’s yearly program.

              Of course, these changes to the advancement program need to be reflected in the Boy Scout handbook, which means a new handbook needs to be written. I was hoping to see a new handbook by the end of last year, but I was told during last month’s roundtable that they would be out some time in January. Knowing the B.S.A.’s history of getting things out on a timely basis. I thought that meant we would have to wait until February.

              I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week that stated the new handbooks were now on the shelves and available for sale. I drove the thirty miles to my nearest Scout Shop on Saturday to pick up one for myself, along with some items for the upcoming Cub Scout Blue and Gold banquet. I ended up buying six handbooks; one for me, two for the scoutmaster and his assistant, and three for the Scouts. I like to keep a few on hand so new Scouts have them quickly available when they join the troop.

              I have already received an email from the father of one Scout who has asked me to put one handbook aside for him. I have a feeling the other two could be claimed by the end of the week. I bet I will need to pick up more of them when I attend next month’s roundtable in Sartell.

              I was caught a bit off guard when I saw the price of the new handbooks was $14.99. I should have known they would not be the same price as the old handbooks. Oh well, we have to have them.

              Did you get your new handbook yet?

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                IMG_4450Most of the time when you hear of someone talking about their Eagle project they are referring to their project for their Eagle Scout Rank. I am too old for that type of Eagle project. However, my Eagle project does involve work for a local organization. No, it is not a group that works with rehabilitating wounded birds. The organization is our community museum. My project is to have a framed 5×7 picture of each of the young men of Boy Scout Troop 68 who have earned their Eagle Scout Rank on display at the museum.

                There have been 22 Eagle Scouts of Troop 68 over the decades. The first was earned in the 1960’s, I believe, before I became a Boy Scout. The rest were earned from the 1980’s to present day. Eighteen of these Scouts became Eagles during my tenure as the troop’s scoutmaster. My project is to make a display featuring every one of these special Boy Scouts. Each photo also contains the Scout’s name and the year they earned the award. You can see in the picture above that I have most of them framed and ready to go. Unfortunately, I ran out of frames so it is time to run to the store and find some more.

                Does your troop have a special “Eagle Scout Hall of Fame” or wall of fame? Do you have a local museum that features an Boy Scout display? Right a comment and let us know about it.

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