Archive for the ‘committee’ Category

There has been a lot of talk in a few of the Scouting forums about some new online forms that can be found on the site. I would like to write about two of them today – the tour permit and the medical form.

The new Tour Permit is actually a writable pdf document in which you can fill in the blanks on your computer. I have downloaded to my computer and have used it for a couple of troop activities. It is pretty much the same information as the old forms, but since it is digital there are a few advantages. The first is that the committee chair, the council, and I can email it to each other, thus making it quicker to use. The other thing I like about it is that we can use digital signatures, which we discovered are very easy to set up and use. It has saved us time in trying to track each other down for those signatures.

Our council has posted this digital tour permit to its website and can be found at . I am sure it can also be found on the national website, but I did not look for it there.

After looking at the new yearly Medical Form, I will admit that I like it. It is simple to follow and easy to understand. Best of all, this new form will replace the three current forms that are being used (Class 1, 2, and 3). It looks like the new form will be used by both adults and Scouts, and will even be used for high adventure bases.

This new form is broken down into three parts. Part A is the general medical information which is provided by the parents, similar to the old Class 1 form. It lists basic information including address and insurance stuff, plus has a section to list up to six perscription drugs. This part is for one day or weekend activities.

Part B of the form is for long term and strenuous camps and activities, like high adventure bases and summer camps. This is the part that needs to be filled out by a doctor or licensed health-care provider. A height and weight chart is also featured on this page.

Part C is a new addition to the form. It includes a “Hold Harmless/Release Agreement” and a talent release form for the parents or gaurdian to sign. To tell the truth, in today’s digital age, I think this is an excellent thing to add to the form. This new medical form can be found at

I plan to hand out the new medical form to all the Scout families this month, even though it looks like they will not be required until next year. I want to get a headstart on this. I also plan to email the digital version of the form to parents in case they would like to fill out the personal information on their computer before printing it off.

I think these two forms are an excellent step to making things a little easier for troops, crews, and packs. Now the councils and districts just have to get these units to begin using them. I would not think it should be too hard to get that done.

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    The year 1980 will always be a special year for me. It was the year I began life on my own, and began life as an adult. I was nineteen when I graduated from vocational college in April. I moved into a apartment. I began working at my first full time job. And I became an assistant scoutmaster to the newly formed Boy Scout Troop 68. (For more information about how that happened, click HERE.)

    I did not join Troop 68 until later in April, so I missed going to Camp Ripley with the troop, which I believe may have been the new Scouts first outing. There was not a yearly program yet because troop leadership was still in the process of going through training.

    I was one of three assistant scoutmasters. Each of us were single men. One was a little older then me, the other a little younger. I was the only one to stay with the program for more then a year. The other assistants left town to pursue a career or college.

    The committee was made up of several parents who were dedicated to get the troop up and running well. Our charter representative was the commander of the local VFW Post. I will never forget my first committee meeting. The charter rep and I got into a heated “discussion” about troop finances. He began by talking about how much money the Post had already pumped into the troop. I already knew from talking to committee members and parents that the Post had not given the troop much of anything yet. (In fact, one of the parents had loaned the troop some money to get things started.) I guess I got a bit vocal about correcting him. Our discussion began to get a little heated.

    After the meeting, and after the charter rep had left, a couple of the committee members told me I had stated what they had been thinking. I could not help but think to myself why did the nineteen year old new assistant scoutmaster have to stand up to the sixty year old charter rep? After all, there were at least five other committee members at the meeting.

    Oh well, if nothing else, I guess I demonstrated my passion and dedication to the Scout troop. By the way, the charter rep and I worked well together for the next few years, until he retired from the committee.

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      **Warning – Rant Alert**
      I began writing a monthly newsletter for the troop soon after becoming the scoutmaster. In those early days it was literally a “cut and paste” method to create the newsletter. You see, those were the days before home computers. I would type the articles using a typewriter, cut them out, and then tape them to a blank sheet of paper with some pictures or graphics. The look of the newsletter changed dramatically once I bought a home computer in the late 1980′s.

      I began writing a newsletter for one simple reason – the information given to the Boy Scouts during the troop meetings was not making it home to the parents. You could say the newsletter was a way to keep parents informed more then the boys. The newsletter would usually take two to three evenings to write, organize, print, and mail. The look of it changed over the years as computer programs changed, allowing for bigger and better things to be done.

      During the last three decades I have had to deal with newsletters “lost in the mail”, families losing their mailings, Scouts who would grab it before their parents see it and hide it in their rooms, and other problems. But the one thing that irritated me the most was when parents and Scouts admitted they did not read it. After all the work I did to create a newsletter I discovered that for some people it was not even worth the time to read.

      So, in 2005, writing and printing the newsletter became a low priority on my schedule. In 2006, I pretty much quit writing them. Why should I if no one reads them? After 25 years I finally decided that if this troop wants a newsletter then a parent, or even the troop scribe, could start writing them. Besides that, I was tired of doing them.

      Well, the troop has gone for one year without a newsletter. No one, parent or Boy Scout, has stepped forward to write one. The troop has fallen back to having parents in the dark about troop functions. It looks like if there is to be a newsletter I will have to write it, even though I really do not care to do it. I did break down the other night and put a newsletter together. The troop has several important functions coming up that the parents need to have information about.

      Should the scoutmaster be in charge of creating the troop’s newsletter? As a scoutmaster myself, I would answer, “No!” The scoutmaster does need to assist in the preparation of it but he should not be expected to do it all. He already has enough to do between troop meetings, troop functions and outings, training sessions, and district events. I understand the parents and Scouts are also busy, but a troop works best when the work load is spread around to several people. When a scoutmaster is expected to do most everything you will end up looking for a new scoutmaster when he burns out from doing too much.

      I ask you, is it easier to assist a current scoutmaster then it is too find a new one? Is it important for parents and Scouts to know all the information needed to carry out a successful program?

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