Updated Jan. 29
That bright red arrow atop a crisp white band is an unmistakeable symbol that the wearer is one of Scouting’s best.
The sash is an outward sign that the man or woman wearing it is a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society.
But when should Arrowmen wear the sash and when shouldn’t they? That question was on the mind of a crew advisor and Brotherhood OA member from Phoenix who contacted me last week. Here’s his email:
First off I know there is no hard set rule that I am aware of on when to wear your OA sash. Back in my day it was only for OA events or during tapouts at Scout camporees. I don’t want to sound like a “grumbler,” but it seems that rule has become very skewed in recent years. We currently have an adult and Scout who wear theirs to regular meetings.
Any clarification you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the question. In fact, there is a hard-set rule. To get it, I went to National OA Chairman Ray Capp. Ray also answers questions via the “Ask the Chairman” feature on OA’s newly redesigned website. Here’s what Ray said about wearing OA sashes: Continue reading
File this one under “sad but true”: Getting to and from Scouting events is by far more dangerous than participating in the program.
That’s why the Boy Scouts of America’s Guide to Safe Scouting offers specific guidelines to help adults transport Scouts safely.
But what about older Scouts and Venturers with driver’s licenses? Is it OK for them to drive themselves and others to meetings, weekend campouts, unit activities, area/regional/national events and more?
That’s what Scouter Matt from Eureka, Kan., wondered in an email to me last week. He writes:
I would like some clarification on Scout’s (youth) driving to and from events. The Guide to Safe Scouting seems to indicate that Scouts can drive themselves to regular troop meetings, but otherwise I’m not clear on any answers:
Can a Boy Scout drive to a troop overnighter?
Can a Boy Scout drive other Scouts to a troop overnighter?
Can a Boy Scout transport troop equipment?
I checked with Richard Bourlon, the BSA’s Health and Safety team leader, and Mark Dama, head of Insurance and Risk Management, for the answer. Find the explanation — which every leader with driving-age Scouts should read — after the jump. Continue reading
In the season of Wise Men, you won’t find many wiser than Chris Hunt, advancement team leader for the Boy Scouts of America.
Whatever advancement-related question I throw at him, he answers right away. He’s one of the big reasons my Ask the Expert series has been going strong for years.
This time, I sent him three questions that came to me from blog readers like you and stemmed from real-life dilemmas you’re facing.
The first was from a Scouter wondering who may purchase merit badges, after he was told only the advancement chair can do so. Another asked for valid reasons a Scoutmaster can use to refuse to give a Scout a blue card. The third cropped up after a parent disputed Requirement 10 for First Class.
Find the original questions and Chris Hunt’s wise answers, after the jump. Continue reading
Updated, Nov. 22 | The chat is over, but the transcript remains. See below. And stay tuned for future Ask the Expert: LIVE events!
You’ve got advancement-related questions. He’s got answers.
At 11 a.m. Central Time on Friday, Nov. 22, Chris Hunt, the BSA’s Advancement Team leader, will join us for an hourlong live chat, which you can access at the link below. (That’s noon Eastern, 10 a.m. Mountain and 9 a.m. Pacific.)
I’ll moderate, and Chris will answer your queries live. If you’d like a head start, feel free to comment below with your questions, and I’ll try to incorporate them into the live chat if there’s time.
And if you can’t make the chat, don’t fret. I’ll update this post with a transcript soon after we’re done.
If this Ask the Expert: LIVE experiment succeeds, I’ll find other BSA experts to answer your questions about other topics, including Health and Safety, the Eagle Scout Award and more.
LINK FOR THE LIVE CHAT Transcript
Click Here for the transcript (opens in a new window)
Play around with a knife, lose a corner on your Totin’ Chip. In my troop growing up, it was that simple.
If a Scout lost all four corners of his Totin’ Chip (essentially a Scout’s license to carry pocketknives, axes and saws), his blade-carrying privileges were revoked until he re-earned the card.
It’s all part of Boy Scouting’s well-reasoned approach to teaching boys to see pocketknives, axes and saws as tools, not toys.
But it’s the corner-cutting business that was on the mind of a Scouter who asked to remain anonymous. He sent me this email: Continue reading
The Ask the Expert floodgates are wide open.
I’m now getting roughly 50 emails a week with Ask the Expert questions, a sign that Scouters out there care enough to seek out the right answer to their burning BSA queries. (By the way, ask your question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, subject “Ask the Expert.”)
For the third round of rapid-fire FAQs, I’ve picked out nine popular questions and tracked down the right answers.
We’ll cover parents who make light of a Scout earning lots of merit badges, a troop that won’t count the same leadership position twice, a discussion of who should pin on an Eagle medal, unofficial belts, jamboree entertainment, and more.
Let’s go … Continue reading
Want proof as to how passionate Scout volunteers are about the Boy Scouts of America?
Just look at my inbox.
Last week, I provided answers to eight frequently asked questions, and at the end of the post, I provided information on how to ask your own Scouting-related question. (By the way, you can do so by emailing email@example.com, subject “Ask the Expert.”)
Well, 78 emails later, it’s time for Round 2 of my rapid-fire FAQs. I can’t answer every question, but I have answered nine more common ones below.
This round will cover Cub Scouts earning merit badges, funeral services for a fallen Scouter or Scout, uniform questions, and more. Perhaps a question you’ve been wondering about is covered… Continue reading
So far, Ask the Expert posts have offered one often-lengthy answer to one complicated Scouting question. You can read past posts here. Perhaps a question you have is answered there.
But now it’s time for the lightning round.
Here’s a collection of questions I’ve received along with the short answer: Continue reading
Are all service hours created equal?
If a Scout, say, builds a house with his church youth group or delivers meals with his school’s student council, can those hours count toward Boy Scout rank advancement?
That’s what a Scouter named Andrea wondered this week:
Our troop only allows service hours to accrue if it is a troop-sponsored service event. I think that this is against Scouting principles but understand the difficulty in calculating hours if the boys are collecting hours through school, church, etc. What is the BSA policy for this? Can the boys earn service hours outside the troop and how do we get those to “count” if they are allowed to be accrued by the Scout?
Now, nobody will question the value of service to others — even those not conducted with a Scout unit. But what Andrea’s wondering is whether her Scoutmaster is correct in restricting which hours may be applied to rank advancement within Scouting.
The short answer: Continue reading
Updated May 15 with some clarifications.
Not all merit badges are earned in the traditional troop setting.
Enterprising Scouts can earn them at council-run merit badge “colleges” or workshops, summer or winter camps, or on their own with a registered counselor.
But some troops restrict or even prohibit this practice, insisting that merit badges must be earned under their own roof — with only troop-sanctioned counselors.
True, the Guide to Advancement says Scouts must discuss their choice of merit badge counselor with their Scoutmaster, but some troops take it one step farther, declaring that merit badge workshops themselves aren’t kosher.
Is that OK? That’s what a Scouter named Thomas wondered in an email last week. In his troop, Scouts cannot earn Eagle-required merit badges at events like workshops, instead needing to earn those merit badges in-house. He writes: Continue reading