BSA membership resolution passes with more than 60 percent of vote

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After an extensive discussion within the organization, the Boy Scouts of America’s approximately 1,400 volunteer voting members chose to adopt the membership policy resolution and remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone.

The final vote breakdown was 61.44 percent for the proposal, and 38.56 percent against. The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Voting results were tabulated and certified by TrueBallot, an independent, third-party voting firm.

Read more at this site, or find the full text of the BSA’s official media statement below:
Continue reading

Scout service projects

Ask the Expert: Can Scouts earn service hours outside of the troop setting?

expertlogo1Are 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:

Bryan,

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?

Thanks,

Andrea

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

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How to monitor your Scout’s spending and benefit Scouting

With some teens, you might as well give their allowance directly to Best Buy, GameStop, or Cinemark, because it’s going straight there anyway.

There’s got to be a better way. And now, there is. Harness the power of the Boy Scouts of America Discover® prepaid card, which lets you monitor your kid’s daily spending, teach him or her how to create and manage a budget, and do it all while benefiting the Boy Scouts of America.

I mentioned this program last year, but it’s worth repeating: This isn’t a credit card. Instead, it’s a prepaid, reloadable card that’s safer and more practical than the wad of cash in your Scout’s or Venturer’s cargo shorts.

Parents can monitor purchases through the online or mobile site, giving them instant access to increase or decrease allowance and ensure that said allowance is being spent wisely. There’s also a wealth of financial education materials, including videos, games, and budget calculators that families can explore together.

Scouts get the benefit of instant access to their cash, peace of mind knowing they’re not broke if their wallet goes missing, and live safety and emergency services coordinators, available 24/7 if they’re ever in a jam.

And here’s a cool bonus: Local councils get a piece of the action. A portion of proceeds are sent right to councils so that Scouting in your community can thrive.

To learn more or get a card for your Scouts, go to scoutsarethrifty.com.

Now that the program has been up and running, mFunds has answered some frequently asked questions about the program:  Continue reading

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Higher score, lower price: Get SAT and ACT test-prep software cheap

Updated for 2014

Pay attention, because there’ll be a test later.

Boy Scout families — both current and former — can score $250 SAT or ACT test-prep computer programs for $20. That means the study materials, instructor-led videos and multimedia lessons can be yours for about half what it costs to take the actual tests themselves.

It’s $20 for either the SAT or ACT test-prep program, which includes 10 hours of video instruction, 120 lessons and 122 drills, hundreds of practice questions, and 18 automatically graded tests. The software is technically free but requires a $20 student fee that includes streaming/shipping costs, customer and technical support and updates.

Have a student who’s taking both tests? Grab both programs for $40 — a huge savings over the $500 list price.

Mac or PC? Doesn’t matter, because the software — available either as a DVD or streamed instantly online — works on either platform.

Longtime blog readers might recognize this program as a continuation of the eKnowledge and the SAT/ACT Donation Project I mentioned in 2012 and in 2010. In the years since it began, eKnowledge, which says its mission is helping Scouts and Venturers to Be Prepared for these important standardized tests, has sent more than 5,000 Scouting families this software. And it has received hundreds of thank-you notes from Scouting families, with comments such as: Continue reading

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BSA membership policy resolution released, will be voted on in May

The Boy Scouts of America’s Executive Committee today released its membership policy resolution, which proposes removing the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone and maintaining the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America.

The resolution, if passed, would be effective Jan. 1, 2014. You can read a summary below or see the complete text at this link (PDF).

Next up, the resolution is sent to all voting delegates, a group of volunteers from every BSA council, who will put it to a vote at the National Annual Meeting next month.

The resolution comes after a lengthy review process in which the BSA gathered perspectives from inside and outside the Scouting family. The five-page Membership Standards Study Initiative Executive Summary (PDF) explains in detail the key findings from this review.

For those with questions, the BSA has prepared this comprehensive list of FAQs (PDF) about the resolution.

Here’s the resolution: Continue reading

swim-board

Here’s one swimming record you could actually break

Can’t swim the 100-meter butterfly in less than 50 seconds?

That’s OK — nobody but Michael Phelps can. But I did just hear about a swimming record you and your Scouts do have a chance to break.

Register now to participate in the Guinness World Record attempt for The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, held at pools and lakes around the world at 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 18.  Continue reading

nationaltrailsday-2013

Find your path: Track down a National Trails Day event near you

Last year's patch. This year's design hasn't yet been released.

The official National Trails Day patch. Get yours at ScoutStuff.org.

Maybe you’ll walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers in Ohio, hike from scene to scene in an outdoor production of Snow White in Boulder, or bike through redwoods in California.

Wherever you are, there’s surely a National Trails Day event near you.

So save the date for Saturday, June 1, to take your Scouts or Venturers to a local hike, cycling event, horseback ride, trail-maintenance project, paddle trip, health fair, geocaching activity, photo safari, or birdwatching expedition.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, which I’ve blogged about annually since 2010, is a great way to show people in your community that Scouting and the outdoors go hand in hand. Who knows a trail better than a bunch of Boy Scouts or Venturers?

To start, search for an activity near you. Continue reading

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Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard

It’s mid-March. That means Phase 2 of the Boy Scouts of America’s three-month family discussion has shifted into high gear.

The BSA calls this phase “Listening,” and that’s exactly what the organization is doing. Scheduled to last from March 1 to April 5, the phase includes, in addition to a lot of conversations with a lot of people, a 13-question Voice of the Scout survey, recently sent to about 1.1 million registered volunteers and Scout parents.

The questions, which you can read below, were designed to help committees review the beliefs and concerns of two groups of stakeholders critical to this process: Scouters and the parents of registered Scouts.

The BSA is also sending the survey to approximately 325,000 Scouting alumni, former members who aren’t necessarily currently active but have previously joined the National Eagle Scout Association or the Scouting Alumni Association.

Refresh your memory about the remaining phases in a blog post I wrote last month. But, briefly, they include evaluating the results of the surveys and other committee reports, the executive officers preparing a resolution to present to the group of National Council voting members, educating the Scouting family about the findings, holding a vote on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May, and taking whatever steps are needed to carry out the decision.

First, though, the survey will collect feedback from our key stakeholders, asking parents and volunteers to carefully consider the current membership policy and potential affects on the program should the BSA change its policy or keep it the same.

If you are a current member and you have not received a survey, you may visit this link to register your member ID number and receive a link for the survey after your information has been verified. Parents of Scouts can also use this link to get a survey. You should use your child’s ID and indicate you are a parent and input your own demographic information.

As is common in any family discussion, the survey touches on some personal issues. But it’s a conversation we must have now to ensure the continued success of our organization for the future.

The leadership of the BSA is firmly committed to making sure every voice gets heard and is dedicated to the integrity of this process. So, if you receive the survey, speak up—for yourself and for the Boy Scouts of America.

View the survey now:

Continue reading

tsa-pocketknives

Update: TSA delays policy to allow small pocketknives in flight

Update | April 23, 2013: The TSA announced yesterday that it was postponing the rule allowing small knives on planes. There was no new date announced for the policy change, so stay tuned. The original post is below …


Effective next month, your Scouts and others traveling by plane will be permitted to carry on small pocketknives.

The Transportation Security Administration said on Tuesday it was relaxing certain restrictions to allow small pocketknives, golf clubs, and other sports items to be carried on to planes, better matching international standards for air travel.

The changes take effect on April 25, 2013, meaning Scouts and Venturers flying to the jamboree, a high-adventure base, or anywhere else this summer may have one less thing to worry about at the airport.

Be careful — not all pocketknives are allowed as carry-ons. A knife is only allowed if:  Continue reading

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The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy

When the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its long-held membership policy last June after months of media coverage and national attention to the issue, some leaders thought that signaled an end to the conversation.

Not so, as you no doubt know. As BSA President Wayne Perry recently said, many unit-level volunteers weren’t aware of the policy before the reaffirmation. “What we discovered as your Key 3 was that it started a very intense conversation,” he said.

In that eight-month conversation, Perry emphasized that he didn’t speak with outside special-interest groups with no affiliation to Scouting. Instead, he said, “I heard only from Scouters, people with different views than my personal views.

“It was hard, because people told me their Scouting commitment, and it touched you, it touched your soul. These are good people. They are people of faith that have a different view than I do.”

That’s why Perry, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, and National Commissioner Tico Perez — the National Key 3 — have launched what they call a “family discussion” that’s set to take place over the next three months.

Who’s invited? Continue reading