Ask us anything! We answer some of your most frequently asked questions

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Have questions about the BSA? We’ve got answers.

And if we don’t have the answers, we’ll find someone who does.

Below are a handful of questions we’ve recently gotten from readers (some of them, multiple times), along with the best answers we can provide.

Leave your question in the comments below, or send us an email, and we’ll answer in a future post.

Q: What are the standard measurements for a Scout troop’s trailer?

A: Much like with pocketknives, the BSA sets no official standard for troop trailer size. I would suggest that, like pocketknives, a Scout unit should choose the trailer that’s right for the job. This could vary from troop to troop. Here are the BSA’s official guidelines on troop trailers. And here’s a story about a Scout troop that ditched their trailer all together.

Q. As an adult volunteer, why do I have to pay to be a member of BSA, and where does that money go?

A: First of all, thank you for being a BSA volunteer. Without our volunteers, there is no program. The fact of the matter is, there are costs associated with running all of Scouting’s programs. The national membership fees for both youth and adults help cover the cost of essential services, including program resources, liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, criminal background checks, youth protection, and the development of intellectual property for national, council, and unit programs. The Scout units themselves may also charge a fee to adults and youth help offset the cost of their program.

Q: I have a question about the tassels and ornamentation that I have seen on some Scout bugles. Are there any guidelines or stipulations as to what should hang or how a bugle should be dressed for the official troop bugler?

A: There are no official BSA guidelines on how a bugle should or should not be dressed. This should be determined by the unit committee. The Scout bugler is required to wear the Scout uniform correctly, but that’s as far as national guidelines go.

Q: If I earn a fourth square knot, do I sew it to the uniform centered over the first row, or over the rightmost (wearer’s right) knot of the first row? Please help.

A: Short answer: Either! You can either center them in the row or keep them aligned to your right. The latter method means you won’t have to re-sew those knots if you get a new one, but you can do whatever you think is best for you.

Q: Hello, I am 13 years old, and I am an Eagle Scout rank in Scouts BSA, and my question is: Are 13-year-olds too young to be an Eagle Scout?

A: First of all, congratulations on earning the rank of Eagle Scout! This is a tremendous accomplishment, and you should be very proud. If you conducted a survey asking people whether or not 13 is too young to be an Eagle Scout, you would get a variety of answers. However, this would be my criteria: Did you complete the Eagle Scout requirements as defined in the BSA’s Guide to Advancement, embracing the true spirit of each requirement, while also following every aspect of the Scout Law and Oath, without rushing through everything just to get it done for the sake of getting it done? If so, then you’ve done it correctly, no matter your age.

About Aaron Derr 418 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.