Ask Us Anything! We answer some of your most frequently asked questions

When? Where? What? Who? How? Why? Ask Us Anything!
Photo by Shutterstock

Have questions about the BSA? You can ask us anything!

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: I would like your opinion on requirement 10 for First Class. An adult leader in my troop recently said that “just inviting a friend” to attend a Scout activity and telling this friend about all the fun stuff we do in Scouting is enough to fulfill the requirement. The friend does not actually have to go to a Scout meeting or activity.

A: The rule of BSA advancement is that the requirement must be completed in a “no more, no less” manner. Requirement 10 for First Class reads (emphasis is mine):

Tell someone who is eligible to join Scouts, or an inactive Scout, about your Scouting activities. Invite your prospect to an outing, activity, service project or meeting. Give information on how to join, or encourage an inactive member to become active in Scouting again. Share your efforts with your leader.

So, those are the requirements — no more, no less. Nowhere does it say that the friend has to actually go to a meeting or activity — though, of course, it’d be great if the friend did indeed visit the troop.

Q: The Scuba BSA patch is bigger than a regular merit badge patch. Where is it placed?

A: Very observant! The Scuba BSA patch is about 2 inches wide, while merit badge patches are only about 1.5 inches wide. The Scuba BSA patch is designed to be worn on the left leg side of swim trunks, not on the Scouts BSA uniform or merit badge sash. Happy diving!

Q: How would a high-adventure base handle a Scout turning 18 while on the trail?

A: At Philmont Scout Ranch, participants 18 through 20 years of age may be counted as youth or adults; however, once they turn 18, they will need Youth Protection Training, and can no longer have a buddy who is a minor. My advice would be to make sure the participant submits an adult application and takes YPT before they leave.

Q: When is the next National Jamboree after 2023? Dating back to 1950 (with a few exceptions), it’s been every four years. 2021 was canceled due to COVID so now the Jamboree is 2023. Does that mean the next one will be 2027? Or do we realign and get back on track, so to speak, and go again in 2025?

A: While I love the enthusiasm, the BSA is fully focused for now on executing the best possible Jamboree we can this coming summer. Trust me: As soon as the next Jamboree is announced, you’ll hear about it here first!

Q: How do you ask a parent to leave the troop because they do not like how things are being done?

A: Asking any family to leave a BSA unit should always be the last option. First, I would make sure the Scoutmaster, committee chair and chartered organization representative are all aware of the issue. Get together and make sure everyone is on the same page. Next, I would schedule a meeting with the parent, always being sure to abide by the Scout Oath and Law. Calmly and patiently go over the basic tenets of the Scouts BSA program and how beneficial it can be if everyone — including parents — plays their roles, as designed by the program. Perhaps you’ve already done this. If so, I would bring in backup in the form of your unit commissioner or district executive. This is why they’re here — to help with issues like these. If all else fails, you can explain to the family that they are free to join any Scout unit they want. People are people, and sometimes there are bad fits. It happens. Full disclosure: When I was my son’s Cubmaster, there was one family who did not like how our pack operated. They ended up joining another pack with no hard feelings, and everything turned out fine.

About Aaron Derr 321 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.