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

When? Where? What? Who? How? Why? Ask Us Anything!
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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: The Unit Leader Award of Merit requires that the unit’s youth leader recommend the adult for the award. That works well for troops, crews and ships, but in packs there is not a youth leader. Who makes the recommendation for a pack?

A: The Unit Leader Award of Merit is presented to unit leaders to encourage units to be strong and viable by attaining certain benchmark characteristics of strong units. A Cubmaster can be nominated for the award by the unit committee chair. The youth leader requirement only applies to Scout troops, Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships.

Unit Leader Award of Merit Knot
The Unit Leader Award of Merit Knot

Q: Is the Jamboree 2023 “Forward” patch to be worn on the uniform pocket flap or above the uniform pocket flap?

A: First of all, isn’t the 2023 National Scout Jamboree going to be awesome? But to answer your question … it depends. … A World Scout Jamboree or U.S. National Jamboree emblem is worn above the right pocket by a Scout/Venturer/Sea Scout or Scouter who is registered to attend or attended the Jamboree as a registered participant or staff member. However, both a World and a National Jamboree patch may be worn at the same time: one current national jamboree patch above the right pocket and one current world jamboree patch on the right pocket.

Q: The AHMR form contains HIPAA-protected information. However, all of the adults at an event should be aware if any participant has issues such as epilepsy, fainting spells, diabetes, autistic spectrum disorder, allergies., etc. How should this be accomplished?

A: Excellent question. The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) is a critical part of keeping Scouting safe. It should be updated regularly. It contains a participant’s health history, which is used to promote awareness, communicate health status and provide medical professionals critical information needed to treat a patient in the event of an illness or injury. It also provides emergency contact information. And it also, as you say, could contain private information.

The BSA’s official policy on this can be found on this page under “What do adult leaders do with the Annual Health and Medical Records they collect?” It states that such information should be shared with other adults only on a need-to-know basis. Does every adult at camp need to know that a Scout could have fainting spells? Yes. Does every adult need to know each kind of medication a Scout takes? Likely not, unless the medication restricts the Scout in other ways or has side effects that adults need to know about. In all cases, it’s a good idea to review treatment plans with parents and guardians of Scouts before heading off to camp so everyone is on the same page.

Q: Does a Scout have to have the actual approved Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook in hand before they begin work on the project, or will a verbal email or phone call do?

A: Your best bet is going to be to always follow the guidance found in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook itself, which states (bold emphasis is mine): “A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefitting the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook in meeting this requirement.

Eagle Scout requirement 5 reads:

While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement. (To learn more about the Eagle Scout service project, see the Guide to Advancement, topics 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.16.) .

Q: We don’t have a Supernova mentor in our pack. As a parent, I’m having a hard time getting information such as finding a mentor from another pack. Are you able to provide a list of mentors?

A: First of all, the Supernova awards program is great! Congrats on helping your Cub Scouts embark on this exciting path! Your local district executive or commissioner should be able to help you find a mentor. If you don’t know who to contact, start by calling the main phone number at your local council.


About Aaron Derr 436 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.