Homepage Forums General Scouting Subscriptions to Boys Life

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    • #201581
      Ed Cicenas

      Under the troop expenses in the committee handbook one of the expenses listed for a troop is the Boy’s Life subscription. We’re rewriting our troop guidelines for the first time in years. And wow, this one point opening an explosive debate with our subcommittee on what that means. I took it to mean that the Troop should pay for subscriptions for all the boys. Another leader said basically “no way,” another said we should get one subscription for the whole troop so it becomes a reference. Another said the classic, “we’ve never done that before.” My thought was just getting the subscription made sense as Scouts will, eventually, pick it up and start reading and learn. What are other troops take on this?

    • #202764

      “rewriting our troop guidelines”???

      Ed, run for your life! THIS is the first sign of a unit in trouble. No unit EVER needs to “rewrite” anything or create its own “bylaws”. Everything about how your (or ANY) Scouting unit is supposed to operate is already spelled out in great detail by National BSA and is readily available in a multitude of official BSA publications (including TRAINING material… hint-hint!).

      Any time a group of people who are NOT child psychologists, sociologists, behavioral specialists, child development specialists, and lack 109 years of experience designing programs for youth think they can “do it better” by creating their own rules, I become VERY afraid. When a unit does this kind of stuff, it BEGS the question, “WHAT ELSE do they not understand, that they think they should do it THEIR own way?” (OK.. getting off my soap box. Hopefully it’s “message received” on this topic)

      Back to your specific question – – – Boys Life is EXPECTED to be subscribed to on a PER-SCOUT basis. The option for an individual Boy’s Life subscription is right there on the Youth application! National also suggests (strongly) annual subscription renewal be part of the Unit budget every year, and to take it even 1 step farther, troops are encouraged to be “100% Boys Life Unit” recognition. So, just about everybody (but you) on your Committee got this one wrong.


      You can find the above link and more on this topic here too…

      Boys’ Life Promo

      Your committee may be well served with some training. My last tidbit of advice is that anytime someone has a question or insists (usually with great “authority” in their voice) that XYZ is the “official policy of Scouting”, simply ask them to show it to you in an official BSA publication. If they can’t… well, I guess we know who’s just making stuff up as they go along.

    • #305231
      Jack Thompson

      Our problem with Boy’s Life is that our growing number of GIRL CUB SCOUTS are still waiting for a name change to reflect that not all scouts are boys.

      What should I tell them. (and “just go ahead and read Boy’s Life” is not an option)

    • #305721
      Loren Dahling

      100% Boys Life is a good fundraiser for the BSA, assuming that they don’t offer it below cost. Of course that is recommended. I have been a part of poorer units, and it is difficult to manage sometimes. We need to be understanding about this.

      A Scout is Thrifty. If they don’t read it, then it might be wasting money. Parents have reported this. My sons never read the magazine. Alas, reading is no longer what it was among kids. I am an avid reader, so I don’t understand it. Should we buy it on the chance that they pick it up? I don’t disagree with that, so one must reconcile with being thrifty. Maybe leadership can incorporate Boys Life into the program in some simple ways. Recommend a good article.

      Lastly, and most importantly, he was not talking about creating “bylaws”. He specifically said “guidelines”. Everybody needs guidelines or you fall victim to the dead-end of secret “institutional knowledge”. I have created guidelines so that incoming leaders know what is going on. Paramount for Cub Scouts with more frequent turnover than a troop. What we normally do for a fundraiser and how to plan for it. Campgrounds we have tried. Service projects we do regularly and how we go about them. Vendors we use. The bank where our accounts are. When we normally have meetings. Whether we have a repository for den supplies or where the troop merit badge library is maintained. Do we require expensive uniform pants or are jeans okay? Is there a standard troop neckerchief and where to get it. Yes, also the ins and outs of Boys Life, not an ultimatum one way or another. Tons of stuff that incoming leaders and parents would be most grateful to learn. When appropriate, there can be a link to BSA policies in the guidelines. Sometimes that stuff is impossible to find. Yes it is.

      As for national guidelines, the BSA is notorious for not having info that I am looking for. I am trained regularly. I have been doing this for 33 years. Why can’t I find certain details? Because much of this is guidelines that are not fully explained. Units are allowed leeway in many instances. Does national say to have den meetings on only Tuesdays? No. Does it say that your troop cannot buy the cake for an Eagle COH. No. When you have guidelines nationally, that leaves it to local units to fill in the blanks in certain areas. Guidelines are what you hand to a new leader after they have completed position training. Guidelines answer questions and make their path easier. Guidelines help you when a leader leaves abruptly via disagreement or death. Call it documentation. That is what it is.

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