Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts Update

Those connected to the process for the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts should review the updated guidance.




Rank Advancement and Covid-19: April Update

COVID-19 FAQ
UPDATED 4/13/20 – The most recent updates are indicated by a diamond in front of the question.

Advancement

Q: How can advancement be tracked remotely?

Scouting units should use Scoutbook to record and track advancement.

To track advancement remotely, parents should:

  • Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within Scoutbook. You may also connect to your youth via the Scouting app “Add a Parent connection.”
  • Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and on Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
  • The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.

Learn more about how to start using Scoutbook and how to connect parents to their Scouts at Scoutbook.com.

Advancement — Cub Scouts

Q: May parents sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements?

Yes. Through July 31, 2020, parents and other adults in the Cub Scout’s family, may sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements. We strongly encourage that parents use the Scouting App or ScoutBook to record completion of their child’s requirements.

Q: If my den is behind in advancement due to COVID-19, can my Cub Scout continue to work on advancement through the summer?

Yes. Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current den’s advancement through July 31, 2020.  This is to provide any additional time a Cub Scout needs to complete their badge of rank; if they earn their badge of rank prior to July 31, 2020, they may advance to the next rank.

♦ Q: Can the Arrow of Light (fifth-grade dens) requirements fulfill the requirement to visit a troop or attend a troop outing to function as a patrol? 

Yes. Two things to keep in mind, the standard of completion for Cub Scout advancement is “Do Your Best,” so given the circumstances, we want to look at the purpose behind the requirements. Remember that doing nothing is never doing your best. 

Dens can visit a virtual troop meeting to see the patrol method and youth leadership in action. Since the den cannot attend a troop campout or outing, the idea is for the den to function as a patrol while attending the virtual troop meeting. During this time, a virtual den meeting where the den functions as a patrol can be done. Elect a patrol leader, pick a patrol name, play a virtual game together as a patrol. Plenty of opportunities to Do Your Best to meet the intention of the requirement. Remember to maintain all youth protection standards online.

Advancement — Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts

♦ Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?

Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in Guide to Advancement (GTA) Section 7 are required.

♦ Q: Are merit badge counselors allowed to provide online instruction?
Yes. Merit badge counselors should follow the guidelines in the Guide to Advancement 7.0.3.2 and ensure you are adhering to all youth protection requirements and online communications guidelines. It is acceptable—and sometimes preferable—for merit badges to be taught in group settings, including online instruction. We currently allow group instruction at camp and merit badge midways, fairs, clinics, or similar events. These can be efficient methods, and interactive group discussions can support learning. Gathering a group online can also be beneficial. Guest experts and speakers that assist registered and approved counselors may be more willing to speak to a larger online audience. Slide shows, skits, demonstrations, panels, and various other techniques can also be employed, but as any teacher can attest, not everyone will learn all the material. Therefore, the standards we use to verify that each Scout has fulfilled requirements must not be relaxed. Merit badge counselors must be sure that each Scout has individually gained the knowledge intended. When accomplished, counselors can easily sign off requirements via ScoutBook.

Q: Can I connect directly with my Scouts/Venturers/Sea Scouts if I am a merit badge counselor?
Yes. In ScoutBook, merit badge counselors can now connect directly with the Scouts they are counseling; see https://discussions.scouting.org/t/march-23-2020-scoutbook-updates/165970 NOTE: Scouts/Venturers/Sea Scouts still must get approval from their leader, according to Guide to Advancement 7.0.3.0.  

Q: How will I know if a Scout/Venturer/Sea Scout has obtained approval from their leader to work on a merit badge?
In the member profile, you will see if the leader has signed off with their approval.

Q: What if my member profile shows that my merit badge counselor status has expired:
Check with your council. Local councils may need to upload their latest list of approved merit badge counselors.

Q: Will unit leaders know that a merit badge counselor has connected with one of their Scouts/Venturers/Sea Scouts?
Yes. The unit Key 3 will receive an email that includes the name of the merit badge counselor, the Scout, and the name of the merit badge.

Q: What if I have other merit badge/ScoutBook questions?
See https://help.scoutbook.com/knowledge-base/scoutbook-merit-badge-counselor-council-upload-faq/

♦ Q: What changes have been made to rank advancement/camping requirements given the need to maintain social distancing during this time?
We have implemented temporary changes, detailed below, to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, detailed below, by video conferencing through September 1, 2020. This deadline will be re-evaluated as needed.
The goal when using video conferencing must be to preserve the ideals and intent of each requirement as best as possible. Scoutmasters or their designee(s) should remain mindful of the Methods of Scouting, such as the Patrol Method, before implementing the modified requirements listed below. Some advancement activities can be completed by video conferencing but not all. For example, virtual visits to a city council meeting, national historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries may be acceptable, but swimming, rifle shooting, and motorboating merit badges cannot be completed virtually.
Even when using video conferencing, all virtual campouts and activities should consist of as many elements found on a normal outdoor campout or activity as possible. The most significant difference is that patrol or troop members are not all in the same location. All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.
Tenderfoot rank requirements
1b. – Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.
2a. – During the same day as your virtual patrol or troop campout, assist in preparing one meal with the help of those with whom you live. Tell your patrol or troop why it was important for each person to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
2b. – During the same day as your virtual campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve and eat a meal.
5a. – Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Verbally commit to following the buddy system on your next troop or patrol outing.
7a. – Tell how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag.
Second Class rank requirements:
1a & 1c. – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
3b. – Using a compass and map together, plan a 5-mile hike approved by your adult leader.
4. – Evidence of wild animals can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
5c. – May be completed virtually via video conferencing on dry land.
7c. – Learn about the dangers of using drugs, alcohol and tobacco and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss what you learned with your family and explain the dangers of substance addictions. Report to your Scoutmaster or other adult leader in your troop about which parts of the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to what you learned.
8a. – May be completed virtually using video conferencing.
8d. – May be completed by comparing costs at three (3) online sites or locations.
First Class rank requirements:
1a – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
2e. – On the same day as your virtual campout, serve as the cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.
4a. – By drawing, computer software, or other virtual methods, plan an orienteering course that would cover at least one mile. Explain why measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.) is helpful. Explain how you would complete your course using a real map and compass.
4b. – Scouts do not need to follow their route.
5a. – Evidence of native plants can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
6e. – May be completed on dry land.
9a. – Visit may take place virtually or by phone.
9c. – Outings can include past or future plans.
10. – Invite the potential new member to a virtual meeting or future activity using video conferencing. 

♦ Q: Will virtual camping count toward Order of the Arrow nights camping? 

No, virtual camping will not count toward the 15 nights camping required for membership in the Order of the Arrow. 

♦ Q: Can merit badge requirements be adapted since some elements can’t be completed as stated right now?
The published guidelines for the methodology of the merit badge program and the role of the merit badge counselor is found in the Guide to Advancement, Section 7.0.0.0. It is important to remember that leaders and merit badge counselors must not make additions or deletions to requirements. The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated; however, in some cases, virtual “visits” may fulfill the intent of a requirement. When the requirement’s intent cannot be reached virtually, the requirements cannot be completed, and the Scout must wait to complete that badge/requirement. Merit badge counselors signing off on requirements must determine to the best of their ability if the Scout has demonstrated the intended outcome.
All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.

♦ Q: Does a Scout need a hard copy of a Blue Card when working on merit badges?
No. Since the introduction of Scoutbook, the BSA has offered Scouts two ways of recording merit badge requirement completion: The Blue Card and Scoutbook. Both remain authorized methods to record merit badge work. Scoutbook is a part of the BSA Internet Advancement system, which means that entering an advancement record in Scoutbook is the same as entering it in Internet Advancement. Anyone with a BSA member ID automatically has access to a Scoutbook account through their my.scouting account.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward active participation requirements?

Yes. If youth are registered and in good standing, a disruption from COVID-19 virus can be the “noteworthy circumstance” that prevents participation. This policy has been in place for many years and is explained in GTA Topic 4.2.3.1.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward position of responsibility requirements?

Yes. If youth are registered and unable to meet the expectations of their positions because of COVID-19 disruptions, then units may need to waive or rethink the expectations. Just as youth must not be held to unestablished expectations, they must not be held to expectations that are impossible to fulfill. See GTA Topic 4.2.3.4, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.

Q: Does the National Council grant extensions of time to complete rank requirements beyond the 18thbirthday for the Eagle or 21st birthday for Summit or Quartermaster?

Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 9.0.4.0 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 4.3.3.0. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 9.0.4.0. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.

Q: Will youth who are not yet Life Scouts be allowed to apply for an extension to earn the Eagle Scout rank?

Extensions are considered only for Scouts who are Life rank. If, once a Scout achieves Life rank, it turns out that COVID-19 disruptions along the way have left them with insufficient time to complete Eagle requirements, then this may be cited when the time comes to submit an extension request.

Q: May local councils grant extensions?

Mayflower Council is granting extensions for Eagle Scout, Summit Award, and Quartermaster.  Please look at the information at the following link:  https://www.mayflowerbsa.org/petitioning-advancement-extensions/

Normally, that is not allowed. However, due to the current situation—effective immediately and through September 30, 2020—council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the following limitations:

  1. It can be established that COVID-19 disruptions were the only circumstances that delayed work on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the GTA.
  2. Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
  3. When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application. For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st birthday.
  4. Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
  5. Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.

Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, March 5 to April 5.

Q: If youth have already received an extension, can they request additional time due to COVID-19?

Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above.

Q: What should be done while an extension request is being considered?

Youth should continue to work on advancement in so far as they are able—e.g., independently, or over the phone or videoconference—and at Scouting activities once they resume.

Q: Are extensions required when an Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster board of review must be delayed?

No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 8.0.3.1, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”

See also, GTA Topic 8.0.1.6, “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing.”

Q: Are electronic or digital signatures acceptable for rank advancement or for the Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster packets/applications?
Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020.

Q: How can a youth continue to work on advancement requirements if they don’t have internet or high-speed internet for videoconferencing?
Youth may take a picture of their completed activity/requirement and share the work with unit leaders. In keeping with youth protection policies, all communications from youth should be sent to at least two adults. See our Barriers to Abuse for details. Parents or guardians may send advancement work on be

Source for this information: https://www.scouting.org/coronavirus/covid-19-faq/?utm_source=scoutingwire&utm_campaign=swvolunteer4152020&utm_medium=email&utm_content=




Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scout Extension

Details on Extension for Eagle Boards of Review for Those Who Wish to Be in the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts

These are historic times for our Movement. The coronavirus pandemic is having a direct impact in many Scouts’ ability to continue on their trail to Eagle – especially having completed all their requirements prior to the boards of review that are to be held from 10/1-31/2020.

Because we want all girls who joined in 2019 and wish to be a part of the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts to have the benefit of such an experience, and after carefully considering recommendations from stakeholders, including feedback from volunteers and professionals, we will be extending the period for boards of review from 10/1/2020 – 1/31/2021. To further support the Inaugural Class, all boards of reviews will be dated with the same date by the National Service Center.

While this notice discusses the Inaugural Class of female Eagle Scouts, the lengthening of the Eagle board of review window is applicable to all Scouts who were granted the inaugural extension, regardless of gender.

As a reminder, all requirements must be completed while the individual is a registered member of Scouts BSA, or as a member of a Venturing crew or a Sea Scouts ship after achieving First Class in Scouts BSA, per the Guide to Advancement.




Requesting Adv. Extensions Due To COVID-19

As of March 20, 2020, the National Council of the BSA released new guidelines for Rank Advancement for all Scouting programs during COVID-19 related social distancing (link: https://www.scouting.org/coronavirus/covid-19-faq/)

Mayflower Council’s Advancement Committee has been assigned permission to grant extensions for Eagle Scout, Venturing Summit Award, and Sea Scout Quartermaster.

Extension Process

If a Scout meets the requirements outlined in the “Specifics” below please follow this process for submitting a petition for an extension

  • A petition for an extension may be filed by the Scout, their parent or guardian, their unit leader, or a member of the unit committee
  • Petitions should include information such as:
    • Scout’s name, unit, town, rank and mailing address (we will mail you a letter with the committee’s decision)
    • Unit leader name (Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor, Skipper), their contact information (phone, email)
    • Completed requirements, requirements in progress
    • Reason for requesting additional time
    • Status of advancement towards the rank/award
    • Expectations/plan/time frame needed to complete requirements
  • The petition is sent to the council’s designated appeals coordinators at the following email address: advancementextension@mayflowerbsa.org
    • Please submit requests before the Scout’s 18th birthday to allow the committee to conduct the process for approval
  • When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the petition coordination team will review the request and approve it if appropriate.
  • Upon approval, a written response stating the outcome of the extension request will be sent to the Scout and their unit leader.
    • If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application.

Specifics:

  • Extensions can be granted for up to three months beyond a Scout’s 18th birthday (or three months beyond their 21st birthday for Venture Scouts and Sea Scouts).
  • Extension petitions will only be accepted until December 31st 2020 – please do not wait until 12/25 to email for an extension.
  • Scouts BSA requesting an extension must already have achieved the rank of Life Scout.
  • For Scouts in Troops: Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP (Unit Participant) for Scouts BSA Troops or VP (Venturing Participant) for Venturing and Sea Scouting.  You MUST fill out a FULL Adult application, CORI form, Additional Disclosure, and complete Youth Protections training on my.scouting.org.
  • Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the (Guide To Advancement) GTA – these requests will go through a different process than what is outlined below.
  • Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, March 5 to April 5.

 

Note from the decision committee: We expect Scouts and their Units to adjust by using digital tools for completing their advancement process.  The following will all be important items to consider as you move forwarigital signatures, video chat with two adults present, digital fundraising with District approval, showing leadership while maintaining social distancing and utilising all methods of virtual connection and document sharing.

Below: guidelines from the National Council about advancement

 




Rank Advancement and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Questions and Answers

Cub Scouting/Scouts BSA/Venturing/Sea Scouting
Rank Advancement and COVID-19

The following questions regarding advancement have arisen as we deal with closures, cancellations, or other issues caused by the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Although there are difficulties and constraints, advancement can continue. Youth, parents, and leaders should work together to implement creative, common sense ways to facilitate advancement while adhering to the Guide to Safe Scouting and following the rules of Youth Protection training.

Please follow this link to the Guide to Advancement (GTA), which remains the primary source for information related to Scouts BSA advancement. It is referenced throughout the answers provided here.

 

All Scouting Programs

Q: How can advancement be tracked remotely?
A: Scouting units should use ScoutBook to record and track advancement.

To track advancement remotely, parents should:

  1. Connect with their child’s member profile via an invitation that the unit leader sends within ScoutBook.
  2. Once a connection is made, the parent should use the Scouting app, found in both the App Store and Google Play, to stay connected with their unit.
  3. The Scouting app provides parents the ability to report any advancement that was completed at home.

Go to help.scoutbook.com to learn more about how to start using ScoutBook and how to connect parents to their Scouts.

 

Cub Scouts

Q: May parents sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements?
A: Yes. Through July 31, 2020, parents and other adults in the Cub Scout’s family, may sign off on Webelos and Arrow of Light requirements. We strongly encourage that parents use the Scouting App or ScoutBook to record completion of their child’s requirements.

Q: If my den is behind in advancement due to COVID-19, can my Cub Scout continue to work on advancement through the summer?
A: Yes. Cub Scouts can continue to work on their current den’s advancement through July 31, 2020.  This is to provide any additional time a Cub Scout needs to complete their badge of rank; if they earn their badge of rank prior to July 31, 2020, they may advance to the next rank.

 

Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts

Q: May merit badge requirements or rank requirements be modified?
A: No. All requirements must be completed as written. If meetings or activities are canceled or limited, youth should continue to work on requirements as far as possible. By employing common sense and creative solutions, many requirements–even Scoutmaster conferences–can be fulfilled through videoconferencing or telephone calls.

Q: Can merit badge counseling or Nova/Supernova counseling be done using digital technologies like Zoom or WebEx?
A: Yes, registered merit badge counselors or Nova counselors/Supernova mentors may work with youth using digital platforms, ensuring that all youth protection measures noted in the Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA’s social media guidelines are in place. In addition to youth protection, the advancement guidelines in GTA Section 7 are required.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward active participation requirements?
A: Yes. If youth are registered and in good standing, a disruption from COVID-19 virus can be the “noteworthy circumstance” that prevents participation. This policy has been in place for many years and is explained in GTA Topic 4.2.3.1.

Q: May time missed due to canceled unit meetings count toward position of responsibility requirements?
A: Yes. If youth are registered and unable to meet the expectations of their positions because of COVID-19 disruptions, then units may need to waive or rethink the expectations. Just as youth must not be held to unestablished expectations, they must not be held to expectations that are impossible to fulfill. See GTA Topic 4.2.3.4, “Positions of Responsibility,” with its six subtopics.

Q: Does the National Council grant extensions of time to complete rank requirements beyond the 18th birthday for the Eagle or 21st birthday for Summit or Quartermaster?
A: Yes, but only for the Eagle Scout rank as described in GTA Topic 9.0.4.0 or for Venturing Summit or Sea Scout Quartermaster as described in GTA Topic 4.3.3.0. Unit leadership must become familiar with the five tests under 9.0.4.0. The tests were designed to accommodate such obstacles as those presented by COVID-19 disruptions.

Q: Will youth who are not yet Life Scouts be allowed to apply for an extension to earn the Eagle Scout rank?
A.    Extensions are considered only for Scouts who are Life rank. If, once a Scout achieves Life rank, it turns out that COVID-19 disruptions along the way have left them with insufficient time to complete Eagle requirements, then this may be cited when the time comes to submit an extension request.

Q: May local councils grant extensions?
A: Normally, that is not allowed. However, due to the current situation—effective immediately and through September 30, 2020—council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the following limitations:

  1. It can be established that COVID-19 disruptions were the only circumstances that delayed work on Eagle Scout/Summit/Quartermaster advancement requirements, such as the service project or merit badges. If any other causes were involved, the extension request must go to the National Council following the process outlined in the GTA.
  2. Extensions shall only be granted to youth in Scouts BSA who have already achieved Life rank.
  3. When the council receives a COVID-19-related request for a time extension, the council reviews the request and approves it if appropriate. A written response stating the outcome of the extension request must go to the youth. If approved, the notification must be attached to the youth’s Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster rank application. For Eagle, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 18th birthday; for Summit/Quartermaster, the extension must not exceed 3 months from the youth’s 21st birthday.
  4. Upon turning 18, the Scout must submit a completed adult application and successfully complete YPT; their participant code will now be UP for SBSA or VP for Venturing and Sea Scouting.
  5. Extension requests for more than 3 months beyond the youth’s 18th/21st birthday must be sent to the National Service Center following the process outlined in the GTA.

Note: A “month” in BSA advancement is defined as a day from one month to the next. For example, March 5 to April 5.

In Mayflower Council our Scout Executive has delegated the authority to grant extensions to the Council Advancement Committee.  The authority for councils to grant extensions is temporary, lasting only through Sept. 30, 2020.

Q: If youth have already received an extension, can they request additional time due to COVID-19?
A: Yes. Council Scout executives may grant extensions, or delegate authority to the Council Advancement Committee to grant extensions under the limitations listed above. In Mayflower Council our Scout Executive has delegated the authority to grant extensions to the Council Advancement Committee.

Q: What should be done while an extension request is being considered?
A: Youth should continue to work on advancement in so far as they are able—e.g., independently, or over the phone or videoconference—and at Scouting activities once they resume.

Q: Are extensions required when an Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster board of review must be delayed?
A: No. Councils may grant Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster boards of review up to six months after the youth’s 18th/21st birthday. See GTA Topic 8.0.3.1, “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday.”

See also, GTA Topic 8.0.1.6, “Boards of Review Through Videoconferencing.”

Q: Are electronic or digital signatures acceptable for rank advancement or for the Eagle/Summit/Quartermaster packets/applications?
A: Yes. Electronic or digital signatures will be accepted through September 30, 2020.

Q: How can a youth continue to work on advancement requirements if they don’t have internet or high-speed internet for videoconferencing?
A: Youth may take a picture of their completed activity/requirement and share the work with unit leaders. In keeping with Youth Protection Training policies, all communications from youth should be sent to at least two adults. Parents or guardians may send advancement work on behalf of their child.




Virtual Board of Review Resources

Scouting Magazine has recently posted an article regarding using video conferencing to conduct Board of Reviews.

Board of Reviews are an integral part of the Advancement program for Scouts BSA Troops, Venturing Awards, and Sea Scout ranks.  While making considerations for other people’s health and safety through social distancing, we encourage all Unit leaders to look at this article and consider using these resources and guidelines to conduct the Scouting program through virtual Boards of Review.

From Scouting Magazine article: How to conduct a board of review through videoconferencing

What guidelines should be followed in a video board of review?

The following is adapted from the BSA’s Guide to Advancement (section 8.0.1.6).

  1. For Eagle Scout boards of review, the local council must grant permission to hold it by videoconference. Other ranks do not need approval but should follow the requirements below.
  2. Test all equipment, including cameras, lighting, microphones, software, and internet connection.
  3. Make sure everyone is visible — including all members of the board of review, the Scout and any observers with the Scout. No one within hearing range on either side shall be off-camera. It is important to consider your technical capabilities when planning how many board of review members to involve. Observers should be minimized for any board of review, and this applies especially to videoconference reviews. Their presence can change the discussion dynamics.
  4. A parent or guardian of the Scout, or two registered adult leaders (as required by the Guide to Safe Scouting) who are familiar with these requirements for videoconference boards of review, must be directly present with the Scout at the beginning of the conference. The Scouters may be from the nearest council, district or unit. Their role is to verify that the Scout is in a safe environment and that the board of review appears to be in compliance with these requirements. Once all the members of the board of review are present on their end of the call and introductions are completed, and the review is about to begin, anyone present with the Scout must leave the room or move out of hearing distance unless they have specifically been approved to remain as observers.
  5. Once the review process has been concluded, if the Scout is under age 18, the Scout’s parent or guardian, or two registered adult leaders, must rejoin the Scout. Their purpose is to be available to answer any questions that may arise, to join in the celebration of the Scout’s accomplishment, or to be party to any instructions or arrangements regarding the appeals process or the reconvening of an incomplete review. Once this is done, the board members end the call and sign off.
  6. Videoconference boards of review must not be recorded.
  7. If an appeal is necessary (as outlined in the Guide to Advancement), this may be conducted via videoconference as well.

Videoconferencing tips

  • Look presentable. Just as you would want to look sharp in your uniform for an in-person board of review, the same should apply to one conducted via video.
  • Find a quiet space with a clean background. Try to minimize audio and visual distractions.
  • Test your equipment. Enlist a friend or family member to help you test your connection, making sure they can see and hear you with minimal lag.
  • Try for eye contact. Though your instinct will be to look at the screen to see the board of review members, spend some time looking directly into the camera. It may feel strange, but it will look better to the people watching.

Free videoconferencing options

Note: Each of the options below has a paid option, but I’m outlining the features of the free tier.

  • Google Hangouts: Easy to use, no time limit, allows up to 10 participants
  • Zoom: Great features, 40-minute time limit (for group meetings), allows up to 100 participants
  • Skype: Good stability, four-hour time limit, allows up to 50 participants
  • UberConference: Excellent video quality, 45-minute time limit, allows up to 10 participants



Eagle Service Project Fundraising Guidelines

Mayflower Council Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Guidelines

There are many worthy Eagle Scout Service Projects that can be carried out at minimal cost, if any. Fundraising is allowed to the extent required to cover the expected expense but projects whose sole purpose is to raise funds do not qualify as Eagle Leadership Service Projects. All fundraising or requests for material donations should be done in a restrained manner, similar to simple unit fundraising efforts. The expense of the project is not considered in the determination of the appropriateness of Eagle Scout Service Projects.

While youth members are normally not permitted to solicit funds on behalf of other organizations while representing the BSA, the Mayflower Council grants an exception for youth members raising funds for an Eagle Scout Service Project, with another organization being the project beneficiary; all funds raised above the amount needed for the project must be given to the beneficiary or returned to donors, not kept by the Eagle candidate or the unit.

Before soliciting donations of materials and monetary funds or conducting any fundraising efforts, Eagle Scout candidates must submit the “Eagle Scout Project Fundraising Application” located in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook to the Scout Service Center two weeks in advance of your fundraising efforts.

Note:

The Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application is not required for contributions coming only from the candidate, their parents, guardians, or relatives, their unit or its chartered organization, parents or members of their unit, or the beneficiary.
 
For any amount of fundraising beyond those mentioned above, the Mayflower Council Advancement Committee recommends that Scouts fill out the Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application and get the required signature from the benefiting organization before their project is approved by their District Advancement Committee.
 
This is to ensure that Scouts and benefiting organizations understand the proposed budget for the project, the BSA’s guidelines and limitations for fundraising, who holds the donations, and what is done with excess funds upon completion of the project. All money left over, regardless of the source, goes to the beneficiary.
 

The requirements for planning, developing, and giving leadership must be met through the project itself, not through the fundraising effort. For this reason, approaches such as online fundraising are acceptable and may be handled exclusively by a parent or unit leader. A list of District Eagle Advisors available to provide coaching can been made available to Scoutmasters and Unit Commissioners, please contact your District Advancement Chairman – emails can be found at https://www.mayflowerbsa.org/program/youth/advancement/

Crowdfunding for Eagle Scout Service Projects

  1. The Guide to Advancement allows for the use of “crowdfunding” via the internet for Eagle Scout Service Projects but not for general troop fundraising. The Mayflower Council neither recommends nor prohibits the use of crowdfunding or any specific crowdfunding source. Wikipedia provides a comparison of crowdfunding services. If this route is taken, the website’s fine print should be carefully reviewed by someone in a position of responsibility. The unit leaders and parents will need to consider these questions:
    • Are the website’s terms of service in conflict with any BSA policies?
    • What kind of financial cost will the provider charge for this service?
    • Will you be able to keep donations even if you don’t reach your stated monetary goal (required)?
    • Does the site have an auto-shut off upon reaching the funding goal?
    • How long does it take to get your funds after the donating window closes?
    • Are you required to offer some sort of reward to backers? If so, what will the rewards be?
    • What are the site’s requirements if you raise more than you need? For example, certain providers require excess funds be used solely for the project, not just turned over to the project beneficiary.
    • When using a Crowdfunding site to fund an Eagle Project, the project MUST be set up under the Tax ID# of the beneficiary with all funds going to the beneficiary. The beneficiary of the service project is responsible to ensure all IRS guidelines related to contributions/donations are being met such as refunding donor money and contribution statements if applicable. The Eagle candidate may register and promote the site, but an adult must set it up under the beneficiary’s Tax ID#.
  2. If using a crowdfunding website, be sure that the details pertaining to the project are clearly presented. In addition, the project beneficiary must be clearly identified and it should not appear or represent that the BSA or any of its scout units are beneficiaries of the funds.
  3. It is worth repeating that any funds raised via crowdfunding belong to the beneficiary organization, not the Eagle candidate or the troop.

For more information, see 9.0.2.10 Fundraising Issues at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/GuideToAdvancement/EagleScoutRank.aspx




Finding A Merit Badge Counselor

The Mayflower Council is utilizing the power of Scoutbook to enhance the functionality of our merit badge counselor list.

HOW DO I ACCESS THE LIST
Go to Scoutbook.com and login to your account. If you have the proper rights, you will see it towards the bottom of your troop’s page in Scoutbook (MB Counselor List on your dashboard).  This list is available to adults who are indicated in Scoutbook as adult leaders and committee members in your troop.

If you do not see it, go to My Dashboard > Administration > My Account > My Positions and make sure there is a green shield next to your troop leadership position. If it is missing, one of your unit admins will need to approve your position.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who will be on the list? 
Registered and council-approved merit badge counselors in the Mayflower Council.

Who will see the list?
Adult leaders in troops who are on Scoutbook will see all the merit badge counselors who have indicated to Mayflower Council that they are willing to counsel within your unit or ones who have indicated they are willing to counsel more broadly.

What does it mean for me?
When adult leaders (including committee members) search for merit badge counselors in Scoutbook, you can be confident that the listed counselors are qualified to counsel on the merit badge, have been approved by the Mayflower Council advancement personnel, and have stated a willingness to work with your unit or units across the council.

Why can’t parents see the list? 
The merit badge process directs the Scout to the Scoutmaster for a recommended merit badge counselor.  That is why the Scoutmaster has access to the list and the Scout and parents do not.  It keeps the Scoutmaster in the process.  The merit badge process is as follows:

  1. The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements.
  2. The Scout discusses his interest in the merit badge with his unit leader (i.e., Scoutmaster).
  3. The unit leader signs a blue card and provides the Scout with at least one counselor contact.
  4. The Scout contacts the counselor.
  5. The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader.
  6. The Scout, his buddy, and the counselor meet (often several times).
  7. The Scout finishes the requirements.
  8. The counselor approves completion.
  9. The Scout returns the signed blue card to his unit leader, who signs the applicant record section of the blue card.
  10. The unit leader gives the Scout the applicant record.
  11. The unit reports the merit badge to the council.
  12. The Scout receives his merit badge.

How often will the Scoutbook list be refreshed? 
We will be refreshing the list by the seventh of each month.

What do I do if a Scout earns a merit badge at summer camp or with a merit badge counselor not on the list? 
If the Scout earned a merit badge from a registered and approved merit badge counselor, then a troop adult who has the authorization inside Scoutbook to mark merit badges or merit badge requirements as completed or approved will still be able to do so.

Can troop leaders and troop advancement coordinators sign a Scout off on a merit badge? are not authorized to sign a Scout off on a merit badge if they are not also a registered and approved merit badge counselor for that badge.
Troop leaders and troop advancement coordinators are only authorized to sign a Scout off on a merit badge if they are also a registered and approved merit badge counselor for that badge. However, you can record it in Scoutbook as completed and approved after the merit badge counselor has signed off (even if he/she does so outside of Scoutbook) after verifying that the Scout has a signed blue card from a registered and approved merit badge counselor.

Where can units who do not utilize Scoutbook go to find a list of registered and approved merit badge counselors?
Units should activate the Scoutbook account for their troop in order for leaders to be able to see the current list of merit badge counselors. Click here to find out how to get your unit started with Scoutbook.




Merit Badge Counselors

ABOUT BEING A MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR
Share your knowledge with Scouts. Merit badge counselors teach Scouts a variety of skills. From American Business to Woodwork, there’s a badge for everything. All merit badge counselors must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and approved by the council advancement committee for each badge listed on the Merit Badge Counselor Information form.

REGISTRATION
The Advancement Committee of the Mayflower Council has the responsibility of approving and maintaining a list of current merit badge counselors. A merit badge counselor is a council-level position, not a troop position, which means leaders must submit a new adult leader application even if already registered in another capacity.

There are four steps for a new merit badge counselor to register with the Boy Scouts of America and begin merit badge counseling:

  1. Complete Online Youth Protection Training
    • To become a merit badge counselor, a volunteer must complete youth protection training which can be found on My.Scouting.org. Once complete, you will be offered the opportunity to print a completion certificate. Please print it as you must submit this proof of completion with your application to be a merit badge counselor. It is also a good idea to save a copy to your desktop.
  2. Complete the BSA Adult Leader Application
    • Having completed youth protection training, you need to complete a new adult application. This form is required, even if you hold a current registration with your unit or district. Please pay special attention to filling in the “Council/District Position” as “Merit Badge Counselor” and the “Position Code” as “42”. The signature blocks for the unit committee chairman and chartered organization representative do not have to be signed. Those approvals are for a unit. Do not forget to answer questions 1-6 on the right side of the application. Without answers to these questions, your application cannot be processed. The adult application must be submitted in conjunction with the online Merit Badge Counselor Information Form.
      • NOTE: The entire application form must be filled in and signed, including the Disclosure/Authorization page located at the end of the application form as well as the Additional Disclosures and Background Check  Authorization form.   All applicants and currently registered Scouters go through a background check – as noted and authorized on the Disclosure/Authorization page of the Adult Application form. Individuals who aren’t currently registered will also need to provide a completed CORI form and a copy of their ID as well.
  3. Complete the Online Merit Badge Counselor Information Form
    • This form is used by the advancement committee to know which merit badges you want to teach, to show why you are qualified to teach the listed merit badges, and to approve your request. Merit badge counselors are authorized to counsel anywhere within the Mayflower Council.
Complete Merit Badge Counselor Information Form

4. Turn in all the paperwork

      • Turn in the completed adult leader application, youth protection training certificate and CORI form and photo ID (if not currently registered) to the Mayflower Council Service Center or email to membership@mayflowerbsa.org.

MERIT BADGE COUNSELOR REGISTRATION CONSIDERATIONS

  • There is no fee for registering as a merit badge counselor even if you are only registered with the Boy Scouts of America as a merit badge counselor.
  • You must be current with Youth Protection Training to work with Scouts and this training must be completed every two (2) years. The council may track this requirement but it is your responsibility to remain current. Failure to keep up to date on youth protection training will also result in being dropped from the list. If a merit badge counselor is dropped from the council list the dropped counselor will have to re-register as a new counselor again.
  • Several merit badges involve activities for which BSA has implemented strategies to improve safety, improve the Scouts’ experience, and manage risk. These activities often require supervision with specialized qualifications and certifications. Merit badge counselors who do not meet the specific requirements may use the services of others who do. See the Guide to Advancement paragraph 7.0.1.1 for these merit badges and their requirements.
  • Consider not limiting yourself to only those Scouts in your troop. Many of the less popular merit badges may not have a counselor in their troop and you could help scouts pursue an interest in an area where you have some expertise.
    • This is controlled by the counselor in Scoutbook. Log in to Scoutbook go to My Positions, then Merit Badge Counselor and then select a listing preference between: Council list, District list, Unit list, or Not Listed.

SCOUTBOOK
In October 2019, Mayflower Council transitioned our merit badge counselor list from Doubleknot to Scoutbook.  Once registered with the BSA as a merit badge counselor, your merit badge counselor position will be added to Scoutbook. If you do not already have a Scoutbook account, an account will be created for you and you will be sent login information by email. You can adjust how you display on the list. Sign onto Scoutbook (if you misplace your login credentials, click login then click the Forgot Password link.) Once you login you will be able to adjust your listing preference between: Council list, District list, Unit list, Worldwide or Not Listed.

For detailed instructions on how to use Scoutbook as a merit badge counselor review this resource Scoutbook Merit Badge Counselor Guide.

The merit badge counselor listing in Scoutbook will be updated by the seventh of each month.

If you are a merit badge counselor and your listing is not showing in Scoutbook follow these directions to find out if you are registered as a merit badge counselor:

  1. Log into http://my.scouting.org
  2. Select My Dashboard (upper left)
  3. Then select My Profile. You can edit your contact information there.  Make sure your email address, ZIP  and phone number are there and up to date.  Scoutbook requires a valid email address, ZIP and phone number to be listed.
  4. Make sure your email address is not used by someone else in your family in Scoutbook.  Email addresses in Scoutbook must be unique.
  5. If you are registered as a merit badge counselor it will show there as well.
  6. While your at my.scouting.org, make sure your Youth Protection Training is current.
  7. If you know for sure you are registered with the council, check and make sure your Youth Protection Training is current and sync it inside Scoutbook.  Scoutbook will not show merit badge counselors with expired youth protection training.  The list in Scoutbook is updated on a regular basis.
  8. For information on how to register as a merit badge counselor see above.

USEFUL LINKS FOR MERIT BADGE COUNSELORS

ANNUAL RENEWAL OF MERIT BADGE COUNSELORS
All merit badge counselors must confirm their registration annually. In May of each year, currently registered merit badge counselors will be sent an email to confirm their desire to continue as a merit badge counselor. Failure to confirm this information will result in being dropped from the merit badge counselor list.

If a merit badge counselor who was dropped wishes to continue as a merit badge counselor he/she must register as a new merit badge counselor again using the forms and processes listed above.

QUESTIONS
Reviewed all of this information and still have questions? We’re here to help! Contact us at mbc@mayflowerbsa.or




Planning Your Next Den Meeting Just Got Easier

If you’re a den leader, you’re going to love the latest update to Scoutbook! The Boy Scouts of America’s online tool for tracking Scouting advancement just rolled out a new update that’s going to make it easier than ever for den leaders to prepare for and lead meetings, track advancement and attendance, and more.