Blog Post List

Top Leader Training Day 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, November 24, 2015 7:30:00 AM

December 12, 2015

Top Leader Training Day is an opportunity to train the top unit leaders before recharter. All top leaders must be trained before December recharter. Top leaders are Cubmasters, Scoutmasters, Advisors, Skippers, and Coaches. 

Register for Top Leader Training Day

There is $5 charge for the training if registering online or $10 at the door; however, registration online is highly encouraged so room assignments and handouts can be made based on registration numbers. Lunch can be purchased for $8, or you can bring your own lunch.

Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster Position-Specific Training 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training* 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Venturing Advisor Position-Specific Training 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Varsity Coach Position-Specific Training 8:00 am - 2:00 pm

*Scoutmasters also need Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills

Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster Position-Specific Training

The Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster Position-Specific Training course is intended to provide Cubmasters and assistant Cubmasters with the basic information they need to conduct successful pack meetings.  This training can also be taken online.

Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training

Scoutmaster Position-Specific Training is intended to provide troop leadership with the information and tools they need to lead successful Boy Scout troops. Scoutmasters and assistants who complete this training, Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, and Youth Protection training are considered "trained."

Venturing Advisor Position-Specific Training

Venturing Advisor Training provide an introduction to the responsibilities, opportunities, and resources that will ensure a successful Venturing crew leadership experience.


Varsity Coach Position-Specific Training

Varsity Leader Basic Training provides an introduction to the Boy Scouts of America and to the responsibilities, opportunities, and resources that will ensure a successful Varsity team leadership experience.

For Questions Contact

Cesiah Molina
Top Leader Basic Training Registration
 (713) 756-3398

Benno Dunn
Council Training Chair
 (281) 413-9912



Michelle Phillips
Program Chair and Training Chair Staff Advisor
 (713) 756-3308

Report Service Hours and Advancements 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, November 24, 2015 7:05:00 AM

Service Hours

Report by December 31, 2015

All Scouting groups are encouraged to participate in service projects. A service project is a special Good Turn that puts Scout spirit into action. Some Good Turns are big—saving a life, helping out after floods or other disasters, recycling community trash, working on conservation projects. But Good Turns are often small, thoughtful acts—helping a child cross a busy street, going to the store for an elderly neighbor, cutting back brush that is blocking a sign, doing something special for a brother or sister, or welcoming a new student to your school. Anyone can get involved in a Good Turn.

Did you know that your unit can earn points towards the Journey to Excellence program just for logging your units community service hours online? That’s right your unit can earn up to 200 extra points if you log your service hours online. All types of service projects can be entered into this system including the Good Turn for America projects such as the shelter drive, food drive, and blood drive. Units may also enter their service hours for community projects that they took on as a unit. Please log all service hours. Journey to Excellence is the BSA's council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA.

All service hours for should be logged no later than December 31st.

What hours should be logged?

  • Any service hours performed by your unit for individuals or organizations in the community
  • Service hours performed by your unit to support your chartered organization
  • Scouting for Food hours
  • Eagle Scout project hours


Journey to Excellence

"Scouting's Journey to Excellence" is the BSA's council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA. 

Journey to Excellence Website

2015 Scorecards

Internet Advancements

Submit by December 31, 2015

Internet advancement is a tool for units to report youth advancements, awards, and merit badges. Before beginning internet advancement, collect all member information, including advancement records, award records, and merit badge applications with the appropriate signatures. To complete internet advancement, you must be connected to a printer to print the final report.

Units should make sure all advancements are submitted by December 31st, so proper Journey to Excellence (JTE) advancement statistics will be accurate for your unit and district.

Learn More              Submit Internet Advancements

Recharters Due by December Roundtable 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Sunday, November 15, 2015 6:01:00 AM


The BSA issues charters to community organizations to enable them to use the Scouting program under their own leadership as a service to their children, youth, and families. Re-chartering is the process of renewing the charter agreement between the BSA and the organization, and renewing the registration of youth and adult members. Every unit must recharter annually.

Rechartering on time is critical. It is required for Journey to Excellence. It is required for units to continue registration without interruption. It is required to ensure Scouts are registered, critical for receiving rank advancement and other awards, and for insurance coverage.

Rechartering is the annual process when each unit has the opportunity to remove members from your official Scouting roster who are no longer active, to update adult leadership positions and provide annual updates on your unit.

Learn More        Recent Changes        Rechartering Resources

What is likely to delay the recharter process?

Last year, the recharters submitted with errors had the following issues:

  • 72% - one or more adults needed to take YPT
  • 36% - one or more adults needed to submit an application and/or disclosure/authorization form
  • 25% - the top leader needed to take basic training
  • 17% - missing unit requirements (e.g., Tiger leader, den leader, Webelos leader)
  • 16% - missing signatures
  • 12% - submitted the incorrect amount of money

Now is the time to get started on your unit's recharter.

  1. Inventory the unit's membership and collect fees. Involve the unit leader and committee in determining the status of those who do not respond about renewing. Get complete, new applications, including all required parts and signatures, for any NEW youth or adult members. All adult applications should include proof of having completed Youth Protection Training; attach a copy of the training certificate to the application and the criminal background check authorization when submitting the application. 
  2. Ensure adults are trained. All adults need to have Youth Protection Training which can be taken online at my.Scouting.orgThe top unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Coach, Advisor, Skipper) must complete the BSA training courses to be considered "Trained" for their position prior to recharter as well as must have current YPT. Find a list of upcoming training courses.
  3. Update the unit roster. Use the web-based Internet Recharter (IR) system to update your unit’s roster. IR will create a current roster from BSA's registration system when access the system for the first time each year. 
  4. Obtain Signatures. Before you turn-in your paperwork, you must get two signatures on the first page of the recharter roster. The person named as the Executive Officer on the roster must sign the top line for the chartered organization. The person named as the unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, etc.) must sign the bottom line as unit leader. The middle line, council representative, can be completed at turn-in and will be signed by a commissioner and/or the professional Scouter responsible for supporting your unit’s District. Don’t forget to check that applications for new members are all signed, too. Youth applications must be signed by the unit leader, the parent, and, for a Venturer, the youth. Adult applications must be signed by the chartered organization head, the unit’s committee chair, and the adult volunteer. Your district executive will sign the form later. 
  5. Check your work...with others. Ask your commissioner or another leader to help review your recharter before submittal. An extra set of eyes can help catch errors so your unit charter doesn't expire.
  6. Be "On-time" with signatures, money and no errors. 
  7. Shoot for Win-Win.  By working together, we can all make sure our boys, young men and young women can continue to enjoy the benefits of Scouting without interruption. The office wins, our kids win, our volunteers win. 


Guide to Safe Scouting Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, November 12, 2015 5:45:00 AM


The purpose of the Guide to Safe Scouting is to prepare adult leaders to conduct Scouting activities in a safe and prudent manner. 

September Guide to Safe Scouting Updates

  • II. Aquatics Safety: Outdated training programs were deleted.
  • VI. Chemical Fuels and Equipment: A section was added to reinforce the importance of abiding by the Policy on the Storage, Handling, and Use of Chemical Fuels and Equipment.
  • VIII. Sports and Activities: A new section was added on activity planning and risk assessment.
  • X. Insurance: The entire Insurance chapter was updated.
  • Appendix: The Youth Protection/Membership Incident Information Form, No. 680-676, was added.

The policies and guidelines have been established because of the need to protect members from known hazards that have been identified through 100-plus years of experience. Limitations on certain activities should not be viewed as stumbling blocks; rather, policies and guidelines are best described as stepping-stones toward an enjoyable adventure.

All volunteers participating in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the Guide to Safe Scouting. Unit leaders should be aware of state and local government regulations that supersede Boy Scouts of America policies and guidelines.

Guide to Safe Scouting

The BSA's Commitment to Safety is ongoing and we want you to know that the safety of our youth, volunteers, staff, and employees cannot be compromised. The Boy Scouts of America puts the utmost importance on the safe and healthy environments for its youth membership. The Sam Houston Area Council takes great strides to ensure the safety of its youth as well as the adult volunteer leadership that interacts with them. 

Health and safety must be integrated into everything we do, to the point that no injuries are acceptable beyond those that are readily treatable by Scout-rendered first aid. 

Few youth organizations encompass the breadth, volume, and diversity of physical activity common to Scouting, and none enjoy a better safety record. The key to maintaining and improving this exemplary record is the conscientious and trained adult leader who is attentive to safety concerns.

As an aid in the continuing effort to protect participants in a Scout activity, the BSA National Health and Safety Committee and the Council Services Division of the BSA National Council have developed the "Sweet Sixteen" of BSA safety procedures for physical activity. These 16 points, which embody good judgment and common sense, are applicable to all activities.

Annual Health and Medical Record

In order to provide better care for its members and to assist them in better understanding their own physical capabilities, the Boy Scouts of America recommends that everyone who participates in a Scouting event have an annual medical evaluation by a certified and licensed health-care provider—a physician (MD or DO), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Providing your medical information on this four-part form will help ensure that you meet the minimum standards for participation in various activities. Note that unit leaders must always protect the privacy of unit participants by protecting their medical information.  The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record is to be completed at least annually by participants in all Scouting events.   

Tour Plan

The tour and activity plan is a planning tool to help leaders be prepared for a safe and fun adventure. It can help you ensure trained leadership is in place, equipment is available, and there is safe and appropriate transportation to and from an event.

Health and Safety Training

The BSA and council offers a variety of training courses to educate the adult leadership through training courses online as well as in a classroom setting. Additional information is also available in the Guide to Safe Scouting and on the BSA Scouting Safely website. 

First Aid/CPR/AED: Would you know what to do in a cardiac, breathing or first aid emergency? The right answer could help you save a life. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, our First Aid/CPR/AED courses give you the skills to save a life.  Red Cross First Aid, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) training is universally recognized for its effectiveness. It can help ensure that everyone from the Boy Scout working on a First Aid merit badge to a Scouter leading a unit on a high-adventure trek is fully prepared. Find the next scheduled course.

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) is the assessment of and treatment given to an ill or injured person in a remote environment where definitive care by a physician and/or rapid transport is not readily available. Participants will learn how to assess, treat, and (when possible) contain emergencies within the scope of their training. Find the next scheduled course.

Tools to plan events and campouts

The campout safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting campout. Along with the Guide to Safe Scouting and the tour and activity plan, this tool will help you in having conversations on identifying risks that need to be mitigated or eliminated.

The event safety checklist provides guidance on safety issues that you may encounter at a Scouting event. This is a tool, not a list of mandatory guidelines. The intent of the checklist is to create conversations among event organizers around risks and ways to mitigate or eliminate them.

As an aid in the continuing effort to protect participants in a Scout activity, the BSA National Health and Safety Committee and the Council Services Division of the BSA National Council have developed the "Sweet Sixteen" of BSA safety procedures for physical activity. These 16 points, which embody good judgment and common sense, are applicable to all activities.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency management, emergency preparedness, and disaster services are common throughout the United States - we take care of each other. By whatever name, these activities encompass preparedness, response, mitigation and recovery related to any kind of disaster, whether natural, technological, or national security. Emergency preparedness means being prepared for all kinds of emergencies, able to respond in a time of crisis to save lives and property, and to help a community or even a nation - return to normal life after a disaster occurs.

The Emergency Preparedness BSA program is planned to inspire the desire and foster the skills to meet this challenge in our youth and adult members so that they can participate effectively in this crucial service to their families, communities, and nation. Please review the linked documents to help your family be prepared for emergencies.

Incident Reporting

A key responsibility that all volunteers and professional staff share is providing an effective program that meets the needs of young people and provides the proper health and safety of everyone concerned.  It is important that we sustain the safe operation of our programs and promote continuous improvement through organizational learning. Timely and complete incident reports support analysis that is critical to identifying needed improvement of the programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America.

Mandatory Report of Child Abuse

All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good-faith suspicion or belief that any child is, or has been, physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected, exposed to any form of violence or threat, exposed to any form of sexual exploitation, including the possession, manufacture, or distribution of child pornography, online solicitation, enticement, or showing of obscene material. You may not abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person.

SHAC Child Abuse Reporting Procedures

Steps to Reporting Child Abuse

  1. Ensure the child is in a safe environment.
  2. In cases of child abuse or medical emergencies, call 911 immediately. In addition, if the suspected abuse is in the Scout's home or family, you are required to contact the local child abuse hotline.
  3. Notify the Scout executive or his/her designee.

Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies

If you think any of the BSA's Youth Protection policies have been violated, including those described within Scouting's Barriers to Abuse, you must notify your local council Scout executive or his/her designee so appropriate action can be taken for the safety of our Scouts.      

Update to the BSA Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use and Abuse Guidelines

Effective with the October 2014, the Guide To Safe Scouting Section IV Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Use and Abuse was updated. It now states, "Adult leaders should support the attitude that they, as well as youth, are better off without tobacco in any form and may not allow the use of tobacco products at any BSA activity involving youth participants. This includes the use of electronic cigarettes, personal vaporizers or electronic nicotine delivery systems which simulates tobacco smoking."

Youth Protection Training (YPT) 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, November 12, 2015 5:15:00 AM

Every December, all units are required to renew their affiliation with Scouting. Rechartering on time is critical. It is required for units to continue registration without interruption. It is required to ensure Scouts are registered, critical for receiving rank advancement and other awards, and for insurance coverage.  

What is the most likely delay in the recharter process?  Expired Youth Protection Training (YPT). Seventy-two percent (72%) of the recharters submitted last year with errors were because an adult needed to take YPT.  

All adults must have taken Youth Protection Training appropriate for their unit within the last 24 months. This course can be taken online at My.Scouting - it only takes about 25 minutes to complete.

Help your unit recharter on time. If your YPT expires before March 2016, please renew it now.

Take YPT online 

About Youth Protection Training (YPT)

Youth Protection Begins With You graphic

The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for the Cub ScoutBoy Scout, and Venturing programs.

Youth Protection Training (YPT) is designed to help keep our youth safe from abuse. Participants will learn the Boy Scouts of America's youth protection guidelines, signs of abuse, and how to report suspected abuse. Every registered leader must take Youth Protection Training online at A login is required, but anyone may create a user account and view the courses. Registered members of the BSA may provide their member numbers (as part of the user profile) to receive credit. Venturing Leaders must take Venturing YPT online at

Classroom Facilitated YPT:  All adults attending day camp, resident camp or Boy Scout summer camp must also take Classroom Facilitated Youth Protection Training, as required by the state.

Find an upcoming classroom facilitated YPT course 

Youth ProtectionTraining is Required  

  • Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers.
  • Youth Protection training must be taken every two years. If a volunteer’s Youth Protection training record is not current at the time of recharter, the volunteer will not be reregistered.


You do not have to be a registered member or have a member ID to take youth protection training.

Youth Protection     

 Protección Juvenil En Español




College of Commissioner Science 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Tuesday, November 10, 2015 7:23:00 AM

December 5, 2015
Cockrell Scout Center

The College of Commissioner Science is a day of training for commissioners from Commissioner Basic Training through advanced learning experiences in unit service. The objectives are to help commissioners expand their skills and unit service philosophy. The goal of this experience is  to promote the increased effectiveness of the individual commissioner.

This ongoing training opportunity will benefit new commissioners and experienced unit commissioners. Any adult leader that is interested about the numerous resources available in the Scouting movement is also invited to attend.


The early bird registration fee is $20 through December 1, 2015 and the registration fee is $30 beginning December 2, 2015.

Register for College of Commissioner Science             Course Schedule           Paper Registration

Course Descriptions and Degree Requirements

Degrees and Learning Opportunities

  1. Associate's Degree (includes Commissioner Basic Training) — The beginning of the commissioner experience.
  2. Continuing Education (CEd) — Continues the educational, expanding knowledge to increase the effectiveness of unit service.
  3. Bachelor (BCS) — An entry-level program for commissioners who have completed basic commissioner training.
  4. Master (MCS) — Offers advanced problem solving and administrative skill instruction.
  5. Doctorate — A two year program (DCS) — Challenges candidates to identify, develop, and present a project or service concept to a panel of their peers.



Bob Dodd
2015 College of Commissioner Science Dean

Lynda Worlow
2015 College of Commissioner Science Registration


Bob Rosensteel  
2015 College of Commissioner Science Degree Registrar

Clarence Nicholas
College of Commissioner Science Staff Advisor



Scouts with DisAbilities 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Sunday, November 8, 2015 5:10:00 PM


Scouting helps by giving Scouts with disabilities " opportunity to prove to themselves and to others that they can do things - and difficult things too - for themselves." Lord Baden-Powell (Aids to Scoutmastership)


The council is committed to making Scouting accessible and enjoyable to all Scouts, regardless of their abilities. Since its founding in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has included fully participating members with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. The BSA's policy is to treat members with disabilities as much like other members as possible. It has been traditional, however, to make some accommodations in advancement if absolutely necessary. By adapting the environment and/or our instruction methods, most Scouts with disabilities can be successful in Scouting.

SHAC Scouts with Disabilities Webpage

The basic premise of Scouting for youth with disabilities is full participation. Youth with disabilities can be treated and respected like every other member of their unit. They want to participate like other youth - and Scouting provides that opportunity.

An individual is considered to have a "disability" if she or he:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities - seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working,
  • has a record of such an impairment, or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

Ideas for Assisting Scouts with Special Needs             Disabilities Awareness Flyer


The council's disabilities awareness committee offers a variety of training courses for Scouters and parents of Scouts. Contact the council Disabilities Awareness Committee to request a training. Visit the council training scheduled to see a list of upcoming courses.

The national disabilities awareness website has several PowerPoint presentations to offer new and potential leaders of Cub Scouting , Boy Scouting, and Venturing with the basic knowledge and skills needed to include and serve Scouts with disabilities skills. Participants will learn about the process of advancement, and national procedures and policies of the Boy Scouts of America. 

  • Essentials in Serving Scouts With Disabilities
  • Including Scouts With Disabilities (in English and Spanish)

College of Commissioner Science - Special Needs Scouting Courses

December 5, 2015

The College of Commissioner Science is a day of training for commissioners from Commissioner Basic Training through advanced learning experiences in unit service. Any adult leader that is interested about the numerous resources available in the Scouting movement is also invited to attend.

The early bird registration fee is $20 through December 1, 2015 and the registration fee is $30 beginning December 2, 2015. 

Special Needs Scouting courses being offered:

  • 2nd period: BCS 118 - Service Scouts with Disabilities
  • 3rd period: CED 713 - Special Needs Scouting Advancement
  • 3rd period: MCS 322 - Advanced Speech Needs Scouting
  • 4th period: CED 714 - Special Needs Scouting: ADHD
  • 5th period CED 715 - Special Needs Scouting: Autism Spectrum

Register for College of Commissioner Science             Course Schedule          Paper Registration


There are many resources available to parents and leaders of Scouts with disabilities and special needs:

Advancement Flexibility Allowed

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, or Sea Scouts who have disabilities may qualify for limited flexibility in advancement. Allowances possible in each program are outlined below. It does not necessarily matter if a youth is approved to be registered beyond the age of eligibility. Experience tells us those members whose parents are involved, or at least regularly consulted, progress the farthest. The Guide to Advancement outlines advancement for Cub Scouts (, Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts ( and Venturers and Sea Scouts ( with special needs.

Individual Scout Advancement Plan for Boy Scouts

The Individual Scout Advancement Plan (ISAP), No. 512-936 is similar to an Individual Education Plan, which is used in schools to establish a student’s special education eligibility. It can also help plan an approach for the education of a student who has disabilities that preclude his or her full participation in a typical curriculum. An ISAP is specific to each Scout and is usually prepared in a cooperative effort between parents, Scout leaders, and a health care professional. The objective of an ISAP is to chart a course through the advancement program that helps a Scout or Venturer with disabilities achieve as much as any limitations will allow, and to facilitate applications for alternative requirements, merit badges, and registration beyond the age of eligibility, as appropriate.

Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges

In order to earn merit badges, Scouts must successfully complete all requirements as stated, no more, no less. Though this rule applies to Scouts with disabilities, some, because of the severity of their medical condition, are permitted to earn alternative badges in lieu of those required for the Eagle Scout rank. Topic “Alternative Merit Badges for Eagle Scout Rank” in the Guide to Advancement outlines the process. Scouts with special needs must first earn as many of the Eagle-required badges they’re capable of earning before applying for any alternatives. With help from his parent or guardian and unit leader, the Scout’s careful review of the requirements prior to starting work on an Eagle-required badge will help him determine if the badge is attainable. If this isn’t possible, he should apply for approval to earn an alternative badge once he has completed all the other required ones. Planning ahead is the key. If the Scout qualifies, his parent or guardian and leader may proceed helping him apply for alternative merit badges early on so the Application for Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 512-730, can be completed and submitted on time. It should also be noted the alternative merit badge chosen must provide a similar challenging experience as the required badge.  

Registration Beyond the Age of Eligibility

Youth members with severe physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges may be able to Request Registration Beyond the Age of Eligibility, No. 512-935  in the BSA. This allows them to work through the advancement program at a pace appropriate to their needs. The steps to do this are relatively easy and you will find them outlined in section  of the Guide to Advancement.

A collaboration of parents, Scout leaders, and qualified health professionals can complete the information that must be submitted to the local council for approval. This team should have a good understanding of the Scout’s abilities and disabilities, and how these will affect his ability to complete requirements for advancement. The information submitted will help the council make a proper assessment, so preparers need to be sure to include as much detail as possible.

It is suggested that any Scout who qualifies should be registered this way as soon as possible so he or she has ample time to complete the requirements. The advancement program is challenging, but many members with disabilities have found ways to succeed. Providing them extra time to work on requirements and merit badges, when approved in advance, has proven to be helpful.

How do I register my new Scout as having a disability or special needs?

There is no special registration process for Scouts with a disability or special need or procedure to collect such information. Instead, the parents need to talk to unit leaders about their sons’ or daughters’ particular challenges. A good unit can and does make simple accommodations for individual members whenever possible. If the youth has mobility or health restrictions that will affect camp activities, these are generally collected on the camp physical examination form. Camps don’t necessarily share this information with the entire staff, so adult leaders may find it helpful to talk directly to camp counselors about these restrictions.The disability or special needs status of a Scout or Venturer isn’t otherwise relevant outside the unit unless the youth requires – and qualifies for – advancement accommodations or additional time to fulfill requirements. These accommodations are generally restricted to youth with “permanent and severe” disabilities. A parent or Scout leader can contact the council Disabilities Awareness Committee for suggestions, resources and valuable perspectives if needed.

Abilities Digest

Find the BSA Abilities Digest on Twitter @AbilitiesDigest and on Facebook. Subscribe to the BSA Abilities Digest quarterly newsletter by sending an email to  Put “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line and put your name, email address, and council in the message.


Every unit is different, and every Scout with special needs has a uniqueness all his or her own. If a problem arises, parents and adult leaders can usually handle it themselves; however, knowledgeable Scouters may offer additional solutions and valuable perspectives. The council Disabilities Awareness Committee is available to provide training and to be a resource to help resolve challenges. Contact the council Disabilities Awareness Committee if you need help with:

Contact the Council Disabilities Awareness Committee

Shop on Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate to the Sam Houston Area Council 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Saturday, November 7, 2015 1:08:00 PM

Amazon Smile

AmazonSmile is a perfect way to support the Sam Houston of America.

  • Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support Sam Houston Area Council by starting your shopping at


Sam Houston Area Council, Boy Scouts of America

Additional ways to help ensure the success of Scouting in the Sam Houston Area Council with meaningful gifts include: company matching gifts, company volunteer grants or by donating cars, trucks, RVs, trailers, boats, motors, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, securities, uniforms, camping equipment and yes, even services.

Ethan Giving Tree 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Monday, November 2, 2015 10:33:00 AM

Make Sure No Scout Goes Without…

November 14 - December 19, 2015

The Houston Area Scout Shops are providing an opportunity for the Scouting community to help local Scouts who need uniforms.

The Ethan Giving Tree program works on a donation basis. An Ethan tree (similar to an Angel tree) will be set up at the Scout Shop with Ethan cards on it. Each card will have the first name of the Scout along with the uniform  items that they need. There will also be a space for other items they may want such as books, crafts, camping items, etc.

Customers can purchase the item(s) in their local Scout Shop and give them to the store staff to collect for each child. The names of the Scouts are confidential. As donations are collected, store staff will contact you.

Leaders, please fill out the sign-up form and return to the store by November 9, 2015 for every Scout who would benefit from donations from the Scouting community to complete their full uniform. If you have any questions please contact the store manager.

Flyer and Sign-up Form

Powder Horn 

Lead the Adventure
Posted by Darlene Scheffler Saturday, October 31, 2015 8:57:00 AM

April 8-10 and April 22-24, 2016 

Powder Horn is an action-packed, hands-on, six-day course which helps Scouts and Scouters learn how to implement high adventure activities into their troop, crew or ship. 

Do you have young adults in Venturing who are looking to breathe underwater because they have already learned how to filter it?  What about Boy Scouts who are ready to maximize their shooting skills?  Or Sea Scouts wanting to sail in a different country?  Would you like to expose your troop, crew or ship to rock climbing, Dutch oven cooking, geocaching, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, firefighting, search and rescue, trekking in a different countries, mountain biking, fly fishing, canoeing, wilderness first aid, astronomy, shooting sport (e.g., rifle, shotgun, handgun, archery), equestrian, 1860 baseball, wilderness survival, NYLT, Sea Scouts, the Kodiak Challenge, the Hornaday award, Messenger of Peace, living history, Leave No Trace, vendors, Jamboree, event planning, tying flies, scuba diving, and more?

The course spans two, three-day weekends:

Powder Horn is offered once every year, so don’t miss this chance to replace yawns with enthusiastic screams.  Set your sights on a course that maximizes Scouting skills while bringing adrenaline and leadership to your unit.  Powder Horn is designed to introduce and expose Venturing, Sea Scout and Boy Scout adult and youth leaders to the activities and resources necessary to manage a successful outdoor or high adventure unit-level program.  It is based on the eight core requirements and eighteen electives found in the Venturing Ranger program.  It is intended to help leaders get out of the box in finding and using resources, and in the way they lead their unit-level outdoor and high adventure programs.

This course is a fun introduction to resources and skills.  Powder Horn does not train you to be an expert, or even to be self-sufficient in any aspect of outdoor skills.  Units will still need to find knowledgeable, trained, and certified individuals to provide a safe and exciting outdoor high adventure program.


Adult leaders from all Scouting programs and young adults age 14 and older are eligible to attend; there are no restrictions on attending the course a second time. This course is limited to 48 participants, adult, and youth.  

Register for Powder Horn             Powder Horn Flyer

Powder Horn Vest and Buckle

You took your passion for adventure to attend Powder Horn training, now purchase a special keepsake that will preserve your amazing experience! Vests are forest green 100% soft polyester fleece with non-pill finish surface and have the Powder Horn logo embroidered on the left, front side of the jacket. The vest comes complete with twill-taped neck, reverse coil zipper, chin guard, bungee cord zipper pulls, tricot-lined armholes, front zippered pockets and open hem with drawcord and toggles for adjustability. Warm, lightweight, and comfortable. Highly breathable.  Logos will not have specific course dates. The base price is $30.00; there is an extra charge for sizes 2X and above.   

With pride, add to your collection of Boy Scout belt buckles with this special Powder Horn belt buckle. Rugged-looking pewter tone belt buckle showcases a die-struck Powder Horn logo in the center surrounded by the words "Powder Horn Course" and "Boy Scouts of America." Each buckle comes individually boxed. Items will not be mailed; they may be picked up at the Cockrell Scout Center, or if you are attending the 2016 Powder Horn course, the items will be available weekend #1 of the course. The deadline to order buckles is March 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm. The cost is $19.99. 

Order a Jacket and Belt Buckle

Powder Horn is designed to:

  1. Expose participants to high adventure activities for older youth in troops, crews, ships and teams.
  2. Provide an introduction to the resources and consultants available to successfully lead Scouting units through a program of high adventure.
  3. Help adult and young adult leaders feel comfortable offering challenging outdoor activities while balancing fun with safety, health, and responsibility.

Participant Qualifications

  • Be a registered adult or a registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Venturing Scout or Sea Scout who is at least 14 years old. For young adults between the ages of 14 and 17, the course director requests that the applicant, their parent, and a unit leader have a conversation around maturity, expectations, and the Powder Horn experience.
  • Youth must have completed the required leadership training for the unit in which they are registered (Introduction to Leadership Skills or National Youth Leadership Training).
  • Submit a copy of BSA Annual Health and Medical Record (Part A, B, C). 
  • Adults must be trained for their position
  • Complete the following online trainings at
    • Youth Protection Training (YPT)
    • Venturing Youth Protection Training (YPT)
    • Hazardous Weather
    • Safety Afloat
    • Safe Swim Defense
    • Climb on Safely

Frequently Asked Questions About Powder Horn

Why Powder Horn?

Many Scouting leaders face the dilemma of having a strong desire to provide challenging and fun outdoor programs to meet the needs of their older youth members, but lack the knowledge and/or resources to do so. Powder Horn responds to the quandary with an exciting new training opportunity that exposes Venturing, Varsity Scout, Boy Scout leaders, and youth leaders ages 14 and up to a wide range of outdoor/high adventure activities. More importantly, Powder Horn provides its participants with valuable resource and contacts to assist them in delivering the promise of Scouting’s high adventure to youth.

What is the approach for this training?

Experts or "consultants" teach the courses and introduce participants to a variety of high adventure activities in our area. Participants do not become experts in an activity; participants will learn how to help their unit’s youth leaders find and recruit experts in activities that the Scouts may enjoy.

Participants will experience activities such as climbing or shooting sports or shoot a skeet course, and will learn where to go to find those who can teach these skills to Boy Scouts and Venturers. Under no circumstances is any Powder Horn participant required to participate in an activity they are uncomfortable with.  Participants may choose to just observe and learn - "Challenge by Choice."

What activities are presented at Powder Horn?

Participants will experience at least ten activities from the following list:

Astronomy, ATV, aquatics, backpacking, camping, canoeing, cave exploring, challenge events (COPE), climbing/rappelling, conservation, cycling - road/mountain, ecology, emergency preparedness, equestrian, expedition planning, extreme sports, fishing, first aid, geocaching, historical reenactment / living history, hunting, kayaking, Leave No Trace (LNT), lifesaving, motor boating, mountain biking, orienteering, outdoor living history, personal watercraft, plants and wildlife, sailing, sailboarding, search and rescue, SCUBA, shooting sports, snorkeling, space exploration, wilderness first aid, wilderness survival, and winter sports.
What are the learning objectives?

1. Learn what resources are available to support a high adventure program.
2. Learn where to find the resources.
3. Learn how to use the resources.
4. Learn how to safely do a high adventure program.
5. Learn what is involved with different high adventure disciplines.

What is the history of Powder Horn?

In 1983, Louise, a 37-year-old very shy woman read in Boys' Life about an Outdoor Exploring High Adventure training in Lubbock, Texas. It was in the spring and if you have ever been in the Texas Panhandle in the spring you know that it can be hot, sunny, rainy, windy, tornado or snowing.  Louise packed her camping gear (bits and pieces borrowed from her two Scout sons along with a new tent) into her car and headed for Lubbock (two hours away).  She knew only what she had learned at Wood Badge in 1978 about “high adventure” in the outdoors but had never experienced real high adventure in person.

The course material said it would cover climbing and rappelling, small boat sailing, camping, backpacking, snow skiing, canoe and much more.  After getting lost on the loop around Lubbock, she finally arrived at the “camp” (a park).  About eight people showed up from around the country. (They probably came to see what snow skiing in Lubbock was like).

Louise promptly lost her car keys.  Thinking she had locked them in the trunk of the car, a state trooper tried to pick the lock.  He succeeded in screwing up the electronic system and finally getting the trunk open.  About that time, Louise found her keys in her pocket!

After a supper (of sorts) the group pitched their tents and settled in for the night.  It rained and rained and rained and the wind blew, lightning struck and Louise got wet and cold.  The next day was somewhat better.  Small boat sailing, canoe and yes snow skiing (cross country skiing on the grass).  A wall and ladder were used for climbing and rappelling.  Backpacking and other outdoor skills were covered.  Then everyone loaded up and went for showers at a local high school (oops!! Someone forgot to turn on the hot water heater). The showers felt really good even if they were so cold!!  The crew then moved to a Scout camp (Camp Haynes) where they pitched their tents at 2:00 A.M.  Cold, hungry and tired Louise settled in for the night.  Like a good Scout, Louise had ten essentials for survival including tea bags and a little camp stove and water.  Louise began to shake—shake like she had never shaken before.  She had read about hypothermia and was afraid that was what she had because of the cold showers and long day.  She knew that she had to get warm, but Louise could not light the fire that could save her life because she was shaking too much.  Desperate, she crawled out of her tent and went to the first tent.  Wayne, a man in his 70’s was sound asleep. Louise woke him and told him her problem.  He soon realized the danger and made her some tea.  Louise was soon sound asleep. Wayne knew that he had saved her life and felt very good as he dozed off.  The short night was soon over.  Wayne and Louise never forgot that night.

The next day was better.  250 foot cliffs and slow rappels made the day great.  Soon the shy Louise was enjoying herself, but was unaware of what she was learning would help hundreds and possibly thousands of youth in Exploring and now Venturing.

Shy Louise went to one small outdoor training event in Lubbock, Texas 18 years ago.  That event changed her life and the life of her husband and their 2 sons.  It will impact the lives of their 7 grandchildren.  She went home and started a high adventure Explorer post.  The post had as many as 250 youth.  They went SCUBA diving, snow skiing, water skiing, climbing & rappelling, camping, and much more.  The post was in Boys' Life three times and participated in a training video.  Louise was the chairperson of the outdoor cluster of the national Exploring committee.  She is a dive master, Red Cross instructor, EMT, boat captain, NRA instructor in rifle, shotgun, pistol and black powder and COPE director.  She will be the first female Course Director in her council for Wood Badge.

You should realize what a really small training program in Lubbock Texas has done for Louise.  It changed her life.  Much like the new Powder Horn course can change the life of the Venturing crew advisor.  It gives that advisor the opportunity to “taste” high adventure.  It gives them the confidence they need to find experts and resources to help them provide experiences for their youth.  

Incidentally, Louise is Donna Louise Cunningham, one of the authors of the Ranger Guidebook and the first course director for Powder Horn.  She currently serves on the Venturing Outdoor Committee. 

The first adult training done to see if there was a possibility to do Explorer adult outdoor training was done in Amarillo, Texas in September 1997. Participants came from Amarillo, Wichita Falls, Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.  It was such a success that the outdoor committee decided to pursue the syllabus.  Larry and Donna Cunningham were given the responsibility of developing the syllabus.  Then, in March of 1998, Exploring was moved to Learning for Life. Venturing was born.  We were hard pressed to develop literature to have ready by August 1, 1998 when Venturing was officially announced at the All Hands Conference in Nashville.  

The first national Powder Horn course was conducted in September 1999, 50 people attended the first course in the Philmont backcountry at Hunting Lodge.  Cimarroncito was used as a program area,  as well as Webster Parks, and Aspen Springs for the overnights. 


Susie Becvar
Powder Horn Course Director
(281) 799-2311


Cesiah Molina
Training Registration
 (713) 756-3398


Benno Dunn
Council Training Chair
 (281) 413-9912


Michelle Phillips
Program Chair and Training Chair Staff Advisor
 (713) 756-3308