Blog Post List

Sign Up for Scouting for Food 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, December 4, 2019 8:43:00 AM

January 25, 2020 (hanger drop off)
February 1, 2020 (food collection)

Scouting for Food is a council-wide service project to care for people in our local communities who are hungry and those in need. In partnership with the Souper Bowl of Caring, the project begins Saturday, January 25, 2020, as Scouts distribute door hangers in their neighborhoods to announce the upcoming food drive. Scouts return the following Saturday, February 1, 2020, to pick up and deliver donations to their local food banks and pantries.

A Scout promises to help other people at all times. There is no better way to show our Scouting spirit than by participating in the annual Scouting for Food drive! Now is the time to show our community the Scouting values of being loyal, helpful, kind, and cheerful.

Scouts will help make a difference to fight hunger. Scouting for Food is the leading service program for Boy Scouts of America and is a part of the national BSA program - Good Turn for America.

Unit Registration 

A unit representative should register the unit for Scouting for Food.

Register             Unit Leader Guidebook

The unit Scouting For Food chair should attend the January district roundtable to pick up door hangers. All participating Scouts will receive a Scouting for Food patch.

Contacts

For questions, contact your district Scouting for Food chair or district professional.

Super Troop at the New Camp Strake 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Sunday, December 1, 2019 10:58:00 AM

July 12-18 or July 19-25, 2020

Super troop is a temporary troop made up of Scouts from troops around the council. Super Troop is a fantastic opportunity for Scouts to attend an extra week of summer camp, for a Scout to attend camp individually if they can't attend camp with their unit, or for those Scouts who just like to camp. Super Troop is staffed each week by experienced volunteer Scouters.

Summer camp is a week-long council-organized overnight camp for Scouts BSA that operates under council-retained leadership. The program provides opportunities for Scouts to earn merit badges along their advancement trail.

Learn More and Register           About Camp Strake           About Summer Camp

Winter Camp Registration is Open 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Friday, November 1, 2019 10:43:00 AM

December 26-31, 2019

Winter camp is a wonderful opportunity for troops to camp and Scouts to earn merit badges. Merit badge classes are taught by Scouters with real-life experiences in the field. Winter camp will be held at Bovay Scout Ranch (3450 County 317, Navasota, TX 77868), just three miles outside of Navasota, TX. Over 60 merit badge classes are offered, including many merit badges that are not normally offered at summer camp.

Learn More and Register

 

 

 

 

 

 

National BSA Membership Fee Increase 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 23, 2019 2:45:00 PM

For more than 100 years, Scouting has helped build future leaders by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun and adventure in the outdoors. At Boy Scouts of America, we are dedicated to developing leaders of character by preparing young men and women for life by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The timeless ideals of the Scout Law, such as being trustworthy, helpful, kind and brave, make up the foundation young people need to address and overcome challenges in their lives and the issues facing their generation.

Here in the Sam Houston Area Council, Scouting serves more than 46,000 youth in 16 counties. Now as BSA continues the Scouting mission, it is important that to keep pace with an ever-changing world. While costs to the organization have increased every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance that we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically. BSA has kept the registration cost low to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible but keeping the cost artificially low for many years now magnifies the impact of changes.

To ensure that BSA has the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has made the difficult but necessary decision to increase the annual membership fee effective January 1, 2020 to:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts,
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring, and
  • $36 for adult members
  • $60 for unit charter fees

The Sam Houston Area Council does not receive any portion of these registration fees. Every dollar of the national membership fee will go toward the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, program resources, safety standards, youth protection and personal safety training, and services to councils nationwide to sustain Scouting. The National organization will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members such as online registration, Member Care and Scoutbook, which now includes the Den Leader experience to ensure the safe and consistent delivery of Cub Scouting; as well as improvements aimed at simplifying the annual renewal process.

Across the country and in our own community, we know that Scouting remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. From once-in-a-lifetime adventures to merit badges that spark interests and future careers; from campouts under the stars to service projects that leave a lasting impact on our communities; Scouting’s year-round program expands horizons and provides young people with a safe and welcoming place to learn, grow, and thrive.

Thank you for your continued role in empowering a generation of future leaders of character through Scouting programs.

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:        Why are the fees increasing now?

A:         While costs increase every year, the Boy Scouts of America has worked to keep the annual membership fee as low as possible to make Scouting available to as many young people as possible by subsidizing core costs, including liability insurance we must carry to cover all official Scouting activities. As the organization’s financial situation has shifted over the past several months, it is no longer possible to subsidize at the level we have in the past, especially as the cost of insurance has increased dramatically.

Q:        Does this apply to youth members and volunteers?

A:         Yes, the new fees apply for youth and adult members renewing their membership in 2020. Effective January 1, 2020, the new fees are:

  • $60 for youth members in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts (this is an increase from $33),
  • $36 for youth members in Exploring (this is an increase from $24), and
  • $36 for adult members (includes cost of background check and Scouting Magazine) (this is an increase from $33)
  • $60 for unit charter fee (this is an increase from $40)

Q:        Is Scouting still a good value?

A:         Absolutely! At $5 a month Scouting is a tremendous value. While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Scouting is a year-round program that remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. 

Q:        What will the money be used for?

A:         Every dollar of membership fees will go to cover the cost of essential services, including liability insurance for members participating in approved Scouting activities, background checks for adult leaders, program development and training resources, continuously updated youth protection and youth safety training, improved IT/digital experiences and services to our councils nationwide.

Q:        Is this increase being implemented to cover the cost of the additional background checks?

A:         No, the cost of background checks is not the prompting the fee increase.

Q:        Why is this being announced now?

A:         We recognize the timing of this fee increase creates challenges as units have already begun collecting fees for their 2020 registration renewal process, and BSA would not make this difficult decision if it were not absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance. BSA is making necessary adjustments to the online rechartering system to ensure units can carry out the recharter process.

Q:        Does this increase cover financial challenges the organization is facing?

A:         The increase was prompted because the cost of liability insurance we must carry to cover all Scouting activities has increased dramatically over the past several months, and the organization is no longer able to offset the cost of insurance.

Q:        When will this increase take effect?

A:         The new membership fees will take effect starting January 1, 2020. In the Sam Houston Area Council, all units recharter in December and therefore will need to pay the updated fee structure for the upcoming recharter that is due December 15, 2019.

Q:        Any suggestions to help alleviate challenges with the new increase?

A:         Yes. Here are a few:

  • Continue to sell Popcorn via the online sale and take order sale.
  • We are securing vendors to have a successful Scout Fair Coupon Books sale which will begin in late January for unit fundraising.
  • Determine if a quarterly dues structure for your families might be more convenient.
  • Revisit your unit budget to make sure fees align with actual costs.
  • Inform families now that an additional fee will be due.

Q:        The Sam Houston Area Council recently announced an increase from $1 to $3 to cover insurance. Does this change mean that fee is no longer necessary?

A:         No, the liability insurance that we need to carry for all Scouting activities at the national level is different from local fees that are collected to address local needs. The SHAC charge of $3 per member covers additional insurance carried for all of our Scouts and leaders, including the Accident & Sickness insurance policy.

Q:        What measures has the national organization taken to offset the financial challenges?

A:         In addition to ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify the organization, the national organization has taken a number of steps in addressing its financial challenges, including the recent elimination of more than 35 positions at the National Service Center and ongoing consolidation of departments for the most effective utilization of resources in support of Scouting.

Q:        Will the national membership fee continue to increase?

A:         Although no decision about future increases have been made, the cost of operating our organization and services increases every year. Should it be necessary to increase fees in the future, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to evaluate the needs and make such decisions, whenever possible, at the National Annual Meeting in May or early in the summer so that they can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow for councils and units to be able to plan accordingly. 

 

Questions

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

Cub Scout Spring Camp Registration Open 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 9, 2019 2:59:00 PM

Adventure Camp

Adventure Camp is weekend campout for Cub Scouts and their families at Bovay Scout Ranch. Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos Scouts and their families will enjoy an exciting variety of activities at several program areas. Meals are eaten in the air-conditioned dining hall. A staff member in each area will provide program supplies and support the parents who will be invited to assist in leading the activities.

Conducted at the McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp area of Bovay Scout Ranch, activities may include: seeking treasure in the lost mine, archeological quest at the dinosaur dig, high speed pedal feat at the BMX bike track, Robin Hood style adventure at the archery range, marksmanship at the BB gun range, action at the Bud Adams sports field, exploring our camp at the nature center, and splashing in the water at the David Weekley Family Water Park (weather permitting).

Packs, dens and individual families may register as a pack or individually. Pack registration is preferred to keep families together. Dens and families that register individually will be combined with dens and families from other packs. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and sessions fill up fast.

The fee is $40 per person and includes three meals (lunch and dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday with vegetarian and turkey patty options), a patch and the Scout’s program supplies.


Learn More and Register

Family Camping

During family camping weekends, the pack leadership plans the camping program and food. Enjoy all the wonder and beauty of the central Texas rolling hills and lakes at Bovay Scout Ranch. Bovay has year-round camping program opportunities for pack overnighters and Webelos dens. Conveniently located 60 minutes from downtown Houston, Bovay Scout Ranch can be found just three miles south of Navasota on the east side of Highway 6, on County Road 317. Campsites, restrooms and showers are available; however, the program areas and dining hall are not available during family camping.

 

Camp Staff

Bovay Scout Ranch is looking for dedicated volunteers and paid staff to serve Scouting by working at McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp throughout the year and Resident Camp during July. The requirements are stiff; the jobs are demanding; the experience is exhilarating. For applications, contact Geno Aguilar.
 

Contacts

 

Vincent Manning
Bovay Scout Ranch Professional Advisor
 (713) 756-3380
 Vincent.Manning@scouting.org

 

 

 

Background Check Disclosure and Background Check Authorization FAQ's 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, October 9, 2019 12:59:00 PM

Every registered adult leader should have received an email from BSA National this week that included the new Background Check Disclosure and Background Check Authorization Form that needs to be submitted by all adult leaders during the upcoming recharter cycle.

The steps below must be completed before your 2020 annual registration can be processed.

  1. Review the disclosure document “Background Check Disclosure
  2. Once you have reviewed the “Background Check Disclosure," print the document titled “Additional Disclosures & Background Check Authorization
  3. Review the additional disclosures on that form, then complete and sign the Authorization using an ink/wet signature. 
    *Note: A print signature is required for this document. Electronic signatures, faxes or email copies will not be accepted.
  4. Turn in the signed Additional Disclosures & Background Check Authorization” form promptly to your unit leader.

FAQ’s from National BSA Legal

1. Is the BSA doing credit checks on volunteers?

No. The BSA will only use these signed authorization forms for approval to obtain a criminal background check. State and federal laws regulating background checks and consumer credit checks require that both items be mentioned on the form since a full background check includes both parts. Again, the BSA is only using this form for authorization to obtain a criminal background check.

2. Why is this being done now?

Starting in 2020, rechecks will be performed every five years, but it will take several years to recheck all leaders. Unfortunately, technical limitations and changes in the law over the last five years prevent us from using existing authorizations from older applications. As such, new disclosure had to be sent and new signed authorization forms obtained. Rechartering provides the best window to collect and verify they have been received before the council processes the recharter application.

3. What about volunteers that are not registered with units?  

All currently registered adults and employees who have not had a criminal background check in the last five years will be rechecked and need to submit the authorization form.

4. What happens if a unit leader does not provide an authorization?

Leaders who do not provide new authorization will not be able to renew their registration.  

Additional FAQ’s from the Sam Houston Area Council

1. Why is the BSA requiring this?  

As part of our on-going commitment to safety for our youth, the BSA is enhancing our criminal background check process. Currently, background checks are run when an adult registers and when they change positions (complete a new application). The new authorization form grants permission for the BSA to run additional background checks without requiring an additional application from the adult.

2. What is different about this authorization form?

Past versions of the authorization for a background check granted permission for the BSA to obtain a background check. The new authorization expands this permission to state the volunteer’s authorization remains valid throughout their volunteer relationship with the BSA.

3. How do I submit this form?

These forms should not be directly turned into the council service center. Volunteers in local Scouting programs (packs, troops, crews, ships, posts) should submit their form to their unit’s recharter coordinator for inclusion in their annual recharter, which is due in December. The unit will then submit these forms for all leaders in that unit in conjunction with their recharter paperwork at the recharter turn-in in December. District volunteers should submit their form to the district commissioner or district professional to include with the district recharter.

4. What about those with multiple registrations?

A copy of the authorization form for a leader should accompany each recharter where he or she is registered as an adult leader. Photocopies of the original signed document are acceptable

5. Does this apply to merit badge counselors?

Yes. Merit badge counselors should submit these forms to the district commissioner or district professional to be included in the district recharter. 

Contact

The leadership of the Sam Houston Area Council appreciates your patience and diligence as we institute this important process to continue placing the safety of our youth at the forefront of our operations. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org

National Recharter Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:51:00 AM

Important update affecting all registered members during the upcoming recharter cycle:

All registered adult leaders must review the Background Check Disclosure and complete the BSA’s new Background Check Authorization. These authorization forms must be submitted with each unit’s recharter this December. No recharters will be able to be processed without this signed form from all registered adult leaders that are being renewed for the 2020 calendar year.

We apologize for the inconvenience that these two announcements will place on your unit and its leadership while you continue to provide a life-changing Scouting program to the youth of Southeast Texas.

Contact

If you have any further questions or need additional information, please contact Thomas Franklin, Deputy Scout Executive, at thomas.franklin@scouting.org.

Thank you for all you do for Scouting!

LDS: Continue the Legacy 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Friday, August 30, 2019 8:01:00 AM

Source. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that starting on January 1, 2020, it will shift the focus of its youth programs toward serving an increasingly global membership. That means the LDS church will no longer charter Scout units beginning in 2020 and beyond.

Following is some information for the thousands of LDS families who love being a part of the Scouting adventure and want to continue their journey and for the other BSA Scouters who want to help them do that.

A path to stay in Scouting for LDS families

The long-standing relationship between the BSA and the LDS church won’t continue in a formal capacity, but it certainly will live on in LDS families where Scouting has become a strong and vibrant tradition. Some LDS families have a multigenerational Scouting tradition. Others share a newly discovered passion for Scouting. All who want to continue their Scouting journey are more than welcome to do so.

“All youth, families and leaders are encouraged to continue their active participation and financial support of Scouting … ,” the LDS church in its joint statement with the BSA expressed that it will continue to support Scouting even after its official partnership has ended.

“While the church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31, 2019, it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead,” according to the statement.

For LDS church members looking for a new Scouting home

Source. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can explore the BSA’s unit locator tool, found at BeAScout.org to find a new Scout unit. Families can enter their zip code, and the site shows the closest Cub Scout packs, Scouts BSA troops, Venturing crews and Sea Scout ships. (This is a good reminder to unit leaders to make sure your BeAScout pin is up to date!)

Once families have identified a few nearby units, here are a few more steps:

  1. Visit more than one unit. “You might find that one suits your family more than another one, even if it’s a bit farther away,” she says. “Not all units Scout the same way.”
  2. Visit your top unit more than once.
  3. Take the family and a friend to the unit meeting.
  4. Ask questions and get contact information. “Getting contact information from their New Member Coordinator means that you can ask questions when you get home,” Mayfield says. “Not all questions come to mind while at the meeting.”

For community packs and troops welcoming LDS church members

Source. All packs and troops should have a New Member Coordinator (learn more here and on Scouting Magazine’s ScoutCast podcast.)

“It’s a relatively new position — but one that is extremely valuable,” Mayfield says. “This person, or group of people, can have a variety of responsibilities and can help new families feel welcome when they arrive for meetings or events.”

She offers these reminders about the New Member Coordinator:

  • The New Member Coordinator doesn’t wear a uniform because a new family might feel more comfortable being welcomed by someone in casual clothing. The BSA has a whole line of New Member Coordinator accessories to help you be identified.
  • Provide new families with a welcome packet that includes information about the unit, meetings, outings, fundraising, membership, uniforming and more.
  • Sit with the new family during the meeting, get their contact information and invite them back for the new meeting. “I hand them my business card with my information and get their cell number and text them a thank you right away,” Mayfield says.

Beyond the importance of a New Member Coordinator, Mayfield offers three more tips:

  • Keep your website and social media accounts up to date. When families who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are looking for a new unit, they’ll likely scout you out online.
  • Be warm, welcoming and willing to talk. Latter-day Saints understand the aims and methods of Scouting, but because of the unique nature of their involvement, there are some aspects of Scouting they haven’t experienced. For example, they might be less familiar with recruitment strategies or fundraising projects.
  • Welcome people the way that you welcome them. For Mayfield, that’s baking. “I’ll make cookies, cupcakes and even cakes to welcome people,” she says. “There’s nothing quite like the personal touch of having a treat delivered to your door.”

Recruiting Scouts currently enrolled in LDS units

Source.  Community-based packs and troops may recruite youth from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS youth are encouraged to remain in their Latter-day-Saint-sponsored Scouting unit through December 31, 2019.

BSA volunteers may provide a church-approved flyer for recruiting Latter-day Saints boys to their packs and troops. The flyers must be provided to bishops and branch presidents, who will direct them to be posted on bulletin boards in church meetinghouses through 12/31/19. Those flyers are not to include images that identify the church or quotes from church leaders.

BSA recruiting of church members should be done directly with families and not in church meetinghouses.


About the BSA and the LDS church

Source. Throughout the BSA’s relationship with the LDS church, LDS Scouts have benefited from the BSA’s life-changing programs. Hundreds of thousands of LDS young men have become Eagle Scouts.

The BSA, in its official statement, said, “we jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders who have selflessly served over the years in church-sponsored Scouting units and wish the church all the best as it prepares to introduce the new program in 2020.” The BSA has begun working with all of its councils to help ensure a smooth transition for the many LDS families who will continue their Scouting journey.


Three Reasons our Family will Still be in Scouting in 2020 

. Last year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it would discontinue its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America and introduce a worldwide youth program in 2020. While our family fully plans to embrace the new Church Child and Youth Development Initiative, we also intend to continue our participation in Scouting. Here’s why:

Reason #1: Structure.

The Boy Scouts of America has been around for over a century, and the BSA has proven its worth as a structured program. This structure is a remarkable support to both Scouting leaders and Scouting families. Regular quality activities, handbooks full of information, and leader specific trainings all provide a tried and true ladder guiding youth to leadership, character, citizenship and fitness.

BSA programs—Cub Scouting thru Venturing—are based and built on age-appropriate activities, like stepping stones. My Cub Scout learns to handle a pocket knife, my Boy Scout earns the Woodcarving Merit Badge. My younger son takes a mile hike with his den, my older son hikes for 30 miles with his troop. You get the picture. My children are benefitting from a program shaped and tested for decades, with applicable achievements for each group, and all under an umbrella of specially trained leaders. Scouting is a safe place to learn and grow.

Additionally, I love that Scouting youth have requirements—steps that must be followed—and hard tasks to complete. As humans, we rarely choose to over-extend ourselves, but the organization of Scouting gently and consistently compels youth to climb higher, be better, and accomplish hard things. In a world becoming increasingly wishy-washy and self-centered, I find the structure of Scouting remarkable and helpful to my parenting efforts.

Reason #2: Skills.

Scouting is all about skills—building fires, camping, backpacking, tying knots, pitching tents, cooking, swimming, lifesaving, first aid. The list of Scouting skills is endless! Take a glance at the 137 merit badges offered to understand the full gamut of opportunities available to Scouts. Where pushing buttons with thumbs has become an all-to-common society staple for youth, I am grateful for skills taught through the BSA programs.

“Outing” is a key component of Scouting. Leave the lethargy and apathy at the door and step into adventure: rock-climbing, rappelling, canoeing, biking, rafting… the list goes on and on.vAnd the fun isn’t just for the older youth. Last week our Cub Scouts learned and played the iconic game of marbles. Imagine seven 9-year-olds, squealing, laughing and cheering as their marbles rolled across the dirt. And in the preceding weeks our Cub Scouts hiked, whittled with pocket knives, cooked over a fire, constructed with carpentry tools, pitched tents, conducted science experiments, practiced safety, and built contraptions with simple machines. Scouting is all about skills.

The skills lead me to Reason #3: Substance.

Scouting is chock-full of substance. Let’s face it; there are a million and one extra-curricular options for kids today. But I can’t think of another activity, club, pastime, team or sport based on Duty to God, Country, and Family. Each week I watch Cub Scouts raise their arms in the Scout Sign and recite the century-old Oath and Law—promising to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind…the iconic list goes on.

When any youth commits to Scouting values, we’ve won a battle for our future. Like I’ve said before, our time as a family is precious, yet the substance—the values and character-building opportunities—offered through BSA programs put Scouting at the top of our extra-curricular list.

And my fourth point—if I may have one—is Patriotism.

No one does patriotism like the Boy Scouts of America. Two weeks ago I stood with over 100 other observers at a campfire. The sky was crystal clear. The stars shone brightly. The full moon came up over the ridge. The fire glowed orange and red. It couldn’t have been a more picturesque evening. Around the campfire stood eight solemn Boy Scouts. With all the respect they could muster, they displayed a flag, tattered and torn. Then, while the audience watched, they shared history in broken and emotional tones, before respectfully retiring the flag in the flames.

The audience was completely silent, engulfed in the emotion of the moment. My 12-year-old son was one of the boys by the fire. Four of his younger siblings watched him participate in that sacred event. It was worth gold to me to know that he had set a standard of respect for our family as he handled the American flag that evening. Yes, no one does patriotism like the Boy Scouts of America.

Will the partnership between the Church and the BSA end in December? Yes. But for our family Scouting will go on. The structure, skills, substance and patriotism offered by the BSA are—in my mind—indispensable. It is my belief that Scouting will compliment—not compete with—any other extra-curricular activity, including the forthcoming Church initiative.

Our family looks forward to another century of citizenship, fitness, leadership, and character through the Boy Scouts of America. In 2020 we will Still be Scouting.


Former National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist on the BSA-LDS Relationship

Source. The Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) share a deep commitment to developing young boys into strong, moral, ethical men.  I believe the bond between the BSA and the LDS Church is as strong today as it began back in 1913 when the Church became the first sponsor of a local Scouting unit.

This week, the Church announced it will no longer offer Venturing and Varsity programs to older boys, rather refocusing its programming for young men around local Church activities that promote spiritual and personal growth and development.  As we all know, we offer a variety of programs from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to STEM Scouts and Venturing, and our chartered partners are in the best position to decide which programs most appropriately meet the needs of the youth they serve. We recognize that not all programs are a perfect fit for all partners. As we continue to work closely with all of our partners, the Boy Scouts of America will ensure that no boy who wishes to join the Scouting movement will miss out on the positive life opportunities of being a Scout.

The Church will continue Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. In nearly all cases, Varsity and Venturing participants registered at local Church wards are also registered in Boy Scouts. I know Church families and young men are thrilled to see this important partnership continue.

Those of us in the Scouting community who also belong to the LDS Church understand the mutual respect and passion we share for developing young men as we see it firsthand every day. Our relationship dates back to the very beginning of the Scouting movement and in 2013 the Church proudly celebrated 100 years of Scouting.  We look forward to another century of partnering with an institution so deeply committed to values and the development of young men.

Scouting Works

Today’s relationship between Scouting and the Church is strong because we know our programs work well together. We see the results of young men who have gone through Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and the impact these programs have on their families and communities.

A Tufts University study of kids ages 6-12 found that youth who participate in Scouting for even a short period of time exhibit strong moral values and positive character attributes, allowing them to embrace new opportunities, overcome obstacles and become better prepared for future success.

I have always appreciated the BSA’s commitment to supporting the Church, and all of its religious partners, in every way possible. The Church has always been able to run its Scouting programs according to its beliefs and standards, and at a core level, the Church’s goals to shape young men matches the BSA’s own moral and ethical mission. That commitment has not changed, and we continue to view Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as programs that effectively serve the young men and families in the LDS Church.

The Value of Service through Scouting

Over the past century, the LDS Church has made Scouting an integral tool in shaping young men’s outlook on community. In 2016, Scouts commitment to community service nationwide surpassed 15 million hours. What an amazing accomplishment for our Scouting community and for our youth. I can’t help but be moved by the countless instances where a Boy Scout’s selfless service made a big impact on a neighbor’s life or helped improve his community in a very real and personal way.

Scouting Continues to Shape Tomorrow’s Leaders

In addition to service, it is clear that young LDS men who participate in Scouting gain valuable lessons in leadership that begin in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts that ultimately shape their path to adulthood. Countless Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts are currently serving their Church mission in locations across the globe and I know each are putting the values and lessons learned at their local Boy Scouts Troop, or on a Scouting camping trip or outing, to good use. Those of us active in the Scouting community recognize, and I believe the LDS Church agrees, that Boy Scout programs set up our youth participants for success.

Former LDS Church President Gordon Hinckley once said, “If every boy in America knew and observed the Scout Oath, we would do away with most of the jails and prisons in this country. This program builds boys, builds their futures, leads them on the right path so they can make something of their lives.  Every man or woman who helps a boy along the road of life not only does a great thing for him but does a great thing for society as a whole.”

I know President Hinckley’s message rings true today. I look forward to working with you, the larger Scouting community, and the LDS Church to offer programs that serve our young men and their families.

— Charles


Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

National BSA's Consideration of Bankruptcy Update 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Saturday, June 1, 2019 1:55:00 PM

What I Need to Know about Scouting in Sam Houston Area Council 

SHAC Facts 

  • Sam Houston Area Council (“SHAC”) is incorporated in the State of Texas as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The National BSA organization is a separate corporation. 
  • Founded in 1914 and serves a sixteen (16) county area in the Houston Region. 
  • Recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity, holds GuideStar’s Gold Star for transparency and the 4-star rating (highest rating) from Charity Navigator with an average score of 93% for fiscal responsibility and transparency. 
  • Expansive and Growing Market Reach serving approximately 46,000 youth through a volunteer network of approximately 16,000 volunteers. 
  • Over 1,100 Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout every year.
  • Scouts and leaders annually contribute 450,000 plus service hours, estimated at a value of over $7 million.

National BSA’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Considerations 

PowerPoint Presentation

  • Primary Reason for National BSA’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Considerations  
  • Driver is the number of claims for alleged sex abuse incidents that occurred in 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that have come forward after some states in the past recent years extended the statute of limitations for such claims. 
  • We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. 
  • We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. 
  • We believe victims, we support them, we will cover the expense for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward
  • We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse. 
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is a financial restructuring and reorganization.
  • It is not a total liquidation — National BSA is not going out of business. 
  • It would create a trust for all victims to be fairly compensated. 
  • It would ensure that the BSA has a long and bright future and that all local and national programming will continue uninterrupted. 
  • BSA’s plan is to have all local councils across the USA discharged from any current filed claims and possible future claims. 
  • In response to and in preparation for anything that might happen regarding National BSA’s bankruptcy considerations, SHAC’s Board of Directors is doing its due diligence to research and act accordingly to protect SHAC’s assets. 

Nationwide Leader in Youth Protection

  • BSA’s Youth Protection
  • Developed and began implementing new youth protection policies and training in 1980s.
  • Examples include:
  • Leadership Selection
         ⇒ Completion of application including a criminal background check and mandatory Youth Protection training
         ⇒ Volunteer Screening Database check 
  • Required Training
       ⇒ Youth Protection Training is required for all BSA registered volunteers 
  • Youth Protection Reporting Procedures for Volunteers
       ⇒ Reporting Violations of BSA Youth Protection Policies 
       ⇒ Mandatory Report of Child Abuse 
  • Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse
       ⇒ Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities 
       ⇒ One-on-one contact between adult leaders and youth members is prohibited both inside and outside of Scouting. 
  • Policies and training are working and are best practices for youth-serving organizations. 
  • 90% of all claims for alleged sexual abuse incidents occurred prior to 1987 ― before BSA’s development and implementation of current youth protection policies and required training. 
  • In 2018, there were five known victims of sexual abuse in BSA’s Scouting programs nationwide at a time when there were 2.2 million youth in our programs. 

Opportunities for All 

  • Legacy programs for boys have not changed. 
  • Innovative Family Scouting program of Cub Scouts with gender-specific dens welcomed over 1,500 girls in SHAC in 2018 and iconic Boy Scouts program remains the same but has changed the name to Scouts BSA and now includes gender-specific troops for girls with 386 girls enrolled in SHAC as of May 31, 2019. 

Commitment to At-Risk Youth 

  • Since the early 1970s, SHAC has invested millions of dollars to impact the lives of youth in the inner-city areas of the Houston Region through initiatives such as ScoutReach
  • In 2019, SHAC will invest $2.4 million in ScoutReach to serve approximately 9,400 youth – primarily at approximately 50 elementary campuses within the Houston Independent School District. 

Financial Strength and Stability 

  • SHAC is one of the strongest councils in the BSA from the perspectives of fiscal health, program quality, board and volunteer dedication and staff commitment and talent. 
  • Every dollar contributed to SHAC stays in SHAC – 87% of every dollar contributed to SHAC is invested in programs and services. 

Two-Deep Leadership 

Posted by Darlene Scheffler Wednesday, February 6, 2019 8:42:00 AM

What’s the difference between ‘two-deep leadership’ and ‘no one-on-one contact’?

Source: Scouting Magazine

While no Scouter questions the value of Youth Protection training and policies — we all agree on the need to keep young people safe — some Scouters have asked for clarification about implementation.

Many of those questions are about policies requiring two-deep leadership and prohibiting one-on-one contact. On occasion, those separate policies get confused and intermingled.

So I checked with the Youth Protection team for clarification.

Essentially, it boils down to this: At least two adults are required on every BSA outing. During that outing, there should be no one-on-one contact between an adult and a youth. The “no one-on-one contact” rule also applies to leaders interacting with youth outside of the Scouting program where grooming of youth, parents and other adults could occur. Parents and youth are advised to follow this and other Youth Protection policies for the overall safety of all involved.

But there might be moments when just one leader is present with two or more Scouts. That’s fine, as long as the situation doesn’t involve one adult and one youth. (Of course, if we’re talking about a Scout with his or her parent/guardian, that’s always OK.)

For example, let’s say Troop 451 is driving to a campout. There are nine Scouts and three adults on the trip. The first SUV might have two adults and five Scouts. The other would then have one adult and four Scouts. Is this a “two-deep leadership” violation? No. (I covered this back in 2015.)

What about if there are only two adults present on a campout of eight Scouts, and one group wants to go hiking while the other stays at camp to fish?

While Youth Protection policies don’t expressly forbid it, it’s not the recommended approach because of health and safety concerns. What if the adult on the hike gets injured? What if the adult back at camp has an emergency? In those situations, it would be helpful to have a second adult present. Many troops in that situation would want at least four leaders: two to go on the hike and two to stay at camp.

For a closer look at this important subject, here’s what the Youth Protection team said:

What do ‘two-deep leadership’ and ‘no one-on-one contact’ mean?

While sometimes the Youth Protection policies may seem to be confusing, they really aren’t. Therefore we’d like to provide the following in hopes of clarity on the actions of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact.

From the Youth Protection website, let us provide the following:

Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse

The BSA has adopted the following policies for the safety and well-being of its members. These policies primarily protect youth members; however, they also serve to protect adult leaders. Parents and youth using these safeguards outside the Scouting program further increase the safety of their youth. Those who serve in positions of leadership and supervision with youth outside the Scouting program will find these policies help protect youth in those situations as well.

  • Two-deep leadership is required on all outings. A minimum of two registered adult leaders — or one registered leader and a participating Scout’s parent or another adult — is required for all trips and outings. One of these adults must be 21 years of age or older.
  • One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited. In situations requiring a personal conference, such as a Scoutmaster conference, the meeting is to be conducted with the knowledge and in view of other adults and/or youth.
  • The policies of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact between adults and youth members also apply to digital communication. Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact takes place in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

Why are these policies in place, and how do they differ?

Safety from all forms of abuse, including sexual abuse and injury from accidents, is crucial for all Scouting programs. Requiring a minimum of two adults participating allows for more supervision so that leaders can take a break and still have more than enough supervision present.

The “no one-on-one contact” rule (which, remember, includes digital communications, such as text, emails and gaming) is a core component of combating the “grooming” of a youth for sexual abuse.

An abusive adult will seek to have a one-on-one relationship with a youth separate from adults, parents and peers which includes inappropriate conversations, and seeking to being alone with a youth. This typically occurs in and out of Scouting program activities when a leader seeking to sexually abuse a child seeks to separate the child from appropriate adult.

While similar to two-deep Leadership in some ways, “no one-on-one” specifically states that adult/youth interactions is not appropriate without another adult — preferably a Youth Protection-trained leader — being present.

Additionally, our Health and Safety team strongly recommends a minimum of two adult leaders on all outings in case of injury to a youth or an adult. This is so aid can be sought without putting youth at risk.

A question from a Scouter, annotated

Below I have included an email I received from a Scout volunteer in New York.

The Scouter’s words are in black. The Youth Protection team’s responses are in red.

In our troop, and at summer camp with other troops, it seems nobody understands Youth Protection consistently. The most common misunderstanding is that two adults must always be present with any number of Scouts. 

This causes our Troop leadership to require at least four adults on each campout, so two can remain in camp while two others go off on activities with the boys, for instance. That’s great.

It seems like the policies of Two Deep, and No One-on-One get confused and intermingled, when in fact they are generally related, but different policies. See the explanation above.

My understanding is, as long as Two Deep is practiced for the overall campout or event, it is always OK for a single adult to be with Scouts as long as there is more than one boy present. Not quite, we prefer to have a minimum of two adults as your previous paragraph described.….

For instance, if half the Scouts stay in camp with one adult, and half go on a hike the the other adult, that is OK. Not a good idea, especially for Health and Safety reasons listed above. If the Scout leader were sick or injured, there would be no adults present. 

 I also understand it is OK for a single adult to be with a single Scout, as long as they are in view of others. For instance, at summer camp, an adult could take a boy to the infirmary, as long as they were in view of others during that time. True, given this example.

Or an adult and boy could canoe together, if they were in the proximity of other Scouts and adults. True, given this example.

I have put together the following summary of the Youth Protection policies that I am hoping may clarify things for those in our troop who don’t quite understand it. I would appreciate it if you would review it and tell me if you feel it is accurate and appropriate for me to share with other leaders. 

Two Deep Leadership

A minimum of two adults: at least one adult a minimum of 21 years old, and at least one adult who is a registered leader, is required for all trips and outings. Correct.

One-on-One Contact 

One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited. 

The following exceptions and situations are allowed:

– One Scout with his parent/guardian. No problem 

– One adult with two or more Scouts. That depends on the situation. For example, traveling to and from program activity, Scouting meetings and especially outside of Scouting it is not a good practice to have one adult with two Scouts, as the sexual abuser can and will use this as an opportunity to have singular access to Scouts.

– One adult with one Scout in view of other adults and/or youth. Seems OK, given the examples above. 

– Two adults with one or more Scouts. Excellent.