I recently talked to Bill Steele, Director of Advancement, at the Boy Scout national headquarters. I got some of the usual information but also some information that can be really helpful. In fact, even staying up to date on the usual stuff is important when dealing with Advancement.
Most Scouters are aware that changes to rank advancement, merit bade requirements, etc. come toward the end of the calendar year and are published at the beginning of the year the requirements take effect. Sometimes the requirement changes seem minor but redirect the focus of the requirement. . For example, Tenderfoot requirement 9 was changed from:
“Explain why we use the buddy system in Scouting.” to “Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Describe what a bully is and how you should respond to one.”
There is a new requirement for First Class. Requirement 12 is now, “Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one.”
For an in depth review of the changes follow the link on the bottom of the page for Advancement Changes at US Scout,org. It is clear from these changes that Scouting is trying to have the boys learn how to identify a bullying situation and pre-plan ways to deal with it. Bullying at school and on the sports field has always been an issue, but it is important to consider and understand bullying on the Internet as well.
While talking with Bill, he told me of another very important change that took effect May 1, 2008. As of that date it is mandatory to use the revised Eagle Scout application. The change in this form deals with the Eagle project. Requirement 5 deals with this topic. It is now necessary to identify the project by name, include the total number of hours worked in completing the project and enter the project completion date.
In preparation for writing this article I tried to get a new “Life to Eagle” packet at the local Scout Shop. What I received was just the Eagle Project book. No application. None of the other sheets were available. I was told I needed to go the Council office in order to get an application. Maybe this was to control the issuing of only the new form. If you are used to getting forms from the Scout shop, you might need to look at getting them on line.