Latest Scoutmaster minute as of NOVEMBER 15th:
I have two important items that I want to get out to the adults and scouts in Troop 300.
#1-ADVANCEMENT IS THE NOVEMBER THEME. In the troop meetings this month we are breaking out into separate teams by rank, and then our Assistant Scoutmasters, and Troop Instructors, and Troop Guides are working with those not yet First Class to help them reach their next rank where possible. While some "outing" related items can only be accomplished during a campout, other items are suited to discussion and can be done in doors and for this month we are doing our best to make the opportunity to get that done and make it happen. I need a few things from parents:
FOR boys working on SCOUT RANK specifically I need you to please make certain that you, as your son's parent, have gone over the Youth Protection Guidelines and pamphlet that is in your son's Boy Scout Handbook. We can't do this; only a parent can accomplish this rank requirement with their son. Once you have done so, you can pull out that insert, and keep it for reference. You should also initial your son's Scout Book, to show the requirement has been accomplished. The current BSA requirements for every rank can be found by clicking: HERE. The requirement requiring parent involvement is number 6, and it states:
Requirement #6 for SCOUT-"With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide and earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade."
FOR ALL scouts in the troop, the Cyber Chip award is a BSA endorsed program that helps youth learn internet safety and etiquette. It is required for certain ranks, and it is also required that every single scout has completed a CYBER CHIP course and the information is supposed to be updated with a parent it at least annually. For scouts in grades 6-12 the requirements can be found here---->CYBER-CHIP.
PLEASE GO OVER THIS WITH YOUR SON, SINCE MOST OF THE CYBER CHIP REQUIREMENTS MUST BE DONE "WITH YOUR PARENTS!
We are donating the entire meeting on November 18th to Cyber Chip training.
#2-MERIT BADGE ACADEMY IS COMING SOON!-
The planned November Merit Badge Academy is a little different this year, and instead of being a campout it's going to be two dedicated days to concentrate on scouting advancement. It will be held as follows:
While I do like the standard Troop "lock-in" format we have used in prior years, it is difficult to get quality instruction accomplished and merit badges fully completed in just a few hours of class time scattered out over a single weekend. For the last two years there have been a number of discipline issues that cropped up because the boys were crammed into large sleeping groups (inside a Yurt) instead of individual patrol cabins, and so there has been little sleep and the result has been short tempers in some cases, and dead-tired scouts unable to effectively concentrate on the badges they were working on. For these reasons, we are going to try out a new different approach, which will have a few advantages but lacks some of the excitement of a campout. Logistically, it is much simpler and allows the primary purpose of the event, i.e. advancement, to be the singular focus. So, while it will not involve overnight camping, it is still a Troop Outing in every sense.
I am hopeful that the new format will give scouts more time to work on the badges they want or need. For example, some merit badges require writing letters to Congress, or require a visit to a community meeting, and it's impossible to do that during a single merit badge "Lockin" event. But, if we split the classes up with a gap between them, it allows the scouts to work on parts of the badges outside of the Lockin that otherwise could not get done. By working on parts of their badges at home and on their own, with support from a counselor, and then coming back to the second session where their final class will happen will hopefully allow more scouts to finish their badges and complete all of the requirements.
As I am writing this, the following merit badges are being offered: Coin Collecting, First Aid, Photography, Railroading, Entrepreneurship, Railroading, Fingerprinting, Scouting Heritage, Dog Care, Fire Safety, Pets, Weather, Crime Prevention, Disabilities Awareness, and Public Speaking. We are hoping to add Citizenship in the World, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the Community as well and while not currently available on the signup list, we expect those to be added in the next few days.
The kicker is that by doing it this way we have to work within the council guidelines, and the signup for the Merit Badge Academy must be done on line and individually. This event is designed to offer extremely highly qualified instruction by dedicated and professional counselors. The student to adult ratio will be no more than 6 students to 1 adult, so by design each scout will have the individualized instruction that you would expect from a quality program. That said, please make note that TROOP 300 DOES NOT CONTROL THE CLASSES - SO TO GET ON THE LIST FOR A CLASS YOU MUST GO ONLINE, CREATE A TEMPORARY ACCOUNT, AND SIGN UP. If a class fills up, which could happen depending on the number of available counselors there are, the scouts that will get to go are the ones that signed up first, so please do not delay. The only fee associated with this event is a $5 council fee. So, my scoutmaster recommendation is to SIGN UP for the classes or classes you want to attend as soon as possible! You must be able to attend both Saturdays; a scout that only goes to the first Saturday will not earn the merit badge if he misses the follow up. The event is being offered to scouts anywhere in the entire council, and I am guessing the event will be popular.
HERE IS THE LINK TO SIGN UP: www.scoutingalaska.org/BearPawMBA