Sunday, June 20, 2010

Inventing Merit Badge Released. First badges awarded

Boy Scouts and Lemelson-MIT Program introduce Inventing merit badge

Inventing-pamphlet The inventive spirit of young people burst onto the scene today in Cambridge, Mass., as hundreds gathered to see the first awarding of the Boy Scouts of America's new Inventing merit badge to 50 Scouts from the Boston area.

The ceremony was a part of EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Part of the program's mission is to inspire young people to pursue creative lives and careers through innovation.

“Throughout the Boy Scouts of America’s rich, 100-year history, merit badges have given Scouts an opportunity to experience and learn about a variety of hobbies and professions," he said. "We are very excited about the Inventing merit badge and what the future holds as Scouts use the tools learned while working on the requirements to help make the world a better place."

One of those merit badges from the BSA's 100-year history was the similarly named Invention merit badge. The badge was discontinued in 1915 after only 10 boys had earned it. The reason for its low popularity? The main requirement told boys to "Invent and patent some useful article." Receiving a product patent is not an easy feat in any generation.

Even though an official merit badge recognizing invention has been dormant for 95 years, the idea of innovation has been fully alive in the Scouting program over the past century. Whether it's a Boy Scout creating a useful camp gadget out of wood and rope or a Cub Scout tuning the aerodynamics on his pinewood derby car, Scouts never stop innovating.

Ready to introduce Inventing merit badge to your troop? Start with the official requirements, available here.

Note: The numbering of the requirements as listed on BSA's web site is incorrect (each subsection is numbered as a separate requirement). The link above, to the version on the US Scouting Service project web site, shows the correct requirements numbering.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BSA announces important changes to its Youth Protection policies

Recently, the Boy Scouts of America announced important changes to its Youth Protection policies. The purpose of these changes is to increase awareness of this societal problem and to create even greater barriers to abuse than already exist today in Scouting.

Effective June 1, 2010:

Youth Protection training is required for all BSA registered volunteers, regardless of their position.

New leaders are required to take Youth Protection training before submitting an application for registration. The certificate of completion for this training must be submitted at the time the application is made and before volunteer service with youth begins.

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.

To find out more about the Youth Protection policies of the Boy Scouts of America and how to help Scouting keep your family safe, see the Parent's Guide in any of the Cub Scouting or Boy Scouting handbooks, or go to .

Questions and Answers
The following are answers to some of the questions we have received about these important changes. To read more, visit

Q1: When does the change go into effect?
A1: As of June 1, 2010, all registered adult volunteers--no matter what their position entails--must complete Youth Protection training prior to beginning their volunteer service.

Q2: Why a new training policy on such short notice?
A2: Youth safety is the No. 1 concern of the Boy Scouts of America. It is important to implement this training at all levels of the organization. The BSA is always reevaluating and reassessing its policies to ensure the safest youth program and the best training are offered. The BSA's Youth Protection training has been in existence long enough for it to be understood and accepted as a mandated training for all registered BSA adult volunteers.

Q3: What is the deadline to meet the new Youth Protection training standard?
A3: All registered leaders should take or renew their Youth Protection training so that it is current as of today. A unit will not be able to recharter without its key registered adults being up-to-date on their Youth Protection training. No individual leader will be able to register without being up-to-date on his or her Youth Protection training.

Q4: Is there a grace period to get all adults trained?
A4: No. If a leader's Youth Protection training is not current, the volunteer must take or renew this training immediately. Every effort should be taken so that all adults involved in Scouting have a current certificate of completion of the Youth Protection training.

Q5: Will the system be able to handle the overload of people taking training at the last minute?
A5: The system platform that houses e-learning is expected to be able to handle
the high volume.

Q6: Does "all volunteers" mean all volunteers -- even board members and council presidents?
A6: Yes. The goal is to have all registered volunteers Youth Protection-trained. This is an important statement for the Boy Scouts of America as a youth organization and reinforces the BSA's commitment to the well-being of all youth members and volunteers.

Q7: I am sure I know all there is to know about youth protection. Can I "test out" by only taking the Youth Protection online quiz?
A7: No. You must complete the entire online training in order for your Youth Protection certificate to be valid. This ensures you receive the latest information on BSA Youth Protection.
Important: Please note that the quiz has been removed from the e-Learning Center because the content did not reflect the new changes in Youth Protection policy.

Q8: Does the executive officer (institutional head) of a unit need to take Youth Protection training?
A8: If the executive officer is not a registered leader, he or she is not required to complete Youth Protection training, although it is strongly recommended. If the executive officer is a registered member of the BSA, then he or she must complete Youth Protection training.

Q9: I am a Tiger Cub adult partner and ScoutParent. Do I need to take Youth Protection training?
A9: The Tiger Cub adult partner and ScoutParent designations are not registered adult positions; therefore, mandatory Youth Protection training is not required. It is strongly recommended, however, that all adults involved in Scouting take Youth Protection training. All registered adults are required to take Youth Protection training.

Q10: I am an Explorer post Advisor. Does this new policy apply to me?
A10: Yes. All registered adults are required to take Youth Protection training.

Q11: The new policy indicates that a Youth Protection certificate of completion must be submitted "at the time of application." What does that mean?
A11: A BSA application should be collected from a prospective leader only with the fully completed form, with a copy of the individual's Youth Protection certificate of completion. Both documents should be submitted together to the council service center.

Q12: Do leaders need to wait until they have final clearance on the background check to meet with youth?
A12: No. As long as their application is fully completed, submitted to the council service center, and approved, their fee is paid, and their Youth Protection training has been received by and acknowledged by the council, they will be able to interact with youth members while the criminal background check (CBC) is still pending.

Q13: Do merit badge counselors need to take Youth Protection training?
A13: Yes. A merit badge counselor is a registered volunteer position.

Q14: Can units that have some adult leaders who have not completed Youth Protection training be rechartered?
A14: In order for a unit to be rechartered, it must have all the required positions filled with Youth Protection-trained adults. Adults who do not have current (within the past two years) Youth Protection training will not be reregistered.

Q15: Will the new adult applications have this information?
A15: Yes. All new applications will reflect these changes.

Q16: Can a council or district organize Youth Protection group training for its adults?
A16: Yes. It is encouraged that adults take the training via the online module, but the instructor-led model is still acceptable as long as the most current version of the Youth Protection DVD (item No. 610327 or 36121) is used and the end-of-course quiz is proctored by the trainer at the end of the training session. Reminder: It is critical that training completion certificates be issued after successful completion and that a formal training record roster be submitted to the council registrar so proper credit can be recorded in the profiles of each participant.

Q17: Will both the regular and Venturing leader versions of Youth Protection training meet the requirement?
A17: Yes, as long as the most current versions of the DVDs are used for group training. The online version is the preferred method, as it allows for those taking the training to get one-on-one training and take all the time they need for review. The individual is issued an immediate certificate of completion, which allows for the updating of the volunteer's ScoutNet record.

Q18: If a person is not a registered leader, how can he or she log in and take the Youth Protection training?
A18: A person does not have to be a registered volunteer to take Youth Protection training. To take the training, log in to and click on create an account. After you have confirmed your new myscouting account user name and password, log in to and click on e-training to begin the Youth Protection training. Upon completion, print a certificate to submit with a completed adult leader application to the unit leader or your local council representative for processing. Remember to keep a copy for your records.
Once the application is approved, the new leader will receive his or her membership card with their member ID. It is important that new members log back in to and update their profile with this member ID to receive credit for completing this and any other training.

Providing Scouters with clear and helpful information is a priority of the BSA. This blog post was adapted from an E-mail received from BSA on my "My Scouting" E-mail.

If you have additional questions, please contact your council or please let BSA National know by sending your questions to They will review all inquires and post updates to

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bugling Merit Badge being discontinued, and revisions to Music merit badge

Bugling merit badge is being discontinued as of next January, 2011.

Bill Nelson, a Scouter in the Grand Canyon Council (and former member of the USSSP team) wrote to BSA's "Ask the Expert" as follows:

The Bugling merit badge is no longer on the site, and it looks like the Music merit badge requirements have changed to absorb Bugling. What's happening there?

Here's their reply, which confirms the guess I made a week or so ago:
That's a great question, and it's one that a lot of Scouters are asking. Diane Leicht of the BSA's Youth Development team tells us that the Bugling merit badge will be discontinued in 2011 and its requirements will be merged into Music merit badge. Here's her full response:

The revised merit badge pamphlet that merged Bugling into Music was released earlier this year. It won’t be official until the 2011 Boy Scout Requirements book is released in January 2011.

Scouts may continue to earn the Bugling merit badge using the old pamphlet until that time. If Scouts have a copy of the new merit badge pamphlet with Music only, they can choose to earn the Music merit badge and complete the new bugling option as part of the requirements for the Music merit badge.

The two merit badge pamphlet covers illustrate this change. Previously, Music and Bugling were two separate merit badges that shared a pamphlet. With the new pamphlet, Bugling is no longer a separate badge, and bugling-related requirements become an option for Scouts seeking the Music merit badge.
I've posted the revised requirements, including what specifically changed, and including an image of the new pamphlet cover.

Most of the requirements from Bugling were incorporated into Music, with a few changes and some of the less well known and less frequently used bugle calls eliminated.

For details see:Bugling requirements
Music requirements changes

Yours in Scouting,
Paul S. Wolf, P.E.
Secretary, U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baloo's Bugle for "Celebrate Freedom," June RT's and July Theme is on-line

Baloo's Bugle for June RTs and July's Theme, "Celebrate Freedom" is on line

Check it out -

Lots of classic patriotic stuff

Articles by Scouter Jim about honoring veterans and

Bill Smith, the Roundtable guy, about the new delivery method, CS 2010.

Have a great summer and get those Cubs - OUTSIDE!!!!!

Info and links Youth Protection Training Update

Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
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