ScoutingJanuary - February 2003

News Briefs News Briefs

Edited by Scott Daniels

2003 National Endowment Art Tour scheduled to visit nine cities

Displays of BSA artwork by Norman Rockwell, Joseph Csatari, and others will be the featured attractions during the nine stops scheduled for the 2003 National Endowment Art Tour.

The tour is designed to honor local individuals for substantial contributions to their council endowment fund and to serve as a catalyst for additional giving. At each location, the BSA will host an informational seminar for prospective donors and a gala reception, which will include an induction ceremony for new 1910 Society and Founders Circle members.

Locations and dates for the 2003 tour are Feb. 20, Fresno, Calif.; Feb. 27, Santa Fe, N.M.; March 27, Seminole, Fla.; April 3, Charleston, S.C.; April 24, Winston-Salem, N.C.; May 1, Flint, Mich.; May 8, Rockford, Ill.; May 15, St. Paul, Minn.; and May 23, Billings, Mont.

Eagle Scouts should apply now for college scholarships

Eagle Scouts who are graduating high school seniors and who will be attending an accredited college or university awarding at least a bachelor's degree may qualify for a scholarship through the National Eagle Scout Association.

Applicants for all scholarships must (1) have received the Eagle Scout Award prior to application submission, (2) have demonstrated leadership ability in Scouting, and (3) have a strong record of participation in activities outside Scouting. Applicants must have a SAT and/or ACT score acceptable to the standards set by the review committee.

Available scholarships include:

Cooke Scholarships — one scholarship of $48,000 ($12,000 per year) and four of $20,000 ($5,000 a year for four years). Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have the endorsement of a volunteer or professional Scout leader who knows them personally.

Elks Foundation Scholarships — four scholarships of $8,000 ($2,000 per year) and four of $4,000 ($1,000 per year).

National Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund — 12 scholarships of $3,000 (a lump sum).

Hall-McElwain Scholarships — 80 scholarships of $1,500 annually (20 in each of the BSA's four regions). They are based on merit and are open to high school seniors through the undergraduate junior year in college.

Applications are available on the BSA Web site (, at local council service centers, or from NESA, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Ln., P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079.

Applications must be postmarked after Nov. 1 but no later than midnight on Feb. 28, 2003, and received by NESA no later than March 5, 2003.

Guides for activity and trek planners

Two new BSA pamphlets provide valuable advice and guidelines for leaders planning activities and outings.

News Briefs

Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities (BSA No. 18-260) helps unit leaders determine whether a specific activity is appropriate for youth in a pack, troop, team, or crew.

Except as otherwise specified in the Guide to Safe Scouting (No. 34416C), the guidelines are not intended as strict rules or standards. They are designed to indicate the typical range of youth abilities, while acknowledging that regional or local variations exist for some activities.

Unit or district leaders can offer programs to participants who are younger or older than the guidelines state, but they should consider the readiness level of each individual Scout in such situations.

More than 90 activities are listed in nine categories: outdoor skills, sports, tools, trekking, vehicles, aircraft, shooting, aquatics, and climbing.

News Briefs

Trek Safely (No. 20-125) highlights seven principles for planning outdoor treks of any duration, on land or water: qualified supervision, keeping fit, planning ahead, gearing up, communicating clearly and completely, monitoring conditions, and discipline. The pamphlet is accompanied by the "Trek Safely Training Outline" (No. 20-129) to help volunteers effectively teach the Trek Safely principles to Scouting groups and leaders.

The two pamphlets are available at local council service centers. The complete text of Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities can also be found online at

BSA launches new-unit organization campaign

From Jan. 1 through June 30, 2003, the BSA will implement a nationwide new-unit organization campaign titled "Character Connections: Reaching Youth with Scouting."

The campaign emphasizes increasing traditional Scouting units and will be operated on a district and/or council level, with support from regions, areas, and the national office.

A national commitment day videoconference will be held on Feb. 5, during which councils will telephone new-unit commitments from prospective chartered organizations to videoconference headquarters.

The campaign will emphasize the fact that Scouting is of great value to youth, to chartered organizations, and to communities. Councils have received support materials for help in getting commitments from community organizations and helping them organize new units.

"Our National Strategic Plan points to traditional unit and membership growth as one of the critical elements that will shape the future of the Boy Scouts of America," said Chief Scout Executive Roy L. Williams. "It has never been more important for us to take the values and character of Scouting to the youth of this country."

From the National Council:
Criminal background checks to be part of new BSA leader registration process

Since Scouting's inception, we have made every effort to have the highest quality of volunteers as role models and mentors for youth. Our main priority is the safety of our youth members and participants, and we continually seek new ways to improve our youth protection procedures.

New information technologies have greatly improved the ability of nonprofit organizations to accurately and reliably conduct criminal history record checks on applicants based upon their Social Security number. This offers a practical way to limit the possibility of individuals with a history of criminal acts against children being granted positions in the Boy Scouts of America.

When used in conjunction with other youth protection strategies, criminal history record checks are valuable tools that discourage ineligible volunteers from seeking positions in the BSA and help to identify and screen out those who do apply.

Implementing a new system

BSA National President Roy S. Roberts has announced that, after in-depth study and testing, the National Council has contracted with ChoicePoint Volunteer Select* to conduct criminal background checks for adult volunteer leaders nationwide.

Effective April 1, 2003, local councils throughout the nation will implement this new system, or a similar system, for conducting criminal background checks on volunteers.

This process will supplement the current application process, including the reference checks and the ineligible volunteer screening process. The Internet-based process will be conducted for all new adult volunteers in the traditional programs. If a registration form is completed, a background check must be done.

A new adult volunteer application will be available in the fall of 2003. The application will now (1) clearly advise applicants that a criminal background screening will be conducted; (2) require written consent to conduct the background check; (3) certify permission to use resulting reports; and (4) require a Social Security number.

The new application includes the following statement:

"By submitting this application you are authorizing a criminal background check of yourself. This check will be made from public record sources. You will have an opportunity to review and challenge any adverse information disclosed by the check."

What does this mean to you?

The primary impact will be one of feeling more secure in knowing that anyone with a history of criminal conduct with a child will be far less likely to become a volunteer in your pack, troop, team, or crew, thereby making your children safer.

It also means that a new adult application cannot be processed without a Social Security number and consent to conduct the background check (the application can only be signed by the applicant). Current leaders should make sure the required information is included on all adult applications before submitting them to the council service center.

We believe that the critical importance of protecting our youth from abuse or violence will be recognized by all—and that parents, leaders, and staff will take comfort and pride in the steps we are taking.

* ChoicePoint is a public company based in the Atlanta area. It evolved out of the background checking systems in Equifax, which has a long history in this field of information expertise and has many Fortune 500 companies as clients.

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