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Program Resolution November 2017

hiking

A Scout Unit’s Program, which includes activities, advancement, camping (the outdoor program), community service, and training, is the key factor that helps to both recruit Scouts to join a unit and to retain those Scouts. 

A successful Pack, Troop, Crew, or Ship creates a safe environment for the Scouts with Trained Adult Leaders, has an Advancement Program, an Outdoor Program which includes camping experiences, and unique qualities that make that unit special. In addition, Boy Scout Troops, should include the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s youth-led service organization, in the troop’s program.

Over the last few years, the Program Department of the Heart of Virginia Council has noticed the following regarding the program of many of its units:

  • A significant number of Scout advancement records are incorrect.
  • A significant number of Cub Scouts are missing out on camping and outdoor program opportunities.
  • A significant number of Boy Scouts are missing out on long-term camping experiences such as resident summer camp.
  • A significant number of Boy Scouts Troops are not holding Order of the Arrow Unit Elections for their eligible Boy Scouts.

To improve the Scouting Program in our units the Heart of Virginia Council Executive Board passed a resolution on November 16, 2017 which focused on the following program areas: advancement, camping (outdoor program), and the Order of the Arrow. The 2018 focus will be to improve these areas of the Scouting program in the Heart of Virginia Council. The full resolution can be seen here.

1. Advancement: One of the 8 methods of Scouting, reporting Scouts’ Advancement properly is a requirement of the Boy Scouts of America, and entering it electronically into the BSA system through an Internet portal is the most straightforward way to get it done. The benefits of using Internet Advancement are:

  • Eliminates a backlog in advancement records.
  • Alleviates time-burdening paperwork and data entry for council staff and volunteers.
  • Ensures that advancement records are accurate and complete for every Scout.
  • Ensures that advancement is reported only for Scouts who are properly registered with the BSA.
  • Prevents the reporting of advancement for Scouts who are not registered with the BSA.
  • Provides straightforward and direct method of reporting.
  • Eliminates issues with deciphering handwriting.
  • Helps in local council verification of Eagle Scout Rank Applications.
  • Records ranks, badges, and awards in accordance with BSA advancement rules.
  • Consolidates data files to reduce or eliminate record gaps when Scouts transfer units.
  • Provides important information for evaluating unit health.
  • Supports national data analysis for advancement statistics.
  • Assures advancement is counted in the Journey to Excellence.

Therefore, effective January 1, 2018, every Heart of Virginia Council unit shall be required to only record advancement online through Internet Advancement. This requirement will bring the Heart of Virginia Council in-line with other councils in our area that have already eliminated paper advancement forms to bring Scout records up-to-date. When purchasing all rank badges, except for the rank of Eagle Scout, the Scout Shop will only accept printouts from Internet Advancement. Mandatory Internet Advancement for all units will support the council’s incentive for those Gold JTE units that perform an FOS presentation to be able to receive cloth rank badges free of charge from the Scout Shop.

2. The Outdoor Program and Unit Camping: One of the 8 methods of Scouting, Scouting is designed to take place in the outdoors. Scouting’s Outdoor Program and Camping, the excitement and adventure of camping and the great outdoors, is what is promised to and why a youth joins a Scout unit. The quality of a unit’s Outdoor Program is a leading indicator of the unit’s health. Units that plan and execute an Outdoor Program with unit camping opportunities and a summer camping experience will both recruit and retain more Scouts. Therefore,

  • Every Pack should afford its Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts the opportunity to attend camping events such as Day Camp, Family Camp, and Resident Camp.
  • Every Troop should afford its Boy Scouts the opportunity to experience and be a part of a year-round outdoor program totaling at least 10 days and nights of hiking, overnight camping, camporees, and summer camp experiences, which may include troop-based, long-term camping and high adventure experiences.
  • Every Troop, Venture Crew and Sea Scout Ship should report their unit-based, long-term camping or high adventure experiences and Outdoor Program successes to their district.

3. Troop Involvement in the Order of the Arrow: The Order of the Arrow is an integral part of the BSA; Nawakwa Lodge 3 is an integral part of the Heart of Virginia Council.  The Mission of the Order of the Arrow is “to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults”. The purpose of the Order of the arrow is to:

  • Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition;
  • Promote Camping, responsible outdoor adventure and environmental stewardship in the unit, year-round and at summer camp;
  • Develop leaders, youth and adult, with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their troop, our Brotherhood, Scouting and ultimately our Nation; and
  • Crystalize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others

Therefore, every Boy Scout Troop should strive to earn the Order of the Arrow Unit of Excellence Award annually, which recognizes Troops that afford their eligible Scouts the opportunity to be part of Order of the Arrow by scheduling a Unit Election with the Lodge, participate in Lodge events and meetings, and operate a complete Order of the Arrow Troop Representative Program.

The changes to the Heart of Virginia Council program as a result of this resolution will help strengthen the overall Scouting programs offered by Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, Venturing crews, and Sea Scout ships. Application of these changes will increase advancement and camping in the outdoor program, and aid in the recruitment and retention of young people in Scouting units.