Dear Scouting Family —
As the national organization reaches a significant moment in its bankruptcy case, the Mount Baker Council wants our Scouting community to know that we share in the Boy Scouts of America’s heartfelt support for victims of past abuse in Scouting.
Tens of thousands of individuals submitted claims in advance of the November 16th deadline set by the court in the national organization’s Chapter 11 case. We are moved by their bravery. Millions of youth across our country have benefited from Scouting for more than 100 years, but the number of individuals who have been affected by past abuse is devastating.
Now that all claims have been filed, the next step will be for third-party advisors to review the claims in order to uphold the integrity of the process, while the national organization works to develop a plan of reorganization to fund the proposed Trust.
It is important to note that while any instance of abuse is one too many, the overwhelming majority of abuse claims filed in the national organization’s bankruptcy case relate to allegations of abuse that occurred before our modern youth protection policies were put in place more than three decades ago. We want to underscore what many of you already know: The safety and protection of the children in our programs is our absolute top priority. The BSA has multi-layered safeguards in place, all of which act as barriers to abuse, and we can assure you that our volunteers and staff members take these measures extremely seriously. We encourage you to review our safety policies and procedures to better understand our commitment to youth safety and ask that you share this information with friends, neighbors, and family members who ask about this topic. Some helpful resources include our Youth Safety Infographic and Video.
he Mount Baker Council remains committed to delivering Scouting’s unparalleled experiences to young people throughout our communities, and we thank you for your continued support.
If you have any other questions about the policies in place to keep kids safe in Scouting today, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about the recent news regarding the national organization’s bankruptcy case, please reference this FAQ.
Yours in Scouting,
Charter Renewal 2020
By: Ed Reger, Council Commissioner
I look back at articles I wrote in December 2019 and February 2020 and where we are now in Mount Baker and Scouting throughout the Country. It is nothing like we expected it to be. It has been, and still is, a year of significant impacts and has required a great deal of creativity, flexibility and stamina. Now that we at the time to renew Unit Charters we will be completing the process in a different manner, with minimal contact. Due to the pandemic “contactless” has become the way we do most everything. We are separate and remote in most meeting, doing “drive-bys” with limited contact for Courts of Honor and even with a completely virtual Annual Auction.
Not only will we be completing our charter renewals in contactless manner, but we are also changing our Council’s charter year. The decision to change was made prior to the impact of COVID-19 and with a great deal of consideration. The early Fall is the time of the year when we see the largest number of youths, and adults, joining our program. And with our old Charter Year we found ourselves working to renew charters during the “holiday season”, from Halloween through Christmas. The decision was to change to a Charter Year from November 1 thru October 31. This year we are doing a 10-month charter, which has also contributed to the confusion.
Our Registrar, our VP of Marketing, council professionals, our District Commissioners and the Commissioner staffs have worked hard to create a process to allow for charter renewal, with limited paper and minimal contact, including a new website and all Unit Key Three members should have received instructions and a specific units access codes from your District Directors.
This year has had many challenges, and this will be another, but I have watched you, our volunteer leaders step up to the challenges and maintain an active and vital program for our youth. Thank you for what you have done in the past, what you are doing now and what you will do for Scouting in the future (stealing the closing from our Council Executive, Kevin Nichols!)
Let’s start at the very basics! Do you know where to find up-to-the-minute safety information for Scouts and Scouters? The scouting.org website. Take time to become familiar with all the safety information under Scouting Safely to help all of us keep Scouts safe.
GENERAL INFORMATION – Check out these sections of the Scouting Safely page:
- Scouting Safely Alerts—Keep up on the latest safety information and advice, from insurance issues to firearms and rocket safety.
- Guide to Safe Scouting—The Guide to Safe Scouting is an overview of Scouting policies and procedures gleaned from a variety of sources. For some items, there are complete policy statements. This is a valuable resource for unit leaders to review prior to conducting activities.
- The Sweet 16 of BSA Safety—In a continuing effort to protect participants in Scouting activities, the BSA’s National Health and Safety Committee has developed 16 points that embody good judgment and common sense for all activities.
- Annual Health and Medical Record—The Annual Health and Medical Record is completed at least annually by all participants in any Scouting activity. Scouting adventures, camping trips, high-adventure excursions, and having fun are important to everyone in Scouting—and so is your safety and well-being. Completing the Annual Health and Medical Record is the first step in making sure you have a great Scouting experience. Find out what forms you need for which activities.
- Incident Reporting—Timely and complete incident reports support analysis that is critical to identifying needed improvement of BSA programs. This section also includes incident reviews for your use.
- Answers to Your General Health and Safety Questions—Review this page for answers to frequently asked questions about anything ranging from Scouts on zip lines and pets at campouts to the Annual Health and Medical Record and insurance coverage.
- Wilderness First Aid Training—Learn about practices that go way beyond what Scouting leaders may already know as “first aid.” Wilderness first-aid training can help you cope with medical emergencies in the wild and, perhaps more importantly, to be a more effective manager in any crisis.
- Safety Moments—Safety Moments are exactly what the name implies: opportunities to prepare for an activity, review safety measures, and report incidents correctly. Topics in this series include incident reporting helps, weather-related safety, winter activities, and winter sports…all good topics to know this winter season!
While many Scout units have a desire to return to Scouting activities, they have questions about how to do so safely during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the recent webinar on how to hold meetings safely during COVID-19, attendees received tips on the key steps they can be taking right now to find a safe way to return to their meeting activities.
In response to the needs of Youth Leaders in Troops and Crews, Scouting U has released two new virtual training programs for Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST), and Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews(ILSC). These new temporary instructional training programs are available by logging onto https://my.scouting.org and launching the BSA Learn Center. When the Learn Center opens you can select the Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops (ILST) or Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews (ILSC) from Programs as applicable to you. In the Programs are 2 Learning Plans – Introduction and Tools of Leadership – you will need to complete both. When selecting a Learning Plan, it will open with a description and course listing – click the Enroll Button to record your completion progress. For courses within the Learning Plan simply click the Start button and take the course until you complete it. Both the Learning Plans and Course will show your percentage of completion.
Module 1 is a brief five-minute introduction to the organizational structure of the unit. In Module 2 participants will spend approximately 36 minutes learning about the Tools of Leadership. Designed to help Scouts and Crew members develop their leadership, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Specific topics include Creating a Vision, Goal Setting, Communication, Planning and Delegation, and the Stages of Team Development. Upon completion of these two modules, a certificate of completion will be available, and should be printed for their Unit Leader. The completion certificate allows Scouts an opportunity to complete the third and final module in a virtual online environment.
Using a Zoom or similar online video conferencing program, Module 3 provides Scouts an opportunity to virtually interact with their fellow Scouts and leaders to expand and integrate their leadership expertise. Topics covered in the final one-hour module, includes Team Development and Characteristics, Group Decisions, Leadership Styles and Tools, Ethics and Values and the EDGE method.
Unit leaders interested in offering this new Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops and Crews can contact email@example.com to request the directions, PowerPoint, and Script for Module 3.
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Don’t forget the cheese balls! (recognition to Coconut Kenny’s) And certainly do not forget our Alumni!!
Remember that neighbor lady who always buys popcorn from those nice Scouts who stand in front of the grocery store each fall selling popcorn? How about the retired couple down the block who once was actively involved in your grown son’s Cub Scout pack? How about the minister at your church who you know was once a Scoutmaster? Whatever happened to all those grandparents, retired parents, and Scout siblings who always helped out with your unit’s Pinewood Derby, Blue & Gold Banquet, Recruiting Open Houses, Scout Camp transportation, etc.???
Whether or not they are registered in the Scouting Alumni and Friends movement, there are alumnus among us throughout our communities. Those who are no longer actively involved in Scouting may not be aware of what’s going on in Scouting, especially now when Scouting is less visible to those not involved because we are doing so much in the virtual realm thanks to COVID-19. However, it’s quite possible to re-engage these folks with that same technology. For instance, popcorn this year is ordered on-line and shipped to the person who ordered it. That means that a relative back east can easily buy Mt. Baker Council popcorn IF they know how to do it. Likewise, that same relative can attend our online events (think Auction and other fundraising opportunities), IF they have the information to do so.
Reach out to those who you know were once actively involved in Scouting and help them to re-engage with us in our new way of Scouting. There is a good chance that the neighbor lady might buy even more popcorn this year because of the convenience and her ongoing wish to support Scouting. And we never know who might be inspired to help out with a specific event or task that they learn about in one of our virtual meetings or communications. If someone chooses to serve directly with youth, registration and training would be required as per our policies.
Overall, the best way to keep our alumni up to speed with the current Scouting situation and events is to encourage them to register with Scouting Alumni and Friends (SAF) at https://scoutingalumni.org/. This is free and makes it easy to reconnect, even if it’s been “a while” since someone was involved in Scouting.
P.S.: I am one of those neighbor ladies!
As we begin our new “Scouting Year”, it would be a great time to “dust off” the Guide to Safe Scouting and review with your unit leadership, Scouts, and Venturers.
Few youth organizations encompass the breadth, volume, and diversity of physical activity common to Scouting. The Guide to Safe Scouting (GTSS) is an overview of Scouting policies and procedures, gleaned from a variety of sources and designed to make the program safer.
When it comes to the safety guide, here are some important points for you to remember:
- Know the Guide—All participants in official Scouting activities should become familiar with the document and applicable BSA program literature or manuals. The guide is a resource as well as a summary of the materials provided by the BSA.
- Know the Law—Be aware that state or local government regulations supersede BSA practices, policies, and guidelines.
- Know the Risks—The Guide to Safe Scouting does not cover every possible activity, but it provides guidance on how to evaluate risks and proceed safely if explicit requirements do not exist. Check out the Activity Planning and Risk Assessment section.
- Know the Restrictions—The document includes a list of restricted or prohibited activities.
- Know the Limits—The document contains age-appropriate guidelines for activities. Find out which and when certain activities are appropriate for particular age groups.
- Know the Program—The guide points to other BSA program documents such as Safe Swim Defense, the National Shooting Sports Manual, and additional program materials.
Not Just a Guide!
While the Guide to Safe Scouting provides guidance on how to assess risks and proceed safety if your activity is not specifically addressed in program materials, it also contains policies such as the Scouter Code of Conduct and the Barriers to Abuse. It also may lead you to requirements found in other BSA program materials.
- Guide to Safe Scouting website
- Guide to Safe Scouting online version with latest updates
- BSA Scouter Code of Conduct
For the sustainability of the Mount Baker Council and the youth we serve, the Mount Baker Council Volunteer Executive Board has approved a reduced spending budget for the 2020 calendar year based on the serious impact of COVID-19 on our current and projected income projections. As many of you have had to make much needed but uncomfortable decisions regarding your own personal budgets during the pandemic, the Mount Baker Council has had to make similar decisions regarding our 2020 budget so we can live within our means.
One of the decisions is changing the operations and hours of our Service Center’s Trading Post. Below are the key changes and the new service hours for the Trading Post.
- There will be no Saturday Trading Post hours at the Everett Service Center until the Everett community achieves Phase 4.
- The Everett Trading Post will be closed during 11:30 am to 12:30 pm due to the reduced staffing.
- To better coordinate services and sales, the Bellingham Service Center and Trading Post is closed until further notice.
- For those volunteers who need advancement awards, books, uniforms and other Scouting items, all Trading Post operations will be handled through the Everett Service Center. Units and individuals will be able to place orders through the Everett Trading Post via phone (425.338.0380) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Orders received by 4 p.m. will be shipped by the next day (shipping and handling fees will be added to order total), dependent on the inventory.
Everett Service Center Trading Post Key Information:
- Phone: 425.338.0380
- Email (for orders): email@example.com
- Open Store Hours: M-F 9 am to 11:30 am and 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm
- Closed Store Hours: M-F 11:30 am – 12:30 pm as well as Saturdays.
- Note: Due to budget adjustments based on COVID-19 challenges, the Everett Service Center and Trading Post will be closed twice a month on Fridays. See the Council Calendar on www.mountbakerbsa.org for the dates.
- Special Note: The Bellingham Service Center and Trading Post is closed until further notice.
We appreciate your support and understanding as we all work to ensure our organization can continue to fulfill our mission of delivering Scouting’s values to our young people. We know that with the support of our volunteers and our community the Mount Baker Council can come out of this experience stronger.
Understanding the national BSA ads and how you can share the Youth Protection message.
It is important to emphasize that the safety of children in our programs is our absolute top priority. That’s precisely why, over many decades the BSA has developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.
Conversations about safety will be especially relevant over the next several weeks when those in Scouting and other members of the public will likely see and hear print, TV, social media, digital and radio advertising from national BSA’s Chapter 11 noticing campaign. Although only the national organization has filed for Chapter 11, you will likely come across these ads in the coming weeks and may receive questions from friends and family, so we wanted to make sure you knew their purpose and had the necessary information to address questions or concerns they may raise for you or others.
The BSA’s ads are designed and sponsored by national BSA to ensure that victims have the opportunity to come forward and apply for compensation from a proposed Trust by filing a claim by the November 16, 2020 deadline set by the court. This advertising effort underscores the BSA’s commitment to the dual objectives of its bankruptcy proceeding: equitably compensate victims of past abuse and continue the mission of Scouting.
You can learn more about Scouting’s Youth Protection policies and practices, as well as more information on the national BSA “Noticing Campaign” by following links to these national BSA resources: