Pre-Launch Training: Leadership and Scout Skills

sbsa cookingKnowledge is Good!  While girls are not registered as Scouts in a Scouts BSA troop until their troop is chartered on or after February 1, 2019 and their youth applications are accepted, there are things that they can learn before that first day.

Leadership Knowledge.  One element is troop leadership skills, and so you can conduct the program called “Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops” or “ILST”.  The purpose of ILST is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role.  It is intended to help Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities.  The syllabus, updated in July, 2018, is found at the “Training for Youth” page.girls at table

  • As with all Scouting resources, All Scouting is Local, and your troop may do it differently than others or differently than some parts of the syllabus – and you may do it differently in month one than you do in month six as your troop evolves.
  • You might see if your “brother” troop wants to participate in that with you … they might, as you might emulate some of how they operate.
  • But you might do it better than them!

The ILST course, and many others (including some great camping skills courses), are offered at the February 16 University of Scouting, held all day at Life University.  Register at  Take everyone, adults and youth, and let them learn!

The “Training for Youth” page has other useful syllabi and links for you, like Den Chief Training, Hazardous Weather Training, and more.

Scout Skills Knowledge.  If the girls joining your troop are keen on earning rank advancement quickly, they might want to acquire some knowledge about it … starting with the Scout Rank.

  • campfire girlsRemember:  in 2015 this got elevated from a “joining badge” to a rank, and so the requirements are more fulsome than before.
  • Your best resource for that is a Scout Handbook, and even before the handbook version for girls is released, you can use the existing “Boy Scout Handbook”, since the rank requirements are the same.
  • Another resource is the Cub Scout Arrow of Light adventure called “Scouting Adventure” … the den leader guide for that is found at the end of this leader guide excerpt.

eggs girlBut if They are Tested Before Becoming Scouts, Can They Get Credit for Advancement?  Nope.  Not until they register as Scouts on or after February 1, 2019.  They can get instruction now at a troop activity or other BSA activity like a Merit Badge clinic (if invited to participate).  That will benefit them, and make “testing” and signoff easier after they are Scouts registered on or after February 1, 2019.  For example, a Cub Scout’s earning the Arrow of Light doesn’t mean he or she also earns the Scout Rank upon joining a troop – it just means the Scout has benefitted from instruction before joining a troop, and is likely to be better able to be tested and pass the Scout Rank requirements quickly.  So too with girls who get Scout skills or merit badge instruction before they join a troop: after they are registered on or after February 1, 2019, they are likely to be better able to be tested and pass the requirements quickly.

More on advancement and whether things done before officially joining can be “counted” on or after registration, from the Guide to Advancement (the most recent version, from 2017):

  • A general note at the top of Section 7 says: “All merit badge requirements must be met while a registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout, or a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout. Accomplishments before joining, or while a Cub Scout, do not apply.”
    • So, for example, the nights camping while a Cub Scout don’t apply either to T-2-1 camping requirements, nor to Camping Merit Badge.  Nor do nights camping in 2018 while visiting a Troop in anticipation of joining a Scouts BSA Troop.
  • holding fishOn Merit Badge Work, Section says: “Even though Scouts may benefit from reviewing requirements with a counselor before pursuing them, a boy may begin working on a merit badge at any time after he is registered. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work or activities completed prior to the issuing of the signed blue card. Common sense should prevail, however. For example, nights already camped as a Boy Scout, or coins or stamps already collected, would count toward their respective badges.”
    • So, for Coin Collecting Merit Badge, the knowledge from a period of time before joining will serve the Scout well in being able to be tested on the “Explain”, “Know”, “Describe”, “Identify” and “Demonstrate” parts, but for the “do” parts the existing collection will need to expand a bit to meet minimum requirements.
  • On Advancement generally, Section says:  “If a former member rejoins a BSA program, still as a youth member, then that youth may carry on in the advancement program, picking up where he left off when last he was a member, but not receiving credit for activities while not registered.”
    • Extending that logic, what you do generally before becoming a member (at whatever age) doesn’t get “credit”, though it may inform a Scout and give the Scout skills to get a signoff faster when tested.

More about advancement in the BSA is found at this Advancement and Awards page.

More Resources: A Cornucopia of National and Local Resources

There are many official and unofficial website resources to help you do Scouting, and many of them are helpful – but with both “official” and “unofficial” resources, the ancient Latin maxim of “Caveat Scouter” (Scouter beware) applies, as despite best intentions, some material – even on “official” sites – is out of date, or incomplete, or confusing, or conflicts with other pieces.

aacBut, collectively, there is wealth of useful information out there.  Here are some links you might want to keep (and feel free to contact us for more that you know of):

Official BSA Links:

Useful Unofficial Links:

To find more, see and search away.


“Aging Out” Soon? Eagle Options for the new older Scout in 2019

Temporary transition rules exist for youth over 16 but not yet 18 years of age on February 1, 2019 who are interested in earning the Eagle Scout rank and who join Scouts BSA for the first time in 2019, so that these newly joined older Scouts can earn the Eagle rank even if they join in 2019 at age 16 or 17.eagle patch

The full announcement is posted here — NOTE on 1/31/19 it became apparent that while the initial guidance said that extensions “will provide not more than twenty-four months from the date of initial registration to complete all requirements”, that was reduced at some point since 10/1/18 to reflect 22 months.  The request for extension is an attachment to the Guide to Advancement.

The basic rule for youth joining Scouts BSA during 2019 – both girls and first-time joining boys – is:

  1. Youth 16 years of age or older, but not yet 18, on February 1, 2019 who register as members of Scouts BSA on or before December 31, 2019, may request extensions to complete the Eagle Scout Award requirements after they turn 18 years of age.
  • Another note in the announcement states that “these temporary transition rules apply to all youth joining Scouts BSA during 2019–both girls and first-time joining boys”.
  • So, for example, they would not apply to boys who joined before 2019.
  1. Requests for extensions must be received no later than thirty (30) days after turning 18 years of age. Extensions must be in writing by submitting the designated form to the National Service Center.
  • It is noted that requests for extension can be submitted at any time after joining …
  • … so, especially for your 17 year old signups, get their requests for extension filed as soon as you can, so that you can have a final extended deadline set in stone.
  1. eagle projectThese are temporary transition rules and will not be available to any youth who is under 16 years of age on February 1, 2019 as they will have adequate time to earn their Eagle before turning 18.

More detail and commentary is found in that announcement at


Still Boy Only: What Troops at Chartered Organizations with only a Troop of Boys can do to help their fellow Scouts and Potential Scouts

Some wonder: If Won’t Add a Troop of Girls, Do We Have To Deal with Girls and Their Families?  Well, you don’t, but …

  • … even if you’re not going to have a “sister” troop, we hope you’ll be helpful to girls interested in Scouting – even if you’re referring them to another Chartered Organization’s troop.
  • After all, “A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts.” And that includes girls interested in Scouts BSA.

welcome campsiteIf we don’t plan to start a troop of girls, can we have Arrow of Light girls do troop visits?  Sure.  You can let them visit your troop, just like you always do with boys!  You can still have them visit your troop and see how you do Scouting.  After all, the purpose of the troop visit is to let the Scouts see how a troop operates (whether they join you or not).  Plus, if the girls decide to start their own troop by themselves and copy how you do Scouting – that’s an excellent result!

sbsa climbingCan Arrow of Light Girls Camp and Hike with Us?  Yes they can, just like you already do with boys – but be sure to follow the Youth Protection rule that a registered female adult leader over 21 must be present for any activity involving female youth.  Some troops will insist it be a registered female from the pack, to be more familiar with the girls, but it could be a female troop leader.

sbsa archery 2Will there be Girl Troops at Summer Camp with Us?  Probably.  At Bert Adams Scout Camp and Woodruff Scout Camp, troops of girls are welcomed all weeks, and the first year camper program at Woodruff becomes “Mountaineer” (it remains “Rawhide” at Bert Adams).  At the Atlanta Area Council Camps, Girl troops will have designed areas to camp in, meaning that Scouts BSA troops of girls, will be put in campsites adjacent to each other, including any brother/sister troops that elect the same campsite – this will facilitate hospitality between troops of girls.  Locations and numbers will depend on the week and the census of troops of girls in camp.  Some other council’s camps make take a different approach, like having some mixed weeks, some boy-only, some girl-only.

What Your Scouts might do to help bring along new Scouts Next Year (and the year after and the year after): Be a Den Chief

A Den Chief is a Scout in a troop, a Venturer or a Sea Scout assisting a Cub Scout den.  Now that Cub Scout packs can have dens of girls, there is an opportunity to lead them in Cub Scouting and help them cross over into Scouts BSA troops.den leap

Pack Adult Leaders can request the assistance of one or more Den Chiefs from Scoutmasters, Crew Advisors or Ship Skippers, but your troop can also contact local packs with girls to see if they want any Den Chief help from your Scouts willing to serve.  Many will be excited to take you up on the offer to have young women serve as role models to these female Cub Scouts.

As with historic relationships between packs and troops, troops will want to have some profile with Cub Scouts and their packs and Webelos Scout dens:  help at a Pinewood Derby, tell the story of Scouts BSA at a Pack activity, conduct joint outdoor activities or service projects, so that the Cub Scouts will want to do what Scouts in your troop do, and parents will want to see their Cub Scouts grow up to be Eagle Scouts.

boy-scouts-girl-cub-scouts-promoSee this Den Chief Training page and training facilitator’s guide for more.

Order of the Arrow: the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service will be open to male and female youth in 2019

As announced in May, 2018, your Scouts in Scouts BSA troop for girls will become eligible for membership in the Order of the Arrow just like boys in a troop.2019-national-oa-officers

For youth in Scouts BSA, the same rules apply to be eligible to stand for election:  be registered as a Scout, 15 nights of camping within the two years immediately prior to the election (including one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping), and hold at least First Class Rank.  Then, following approval by the Scoutmaster, a youth may be elected by the youth members of their unit.

From the FAQs:

  • Q. Will camping be counted retroactively for those currently in Venturing and Sea Scouts?
    • A:  Yes. Camping that has taken place within the two years immediately prior to the election will be counted beginning February 1, 2019. This camping must have taken place while an individual was registered with the BSA as a program participant and must be while participating with a BSA Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship.

So, for most Scouts BSA troops in the Atlanta Area Council starting in February, unless you have Scouts who did long term camping in the last two years as a Venturer or Sea Scout, your first OA election will be in the spring of 2020, after you’ve had a long term camp.

But, if you have a Venturer or Sea Scout who meets the camping and rank requirement, you might be able to schedule an OA election – but coordinate with any Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship that the Scout is registered in, as the Scout may be elected from the Crew or Ship.

egwaAnd in case someone asks, no, Cub Scout camping does not qualify for Order of the Arrow camping eligibility.

More detail in the announcement from May, 2018, and see the Website of Egwa Tawa Dee, the local OA Lodge.