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Site updated 20-FEB-2018

2018 Order of the Arrow Elections

Marnoc Lodge #151 is ready to assist units with holding this year's Order of the Arrow elections.

A handout with links to election resources and dates for this year's Ordeals can be downloaded here.

The deadline for submitting election results is
15 April 2018.


Call for Nominations - Seneca District Annual Volunteer Recognition Night

At the April Roundtable, Seneca District will hold its annual Volunteer Recognition Night to publicly honor volunteer Scouters who have, during the past charter year, demonstrated exceptional dedication and outstanding service to Scouts and Scouting.  We are now accepting nominations for Leader of the Year Awards in the following categories:  Cubmaster, Den Leader, Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor, and Unit Committee Chair.

We will also recognize units that have, during the past charter year, conducted outstanding programs that delivered the Promise of Scouting.  We are accepting nominations for the Clyde Hazle* Award from Packs, Troops, Crews, and Posts.

Finally, we are accepting nominations for the District Award of Merit, a council award presented by the district which recognizes Scouters who have rendered outstanding volunteer service at the district level.

UPDATE:  We are also accepting nominations for the Silver Beaver Award, a national award presented by the council which recognizes Scouters who have rendered noteworthy volunteer service of exceptional character to youth within the territory under jurisdiction of the council.

Nomination forms for each award are available on the "Forms & Documents" page under the heading "Seneca District."

Nominations should be submitted to Rob Balash, the Seneca District Executive, in person or by mail.  The deadline for all submissions is Friday, 9 March 2018.


The Clyde Hazle Award is named after Clyde Hazle, the first Eagle Scout in the Great Trail Council, who went on to become a Scoutmaster in Ravenna.  To respond to the inevitable question, "Shouldn't his last name be spelled H-a-z-e-l?", we checked the Eagle Scout Book at the Great Trail Council Service Center. The answer? Nope. It's H-a-z-l-e. Case closed.


Scouting.org Update

The BSA's Web site, Scouting.org, is undergoing a major update, and, as with any major renovation, things are a bit chaotic.  Some of the links to Scouting.org on our Web site could lead to empty pages waiting for new content and some could lead to "404" pages, i.e. missing pages.

We apologize for the frustration and inconvenience caused by these changes.  We'll do our best to keep tabs on them and update our Web site as needed.

If you find a problem that lasts more than a day or two, please contact the Webmaster.


Current Boy Scout Rank Requirements Handout

When Boy Scout rank requirements change, National Council releases a PDF handout of all rank requirements that includes the changes.  This handout is an updated version of the "Boy Scout Rank Requirements" section found at the back of the Boy Scout Handbook.

The current PDF handout was released in November 2017 and is available on Scouting.org.  You can also find a link to it on the "Boy Scouts" page by using this link and then clicking on the "Awards & Advancement" link.  You'll find the link to the handout under the heading "Current Rank Requirements."  Printing it on 8.5"x11" paper produces an easy to read copy, best suited for a three-ring binder.

You'll also find a link named "Current Rank Requirements -- Simplified Handbook Insert."  It links to a second PDF designed to print two pages of the handout per sheet of paper.  The sheets are meant to be stapled together at one corner and can be folded in half to fit in a Handbook.


2018 University of Scouting

Registration is now open for this year's University of Scouting.  It will be held on Saturday, 3 March 2018 at Ravenna High School (Satellite Image) [DD:  41.169994, -81.243839].  This all day event will run from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

You can register or download the Class Catalog and Class Schedule here.

What is the University of Scouting?

"The University of Scouting is the largest supplemental training course offered by Great Trail Council to Scouting volunteers of all levels. During this fun-filled day, experienced volunteer leaders will present programs to help you improve your skills and expand your knowledge. You will also meet other leaders, gather new resources, and share ideas on building the best possible program for your Scouts."


Family Scouting Program Launch

The BSA's Family Scouting Program will launch in 2018. As you have probably heard, the first step will be opening Cub Scouts to girls.  Packs can be All Boy, All Girl, or Family with All Boy and All Girl dens.

The Great Trail Council has established a 180-day action plan for packs to choose how they will operate and to recruit and train the needed adult leadership.  A key element of this action plan is recruiting new Cub Scouts to attend the council's 2018 Day Camps, Cub Scout Adventure Camps, and Webelos Resident Camps.

A detailed explanation of the action plan and its 180-day timetable is available for download as a two-page PDF using this link.


Eagle Palms Requirements Revised

The new Eagle Palms requirements that went into effect on 1 August 2017 have been revised.

The revision deals with Eagle Scouts who passed their Eagle Board of Review BEFORE 1 August 2017 AND who turned 18 years old ON OR AFTER 1 August 2017. If an Eagle Scout meets both of these criteria, then he is entitled to receive Eagle Palms based on the number of merit badges he earned before his Eagle Board of Review without having to meet the "three month" requirement or any other Palms requirement.

To figure out how many Palms to award to such an Eagle Scout, you simply count up the number of merit badges earned before the Eagle Board of Review and see how many sets of five (5) there are beyond the 21 merit badges needed for Eagle.  That's it.  There are no other requirements.

If Palms have already been awarded for merit badges earned before the Eagle Board of Review by meeting all Palms requirements (either old or new), including the "three month" requirement, and there are merit badges left that were earned before the Eagle Board of Review but not applied to a Palm, then an additional Palm can be awarded for each set of five (5) without having to meet the "three month" requirement or any other Palms requirement.

In either case, if any merit badges earned before the Eagle Board of Review are still left, they count towards the next Palm, which must be earned by meeting all new Palms requirements, including the "three month" requirement.

All other Eagle Palms requirements that became effective on 1 August 2017 remain the same.

For details on the revised requirements, open the "Boy Scouts" page using this link, and follow the "Eagle Scout" link.  These details are based on the 25 October 2017 Bryan on Scouting blog post "After hearing from volunteers, BSA to allow current Eagle Scouts to receive Eagle Palms retroactively".  This post includes additional explanations of the revised requirements which you may find helpful.

NOTE:  You can download the PDF which is National Council's official publication of the revised Eagle Palms requirements using this link.

New Eagle Palms Requirements

The following explanation of the new Eagle Palms requirements is taken from the 11 August 2017 SenecaDistrict.org post "Eagle Palms Requirements Changed."

Beginning on 1 August 2017, there are two ways to earn Eagle Palms.  The first applies to merit badges earned before a Scout's Eagle Board of Review.  The second applies to merit badges earned after a Scout's Eagle Board of Review.  Each way has its own set of requirements.

What remains unchanged for both sets of requirements is that a Palm is awarded for every five (5) merit badges earned beyond the 21 merit badges needed for Eagle or the last Palm.  As before, this means a Bronze Palm for five (5), a Gold Palm for ten (10), a Silver Palm for fifteen (15), and appropriate combinations of Palms for higher totals.

The only change that applies to both sets of requirements is the elimination of a board of review.  Since a Palm is not a rank, it was decided by National Council that a board of review was no longer necessary.

The difference between the two sets of requirements is this:  For merit badges earned before an Eagle Board of Review, there is only one (1) requirement.  For merit badges earned after an Eagle Board of Review, there are five (5) requirements.

For merit badges earned before an Eagle Board of Review, you count up them up, figure out how many sets of five (5) there are beyond the 21 merit badges needed for Eagle, and award the appropriate Palms to the Scout at his Eagle Court of Honor.  That's it.  Nothing else needs to be done.  If there are any merit badges left over, they count towards the next Palm.

For merit badges earned after an Eagle Board of Review, three requirements are the same as before:  Req. 2 - Demonstrate Scout Spirit; Req. 4 - Earn five additional merit badges; and Req. 5 - Participate in a Unit Leader conference.

The two remaining requirements have been updated:  Req. 1 - Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three (3) months; and Req. 3 - Set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability.

Req. 1 still includes three months of activity, but a Scout is no longer limited to activity in his unit.  Activity in any BSA program is acceptable, including Order of the Arrow, Venturing, camp staff, NYLT staff, NAYLE staff, etc.

Req. 3 now permits "accepting responsibility" in addition to "demonstrating leadership ability."  The reasoning here is that a Scout may earn Eagle by serving only in positions of responsibility, leadership being required only when a Scout is carrying out his Eagle service project.


Annual Membership Fees Increased

Effective 1 December 2017, the annual membership fee for both youths and adults will increase to $33.

The fee increase is due to the increased cost of claims made against the BSA's General Liability Insurance Plan.  The BSA is self-insured, meaning that it maintains a cash reserve to cover the cost of claims made against it.  These reserves are drawn down every time a claim is made or proceeds to litigation.


Proof of Current Youth Protection Training Required with New Adult Applications

Effective 1 September 2017, all new BSA Adult Applications submitted to the council Service Center must include a copy of the applicant's current (i.e. un-expired) Youth Protection Training (YPT) certificate.  The application will not be processed if the YPT certificate is missing.

Since including the YPT certificate is mandatory, the 30-day grace period for new adult volunteers to take Youth Protection Training has been eliminated.


Exemption From Second Class and First Class Swimming Requirements

The BSA's National Council has authorized local councils to grant exemptions to individual Scouts, on a case-by-case basis, from the Second Class and First Class swimming requirements.  Exemptions are based solely on the distance a Scout has to travel to a safe swimming location in order to complete the requirements.  If the council Scout Executive and the council Advancement Committee determine that the distance is "prohibitively far," then the council may grant an exemption and specify an alternate requirement.

This exemption was created for "geographically large or predominately rural councils." Since the Great Trail Council is neither geographically large nor predominately rural, it is unlikely that this exemption will be granted to Scouts in this council.

This exemption became effective on 1 August 2017.  The update to the rank requirements is a footnote added to the Second Class and First Class swimming requirements.  To see the text of the footnote, use this link to open the "Boy Scouts" page and then follow the "Advancement and Awards" link.

IMPORTANT:  This exemption cannot be used to avoid the swimming requirements.  It is not intended for Scouts having difficulty learning to swim or meeting the swimming requirements.

You can learn more about this exemption in this blog post on ScoutingMagazine.org.


Overnight Camping Requirements for Second Class and First Class Changed

On 1 August 2017, the number of overnight campouts required to earn Second Class and First Class ranks changed.  The numbers have been reduced to those required in 2015:  two (2) overnight campouts for Second Class and three (3) overnight campouts for First Class.

The number of "troop/patrol activities" required for each rank remains the same:  five (5) for Second Class and ten (10) for First Class.  A new category, "outdoor activities," has been added.  Overnight camping is now included in outdoor activities.

Here's how the activity arithmetic has changed.  For Second Class, instead of three (3) overnight campouts, three (3) outdoor activities are now required and at least two (2) of these activities must include overnight campouts.  For First Class, instead of six (6) overnight campouts, six (6) outdoor activities are now required and at least three (3) of these activities must include overnight campouts.

Clearly, an extra overnight campout counts as an outdoor activity.  So if you love camping, keep doing it.  Hiking, biking, boating, sailing, etc., certainly count as outdoor activities.  Outdoor service projects also count as outdoor activities.

If you choose an outdoor service project as an outdoor activity, please consider carefully how best to meet both the outdoor activity requirements and the service requirements for Second Class (2 hours) and First Class (3 hours). There does not appear to be any prohibition against applying a single outdoor service project to both the service and the outdoor activity requirements. However, in the spirit of doing the most good for the most people, consider signing off on both requirements at once only if the outdoor service project took longer than the time needed to fulfill a service requirement.

Likewise, be careful about applying work done to earn any outdoor-based merit badges to the outdoor activity requirement. Again, there does not appear to be any prohibition against doing so, but Scouts should be encouraged to use their time and energy to accomplish more, not to figure out ways to cut corners.

As with any change to rank requirements after the publication of the current "Boy Scout Requirements" handbook, Sec. of the Guide to Advancement 2017 gives a Scout until 31 December 2017 to choose which requirements to use.  Specifically:

"He may either continue or begin work using the old requirements, or he may switch to or begin work using the new requirements.  If he chooses to use the old requirements, he may continue using them until he has completed the rank."

The official publication of the revised Second Class and First Class requirements is forthcoming.  For details on the changes, open the "Boy Scouts" page by using this link and follow the "Advancement and Awards" link.  These details are taken from the 11 July 2017 blog post, "Revised campout requirements for Second Class, First Class" on Bryan on Scouting.

In closing, please be aware that some confusion surrounds the "Revised campout requirements..." post.  The post brings up the total number of overnight campouts a Scout needs to reach Eagle and the Camping Merit Badge.  The facts are true, but they are presented in a confusing way.

Here's what you need to know:  These changes to Second Class and First Class requirements do not change the requirements for any other rank or for any merit badge.  Req. 9a of the Camping Merit Badge still states "Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events."  Since the Camping Merit badge is required for Eagle, Req. 9a means every Eagle Scout will have camped for at least 20 nights regardless of how many nights they camped to earn Second Class or First Class.


SenecaDistrict.org Post Archives

Looking for an old post?  If you can't find it on this page, look for it in the Post Archives.


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