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Site updated 18-MAY-2018

Seneca Cub Day Camp: Parent Packet Update

The Parent Packet for this year's Seneca Cub Day Camp has been updated.  You can download the updated Parent Packet using this link.

Cub Day Camp registration is open and can be found here:  link.


Streetsboro Merit Badge Day: Geocaching

The City of Streetsboro Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting the "Streetsboro Merit Badge Day" on 23 June 2018.  This half-day event will give Scouts the opportunity to earn the Geocaching Merit Badge.

The event will be held at at Thomas Heritage Park, 1050 Streetsboro Rd. in Streetsboro (Satellite Image), and will run from 9:00 AM to Noon.

Scouts must set up a free account on Geocaching.com before the event.  In order to participate, a Scout will also need an Apple iPhone, an Android smartphone, or a dedicated GPS device.  Links to the "official" apps for both iPhone and Android can be found on the front page of Geocaching.com.

To register for the event, follow this this link.

Requirements for the Geocaching Merit Badge can be found here:  link.


Family Scouting: Starting Girl Troops

The next phase of the BSA's Family Scouting Program, starting Girl Troops, will launch on
1 July 2018.

The Great Trail Council has established a 180-day action plan for chartered organizations to recruit and train the adult leadership needed for the new Girl Troops.  The goal is for the new Girl Troops to be officially up and running in February 2019 so that they can attend a 2019 summer camp.

A copy of the 180-day timetable can be downloaded using this link.


2018 Fall Camporee: New York State Bus Trip

Seneca District's 2018 Fall Camporee is going to be a bus trip to New York State.  The dates are Thursday through Sunday, 11-14 October 2018.

Scouts and Scouters will visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown (Satellite Image), the United States Military Academy West Point (Satellite Image), Howe Caverns (Satellite Image), Watkins Glen International Race Track (Satellite Image), and Watkins Glen State Park (Satellite Image).

In between visiting all these great attractions, everyone will be camping at the Sky Lake Camp & Retreat Center (Satellite Image).

UPDATE:  Since the bus trip will last more than 72 hours, all participants must fill out all three parts (A, B, and C) of the Annual Health & Medical Record (AHMR).

To learn more and to register, follow this link.


Memorial Day Parade in Kent

American Legion Post 496 (Facebook) is once again organizing the annual Kent Memorial Day Parade.  The parade will start in downtown Kent on Monday, 28 May 2018.  Line-up begins at 9:00 AM.

The parade will be a great opportunity to promote Scouting in Portage County.  If your unit would like to march in the parade (with flags and in full field uniform, of course), you can download the the Parade Application using this link [dead link].

UPDATE:  You can download the complete parade information packet, which includes the Parade Application, using this link.

You can return the application by mail, or you can drop it off at Post 496, which is located just south of State Route 261 at 1945 Mogadore Rd., Kent.

Complete parade information is available at the Post.  Call 330/673-9743 for more details.


Trained Leaders Needed for New Cub Scout Girl Dens

Here's a message from Tom Torres, Seneca District Cub Scout Training Chair:

Greetings Seneca District Cub Scout Packs,

A new era for Cub Scout Packs is fast approaching.  On June 1, 2018, the BSA will welcome girls to join Cub Scouts.  That's less than 90 days from now.  There will be some challenges as we introduce these new Cubs Scouts to the BSA.  I want to identify a couple of these challenges and ask each pack to do its part to meet them.

First, since girls may join our packs in June, we need to be ready for them with trained leaders for the new Girl Dens.  This will be difficult since we do not know how many Girl Den leaders each pack will need.  Cub Scout recruitment starts in September, but girls who are siblings of current Scouts may wish to join right away.

So, the first challenge is for each pack to identify at least two potential leaders for Girl Dens and send their names to me.  The second challenge is to train these potential leaders before June 1.

The training requirements for Den Leaders and Assistant Den Leaders are simple -- just Youth Protection Training and Den Leader Training.  Both trainings are available on the My.Scouting.org Web site.  If the potential leaders are new to Scouting, they may need help setting up a My.Scouting account and navigating the site, so be prepared to lend a hand.

If every pack meets both challenges quickly, in March or April would be great, then we will be ready to lead these new Cub Scouts before summer activities start.

I am asking everyone to pitch in to help Seneca District get off to a good start in this new era of Scouting.  Please contact me with any questions you may have, and I will do my best to get them answered.

Tom Torres
Seneca District Cub Scout Training Chair


YPT 2.0 - New Youth Protection Training

National Council has released a new, updated edition of Youth Protection Training (YPT).  Just like the old training, it's available online at My.Scouting.organd is good for two years.

There is a change, however, and it's that every registered adult Scouter must take the new training before 1 October 2018, even if their old Youth Protection training has not expired.

Since this requirement applies to all Scouters in the U.S., the training is in high demand.  This means there may be times during the day when it is not possible to open the training after you login to My.Scouting.org.  It may be best to take the training early in the morning to take advantage of Ohio's location in the Eastern Time Zone.  Late night in Ohio may not be late enough since it will be early evening on the West Coast.

IMPORTANT:  The training works with the Chrome browser on Windows PCs and the Safari browser on Macs.  It may not work with other browsers.  So, if you have problems, switching browsers may be your best bet.

The training doesn't take long, but don't wait until September to take it.  Do it now and avoid the last minute rush.


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.


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.


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.


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