Trail to First Class 2020

There are new and exciting changes to this years Trail to First Class!

We will still be camping at Holter Lake April 17-19, but we will be using a new campground.

We have also revamped our Call-out ceremony to comply with changes within the Order of the Arrow and we are excited to share it with you. It will truly be an exciting event for all , especially those that are selected by their peers to join our Order.

Please read the attached Leaders Guide in its entirety as there are many changes from previous years.

We have assigned camping spots based on unit size.

Please address all questions or comments to OA Chapter Adviser, Tom Lynch at BSAGreatFalls@gmail.com.

Download the 2020 Trail to First Class Leader’s Guide or view it below:
NOVA Counselor Training

Mark Your Calendar: NOVA Counselor Cub Leader Training

When: January 9, 2020, 7:30 pm, immediately following the District Meeting
Where: Montana Council Offices 820 17th Ave S
What: NOVA Counselor Training for Cub Scout Leaders

John Parker is a NOVA Counselor, and as a part of his Wood Badge ticket, he is offering a NOVA Counselor training. Come join us, or send someone from your Pack to learn about the NOVA STEM Award!

Background Check logo

Background Check Disclosures & Authorization Form

This week Scouting volunteers received an email asking them to submit a background check authorization form. This new form required for every adult volunteer in the BSA. A signature is required for this document.

In the Lewis & Clark District, we are asking units to submit these Authorization Forms with their Unit Recharter paperwork. A form is needed for every registered leader including: Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Committee Members, Cubmasters, Assistant Cubmasters, and Den Leaders. (Lion and Tiger Adult Partners do not need an Authorization.)

District Volunteers (District Committee members, Commissioners, etc.) please submit your Authorization to me (Sandra) or the Council Registrar, Lucy.

Here are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about this new Disclosure form:

Is the BSA doing credit checks on volunteers?

No. The BSA will only use these signed authorization forms for approval to obtain a criminal background check. State and federal laws regulating background checks and consumer credit checks require that both items be mentioned on the form since a full background check includes both parts. Again, the BSA is only using this form for authorization to obtain a criminal background check.

Why is this being done now?

Starting in 2020, rechecks will be performed every five years, but it will take several years to recheck all leaders. Unfortunately, technical limitations and changes in the law over the last five years prevent us from using existing authorizations from older applications. As such, new disclosure had to be sent and new signed authorization forms obtained. Rechartering provides the best window to collect and verify they have been received before the council processes the recharter application.

What about volunteers that are not registered with units?

All currently registered adults and employees who have not had a criminal background check in the last five years will be rechecked. Council registrars will individually track district and council registered employees and leaders. (That should also include merit badge counselors). Those registered only at the National Council level will receive instructions on where to submit their authorization forms.

What about those who did not get the forms by e-mail?

Scout executives were provided with advance instructions on how to ensure every volunteer receives this information. They have the forms, which should be printed and passed out at roundtables or other meetings. It is important that each volunteer receives both the disclosure form as well as the authorization form. However, only the authorization must be turned in with the charter renewal form for units. District and council volunteers should submit the authorization to the council service center unless the council issues other instructions.

What about those with multiple registrations?

Only one authorization form per person needs to be collected and retained by the council .

What happens if a unit leader does not provide an authorization?

Leaders who do not provide new authorization will not be able to renew their registration. Council registrars should be instructed not to renew any adult without first confirming that a new signed authorization form is on file at the council service center.

Why can’t the volunteer just reply to the original e-mail and attach their signed authorization form?

The best way for us to ensure compliance is to require that the council registrar verify that a signed authorization form is physically in hand before processing a unit?s recharter. This removes much of the potential error and associated penalties that could result from other methods. We recommend that the registrar retains background check authorizations forms in a separate straight alphabetical file separate from your current background authorization file. This will facilitate the process of ensuring that a current form is on file at the council service center before posting their registration.

Are there different forms for different states?

Federal and state laws prescribe what must be in the disclosures and how they are to be provided. A form compliant with federal and various state laws was sent to all volunteer leaders except those in California. Leaders with a California home address or whose council territory includes California received California-specific forms due to the specific requirements of California law.

Can the council accept a faxed copy or scanned copy sent via email of the signed authorization?

Yes, so long as it is legible and is sent by the individual who signed it. It must be printed and saved the same as an original.

Can the council accept an electronic signature?

Digital signatures from third-party providers are acceptable. They must be printed and stored the same as the original. E-mail confirmations, permissions or typed names on the form are not acceptable substitutes for wet signatures.

Can the council accept an electronic signature?

Digital signatures from third-party providers are acceptable. They must be printed and stored the same as the original. E-mail confirmations, permissions or typed names on the form are not acceptable substitutes for wet signatures.

What about unit renewals that have already been processed or will not recharter until after January 1?

For unit renewals that have already been posted because the unit renewal date was prior to the email notification or the unit renewal date is after January 1, authorization forms still need to be collected as soon as possible. All new authorization forms should be received by December 31, 2019.

Can the council require the forms be collected at the unit level and not sent to the council service center?

Yes. The council can require the forms be collected at the unit level or by a designated unit representative.

District Committee Patch

District Committee Training Update

NEW! – District Committee Basic Training available online!

District Committee Training has been taught the same way for many years with a very dated course. Today the National BSA Training committee is very happy to announce that by leveraging the BSA Learn Center we are providing the district committee a learning environment that provides them the content they need when the need it while leveraging professional training for consistency in district training.

This new learning replaces the District Committee Workshop and provide learning plans aligned with the various district committee positions and functions.

Position trained status (D61, D62, D75) will be provided for those who complete their training. Position training includes:

  • District Committee Chair
  • District Committee Vice Chair
  • Membership Chair
  • Fund Development
  • Training Chair
  • Member at Large
  • Activities and Civil Service Chair
  • Nominating Chair
  • Program Chair
  • Camping and Outdoor Chair
  • Advancement Chair

These online trainings supersedes the District Committee Workshop. Lewis & Clark District Committee Members: go and get trained!

Take YPT

Final Call: District Volunteers, Complete YPT!

If you are a District volunteer (Merit Badge Counselors, Commissioners, District Committee Members, Lone Scout Counselors) and have not renewed your Youth Protection Training by Thursday, June 27th you will be dropped from the District Roster.

If you are unsure about your YPT status, please contact our District Executive, Sandra by text or phone at 406-282-1129

Take YPT

Merit Badge Counselors, Commissioners, & District Members: Renew YPT!

You should have already received an email about this, but if you are a Merit Badge Counselor, Commissioner, or District volunteer please make sure your Youth Protection Training is renewed and valid by June 27th for the District Recharter!

If you are unsure about your YPT status, please don’t hesitate contact me.

True youth protection can be achieved only through the focused commitment of everyone in Scouting. It is the mission of Youth Protection volunteers and professionals to work within the Boy Scouts of America to maintain a culture of Youth Protection awareness and safety at the national, regional, area, council, district, and unit levels.

BSA Youth Protection Site
District Executive Patch

District Operations Basic Training Explained!

There is a lot to learn!

District Operations Basic is a crash course training in how to work with Scouting volunteers, donors, and units, and what is expected of Professional Scouters. We especially focused on best practices for fundraising and recruitment events. The course covered working with different personality types, what motivates people, and how to best communicate with everyone. There were lots of opportunities to share ideas and experience, to talk about what is working in the field, and what needs to change.

The things that resonated most with me were the following:

  • There should be fun in everything we do!
  • Scouting is a team. We can achieve success through cooperation and open communication.
  • Going forward, our district will be “Volunteer-driven, and Professionally guided,” meaning you are the rock stars of the District team, and I am here to coach the team to success
  • Everything I do as a Scouting Professional should provide service to units. Anything that does not serve you and your units is a waste.

So what does all that mean?

It means I want and need your ideas and your feedback. If you have something to say, I want to hear it. It also means we need your talent and the talent of new volunteers! What are you great at? No single volunteer needs to do everything because nearly everyone is willing to do something. It doesn’t have to be you; who do you know who might care about Scouts? I want to meet them!

At the end of the training, I received my Scouting Professional Commission. I did my best to represent you well; I received a Commission from the National Boy Scouts of America with Honors, and was awarded a pin that indicated I ranked in the top 5 of my Training Course. During the ceremony we recited The Scout Executive’s Code.

As a member of the Scouting profession, I will, on my honor…serve youth by working through the best volunteer leadership available, recognizing that I serve best when losing myself serving them In all my dealings with my volunteer associates, I will exemplify the same unselfish qualities that motivate them:

Recognize that my personal example of integrity and action is paramount and must be acceptable to every youth and leader; live and work in accordance with the principles of the Scout Promise and Scout Law; build confidence in my leadership with my spirit, my enthusiasm, and sound administration care about my professional associates and work with them in a manner that will aid us to grow in our dedication, our capacity, and our effectiveness;

Respect and enforce all national policies within the area of my responsibility;

Be a participating citizen of my community, helping its worthy projects, build a sound spiritual foundation for myself and family, and respect our declaration of religious principle, and maintain a considerate, satisfying, and happy home life.

I want to leave you with this promise: “I will, on my honor, serve youth by working through the best volunteer leadership available…in all my dealings with my volunteers, I will exemplify the same unselfish qualities that motivate you.”