Resources & Upcoming Activities

I know everyone is starting to get a bit batty with the physical distancing restrictions and the stay at home orders but the good news is that it is working and that the governor is talking about ways to start getting some segments back to more  normal activity over the next few weeks.

While we still don’t know what that will look like, we DO know that we can keep on Scouting, just in creative ways! There are SO many opportunities which are rolling out every day, so please be sure you are continuing to have regular den/patrol/unit meetings, even if they look different than in the past. We want to continue to be present for our Scouts and for their families!

Camp Connection

National Camp-In

Mark your calendar for May 2nd!

You’re invited to join the Boy Scouts of America’s “National Camp-In”, a fun digital event for all families featuring camp-themed activities and a virtual 5K hike benefitting Feeding America.

From camp-style cooking to campfire singalongs, this virtual event will bring the best parts of Scouting to life! And…you don’t need to be a Scout to join the fun! All families are welcome – even families whose children are not currently in Scouting.

Tune in all day, or jump in and out for particular activities. We hope you’ll join us from your living room… backyard… or wherever you happen to be!

The event will stream live on Facebook. Search for the Boy Scouts of America on Facebook and you’ll find it!

For a schedule of events and more about the National Camp-In, visit www.Scouting.org/CampIn.

Please share your excitement and experiences on your social channels using #CampIn and #ScoutingAtHome before, during and after the event

Day Camp

We know that nearer-future activities are still up in the air. We continue to plan for day camp, while still keeping an eye on state and public health information. Expect an announcement on May 16th.

Summer Camp

For our longer camps, we are waiting for guidance about BSA medical forms, since doctor visits may not be possible currently. For those of you planning out-of-council summer camps, please stay in touch with those councils about the situation in their states.

Some camps have been canceled; most are still hopeful that they will be able to have a season. Also be alert to the state orders for quarantine (both going and returning home) and take those into account for your planning. Montana Council camps are still planning to hold programs at this moment. If you are registered for one of the Montana camps, please be sure you continue making payments on schedule – if camp does get cancelled, your fees will be refunded in full.

Trainings

Likewise, NYLT and Wood Badge courses are still proceeding as scheduled and continue to take registrations.

Jamboree 2021

And it isn’t too early to be thinking about Jamboree 2021! Registration is open for youth and for adult leaders to be a part of this awesome experience!

Leader Training

We know that this is an unsettled time, but for many people, it is also a time with extra time on your hands due to the Stay at Home orders. If you have been putting off completing leader-specific training until you have more time, this may be your perfect opportunity! Did you know…

Current Leader-specific Training
Current Youth Protection Training (due before June 15 for District registrations, including Merit Badge Counselors)

Resources Round-up

Keep watching our Facebook page – we’ll share resources there as we find them (and you can as well!)

Montana Council offices are closed, but you can still reach out directly to Scott. Scout Shops are also closed, but if you reach out to Deb, she’ll do her best to fulfill your order.

BSA National COVID FAQs – includes guidance about what may and may not be adapted for the current situation. Cub Scouts have some extra time to complete ranks. MB/Nova counselors can use teleconferencing. MB visits to locations can be virtual but most other MB requirements must be completed as written. Scouts BSA ranks have some adjustments through 9/1 to allow completion virtually – things like virtual campouts and planning for future activities allow Scouts to continue to advance during  this time. Info is also included about time towards leadership and active member requirements plus Eagle/Summit extensions.

Meeting options:

  • BSA Digital Safety – includes important info like don’t record unit meetings/activities (since youth are minors and not able to legally consent).
  • Here is a good round-up of various options for meeting with your unit, along with pros and cons of the options.
  • The district has a Discord server and I’d be happy to work with you to have a channel within that server for your unit.
  • We also have a Zoom account and shared use of the Lifesize account for video calls.

All program areas:

Cub Scouts:

Scouts BSA/Venturers:

Big shout out to Bitterroot District Commissioner Cammie Edgar for compiling all these resources!

Steve’s 2020 Growth Conference Recap

Sandra was invited to the 2020 Growth Conference, and I got to tag along (go see her recap, first)! I did a video recap over on my Scout blog, Boy Scouts Tech and I wanted to share the highlights of the conference with you:

Scouting’s best kept secret is the advances the national team have made with technology AND how they are going to manage program changes in the future – that is, how they are going to keep Scouting relevant in the 21st century. They have committed to using the Agile method of development, which will turnout great results for improving our technology and program materials.

They are also committed to reducing the amount of “regalia” we, as volunteers, need to buy for ourselves and our Scouts. For example, they are eliminating Tiger Scout socks, den-specific Den Leader patches (all Den Leaders will wear the Cub Scout Den Leader patch going forward) and there will only be one Cub Scout Belt, instead of den-specific belts.

Here are some of the resources that they passed along, please check them out!

  • Scoutbook Help Desk – tons of new and great resources with video how-tos!
  • Den Leader Tips & Tricks Videos – everything new and veteran Den Leaders need to roll into a productive Scouting year!
  • Scout Book Den Leader (BETA) sandbox – schedule an entire Scouting year for your den in a few clicks!
    • National IT is expecting to roll out a similar thing for Scouts BSA troops for youth leaders to plan out their Troops’ program
  • Explorer Career Interest Survey – now available online!
  • Scouting’s Bug Reporting system – having trouble with a BSA IT system? Lots of questions & answers available here, and the ability to open a trouble ticket with the National BSA IT team.
  • BSA Brand Center – are you building flyers or other materials online or printed? Please use the BSA brand center! The BSA’s marketing team has tons of pre-made content that has been market tested and complies with all our brand guidelines!

2020 Leadership Growth Conference Report

This year, because Lewis & Clark District grew by 6%, I was eligible to attend the 2020 Leadership Growth Conference, which was organized by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Unit serving executives, like me, were gathered from all across the world – where ever the Boy Scouts of America has a Council! The top 60 executives were selected from each of the four Scouting regions.

It was a quick trip down Dallas, Texas, but the Montana Council was well represented. In addition to me, Dave Snyder, DE for Central District, Scott Jourdonnais, DE for Mullan Trail District, and Dustin Shoemake acting DE/Field Director for Nu Oh Ska District, attended the conference!

From left to right: Michael Ramsey, BSA Director of Marketing, me, Dave Snyder Central District DE, Scott Jourdonnais, Mullan Trail District DE

Thursday evening we gathered for an awards dinner. It was a great evening of fellowship and BBQ. Each attendee was recognized individually by name and was congratulated by National leaders including the directors of Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA, the Director of Membership Growth, and others.

Friday morning we had breakfast bright and early. The first order of business was for everyone to move to a table with people they did not know. That was a fun opportunity to network and talk to people from other Councils and regions.

Over the morning, we heard from Anthony Berger, National Director of Cub Scouting, Garfield Murden, National Director of Scouts BSA, Tim Anderson National Director of Exploring, Pat Wellen, Research and Strategy, and Michael Ramsey, National Director of Marketing and Brand Management. They were all amazing speakers and had awesome things to share.

The future of Cub Scouting is “streamline and simplify”. The goal is to make it easier for new parents to become a part of the Scouting family and for den leaders to do their job without having to learn about the entire Scouting infrastructure – just provide den level programming. There are new videos and den plans to make getting started simpler. Scoutbook for Den leaders is being updated all the time. Advancement is simpler and the calendar has been improved, and my favorite; Scoutbook can now email parents when their Scouts complete a belt loop! If you want to poke around in the new Den Leader Scoutbook system there is an online demo here. If you are looking for ScoutBook help please look at the videos and resources National is producing and updating constantly.

With all the new and exciting digital updates for Cub Scouts, it is no surprise that Scouts BSA should expect some exciting new things soon. Like in Cub Scouts, the new tools will be built for the people planning and planning and executing the program. For Scouts BSA, of course, the tools will be built with youth leaders in mind. It is very exciting to see National leading the charge in making the programs youth lead by empowering Patrol Leader Councils.

The theme for Exploring is “Character to Careers”. The BSA is known for shaping the character of youth, and Exploring extends that to a youth’s future. Career Interest Surveys are available in print and online. Those and Explorer Post “Open Houses” are the focus to grow Exploring.

Pat Wellen was one of the most interesting speakers of the event. She broke down for us how the Voice of a Scout program works. (You, as a registered Scouter, should be getting an email about once a year asking for your feedback – please respond to those, it helps us have a voice with National BSA team!) She talked about the reasons Cub Scouts leave the program, the challenges volunteers face on all levels, and the resources available to help solve those problems and answer questions.

The Marketing and Branding presentation was my favorite part of the event. The big takeaways were: more parents than ever are finding out about Scouts through their mobile devices and social media, potential Scout parents are more likely to join if they have a meaningful conversation with unit leaders, and each units’ digital footprint needs to be managed. The action item, for all of us, is to claim and manage the Google for Business listing for units. Right now, in a new tab, do a Google search for “Cub Scout Pack near me”. What comes up? The sad answer is probably “nothing” or outdated info. The District Communications Team and I are putting together a plan to solve that.

The conference was a great opportunity for me and I hope to bring more of what I learned home. There are statistics, ideas, and resource that can benefit all of us and I am excited as ever to share more with all of you over the use over the coming months.

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.

Journey to Excellence

May 2019 Journey to Excellence Status

The May 2019 Journey to Excellence (JTE) metrics have been released and I want to update you on our current status of the District. The Lewis & Clark District is currently ranked as Silver with a score of 1350 out of a possible 3000. Mountain Valley District is currently leading the Montana Council with 1375.

There are 16 JTE categories. We are ranked gold in 4 categories, silver in 5, bronze in 2, and unrated in 5. We have 6 months to increase our score to gold– we are only 300 points away!

Gold

We are doing great in these categories and are currently gold:

  • Youth Retention: We are up in retention by over 10%! This is measured by the number of Scouts who remain registered one year later.
  • Cub Scout Camping: Thank you to all our Cub Packs for reporting in your camping numbers! Keep it up. If your pack is camping we need to know. This is measured by the Cub Scouts who attend Day Camp, Family, and/or Resident Camp. If your Pack does a family camp, please let Sandra know!
  • Scouts BSA Camping: This is the percent of Scouts who attend summer camp (out of Council camps counts!), go on high adventure campouts, or serve on camp staff. This is measured by attending any long-term camp, high adventure experience, specialty camp, Jamborees, or serving on camp staff.
  • New Unit Growth: We have a new Scouts BSA troop in Great Falls and a new Cub Scout Pack in Dutton! This is measured by the number of existing and new units which remain registered for one year.

Silver

Silver categories are places we can work to improve:

  • Membership Growth: We are currently at 2.64% growth! That is amazing and with a strong fall recruitment season we can expect to bump that up into the gold range of 3%. But we need each of you to help because every new Scout is going to count. Please consider inviting your friends and neighbors to your next Scout meeting! This is measured by the total number of youth registered compared to last year.
  • Community Service: Scouts are doing so much service BUT it is not being recorded! If you are not entering your units service into the Service Hours Reporting System it does not count! Entering service data into Scoutbook is not enough, and is only for advancement purposes – it DOES NOT count toward this metric. This is measured by the total number of service hours performed by youth, leaders, and other participants divided by the total number of youth.
  • Unit Contacts: Our unit commissioners are out there working hard to serve every unit in the district. Commissioners: don’t forget to log those visits! We are currently leading the Council for number of contacts. Gold is achieved by 40% of all unit in the District having 6 visits. This is measured by the number of units receiving 6 or more visits/contacts reported via Commissioner tools then divided by the number of units. To be counted, the unit needs a total of at least 6 logged visits in the calendar year.
  • District Committee: Our district committee is solidly silver. To reach gold we are really going to have to work. We need 10 additional members and one more vice chair. Does your unit have a member on the district committee? We would like all of our units to be represented! This is measured by the number of registered district committee members (14/21/32 for bronze/silver/gold) the number of registered vice chairs, and if the district chair and commissioner positions are filled.
  • Unit Leadership Trained: Currently, 53% of our direct contact leaders (Cubmasters, Den Leaders, or Scoutmasters) are trained. We need to increase that number to 75% to move up to gold. This is measured by the number of direct contact leaders divided by the total number in that position.

Bronze

Bronze level categories is where we really need your help!

  • New Member Recruiting: Every new scout helps us toward this goal. We have big plans for the Fall but we win in this category by recruiting our friends.
  • Cub Scout Advancement: 52% of our Cub Scouts advanced so far this year. Did all of your pack’s advancement get entered? What is your Pack doing to ensure that every Tiger-Webelos earns their Bobcat Award? This is measured by the total number of Cub Scouts earning at least one rank during the year, divided by the total number of Cub Scouts.

No Score

No score areas are a place for the biggest improvement, or they are metrics that get scored once a year.

  • Scouts BSA Advancement: Only 21% of Scouts in the advanced one or more ranks so far this year! Please input and award those advancements as they happen. We will need at least 50% of our Scouts to advance to reach gold! This is measured by the total number of Scouts in Scouts BSA earning at least one rank during the calendar year divided by the total number of Scouts BSA Scouts. Ranks include: Scout to Eagle.
  • Fundraising Performance: Is input in December of each year. Lewis & Clark District’s goal is $45,000. We have so far raised $22,000. This is a binary metric: either we achieve our goal or we do not. This is measured by the Council determined standard for each district for the amount of money raised.
  • Fundraising Manpower: If it is entered, this is only input in December of each year. This data was not entered last year, it is unclear if it will be entered for this year. This is measured by the Council determined standard for each district for the number of volunteers involved in fundraising activities.
  • Community Impact: Is input once each year. It is unclear why this data is not measured in Montana Council. This is measured by the total number of youth divided by the total youth in the area.
  • Unit Performance: Is input once each year. BUT this is where your unit’s JTE score factor in! This is measured by the total number of units that are rated bronze and above, divided by the total number of units.
Journey to Excellence

May Journey to Excellence: We’re doing great!

1st Place!
Lewis & Clark District scores highest for May 2019!

We’ve just received word that Lewis & Clark received the highest score of Montana Council and total rated criteria for May 2019! Well done to everyone in the District!

  • Our best rated categories include Membership/Youth Growth, Cub Scout Camping, Boy Scout Camping, and Unit Retention!
  • We need to improve in New Member Recruiting, Cub Scout Advancement, and Unit Contacts
  • We could improve Youth Retention, Community Service Hours reporting, District Committee Membership, and Unit Leadership training
  • We haven’t been rated or have no score yet in Fundraising Performance, Fundraising Manpower, Market Share, Scouts BSA Advancement, and Unit Performance

Announcing big changes & BBQ Dinner!

BIG Changes are coming! Join us Thursday to find out more.

We have new and exciting changes coming to the Lewis & Clark District!
Come out on Thursday, June 6th at 6:30 pm to learn all about it.
AND there will be dinner after the meeting. If you like BBQ you don’t want to miss this!

Every unit could use a few more Scouts (and adult leaders), right? That is what we will be preparing for at the 7:30 Roundtable. Come with your questions and ready to learn our new recruitment strategy.

We have a plan and we need you to come and help us make it a great plan!

This Week in Scouts: March 22

Camping Season is Here!

Scouts salute the flag at Camporee.

Spring is upon us and so is camping season!

Plans are underway for both Trail to First Class on April 12-14 (find the Trail to First Class Leader Guide here and don’t forget to register for IOLS/BALOO Training) and Spring Camporee on May 17-19.

Please contact Gene, for more information about Trail to 1st Class, or Forrest about Camporee.

Fundraising in Choteau

Tonight is our first rural ICL event in Choteau. The District is hosting a spaghetti dinner starting at 6:30p, and it is going to be a great night for Scouting (And a lovely night for a drive out to Choteau ????)!

Scouting for Food

Scouting for Food pick up is tomorrow – stay tuned for the results! Food will be set out at 8 a.m. and picked up after 9. New this year, Scouts and Scouters are asked to enter the Great Falls Food Bank through the main door, not the garage door, to help with unloading. Vehicles may still use the garage door but pedestrians please use the front door.

Rotary Eagle Luncheon

The Rotary Eagle Lunch is coming up on April 9. If you are planning to attend please contact Bill, 406-761-7746.

This week in Scouts: March 15

Happy Montana Council Day! (We are Council 315, get it?!?) It was a great week for Scouting in the Lewis & Clark District.

Thank you to Troop 007 for hosting me at your Court of Honor on Sunday. It was a fun evening. On Monday, Troop 14 invited me to attend their Court of Honor. The SPL ran a great meeting! Congratulations to all of the Scouts on their rank advancement and well done earning all of those Merit Badges.

Scouting for Food has been the hot topic of the week. Laura B. has been busy distributing flyers, maps, rubber bands, and bags. I am incredibly grateful for all her hard work. If you need information about the Scouting for Food or additional supplies please contact Laura. Sean L. is doing a radio interview on KGPR to promote the Food Drive, too.

Say yes to adventures at Day Camp 2019!The Cub Scout Day Camp Committee met this week and they are working hard to plan an exciting camp. The theme is “Under the Sea” and you can register you Cub for Day Camp online today. If you are interested in helping with Day Camp, Stephen would love to hear from you!

On Saturday, Scouts are invited to walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 1:30 pm. We will march down Central Avenue celebrating Scouting and St Patrick. Wear your Field Uniform and meet at the corner of Park Drive and 1st Ave S at 1:15. Candy and trinkets will be provided.

Coming up next week is the Choteau Investment in Character and Leadership Dinner on Friday at 6:30.