Scout Joining Requirements
Michael J Pagelkopf (mjp2@SPARC.ISL.NET)
Sat, 12 Aug 1995 21:27:44 -0500
In 1994 I took part in a presentation on Webelos-to-Scout transition that
raised some signification questions regarding the joining requirements for
the Boy Scouts of American. While I recognize that the subject may have
been covered on past posting please bear with me and notify me of the same.
First some ground work:
The joining requirements for the Boy Scouts of American require that a boy
be (1) either 11 years old, or (2) having completed the fifth grade, or (3)
having earned the Arrow of Light.
The requirements seem to be in conflict with the desire by most Boy Scout
troops and the Boy Scouts of America to have Webelos graduate and join the
troop in February or March of their fifth-grade year. It also appears that
the requiremetns are in conflict with the national "Spring into Scouting" theme.
The "February graduation" of Webelos seems logical in that it provides the
troop with a timely opportunity to gradually bring the Webelos Scout and his
family into the activity of the troop and would also be the case with the
"Spring into Scouting" theme. However, these movements into the troop make
the assumption that each Webelos Scout has earned the Arrow of Light or that
the boys are 11 years old. It is quite obvious that in February or March
the scout has not completed the fifth grade.
My view is that the current program is not a "Webelos-to-Scout" transition
it is an "Arrow of Light-to-Scout" transistion. I believe that with the
current emphasis on February graduation and joining at troop at that point
in time discriminates against those boys that do not have their Arrow of
Light. The joining requirements do not give equal opportunity to ALL boys
in February or March to join a Boy Scout troop.
The Arrow of Light is an award not a rank. In the time frame of February
and March not all boys are 11 years old and they certainly have not
completed the fifth grade. Priority of joiniong is being given Arrow of
Light recipients not to the Webelos Scout. Priority is given to Arrow of
Light recipients not to the non-scout. Encouragement not discouragement
gets boys in the program.
Remember that their are boys that join Webelos at the beginning of their
fifth grade year - they are a Webelos scout. Bridging into Boy Scouts
should not depend on them having earning an award.
I have conveyed my concerns directly to the national office of the Boy
Scouts of American and specifically to:
Mr. Rees A. Falkner
Director, Boy Scout Division
Boy Scouts of America
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079
In that correspondence I stronly urged the Boy Scouts of American, and other
scout leaders as well, to join in concerned effort to adopt a policy that
would provide for only one joining requirement, that being giving a young
man the opportunity to join a Boy Scout troop after January 31 of his
fifth-grade year (with or without his Arrow Light or being 11 years old.)
Your suport n behalf of boys that want to be Scouts would be appreciated.
Please direct your support to Mr. Falkner. (Change can be accomplished -
knee socks are back!).
Boy Scout Rountable Commissioner
Hiawatha District - Gamehaven Council S.E. Minnesota
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City