Please join us as we congratulate Mark Manchester, who will serve as Scout executive of the South Georgia Council in Valdosta, Georgia, effective July 1, 2020.

Mark began his Scouting career in 1992 as a district executive at the Greater Yosemite Council in Modesto, California. He moved on to become the development director of the Cascade Pacific Council in Portland, Oregon, and then assistant Scout executive of the Crater Lake Council in Medford, Oregon.

Mark is an Eagle Scout, a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, and a Paul Harris Fellow who enjoys fishing, hiking, cooking, and adventures with his family.

Mark and his wife, Gretchen, have one daughter, Cameron, who is the joy of their lives.

In the comments below, please help us welcome Mark to his new role in Scouting as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the South Georgia Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Dear Scouting family, 

As our country reckons with racial injustice, we all must consider our role and our failures and commit to meaningful action.

The twelve points of the Scout Law that define a Scout are all important, but at this moment, we are called on to be brave. Brave means taking action because it is the right thing to do and being an upstander even when it may prompt criticism from some. We realize we have not been as brave as we should have been because, as Scouts, we must always stand for what is right and take action when the situation demands it.

There is no place for racism – not in Scouting and not in our communities. Racism will not be tolerated.

We condemn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all those who are not named but are equally important. We hear the anguish, feel the heartbreak, and join the country’s resolve to do better.

The Boy Scouts of America stands with Black families and the Black community because we believe that Black Lives Matter. This is not a political issue; it is a human rights issue and one we all have a duty to address. That is why, as an organization, we commit to:

  • Introducing a specific diversity and inclusion merit badge that will be required for the rank of Eagle Scout. It will build on components within existing merit badges, including the American Cultures and Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which require Scouts to learn about and engage with other groups and cultures to increase understanding and spur positive action.
  • Reviewing every element of our programs to ensure diversity and inclusion are engrained at every level for participants and volunteers by applying a standard that promotes racial equality and denounces racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.
  • Requiring diversity and inclusion training for all BSA employees starting July 1 and taking immediate action toward introducing a version for volunteers in the coming months.
  • Conducting a review of property names, events and insignia, in partnership with local councils, to build on and enhance the organization’s nearly 30-year ban on use of the Confederate flag and to ensure that symbols of oppression are not in use today or in the future.

These are our next steps but certainly not our last.

We will also continue to listen more, learn more and do more to promote a culture in which every person feels that they belong, are respected, and are valued in Scouting, in their community, and across America.

As a movement, we are committed to working together with our employees, volunteers, youth members, and communities so we can all become a better version of ourselves and continue to prepare young people to become the leaders of character our communities and our country need to heal and grow.

Yours in Scouting,

The Boy Scouts of America, National Executive Committee

Dan Ownby – National Chair

Roger Mosby – President and CEO

Scott Sorrels – National Commissioner

Devang Desai

Jack Furst

Skip Oppenheimer

Nathan Rosenberg

Alison Schuler

Michael Sears

Thear Suzuki

Brad Tilden

Jim Turley

Tuesday, 02 June 2020 17:15

Becoming the Best Version of Ourselves

Scouting is about character and leadership.

The Scout Oath and Law – our very foundation – call for helpfulness, bravery, common courtesy, and respect among all people. Our values call us to stand up to injustice, as we strive to help other people at all times.

The Scouting movement recognizes and celebrates that the attributes that make us different actually draw us together as Scouts, citizens, and human beings. We refuse to accept violence or injustice toward another human being.

As Scouts, we recognize that much work remains to be done. We are committed to empathy, compassion, and to meaningfully improve. Scouting teaches young people to come together to find peaceful solutions, to work to become the best versions of themselves, and to create a better world.

Information updated on 6/1/2020.

Over the last few months, we have seen the Scouting community come together, even while physically apart, to bring solutions, relief and comfort to those in need. From making masks to supporting food banks, Scouting has been a vital partner for communities across the country.

The value of Scouting is undeniable for those within the program and the greater public, and we are committed to continuing to offer this unmatched opportunity to young people and families nationwide.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has worked to keep the membership fee as low as possible. Unfortunately, operating costs have continued to rise and COVID-19 has compounded the need to increase the fee to maintain the program.

To ensure we have the resources to fulfill the promise of Scouting, the updated national membership fee is

  • $66 for Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts participants
  • $42 for Exploring participants
  • $30 for council-paid memberships
  • $42 for all adult volunteers (includes cost of background check)
  • $75 for a unit charter fee

The membership fees will take effect August 1, 2020, for new members in the 2020-2021 program year. For renewing members, the new fee will take effect on October 1, 2020. The updated unit charter fee will take effect August 1, 2020, for all new and rechartering units.

Starting August 1, 2020, there will also be a one-time $25 joining fee for new program participants in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts; however, there is no joining fee for Exploring participants, participants previously registered in any BSA program, those transferring from one program to another, council-paid memberships, or adult volunteers.

The national membership fee helps pay for the cost of essential services, including program resources, liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, youth protection and other local council resources.

National BSA will also continue to develop and improve resources that support our volunteers and youth members through online registration, Scoutbook, and national initiatives that bring us all together like the National Camp-In and the Scout Salute partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Across the country and in each of our communities, we know that Scouting remains one of the most valuable investments we can make in young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow.

Our dedicated volunteers, staff, and Scouting families make this possible. Thank you for continuing to support one of the most valuable opportunities available to young people today.


Q:        Why are the fees increasing?

A:         The national annual membership fee is increasing by $6, about 50 cents per month, because the costs associated with Scouting, including the cost of liability insurance, continue to increase and the organization is not able to subsidize the increased costs as it had in the past.

Q:        When will this increase take effect?

A:         The updated membership fees will take effect August 1, 2020, for new members in the 2020-2021 program year. For renewing members, the new fees will take effect on October 1, 2020.

Q:        Is Scouting still a good value?

A:         Absolutely! While most extracurricular activities are seasonal, Scouting is a year-round program that remains one of the most valuable investments we can make to support young men and women today so they can become the leaders we will turn to tomorrow. For most of our participants, the new national membership fee amounts to $5.50 a month, which is an enormous value when you consider that many seasonal extracurricular activities often start at $100 for programs that last a few weeks.

Q:        Does the fee increase apply to council-paid memberships?

A:        Council-paid memberships will be $30 annually for youth members in fully funded council-paid units for low-income communities.

Q:        What will the money be used for?

A:         The annual national membership fee and new-member joining fee help pay for the cost of essential services, including program resources, liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, youth protection and other local council resources.

Q:        Is this increase being implemented to cover the cost of the additional background checks?

A:         While the cost of background checks is paid for by the national organization, that is not the driver of this increase.

Q:        Will membership fees go toward funding a victims compensation trust?

A:         No. The national annual membership fee and the new-member joining fee will help pay for the cost of essential services, including program resources, liability insurance for those participating in approved Scouting activities, youth protection and other local council resources.

Q:        What measures has the national organization taken to offset its financial challenges?

A:         In addition to ongoing efforts to streamline and simplify the organization, the national organization has taken a number of steps to address its financial challenges, which include recent furloughs and three rounds of reductions over the past year. These were in addition to ongoing consolidation of departments and elimination of some significant vendors for the most effective utilization of resources in support of Scouting. 

Q:        In addition to the national membership fee, my council is implementing a council fee. Is that allowed?

A:         Starting August 1, 2020, councils can also choose to charge a fee up to, but no more than, the national membership fee – up to $66 for participants in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing and Sea Scouts; up to $42 for participants in Exploring and up to $42 for adult members. The council fee can include local insurance costs (i.e., accident, property, etc.), as well as the cost to administer unique local programming. Units can continue to assess activity fees.

Q:        Will the national membership fee continue to increase?

A:         Although no decision about future increases has been made, the cost of operating our organization and services increases every year. Should it be necessary to increase fees in the future, the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has agreed to evaluate the needs and make such decisions, whenever possible, at the National Annual Meeting so that decisions can be announced with as much lead time as possible to allow councils and units to plan accordingly. 

Congratulations to Robert Garrett as Scout executive of the Shenandoah Area Council in Winchester, Virginia, effective July 1, 2020.

Robert began his Scouting career in 1998 as a district executive at the Atlanta Area Council in Atlanta, Georgia. He moved on to become the program director at the Daniel Boone Council in Asheville, North Carolina, and then the outdoor programs and facilities director for the Three Harbors Council in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He later returned to the Daniel Boone Council, where he has since served as the assistant Scout executive.

Robert is an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow who enjoys woodworking, reading, and hiking.

Robert and his wife, Michelle, have four children: Matthew (Venturing), Benjamin (Scouts BSA), and Katherine and William (Cub Scouts).

Please join us in congratulating Robert in the comments below as he joins in partnership with the volunteers and staff of the Shenandoah Area Council to deliver quality Scouting experiences to the young people of the communities they serve.

Article Submitted by Lauren Howery Family Scouting Executive Last Frontier Council, Oklahoma City

Recruiting is an integral part of our service to the youth and units in our communities and can have its difficulties during a normal year, let alone during a pandemic. As Unit Serving Executives face an uncertain future of what recruiting may look like in the fall, I have compiled some information on recruiting Cub- and Scouts-BSA-aged youth, both during the virus and if/when we return to “normal.” The information below is a compilation of research, personal experience, and observations made as a public-school teacher.

Before we can talk about recruiting, there are some important things we need to keep in mind about youth today that relate to recruitment.

Information on Cub-Scout-Aged Youth

  • This is one of the smallest generations, based on birthrate, compared with previous generations. In 2018, the birthrate in the United States reached its lowest level in 32 years.
  • This is the most racially diverse generation in the history of the United States, so it’s important to make sure your marketing reflects that.
  • Appeal to their flexibility by connecting through video stories (e.g. YouTube). Keep up with new social media platforms.
  • Offer transparency. These youth will call you out on false promises that aren’t kept.
  • Uniforms are fun and exciting for this age group. Their dream jobs at this age are typically something in a uniform (doctors, nurses, soldiers, police, fire, etc).

Information on Scouts-BSA-Aged Youth

  • Give them a sense of purpose. These youth want to change the world. Ask the question, “What do you want to change about your community or our world?” Talk about how joining Scouts offers a way to do that!
  • Offer opportunities for growth.
  • Get social and relatable.
  • They want to see kids that look like them doing cool things via videos, pictures, and social media. They don’t just want to hear about it.
  • They are building their personal brand already.
  • If you remember being this age, you may recall that, at this age, the opinions of peers are incredibly important, whether they admit it or not.
  • They are often mortified by public praise. Public praise works well with younger kids, but the older youth often do not appreciate this, and it could reduce their interest in joining.
  • For older youth, be mindful of the negative effect that seeing adults in uniforms may have on them. It may be more effective to dress in something other than the full BSA field uniform when interacting with this group. 
  • Some members of this group may be interested in increased independence and pulling away a bit from their parents. Talk about the independence that Scouts teaches and the “Scout led” aspects of the program.
  • Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care. They can tell if you’re being genuine from a mile away, and that sticks with them.
  • They want new friends, but they probably won’t actually say that. Talk about the opportunity to make new friends and go on adventures together.
  • Members of this group often respond to challenges. For example, you might say something like “I don’t know if y’all could handle trekking in the wilderness for a week,” or “I bet this group is faster than this group,” etc. Have your sarcasm and wit ready, because they will make comments and fire back at you, but being able to respond in a fun and relatable way is a quick way to build that trust and make them more likely to listen. The kid making fun of you or the program at the table in the back may actually be the most interested and could get the most from the program.

Recruiting Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA Youth Virtually or in Small Groups (following CDC and local guidelines)

  • Utilize online Facebook communities (such as “mom” groups, outdoor activity groups, local groups, etc.). You don’t specifically need to say “Hey, this is an ad for Scouts BSA,” but you can post things like “Thank you to everyone who came out with Pack ____ to help clean up the local park today while social distancing! If you’re interested in helping with our next project contact _____.” 
  • Families and kids recruiting their friends is still the best way to get them involved! Make it a contest or game to bring in more youth to their unit.
  • Whether online or in person, most schools use newsletters or something of the sort. Utilize connections with local schools to put a blurb in their newsletters!
  • Youth organizations, religious communities, and charter organizations often have newsletters or bulletins that will allow us to promote Scouting.
  • To hold parent sign-up meetings or get information out, utilize technology like video conferencing, or other platforms (following all Youth Protection Guidelines and guidance found in this Safety Moment).
  • Make sure any group you are talking to or advertising toward knows Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is for boys AND girls! Many in communities still don’t know this, and making sure both boys and girls are represented in photos, videos, and in language related to Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA is important.
  • Using yard signs with a phone number, website, or email address for more information has worked well for many units! Nothing too wordy, just something someone driving by may see and call/visit a website for more info.
  • (Socially Distanced) public appearances in uniform/something designating everyone as Scouts is a great way to let the public know we are still here and active! Whether it’s a single person or small group service project, let the public know these are Scouts and they are still helping the community!

Recruiting Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA Youth In Person in the Fall (following CDC and local guidelines)

  • Where local guidelines permit, offer to be a guest speaker to specific classes or student groups with interested youth, such as gym classes, band, choir, orchestra, arts, after-school clubs.
  • Set up an informational booth at Peewee sports team games! It’s a great way to get the attention of siblings/parents watching in the stands.
  • At any show and sells, make sure that the adults there have information available about local packs and troops in the area for anyone who may be interested.
  • “Wear Your Uniform to School Day” (for Cub-Scout-age youth, NOT Scouts BSA). Make sure it has been cleared with the Principal.
  • Back-to-School nights
  • When it is safe to do so, (especially when working with older youth) make sure that other kids their age are present to talk to them! They are more likely to listen to their peers than to you.
  • Local neighborhood events – as long as they follow all local and national recommendations on social distancing, if necessary (e.g. carnivals, block parties, parks, food truck rallies, garage sales, etc.).
  • If you are able to do school talks in the fall, utilize lunch room talks for middle school youth. The smaller crowds are more likely to listen to you, and sometimes you can even go table-to-table to talk with them and make that trust connection a little better. They may not ask questions in front of the whole lunch room, but they may ask those questions when at a table with some friends who seem interested.

Overall, when in doubt, ask the youth and families you already serve the best way to connect to their communities. We are in an uncertain time, so don’t be afraid to be creative and try new things as long as you’re focusing on the safety of youth, adults, and yourself. Our job is so unique and important, and we will come out of this stronger than ever.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Lauren for submitting this article.

Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:09

BSA Membership Is for All Faiths

Article Submitted by Gene Butler, Growth Coach, National Service Center

When asked where religion came into Scouting, founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting.” Faith organizations are good for Scouting, and Scouting is good for faith organizations.

The Religious Relationships Membership Committee (RRMC) is charged with growing Scouting by joining faith communities with local Scouting communities. BSA has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with at least 30 religious partners as of May 2020.

We are excited to report that that 71 percent of all Scout units are chartered by faith-based organizations and 59 percent of all Scouts are members of a unit chartered to a faith community. This is good news, but we are fishing in a small pond. There is an ocean of opportunity out there. There are many more families in faith-based communities that would benefit from Scouting.

The RRMC has created two tools that can be used to help grow Scouting:

–    A document you can use to start a District or Council Religious Relationships Committee, which will help you:

  • Identify local faith groups as potential charter partners.
  • Introduce you to local faith groups and help you effectively communicate with them.
  • Inform local faith groups that their faith, in many instances, has an established relationship with the BSA.

–    A Pamphlet called “What Every Religious Leader Should Know About the BSA.” Many faith leaders, especially some younger leaders, know little about BSA.

  • The pamphlet introduces religious leaders to the BSA and explains how a BSA unit can expand their ministry.
  • This pamphlet can be mailed to the Houses of Worship in your district; better yet, it can be brought by you and a Religious Relationship Committee member to a House of Worship.
  • This pamphlet speaks to the values of Scouting, how they match religious values, and how the BSA provides activities with youth-appeal, accompanied by effective adult training.

You must tell the BSA story, and it begins with solid relationships with faith-based partners.

Please contact Gene Butler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you need help connecting with a representative of a particular faith organization or for access to any supporting resources.

Scouting Wire would like to thank Gene for submitting this article. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020 19:08

Fall Recruiting Strategies From the Pros

As Unit Serving Executives prepare for Fall Recruitment, they are encouraged to check out some tips and tools provided by other key professionals from around the BSA network. Below are a few items that can assist you and your membership team as you prepare for Fall Recruitment.

Faye Hammond, Assistant Director of Field Service, Atlanta Area Council

  • Contact 15 principals now to get a sense of what will be allowed once school has started.
  • Secure a donor to pay for principal gifts during fall recruiting (suggested donation: $5,000).
  • Encourage units to be ready to receive online applications.
  • We are now positioned to securely receive adult applications electronically. This provides an additional level of internal security and allows leaders and executives to electronically transmit information without fear of exposing personal information.
  • Develop plans to deliver your buzz-up (video) via closed-circuit television – it may be your only avenue.

Gwangi Shipp, Family Scouting & Finance Development Director, Occoneechee Council

  • When preparing to meet with a superintendent or principal, always do your homework before meeting with them. Find out something about them that you can relate to, like where they are from, what college they attended, or what their hobbies are. This is key to building a good relationship.
  • Always bring a thank you gift to their administrative assistant or whoever serves as “gate keeper” for them. Making a memorable impression with them will help you in the future.
  • Are your units prepared for recruitment with items such as a unit program calendar, year-round budget, fact sheet about the unit, leadership contact sheet, and an updated BeAScout pin?

Peggy Durbin Assistant Scout Executive, South Florida Council

  • Call your principals to let them know Scouting has been active and promoting continuing education through our programs during these challenging times. Tell them we look forward to being able to reconnect again this fall and would welcome the opportunity for their assistance in helping a very worthwhile program recruit even more of their students.
  • Reach out to your unit leaders and families and ask them to produce short video clips of their Scouts engaged in the fun Scouting activities they have been doing throughout the lock-down, and encourage them to share those videos with their family and friends.  
  • Both of these suggestions are also in video form that can be uploaded for a virtual Program Kick-off via Facebook.


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