Frequently Asked Questions!

Over the last ten years, I've collected questions that Scouts and Scouters have asked me. Some are kind of personal and some address specific problems or concerns that they want "my take" or "my answer" on. I try my best to answer them as if they were sitting or standing across from me, and I do my best in researching the answers based upon the materials that I have access to and the people whom are willing to talk with me in resolving a question or issue. I learn something new about Scouting in America every single day, and I would never assume that I knew EVERYTHING there was. If so, I would be a cross between "Green Bar" Bill Hillcourt and one of our senior BSA national executives.

I'm not. I'm just a guy that knows how to find answers, how to get and give information and why the BSA in many ways, choose to do things the way they have chosen. I get things wrong frequently, and I'm not "big enough" to publicly admit I was wrong or incorrect about an item and I do accept criticisms with a humble heart and an open mind. Most of all, I LOVE what I do and I would not have been doing for such a long time if I truly did not believe in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America, what it can do for a young man or woman, and what it means to a community and this nation.

Here, in no particular order (except for the last one), are the 27 most frequently asked questions of me over the last 10 years. There are other questions which are off-shoots from these which I've "lumped" together to make those questions; and there are other questions which didn't make to the "top 25" but in which I could easily make it to the second "27" frequently asked questions.

In answering these questions, I provide links to pages that explain in more detail the answer they are seeking. This is exactly what I do when people post me asking me those questions, so it's only natural that I point you too to those specifics with those answers I provide them as well.

These questions don't necessarily address National BSA policy, but are my answers to their concerns and questions:

But the biggest question of them all concerns how much email I receive a day and how I read and answer it all:

Yes. I truly receive between 185 and 400 pieces of electronic mail A DAY.

100 of those pieces comes from various mailing lists that I've subscribed to dealing with youth programs, the BSA's Order of the Arrow, Scout patch trading and collecting, weight loss and maintenance, Scouting reflections and inspirations, website design and creation, and the GEOS operating system and applications.

All of the remaining mail is sent to me personally, either to my primary email account or through my account on America Online(tm). In addition, other Scouters whom are "stumped" or whom wish to receive another "slant" or opinion on a question or issue will write and forward me postings.

I do my best to answer each question as if it was the most important question I was to answer that day; to answer it with as much information and reflection that I can provide; to trust that their question, concern or issue is authentic and not "made up just to post me"; and if I am incorrect or inconsistant with the policies of the BSA, to explain that inconsistancy or to apologize for providing the incorrect information and will provide the information I have on hand to answer their question or concern.

I do NOT speak for the BSA, in anything I write or say electronically, and hope that those posting me take my response and answers for what they are: advice given from one Scouter to another on the basis of "here's what I think, here's what I've been able to find out what the BSA says or doesn't say about the issue or concern. You can either use this or toss it." It is ADVICE, and not neccessarily POLICY. I also strongly caution private posters to NOT place me into a position between them and their local Councils, because I'll side with the local Council in such "positions" every time. It is THEIR program. They have a role to play and that is to take the BSA rules and regulations and adapt them to their situation and their environment.

When I do side with the individual is when a local Council DISOBEYS or DELIBERATELY moves around those stated policies and rules in order to avoid being equatable to all members and components of their Councils.

I do field questions from professionals, both those currently in the profession and those former professionals, and I can answer quite a bit of their technical questions, the ones that they are shy about asking their primary supervisor. But I always tell them that I've been out of the profession of Scouting for some 20 years or so. A lot of things happen in a 20 year span. So again, they take my advice for what it is...advice.

Most of the questions I ask come from people that have had little to no previous contact with the programs of the BSA, and those are the ones in which I take the greatest pleasure in answering. Parents want to know "the straight story" about wearing uniforms, about this "order for the arrow", about the dues and fees, and about Scouting in general. "Will it help my son" and "If Scouting is so universal, where are all of the black and brown and yellow Scouts and Scouters?" are two of the most frequently asked of the questions above.

I use Eudora and NewMail to respond to and file electronic mail and to archive my electronic mail. I additional use the old Global Network Navigation (GNN, which at one time used to be a part of America Online (tm))'s software for some of my older postings. I find Eudora and NewMail easier to use and very user-friendly.


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