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Warning for Pack activities that can't be done at home

It would help to have two obvious warnings on awards for Cub Scouts. We have had trouble with parents doing the Shooting Sports work on family hunting trips. After we see it in Scoutbook, we must tell them the restrictions. It has led to unhappy parents. It would be nice if they knew the restrictions when they see the award on Scoutbook. Other projects can be done at home so it would be good to label the exceptions to this rule.

I have included the awards that I think would benefit from a warning below.

Shooting Sports
*Scouts should not work on this award with their family or as Pack activity. It must be done at a BSA event with BSA certified instructor.

Cub Scout Supernova award
*Scouts must work with an approved Supernova Mentor for all requirements for this award. Scouts should not start the work until their Supernova Mentor directs them to begin.

Webelos Supernova award
*Scouts must work with an approved Supernova Mentor for all requirements for this award. Scouts should not start the work until their Supernova Mentor directs them to begin.

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The Cub Scout Shooting Sports awards already have this warning:

“Cub Scout shooting sports programs may be conducted only on a district or council level. Archery, BB gun shooting, and slingshot shooting are restricted to day camps, Cub Scout/Webelos Scout resident camps, council-managed family camping programs, or to council activities where there are properly trained supervisors and all standards for BSA shooting sports are enforced.”


I can see where this comes from, having had those unpleasant discussions in similar circumstances myself. There are a lot of things that would need warnings of this type, though. Not only shooting sports items like the Cub-level awards and the various shooting sports merit badges, but also various other situations in which prior-approval or special conditions are required.

My general purpose warning to both scouts and their parents is not to start working on an advancement requirement or award until after they talk to the relevant leader about it (e.g. den leader for cubs, PL/Troop Guide/SPL or SM/ASM for Scouts BSA advancement and awards, MB counselor for merit badges). There are far more rules and restrictions related to advancement and awards than are easily conveyed in brief warning text. Referring them to the leaders means that not only is there an expectation that the leaders stay current on the information, but they also have the opportunity to say “Y’know, the BSA rules say that can’t be earned on a family trip. However, council has a day camp coming up soon that will have shooting sports activities…”

That’s really good advice. Having a kid in Scouts doesn’t make you an expert on the GTSS. Heck, being a leader doesn’t necessarily make you an expert on the GTSS; my minimum expectation for leaders is:

  1. They know there’s a Guide to Safe Scouting
  2. They have a general idea about everything that’s in it.
  3. They know the details for the things they routinely do.
  4. They know how to check the GTSS for anything that comes up before anyone gets into trouble.
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Is it possible to bold it or make it red. Parents are still missing the warning. Thanks!

Exactly. In the past, it has normally involved a new parent that is eager and excited to get started. We given them the information but they are new and on information overload. They like to go hunting as a family, they follow the instructions, and then mark it in Scoutbook. When we talk to them about it later, they are very disappointed and defeated. I hate for them to start out in scouts that way. One family withdrew their scout due to their frustration. This one has been particularly difficult for us as we have a lot of families that go hunting regularly in their home state of Colorado.

Not only the G2SS, but all of the myriad bits-and-pieces that are involved in various advancement requirements. Take the phrase “approved by your Scoutmaster”. In principle, the Scoutmaster (or their delegate) might approve something you’ve done in pursuit of rank (e.g. a hike plan, a service project) after you’ve already done it. On the other hand, they might not, for whatever reason. Getting into the habit of discussing something with someone more knowledgeable after you come up with a plan but before you undertake it is generally good practice. That’s how you figure out that trails may be impassible, or that the red stove in the troop locker leaks and needs to be fixed (even though the “Fix me” tag fell off).

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All very good points.

I’m sorry to hear that families are pulling back, or out altogether, because of not understanding some of the details of the rules & regs by which we have to abide. That’s frustrating as a leader, because we’re predisposed to try to help folks overcome challenges rather than quitting in the face of them. My spiel to new parents generally starts and ends with something along the lines of “There are just a ton of BSA rules that impact what you can and can’t do as a scout, and what does and doesn’t count for advancement. The great news is that we’re here as leaders to help your scout navigate those rules successfully. Just ask. We’ll figure it out. If you’re interested in helping us and them with that process, I encourage you to volunteer as a leader.”

I wish I could say that it cures all ills, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. I have conversations with scouts all the time who think they’ve finished Camping MB, but are counting two years of summer camp when you can only count up to one long-term trip of up to 6 nights. The scouts are usually disappointed, but understand the rules are what they are. It’s almost always the parents who are willing to get in your face about it.


I can request it, although I don’t know when they might get to it. This is one of the reasons why the requirements for the Shooting Sports awards are not included in Scoutbook, because they can only be done as part of district / council programs.

I’m curious where they got the actual requirements for the shooting sports awards? Did they google them, or did someone in the pack provide them?

I find that many of the national rules are frustrating parents and turning away scouts. Once my Cub Scout completes AOL this year, we’re out. No Boy Scouts (sorry, Scouts BSA) for us. There are many other scouting-like activities that are less-restrictive and more fun.

I’m finding that, too. People join for adventure, then find out the rules are so much more restrictive than what they do without scouts. When they’re finally old enough to earn their whittling chip, half of them are fidgety and impatient because they’ve had a pocket knife for years and are more skilled with it than I am.

I understand the reasoning, but that doesn’t make it any less of a problem for recruiting and retention.

Brian and Christy - that sounds more like a unit issue than a National issue - if a unit is engaged it is very fun and adventurous


I think that’s not a big problem when the Pack is active and the leaders and parents are communicating clearly in both directions.

And, they have to remember, just because they didn’t get the pin or the badge for the activity, they still got to spend time with their family doing something fun… hopefully. If they’re doing stuff they don’t enjoy just to get the pin, there’s a deeper problem in the family that Scouting can’t fix by itself.

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