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The intent of this Wiki is to post best practices for scoutcraft and advancment.

Good Turns

Settummanque, the blackeagle ((LTC) Mike L. Walton)

By the time the Cub Scout becomes a Boy Scout, the idea is already there: Do something for someone, get a badge. And when it doesn't happen, as in the case of some Troops whose adults and youth understand what the Good Turn REALLY is, the parents go ballistic because "MY SON ain't pickin' up anyone else's trash for NOTHING. You've gonna hand him a merit badge, or a pin, or service hours, or something..."

Scouts, Scouters and PARENTS need to understand what the Good Turn is. Here is what the Good Turn is:

"Some positive form of action performed by the Scout, either alone or as part of a group, which directly benefits another human being, an animal, or a place of community service or reverence. This action is performed WITHOUT THE EXPECATION OF ANY FORM OF RECOUPMENT, PAYMENT, HONORIAUM, OR FEE and simply because the action is perfomed as a Scout, by a Scout living the Scouting ideals. This action shall be performed DAILY."

There are four parts to this:

  1. The action is POSITIVE in nature. Beating up on some kid because he's a bully is NOT a positive action. An entire patrol, however, confronting the bully and telling him or her to "back off" someone IS positive in nature. Taking out the trash as a daily chore is NOT a positive action but taking out the trash, cleaning the trash cans, and perhaps even taking the recyclables down to the recycle center IS a positive action.
  2. The action DIRECTLY BENEFITS SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE. Whether it is something to benefit the school, a church, a community action center, a pet shelter, or someone who lives on your has to help THEM, not you. The action is something that they could do, sure. But you chose to do it for them, either by yourself or with others who are as like-minded as you.
  3. The action is PERFORMED WITHOUT PAY. Whether the pay comes in "camperships for your Scouts" or "money in your Scout account" or a direct "Here's a quarter, call someone who cares..." Scouts DO NOT ACCEPT MONEY FOR GOOD TURNS. They don't accept patches, either. Nor do they accept a free gift card at the local resturant. When Scouts accept those items, they have been PAID for their services. As someone told me on the trail today, "when you start taking money for doing what is supposed to come from the heart, it becomes a job."
  4. Finally, the action SHOULD BE PERFORMED DAILY, as in "Do a Good Turn DAILY". It is not something to be done to "count toward next week's count" of the number of service hours (although the BSA is asking us to compile that information so that they can statistically tell the public "you know if you paid for all of the Good Turns that Scouts and Scouters have done, you would have to spend.... X number of dollars."

Scout Spirit

Lloyd Dalton

Q:How do you incorporate Scouting's ideals in your troop's program?

A: We've had good success with a "scout spirit award", which I give out at the end of each day at camp (and occasionally on the morning of the next day). It's just a little knot, like this: or this:

given to a scout that I noticed doing something scout-ish. I always present the award like this:

"The scout spirit award is a small thing, and not very fancy or valuable. That's because I can't see most of the scoutlike things you guys do. This just recognizes something I did happen to see. Today's scout spirit award goes to a scout who I noticed doing [X]. That's a good example of [Y]. Congratulations!"

Where X is some action, and Y is some point of the point of the oath, law, or other scouting guideline.


Congressional Award

Calvin H. Gray
The Congressional Award is a national program available to young people ages 14-23. At age 13 1/2, young people may begin working toward an award by establishing goals and registering with the National Office. Participants may earn several levels of recognition including Bronze, Silver and Gold certificates as well as Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals.

This is an excellent opportunity for young people in Scouting and Venturing to use their activities to earn a rather unique series of awards. Additional information on the program may be viewed at:

To earn an award, young people must establish goals and carry out activities related to volunteer public service, personal development, physical fitness and an expedition or exploration outside their normal environment. Each award level is cumulative, i.e., time spent on one award is carried forward to the next level.

Many Scouting activities may be used to earn an award. High adventure trips could be used to complete the expedition requirement. Earning merit badges could be used to help satisfy personal development and/or physical fitness. Time spent in a major position of leadership in a troop or crew could count toward the volunteer public service, as could time spent during troop and crew service projects.

I've observed that most young people involved in Scouting or Venturing for several years will usually complete at least the requirements for a Bronze Medal. However, few young people actually receive the recognition as they don't register in the program and establish the goals needed to pursue an award.

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