District Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Do new cub scouts have to earn the Bobcat rank if they are older than the others in that group?

First graders, and anyone beyond that grade who is new to Cub Scouting, completes the Bobcat Badge prior to working on their grade-specific badge of rank. Kindergartners, who are Lions, do not work on the Bobcat Badge.  More information about Cub advancement can be found here.

Can Cub Scouts plan a campout for any location or do they need approval?

Cub scouts must be in an approved campout location.  The National Capital Area Council has a listing of Certified Camping Areas for Pack Overnighters.

How can I learn more about assisting Scouts who experience a disability or have special needs?

The basic premise of Scouting for youth with disabilities and special needs is that they want most to participate like other youth—and Scouting gives them that opportunity. Thus, much of the program for Scouts with disabilities and special needs is directed at (1) helping unit leaders develop an awareness of disabled people among youth without disabilities, and (2) encouraging the inclusion of Scouts with disabilities and special needs in Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout troops, and Venturing crews. George Mason District’s Special Needs Scouting representative is Scott Willey.

I am a Life Scout and will have completed my Eagle requirements soon.  Do I need to complete the new eagle-required Citizenship in Society merit badge?

The Citizenship in Society merit badge will become an Eagle required MB on July 1, 2022.  Any Scouts that haven’t completed their Eagle requirements and the Scoutmaster conference before July 1 will need to make time to earn this MB.

Should the scout holding the flag salute during the Pledge of Allegiance? 

Many flag ceremonies have the color guard “post the colors” before the Pledge.  This allows the color guard to follow the same commands as the audience.  However, if your unit wants them to hold the colors, that is fine.  The color guard member holding the flag pole should use both hands and not salute.  The other members of the color guard should salute.  For more information about flag ceremonies, click here.

I have heard the term “Key 3.”  What is that?

The Key 3 is a group of three top Scouting individuals within each segment of Scouting. Actively involved at the unit, district, council, area, regional, and national level, Key 3 leaders support and serve employees and volunteers that ensure youth members get the best Scouting experience possible.  For a Cub Pack, the Key 3 are the Cubmaster, Committee Chair and Chartering Organization Representative.  For a Scout BSA unit, the Key 3 are the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair and Chartering Organization Representative.  For the George Mason District, the Key 3 are the District Committee Chair, District Commissioner and the District Executive.

Can adults earn scout rank and awards?

Adults could earn rank until 1965 when BSA added the Eagle requirement of “serve actively for 6 months as a troop warrant officer.”  This requirement was actually added in a Handbook supplement in 1963 but was optional until 1965.  Earning Eagle was discouraged after 1940 but there were a number of service men that were not able to complete Eagle Scout before World War II and did earn their Eagle Scout award after the age of 17. 

Effective January 1, 2021, local councils have the authority to grant limited extensions of time for certain youth complete Eagle requirements after age 18. These extensions are available only to youth members who qualify under the requirements listed in the Guide to Advancement (www.scouting.org/advancement).

Scout leaders can earn awards.  Please be sure to review the Adult Awards and Recognition each year and plan, with your adult leaders, to recognize their accomplishments.

How do individuals, not associated with a Unit, pay for their Annual Membership in 2022?

This is the link to pay for a BSA membership for those individual members not associated with any unit.

I turned in an application but it does not show in my My.Scouting account.

Please wait two weeks from submission date to the District Executive. If you don’t see it in your roster, submit a copy of the full application to the District Executive for re-processing.

I’m being asked to submit a copy of my Youth Protection Certificate.  How do I get a copy?

Login to my.scouting.org.  Click on Menu, My Training, then locate the line that lists “Youth Protection Training Y01” and click on the printer icon (just to the left of the “Retake Course>”). When you print it you can generate a paper copy or select PDF and name the file and email it to the person requesting the certificate.

I need a certificate of insurance for my unit, an event or the chartering organization. 

Please fill out a Request for Certificate of Liability Insurance and return to the District Executive Jose Calil. You’ll receive a certificate of insurance back within two weeks.  If the group requesting the COLI needs some special language, this needs to be put in writing and submitted with the request. This will add time to the turn-around.

What fundraisers are supported by the council and insurance?

Popcorn sales, in-person and online, are the only official, supported and covered fundraising projects.  Some years, other items (e.g., Camp Cards) are available too.  A unit can perform their own fundraising activities (e.g., mulch, wreaths, peanuts, etc.) after getting a Unit Money-Raising Application approved.

Where do I turn in a Merit Badge Counselor application?

Go to the Merit Badge site on the George Mason web page for more information about the required documents.  The documents are sent to Margee Egan (the GM Merit Badge Dean).

Where do I get or turn in an application for membership in Boy Scouts of America?

For a paper application go to: Scouting Forms from the National Council.  As soon as you complete an application (including signatures), scan and send to the District Executive. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL ROUNDTABLE. Applications need to be received immediately for proper processing.

To apply online (the most efficient method) go to: BeAScout.org. Enter your zip code, select the closest unit to your home or a specific unit you know and click the “Apply Now” button.

How should we use the Leave No Trace/Outdoor Ethics training taken by our Adult leader or Scout?

Leave No Trace is an awareness and an attitude rather than a set of rules. It applies in your backyard or local park as much as in the backcountry. We should all practice Leave No Trace in our thinking and actions–wherever we go.We learn Leave No Trace by sharing the principles and then discovering how they can be applied. Leave No Trace instills an awareness that spurs questions like “What can we do to reduce our impact on the environment and on the experiences of other visitors?” Have your trained individual(s) review the rules/regulations of the location for your scout outing and discuss how to utilize the LNT principles.  Use your judgment and experience to tailor camping and hiking practices to the environment where the outing will occur.

How do I report an Injury, Incident or Near-Miss?

Timely, clear, concise, and complete incident reports allow for an appropriate response and an opportunity for analysis while promoting continuous improvements of our programs. You can report incidents, near misses, and youth protection/membership infraction incidents by clicking here. 

BSA has a mandatory Youth Protection reporting policy. All persons involved in Scouting shall report to local authorities any good faith suspicion or belief that any child is or has been physically or sexually abused, physically or emotionally neglected or exposed to any form of violence, threat or sexual exploitation. No person may abdicate this reporting responsibility to any other person. Youth protection/membership infractions can be reported by clicking here.

What activities and equipment can my Cubs/Scouts do/use on an outing?

Age appropriate activities and equipment are listed in the Guide to Safe Scouting. In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Boy Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.  

What is Roundtable and who should attend?

The District Roundtable provides an opportunity to gather with other unit leaders on a monthly basis and share suggestions and best practices for providing the best possible program for youth involved in scouting activities. Separate Roundtable discussions for Cubs and Scouts BSA units take place on the second Thursday each month at 7:30pm at Thoreau Middle School in Vienna, VA.  Any uniformed leader, Chartering Organization Representative or Committee Member is welcome.

Our unit used to get a Roundtable Ribbon (for our flag) for perfect attendance during the year.  Didn’t get one this year.

The Roundtable Ribbons for your unit flagpole have been discontinued.  Sorry.

What is Program Launch and who should attend?

The George Mason District’s Program Launch is an annual showcase of scouting programs, resources, activities, and information from GM scouters, our  Council, and exhibitors from outside of scouting.  Together, they all offer your unit great ideas and resources to help provide your scouts a great scouting program!

Every unit should have at least one leader at Program Launch. But don’t stop there! Scoutmasters and Venturing Advisors, bring your Senior Patrol Leaders and Crew Officers!  Assistant Scoutmasters and Den Leaders should attend too! The more leaders that attend, the more you’ll be able to bounce ideas around.

What is the George Mason Troop Expo and who should attend?

Late in the fall (usually just before the November Roundtable) various Troops from around the George Mason district will host an information session with Webelos/AOL scouts that will be bridging in the first quarter of the next year.  This gives an opportunity for the Webelos and their parents to learn about the various Troops, interact with Scoutmasters and scouts and plan their Troop visits before deciding on which Troop to join.

What is Wood Badge and who should take this course?

Wood Badge is an advanced, national leadership course open only to Scouting volunteers and professionals. Scouters from Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Explorers, and district and council Scouters all are welcome. Each Woodbadge course is offered twice a year (spring and fall).  Scouters often indicate they wish that they had taken Wood Badge earlier in their scouting career.  More information can be found here.

What is Powderhorn and who should take this course?

Open to both registered adults and youth who are at least 13 and have completed the 8th grade, Powder Horn is a hands-on resource management course designed to give you the contacts and tools necessary to conduct an awesome high-adventure program in your troop, team, crew, or ship. Contact the district training chair for information.

How does a Pack or Troop typically recognize their volunteers?

Each year, the George Mason District recognizes the Scouters and parents who go above and beyond the call of volunteer duties to provide exemplary service to their units, their district, and scouting in general.

To recognize adults who served/are serving at the unit level there are two types of awards:

  • Unit Commissioner’s Unit Scouter Award – Limited to one (1) per unit
  • Unit Appreciation Award – Maximum 8 per unit.

Please provide a sentence or two describing the individual’s service.  Submit Unit Commissioner’s Unit Scouter Award to Unit Commissioner.  Unit Appreciate Award to gm.adultrecognition@gmail.com.  Submissions are due in early March (for 2021 recognition, the date is March 11, 2022).

Two awards available for uniformed leaders include Cub Scouter Awards, Scouter Awards, the District Award of Merit (the highest honor a local district can bestow upon a volunteer leader for service in Scouting) and the Silver Beaver Award (recognizes one scout who stands out among their fellow Scouters and is recognized by their council for their service).  More information is available by contacting gm.adultrecognition@gmail.com.

How does one enter service hours (like Scouting for Food), camping nights, hiking miles and other outdoor activities?  

The attached link include a three-and-a-half minute video that describes how to enter service hours, camping nights, hiking miles etc. in Internet Advancement 2.0.  Please bring this video to the attention of the volunteer(s) in your unit that track unit activities.  Note, the link’s label is somewhat misleading.  Whether your unit uses Scoutbook or not, since July 2021, all unit activity is tracked in Internet Advancement 2.0 (not Scoutbook).  Recording Activities in Internet Advancement and Scoutbook – Scoutbook Knowledge Base (scouting.org)

What is a Unit PIN?

The Unit PIN is the “business card” that is listed on the  BeAScout.org web site.  This is used by families that are looing for units to join in their area.  It is important that the information on your Unit PIN is current.  Your unit Key 3 members can make updates to the Unit PIN through the my.scouting.org application (Menu, Organization Manager, Unit PIN).

I have two different BSA IDs.  How do I merge them together?

Log into my.scouting.org. In the upper left corner click on Menu and then select Manage Member ID. Make sure that the Member ID you want is there and if it isn’t, ADD it. If it is for your primary position(s) make sure to set it as PRIMARY. 

How do I transfer a scout/Adult to another unit?

Unit leaders or the parent/guardian have the ability to transfer youth from their unit to another – such as in Arrow of Lights transferring to a Scouts BSA troop. Unit leader transfers are done in my.scouting.org on the “Roster” tab of Member Manager or Organization Manager. Transfers or multiple registrations for members or youth can be done under Menu > “My Application” tab. Note, there are no transfers processed during the Charter Renewal period.

At the receiving unit, Youth transfers are approved by unit leaders and Adult transfers are approved by the COR or their designee.  Note, adults can only be self-transferred using the “My Application” tab. When an adult transfers, they will need to answer the basic Youth Protection questions again and cannot transfer if their Criminal Background check is not completed.

Specific steps to complete this transfer are located here.  

What is the Peace Light of Bethlehem?

Each year, a child from Upper Austria fetches the light/flame from the grotto in Bethlehem. The light is carried in two blast proof miners lamps on an Austrian Airlines jet from Tel Aviv Israel to Vienna Austria from where it is distributed at a Service of Dedication to delegations from across Europe who take it back, with a message of Peace, to their own countries. Austrian Airlines then flies the miners lamps containing the Peace Light from Bethlehem to New York City. The goal of this group is to help the light spread like the branches of a huge tree rooted in New York and spreading across the continent.  More information about the travel of the Peace Light can be found here.

When are the Order of the Arrow elections?

OA election season runs from the first of November to the end of May each year.  However, the first Ordeal is usually in April.  Better to get the elections done early.  Your OA member that attends the monthly meetings can let you know which unit you are paired with for elections.

I am in the Order of the Arrow.  How do I pay my annual dues?

Go to the OA web page and there is a link to pay your dues.  There is a discount for paying early.

I signed up for an NCAC event (University of Scouting) but cannot remember my classes.

You can always look up your registered events at https://scoutingevent.com.  Select the Council you registered in (some people go to events in other Councils).  In the upper right, click on Lookup Registration.  A pop-up will appear and ask for your email and the course registration number.  If you don’t remember the number, click on the bottom right – Forgot Registration Number (the system will send you an email with all your courses for the last several years – click on the correct one).