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November 26, 2022


Fellow Scouters: I have gone home. After 676 columns over 21 years, I am done. Scouting has changed over the 21 years since I started this column. We have girls. We have smartphones. We have new opportunities. Yet, Scouting's fundamentals have not changed. My advice in these 676 columns remains relevant. Please use these columns as a resource when you hit a challenge.

I want to leave you with a few key points from all of these columns:

  • Scouting teaches leadership. Everything else supports this aim.
  • ScoutsBSA uses the Patrol Method and not "the Patrol Method, except___"
  • Troops are a collection of patrols, not the other way around.
  • Troops are Scout-Led. Adults: I know this is tough, but it is the only way that the Scouts learn leadership.
  • Youth are the most important volunteers in the movement. We owe it to them to provide them with an experience that emphasizes the "true north" of Scouting. If they don't receive what we promise them and they leave the movement, it's not their failure: it's ours.
  • Adult leaders are there to be gate OPENERS, not gatekeepers!
  • "The Scoutmaster's First Responsibility is to Train The Youth Leaders So That They Can Run Their Own Troop." (from the BSA's SCOUTMASTERSHIP syllabus).
  • Adult leaders must encourage Scouts to participate in Leadership Training programs.
  • Despite technological advances, the "heart" of Scouting is still "outing".
  • Adults: Don't ever underestimate the capabilities of youth.
  • Get family members involved in Scouting activities.
  • Utilize Scouting professionals as valuable program resources.

My final parting advice: RTFM (Read the Friendly Manual). You will have noticed that almost every answer has been to simply quote documents like the Guide to Advancement. Scouting has you covered if you search and RTFM.

OK, there are also judgement calls. In these cases, I have always asked "What is best for the Scout," not "What is most expedient, easiest, etc." Most answers followed easily. You can do the same.

Finally, a request: please spread the word about how to lead Scouting the right way. Feel free to use any of my 676 columns as a reference. I thank you. Our Scouts thank you.

Thanks to all 18,000 of you for reading. It has been an honor to serve Scouting via Ask Andy!

My alter ego, Hal Daume, died of Bulbar ALS at the age of 80 on 7 Nov 2022. Hal was a dedicated Scouter with many honors, including National Distinguished Eagle Scout and Regent of the National Eagle Scout Association. His bio is here.

Hal had 5-decade career as a marketing consultant, providing advice on new products to large and small companies. Hal was an active Rotarian. Hal leaves behind his wife, Linda, six children, and five grandchildren.

[The above was written by a group of Hal's close friends and loyal Andy-readers]

To access the Ask Andy archive, Click Here.

Page updated on: November 26, 2022

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