District Virtual Scouting Events
(Central Time Zone)
Districts are holding virtual Scouting opportunities. Volunteers have developed a series of remote Scouting classes. Scouts from any district can attend. The coursework will be completed through live video conferencing calls.
Volunteers are needed to teach classes. As instructors volunteer, classes will be added, so check back often.
Cub Scout Classes
Cub Scouts can participate in several classes offered by area den leaders focused on rank advancements, Scouting skills, STEM/Nova or just for fun. Parents are encouraged to sit with the Cub Scouts throughout the class to help keep them focused. Find additional Scouting at Home activities.
The BSA's STEM/NOVA Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Scouts of all ages. STEM/NOVA classes are designed for Wolves (2nd grader), Bears (3rd grader) and Webelos Scouts (4th and 5th graders). Prior to the STEM/Nova classes, parents will receive an email with homework to complete prior to each class (e.g., videos links to watch), supplies to gather from around the house and a link to the video conferencing class. Following the class, parents will receive a follow-up email with the requirements completed online. It will be up to unit leaders to record and award the advancements completed. STEM/Nova class sizes are very limited, if your Cub Scout cannot attend for any reason, please update your registration and cancel the class so another Scout can attend.
Merit Badge Classes
These online merit badge classes are an advancement opportunity open to Scouts in troops, crews or ships. Classes are taught by registered merit badge counselors. These are not give-away merit badges. Scouts are expected to participate fully during the online class and to personally complete each requirement (as specified in the Guide to Advancement section 220.127.116.11) in order to receive full credit for the requirements completed.
Partials: This intent of this event is to present content each day that gets the Scout started on a set of requirements. It is then up to that Scout to complete any additional task(s), study project(s), or activity(s) offline with a local registered merit badge. Some of the merit badge requirements cannot be completed online or during the time allotted which will result in a partial completion of the merit badge. In some cases, Scouts may complete an entire badge, especially if the prerequisites are completed prior to the class. Item(s) not covered during the class will need to be reviewed by the Scout and a local registered merit badge counselor. Uncompleted requirements and/or prerequisites will be addressed by the respective unit leaders.
Volunteers are needed to run the event. To ensure digital safety and to assist the merit badge counselor, at least one volunteer needs to volunteer to sit in on the class. The volunteer does not need to be an expert in the merit badge. The volunteer will help monitor the chat that Scouts will use to ask questions, take attendance and make sure Scouts are participating. Either notify the event chair or sign up when registering your Scout.
Prior to the class, participants will receive an email with details and instructions, and a link to the video conferencing class. Following the class, participants will receive a follow-up email with the requirements completed online. It will be up to unit leaders to record and award the advancements completed.
- Scouts are to obtain approval from their unit leader before participating in the class.
- Read through the badge requirements (links are provided) to ensure that the Scout wants to and is capable of completing the requirements. Some badges are more difficult than others and any prerequisites (as determined by the merit badge counselor) will need to be completed by the Scout on their own.
- Have the Scout's BSA member ID number available. This number is critical to identifying the Scouts in Scoutbook to ensure the Scout get credit for requirements completed. Find a Scout's BSA Member ID at the bottom-center of their BSA membership card, ask their unit leader, or look it up in my.scouting.org (under Menu, then My Profile) or Scoutbook (under My Profile, then Edit Profile).
- Review the expectations.
Scouts will need access to the internet utilizing a device with a camera and speakers. The sessions are hosted through a standard web browser (e.g., Chrome, Internet Explorer). Scouts will be able to see and hear the instructor. Participants can type questions using a chat field.
Merit badge classes are very limited, if your Scout cannot attend for any reason, please update your registration and cancel the class so another Scout can attend. Click here to modify any of the classes being held May 31 - June 9, 2020.
Find additional virtual merit badge classes and Scouting at Home activities. For in-person classes at Tellepsen Scout Camp, visit shac.org/merit-badge-days.
Classes that are full will not show up in the registration system.
Supplemental training classes are available for leaders and parents. Sessions are led by experienced volunteers to help participants enhance their ability to deliver a fun and exciting program to the Scouts. These unique sessions provide information, techniques, and best practices on how to improve your Scout program.
Course instructors Needed
Volunteers are needed to teach classes. As instructors volunteer, classes will be added.
All instructors must be registered with BSA and have up to date Youth Protection Training completed online at www.myScouting.org.
The merit badge counselor is a key player in the advancement program. Merit badge counselors must be registered with BSA (position code 42) for the class that they are teaching. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby, a profession, or perhaps a life skill—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a youth's curiosity about that particular topic. We must ensure that every participant “actually and personally completes each requirement” (review the Guide to Advancement section 18.104.22.168, which gives specific requirements and guidance for group instruction.) If the requirement says read, discuss, demonstrate or write, they must read, discuss, demonstrate or write. If a requirement can't be completed during the online course, then it can be listed as a partial. Resources: Guide for Merit Badge Counseling or Merit Badge Counselor Information.
STEM/Nova counselors must be registered with BSA (position code 58 or 52).
Volunteer to Teach a Class
How to Register for Merit Badge Classes
Merit Badge Class Expectations
Before the class
- Discuss the merit badge class with the unit leader to obtain approval from their unit leader before participating in the class.
- Dress appropriately (e.g., Scout uniform, Scout shirt).
- Set up a physical space with an internet-accessible device that will allow you to focus on the class and participate without distracting your classmates and instructor (e.g., in front of a wall) with light behind the device, and in a quiet room, with minimal background noise and distractions.
- Ensure a webcam and microphone are working on your device so you can share your camera if needed. Before class, join a Zoom test session to test your audio and webcam, and familiarize yourself with the chat and other controls.
- Check the time zone. This class is being taught in the Central Time Zone.
- Read the merit badge book.
- Complete prerequisites, if possible.
- Rename yourself to your first and last name (click on picture).
- Keep the microphone on mute (bottom left) so as not to add background noise. Only unmute if requested by the instructor.
- The speaker/gallery setting (upper right) should be set on speaker view.
- If you have a question, type it in the chat. The moderator will ask the instructor the question.
- Utilize the raise your hand feature if wanting to ask a question live.
- If the presenter asks a question, use the reactions (bottom of the screen)
- Scouts are expected to pay attention and fully participate. Scouts who don’t participate won’t get credit for those requirements.
- Scouts need to have the webcam on at all times.
- Put away phones, gaming devices, etc.
- When sending emails to the instructor, copy a parent, guardian or another adult leader.
Digital Safety in a Time of Increased Online Activity
- BSA’s youth protection policies apply to all online activities. All online activities, including video and audio conferencing through platforms such as Zoom and Skype, must adhere to the BSA’s current youth protection guidelines for digital communications, including the BSA’s Digital Privacy guidelines and the BSA’s Social Media Guidelines. Because safety features and privacy controls vary widely from platform to platform, and out of respect for families’ own preferences concerning social media usage, we strongly recommend using business-oriented conferencing platforms—for example, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting and others—to conduct online group activities instead of platforms intended for online gaming (e.g., Discord, Robolux, Twitch).
BSA’s Digital Privacy Guidelines BSA’s Social Media Guidelines
- Safeguard personal information. If you collect a person’s personal information online—for example, through web forms used to register people for online meetings—then you should post a notice or disclosure at the point of collection describing how you will use the information. The notice should be conspicuous and written in plain English. Keep in mind, video conferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom) have their own privacy policies which apply to data collected through the platform (e.g., if the platform is hosting your web form). Organizers of Zoom and Skype meetings—for example, unit leaders and Merit Badge counselors—may obtain personal information about a youth, such as his or her name, phone number or email address. Meeting organizers must keep such information private and not share a youth’s personal information with anyone else except that youths’ parent or guardian or the unit leader responsible for recording advancements. For example, a Merit Badge counselor should not publicly post or otherwise disclose a roster containing personal information of Scouts who the counselor has worked with.
- Recording online meetings is not authorized. As a reminder, Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse prohibits any one-on-one contact between an adult leader and youth members – in person, online, through a web conference, over the phone, via text, or in any other form. Electronic communication between adults and youth should always include another registered leader or parent. We believe our existing policy is the best way to protect youth and volunteers, and we do not believe recording online meetings would provide any additional material benefit. To the contrary, recording calls would increase personal risk as call recording is subject to various legal requirements under U.S. law and the laws of individual states, some of which require all parties to a call consent to recording. Considering those potential regulatory risks and the effect of BSA’s existing policies, we are not authorizing the recording of online meetings.
Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse
- Collecting personal information from youth under 13 is not recommended. We advise against collecting personal information directly from youth under 13 years of age due to the parental notice and consent requirements under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). COPPA does not restrict the collection of personal information about a youth from his or her parent or guardian. For the purposes of COPPA, “personal information” includes first and last name; home or other physical address; screen name or username that functions as online contact information; telephone number; a social security number; or a photograph, video, or audio file containing the child’s image or voice.