My wife and I home school our two boys and have a lot of friends that home school their kids as well and while we know a number that are a part of scouting, we have yet to meet anyone that works through the Lone Scout program. I personally subscribe to a few groups and lists that are for Home School / Lone Scouts so I understand the concept, but haven’t grasped the motivation, yet. Anyhow… Saw this in the new BSA Advancement Newsletter detailing out a bunch of the program concept so thought I’d share:
Advancement for the Lone Scout
Lone Scouting is a program for boys of Cub Scout or Boy Scout age who for some reason find it difficult to attend regular meetings. It has been around since 1915 when William D. Boyce incorporated the Lone Scouts of America, which was merged with the BSA on March 1, 1924. Some of the circumstances that may make it difficult for a boy to attend regular Scout meetings are identified in Guide to Advancement, topic 220.127.116.11.
1. Home-schooled where parents do not want them in a youth group
2. U.S. citizens living abroad
3. Exchange students away from the United States
4. Disability or communicable illness that prevents meeting attendance
5. Rural communities far from a unit
6. Conflicts with a job, night school, or boarding school
7. Families who frequently travel or live on a boat, etc.
8. Living arrangements with parents in different communities
9. Environments where getting to meetings may put the Scout in danger
Note that Lone Scouting is not an alternative for those who just don’t like the local units or cannot get along with them. That said, it is up to the local council to approve Lone Scout applications. This is done through the Scout executive or other designated staff member.
Each Lone Cub Scout or Lone Boy Scout must work with a Lone Scout counselor—preferably his parent, but the counselor might also be a religious leader, teacher, neighbor, or Scouting volunteer. The Lone Scout counselor is a registered leader.
Cub Scout or Boy Scout advancement is conducted under the guidance of the Lone Scout counselor. Because Lone Scouts are not registered with units, some responsible flexibility with advancement may be used. This is not to say anything goes; Lone Scouting is not a place to register a boy simply to facilitate parental approval of advancement. Requirements for ranks, badges, or awards that can be met by one Scout working with his counselor must be fulfilled as written. If family members, neighbors, or friends can be like a “den” or “troop,” this may increase what can be met as established.
Some wording issues are simple and do not require council approval. For example, a Lone Scout may fulfill a position of responsibility by serving in his school, place of worship, in a club, etc. Where it is not possible to meet requirements as written, a Lone Scout counselor may suggest equal or very similar alternative requirements. These must have council advancement committee approval. A Lone Scout earns merit badges by working with council-approved merit badge counselors. Dissimilar requirements should be allowed by the council advancement committee only in extreme circumstances, or when they cannot be met without extreme hazard or hardship.
Advancement is reported by the Lone Scout counselor by sending the Advancement Report, No. 34403B, to the local council service center.
When a Lone Scout has completed the Eagle Scout requirements, he works with the district or council advancement committee in the usual way according to local practices (see “Boards of Review,” topic 18.104.22.168 in the Guide to Advancement). Since there is no “unit committee” for a Lone Scout, the unit committee chair signature line on the Eagle Scout application is left blank. No unit committee approval is required for the Eagle Scout service project proposal.
When circumstances prevent a boy from attending regular meetings, Lone Scouting is an option that should be considered. Promote this idea in your district or council. This may help retain the boy in Scouting longer, providing more opportunities to influence his character, citizenship, and fitness. Isn’t that what we’re all about?