Friday, 12 September 2014


Before we begin the primary topic of this column I would first like to introduce myself. My name is Mark West, I am 23 years old and have been involved with Scouting since the second grade (1997). In August 2006 I earned my Eagle with Troop 780 which is located in Castle Rock, Colorado (Denver Area Council). During April 2007 I moved to Soldotna and became involved with Troop 1616. Troop 1616 is now known as Troop 669, due to a change in the charter organization. The first unit I served with in Anchorage was Troop 1316 where I served as an Assistant Scoutmaster until Fall 2012. After a brief absence from serving as an unit leader I joined Pack 125 in the fall of 2013 and have been involved with the Pack ever since.

Currently beyond being involved with a unit I currently serve in:
  • Eklutna District Unit Commissioner
  • Eklutna District Committee Member
  • Council Training Committee, Vice Chair of Youth Leader Training
Beyond these three positions I volunteer in Scout Office where I serve as a Council Support Services volunteer. In this role I provide administrative and technical support to the council through several different projects. One of my major ongoing projects I am working on is writing a column in the E-Trail Talk newsletter of the the council. My goal with this column is to provide volunteers with the tools and resources necessary to provide program support to make your Scouting experience as fulfilling as possible.

While the topic of recharter is not the most interesting topic, it is still a necessary process that all units have to go through on an annual basis. To help you understand why recharter is so important let's take a brief look into what the Charter Organization is and its relationship with the council and its members. Starting off lets define what a Charter Organization is

"A Charter Organization is a civic, faith-based, or educational organization that sponsors (operates) a Scouting unit to deliver the programs of the Boy Scouts of America to their youth members, as well as the community at large."

Each Charter Organization must have both an Institution Head and a Charter Organization Representative. However these two positions may be the same person. Institution Head is defined as follows:

"An Institution Head is the top person of the charter organization which has ultimate decision making authority when it comes business decisions. This person usually is the Chief Executive Officer, the President, a Pastor, a Priest, a Bishop, or director of the sponsoring organization."

A Charter Organization Representative (COR) is defined as follows:

"A Charter Organization Representative is the person appointed by the Institution Head to have the authority to appoint new leaders, remove old leaders, approve adult and youth membership, ensure that the unit is conducting the Scouting program within the parameters established by the Boys Scouts of America, ensure that the unit conducts itself in line with purpose of the organization, and to help acquire or provide the resources needed for the unit to conduct its program."

Each year the Institution Head signs what is called an "Annual Charter Agreement" which is the agreement that defines what the Charter Organization is to provide and the responsibilities of the Local Council to each Charter Organization. The full "Annual Charter Agreement" can be found here.

 Below you will find a summary of the responsibilities of the two involved parties in the "Annual Charter Agreement" starting with the responsibilities of the Charter Organization:
  • Conduct the Scouting Program inline with the policies of the BSA.
  • Include Scouting as part of the programs for families and youth of the organization.
  • Appoint a COR to coordinate unit operations and serve as an active voting member of the Local Council.
  •  Select a committee of no less than 3 people that will screen and select potential leaders that meet both the standards of membership for the Charter Organization and the BSA.
  • Provide Adequate facilities for the Scouting Units to meet.
  • Encourage participation in the Outdoor Programs of the BSA.
While the Charter Organization has the above duties, the Local Council agrees to carry out the following responsibilities to each and every Charter Organizations:
  • Respect the aims and objectives of the organizations and to offer the resources of Scouting to the Charter Organization
  • Make available year round training opportunities, programs, and service resources to the Charter Organization.
  • Provide information on how to select quality leaders.
  • Provide Primary General Liability Insurance for the unit and its Charter Organization.
  • Provide Excess General Liability Insurance for unregistered leaders involved with the unit.
  • Provide facilities for camping.
One of the most important things you can do to bring change to both the district and the local council is to encourage your COR to attend District Committee Meetings and Council Board Meetings. District Committee Meetings are generally held on a monthly basis from August to May, skipping June and July. Council Board Meetings are also held on a monthly basis but if there is any meeting that is more important than these monthly meetings it would be the Council Annual Business Meeting. This meeting is held during the month of February in conjunction with the Great Alaska Council's Day of Scouting. This day usually includes:
  • District Committee Chair Meeting
  • Council Annual Business Meeting
  • Council Executive Board Annual Meeting
  • Eagle Recognition Banquet
  • Annual Council Awards Banquet
Hopefully by now you will have gained a better understanding of the Charter Organization Concept and the role the Charter Organization Representative plays within the unit, district, and local council. However, I still have not covered what the purpose of recharter is and therefore it needs to still be addressed. The purpose of recharter is as follows:
  • Update personal and contact information of youth and adult members.
  • Remove adults and youth from the unit roster, if necessary.
  • Add adults and youth to the unit roster, if necessary.
  • Make leadership position changes to already registered leaders without an Adult Application.
  • Pay registration fees and for Boys Life subscriptions for the upcoming year. (This only applies to Non-LDS (Latter Day Saints) Units, unless a LDS Unit has a member that is interested in subscribing to Boys Life Magazines). 
  • Grant your Charter Organization the Charter that allows your Charter Organization to conduct the programs of the Boy Scouts of America. 
If this doesn't provide enough background on the Charter Organization Concept and the purpose of the recharter process please feel free to contact me via email at with any additional questions or concerns. You can also contact your District Executive with any questions you have about recharter. Additionally, I am always interested in hearing comments, concerns, or questions about the current topic or suggestions for future topics you would like to be covered.

Thank you for participating in Scouting, it is you as adult leaders and youth members that make the Scouting program work. Your service to Scouting is greatly appreciated.

Yours In Scouting
Mark West
Eklutna District
Unit Commissioner
Great Alaska Council

If you are paid to do Scouting you are called a Professional. If you are not paid to do Scouting you are called a Volunteer. But if you pay to do Scouter you are called a Scouter.

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