rechartering mistakes

The 7 Biggest Scout Unit Rechartering Mistakes


If you are doing your unit’s recharter this year, bless you. You’ve taken unto yourself a task that nobody in the Scouting world enjoys. It’s a necessity, but it’s not the most fun thing you could do. As someone who has worked with thousands of recharters, let me pass along a few of the most common rechartering mistakes that people make so that you can avoid all the stress that they can cause.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and that every council has their own methods of doing rechartering. They may require something that’s not on this list, and so you should defer to them. This is your unit commissioner’s primary focus at this time of year. District Executives are getting asked on a weekly basis about rechartering by their supervisors – so they’re there to help you as well. Don’t be afraid to call them

#1. Waiting Too Long to Start the Process

Rechartering takes time. Every one of the errors listed below gets magnified when you procrastinate. The sooner you get in, the sooner you’ll see what you need, and the sooner any errors will be caught. Every bit of the process can take time. And, your council registrar has to process every charter in your council. That also takes time. Think 2-4 weeks. So you really want to get your charter in a month before your expiration date.

For many, scout unit rechartering takes place at the end of the year. So, if your unit charter is set to expire on December 31st, you’ve got less than two months left to get it done. And if you’re not done, on January 1st, your unit technically ceases to exist. Your insurance lapses, so you shouldn’t be meeting. Your Scouts can’t earn advancement. And your unit’s youth aren’t actually scouts anymore.

Don’t mess around with any of this. Get started as soon as possible. Finish as soon as possible. Then get back to talking about camp.

#2. Trying to Log on as a “Returning User”

The good people at your council office will take this call about 1,000 times this year. An exasperated volunteer on the other end of the phone will say, “I’ve got my code, but it won’t let me log on as a returning user!”

This is because you need to log on as a new user the first time you use the system every year and create a new account every year. Your registration code from the council is good for this year, and this year only. So each time you log back into your charter, you’re a returning user.

But when you log in next year, you’ll be new again.


#3. Not Having Youth Protection Trainings Done

This one tends to be the biggest holdup in getting units rechartered – especially for Boy Scout troops. So take the time in to make yourself familiar with the Training Manager. Ther you’ll be able to check who in your unit needs training right now and send them notices right now. Talk to them at meetings. Whatever it takes to make sure they get it done.

If you’re working with older volunteers who aren’t comfortable with computers, have someone in your unit help them. Have a laptop at meetings for the purpose of helping people do youth protection.

The toughest case in my experience isn’t 85-year-old committee members and charter org reps – but the 18-year-old Eagle Scout who’s now becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster. These young men are tremendous assets to our program, but they’re also the ones most likely to drag their feet. So start after them now. They’ll need a few reminders, and don’t be afraid to engage their parents to help you out.

If every one of your registered adults hasn’t completed youth protection, you cannot recharter your unit.


#4. Missing Signatures

Whether electronically, or on paper, missing a signature will put a hold on your recharter. In order to recharter, you’ll need the signature of your unit leader (Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Skipper, Adviser) and your Charter Organization Representative, and your Council Representative (usually your District Executive.)

Before you turn the charter in, you should have the Charter Rep. signature and the Unit Leader. The Charter Rep tends to be the toughest, so you want to start after this one as soon as possible. You don’t want to be trying to track them down during the holidays. My longtime joke is that all the charter reps in the world go to a secret island hideaway in mid-December just so they can be impossible to find when you need them.

My advice is to set up these appointments as soon as possible.

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#5. Missing or Incomplete Applications

When you’ve finished the charter, the charter paperwork Page 1 will give you a list of the applications that you’ll need in order to complete your charter. You’ll want to be sure you’ve got them or complete copies of them to hand in with the charter.

Make sure youth applications have full names, birthdates, grade levels, parents names, parents birthdates and are signed by the parent and unit leader. Make sure adult applications have full names, birthdates, social security numbers, background check questions answered, and are signed by the applicant, charter org rep, and committee chair. You’ll also need to attach their criminal background check disclosure form.

Note: If you turn in applications after you’ve started your recharter process, they may not show up on the recharter. You’ll still want a paper copy of the application to turn in with the charter. The rule of thumb is, if the charter asks for it, provide it.


#6. Not Including Enough Money

Your council may have an additional insurance fee or an activity fee. You’ll need to make sure these fees are paid before your new charter can take effect. The Rechartering software from the Boy Scouts of America will not reflect these changes, and if your council will not process your charter without it.



#7. Leaving People Off

It’s very tempting to not recharter all of the Webelos who will be crossing over in February to save a little bit of money. But you’re doing them a disservice. This is taking away from their tenure, and leaving them uninsured until they cross over, and fill out a new registration. Remember, unregistered scouts cannot earn advancement.

Also, don’t be that pack that doesn’t register an entire den because the den leader didn’t get the money in on-time. This is another reason to start the process as soon as possible.

Hopefully, this will help you steer your way through rechartering as smoothly as possible. Thank you for what you’re doing.


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