I want to write (someone) at the BSA (for whatever reason). Why don't they have email access so that we out here in the sticks can write and ask them questions without getting your or other people's "interpretation" of what the answer is? What is their regular address? Will I get into trouble or be kicked out of Scouting if I write to them and tell them my problems or questions without writing to my District or Council guy? My "person" is (too young, too old, doesn't know squat, thinks he/she knows it all, never around, a lunatic) and I want a "second opinion."

You, your youth members, the families of your youth members, and anyone in the public sector, may write to any division at the Boy Scouts of America by writing to:

Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas, USA 75015-2079

That is the same address which is found in every Scout Handbook, in the covers of various training materials, and which is found on their website http://www.bsa.scouting.org/

The BSA does not have an "email drop box" for the same reason why some days I wished I had never given my email address out: simply put, they are not staffed nor do they anticipate being staffed in the near future, to respond to and answer several THOUSAND email (I get around 200) messages A DAY from Scouts, Scouters and parents.

Many of those questions deal with LOCAL ISSUES, LOCAL AWARDS, and LOCAL PROBLEMS, which can be BEST HANDLED LOCALLY. This is why the BSA has more than 200 local Council offices, and a fulltime professional staff of close to 3000 to be responsive to the volunteers they represent.

In sending a question to the BSA's National Offices, keep these things in mind -- they do help to route the question to the right person to give you the right answers you're seeking:

First, be COMPLETE. Don't leave any details out if you can help it. Many times, a BSA staffer will get a letter and would be proactively working on an answer only to find out that the "award" he's looking for doesn't exist any more; or that "the Kipling Award" is not even a BSA award. This is why it's important that you

SEND A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO YOUR COUNCIL'S SCOUT EXECUTIVE TOO. In most cases, your Council's Executive (in larger Councils, he or she is called a "Scout Executive"; in smaller Councils, he or she is called a "Council Executive". The position's the same: the senior-most professional in that Council...) KNOWS or would be ABLE TO KNOW what the 'deal is' and be able to respond to your letter quicker than someone in Texas whom has never been to your location. So in addition to those two above,

DO NOT EXPECT A QUICK ANSWER. These men and women manage national programming and national support to your Council and the other 200 plus Councils. I'm not saying, "don't bother them," because that's part of their mission is to be bothered. But don't expect them to whip out a response on their PC, give it to a secretary or assistant to proof, and then send it to you within a week. Don't even give it a couple of weeks. Give it a MONTH for their response to you...and

WATCH THE OFFICIAL BSA PUBLICATIONS. It could be that instead of answering 100 such inquiries about "What is the Rudyard Kipling Den Award and how does my Den earn it?" that instead National will place an article in Scouting or Boys Life and inform everyone "Hey! We're received a large number of inquiries about something called the "Kipling Den Award". The Award, which consists of a patch with various segments around it, was created by the Daniel Webster Council to recognize Cub Scout Dens with successful year-round programming. Those interested in receiving more information about this Award should contact the Daniel Webster Council..."

Will you get "in trouble" or "fired" if you send a letter to National instead of talking with your District or Council guy or gal?? Maybe. Depends on what it is you're asking about, whether or not you've talked with your "guy or gal" about it, and whether or not it could be construed as damaging to the program or not. That's a call that EACH AND EVERY LOCAL COUNCIL has to make for themselves. In MOST cases, you writing to National won't do anything but get you some extra phone calls from your Council Executive. In other cases, you may be asked to come into the Council office and express your concerns and issues with the Council Executive and your District Executive - and I would certainly attend that meeting and express your concerns...it's totally possible that your Council Executive has NEVER heard those SPECIFIC things before...and it's also possible that this is something that he or she SHOULD or MUST know in the day-to-day management of the Council.

I cannot guarantee that you will NOT be removed from membership...again there's a lot of variables there...so I can offer you the advice above and advise you to be careful of your words and be careful to include your Council Executive "in the loop" when you write to "national" about ANYTHING. Nobody likes to be "blindsided".

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