Internet Unit Charter Renewal

Steven D. Bradley, Council Commissioner, Orange County Council

Change is a fact of our daily lives. So is tradition. My presentation is an exciting example of where tradition and technological change intersect.

The BSA has introduced a new service to councils that enables units to expedite the paperwork portion of the charter renewal process over the Internet. This new option launched from the council Web site provides a more accurate and efficient renewal for many units and for the local council.

Commissioners are responsible for unit charter renewal, so if your council has adopted the Internet option as mine has, it is essential that commissioners be trained in all of the steps of the process.

This new option only changes the paperwork portion of the unit charter renewal process and it should be integrated with all of the person-to-person steps described on pages 38-39 of the Commissioner Fieldbook. They are still an important part of the process.

Here is how the process now works:

A council signs a licensing agreement to use Internet rechartering. To date, half our councils have done so.

  • At Least Four Months Before Renewal Date—The council prepares a unit charter renewal kit for each unit due to reregister, including a letter outlining the use of the new optional Internet rechartering system, the council's Web site address, and the unit's unique access code.
  • At Least 90 Days Before Renewal Date—The district executive still visits the head of the chartered organization to renew the Scouting relationship. The meeting is a face-to-face discussion on the current state of the unit. If problems are anticipated in the reregistration of the unit or there is other major action to be taken by the district, this visit should be held earlier so that positive commissioner action may take place prior to the renewal date. In districts where all units have the same renewal date, district executives must start even earlier to complete all visits on time.
  • 60 Days Before Renewal Date—The unit commissioner and unit committee still conduct a membership inventory of currently registered youth and adults. Visits are made to reactivate inactive members. Every effort should be made to recruit additional youth and adults so that the unit can reregister with no loss of membership. The commissioner does a final check to see if the unit has completed the Quality Unit Award. The charter review date is set, and all unit adults are urged to attend. The membership inventory is an important step for a unit commissioner.
  • 60 to 45 Days Before Renewal Date—Units choosing to renew their charters online will select a person as their renewal processor. He/she will visit the local council's Web site, complete the online steps through the submittal process, and print a revised charter renewal application to be brought to the unit's charter renewal meeting for review, discussion, and authorized signatures. The council registrar now places the unit's electronic data on hold until after the unit's charter review meeting.

    To assist districts in this process, there is a report available to council employees with membership reporting capabilities entitled Commissioner's Status Report. This report provides commissioners with the renewal status of each unit, including the date of first login, the current stage of the process completed, and date submitted. Two other new reports that are available are the New Members Added Report and the Members Not Renewed Report. Both of these reports are designed to provide information to the district in an effort to follow up with new youth and dropped youth identified through the renewal process.

  • 45 Days Before Renewal Date—The commissioner and unit committee chairman still conduct the unit charter renewal meeting. This is not new. Also in attendance should be the chartered organization representative, executive officer of the chartered organization, unit leader, and other unit volunteers. Additional changes may be made to the application. The renewal application with appropriate signatures, applications for new youth and adults, appropriate fees, and Quality Unit worksheets are all completed at this meeting.

    All forms and fees are then delivered to the council office or the district's charter renewal turn-in meeting.
  • Following the Renewal Meeting—The council's registrar receives the charter renewal application, new youth and adult applications, and appropriate fees following the charter renewal meeting. If the unit has renewed its charter using the Internet, the registrar reviews this information online along with the hard copies from the unit charter renewal meeting. The registrar then creates the new charter and registration cards for the unit. The registrar mails the registration cards to the unit leader and makes the new charter available to the district for presentation by the commissioner.
  • 30 Days After Renewal Date—The commissioner still makes a formal presentation of the new charter at an appropriate gathering of the chartered organization.

Please Note—Commissioners and professional staff must be sensitive to the fact that some units (for a variety of reasons) may need to or choose to use the pen and paper method for charter renewal. The Internet option is not best for all units. Help units use the option which is best for them.

Because commissioners are responsible for unit charter renewal, it is essential that commissioners and district executives be trained in all the steps of the unit charter renewal process, not just the Internet steps. Please see that this training happens in your councils. You will find a helpful 2-page resource titled "Internet Unit Charter Renewal—A Guide for Commissioners on you chairs." It's also a guide for professionals. The plan is also now part of the recently revised Commissioner Fieldbook.

Good luck as your council incorporates Internet rechartering in your council.