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Rechartering Your Unit

If you are reading this, you probably have just been asked to recharter your unit and are full of questions. You also may be a little anxious, wondering “what in the world have I gotten myself into?” because everyone else was so relieved when you agreed to do it.

RELAX. Unit recharter has earned a reputation as being difficult… but it doesn’t have to be.

If there are hard parts, those parts are that some rules must be followed for each member and that you have to finish on time.


New Background Check Policy

In accordance with the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s latest policy update, each registered adult volunteer – new or existing – must complete a new background check authorization form. This is in addition to the background check authorization that is a part of the BSA Adult application. This process will be required each year at recharter.

Our Registrar is not allowed to process any adult’s registration without the new authorization form.

Please click on this link to download the new background check authorization form


  • Registered adult volunteers must complete the new authorization form and physically sign it. Digital signatures from third-party providers are acceptable; they must be printed and stored the same as the original. E-mail confirmations, permissions or typed names on the form are not acceptable substitutes for wet signatures.
  • The unit leader in charge of recharter may scan the signed hard copy forms and email them to our Registrar – or print those scans and include them with the other recharter paperwork dropped off at the Fickett Center
  • If new adult volunteers have already turned in a membership application, those new volunteers will have to also complete and submit the new authorization form to the unit’s leader in charge of recharter
  • Parents/adults who are not registering as adult volunteers do not have to complete this background check authorization. We strongly encourage every adult to register, however, as this is the only way for our council to run a background check on the adults potentially interacting with your unit’s youth members.

“Investigative Consumer Report” language

The new background check authorization form contains a reference to an “investigative consumer report.” Some have asked whether this means their consumer credit history will be checked as part of this process. It does not mean this. The phrase, “investigative consumer report” is legal language that covers the following areas/concerns that will be checked as part of this process:

  • Social Security number (is this number valid?)
  • Identity check (compared with Social Security number, past known addresses to authenticate identity)
  • Whether the individual is a Registered Sex Offender
  • Whether the individual has a criminal history

Additional Background Check FAQs

Is the BSA doing credit checks on volunteers?

No. The BSA will only use these signed authorization forms for approval to obtain a criminal background check. State and federal laws regulating background checks and consumer credit checks require that both items be mentioned on the form since a full background check includes both parts. Again, the BSA is only using this form for authorization to obtain a criminal background check.

Can I just scratch out the language about “investigative consumer report” and still submit the form?

No. As noted above, the phrase, “investigative consumer report,” has nothing to do with financial credit history. Instead, the phrase is legal language authorizing our organization to confirm the authenticity of the SSN you provide, past addresses to confirm your identity, whether or not you are a registered sex offender, and whether or not you have a criminal history. To “cross off” this section would be refusing to grant BSA permission to check the above, which would void your application.

Why is this being done now?

Starting in 2020, rechecks will be performed every five years, but it will take several years to recheck all leaders. Unfortunately, technical limitations and changes in the law over the last five years prevent us from using existing authorizations from older applications. As such, new disclosure had to be sent and new signed authorization forms obtained. Rechartering provides the best window to collect and verify they have been received before the council processes the recharter application.

What about volunteers that are not registered with units?

All currently registered adults and employees who have not had a criminal background check in the last five years will be rechecked. Council registrars will individually track district and council registered employees and leaders (that should also include merit badge counselors).

What about those with multiple registrations?

Only one authorization form per person needs to be collected and retained by the council.

What happens if a unit leader does not provide an authorization?

Leaders who do not provide new authorization will not be able to renew their registration. Council registrars cannot renew any adult without first confirming that a new signed authorization form is on file at the council service center.

Why can’t the volunteer just reply to the original e-mail from BSA and attach their signed authorization form?

The best way for BSA to ensure compliance is to require that the council registrar verify that a signed authorization form is physically in hand before processing a unit’s recharter. This removes much of the potential error and associated penalties that could result from other methods.


Answers to Other Common Questions

What is a unit?

That’s the pack, troop, crew, or ship to which you belong. You’re a part of a district, and each district is a part of our council. A unit always has a Unit Leader who is responsible for seeing that a program is delivered to the youth members. The Unit Leader has a title like Advisor, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, or Skipper. A unit has at least three adults who serve as the Unit Committee that supports the Unit Leader.

What is a “charter”?

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) issues a charter through a local council to a Chartered Organization (the church or other organization that owns your unit). The charter is a formal agreement allowing that organization to use the Scouting program to serve youth in its community. BSA requires that the charter be renewed annually to continue using the program. We call that annual renewal “recharter”.

Who is the executive officer of my unit?

The name of your Executive Officer should be listed on the upper-left hand corner of the first page of your charter renewal. This individual acts as a liaison between the charter organization and the Scout unit. The Boy Scouts of America suggests that each unit regularly meet with their Executive Officer to discuss the program, upcoming events, and opportunities to strengthen their partnership.

What is “recharter”?

What happens during recharter? Basically, you’re telling BSA:

  • Who is “in” for next year? (existing youth and adults, plus new members)
  • Who is “out” for next year? (existing members who are dropping out of the program)

In addition to renewing the unit charter, recharter time is when all youth and adult members (leaders) renew their membership in BSA. Member renewals are most of the work. If your unit collects all or part of its member dues or fees on an annual basis, that collection often takes place at recharter, too. Your unit should also complete the application for the Journey To Excellence Award.

To accomplish this, the annual charter renewal process is essentially four steps:

  1. Gather necessary information on youth and adult members
  2. Gather membership applications (youth and adults) and verification of Youth Protection Training (adults only)
  3. Enter the information through the BSA’s Internet Charter Renewal website
  4. Print your charter renewal documents from Internet Charter Renewal, review those documents with your Unit Commissioner, and then submit the “Unit Charter Renewal Report Package” to our council office

For a step-by-step walkthrough of how to complete the recharter process, CLICK HERE.

When do I need to have my charter renewal finished?

By November 30; this allows our council service center enough time to process all charter renewals by year’s end. A quick and efficient completion depends on your unit’s ability to gather information and fees quickly, gather signatures, and turn everything in.

What if I don’t get the charter renewal in by November 30?

Units with late charters suffer a number of problems. First, their unit is no longer covered by BSA insurance. This means that your leaders could be liable in the event of an accident. Second, youth advancements cannot be recorded through the national office of the Boy Scouts of America. Third, magazine subscriptions of Boys’ Life and Scouting will lapse (and it takes a full two months for these periodicals to resume their circulation to your home).

If I have a question or need help completing recharter for my unit, who can I ask?

Your Unit Commissioner or District Commissioner can help. You can find contact information for your District Commissioner on our Districts information page.