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    • The answer varies across the scale.  You have some units where the CO's word is law, and you have others where the CO is either virtually non-existent or gives SM complete reign in delivering program as he/she sees fit. Our case is the latter.  Our CO is a CO in paperwork only.
    • I agree. This is kind of a catch-all list because we’d be dealing with a potential wide range of experience levels. A troop of mostly younger Scouts can’t be expected to go backpacking or have lightweight gear on the first trek. A cooler, for example, may be a necessary transition item to get them through a year of “lightweight car camping” before they’re ready to hike everything in on their backs.  Lashing staves are more for practice during meetings; a CO might not like it if we dragged in a bunch of downed saplings and left bark all over the place.
    • Some is not even necessary for the first year. A few perhaps not at all. For example, some of the camping items are often used for car camping and might be "nice to have", but are not necessary.  Lashing staves? I would suggest gathering some from the woods. In my experience they work better than the purchased ones anyway.
    • USA Archery Level 1 instructor level training is all you need (minimum) in order to be an Archery merit badge counselor: "Archery. Archery activities must be supervised by a BSA National Camping School–trained shooting sports director or USA Archery or National Field Archery Association instructor, or by someone who has been trained by one of the three; or alternatively, the activities may be supervised by someone with at least Level 1 training in the operation of an archery range from USA Archery, NFAA, or an equivalent."    
    • Slight correction for those just tuning in. 😉
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