Want to have a say in the future of this great movement we call Scouting? Use your voice.

Or, more specifically, use your Voice of the Scout annual survey.

Since 2012, the Voice of the Scout survey has given the Scouting family the opportunity to offer feedback directly to the BSA. Respondents have answered questions about the climate, program delivery, administration and support provided at all levels of Scouting. These answers have turned into improvements at the BSA’s National Service Center and BSA local councils.

The Voice of the Scout survey — VOS, for short — is sent out on the first Tuesday of every month to one-twelfth of the Scouting population. That means you’ll get it once a year.

You respond on your computer, phone or tablet, and the whole thing takes just a few minutes.

Here are 10 more things to know about this important tool.

1. VOS goes to parents, youth, volunteers and chartered organizations.

Who makes up the Voice of the Scout survey population?

  • Parents
  • Youth: Cub Scouts, Scouts, Sea Scouts, Venturers, Explorers and Venturers (If the person is 14 or older, he or she gets the survey directly; otherwise, the survey is sent via his or her parents)
  • Volunteers: Youth-facing and council/district volunteers
  • Chartered organizations

2. You get one survey per year.

If you’ve been involved in Scouting for longer than 12 months, you should already have received one survey. 

If you’ve been involved for less than a year, keep an eye out for your survey some time during the year. Just be sure you have a current email address in your My.Scouting profile (see No. 4).

3. VOS surveys are sent on the first Tuesday of the month.

Everyone in Scouting is assigned a month during which they’ll receive their survey. Watch for the survey on the first Tuesday of each month.

If you have already received a survey before, you’ll get your VOS survey the same month every year.

4. Make sure the BSA has your correct email address.

If the BSA doesn’t have a working email for you, it can’t send you a VOS survey. VOS uses the email address you have provided in your My.Scouting profile.

To update or change your profile information on my.scouting.org, you will need to do the following:

  1. Login to my.scouting.org
  2. Once logged in, click the menu icon in the upper left of the webpage, then select My Dashboard.
  3. Once on My Dashboard, select the icon adjacent to My Training, which looks like 3 stacked horizontal lines, then select My Profile.
  4. Make any necessary changes to your profile information. Please note that your Member ID and login username cannot be modified.

5. The emailed link is the only way to take the VOS survey.

The link included in your email from Voice of the Scout is your key into the survey.

It’s unique to you, meaning it can’t be forwarded to someone else or taken more than once.

6. Spotting a VOS email is easy.

A Voice of the Scout email will come from — wait for it — “Voice of the Scout.” (Though if you’re in an Explorer post, it’ll say “Voice of the Explorer.”)

7. VOS surveys are anonymous.

Your answers to the questions will never be connected directly to your name. The BSA combines your answers with others and reports them in a group.

8. VOS surveys have generated lots of good news …

Through VOS surveys, the BSA has heard that youth members, parents and volunteers overall feel that Scouting in their unit and council has a welcoming environment and an engaging program.

Youth and parents also feel like they are getting the right amount of support from their unit leaders.

9. … and have put the spotlight on a few opportunities for improvement.

Many parents and volunteers listed unit communication as an “opportunity for improvement.” This is a nice reminder to use multiple communication channels — Facebook, email, text and more — to inform parents about meeting times and locations, fundraisers, and other unit news.

Other opportunities for improvement were in the areas of administration and training.

Based on that feedback, the BSA is working to simplify some of its online tools, such as online registration. It’s also evaluating leader training to determine what really makes a difference in delivering the program to youth and eliminating modules from required training that do not support that goal.

10. You can help by spreading the word about VOS.

Now that you know how to make sure your voice is heard in VOS, it’s time to do a Good Turn for others in your unit.

Make sure they know to watch for their VOS survey and to complete it when it arrives.

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