Choosing a Summer Camp

Eight attributes of successful Scout camps

When I ask Scouters about their best memories as a Scout, they often call upon times spent at their favorite Scout camp. Summer camp memories last a lifetime, which is why it’s important to help your Scouts choose a camp program that will keep them coming back for more. ChoosingCampCover

But with hundreds of top-notch BSA camp properties across the U.S., this process can prove to be a challenge.

To help round up a checklist of what to look for when researching area Scout camps, we reached back into the Scouting magazine archives to a 1995 article by Bill Sloan, called “What Makes a Happy Camper?”

Sloane asks, “What should young people and their adult leaders expect — and deserve — from a summer camp?” He answers this query with eight key elements that produce successful council camps. This checklist arose from a 1994 BSA survey of 50 successful council camping programs. But it’s not hard to see how these apply to today’s popular Scout camps, too.

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Scouting Films

Videography tips from Scouting’s black-and-white film era

In the age of Smartphones and GoPros, the concept of documenting Scouting adventures in video format isn’t a novel idea.

But in the 1930s, capturing troop meetings and outdoor activities posed a bit more challenge. (Think heavy 16-millimeter-film cameras using portable projectors and screens to show footage.) FilmProjector

Yet, even with these technical hurdles, Scouters and Scouts of the era realized that showing Scouting on film was not only a way document activities, but also a way to help recruit more boys to the movement.

In the April 1930 issue of Scouting — viewed in the Scouting magazine digital archives — the column “Motion Pictures in Scout Work,” by Allan A. Carpenter, examines the value of capturing Scouting on film. The article also points out some timeless cinematography tips that GoPro-wearing Scouts can use today to help make excellent videos.

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BSA announces partnership with ATV manufacturer Polaris

All-terrain vehicles combine dirt and a motor — what’s a Scout or Venturer not to like?

Recognizing this winning mix, the BSA launched council-level ATV programs at camps across the country. And today, Polaris — a leading manufacturer of off-road vehicles — enters a 10-year partnership with the BSA, providing top-of-the-line ATVs, side-by-sides (SxS) and safety equipment to help deliver this exciting program to even more youth. PolarisSxS

Driving down a dirt trail doesn’t replace the rugged adventures of exploring on foot, but it does add diversity — not to mention horsepower! — to current activities available at BSA properties.

Now, with the help of Polaris, Scouts and Venturers age 14 and older will not only learn to drive the crème de la crème of ATV equipment, but they’ll also receive safety instruction vetted by a company with 60 years of industry expertise.

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Eagle Scout Connor Stotts receives 2014 Citizen Honors award

On July 31, 2011, Eagle Scout Connor Stotts singlehandedly saved the lives of three swimmers caught in a dangerous riptide near Oceanside Beach, Calif.

Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation

This bravery earned Connor the BSA’s Honor Medal With Crossed Palms, as well as the Carnegie Medal (which came with a $5,000 reward). But the college sophomore now has another award to add to his collection: a 2014 Citizen Honors award.

Selected by living recipients of the Medal of Honor — the highest award bestowed upon military heroes for acts of wartime valor — the Citizen Honors awards recognize three civilian American heroes for acts of bravery in their daily lives. Connor’s actions certainly fit the bill.

(Read on to learn more about Connor and find out how you can watch the Citizen Honors Ceremony March 25 at Arlington National Cemetery.)

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January-February 2014 ‘Where Am I?’ winner, location revealed

You don’t have to be an astronaut to recognize the terrain in our January-February “Where Am I? – Rise From the Ashes” contest.

284 readers submitted their guess of the mystery location, and we randomly selected lucky number 232 as our winner. Scouter Tina Klein from Kimberling City, Mo., guessed correct: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho.

Klein has won a $100 Supply Group gift card to use at her local Scout Shop or at Congrats!

Don’t miss the latest March-April “Where Am I? – Path Less Traveled” contest. Examine a photo and description of this mystery spot, and submit your guess for a chance to win. Contest ends Friday, April 25.

Good luck!

Photograph by Daniela A. Nievergelt

Citizen Honors Awards

Nominate a Scout or Venturer for the Citizen Honors Awards

Courage. Sacrifice. Selflessness. Patriotism.

Do those words describe an act of service performed by a Scout, Venturer or Scouter you know?

Chances are, they do. And you’ll need to act quickly to recognize this person by nominating him or her to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s Citizen Honors awards. The nomination deadline is Jan. 10, 2014.

The same foundation that honors acts of wartime valor (with the Congressional Medal of Honor) seeks to also celebrate “unsung heroes” or citizens who’ve selflessly put the lives of others first through an act of heroism. And, as Scouts pledge to “help other people at all times,” it’s likely that you know of a Scout, Venturer or fellow Scouter deserving this great distinction.

Nominate this person today — the Jan. 10 deadline is approaching fast. Nominees must be age 18 or older, and this person’s act of selflessness must have occurred in the last three years. Find more details regarding the nominating criteria here.

Read more and watch a video about the award after the jump.

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Sept-Oct Where Am I Contest

September-October ‘Where Am I?’ winner, location revealed

One look at the photo is all it took for our September-October “Where Am I?” winner to recognize the mystery location: the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

142 readers submitted their guesses and random number 35 was chosen as our contest winner: Scouter Kathy Borrell of Cochranville, Penn., who says she’s backpacked the rugged terrain of the Wind River Range.

Borrell has won a $100 Supply Group gift card to use at her local Scout Shop or at Congrats!

Don’t miss the latest November-December “Where Am I?” contest that will challenge even the most well-traveled readers. Examine a photo and description of this mystery spot, and submit your guess for a chance to win. Contest ends Dec. 20.

Good luck!

Photo by W. Garth Dowling

Rendering of Giant Magellan Telescope

Eagle Scout Astronomer gets a glimpse at rare mirror-firing for the Giant Magellan Telescope

Stellar accomplishments, like earning the Eagle Scout award, reap stellar rewards. Eagle Scout Tristan Bullard can attest to this, as he watched astronomers take one step closer to completing the Giant Magellan Telescope at Saturday’s rare mirror-firing event.

During a Mirror Lab tour, visitors looked on as the massive mirror is "fired" in a spun-cast furnace (shown at back of photo).

During a Mirror Lab tour, visitors watch as the massive mirror is “fired” in a spun-cast furnace (shown at back of photo). Courtesy of NESA.

Alongside internationally known scientists and astronomers, Tristan — who was named Eagle Scout Astronomer earlier this year— looked on as liquid glass spun in a gigantic furnace reaching 1170 degrees Celsius at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory Mirror Lab in Tucson.

The new, 20-ton mirror is the third of seven mirrors needed to construct the Giant Magellan Telescope, a project that will allow astronomers to look into the cosmos with clarity and precision 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT mirror-firing is considered to be the most challenging optics ever undertaken with each mirror measuring 27 feet in diameter.

Tristan says the mirror firing was a once-in-a-lifetime event. And one that he experienced thanks to the National Eagle Scout Association.

Read more about how Tristan got the chance to attend the mirror-firing after the jump. Continue reading


Calling all cooks! Enter our sizzling recipe contest

Are you the next Bobby Flay or Giada De Laurentiis when it comes to camp cooking? Share your specialty recipes with us in the new Scouting and Boys’ Life magazines Campout Cuisine Contest.

From Dutch oven concoctions to foil-pack delicacies and more, submit your favorite recipes and a photo of the finished products. You can even get your Scouts involved in the youth-only category! Entrants can submit one recipe per day, but each entry must contain a different recipe.

We’ve tapped two experienced outdoors chefs, Tim and Christine Connors (authors of several camping cookbook series), to serve as judges of the best campout creations. They’ll choose three adult entries and three youth entries to each receive an MSR Dragonfly stove (a $140 value). But even if your recipe isn’t chosen as a winner, it could still be published in an upcoming issue of Scouting magazine — earning you $50.

Contest ends Oct. 31, and winners will be announced in December.

You can also swap your favorite campout recipes with other Scouters on the Scouting magazine Pinterest page. If you pin and share your own creations (tagging with #scoutingcuisine), we’ll repin our favorites.

So fire up the skillet and start firing off your ideas!


May-June 2013 ‘Where Am I?’ winner and location revealed

Nothing beats a day on the water — in my opinion, at least. Especially when you’re aboard a sailboat exploring new-to-you waters.

The secret location in the May-June 2013 “Where Am I?” contest is a popular boating destination that I’m itching to visit.

We received 257 guesses and randomly selected number 112 as our winner with the correct guess: Continue reading