March-April ‘Where Am I?’ location, winner announced

Take a peek at the photo from our March-April “Where Am I?” contest and you might think you’re standing in Wind Cave National Park.

But take a closer look at the clues: You can find “frosty, crystal-like adornments” in Jewel Cave National Monument, located in South Dakota’s Black Hills.

We received 666 responses, and randomly selected a winner—Greg Caporale, assistant Cub Master of Pack 326 in Smithtown, N.Y.

For winning, Greg receives a $100 gift card to use at his local Scout shop or at scoutstuff.org.

Didn’t win this time? Try again in our May-June “Where Am I?” contest. You have until June 25 to enter. Good luck!

Photo by Thorsten Scheuermann

Central Park, shown above, is considered the ultimate "urban forest" as it sits in the heart of New York City.

Submit your ‘urban forest’ photos to win U.S. Forest Service contest

While you may dream of a picturesque backyard—dotted with mountain peaks, green trees, and acres of land for you to explore—more than 80 percent of the U.S. population resides in urban areas.

And, as our cities grow, it’s more important than ever to appreciate, conserve, and cultivate urban forests in our neighborhoods. That’s precisely the goal of the U.S. Forest Service’s “My Neighborhood Forest Photo Contest.”

Snap a digital photo of your favorite urban green space—including parks, gardens, greenways, natural areas, and more—and submit your photos at urbanforest.challenge.gov.

After the contest ends July 22, three winners and 12 finalists will be selected by U.S. Forest Service judges. The “Grand Prize” winner will take home $200 worth of outdoors gear (including a daypack, trekking poles, and more); the “Runner Up” will take home $25 worth of gear; and 12 finalists will receive a U.S. Forest Service T-shirt, pen, and water bottle.

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Scouting Pinterest

Scouting magazine is now on Pinterest.com

Have you ever run across a great Cub Scout activity on the Web and wished there was an easy way to file the information for later use? (And I’m not talking about writing down the URL address on last night’s dinner napkin.) Enter Pinterest.com.

This clean-cut Web site, with its all-white background and crisp tableau of images, allows users to create their own visual “pin boards” to capture ideas, stories, and scraps of inspiration themed around a topic (like “Great Camping Destinations”) for later use and/or to share with other “Pinners.”

Because the editors at Scouting aim to arm volunteers with the best resources needed to help lead pack, troop, team, and crew activities, we’ve launched our own Scouting magazine Pinterest page. What does this mean? Now you can “follow” Scouting-themed pin boards relevant to your interests—whether it’s “Great Gear,” “Cub Scout Snacks,” “Scouting Cakes,” “Boy Scout Activities,” and much more.

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Enter daily to win a Coleman InstaStart grill (and more!)

Charcoal can add sizzle to your car-camping trip, but using it comes with a downside: the cleanup! Plus, after a day of Scouting activities, who wants to wait for the coals to reach peak temperature before cooking dinner?

One lucky winner of Scouting magazine’s “GET COOKING QUICK: ‘DINE IN’ EDITION” giveaway will take home a Coleman InstaStart Portable Grill. This compact grill, which uses propane (not included in giveaway), will have your meal cooking in several minutes flat. (The InstaStart was featured in the March-April “Great Gear” column as one of six excellent stove picks.)

The next time you “dine in” with Scouts at your favorite campsite, you could enjoy the easy clean up and convenience of the InstaStart grill, as well as the rest of the giveaway goodies: an REI coffee percolator and one REI non-stick skillet. The value of this giveaway package is $175.

Additionally, 20 runners-up in the “DINE IN” giveaway will be rewarded with a BIC FlameDisk, an easy-to-use alternative to charcoal. The FlameDisk uses ethanol to heat and cook meals; the lightweight aluminum frame is recyclable after use. The Leave-No-Trace-friendly device can be found at major retailers, including Walgreens and Walmart.

Click here to enter daily, and share the contest with friends via Facebook or Twitter to receive extra “Tell-A-Friend” entries.

Last month, Scouting magazine reader Leigh Turner, an assistant Scoutmaster from Winter Springs, Fla., won the “GET COOKING QUICK: ‘HIKE OUT’ EDITION, which included a JetBoil ZIP stove and other cooking gear. Visit scoutingmagazine.org/contests daily to enter our monthly giveaways.

Steele's bright headlamps illuminated a fascinating wall of cave gypsum.

Go underground with caver Bill Steele

Darkness. Close spaces. Underground tunnels. Most people do what they can to avoid these environments. Bill Steele seeks them out in caves around the globe. Instead of claustrophobia, “I have claustromania,” laughs Steele, director of BSA’s alumni relations and the National Eagle Scout Association.

Steele’s love for caving began in Southern Indiana and Kentucky as a young Scout. Since then, he’s spent countless days underground in caves across the globe with world-renowned explorers. Scouting magazine even covered some of Steele’s travels in a 1986 feature story. (Click to see the feature at this link.)

In this feature story, Steele mentions his long-term dream of exploring a hard-to-reach Chinese cave system. “At the time, you couldn’t  travel to non-tourist areas of Red China,” he explains. “Now it’s accessible to cave explorers on certain expeditions.”

Steele’s hunger for adventure came full circle in December 2011 when he set off to visit the caves he’d dreamed of exploring in 1986. These caves, what he calls the “Carlsbad Caverns of China,” or Er Wang Dong and San Wang Dong, are both located in the Wulong Province of China. Continue reading

January Columbia Jacket Giveaway

Enter daily to win warmth

Did Santa forget to put a warm jacket under your tree? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Enter today to win a Columbia Bugaboo Tech Parka—a $300 value!

One lucky Scouting magazine reader will win the COLD COMFORT GIVEAWAY featuring this classic parka that’s perfect for camping, snowshoeing, skiing, or just enjoying the outdoors with your Scouts.

How can you win? Visit scoutingmagazine.org/contests to register to win. Then, be sure to visit the contest page and to enter daily and increase your chances of winning. The contest will end Jan. 31.

One winner will be randomly selected and announced here at blog.scoutingmagazine.org.

Plus, a new February contest will be announced Feb. 1—you won’t want to miss it! (Hint: We’ll make sure you’ve got the right footwear for your upcoming hiking adventures.)

Good luck!

Green Chili, at center (in the green Crock-Pot), took first place in the magazine's recent chili cook-off competition. Photo by John Fulton.

Chili recipes from the Scouting magazine team

When the weather is frigid, few campfire creations hit the spot quite like chili. Add a side of cornbread—or keep it simple with corn chips—and you’ve got a meal that will please a large crowd.

Take a page from our own recipe books—the recipes below are favorites around the Scouting magazine offices. Try one for yourself! These can be easily adapted from a kitchen Crock-Pot to campfire Dutch oven. And, you can heat things up or take things down a notch (for those who don’t like spicy foods) with the add-it-yourself seasoning.

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Jamboree Staff

Jamboree staffers: Register now!

Wanna get your hands dirty at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree? Pitch in and serve on staff.

There are plenty of cool jobs available to help pull off what’s sure to be a memorable jamboree experience at the new Summit Bechtel Family Scout Reserve in West Virginia.

Want to work at a high-adventure area, behind the scenes at an arena show, or even as a media correspondent for one of the many jamboree news outlets? Go to bsajamboree.org and peruse the open staff positions. Then, make your selection of the top three jobs that suit your interests and skills. Most volunteers are typically placed with one of their selections.

Staff volunteers age 16 to 25 (through July 14, 2013) will pay $425 to register. For volunteers older than age 25, registration is $850. Staffers also have the option of working half of the jamboree for $425 no matter the age of the volunteer.

For more information or to apply online, visit bsajamboree.org or send your questions to 2013jamboree@scouting.org.

Cool Camp Sid Richardson

Cool Camps goes digital

Besides lifelong memories, camps across the U.S. boast incredible activities that keep Scouts coming back for more, year after year.

Every camp offers unique experiences. But with more than 400 Scout camps to choose from, how can you select a stand-out destination and one-of-a-kind program suitable to your Scouts’ interests?

That’s where we come in.

Since the latter part of 2009, the editors of Scouting have been culling through hundreds of camps, selecting a “Cool Camp” to feature in each of our magazines (published five times per year). So far, we’ve accumulated a list of 12 camps, and we’ve got plenty more to come!

But, new this month, we launched a new home for this exclusive list of Boy Scout camps: the online Guide to Cool Camps.

Trail's End Popcorn Sales Military Donation

Support Scouting and American troops with popcorn sales

Popcorn sales help fund Scouting activities, but this salty treat can also bring cheer to service men and women overseas.

Popcorn buyers can do both—support the troops and Scouting—by participating in a Trail’s End military donation. This service act can be completed in two ways:

When Scouts sell popcorn, simply ask buyers if they wish to purchase one box of popcorn for themselves and an additional box to be sent to the American troops overseas. This donation is noted on the order form, and later reported by the council to Trail’s End. Continue reading