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Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds is an Eagle Scout

imagine-dragons-2Here’s some news that rocks.

Long before he helped Imagine Dragons win a Grammy Award, an American Music Award and a Teen Choice Award, lead singer Dan Reynolds earned the Eagle Scout Award.

Yes, the vocalist for the band that MTV in 2013 called “the year’s biggest breakout band” got his start in Scouting. Reynolds, now 26, earned the BSA’s top rank in 2005 as a member of a Scout unit chartered to the LDS church in Nevada.

His life since has been equally impressive, with his band’s platinum-selling debut album, Night Visions, racking up 2 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.

The band’s best-known song is “Radioactive,” which Rolling Stone magazine called “the biggest rock hit of the year.”

But the Eagle Scout frontman’s life hasn’t always involved tricked-out tour buses and sold-out arenas. Continue reading

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Ask the Expert: Wood Badge course numbering, decoded

expertlogo1W2-590-14-8, C6-160-14-2, S4-83-14-2, N4-527-14.

Are those nuclear launch codes? A paranoid person’s computer password? Some sort of weird locker combination?

Nope. Those four sets of characters describe the numbers of actual Wood Badge courses being offered in 2014.

And in reality, the code — found on every modern Wood Badge course — isn’t that difficult to crack.

The letter represents your Scouting region — Western, Central, Southern or Northeast. The number is your area. Then comes your council number (which you can find here), followed by the two-digit year. (Notice that all four examples above have “14″ in common because they’re all held in 2014.)

The final number is added only if a council is offering multiple Wood Badge courses in a single calendar year. If so, they’re numbered chronologically. The first course in 2014 would get a 1 on the end, the second a 2 and so on.

Example time. Let’s take the Wood Badge course I staffed last summer: course No. S2-571-13-3.

That’s: S for Southern Region, 2 for Area 2, 571 for Circle Ten Council’s number, 13 for the year 2013 and 3 because the course was the third Circle Ten course of the calendar year.

Are you more of a visual person? Well here’s a handy chart for you: Continue reading

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After conquering America’s summits, teen Eagle Scout sets sights on Everest

matt_moniz_climbing_3Matt Moniz and his dad, Mike, needed just six weeks and a day to climb to the highest point in every U.S. state. That’s faster than anyone in history.

I’m talking 50 summits — from Alaska’s 20,322-foot Denali to Florida’s 345-foot Britton Hill — in just 43 days. The time broke the previous record by more than two days.

Oh, and did I mention Matt was just 12 years old at the time?

The feat got the attention of National Geographic, which named this “Kid Climber” one of its 2010 Adventurers of the Year.

Four years later, the Eagle Scout is ready to conquer another summit. And this time he’s hoping to stand atop the tallest point on the planet.

The Boulder, Colo., 16-year-old and his dad left last week to start their quest to summit Mount Everest, elevation 29,029 feet. Continue reading

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Ask the Expert: How to complete Scouting Heritage MB Requirement 4B

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?If you have a Scout working on Scouting Heritage merit badge Requirement 4, Joe Connole’s your guy.

The programs coordinator and lead admissions clerk for the BSA’s National Scouting Museum in Irving, Tex., is in charge of answering letters and emails from Scouts working on that merit badge.

A Scout has three options for completing Requirement 4 of Scouting Heritage MB, each involving keeping a journal or writing a report:

A: Attend a BSA national jamboree, world Scout jamboree OR a national BSA high-adventure base.

B: Write or visit the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Tex.

C: Visit an exhibit of Scouting memorabilia or a local museum with a Scouting history gallery or visit with someone in your council who is recognized as a dedicated Scouting historian or memorabilia collector.

Scouts who choose to write the National Scouting Museum (4B), will need to contact Joe. If they do, they’ll get a response with a letter, a brochure, and — drumroll please — the awesome free patch seen below. To help Scouts taking this merit badge and counselors teaching it, Joe shared some details on how it works:

Continue reading

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Utah’s Wood Badge course for both deaf and hearing Scouters leaves nobody out

Every Scout deserves a trained leader, and every leader deserves an opportunity for high-quality training.

Well, there’s no better training for adults than Wood Badge, and that philosophy of “No Scouter untrained” led Utah’s Great Salt Lake Council to create a Wood Badge course tailored for both deaf and hearing Scouters.

Though the course does use American Sign Language, it’s actually an inclusion course, meaning all are welcome. What a great way for hearing Scouters to have their eyes opened to the unique perspectives of Scouters who communicate using ASL.

The first course in 2012 was eye-opening. It was sanctioned by the National Council, which sent an observer to watch the proceedings. You can see a terrific video from that course at the end of this post.

The 2013 course last May had 57 registered, including 21 deaf participants and 11 Scouters who are bilingual, meaning they can communicate using both ASL and English. That’s a nice mix.

This is Great Salt Lake Council’s  Continue reading

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Chris Evans’ Captain America was inspired by an Eagle Scout

captain-america-posterCaptain America and Eagle Scouts: Both wear uniforms, and of course they’re both patriotic and brave.

But recently I learned the shield-toting Avenger has even more in common with young men who earn Scouting’s highest award than you might think.

Chris Evans, the actor who plays the titular superhero in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (opening Friday), says “Cap” was modeled after an Eagle Scout he knew from growing up in Sudbury, Mass.

In an interview with the awesome Geek Dad blog, the actor says his friend, an Eagle Scout with the Knox Trail Council, inspired how Evans approaches the role. Continue reading

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Ask the Expert: How should Scouters handle insurance for troop trailers?

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?Insurance: You don’t need it until you need it.

For units that own trailers, insurance, well, insures that both the trailer itself and its contents are covered in case they’re damaged or stolen.

Is this insurance part of a driver’s normal auto coverage, is it provided by the Boy Scouts of America or is it a separate expense?

That’s what Randall Cox, Troop 70 assistant Scoutmaster, asked me last week. He writes: Continue reading

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Pins with a point: How to properly wear BSA service stars

service-star-1Been involved in Scouting for more than a year? You get a gold star.

All youth or adult leaders who have reached one year of tenure with the Boy Scouts of America are eligible to begin wearing service stars. The stars are an underused outward symbol of how long you’ve been involved and a quick way for new Scouts, parents and leaders to see who has Scouting experience.

Anyone can simply walk into a Scout Shop (or go to scoutstuff.org) and purchase the pins and color background. There’s no application.

Scouters and Scouts are trustworthy, so the BSA trusts someone born in 1960, for example, not to purchase and wear a 60-year pin.

Stars start at one year and go up to an impressive 90 years (though you can combine multiple stars to send that number even higher). They’re worn with a specially colored backing that corresponds to the appropriate Scouting program.

But what if your Scouting tenure spans several programs, includes time spent in Scouting as a youth or has a gap of several years? That’s when things get a little trickier — but not much. I’ll answer those questions after the jump.

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BSA introduces Virtual Reality Scouting

VR-Scouting-deviceApril 2 Update: See an important message about VR Scouting at the end of the post.


Love Scouting but hate getting out in the fresh air?

You’re in luck! Today the Boy Scouts of America introduces Virtual Reality Scouting, a revolutionary alternative to regular Scouting that lets you experience all that the BSA has to offer without ever leaving the house.

The new program, debuting this fall, already has a catchy slogan: “Bring the Great Outdoors to the Great Indoors.”

To experience VR Scouting, families will want to purchase the Complete Home-Based Virtual Reality Scouting Starter System — or, simply, the CHBVRSSS (pronounced just like it’s spelled). It’ll go on sale this fall.

The CHBVRSSS will retail for only $1,999.95 — a bargain when you consider it’ll pay for itself after just six years of staying home while everyone else in your unit experiences outdoor Scouting adventures.

David Wilson, a Scouter from Michigan who got to test VR Scouting last month, said he’ll buy a device as soon as it goes on sale.

“I love going camping with my Scouts, but I’m not a fan of fresh air, warm mountain breezes or being outside in general,” he says. “So VR Scouting is perfect for me.”

I bet it’ll be perfect for you, too. Just imagine: Continue reading

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Smile! Your Amazon purchases can now support Scouting

As if you needed another excuse to shop at Amazon.com.

Now every purchase you make from the Earth’s biggest online store can support the charity of your choice, including Scouting.

Through its new AmazonSmile program, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchase to the 501(c)(3) public charitable organization of your choice.

Sure, half a percent isn’t much and won’t replace your Friends of Scouting contributions that help Scouting function in your community. But it adds up, costs you nothing and is a great additional way to support Scouting.

The one-time setup takes just a couple of seconds (instructions below), and you get the same prices, products and service you’re used to when shopping at Amazon. It doesn’t cost you any extra; the only difference is now you’re helping Scouting every time you buy.

The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council and its nearly 300 local councils all are eligible charities. Individual packs, troops, teams, posts, ships and crews aren’t eligible to earn money through AmazonSmile.

After the jump, find out how to set it up and begin helping Scouting each time you click that tantalizing purchase button.

Continue reading