Wear your hat outside; don’t wear your hat inside.
Seems simple, but it’s not that easy. Take, for example, this exception from the BSA’s Guide to Awards and Insignia [PDF]:
Official headgear may be worn while the unit or individual is participating in an indoor formal ceremony or service duty, except in religious institutions where custom forbids.
Typical indoor activities of this type are flag ceremonies, inspections, orderly duty, or ushering service. In any informal indoor activity where no official ceremony is involved, the headgear is removed as when in street clothes.
There are ceremonial reasons for leaving headgear on, but there are practical ones, too. Requiring boys to remove their hats at the beginning of a Cub Scout pack or den meeting likely would result in most of those boys losing their hats by the meeting’s end. Tough to misplace a hat if it’s on your head.
Social customs are changing, too. There was a time when men removed their hats when in the presence of a woman, but those days have passed — for better or worse.
What I’m saying is the answer isn’t black and white. So let’s discuss this gray area in this week’s Tuesday Talkback. Tell me: What’s your unit’s hat policy? And how’d you decide it? Continue reading
Updated 1:08 p.m. Oct. 24 | Added more info from Chris Hunt, BSA Advancement Team, to clarify that the merit badge still will become Eagle-required on Jan. 1, 2014 though the revisions won’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2015. These are two separate changes and should be thought of as such, Chris says.
It’s a secret recipe no longer.
I’ve got new details to share on Cooking merit badge, set to join the list of Eagle-required merit badges on New Year’s Day 2014.
While the requirements are still being finalized, the questions and answers provided here should tide you over until the full course arrives.
I’ll share whether Scouts must switch to the new requirements if they’re already working on Cooking merit badge, whether Scouts who already have the badge may swap theirs for the silver-bordered version, and what will and won’t change in the requirements.
Hungry for more? Follow the jump… Continue reading
If you’re not meant to hike, sweat and get dirty in your field uniform, then what’s with all the pockets for storing stuff? Why do the shirts come in an option made from breathable fabric? And have Scouts who hike in “Class A’s” been doing it wrong for decades?
Though you’ll see fewer Scouts wearing the field uniform (unofficially called the “Class A”) while hiking or doing muddy service projects these days, that wasn’t always the case, I recently discovered.
Hal Daumé, a member of the National Advancement Advisory Panel and a former Scouting magazine What I’ve Learned subject, did a little bit of research and found that not only have Scouts hiked in their field uniforms throughout history, the BSA at one point did everything short of requiring them to do so through its official handbooks. Lines like “the uniform [is] the clothing of the outdoorsman” made it pretty clear.
You won’t find an official declaration of when to wear the field uniform these days, but Hal’s research gives us an interesting look into the BSA’s past. And it makes an interesting case for wearing field uniforms any time you’re involved in Scouting activities. Take a look after the jump, and weigh in with your own unit’s policy in the comments section. Continue reading
For those of us who have been in Scouting for the majority of our lives, the answer seems obvious.
But recently I got an email from a Cub Scout parent who shall remain nameless, asking, “What is a Scouter? I see this word all the time but am unclear about what exactly you’re referring to.”
I realized we use this word all the time in Scouting magazine, on my blog and on social media. And I suppose we just assume that all those new adult leaders out there know the word through some type of magic.
Let’s fix that today. First, the simple definition. The BSA’s Language of Scouting defines this noun as “A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.”
That’s the by-the-book definition, but we can do better. So I asked our Facebook friends to weigh in on the subject. I’ll share two of my favorite answers and then present a word cloud I created from the responses, all after the jump. Continue reading
Before Saturday’s race, Justin received an award from the BSA to thank him for such a great season.
Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America IndyCar, fractured his pelvis and suffered a small pulmonary contusion in a crash during Saturday’s race in California.
He was on Lap 111 of the MAVTV 500 at the oval-shaped Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles when his car “got caught on a seam in the track that pitched the car into the wall,” according to this USA Today story. The race put a tragic punctuation mark on an otherwise successful 2013 season for Wilson. He finished the season an impressive sixth out of 38 drivers.
Wilson, who drives for the BSA-friendly Dale Coyne Racing team, will now return home to Colorado to recover. The injuries are inoperable, so what he really needs is a lot of rest and some support from the Scouting community.
And that’s where you come in.
Justin has represented the BSA admirably all year — both on and off the track. In races from California to Florida and many places in between, Justin has visited with Scouts and Scouters, signed autographs, taken photos and shared how much he loves driving the No. 19 car. Everywhere he goes, he talks about the value of Scouting and inspires non-Scouts to learn more about our movement.
Now’s our chance to show Justin, and the racing world, how thankful we are and how much we’re wishing for a speedy recovery. Find two ways to get your pack, troop, team or crew involved after the jump. Continue reading
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock weren’t Scouts, but odds are their characters in Gravity would’ve been.
That’s because at least two-thirds of the pilots and scientists selected as astronauts since 1959 were Scouts. This stat comes as no surprise to those of us involved in the program; we know how well Scouting prepares young men and women for life and high-flying careers.
But Kathy, a Scouter who emailed me last week, says that when recruiting new Scouts, statistics like these are worth more than a rock from the surface of Mars. She writes:
Could you get the current info on how many Eagle Scouts are astronauts? I love this info when recruiting new Scouts as it makes such an impact as to the validity of the BSA program and its values.
Great question. The latest numbers I could find say this: Continue reading
Like many who saw the new movie Gravity, I was curious how much of what happens in the big-budget thriller could happen in real life.
Fortunately, astronaut and Eagle Scout Scott Parazynski did the fact-checking for us.
In an article for Vulture, the man who has spent 47 hours on spacewalks answers questions about how the characters moved in space, whether certain scenes were plausible and what reminded him most of his time in space.
Don’t click if you haven’t seen the film, because it does include some spoilers. But it’s worth your time if you saw Gravity and have an interest in space exploration.
By the way, the image above is cropped from the March 1966 cover of Scouting magazine. See the full cover after the jump. Continue reading
What happens when you send the purveyors of insane basketball and football trick shots to the BSA’s newest high-adventure playground?
You won’t believe me until you see for yourself.
Last month the guys at Dude Perfect, with 1.7 million YouTube subscribers to their name, visited the Summit for their latest round of extreme trick shots.
Almost anyone can make a half-court basketball shot with enough tries, but these guys take long-distance accuracy to new extremes. I’m talking swishes off climbing walls, nothing-but-net shots from atop the Sustainability Treehouse, and you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me makes in a moving whitewater raft. And that’s just the beginning.
Now, these guys aren’t Scouts as far as I can tell, but what they’ve done here is raise awareness about Scouting and its newest high-adventure base, officially called the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit (opening summer 2014!). That’s publicity you can’t buy.
As of this writing the video has amassed nearly 800,000 views. That’s more than any BSA video I know of, but it’s the comments that really get me pumped. Like this one: “It is videos like these that make me proud to be a boyscout [sic].” And this: “That place looks sick.” Or this: “Not you [sic] average Boy Scouts video. Check it out!”
What he said. Watch the video for yourself and see a few behind-the-scenes photos after the jump. Continue reading
For your Scouts and Venturers on Facebook, the reminder to “think before you post” just got a lot more important.
Yesterday we learned that Facebook has changed its privacy policies for users age 13 to 17, a move with real implications for the social media users in your troop, post, ship, team or crew.
There are two changes you as a Scout leader should be aware of. Continue reading
The Boy Scouts of America is continually working to remain a leader among youth-serving organizations in the fight against child abuse. And kids who are abused outside of Scouting have a better chance of recovering and thriving by joining youth-serving organizations like Scouting.
Those were two of my big takeaways after attending the two-day National Youth Protection Symposium this week in Grapevine, Texas.
The BSA was one of 24 youth-serving organizations at the event. These organizations, which serve a combined 20 million youth, gathered to listen to the top minds in abuse prevention and share best practices. The common goal: keep kids safe from those who might do them harm.
One of the experts who spoke was Victor Vieth, executive director of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.
He said that the majority of abuse cases happen within the home, and the perpetrator is usually someone the boy or girl knows. In other words, throw out the stereotype of the unknown individual we were warned about in those “Stranger Danger” videos.
This revelation puts Scout leaders in a unique position Continue reading