FEMA-truck

Let’s get a Boy Scout or Venturer on FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council

fema-applicationScouts worldwide have lived the “Be Prepared” motto since 1907.

So who better than a Boy Scout or Venturer to serve on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Council?

Right now FEMA’s seeking out “youth leaders who are dedicated to public service, who are making a difference in their communities and who want to expand their impact as national advocates for youth disaster preparedness.”

Let’s encourage preparedness-focused Scouts we know to apply. Having a Scout selected to serve would be some great positive publicity for Scouting and further strengthen our “Be Prepared” ties.

Applicants must be between 12 and 17 years old and Continue reading

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One-stop shopping for news on what’s changing in the BSA and when

New Cub Scout handbooks are just part of the story.

New Cub Scout handbooks are just part of the story.

Keeping up with one BSA program change after another (after another) can feel a little like drinking from a fire hose.

It doesn’t have to.

Just consider scouting.org/programupdates your one-stop shop for promotional fliers, training information and the latest news about changes coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in Venturing, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting.

The fliers are especially useful for leaders who want something tangible to distribute to educate parents about changes to BSA programs.

I’ll continue to share and analyze the latest BSA news right here on Bryan on Scouting, but the BSA’s official Program Updates page is an important tool that belongs in your Scouting toolbox — and in your browser’s bookmarks folder.

Merit Badge counselors, there’s a related resource for you. Continue reading

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New Boy Scout Handbook, other Boy Scout program tweaks due in 2016

boy-scout-logoThe saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could be used to describe some tweaks coming to the Boy Scouts program in 2016.

The merit badge program has been getting stronger with the release of each new merit badge, and the trail to Eagle Scout continues to produce terrific young men. Neither will change.

We are getting a new Boy Scout Handbook, but the 13th edition, due out in January 2016, will keep most of its content from the 12th edition (released in 2010). The design and images inside will be updated, but much of the text will be unchanged.

I already previewed changes to Cub Scouting coming in 2015 and Venturing coming this year. Compared to the makeovers for those two programs, what’s happening in Boy Scouting is more of a slight modification than a complete overhaul.

Find out what’s changing (and what isn’t) and when after the jump. Continue reading

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Greatest hits: Counting down my 13 most-read blog posts of 2013

Where did 2013 go?

For Scouts and Scouters, it went to new merit badges, Eagle Scout journeys, the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, a nationally televised TV show about Boy Scouts, a family discussion on our membership policy, endless Cub Scout fun and so much more.

It was a great year for Scouting. And for Bryan on Scouting.

I’m so humbled that my blog recorded roughly 2 million page views in 2013, more than double the previous record of 850,000 from 2012. Thanks for making this a place you trust for Scouting news and conversation.

The busiest month for traffic on Bryan on Scouting was July, which was also my busiest month as I took you inside the 2013 National Jamboree, the first at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. A month later, I served on Wood Badge staff, which was an experience I’ll never forget.

I posted 275 times this year, covering anything I thought might be interesting and relevant with the goal of making your job as a Scouter easier. 

But forget what I found interesting; what matters is which posts you made the most popular. Let’s find out. Follow the jump for the 13 most-read blog posts of 2013…  Continue reading

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Remembering John F. Kennedy, the first president to have been a Boy Scout

When he was 12 years old, John F. Kennedy asked for a raise.

The year was 1929, and Kennedy was a new member of Troop 2 in Bronxville, N.Y. Now that he had reached Scout age, Kennedy reasoned, it was time for his allowance to match his new Boy Scout-level maturity.

With that in mind, he penned this letter to his father:

My recent allowance is 40 cents. This I used for aeroplanes and other playthings of childhood, but now I am a Scout and I put away my childish things. Before I would spend 20 cents of my 40 cents allowance, and in five minutes I would have empty pockets and nothing to gain and 20 cents to lose.

When I am a Scout I have to buy canteens, haversacks, blankets, searchlights, a poncho — things that will last for years and I can always use while I can’t use chocolate marshmallow sundae ice cream, and so I put in my plea for a raise of 30 cents for me to buy Scout things and pay my own way around …

Kennedy dreamed differently throughout his life, and this letter proves that his uniqueness started as a Scout. In fact, he was the first president to have been a Boy Scout. And like all presidents from William Howard Taft to Barack Obama, he served as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America.

And so on the 50th anniversary of his death, let’s look back on the life of the man who led our nation and was a strong advocate for Scouting. Find Scouting-related photos, the condolence telegram the BSA sent Jacqueline Kennedy and much more after the jump. Continue reading

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New details on the rollout of using One Oath and Law in all programs

Update, Jan. 27, 2014: Sea Scouts, see how this applies to you here.

It’s been more than a year since I blogged about the switch to the Scout Oath and Scout Law in all programs, a change that primarily affects Venturing and Cub Scouting.

The resolution, passed by the National Executive Board last year, means that soon every Scout of any age will use the Scout Oath and Law instead of reciting separate, program-specific sayings. Cub Scouts will recite the Scout Oath and Law instead of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. Similarly, Venturers will no longer use the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code.

As I said in the October 2012 post, the changes weren’t immediate. And today, I have new details about the rollout.

The rollout is timed “with the release of youth handbooks and leader aids supporting this and other changes related to Strategic Plan Goal 411.”

That means for Venturing, the change will take place in May 2014. For Cub Scouts, it’s May 2015.

Follow the jump to learn how you can get a head start on finding out about the new program changes for Venturing and Cub Scouting.  Continue reading

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Parental guidance: How Scouters can deal with those unruly moms and dads

scoutcast-logo1For many Scout leaders, it’s not the Scouts that’ll turn hair gray — it’s their parents.

The team behind ScoutCast recently asked 56 experienced Scoutmasters from across the country this question: “What do you know now that you wish you knew as a new Scoutmaster?”

The overwhelming response was not handling issues with Scouts but with their parents.

So with the help of Zach Chopp-Adams, who has been a Scoutmaster or assistant Scoutmaster since he was only 18 years old and serves as Advisor for the new Section C2 in the Michigan Crossroads Council, the November ScoutCast teaches you how grown-ups can be the problem and how to handle it when they are.

Listen to the November ScoutCast here.

Cub Scout leaders, don’t miss this month’s CubCast. Details after the jump. Continue reading

piggybank

Tuesday Talkback: Share your pack and troop’s fundraising secrets

Tuesday-TalkbackThe battle for fundraising dollars is on.

At offices everywhere, parents peddle pizza dough, flower bulbs, Christmas wreaths and more to their coworkers in the name of financing their kids’ extracurricular activities. It seems every orchestra, soccer team and stamp-collecting club in a 50-mile radius wants your money.

In this sometimes-cutthroat world, surely there’s a way for packs and troops to make their fundraisers stand out from the crowd. But how?  Continue reading

Arena Show

Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary, joins BSA national executive board, serves as national president-elect

Arena ShowRobert M. Gates, a Distinguished Eagle Scout and our nation’s 22nd secretary of defense, has been elected to the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America. Gates will serve as a member of the executive committee and as the national president-elect.

This move means that upon approval of voting members of the National Council, Gates would begin a two-year term as the BSA national president in May 2014. The national president works alongside Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock and National Commissioner Tico Perez to form the National Key 3 that guides the organization. (Learn more about the National Key 3 in the sidebar at right.)

national-key-3-2013Gates’ appointment was made upon the recommendation of national volunteer and professional leaders, including the BSA national nominating committee. Following the National Council’s approval of Gates’ two-year term as the BSA national president beginning in May 2014, Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc., has agreed to serve as the president-elect of the BSA.

“There is no finer program for preparing American boys for citizenship and leadership than the Boy Scouts of America,” Gates said recently. “As an Eagle Scout, I know firsthand how impactful this program can be, and I believe its mission is more important today than ever before.”

Gates’ Scouting résumé is voluminous: Distinguished Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, former president of the National Eagle Scout Association, past National Executive Board member and Silver Buffalo Award recipient. When it comes to the Scouting movement, Gates gets it.

“When I joined the CIA at age 22, I had no connections and didn’t know a soul,” he told the crowd at the opening arena show of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. “The only thing in my life that led me to believe I could make it was my Eagle Scout badge. It was the only thing that distinguished me from most high school kids.”

Gates has a tremendous passion for Scouting but also a sense of humor when appropriate. In his 2010 jamboree speech, Gates described what happens when the director of the CIA goes camping with his Boy Scout troop.

“I think the edge gets taken off the wilderness experience when 100 yards away there are three large black vans, a satellite dish and armed security guards,” he told the crowd, drawing a big laugh. “It’s a challenge no Scoutmaster ever anticipated.”

Last year, Gates indicated a willingness to re-engage with the BSA, and because of his leadership capabilities and his long history of participation and service in Scouting, the BSA had the opportunity to take advantage of a unique moment to bring on board a truly great leader in Gates. He is one of our nation’s most respected public servants and a proven leader of the highest caliber.

“I am honored to take on this role and look forward to working on behalf of the millions of youth and adult members who make Scouting what it is today — an organization providing life-changing opportunities to today’s youth,” Gates said.

Video: Watch Gates discuss Scouting

Watch an excerpt from his speech at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree after the jump. Continue reading

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More details on the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleUpdated 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.

Updated 10:23 a.m. Dec. 18 | Here are the new requirements.


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