If you judge the Scoutmaster Handbook by its cover, you might assume it’s solely meant for, well, Scoutmasters.
Assistant Scoutmasters, it seemed, were to look elsewhere for Scouting wisdom.
That’s about to change. Later this year, the two-volume Troop Leader Guidebook will debut, replacing the Scoutmaster Handbook and offering helpful checklists, quick tips and fresh ideas for both new troop leaders and veteran Scouters.
Scouting magazine contributor Mark Ray wrote Volume 1, while Bob Birkby, author of the latest Boy Scout Handbook, penned Volume 2.
You can see the covers of the new Troop Leader Guidebooks after the jump. I’ve also got a sneak peek at what’s inside the books and what makes them better tools for Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters. Continue reading
Play around with a knife, lose a corner on your Totin’ Chip. In my troop growing up, it was that simple.
If a Scout lost all four corners of his Totin’ Chip (essentially a Scout’s license to carry pocketknives, axes and saws), his blade-carrying privileges were revoked until he re-earned the card.
It’s all part of Boy Scouting’s well-reasoned approach to teaching boys to see pocketknives, axes and saws as tools, not toys.
But it’s the corner-cutting business that was on the mind of a Scouter who asked to remain anonymous. He sent me this email: Continue reading
Don’t sob about Sewing or mope about Magic.
Send those ideas for new merit badges to someone who can actually act on them.
Over the years, several of you emailed me with suggestions for merit badges about Sewing, Magic, Guitar, Hunting, Surfing and lots more. And while I have absolutely no say in what becomes a new merit badge, I can tell you where to turn with your ideas. Continue reading
Everyday Americans care about the Boy Scouts of America. You know it, I know it, and, as it turns out, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos knows it.
Bezos made headlines yesterday when he bought The Washington Post for $250 million.
But what you might not have seen was this letter from Bezos to employees of The Post. In it, Bezos explains that “the values of The Post do not need changing.”
Among those values: newspaper readers, who care about Scouts troops, among other important elements of their community. Bezos writes: Continue reading
If you know a kid who dunks like Blake Griffin, runs like Adrian Peterson or hits like Miguel Cabrera, you’ll have a hard time recruiting him to join Scouts.
Because, as the Scouting recruiting video below explains, parents of these super-athletes have won the genetic lottery, and their kids are set for life. (Assuming we ignore the countless examples of high-paid athletes who wash up after their playing days are done.)
For the parents of normal children, the Boy Scouts of America provides a chance to make young men and women stand out from the crowd. Scouts and Venturers gain skills in leadership, fitness and character they can’t get elsewhere. Scouts are more likely to graduate college than non-Scouts, and studies show former Scouts pull in a greater income than people who were never in Scouting.
These facts, laid out in an entertaining way in this Coronado Area Council video, offer the perfect answer to the question weighing on the minds of parents of potential Scouts: “Should my son join this Cub Scout pack or that Little League team?”
My response would be, “Why not both? Make your child well-rounded, and he or she will go far.” But if you come across a parent debating one over the other, send them the video below. Continue reading
Eagle Scout projects make a visible difference in the community, but they aren’t cheap to complete.
So that’s why Lowe’s, the home-improvement giant with more than 1,700 stores, has teamed up with the BSA and local Scout councils to give selected Eagle Scout candidates $100 grants for their projects.
The grant program debuted in 2012 to great success. Last year, more than 3,000 Life Scouts received $100 each toward their Eagle projects. That’s a generous gift of $300,000 from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.
Well, there’s good news for future Eagles and their parents. The BSA announced this week that the grant program will continue beginning this month. And it’s grown, as well. This time, Lowe’s is offering 3,600 grants to deserving Eagle projects.
In 2012, councils received and distributed the cards. This time, however, things will run a little differently. Continue reading
If the packed tent is any early indication, Mining in Society merit badge will be a hit when it debuts in February 2014.
Scouts attending the 2013 National Jamboree got a sneak peek at the new elective merit badge, set to be released at the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.
Mining has been an important part of our nation since the 19th century.
Today, the industry employes 3 million Americans, directly and indirectly, and is a major contributor to the global mining landscape. Continue reading
Do your Scouts prefer their bike tires fat instead of thin? Then I’ve got good news.
Beginning today, Cycling merit badge now includes a mountain biking option. That means Scouts can choose between road cycling or mountain biking when earning the Eagle-required badge. (To earn Eagle, Scouts must earn Swimming or Hiking or Cycling.)
The change is to Requirement 7, which now reads “Using the BSA buddy system, complete all of the requirements for ONE of the following options: road biking OR mountain biking.”
Instead of a 50-mile road biking trip that must be completed in eight hours, Scouts who choose the mountain biking option must finish a 22-mile trail ride in six hours.
The change widens the audience for an already-popular merit badge by encouraging Scouts who prefer riding the trails on a mountain bike to riding the streets on a road bike.
Print this flier (PDF) or follow the jump for the complete requirements for 7b, the Mountain Biking option. Continue reading
Much of Baden-Powell’s vision for Scouting still holds true today. But put this one in the category of something B-P never could have predicted.
Today the Boy Scouts of America releases Programming merit badge, an elective badge that challenges Scouts to, among other requirements, “write, debug, and demonstrate a functioning program.” Programming MB continues in the BSA’s long tradition of preparing young men for modern-day careers, so I’m a big fan already.
The merit badge’s requirements are available below. Scouts may begin working on Programming MB once pamphlets arrive in Scout Shops and at scoutstuff.org in early August.
Take a look at the official requirements: Continue reading
Updated, Aug. 22: Leaders, check out Scouting magazine’s latest Merit Badge Clinic focusing on the Sustainability merit badge. In this column, writer Mark Ray speaks to the four members of the Sustainability Merit Badge Task Force, all of whom share insights into why Sustainability merit badge was created and how to help Scouts earn the new badge.
Updated, July 16 with clarification about water bill
Ready … set … go green!
The long-awaited requirements for the Boy Scouts of America’s Sustainability merit badge have been released.
The badge joins the Eagle-required list as an option to Environmental Science merit badge. Scouts must earn either Sustainability or Environmental Science on their journey to Eagle.
Scouts may begin working on Sustainability MB once pamphlets arrive in Scout Shops and at scoutstuff.org in early August, but you can get a first look at the requirements below. Or click here (PDF) for a downloadable flier you can share with your Scouts.
Sustainability MB requirements