facebook-postbox

How Facebook’s new privacy policy for teens affects your Scouts, Venturers

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

uniform-tucked

Tuck everlasting: Scout uniform shirts should always be tucked in, BSA says

scout-uniform-4To tuck or not to tuck.

That was the question on the minds of hundreds of parents who have called the BSA headquarters over the past several months.

Their query: Does the Boy Scouts of America require uniform shirts to be tucked in? The questions are specifically referring to field uniforms (known to some by the unofficial name “Class A”) and not activity uniforms (“Class B”).

Problem is there hasn’t been an official policy in the past. The requirement was that the uniform-wearer must be “neat in appearance.” Most packs, troops, and crews interpreted that to mean tucking the shirts in, but a few didn’t.

Now we’ve got our final answer. Read the BSA’s official stance after the jump:  Continue reading

prayer

Religious Emblems Coordinators can help you retain Scouts

URECLooking for a time-tested method for retaining Scouts? Put your faith in religious emblems.

The research is clear: Scouts working on their religious emblems remain in Scouting longer.

And considering that more than two-thirds of our chartered organizations are faith-based, religious emblems represent a way to make your relationship with your unit’s chartered organization more of a two-way street.

I first told you about the Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator position a year ago. The unit-level coordinator, along with the Council Religious Emblems Coordinator and District Religious Emblems Coordinator, will educate, motivate, evaluate and facilitate the religious emblems program.

What I’ve always loved about the religious emblems program is that there’s something for everyone of any faith. That means any Scout (or Scouter) — Baha’i or Baptist, Moravian or Methodist — can team with his faith leaders to earn religious emblems and become closer to his faith.

Find more about these new positions at this Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator orientation page. Continue reading

cubcast-denchief

Need an extra set of hands at your den and pack meetings?

cubcast-logo

Silly question. Who couldn’t use some extra help corralling a bunch of rowdy Cub Scouts?

Say hello to your new best friend: the Cub Scout Den Chief. This older Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer co-leads weekly den meetings, assists at pack meetings and meets regularly with adults to find out when and where he can help the most.

Don’t have one for your den? Let the October 2013 CubCast be your first step in changing that. In the latest installment of the monthly podcast, you’ll hear from Sherry Herzog, a terrific volunteer who set up a den chief training course with the Three Fires Council in St. Charles, Ill.

She’ll explain what a den chief does and why your den needs one ASAP.

scoutcast-who's who

What does a unit commissioner, district commissioner and district executive do?

scoutcast-logo1That nice, uniformed, young man who visited your troop last week, was he your unit commissioner, district commissioner, district executive or someone else entirely?

For new adult volunteers, keeping track of your own Scouting title and responsibilities can feel pretty overwhelming. Memorizing the positions and duties of everyone else in your Scouting circle? Forget about it.

The good news, then, is that ScoutCast has help.

In the October 2013 episode of the monthly podcast (available to stream through your browser or download for later listening), you’ll hear from Ed Martin, scout executive for the Black Warrior Council in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as he explains who’s who in this “zoo” we call Scouting.

You’ll learn who these volunteers and professionals are and, more importantly, how they can help make your job in Scouting easier and more rewarding.

We_Too_Have_a_Job_to_do_cropped_mini

Nationwide open house on Oct. 29 will help spread the story of Scouting

LDS-100-logoIt takes a village to recruit new Scouts, and here’s the latest example of that Scouting village uniting for the greater good of the BSA.

Packs, troops, teams and crews are invited to celebrate with the LDS church on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 29, for Scouting Open House Night.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becoming one of the BSA’s first chartered organizations, LDS chapels and stake centers all over the country will open their doors to tell the story of Scouting and to invite youth to join the program you and I believe in so strongly.

The event, designed as a kind of national join Scouting night, is open to units and prospective Scouting families from all denominations — not just LDS units or members of the LDS church.

But wait, isn’t Oct. 29 the same night as the church’s A Century of Honor live broadcast I told you about last week? Yes, and though these are two different events held on the same night, they do overlap and fit together nicely.

Download a printable (PDF) flier for Scouting Open House Night by clicking here. And find out more info, including how councils and chartered organizations can get involved and how you as a unit leader can make the most of this opportunity, after the jump. Continue reading

lds-100

Join BSA in celebrating its 100-year partnership with the LDS church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the first sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America way back in 1913. One-hundred years later, the LDS church brings hundreds of thousands of Scouts into the movement each year.

Next month, your Scouting family can join the BSA family in celebrating that “Century of Honor” through a special live production held in Salt Lake City.

There’s something in the show for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Scouters, Scouting families and non-Scouting families of any religion. The live broadcast celebrates Scouting, not just the LDS church, so it’s relevant to everyone.

As you’ll see in the pulse-pounding trailer after the jump, the 85-minute performance will include original music and media, historical reenactments, special guests and a cast of hundreds of Scouts.

All of this awesomeness will be hosted at the Salt Lake City’s 21,000-seat Conference Center, where the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert is taped each December.

Circle Oct. 29 on your calendar right now. At 7 p.m. MDT on that Tuesday night, the show begins. Watch the trailer and get the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How after the jump. Continue reading

uniform-wrong-patch-placement

Tuesday Talkback: What do you do when a Scout has a patch sewn on wrong?

Tuesday-TalkbackYou’ll notice it right away, of course.

You’ll see Tristan across the room at your pack or troop meeting this week and instantly spot the unit numerals on the wrong sleeve, the rank patch on the wrong pocket or the World Crest way too low on his field uniform shirt.

What do you do? Call Tristan out in front of the group so other Scouts learn from his mistake? Hand him a needle and some thread and send him out of the room? Email his parents after the meeting? Something else?

Leave a comment below with your answer, and let’s have a discussion about the best way to handle this common concern. This is the first of a recurring series of posts I’m calling Tuesday TalkbackContinue reading

merit-shades-boyscouts

Enter to win BSA-themed sunglasses, Scouting magazine patches

Can wearing sunglasses count as doing a Good Turn?

Sure, if you’re sporting Merit Shades.

Every time you purchase a pair of the new officially licensed Boy Scouts of America sunglasses, Merit Shades donates a pair of sunglasses to a child in Haiti.

The $40 sunglasses — available for $20 with promo code MERIT — come in two flavors — red and white for Boy Scouting and blue and gold for Cub Scouting. (See more photos after the jump.) Each pair is built from 90 percent recycled plastic and features polarized lenses. They come in a zippered case with a carabiner for easy attachment to a backpack or belt loop.

Merit Shades sent me 20 pairs of its sunglasses to give away to blog readers, meaning 20 of you will be wearing these to your next Scout campout or unit meeting. I’m also throwing in two Scouting magazine 100th Anniversary patches for each winner.

To enter the contest, click here. And for a closer look at Merit Shades, follow the jump.

merit-shades-boyscouts2

merit-shades-boyscoutsmerit-shades-cubscouts2 merit-shades-cubscouts

 

bsa-logo

BSA membership fee increased to $24; what does your $24 get you?

The Boy Scouts of America will increase its annual membership fee for youth and adults to $24 from $15, beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

For those who join after the beginning of the year, the fee will be prorated at $2 per month. This does include units with a Dec. 31, 2013, expiration date.

The change was announced at last week’s annual Top Hands meeting of professional Scouters in Washington, D.C. In a letter to Scouting professionals, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock explained the reasoning behind the increase.

“First, I want to make clear that the Boy Scouts of America maintains a strong financial position,” he wrote. “In order to continue to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program, it is occasionally necessary to increase membership fees so that we can offset rising administrative costs.”

The BSA’s last fee increase — to $15 from $10 — was in 2010, and since then, the organization has taken steps to control and reduce costs. But “administrative costs have continued to rise faster than projected,” Brock wrote. “As always, our focus is to build the future leaders of this country by combining adventure, educational activities and lifelong values. The fee increase is a step we must take in order to continue providing the services you and our members expect and need.”

So that’s the big news, but I wanted to take you deeper into the story. What exactly does your $24 annual fee pay for? And how does that $24 fee compare to other youth organizations and activities? Much more after the jump. Continue reading