That 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.
It 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
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
You’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 Talkback. Continue reading
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.
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
Authentic, gritty, visceral. That’s how I describe three new videos released today by the Boy Scouts of America.
They’re yours to view, download for offline viewing, share and use as you see fit. Each gives a compelling picture of what effect Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting can have on local communities like yours.
There’s the story of a mom in East Los Angeles who started a Cub Scout pack and saw it bring families together in her community. Or the heroic tale of a Boy Scout in New York who jumped into action during Hurricane Sandy. And there’s a nice piece released in conjunction with the new online Cub Scout idea repository called Cub Hub that shares the flavor of life in a den and pack.
Each video lasts less than two minutes. That’s a good reminder to units creating videos that attention spans won’t hold for very long — and that two minutes is often all you need to deliver a powerful message.
Watch the videos after the jump. Continue reading
Proud to be an American? Absolutely, but this hurts a little: American fourth- and eighth-graders are far from No. 1 in math and science.
In fact, we’re just outside of or barely in the top 10 in both categories, lagging behind countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland, according to a study released late last year.
Fortunately, there’s hope, and it’s called the Boy Scouts of America and our merit badge program.
Boys get real science education when earning merit badges, and I’m not just talking about those badges with science in their name (Animal Science, Environmental Science, Nuclear Science, Plant Science).
Actually, a study published in 2009 by Ohio State University researcher Rachel Sterneman Hintz found that 103 of the 121 merit badges available at the time (85.12 percent) had at least one requirement meeting the National Science Education Standards.
Four years later, we now have 133 merit badges, and the newest crop builds on the science-heavy tradition from the past 103 years of the BSA. With the exception of the Scouting Heritage merit badge, all the other new badges contain science elements. That includes obvious examples such as Robotics, Inventing, Welding, and Sustainability, and less-obvious ones like Kayaking, Search and Rescue, and Chess. Continue reading
You’d expect a bunch of welding experts to forge some strong bonds, but the folks at Lincoln Electric have gone above and beyond.
Their work bringing welding and the Welding merit badge into the Boy Scouts of America has already helped introduce tens of thousands of Scouts to this hot career.
In recognition, the Boy Scouts of America presented Lincoln Electric and three of its key employees with the North Star Award on Wednesday afternoon at the BSA’s annual Top Hands Conference in Washington, D.C.
The award, an eight-pointed, star-shaped medal worn on a black ribbon, is presented by councils on the behalf of the National Court of Honor for nonregistered volunteers who have made a significant contribution to Scouting.
You can consider it to be on same level as the Silver Beaver Award, which is for registered volunteers. Continue reading
Update, Feb. 28. 2014: These books are still being reviewed, and Vol. 1 should be available in the coming months. Vol. 2 is expected later this year.
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