scout-oath

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

scoutcast-parents

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

Scouter-wordart-featured

What is a Scouter? The ‘by the book’ answer and your definitions

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

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

newtown-1

In letter, parents of Cub Scout victims of Sandy Hook shooting thank BSA family

Sea-Scout-Sandy-Hook-1We’re one big family in Scouting, and that’s true in times of joy and times of sorrow.

When two Tiger Cubs were tragically killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in December, the Scouting family stepped in to comfort the parents of 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler.

Scouts and Scouters from around the world, some total strangers to the Kowalskis and Wheelers, contributed nearly $65,000 (and counting) to the fund set up by the Connecticut Yankee Council, said Tony Vogl, the council’s development and marketing director.

“This does not include the countless cards, certificates, framed pictures, blankets, and other trinkets from packs and troops around the world,” he continued. “We at the Connecticut Yankee Council share a sense of pride and purpose as the Scouting family truly came together to support our newest members in a time of great sorrow.”

The love came from outside the council, too. In August, the National Capital Area christened its newest 22-foot sailboat the Benjamin Chase.

Steven and Rebecca Kowalski and David and Francine Wheeler have been overwhelmed by the response from the Scouting family, and they wrote this letter, which Vogl asked me to share with you:  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.