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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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Three new videos to entertain, inspire, help you recruit

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

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Eight ways to avoid summer hibernation in your Cub Scout pack

Family vacation, tons of free time and absolutely no homework.

The very conditions that make summer a Cub Scout-age boy’s favorite season can wreak havoc on a Cub Scout pack. Some packs, frustrated with the difficulty of aligning family schedules in June, July and August, simply give up and take summers off.

Bad idea, say experienced Cub Scouters like A.J. Vasta: “Why is ‘hibernating’ still even an option?” he asks. “So many lost members when everyone finally gets back together.”

If you’re smart and plan ahead, you can avoid the unnecessary hibernation that causes your pack to lose momentum.

Consider these eight ways to stay active all summer, submitted by your fellow Cub Scouters on FacebookContinue reading

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Sea Scout ship to honor Tiger Cubs killed in Sandy Hook shooting

newtownLike all of us, Todd Skiles was overcome with grief when he heard about the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

But when news broke that two of the young victims were Tiger Cubs, Skiles and the Sea Scouts of Ship 100 in Gainesville, Va., wanted to find a way to honor and remember 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler.

That’s why the National Capital Area Council next week will christen its newest 22-foot sailboat the Benjamin Chase.

You see, Skiles wasn’t content letting the name of the perpetrator be all people remember from this tragedy. Continue reading

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For the 99.9 percent of kids who won’t go pro in sports, Scouting offers a leg up

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

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Five big takeaways from today’s release of the 2013 Guide to Advancement

2013-Guide-to-AdvancementHere’s one for your browser’s bookmarks bar: The newest edition of the Boy Scouts of America Guide to Advancement released today.

The PDF version contains answers to pretty much any advancement question that might come up, and it’s essential reading for your unit’s advancement chair and others who like to be kept in the loop on all things advancement.

You’ll want to spend some time with this user-friendly guide. Consider downloading the PDF to your tablet for portable reading. Or print off a copy on recycled paper and keep it handy.

There’s so much inside the guide that it’s pointless for me to go into too much detail here. But I did want to draw your attention to five takeaways I gathered from a first look at the guide: Continue reading