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The BSA’s Chief Scout Executive is now blogging, tweeting

As the Boy Scouts of America’s 12th Chief Scout Executive, Wayne Brock continues a solemn tradition that dates back to November 1911 when James E. West became the first Chief.

But let’s remember July 2013 as the moment when Chief Brock started a new tradition, one Mr. West never could have seen coming.

Yes, our Chief is now blogging and tweeting.

Over at the Chief’s Corner blog, which launched yesterday, you’ll get words of wisdom directly from the man who is effectively the BSA’s CEO. Through his posts, Chief Brock will bring Scouts and Scouters closer to the movement while showcasing the magic of Scouting for those who aren’t yet members.

I’m told the Chief will post once or twice a week and focus on issues relevant to the Scouts and Venturers with whom you work. That means leadership, service, adventure, health, and more. From time to time, Chief Brock will share updates on his travels across the country to visit packs, troops, teams, posts, ships, and crews.

And on Twitter, follow @bsachief for the latest dispatches from Chief Brock. The account has been used off and on since 2010, but along with the launch of Chief’s Corner, you can expect great insight and information on a more-regular basis.

Or, as the Chief himself tweeted last week:  Continue reading

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The BSA race car: Coming soon to a council event near you?

nascar-ride-to-school-2Perhaps. But only if you ask.

The team behind the Boy Scouts of America’s No. 8 NASCAR, driven by Scott Lagasse Jr., will work with councils to plan car and driver appearances at Scout events.

What Scout wouldn’t love a chance to meet a professional race car driver and check out his ride?

At each stop on the team’s race schedule (see below), TeamSLR hopes to make Scott and the car available for as many nearby Scouting activities as their schedule allows. When councils are in the immediate vicinity of a track, TeamSLR provides these visits at no cost to the council or to the BSA in general.

If your council isn’t in the immediate area of a track but would still like to be considered for a driver and race car appearance at a council event, TeamSLR can explore that option based on the driver’s availability. With that approach, there’s a small fee required to cover the costs associated with traveling to the event.

Keep in mind this is a council opportunity, so contact your local council to encourage them to rev up an upcoming council event with an appearance. Because of cost and scheduling constraints, the driver and race car is unlikely to be available for appearances at the unit level.

Want more info to send to your council? Continue reading

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Technology in Scouting: A blessing or a curse?

scoutcast-logo1In this corner, we have modern-day Scouting, where technology enhances the delivery of the program in ways never thought possible.

In the other corner, it’s traditional Scouting, that rare respite from a young person’s screen-based life one weekend each month.

Can’t we all just get along?

That’s the thinking I espouse in the latest episode of ScoutCast, the BSA’s monthly podcast. Yes, you read right; I’m honored to say the guest this month is yours truly.

In the 13-minute podcast, I tell the hosts some ways in which technology can be both a blessing and a curse for your pack, troop, or crew. By sharing personal anecdotes, ideas from blog readers, and some useful online tools, I add my thoughts to the important discussion about how your unit can walk the line between technological over-reliance and under-reliance. Continue reading

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Story of Scouts riding across the country inspires Michigan Scouter to think big

lucky13-logoHere’s more proof that in Scouting, we’re all just one big family.

Two weeks ago, I blogged about Lucky 13, the group of Scouts from Troop 845 in Chapel Hill, N.C., who are riding their bikes across the U.S. to raise money for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

When Chad Mitchem, Eagle Scout and Cubmaster of Pack 3049 in Holland, Mich., read my post and looked at the Scouts’ planned route, he noticed “that they planned on getting really close to my hometown,” Chad writes in an email to me. “I had to contact them!”

He did more than just contact them. Chad will host the group in his backyard tomorrow.

“They graciously accepted my invite, Continue reading

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Ideas that click: 11 ways to improve your unit’s website

If first impressions are everything, your unit website better be good.

These days, many prospective Scouts and their parents will research your pack, troop, or crew online long before they pick up the phone or visit one of your meetings.

An easy-to-navigate, well-designed, regularly updated website can mean the difference between recruiting a new Boy Scout and watching him join the troop down the street.

With that in mind, here are 10 ways to improve your unit’s website:  Continue reading

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Ask the Expert: Rapid-fire FAQs, round 3

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?The Ask the Expert floodgates are wide open.

I’m now getting roughly 50 emails a week with Ask the Expert questions, a sign that Scouters out there care enough to seek out the right answer to their burning BSA queries. (By the way, ask your question by emailing scoutingmag@gmail.com, subject “Ask the Expert.”)

For the third round of rapid-fire FAQs, I’ve picked out nine popular questions and tracked down the right answers.

We’ll cover parents who make light of a Scout earning lots of merit badges, a troop that won’t count the same leadership position twice, a discussion of who should pin on an Eagle medal, unofficial belts, jamboree entertainment, and more.

Let’s go …  Continue reading

The original Good Turn.

Share your stories of Scouts doing Good Turns when they think nobody’s watching

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The original Good Turn.

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers go out of their way to help others. Often that takes shape as a pack, troop, or crew service project.

Those service projects — totaling nearly 13.5 million hours last year —  help define Scouting within our communities.

But recently I wondered about the less-public kinds of Good Turns that Scouts do when there’s nobody watching and no rank advancement or award to earn.

These random acts of Helpfulness or Courteousness might be small, like returning a $20 bill to a stranger who dropped it at the airport. Or they might be big, like helping an elderly neighbor repaint her fence.

Whatever the act, if you spot a young person helping someone else, it’s a pretty safe bet that person is or once was a Scout. “Just watch which kids yield to hold a door or let the other person go first in line,” says Scouter Zachary H. “I guarantee 90 percent are current Scouts or alumni.”

That’s just the kind of young men and women the organization helps create.

If you’ve got a true story of a Scout or Venturer doing a Good Turn when he or she thought nobody was watching, please share it in the comments below.

To get us started, here are some submitted by our Facebook friends: Continue reading

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Ask the Expert: Rapid-fire FAQs, round 2

Ask the Expert: What happened to Bugling merit badge?Want proof as to how passionate Scout volunteers are about the Boy Scouts of America?

Just look at my inbox.

Last week, I provided answers to eight frequently asked questions, and at the end of the post, I provided information on how to ask your own Scouting-related question. (By the way, you can do so by emailing scoutingmag@gmail.com, subject “Ask the Expert.”)

Well, 78 emails later, it’s time for Round 2 of my rapid-fire FAQs. I can’t answer every question, but I have answered nine more common ones below.

This round will cover Cub Scouts earning merit badges, funeral services for a fallen Scouter or Scout, uniform questions, and more. Perhaps a question you’ve been wondering about is covered…  Continue reading

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True colors: Is your pack, troop, or crew website brand-compliant?

brand-id-guideThe color scheme on your troop’s website is red and blue, but is it the right red and blue? Is that the right shade of yellow on your pack page? And what about that Venturing logo you converted to 3D “for effect”?

In other words, are you brand-compliant?

Don’t worry, there’s no “BSA Brand Police” planning to perp walk you in handcuffs if your unit’s website or printed materials don’t match the official specs.

If this all sounds a little like minutiae, it is. But these details are an important part of maintaining the BSA’s iconic brand. And you’re a key player.

So why not do all you can to create a consistent look and feel in all the ways a Scout and his family interact with the organization?

The Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide (pdf) breaks down the basics for you. You can learn the proper and improper ways to use BSA logos, the exact specs on official Scouting colors, and even tips on websites, social media, and photography.

Converting to the official colors can be your first step. Here are the specs:  Continue reading

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Rex Tillerson speaks out about change and ‘The Main Thing’

“So we’ve made the decision. We’re going to change,” says Rex Tillerson. “Now what?”

Less than 24 hours after the volunteer delegates voted to change the BSA’s membership policy for youth, Tillerson addressed a large room full of Scouting volunteers and professionals at the closing general session of the BSA’s National Annual Meeting.

In a powerful, heartfelt speech, Tillerson made his message clear: Change is inevitable, but “The Main Thing,” which is to serve more youth in Scouting, hasn’t changed. With that in mind, he reasoned, it’s time for all of us unite toward this common goal.

Tillerson, immediate past president of the Boy Scouts of America and a 2010 Silver Buffalo recipient, knows something about making big decisions and dealing with change. When he’s not serving as a Scouting volunteer, he’s the chairman, president, and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., one of the world’s largest companies.

In 1999, Tillerson worked for Exxon when it merged with Mobil—definitely a big change for both companies.

Take 10 minutes to watch the video below and listen to Tillerson’s message. Then, share it with the members of your Scouting family.  Continue reading