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During National Park Week, the great outdoors becomes even greater

What’s the only thing better than visiting a national park with Scouts?

Taking that same trip for free.

That’s the beauty of National Park Week, held this year from April 21-29. For these nine glorious days — spanning two full weekends —  all 397 national parks waive entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees.

National Park Week is one of several fee-free periods each year, but it’s by far the longest, giving you plenty of time to put your wallet away, find a park, and watch America’s Best Idea get even better.

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Enter daily to win a Coleman InstaStart grill (and more!)

Charcoal can add sizzle to your car-camping trip, but using it comes with a downside: the cleanup! Plus, after a day of Scouting activities, who wants to wait for the coals to reach peak temperature before cooking dinner?

One lucky winner of Scouting magazine’s “GET COOKING QUICK: ‘DINE IN’ EDITION” giveaway will take home a Coleman InstaStart Portable Grill. This compact grill, which uses propane (not included in giveaway), will have your meal cooking in several minutes flat. (The InstaStart was featured in the March-April “Great Gear” column as one of six excellent stove picks.)

The next time you “dine in” with Scouts at your favorite campsite, you could enjoy the easy clean up and convenience of the InstaStart grill, as well as the rest of the giveaway goodies: an REI coffee percolator and one REI non-stick skillet. The value of this giveaway package is $175.

Additionally, 20 runners-up in the “DINE IN” giveaway will be rewarded with a BIC FlameDisk, an easy-to-use alternative to charcoal. The FlameDisk uses ethanol to heat and cook meals; the lightweight aluminum frame is recyclable after use. The Leave-No-Trace-friendly device can be found at major retailers, including Walgreens and Walmart.

Click here to enter daily, and share the contest with friends via Facebook or Twitter to receive extra “Tell-A-Friend” entries.

Last month, Scouting magazine reader Leigh Turner, an assistant Scoutmaster from Winter Springs, Fla., won the “GET COOKING QUICK: ‘HIKE OUT’ EDITION, which included a JetBoil ZIP stove and other cooking gear. Visit scoutingmagazine.org/contests daily to enter our monthly giveaways.

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Deadline for NESA scholarship applications is Jan. 31

Update (Feb. 1, 2012): The 2012 deadline has passed, but check back for info on the 2013 scholarships at the end of the year.

Know an Eagle Scout headed to college?

Then read on: Tuesday, Jan. 31, is the deadline for Eagle Scouts who are high school seniors to apply for a 2012 National Eagle Scout Association scholarship.

In all, 153 scholarships, each between $1,000 and $50,000, will be presented to worthy Eagle Scouts based on their Scouting record, school performance, and financial need. Continue reading

January Columbia Jacket Giveaway

Enter daily to win warmth

Did Santa forget to put a warm jacket under your tree? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

Enter today to win a Columbia Bugaboo Tech Parka—a $300 value!

One lucky Scouting magazine reader will win the COLD COMFORT GIVEAWAY featuring this classic parka that’s perfect for camping, snowshoeing, skiing, or just enjoying the outdoors with your Scouts.

How can you win? Visit scoutingmagazine.org/contests to register to win. Then, be sure to visit the contest page and to enter daily and increase your chances of winning. The contest will end Jan. 31.

One winner will be randomly selected and announced here at blog.scoutingmagazine.org.

Plus, a new February contest will be announced Feb. 1—you won’t want to miss it! (Hint: We’ll make sure you’ve got the right footwear for your upcoming hiking adventures.)

Good luck!

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Don’t text and drive — you’ll save a life, get a patch

Get out your cellphone, and look at the last text message you received.

Read it aloud. Then consider whether that text message is so important that you’d risk getting into a car accident to read it.

Would you put your life on the line to tap out a response?

Surely not. But still, countless Americans—teens and adults—text and drive, and the consequences can be tragic. In fact, you’re 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you text and drive, according to a 2009 Virginia Tech study.

That’s why the Boy Scouts of America and AT&T, the BSA’s Exclusive Communications Services Sponsor, have started a campaign to end this distracting, often-fatal practice. Continue reading

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Outdoor Nation grant rewards 18- to 28-year-olds who connect youth with the outdoors

Do you have a great idea for a project that will help youth better understand and appreciate the outdoors?

Would you like $2,500 to help make your idea a reality?

Are you between the ages of 18 and 28?

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, listen up.

Outdoor Nation, an official BSA partner since 2010, seeks “individuals between the ages of 18 and 28 who are interested in connecting other young people with America’s natural and cultural heritage through outdoor experiences.”

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Giveaway Thursday: Win a free Philmont DVD, Blu-ray, or book

Philmont giveaway

What’s the next-best thing to visiting Philmont? That’s easy: Winning Scouting magazine’s Thursday giveaway.

Sure, winning the giveaway won’t fill you with a lifetime of memories like visiting Philmont would. But, hey, at least this week’s winners will be figuratively transported to that hallowed New Mexico site through jaw-dropping pictures and unforgettable stories.

Did I say “winners”? As in more than one? Yep.

This week, three randomly selected entrants will get a prize:

Seeing Philmont in person is great. But until you’re able to do that, take a visit through Larry McLaughlin’s stellar documentary or James Sundergill’s inspiring book.

Here are the giveaway rules:

  • Many will enter; three will win.
  • Giveaway ends at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Thursday, March 24.
  • One entry per person.
  • Submit your entry below and include a working e-mail address. I’ll contact the winners by e-mail to arrange shipment of the prize.
  • I’ll use a random-number generator to select the winners after the entry deadline. Good luck!

Sorry, the entry deadline has passed. Here are the winners:

  • Philmont Blu-ray: Kurt Larson, Greater Pittsburgh Council
  • Philmont DVD: Todd S., San Diego Imperial Council
  • Philmont Book: Kelli Cupp, Heart of America Council


Last week’s winner:

    The winner of last Thursday’s giveaway was Richard Margrave of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council. I’ll send him the REI Zen sleeping bag. There were 884 entries in the giveaway.

    Giveaway Thursday: Win a free REI Zen 25-degree sleeping bag

    You could win this REI sleeping bag! (Yes, you!)

    Forget white-noise simulators or special pillows. For the best sleep of your life, find a campsite and a tent.

    Then slip into a comfortable sleeping bag, like this week’s prize, the REI Zen sleeping bag, rated to 25 degrees. The Zen bag, which the company no longer sells, went for $159 when our gear expert reviewed it in late 2009.

    Here’s what he wrote:

    Made for spring, summer, and fall, this versatile Zen has a mummy hood and a face shell of rip-stop nylon for durability on the ground. A roomy foot box and full-length zipper with draft protection add comfort and warmth. Pad loops provide attachment points to keep you from rolling onto the tent floor. The entire package, which employs synthetic insulation rated for 25-degree nights, crams into a basketball-size stuff sack for transport on the trail.

    Does that sound like something you could use? Then enter this week’s giveaway. Here are the rules:

    • Many will enter; one will win.
    • Giveaway ends at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Thursday, March 17.
    • One entry per person.
    • Submit your entry below and include a working e-mail address. I’ll contact the winner by e-mail to arrange shipment of the prize.
    • I’ll use a random-number generator to select the winner after the entry deadline. Good luck!

    Sorry, the entry deadline has passed. The winner was Richard Margrave of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council.

    Last week’s winner:

    The winner of last Thursday’s giveaway was Sean Wheeler of the Chief Seattle Council. I’ll send him the Leatherman keychain multitools. There were exactly 800 entries in the contest.