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Venturer visualizes her wonderful web of Scouting connections

Character-driven TV shows like Lost slowly reveal the ways in which these seemingly disparate people have actually been connected all along.

And as Rachel Eddowes (third from the right in the photo above) recently discovered, the same is true in Scouting.

Perhaps the person with whom you taught a merit badge class served on Wood Badge staff with someone you know from volunteering at an OA ordeal weekend. The possibilities are endless.

Rachel, a supremely active Venturer, five-time National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) staffer and student at George Mason University recently decided to illustrate how the Scouting “characters” in her life know one another.

(Case in point: Though I’ve never met Rachel, my dad knows her from NAYLE.)

“Creating such a map was something I had wanted to do anyway — not with TV show characters, but with people I have met over the years through Scouting,” Rachel says. “I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to staff four NAYLE courses out at Philmont Scout Ranch (plus one at Sea Base). In addition to teaching and learning about leadership, I enjoyed making friends from across the country.”

With each additional staffing experience, Rachel reunited with friends or made new ones. Usually some would know of other friends she had made or people she knew through other Scouting experiences. The links continued on and on like a Scouting version of that Kevin Bacon game.

“Eventually a web of connections began to emerge with each ‘Do you know so-and-so?’ ‘Yeah! I know them!’ conversation,” she says.

On first glance, Rachel’s wonderful web looks like a haphazard jumble of lines. But follow a few of those lines, and you’ll see just how connected the characters in her Scouting world are. Check it out (click to enlarge): Continue reading

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Chris Evans’ Captain America was inspired by an Eagle Scout

captain-america-posterCaptain America and Eagle Scouts: Both wear uniforms, and of course they’re both patriotic and brave.

But recently I learned the shield-toting Avenger has even more in common with young men who earn Scouting’s highest award than you might think.

Chris Evans, the actor who plays the titular superhero in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (opening Friday), says “Cap” was modeled after an Eagle Scout he knew from growing up in Sudbury, Mass.

In an interview with the awesome Geek Dad blog, the actor says his friend, an Eagle Scout with the Knox Trail Council, inspired how Evans approaches the role. Continue reading

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BSA introduces Virtual Reality Scouting

VR-Scouting-deviceApril 2 Update: See an important message about VR Scouting at the end of the post.


Love Scouting but hate getting out in the fresh air?

You’re in luck! Today the Boy Scouts of America introduces Virtual Reality Scouting, a revolutionary alternative to regular Scouting that lets you experience all that the BSA has to offer without ever leaving the house.

The new program, debuting this fall, already has a catchy slogan: “Bring the Great Outdoors to the Great Indoors.”

To experience VR Scouting, families will want to purchase the Complete Home-Based Virtual Reality Scouting Starter System — or, simply, the CHBVRSSS (pronounced just like it’s spelled). It’ll go on sale this fall.

The CHBVRSSS will retail for only $1,999.95 — a bargain when you consider it’ll pay for itself after just six years of staying home while everyone else in your unit experiences outdoor Scouting adventures.

David Wilson, a Scouter from Michigan who got to test VR Scouting last month, said he’ll buy a device as soon as it goes on sale.

“I love going camping with my Scouts, but I’m not a fan of fresh air, warm mountain breezes or being outside in general,” he says. “So VR Scouting is perfect for me.”

I bet it’ll be perfect for you, too. Just imagine: Continue reading

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Smile! Your Amazon purchases can now support Scouting

As if you needed another excuse to shop at Amazon.com.

Now every purchase you make from the Earth’s biggest online store can support the charity of your choice, including Scouting.

Through its new AmazonSmile program, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchase to the 501(c)(3) public charitable organization of your choice.

Sure, half a percent isn’t much and won’t replace your Friends of Scouting contributions that help Scouting function in your community. But it adds up, costs you nothing and is a great additional way to support Scouting.

The one-time setup takes just a couple of seconds (instructions below), and you get the same prices, products and service you’re used to when shopping at Amazon. It doesn’t cost you any extra; the only difference is now you’re helping Scouting every time you buy.

The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council and its nearly 300 local councils all are eligible charities. Individual packs, troops, teams, posts, ships and crews aren’t eligible to earn money through AmazonSmile.

After the jump, find out how to set it up and begin helping Scouting each time you click that tantalizing purchase button.

Continue reading

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Adopt these 3 steps for healthier meetings, earn the Healthy Unit Patch

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Get one of these for everyone in your unit by completing three easy steps.

Drink Right, Move More, Snack Smart.

Those six small words hold big power. Power to make your unit, and therefore your Scouts, healthier.

Changes you employ today could have positive rewards that last Scouts a lifetime. And speaking of rewards, if you make three health-conscious changes over the next three months, you’ll earn a special patch for everyone in your unit. Now do I have your attention?

There’s more than a patch at stake, though. For the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

Sure, mom and dad play a vital role in their children’s diet and exercise habits. But Scout leaders can make a difference, too. After all, you’re with these kids one night a week and one weekend a month, typically. What you do at unit meetings and campouts matters.

Ask yourself: How active are your meetings? What snacks do you serve? What do Scouts drink?

The Boy Scouts of America has partnered with Healthy Kids Out of School to offer an incentive to reconsider your answers to those three questions.

Say hello to the Healthy Unit Patch, which encourages units to follow the BSA’s SCOUTStrong recommendations at meetings, events and excursions.

Adopt the three healthy principles below by completing the 3–6–9 challenge, and you’ll earn patches for every Scout in your unit. It’s easy and fun. Here’s how: Continue reading

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33 Scouting cartoons from the ’60s show what’s changed, what hasn’t

Cartoon-1964-SnakesEver witnessed a camp-cooking mishap, chaotic den meeting or Scoutmaster slip-up?

In that sense, you’re a lot like Scouters from 50 years ago, as evidenced by the collection of 33 Boy Scouts of America cartoons printed in Scouting magazine during the years of 1964 to 1966.

Some are charmingly old-fashioned and use roles that have been phased out, such as Den Mothers, or well-worn stereotypes, like helping an old lady cross the street.

But others could have been printed in 2014. Take a look and tell me which remind you of your Scouts (or of when you were a Scout!) and which don’t apply today.

My favorite’s probably the “Wild Salutes I Have Known.” What’s yours?

By the way, I found all these in the Scouting magazine online archives, available for anyone’s perusal right now. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Who wants seconds? Grab a bite of 20 more Scout-themed cakes

On Wednesday I shared 30 creative and mouthwatering Scout-themed cakes I found by searching around online.

At the end of the post, I asked you to share your own Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout and Venturing cakes. Apparently my request did not go unnoticed.

Get ready for 20 more cakes, sent in by blog readers like you. These cakes look almost too good to eat — but I’m more than willing to try a bite (or 10) of each anyway.

Please grab a fresh plate before returning for this second helping of deliciously designed Scout cakes: Continue reading

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30 sweet Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Eagle Scout cake designs

Any time is a good time for cake.

Blue and gold banquets, courts of honor and Scout birthday parties are obvious times to enjoy a Scouting-themed cake. But I propose celebrating with iced deliciousness on less-obvious occasions such as “First Troop Meeting of the Month” or “Our Cub Scouts Are Hungry” or “Second Troop Meeting of the Month.”

For some cake inspiration, check out this collection of 30 Scouting-themed designs. You’ll find Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts, Venturers and Sea Scouts represented. Some look professionally made (including one made by the “Cake Boss” folks), while others are charmingly homemade.

As someone with a serious sweet tooth, I must admit I had way too much fun putting this collection together. Hungry? Grab a fork and find all the sweetness after the jump. Continue reading

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12 cartoons about Scouting that weren’t first printed in Scouting magazine

Last week we looked at 20 funny cartoons from the pages of Scouting magazine. But BSA publications aren’t the only places you’ll find Scouting-related cartoons.

Artists have been sharing some good-natured laughs about the BSA for years. In Scouting magazine’s March-April 1992 issue (which you can find in our digital archives), we published a roundup of those unofficial Scouting cartoons.

The article’s author, Ernest Doclar, knew not everyone would be happy with the cartoons being reprinted for Scouting readers.

“Being the subject of such fun-poking angers some in Scouting,” he wrote. “But as a cartoon devotee, I feel such satire not only helps to amuse us but also keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously.”

I couldn’t agree more. The cartoons aren’t offensive but they do play on well-worn Scouting stereotypes. A handful focus on the portrait of a Scout helping an old lady across the street, for example, but each flips that stereotype on its head with occasionally humorous results.

The Chas. Addams and “Hi and Lois” ones are my favorites. I’m interested to know what you think. Take a look after the jump. Continue reading

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How many of these 20 Scouting cartoons from the ’60s still hold true today?

Cartoon-1963-Camp-Dreams“A boy is naturally full of humor,” Scouting founder Baden-Powell once said.

So it’s completely appropriate for us to share a good-natured laugh about those funny, spontaneous moments that make Scouting great.

In that spirit, I’ve gathered 20 of my favorite Scouting cartoons from the 1960 to 1963 issues of Scouting magazine (available for anyone’s perusal in our digital archives).

Do these scenes still ring true today? Which are your favorites? Do any remind you of your Scouts? Have a laugh after the jump. Continue reading