Beach balls, and perhaps a world record, fall at jamboree

It’s not a party until someone brings out a beach ball.

Thousands of Scouts, Scouters and Venturers assembled in a light drizzle Sunday to attempt to set the Guinness World Record for “most people keeping beach balls in the air.”

The current record, 14,993 people, was set in 2012 in Spain.

From my vantage point in the center of the action, I could tell this group was insanely large. But still, the Stadium Experience Team will need a couple of weeks to send their proof to the Guinness folks, so stay tuned and I’ll update this post if we set the record.

Even if we didn’t quite raise the bar, Jamboree Program Group Chairman Russell Smart sees the silver lining.

Said Smart: “We set the Summit record, that’s for sure.”

Video and photos after the jump. Continue reading


At the jamboree, I run into my blog’s biggest fan

It’s not every day you see a stranger holding a sign with your name on it.

In fact, I can say it’s never happened to me — until today. Strolling near the AT&T Summit Stadium this afternoon, I happened across Hunter, a Scout from C346 out of Georgia.

Turns out he’s my biggest fan and even created a cardboard sign that reads “Where’s Bryan on Scouting?” Hunter told me he reads my blog every day and has been “looking everywhere for me” at the jamboree, thus the sign.

Just to have anyone read and enjoy my blog is humbling, but Hunter really made my day today. I told him how flattered I was and posed for a picture with him. Now I’m one of his biggest fans, too. Follow the jump for the photo, and thanks to Hunter! Continue reading


He was one merit badge from earning Eagle when …

eagle-washWith the finish line tantalizingly close, you’ll never guess what slowed down John L. on his trail to Eagle.

John, a Life Scout from Texas, had finished his position of responsibility requirements and completed his Eagle Scout project. He had signatures from his counselor and Scoutmaster on the blue card for his final required merit badge.

But enter the washing machine, an enemy of any teenage boy. You see, John’s blue card was in the pocket of his pants, and this photo from his Scoutmaster shows what was left after the spin cycle.

Of course, John’s Scoutmaster, Bob Olafson, shouldn’t have any trouble getting a new blue card with the proper signatures. But Bob couldn’t help but share this fun, tragic anecdote with his fellow Scouters.

Top photo from Flickr:  Some rights reserved by Drregor

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

More museums should be like this Scout-friendly one in Oregon

There’s tons to see inside the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum near Portland, Ore.

But it’s what’s outside that caught my eye.

The museum, located in McMinnville, just opened a new designated Scout camping area. That means Scouts can set up their tents among oak trees right off the museum’s parking lot and then walk over to the museum during the day.

Once there, they can check out displays like the original Spruce Goose, movies in the museum theater, merit badge classes, or the “educational waterpark” with its 10 waterslides that teach visitors about the power of water.  Continue reading


Find your path: Track down a National Trails Day event near you

Last year's patch. This year's design hasn't yet been released.

The official National Trails Day patch. Get yours at ScoutStuff.org.

Maybe you’ll walk in the footsteps of the Wright Brothers in Ohio, hike from scene to scene in an outdoor production of Snow White in Boulder, or bike through redwoods in California.

Wherever you are, there’s surely a National Trails Day event near you.

So save the date for Saturday, June 1, to take your Scouts or Venturers to a local hike, cycling event, horseback ride, trail-maintenance project, paddle trip, health fair, geocaching activity, photo safari, or birdwatching expedition.

American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, which I’ve blogged about annually since 2010, is a great way to show people in your community that Scouting and the outdoors go hand in hand. Who knows a trail better than a bunch of Boy Scouts or Venturers?

To start, search for an activity near you. Continue reading


In an edgy decision, the BSA sets limit on knife-blade length

(Update, April 2, 2013) Please read a special message at the end of the post.

Knives. They may be the source of the most confusion within Scouting circles.

I’ve heard people tell me sheath knives are banned in Scouting (they’re not), that Scouts can only carry one knife (not true), or that blades can’t be longer than five inches (wrong again).

Today, though, BSA Health and Safety team lead Richard Bourlon announced a new knife policy that changes things a bit. For the first time in the organization’s history, the BSA is mandating a maximum blade length for knives used within Scouting.

The magic number:

Continue reading


Scouts aren’t immune to Harlem Shake

You knew it was bound to happen.

The Harlem Shake, the Internet meme that came from nowhere last month and is now impossible to avoid, has caught the eye of more than a few Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs.

Scouts from Salt Lake City, Puerto Rico, and several places in between have created their own versions of the viral video, which starts with one person dancing alone for 15 seconds before a quick cut to a chaotic group dance lasting another 15 seconds.

Most of the Scouts’ videos I found were tasteful and fun and they show Scouts doing what Scouts do — laughing, bonding, and acting crazy. One video starred the staff of a summer youth leadership course in Utah, and at the end included a message for Scouts to register for the event. Smart marketing!

Check out five Boy Scout versions (and one Cub Scout version) of the Harlem Shake: Continue reading


Distinguished Eagle Scout goes ‘Undercover’

Here's Jim Rogers without his "Undercover Boss" disguise.

Here’s Jim Rogers without his “Undercover Boss” disguise.

Just how high can Eagle Scouts go?

Consider Jim Rogers, Distinguished Eagle Scout and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, as he gets the Undercover Boss treatment on tonight’s new episode.

Rogers, who earned Eagle in California in 1965, will go undercover as “Tim Bickford” to see firsthand how KOA and its 400 camping locations are performing 13 years after he took over as the boss. And the best part: I’m hearing Rogers’ status as an Eagle Scout plays a role in the episode.

But really, how could Scouting not play a role? I mean, Rogers has three Eagle Scout sons, two Eagle Scout brothers, and has helped the Scouting movement grow in his home state of Montana. You can learn more about his contributions to Scouting on this National Eagle Scout Association page.

I even had the pleasure of hearing Rogers speak at the 2011 National Outdoor Conference at Northern Tier. He’s an excellent speaker with an interesting message for anyone who works in the outdoors.

The Emmy-winning Undercover Boss, already one of my favorites, gets even better now that I know an Eagle Scout will be featured. If you haven’t seen an episode, here’s how it works: Continue reading


Watch BSA posters get appraised on ‘Antiques Roadshow’

Antiques-Roadshow-logo(Updated Jan. 8, 2013)

The 10-time Emmy nominated Antiques Roadshow, “part adventure, part history lesson, part treasure hunt,” kicked off its 17th season with an episode featuring a little something for Scouting collectors.

The show’s premiere took us to Corpus Christi, Tex., and included a very-brief appraisal of Boy Scout posters.

Admittedly, when I first heard the show would feature BSA memorabilia, I had hoped the BSA segment would be longer. As it is, you can watch the 60-second appraisal of some BSA posters right here.

You Tell Me

What’s your most-prized piece of BSA memorabilia? And if you had to guess, what would you set as its dollar value? Leave your comment below.

Note from Bryan (Jan. 8, 2013): In an earlier version of this post, I oversold the BSA segment’s length and its depth. I was basing that on the information PBS sent to the BSA last month, and I published this post before I had seen the clip myself. I apologize for the confusion.


November-December ‘Where Am I?’ contest winner, location revealed


We received a tremendous response to the November-December “Where Am I?” contest, which racked up 466 entries — 395 of those were correct guesses!

The answer to the riddle? Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, located in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Using a random number generator, lucky digit 21 is our winner. That’s you, Steve Cline of the San Diego Imperial Council.

Congrats, Steve! You’ve won a $100 Supply Group gift certificate to use at ScoutStuff.org or at your local Scout Shop.

Starting today, we continue our geography trivia in our next “Where Am I?” contest, featuring a snowy locale. Can you guess the location? Examine the clues and the photo at this link, and submit your guess for a chance to win.

Good luck!

Photo by Sami Sarkis/Getty Images