Here’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
In a life-threatening situation outdoors, a Scout’s skills are only as good as his memory.
That’s why mnemonic devices — popular for schoolchildren memorizing the order of the planets, the metric system, or the colors of the rainbow — are also useful when the pressure’s on you to react to a health or safety emergency.
Boost your emergency preparedness with the 20 mnemonics below. Most come courtesy of Scouting magazine’s friends on Facebook and Twitter. Have one we missed? Leave a comment at the end of the post. Continue reading
What separates a successful Boy Scout troop from a foundering one? The answer hasn’t changed in a century.
It’s the patrol method, and it’s been around since at least 1920 when Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell explained it in his Aids to Scoutmastership (link opens PDF).
“The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organizations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success,” B-P writes. “It cannot help itself!”
But too often these days, adult leaders are reactionary when it comes to the patrol method. They start with good intentions, but when they see the slightest hiccup, they take the reins from the boys and run the troop themselves.
Clarke Green, who writes the excellent unofficial Scouting blog “Scoutmaster CG,” calls this the “troop program death spiral” in a recent post.
He writes: Continue reading
The 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
Scouting isn’t free.
Yes, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to be a Scout than to participate on a club soccer or lacrosse team. But there’s still a cost in Scouting — dues, uniforms, gear, activity fees, travel expenses, printed materials, and more.
Within one pack, troop, team, or crew you likely have parents who live comfortably and those who live paycheck to paycheck. You could say the socioeconomic status of our Scout families is as diverse as our Scouts themselves.
So how do you handle this situation and give everyone an equal Scouting experience? And what happens if a Scout family’s economic situation changes — perhaps a parent loses a job, for example?
Take some time to ask yourself: Are you doing all you can to handle economic diversity within your troop?
Start by listening to the June 2013 ScoutCast. Joining the hosts for this important topic is the team leader of the Council Fund Development Team, Mark Moshier, who shares ways to keep funds from hindering a Scout’s involvement.
And continue the conversation by sharing your ideas in the comments section below.
The most important CubCast ever
Cub Scout leaders, if you only listen to one CubCast this year, this should be it. Continue reading
Even the best-looking troop trailer designs can’t hide ugly insides. You know the ones I mean: cavernous, unorganized spaces into which gear is deposited and never seen again.
That’s why many troops add the Scouting touch to their trailers, installing shelving and other improvements to make storing and finding gear a breeze — even if it’s after dark on Friday night when you pull into camp.
So last month, I asked for troops to send me photos of the insides of their trailers. I wanted to know: How do troops keep things organized and avoid the all-too-familiar sight of 20 boys rummaging through a pile of backpacks, bags, and patrol boxes to find what’s theirs?
Here are five great examples: Continue reading
Though certainly not a requirement for earning the Eagle Scout Award, an Eagle Scout Service Project video can be icing on the cake, celebrating and commemorating a boy’s hard work and planning.
And with HD cameras built into modern smartphones and inexpensive, user-friendly video-editing software available, it’s easier than ever to produce high-quality videos like the ones I’ve chosen to show here.
So allow me to present the first-ever Bryan on Scouting Golden Eagle Awards for Eagle Scout videos. I’ve watched several-dozen so far, and they’re all great. But I’ve singled out five in particular for these awards, which come with neither a statuette nor any prize money — just my pat on the back for a job well done.
So, without further ado… Continue reading
Like The Hulk, you don’t wanna see Scouts when they get angry.
But it’s a natural human emotion, so it’s bound to happen in your troop. When it does, do you know how to respond?
Learn how in this month’s ScoutCast, the monthly podcast for Boy Scout leaders.
Download the episode or listen to it through your browser to hear an interesting conversation with Suzette Rizzi, a 25-year licensed social worker in Illinois and a member of the National Committee for Scouts With Special Needs, as she shares with us the skills and strategies for manage anger in ourselves and the youth in our troop.
April 2013 CubCast
If your troop has 25 boys, odds are three of them have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a CDC report.
Yes, 12 percent of boys ages 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, and that doesn’t count those who may have the condition but haven’t been formally diagnosed.
That presents a unique challenge to you as a trusted leader, and it makes the March 2013 episode of ScoutCast a must-listen. You’ll learn what ADD/ADHD is, how you know if a boy has it, and how you as a leader can work with Scouts in your troop who have it.
Our ScoutCast hosts are joined by Tony Mei, a 40-year Scout volunteer with the Marin Council in San Rafael, Calif. He’s been working with Scouts with disabilities for almost 15 of those 40 years and has developed training for College of Commissioner Science classes for Scouting with special needs and disabilities, including ADHD and autism spectrum.
Hear the episode here or download it for offline listening.
Cub leaders, there’s a podcast for you too… Continue reading
A complete amateur radio station in a box can be sent to your council for free*!
Too good to be true? Nope. That’s the offer from Icom America, the BSA sponsor I told you about in June that will supply radios to the 2013 jamboree.
For only the cost of shipping ($20 to $50), Icom will loan your local council all the equipment it needs to get an amateur radio station up and running for a council event. We’re talking Radio merit badge workshops, camporees, or Jamboree on the Air events.
That’s a $2,700 kit that your council can borrow for next to nothing.
Details, including an application for your council’s use, are available at this official BSA page. Contact your council to recommend they apply for one of these stations for a future event.
What’s in the box? Watch the video below to find out…
Watch the video