oreo

Try this: Identify potential Scout leaders with the Oreo Test

Wondering whether that parent on the other side of the meeting room would make a good Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Venturing leader?

Try the Oreo Test.

Don Lauer of Troop and Pack 9212 in Summerville, S.C., devised the method, and he said it hasn’t failed him yet.

“Just a simple thing,” he tells me. “Plus I like cookies.”

I think it’s brilliant. Here’s how it works …  Continue reading

scouting-triangle-featured

The Scouting triangle: Remove one side, and the movement can’t function

fire-triangleYou’ve heard of a fire triangle, right? It’s the geometric illustration of the three elements a fire needs to ignite: heat, fuel and oxygen. Remove one, and the blaze goes bye-bye.

Inspired by this simple illustration, Michael Dulle created what he calls the Scouting triangle. Remove one of the three elements of the Scouting triangle, and the movement wouldn’t exist.

Dulle, a Scouter with Troop 459 out of Overland Park, Kan., shared the Scouting triangle concept with me, and it’s simple but brilliant.

The fuel is the program, the oxygen is the youth and the heat is trained adult leaders. All are essential for Scouting to function.

Find a higher-res version of the triangle that you’re free to share and more insight from Dulle after the jump. Continue reading

scoutcast-parents

Parental guidance: How Scouters can deal with those unruly moms and dads

scoutcast-logo1For many Scout leaders, it’s not the Scouts that’ll turn hair gray — it’s their parents.

The team behind ScoutCast recently asked 56 experienced Scoutmasters from across the country this question: “What do you know now that you wish you knew as a new Scoutmaster?”

The overwhelming response was not handling issues with Scouts but with their parents.

So with the help of Zach Chopp-Adams, who has been a Scoutmaster or assistant Scoutmaster since he was only 18 years old and serves as Advisor for the new Section C2 in the Michigan Crossroads Council, the November ScoutCast teaches you how grown-ups can be the problem and how to handle it when they are.

Listen to the November ScoutCast here.

Cub Scout leaders, don’t miss this month’s CubCast. Details after the jump. Continue reading

scoutcast-who's who

What does a unit commissioner, district commissioner and district executive do?

scoutcast-logo1That nice, uniformed, young man who visited your troop last week, was he your unit commissioner, district commissioner, district executive or someone else entirely?

For new adult volunteers, keeping track of your own Scouting title and responsibilities can feel pretty overwhelming. Memorizing the positions and duties of everyone else in your Scouting circle? Forget about it.

The good news, then, is that ScoutCast has help.

In the October 2013 episode of the monthly podcast (available to stream through your browser or download for later listening), you’ll hear from Ed Martin, scout executive for the Black Warrior Council in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as he explains who’s who in this “zoo” we call Scouting.

You’ll learn who these volunteers and professionals are and, more importantly, how they can help make your job in Scouting easier and more rewarding.

20130830-210449.jpg

Joe Theismann: Values of the Scout Law ‘don’t leave you’

As a Dallas Cowboys fan, it hurts me a little to type this, but here goes: Joe Theismann is the man.

I mean, how many Super Bowl-winning former quarterbacks can recite the Boy Scout Law without notes?

The former Life Scout and Washington Redskins star did just that tonight, causing the gathered group of hundreds of council and national professional Scouters to break into applause.

Theismann really connected with me and others when he recalled Scouting’s impact on his life and the lives of today’s young people. His impassioned words were delivered with spiral-like precision at tonight’s closing dinner of the BSA’s annual Top Hands Conference in Washington, D.C.

Those 12 points of the Scout Law “don’t leave you,” Theismann said. “Think about it; how many things can you remember from when you were young?”

Adults who were in Scouting recall more than merely the words of the Scout Law, Theismann continued. They remember its meaning.

“As adults, look at this code,” he said. “Whether you’re a Scout or just a person in life, that’s not a bad credo to follow.”
Continue reading

scoutmaster-csatari

First look: Troop Leader Guidebooks, set to replace Scoutmaster Handbook

scoutmaster-handbookUpdate, Feb. 28. 2014: These books are still being reviewed, and Vol. 1 should be available in the coming months. Vol. 2 is expected later this year.


If you judge the Scoutmaster Handbook by its cover, you might assume it’s solely meant for, well, Scoutmasters.

Assistant Scoutmasters, it seemed, were to look elsewhere for Scouting wisdom.

That’s about to change. Later this year, the two-volume Troop Leader Guidebook will debut, replacing the Scoutmaster Handbook and offering helpful checklists, quick tips and fresh ideas for both new troop leaders and veteran Scouters.

Scouting magazine contributor Mark Ray wrote Volume 1, while Bob Birkby, author of the latest Boy Scout Handbook, penned Volume 2.

You can see the covers of the new Troop Leader Guidebooks after the jump. I’ve also got a sneak peek at what’s inside the books and what makes them better tools for Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters.  Continue reading

cub-scout-summer

Eight ways to avoid summer hibernation in your Cub Scout pack

Family vacation, tons of free time and absolutely no homework.

The very conditions that make summer a Cub Scout-age boy’s favorite season can wreak havoc on a Cub Scout pack. Some packs, frustrated with the difficulty of aligning family schedules in June, July and August, simply give up and take summers off.

Bad idea, say experienced Cub Scouters like A.J. Vasta: “Why is ‘hibernating’ still even an option?” he asks. “So many lost members when everyone finally gets back together.”

If you’re smart and plan ahead, you can avoid the unnecessary hibernation that causes your pack to lose momentum.

Consider these eight ways to stay active all summer, submitted by your fellow Cub Scouters on FacebookContinue reading

recruiting-video

For the 99.9 percent of kids who won’t go pro in sports, Scouting offers a leg up

If you know a kid who dunks like Blake Griffin, runs like Adrian Peterson or hits like Miguel Cabrera, you’ll have a hard time recruiting him to join Scouts.

Because, as the Scouting recruiting video below explains, parents of these super-athletes have won the genetic lottery, and their kids are set for life. (Assuming we ignore the countless examples of high-paid athletes who wash up after their playing days are done.)

For the parents of normal children, the Boy Scouts of America provides a chance to make young men and women stand out from the crowd. Scouts and Venturers gain skills in leadership, fitness and character they can’t get elsewhere. Scouts are more likely to graduate college than non-Scouts, and studies show former Scouts pull in a greater income than people who were never in Scouting.

These facts, laid out in an entertaining way in this Coronado Area Council video, offer the perfect answer to the question weighing on the minds of parents of potential Scouts: “Should my son join this Cub Scout pack or that Little League team?”

My response would be, “Why not both? Make your child well-rounded, and he or she will go far.” But if you come across a parent debating one over the other, send them the video below. Continue reading

insect-repellent

Is DEET safe? New insect repellent study offers surprising insight

Who would’ve thought bug spray could repel people, too?

That’s what’s happening with DEET, that much-maligned ingredient found in insect repellents with tough-sounding names like “Deep Woods” and “Sportsmen.” While some Scouts and Scouters swear by the stuff, others have sworn it off completely.

Who’s right? A recent study from the Environmental Working Group aims to answer that question once and for all. Continue reading

2013-Guide-to-Advancement-1

Five big takeaways from today’s release of the 2013 Guide to Advancement

2013-Guide-to-AdvancementHere’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