True colors: Is your pack, troop, or crew website brand-compliant?

brand-id-guideThe 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


Learn how to work with Scouts from different economic backgrounds

scoutcast-logo1Scouting 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 ScoutCastJoining 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

Troop trailer

Let’s peek inside 5 great troop trailers

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


Announcing my first-ever Golden Eagle Awards for best Eagle project videos

golden-eagle-awardsThough 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


Learn to manage a Scout’s anger in this month’s ScoutCast

scoutcast-logo1Like 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

Continue reading


How to work with Scouts who have ADD/ADHD

scoutcast-logo1If 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


Amateur radio fans: How does free sound?

icom-kitA 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

Continue reading


Monthly Core Values? Roundtables? Let Cubcast explain

cubcast-logoFor new Cub Scouters, the terms “monthly core values” and “roundtable” might as well be in a foreign language.

We’ve all been there, and Cubcast knows it.

For newbies or anyone needing a refresher in those two essential Cub Scouting subjects, listen to the January 2013 edition of the monthly podcast.

Your hosts are Sam Thompson, regional operations manager and past leader of the Cub Scout Division, and Cub Scout volunteer extraordinaire Janet Griffin. Sam and Janet chat with Assistant Council Commissioner Cheri Pepka of the Chief Seattle Council. She explains implementing the core values and monthly themes fun and the joys of participating in roundtable.

Listen to Cubcast each month right here.

Are You a Boy Scout Leader?

As I mentioned yesterday, there’s now a Boy Scout version of Cubcast, called ScoutCast. Don’t miss it!


ScoutCast: A BSA podcast, all grown up

scoutcast-logo1Scouters love to shoot the breeze about the next campout, newest merit badge, or tastiest recipe.

But when someone brings up a more-sensitive topic at a roundtable or leader meeting, it’s often greeted by silence.

That’s where the new ScoutCast comes in. The new podcast, a close relative of the popular CubCast, will focus on topics that you might not feel comfortable talking about at roundtable meetings, such as bullying. That’s January’s subject.

The goal: Get you and your fellow Scouters thinking and, ideally, talking about these critical issues facing Boy Scouts.

The hosts are familiar faces voices to those of us who work for the BSA’s magazines. Meet J.D. Owen, editor-in-chief of Boys’ LifeScouting, and Eagle Scout magazines, and Paula Murphey, senior editor of Boys’ Life.

For the debut episode, J.D. and Paula chat with New York Times best-selling author Michael Gurian about the best ways to handle bullying in your troop. (P.S.: Read Scouting magazine’s 2010 article on the subject for more insight.)

Click here to listen or to download the file to your smartphone or MP3 player for offline listening.


In the loop: A guide to square knots, and how to wear them

You’ve been awarded a square knot. Congratulations! Now what?

If you’ve been honored with one of the 34 square knots currently available (see the full list below), waste no time in sewing that badge of honor to your uniform. Though they don’t tell the whole story of a Scouter’s impact, these tiny rectangles provide great evidence of a volunteer’s efforts.

But before you dust off the sewing machine, read these tips:

Location, location, location: Knots should go over the left pocket, as seen from the wearer’s perspective. Line them up in rows of three in any order you choose. Typically, the knot you deem most important is worn on the bottom row on your right, but that’s your call. If your knot total isn’t divisible by three — aka you have a row of one or two knots — you can either center them in the row or keep them aligned to your right. The latter method means you won’t have to re-sew those knots if you get a new one.

Count to nine: If you’ve been a Scouter for some time, those knots could really stack up. How high they go above your pocket is up to you, but the BSA recommends wearing no more than nine — or three rows of three.

Don’t flip out: Yes, square knots have a right-side-up. The chart above explains the process of determining which end goes where. This can be tricky on single-color knots, but if you squint really hard you can tell which loop on the knot is above the other.

Which knot is which?: Let’s hope you can identify the knots on your own uniform, but it’s likely you’ll see a knot or two out in the field that you don’t recognize. Here’s a handy chart (click to enlarge):  Continue reading