Which patches shouldn’t be traded?

Your 10-piece jamboree set for my Eagle patch? Sorry, no way.

Council shoulder strips, district camporee patches, and pins from your hometown are perfect trinkets to trade at national Scout jamborees or other major Scouting events.

But some patches and Scouting memorabilia should stay home.

No matter what the event, including the 2013 National Scout Jamboree next summer, the BSA has rules restricting patch trading.

Here’s the excerpt from Page 9 of the 2012 edition of the Guide to Awards and Insignia: Continue reading


Your uniform questions, all sewn up

White boxes show you where the patch belongs. Drag it there, and it gets magically “sewn” onto the uniform.

Finally, an easy way to answer the question, “What do I wear?”

A new, easy-to-use uniform Web site targeted at new Scout families just debuted, courtesy of the folks in Program Impact and the Supply Group.

Click on the appropriate Scouting program — Cub Scouts, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Leaders, and Dress Uniforms (professionals). From there, you’re presented with a list of required and awarded patches that you can drag and drop to where they belong on the uniform. It’s simple and fun.

Give it a try, and be sure to bookmark to send to the new parents in your pack, troop, team, or crew. And to buy actual uniform components, they’ll want to visit or their local Scout Shop.

What you’re seeing now is Phase 1, which gives you an idea of what’s possible with this useful tool. The next step is to include everything found in the Guide to Awards and Insignia. It’s a working project that will get better over time.

Now if only they can find a way to sew the patches on for you, as well!

Related posts

Is an older Scout who wears his uniform in public committing ‘social suicide?’ Weigh in on one Scoutmaster’s policy

Open for debate: What’s your Scout unit’s uniform policy?


Is it ever time to say, ‘Sorry, our troop’s full’?

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to Scouting. A well-run unit of 15 to 20 boys or girls beats a dysfunctional unit of 80 to 100 Scouts every time. (Many larger troops thrive, but only through careful planning and strong leadership.)

What happens when your unit reaches that magic number where adding any more Scouts means a drop in program quality — overcrowded meeting space, leaders stretched too thin or other growing pains?

Do you turn Scouts away, sending them to another nearby unit? Or do you squeeze them in?

That question was posted to a Scout message board earlier this week:  Continue reading


Renewed wows: Check out the changes in the November Cubcast

Spring may be the season of renewal, but fall’s when Cub Scout packs hit the reset button for the year.

Which is also the perfect time for Cubcast to do the same. As I mentioned in August, the podcast has been completely reimagined, with your help, and the November 2012 episode is the result of that revamp. If you ask me, it’s a hit. The new hosts bring a fresh energy and a sense of authority to the informative, 10-minute episode. And the shout-out to my blog makes it even sweeter!

The subject matter for this month’s episode is about renewal, too — as in the unit charter renewal process, a timely reminder this time of year.

Who are the new hosts? Meet Regional Operations Manager (and past leader of the Cub Scout Division) Sam Thompson. He’s joined at the microphone by Cub Scout volunteer extraordinaire Janet Griffin. This month, the two chat with Terrie Wilder, assistant council commissioner for charter renewal for the Mount Baker (Wash.) Area Council.

Listen to the November 2012 Cubcast or catch up with past episodes here.

Boy Scout Leaders, Listen Up!

Cubcast is great for pack and den leaders, but what about Boy Scout volunteers?

Just wait — ScoutCast will air Jan. 1.

Think of it as a roundtable or after-hours discussion. Sure, we all know how to teach kids about cooking over a campfire or tying a sheepshank, but ScoutCast will focus on topics like anger management, bullying, or dealing with kids with ADHD or hyperactivity.

I’m thinking it’s something Boy Scout leaders won’t want to miss.


There are no dull merit badges, only dull instructors

Scouts aren’t exactly stumbling over themselves to take Personal Management, Emergency Preparedness, or Citizenship in the Community/Nation/World.

But with a little advance planning and creativity, you can bring seemingly dull merit badges to life.

Start by studying every requirement for ways to turn lectures or pen-and-paper exercises into something hands-on.

Then consider these tips from our friends on Facebook and TwitterContinue reading


Wood Badge Wednesdays, Vol. 5: Leading to Make a Difference

It’s amazing how quickly a whisper turns into a roar.

Take Wood Badge tickets, for example. Each one leaves a lasting legacy, but 50, 500, or even 5,000? That kind of impact reverberates across the Scouting universe for generations.

At my Wood Badge course in August, 50 Scouters each crafted five tickets. That’s 250 boosts to Scouting in North Texas from our course alone.

Some of you might be wondering: What is a Wood Badge ticket? Well, after the six-day course ends, participants aren’t done. To earn those iconic beads, a Wood Badger must complete five projects, called tickets. The tickets allow Scouters to give back to the program and to “realize their personal vision of their role in Scouting.”

That focus on Leaving a Legacy is a huge part of the spirit of Wood Badge. And it’s the subject of today’s fifth and final Wood Badge Wednesdays post.

Continue reading


Judgment call: Who should get access to your unit contact list?

In your unit, is a Scout’s contact info freely available or guarded like nuclear launch codes?

Two forces are competing here: Effective, efficient communication between families — and privacy. How do you straddle the thin line dividing the two?

That’s what assistant Scoutmaster Leon wondered in an e-mail to me last week. Take a look at his note, and then weigh in below:  Continue reading


Wood Badge Wednesdays, Vol. 4: Tools of the Trade

In Scouting, as in life, change is inevitable.

You’ve got new merit badges, new locations for campouts, new roles in your unit, new health and safety regulations, and more.

That makes change the only fact of life guaranteed to never change. And these days, both in and out of Scouting, change happens at a faster rate than ever before. Resistance is futile, but how you respond to it is entirely up to you.

Let’s say change is a bucking bull; do you: (A) Jump off and run away, (B) Hold on and try to survive, or (C) Grab the horns and steer. In other words, do you resist change, accept it, or lead it?

At Wood Badge, we learned how and why to try the third approach. It’s one of many Tools of the Trade I took home from the course in August, and it’s the focus for this edition of Wood Badge Wednesdays. (If you want to catch up, please read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.)

Consider this:
Continue reading


Wood Badge Wednesdays, Vol. 3: Models for Success

As Models for Success go, it’s tough to top course Scoutmaster John Stone (left) and Senior Patrol Leader Bill Hemenway.

As anyone who’s watched Survivor can attest, grouping a bunch of people together and giving them a name doesn’t make them an effective team.

No, if you want to morph a collection of individuals into a cohesive group, you’ll need good leadership, willing teammates, and ample time.

That was certainly the case for the Owl patrol at the Wood Badge course I took in August at Philmont.

We arrived as strangers and left as lifelong friends.

I know, I know. I could’ve taken that line right out of a Hallmark card. But Wood Badge veterans know this is true: The course offers a better firsthand lesson in effective team development than anything else out there.

That’s the concept behind my third installment of Wood Badge Wednesdays: Models for Success. (If you want to catch up, please read Part 1 and Part 2.)

Wood Badge allows Scouters to experience Baden-Powell’s vision for a perfect, youth-led Scout troop. Participants don’t just read about how Scouting should be run — we eat, sleep, and drink it for six full days.

By the end of the course, each leader walks away with practical skills that instantly apply back home. But that concept of “strangers to teammates” only describes the beginning and end. What happens in the middle? Well, let’s just say it’s no cake walk. Continue reading


Should you compete against other units for Scouts? If so, how?

You’re walking through the church lobby after your Scout meeting one night when you spot something new on the bulletin board.


“But wait,” you say, “this church is where my pack, Pack 456, meets!”

It happened to Sandy, a Scouter who e-mailed me and asked that her full name and hometown not be used. And it could happen to you.

It’s a sticky situation. Yes, we’re all in the business of serving as many Scouts as possible, so we should be happy when any young person finds a pack, troop, team, ship, crew, or post to call home — even if that home belongs to a different unit.

On the other hand, each Scouter out there wants his or her unit to reach its full potential, and losing members restricts that.

How do you walk this line? And when, if ever, is it appropriate to compete against other units for members? I turned to our Facebook friends to find out:  Continue reading