The original Good Turn.

Share your stories of Scouts doing Good Turns when they think nobody’s watching


The original Good Turn.

Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers go out of their way to help others. Often that takes shape as a pack, troop, or crew service project.

Those service projects — totaling nearly 13.5 million hours last year —  help define Scouting within our communities.

But recently I wondered about the less-public kinds of Good Turns that Scouts do when there’s nobody watching and no rank advancement or award to earn.

These random acts of Helpfulness or Courteousness might be small, like returning a $20 bill to a stranger who dropped it at the airport. Or they might be big, like helping an elderly neighbor repaint her fence.

Whatever the act, if you spot a young person helping someone else, it’s a pretty safe bet that person is or once was a Scout. “Just watch which kids yield to hold a door or let the other person go first in line,” says Scouter Zachary H. “I guarantee 90 percent are current Scouts or alumni.”

That’s just the kind of young men and women the organization helps create.

If you’ve got a true story of a Scout or Venturer doing a Good Turn when he or she thought nobody was watching, please share it in the comments below.

To get us started, here are some submitted by our Facebook friends: Continue reading


Lend a hand to members of our Scouting family affected by recent tornadoes

A Scout is Helpful, and the folks in Texas and Oklahoma whose lives were uprooted by recent tornadoes need our help.

Thousands of people, including Scouts and Scouters, have been affected by these disasters. Scouting professionals and volunteers are doing what they can to return some normalcy to these Scouting families — a process that could take months or years.

Scouting sources on the ground say that cash is what is needed most right now. So please consider supporting our councils and members directly by clicking this link and making a contribution. The funds will go to helping those councils affected by the storms, and you may designate where you want your money to go.

Other places where your support is welcome are the OK Strong Disaster Relief FundAmerican Red Cross, and Salvation Army. 

Thanks for always remembering that we are one Scouting family, and when someone in our family falls down, we’re all there to pick him up.

Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by Official U.S. Air Force

Scout service projects

Ask the Expert: Can Scouts earn service hours outside of the troop setting?

expertlogo1Are all service hours created equal?

If a Scout, say, builds a house with his church youth group or delivers meals with his school’s student council, can those hours count toward Boy Scout rank advancement?

That’s what a Scouter named Andrea wondered this week:


Our troop only allows service hours to accrue if it is a troop-sponsored service event. I think that this is against Scouting principles but understand the difficulty in calculating hours if the boys are collecting hours through school, church, etc. What is the BSA policy for this? Can the boys earn service hours outside the troop and how do we get those to “count” if they are allowed to be accrued by the Scout?



Now, nobody will question the value of service to others — even those not conducted with a Scout unit. But what Andrea’s wondering is whether her Scoutmaster is correct in restricting which hours may be applied to rank advancement within Scouting.

The short answer: Continue reading

Messengers of Peace

These North Carolina Scouts and Venturers are giving Peace a chance

The precious ring can be yours, if you complete a Messengers of Peace project.

The precious ring can be yours, if you complete a Messengers of Peace project.

You can’t promote world peace by sitting on your couch.

No, you’ve got to follow the lead of units like Venturing Crew 122 of North Carolina’s Tuscarora Council. The Venturers and advisors of Crew 122, along with some Scouts from Troop 33, cleaned a 9.5-mile portion of the Neuse River by canoe last month.

Over the 10-hour day, they collected more than 400 plastic bottles, 70 glass bottles, 52 toys, 37 aluminum cans, and 36 styrofoam/paper cups.

Almost as impressive as that garbage haul is the fact that the Venturers kept a count of what they had collected: almost a half-ton of trash in all. And remember they collected it all by canoe.

The conservation effort went beyond just a daily good turn, though. It was the crew’s Messengers of Peace service project, earning them the ring patch seen above.

Now THAT is a load of garbage. Nice job, Scouts!

Now THAT is a load of garbage. Nice job, Scouts!

You were first introduced to Messengers of Peace in a blog post last year. The global program, which launched in 2011, is “designed to inspire millions of young men and women in more than 220 countries and territories to work toward peace. The initiative lets Scouts from around the world share what they’ve done and inspire fellow Scouts to undertake similar efforts in their own communities.”

How do you participate and get one of those Messengers of Peace ring patches? Read on…  Continue reading


An update on the Scouts and Scouters in West, Texas

A bit of good news from West, Texas, today. Longhorn Council Scout Executive John Coyle says he’s learned the members of Pack 494 and Troop 494 in West are all safe and accounted for after the deadly explosion there Wednesday night.

Coyle’s assistant director of field service and four field staff members have spent the day in West distributing water and providing other help. It’s just another example of Scouts and Scouters pitching in when and where they’re needed.

Other Scouts are joining in the Good Turns. Troop 308, one of Longhorn Council’s larger troops in nearby Waco, Texas, is conducting a collection of essential goods on Sunday.

So if you live near there, stop by the First United Methodist Church in Waco at the corner of Lake Air drive and Cobbs drive. The collection will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21. These are the items they need:   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


Charlotte troop’s ties to submarine run deep

A thank-you letter from the ship's commanding officer. (Click to enlarge)

A thank-you letter from the ship’s commanding officer. (Click to enlarge)

For sailors aboard the USS Charlotte patrolling hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface, home can feel light years away.

But thanks to an ongoing relationship with a Boy Scout troop based in the submarine’s namesake city, crew members get a little taste of life back on the land.

Troop 1, based in Charlotte, N.C., began its relationship with the Los Angeles-class submarine in 2005 when Scouts visited the ship. Representing the City of Charlotte and the BSA’s Mecklenburg County Council, Troop 1 Scouts and Scouters presented the commander and crew with two framed prints of the city taken by a professional photographer and former assistant scoutmaster.

Several years later, Troop 1 wanted to present updated skyline photos for the updated boat to serve as a thank you from Troop 1 and the citizens of Charlotte for the crew’s service to our country.

And so last year, the Scouts presented the crew with new photos of the city skyline, including one signed by Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.

The ties don’t end there.  Continue reading


Boston harbors some top-class Scouts and Scouters

boston-goodturn-2Some Good Turns are truly great.

Take the impressive individuals from the Boston Minutemen Council, who traveled 300 miles to help fellow Americans who had been affected by superstorm Sandy.

Last weekend, they loaded 75 Scouts and Scouters onto a charter bus, packed a rented Budget truck with supplies donated by the community, and headed down Interstate 95 to Little Egg Harbor along the New Jersey Shore.

They offered service at the damaged Joseph A. Citta Scout Reservation, cooked supper for more than 300 residents, and dropped off supplies to a local distribution center.

Then, they went into the neighborhoods and personally delivered relief buckets filled with paper towels, scrub brushes, laundry detergent, and disinfectant to people who had been devastated by the October storm.

Those who weren’t able to make the 10-hour round trip donated money, clothing, food, cleaning supplies, water, school supplies — pretty much everything seen in the photo above.

“What an awesome group of young men and their leaders,” volunteer Bill Keating said in an email to Scouting magazine. “And what an impact that had to have not only on the people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, but also on the Scouts themselves.”

What he said.


An easy way to honor one of your everyday heroes

medal-of-honorThe heroes I know don’t wear capes, and they can’t fly. Their utility belts hold pocket knives, not grappling hooks.

But the heroes I know often have secret identities. That is, they’re the volunteers who dedicate every free second to Scouting—even when no one is watching. I’ll bet there’s one of these unsung heroes in your unit.

Give that person the credit he or she deserves by nominating him/her for the Citizen Service Before Self Honors, presented by the members of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Nominations are open for ordinary Americans who become extraordinary through “a single instance of bravery or through a lifetime of service to others.” Sounds right up the BSA’s alley.

Deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, Dec. 28, 2012.

Then, on March 23, 2013, three U.S. citizens will be awarded Citizen Service Before Self Honors near the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery. They will receive this award from a group of men who have received our nation’s highest and most prestigious award for valor: the Medal of Honor.  Continue reading


Amid Sandy’s darkness, Brooklyn Scouts bring a ray of hope

Scouts never cease to amaze me. Whenever someone needs a helping hand, Scouts are there.

The latest example: Brooklyn-based Troop 13, led by Scoutmaster Pete DiSalvo.

Superstorm Sandy spared the troop’s families, but that didn’t diminish their desire to serve others.

Over the past week, the Scouts of Troop 13 split into several groups to help fellow New Yorkers — think of it as dividing to conquer as many problems as they could. The Scouts, Scouters, and parents delivered food to hard-hit families. They shared information to people who were literally in the dark. And they helped clean out one house flooded by five feet of water.

Here’s the story, as told by DiSalvo to the members of his troop. I’ve lightly edited it and added bold for emphasis. It’s definitely worth a read: Continue reading