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Peyton Manning: We need Boy Scouts more today than ever

peyton-manning-boy-scoutPeyton Manning was never a Boy Scout himself, but the five-time MVP-winning quarterback can’t help but be connected to Scouting.

He’s reminded of the Boy Scouts of America’s strength within the Denver area and across the country every time he opens the mailbox.

“I get quite a bit of fan mail from mostly parents wanting me to send a congratulatory picture or autograph to their son on becoming an Eagle Scout,” he told a crowd of more than 1,200 on April 16 at the 38th annual Boy Scouts of America Sports Breakfast, benefiting the Denver Area Council.

“I bet it’s a third of the fan mail that I get,” Manning said.

The Super Bowl XLI champion was the keynote speaker at the event, held at the Pepsi Center, which is home to the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.

Celebrities often collect a fee for these kinds of appearances. So how much did Manning charge the Boy Scouts to show up?  Continue reading

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Smartphones in Scouting: A curse or a cure?

Before you tell your Scouts and Venturers to power down their smartphones at the beginning of your next adventure, I have something you need to read.

The BSA’s Deputy Chief Scout Executive, Gary Butler, penned a guest blog post that offers his nuanced opinion on the place that iPhones, Androids and devices of their ilk have in our movement.

Does Gary think they add to or detract from the delivery of a great Scouting experience? Read on and find out.

Smartphones in Scouting: A curse or a cure?

By Gary Butler, BSA Deputy Chief Scout Executive and Chief Operating Officer

Gary ButlerI have heard lots of conversations recently on whether smartphones should be allowed during Scouting activities. One of our employees shared with me that when his son goes camping the leader takes all the phones away and returns them when the activity is over.

Does the use of a smartphone as part of Scouting’s activities disrupt the experience, or can it be a “cure” to make our current experiences more relevant to today’s youth? This comment really struck home and got me to thinking as to what is the right answer.

Sometimes to find the answer to these kind of debates on how to go forward, it takes a look backwards to find the answer. One of Baden-Powell’s most interesting quotes is, “A fisherman does not bait his hook with food he likes. He uses food the fish likes. So with boys.” Continue reading

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Greatest hits: Counting down my 13 most-read blog posts of 2013

Where did 2013 go?

For Scouts and Scouters, it went to new merit badges, Eagle Scout journeys, the 2013 National Scout Jamboree, a nationally televised TV show about Boy Scouts, a family discussion on our membership policy, endless Cub Scout fun and so much more.

It was a great year for Scouting. And for Bryan on Scouting.

I’m so humbled that my blog recorded roughly 2 million page views in 2013, more than double the previous record of 850,000 from 2012. Thanks for making this a place you trust for Scouting news and conversation.

The busiest month for traffic on Bryan on Scouting was July, which was also my busiest month as I took you inside the 2013 National Jamboree, the first at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. A month later, I served on Wood Badge staff, which was an experience I’ll never forget.

I posted 275 times this year, covering anything I thought might be interesting and relevant with the goal of making your job as a Scouter easier. 

But forget what I found interesting; what matters is which posts you made the most popular. Let’s find out. Follow the jump for the 13 most-read blog posts of 2013…  Continue reading

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Robert M. Gates, former defense secretary, joins BSA national executive board, serves as national president-elect

Arena ShowRobert M. Gates, a Distinguished Eagle Scout and our nation’s 22nd secretary of defense, has been elected to the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America. Gates will serve as a member of the executive committee and as the national president-elect.

This move means that upon approval of voting members of the National Council, Gates would begin a two-year term as the BSA national president in May 2014. The national president works alongside Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock and National Commissioner Tico Perez to form the National Key 3 that guides the organization. (Learn more about the National Key 3 in the sidebar at right.)

national-key-3-2013Gates’ appointment was made upon the recommendation of national volunteer and professional leaders, including the BSA national nominating committee. Following the National Council’s approval of Gates’ two-year term as the BSA national president beginning in May 2014, Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc., has agreed to serve as the president-elect of the BSA.

“There is no finer program for preparing American boys for citizenship and leadership than the Boy Scouts of America,” Gates said recently. “As an Eagle Scout, I know firsthand how impactful this program can be, and I believe its mission is more important today than ever before.”

Gates’ Scouting résumé is voluminous: Distinguished Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, former president of the National Eagle Scout Association, past National Executive Board member and Silver Buffalo Award recipient. When it comes to the Scouting movement, Gates gets it.

“When I joined the CIA at age 22, I had no connections and didn’t know a soul,” he told the crowd at the opening arena show of the 2010 National Scout Jamboree. “The only thing in my life that led me to believe I could make it was my Eagle Scout badge. It was the only thing that distinguished me from most high school kids.”

Gates has a tremendous passion for Scouting but also a sense of humor when appropriate. In his 2010 jamboree speech, Gates described what happens when the director of the CIA goes camping with his Boy Scout troop.

“I think the edge gets taken off the wilderness experience when 100 yards away there are three large black vans, a satellite dish and armed security guards,” he told the crowd, drawing a big laugh. “It’s a challenge no Scoutmaster ever anticipated.”

Last year, Gates indicated a willingness to re-engage with the BSA, and because of his leadership capabilities and his long history of participation and service in Scouting, the BSA had the opportunity to take advantage of a unique moment to bring on board a truly great leader in Gates. He is one of our nation’s most respected public servants and a proven leader of the highest caliber.

“I am honored to take on this role and look forward to working on behalf of the millions of youth and adult members who make Scouting what it is today — an organization providing life-changing opportunities to today’s youth,” Gates said.

Video: Watch Gates discuss Scouting

Watch an excerpt from his speech at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree after the jump. Continue reading

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‘A Century of Honor’ show archived online for your viewing pleasure

Update, Oct. 30: Nearly 1.2 million people watched the awesome production last night. Did you miss it? You can now watch the whole thing online.


Original post:

Won’t be at the 21,000-seat Conference Center in Salt Lake City for tonight’s big “A Century of Honor” show? All hope is not lost.

You have plenty of ways to watch the multimedia celebration of the 100-year partnership between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.

Basically, you can tune in on any device with a screen: TV, computer, iPhone, iPad, Android. But whichever method you choose, do not miss this live 85-minute extravaganza with original music and media, historical reenactments, special guests and a cast of hundreds of Scouts.

The big show is broadcast live at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight. (That’s 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, 6 p.m. Pacific.)

Here are your options for tuning in:  Continue reading

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What is a Scouter? The ‘by the book’ answer and your definitions

For those of us who have been in Scouting for the majority of our lives, the answer seems obvious.

But recently I got an email from a Cub Scout parent who shall remain nameless, asking, “What is a Scouter? I see this word all the time but am unclear about what exactly you’re referring to.”

I realized we use this word all the time in Scouting magazine, on my blog and on social media. And I suppose we just assume that all those new adult leaders out there know the word through some type of magic.

Let’s fix that today. First, the simple definition. The BSA’s Language of Scouting defines this noun as “A registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America who serves in a volunteer or professional capacity.”

That’s the by-the-book definition, but we can do better. So I asked our Facebook friends to weigh in on the subject. I’ll share two of my favorite answers and then present a word cloud I created from the responses, all after the jump.  Continue reading

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Tuck everlasting: Scout uniform shirts should always be tucked in, BSA says

scout-uniform-4To tuck or not to tuck.

That was the question on the minds of hundreds of parents who have called the BSA headquarters over the past several months.

Their query: Does the Boy Scouts of America require uniform shirts to be tucked in? The questions are specifically referring to field uniforms (known to some by the unofficial name “Class A”) and not activity uniforms (“Class B”).

Problem is there hasn’t been an official policy in the past. The requirement was that the uniform-wearer must be “neat in appearance.” Most packs, troops, and crews interpreted that to mean tucking the shirts in, but a few didn’t.

Now we’ve got our final answer. Read the BSA’s official stance after the jump:  Continue reading

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Religious Emblems Coordinators can help you retain Scouts

URECLooking for a time-tested method for retaining Scouts? Put your faith in religious emblems.

The research is clear: Scouts working on their religious emblems remain in Scouting longer.

And considering that more than two-thirds of our chartered organizations are faith-based, religious emblems represent a way to make your relationship with your unit’s chartered organization more of a two-way street.

I first told you about the Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator position a year ago. The unit-level coordinator, along with the Council Religious Emblems Coordinator and District Religious Emblems Coordinator, will educate, motivate, evaluate and facilitate the religious emblems program.

What I’ve always loved about the religious emblems program is that there’s something for everyone of any faith. That means any Scout (or Scouter) — Baha’i or Baptist, Moravian or Methodist — can team with his faith leaders to earn religious emblems and become closer to his faith.

Find more about these new positions at this Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator orientation page. Continue reading

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Nationwide open house on Oct. 29 will help spread the story of Scouting

LDS-100-logoIt takes a village to recruit new Scouts, and here’s the latest example of that Scouting village uniting for the greater good of the BSA.

Packs, troops, teams and crews are invited to celebrate with the LDS church on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 29, for Scouting Open House Night.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints becoming one of the BSA’s first chartered organizations, LDS chapels and stake centers all over the country will open their doors to tell the story of Scouting and to invite youth to join the program you and I believe in so strongly.

The event, designed as a kind of national join Scouting night, is open to units and prospective Scouting families from all denominations — not just LDS units or members of the LDS church.

But wait, isn’t Oct. 29 the same night as the church’s A Century of Honor live broadcast I told you about last week? Yes, and though these are two different events held on the same night, they do overlap and fit together nicely.

Download a printable (PDF) flier for Scouting Open House Night by clicking here. And find out more info, including how councils and chartered organizations can get involved and how you as a unit leader can make the most of this opportunity, after the jump. Continue reading

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Join BSA in celebrating its 100-year partnership with the LDS church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the first sponsor of the Boy Scouts of America way back in 1913. One-hundred years later, the LDS church brings hundreds of thousands of Scouts into the movement each year.

Next month, your Scouting family can join the BSA family in celebrating that “Century of Honor” through a special live production held in Salt Lake City.

There’s something in the show for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Scouters, Scouting families and non-Scouting families of any religion. The live broadcast celebrates Scouting, not just the LDS church, so it’s relevant to everyone.

As you’ll see in the pulse-pounding trailer after the jump, the 85-minute performance will include original music and media, historical reenactments, special guests and a cast of hundreds of Scouts.

All of this awesomeness will be hosted at the Salt Lake City’s 21,000-seat Conference Center, where the annual Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert is taped each December.

Circle Oct. 29 on your calendar right now. At 7 p.m. MDT on that Tuesday night, the show begins. Watch the trailer and get the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How after the jump. Continue reading