New recruiting materials will help you catch a Tiger (or Cub Scout or Boy Scout or Venturer)

Materials are also available en Español.

The first step’s always the hardest.

And when it comes to recruiting future Scouts, that first step is simple awareness. If a boy (or Venturing-age girl) in your area doesn’t know about your Scout unit, how can you recruit him or her?

Thankfully, you don’t have to do all the work yourself. The BSA’s marketing team has your back with a treasure trove of fliers, billboards, posters, yard signs, door hangers, bookmarks, postcards, Web banners, PSAs, and e-blasts. And it’s all available in three flavors: English, Spanish, and bilingual.

New this month are Tiger Cub recruiting materials, which join the high-quality Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Venturing materials already available.

Simply download the PDFs, add info about your unit’s meeting location, Web site, and contact info, and then print/post/publish wherever boys and girls are found. I’m thinking schools, youth sports facilities, places of worship, supermarkets, community centers, etc.

Find all the National Recruitment Campaign materials at the BSA’s marketing site.


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 bsauniforms.org to send to the new parents in your pack, troop, team, or crew. And to buy actual uniform components, they’ll want to visit ScoutStuff.org 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?


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


BSA to use Scout Oath and Scout Law for all programs

Update, Jan. 27, 2014: Sea Scouts, see how this applies to you here.

It’s official: The resolution to move to one Oath and Law for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity, Sea Scouts, and Venturing was approved this morning by the Boy Scouts of America’s executive board.

I first told you about the volunteer-led proposal in a blog post in August.

Essentially, this means every Scout of any age will use the Scout Oath and Law instead of reciting separate, program-specific sayings. Cub Scouts will recite the Scout Oath and Law instead of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack. Similarly, Venturers will no longer use the Venturing Oath and Venturing Code.

Because it will take time to transition into this new approach, the changes are not immediate.

The Venturing change will not happen until late 2013 or early 2014; the Cub Scout change will take effect in mid-2015. Stay tuned to my blog for exact dates as I get them.

Additionally, the newly adopted resolution replaces the full-hand Venturing sign and salute with the three-finger Boy Scout sign and salute.

UPDATE (10/18/12): I confirmed the above sentence today. Venturing will begin to use the Scout sign and Scout salute. This wasn’t mentioned in the resolution because the sign and salute are not specified in the rules and regulations.

For the full resolution and answers to some frequently asked questions, follow the jump:  Continue reading


How do you know if a campfire skit or song is “Scout-appropriate”?

Just when you thought the Friday night campfire was going smoothly, the Eagle patrol had to do that skit.

You know, the one with salty language, an inappropriate ethnic joke, or sexual innuendo?

Now you, the Scoutmaster, will spend all week fielding angry calls and e-mails from moms and dads in the troop.

If only this could’ve been avoided…

Before your next Scout campfire, let’s work together to answer two questions: (1) How do you screen a skit or song to make sure it’s appropriate? (2) What criteria do you use to determine whether it’s “in good taste”?  Continue reading


Get gritty: Celebrate ‘Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day’

Do your typical weekend plans involve dirt and Scouting? Step things up a notch! Add some rubber to the mix with a mountain-biking outing.

Tomorrow’s the perfect time to head out to your local mountain-biking trail to celebrate Saturday Oct. 6 as “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day” hosted by the International Mountain Biking Association.

Check out this interactive map of the U.S. to locate a “Take a Kid Mountain Biking” event near you.

Young mountain bikers—from Tiger Cubs to older Scouts and Venturers—will stun you with how easily they pedal on gritty surfaces. Their catlike reflexes allow them to zip around sharp turns like Indy-500 drivers!

Besides being a great way to get some exercise and add a new activity to your troop or crew, a mountain-biking trip is a good excuse to get Scouts ready for what they’ll experience at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree. The home of the jamboree, the brand-new Summit Bechtel Reserve, touts a three-tier trail system allowing Scouts to choose the difficulty of their mountain-biking experience (shown in the photo above).

Before you head out, be sure to review page 34 of the Guide to Safe Scouting for information on cycling safety.

And don’t forget to “Like” the International Mountain Biking Association on Facebook and enter to win one of two Specialized mountain bikes.

Wherever (and whenever) you choose to mountain bike, we hope you and your Scouts enjoy the ride.


What are your unit’s annual dues?

So, let’s hear it: What does your pack, troop, team, crew, ship, or post charge for annual dues/fees? Don’t include “a la carte” items, such as uniforms or campout fees, if they aren’t part of that one-time dues payment.

Leave a comment if you need to explain what’s included in your unit’s dues. Thanks for sharing!


Unit charter fee changes: How what’s new will affect you

Let’s talk money.

Two big changes coming up next year will impact every registered Scout unit:

  1. What is now known as the “unit charter fee” will change its name to the more-descriptive “unit liability insurance fee.”
  2. The cost of this fee will increase from $20 a year to $40 a year. This fee is per unit, not per individual.

Every Scout unit — packs, troops, teams, crews, ships, and posts — must pay the fee each year, and every penny of this fee goes into the general liability insurance program, providing coverage for claims alleging negligent actions that result in either personal injury or property damage.

Note that the annual registration fee for individuals isn’t changing — it remains $15.

Find answers to your important questions after the jump…  Continue reading


Is improving your unit the way you roll?

In bowling, you get instant feedback. Roll the ball, watch the pins, and look at the screen.

What if tracking the hits and misses in your Scouting unit were that easy?

Turns out it is.

With the Journey to Excellence program, your pack, troop, team, crew, ship, or post simply uses the appropriate scorecard to track 10 to 13 objectives — areas like advancement, retention, budget, service projects, and camping.

Then — voila! — you know instantly if your unit qualifies for a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award. And if not, you know where you can improve to stay out of the “gutter.”

JTE perfects on and replaces the old Quality Unit awards, and with the 2013 scorecards now online, the timing’s right to make sure your unit is aimed at success. Here’s what you need to know:

Continue reading


A bold new beginning for a Michigan council at the Crossroads

When the going gets tough, Scouts get going.

Just look at what’s happening in Michigan. The place has experienced some of the toughest economic times in America and it also boasts some of the toughest volunteers and professionals in the Boy Scouts of America.

They’ve refused to let Scouting fail in the Great Lakes State, and they’re teaching Scouts and Scouters everywhere a thing or two about courage under fire.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Crossroads Council received its official BSA charter — effectively merging nine councils into one. It’s the culmination of an 18-month, volunteer-driven effort that Scouting magazine first told you about in our March-April 2012 issue.

But they’re not crossing the finish line.  Continue reading