When the parents of a special-needs kid say ‘yes’ to Scouting, this happens…

Behold the power of “Yes.”

When Crystal Bueno and her husband first saw the go-kart their Tiger Cub sons were given at a council derby Saturday in Brooklyn, their first reaction was “No.”

“No way,” Crystal remembers thinking. “Marcus can’t do this. And Adam’s definitely not big enough or strong enough to push the kart.”

The reason for Crystal’s initial skepticism? Marcus, 7, is on the autism spectrum. And Adam was probably the smallest Tiger Cub out there.

But the Buenos let their sons try. That whole thing about it being better to try and fail than fail to try? That applies. And with Marcus steering and Adam providing the motor, the boys excelled.

It’s just more proof that Scouting is for all boys, even those like Marcus who might need special attention. What other youth program out there can say that?

The photo above speaks volumes, but read Crystal’s letter to see just how powerful this program has already been for two new Scouting parents:  Continue reading


Visual Storytelling Workshops back in action this summer

Who doesn’t love a good sequel?

After last summer’s successful premiere of the BSA’s Visual Storytelling Workshops in Atlanta and at Philmont, the return engagement is almost upon us.

Two more workshops are scheduled for 2013, including one set for this weekend — May 3 to 5 — in St. Louis. If you hurry, there may still be spots available.

But there’s certainly time to register for the second workshop, held Aug. 4 to 10 at the Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, N.M.

Participants will learn the basics of editing photos with audio to create compelling Scouting stories to share via social media. You’ll leave ready to build an army of Scouting storytellers and get the word about our great movement to those who haven’t yet come aboard.

Go to this site for more information or to register for either workshop.

Photo by Greg Crenshaw


Closing the doors on one of the country’s most unusual Scout meeting spots

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, N.Y.

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, N.Y.

Boy Scout log cabins, I’ve seen before. But a Scout cabin built inside a church?

That’s got to be one of a kind. Since its construction in February 1928, a Scout-built log cabin in the basement of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church has served as Buffalo, N.Y., Troop 2′s meeting spot.

But as this New York Times story points out, the 85-year-old cabin was dismantled yesterday as the church undergoes massive renovations. The church itself is on the National Register of Historic Places, so the exterior can’t be touched. But everything inside, including the Scout cabin, has to go to make room for the renovations.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for Troop 2. Continue reading


Two blocks from blasts, ‘adrenaline kicked in’ for Boston Scouters

When two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon yesterday, Bruce and Bonnie Showstack were standing where they have for the past decade of races — two blocks from the finish line.

The Showstacks, both longtime Scouting volunteers in the Boston Minuteman Council, have spent the past 10 to 12 years working in Section 12, the area where runners receive their medals and meet loved ones.

But at 2:50 p.m. Monday, elation turned to panic when the explosions killed three and injured more than 170.

Thankfully, Bruce, Bonnie, and the other Scouts and Scouters volunteering at the race are shaken up, but OK. And this morning, Bruce and Bonnie — pictured above before the race began — took the time to call me and relay their experiences from yesterday’s marathon.  Continue reading


Get your DVD of ‘Are You Tougher,’ available now

tougher-e05-teaseUpdated, Aug. 2

Cord-cutters, busy people, and the DVR-averse, lend me your ears.

Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? is now available on DVD.

That’s big news for a number of Scouting constituencies I heard from over the course of the six-episode season, which aired earlier this year.

Some of you had meetings on Monday nights, others don’t have cable or have channel packages that don’t include the National Geographic Channel, and still others just forgot to tune in. For that group, consider this your Take 2.

Then there’s a separate subset of Scouters who watched and enjoyed the show and now want to share it with the Scouts in their unit. Pop in the DVD after a weekly pack, troop, or crew meeting — and don’t forget the popcorn.  Continue reading


Jumping to conclusions (‘Are You Tougher?’ Episodes 5 and 6 Recap)

All good television shows must come to an end.

And so it is with a heavy heart that tonight we waved goodbye to Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?, the six-episode reality series that matched fresh-faced Eagle Scouts against 30- and 40-something adults looking to recapture their teenage glory.

Coming into the season’s final night, the score was Scouts 9, Adults 3. So the adults needed to win every challenge in both episodes to just secure a tie. Call me a pessimist, but I think the BSA National Office softball team has a better chance against the Texas Rangers. (And the BSA National Office doesn’t even have a softball team!)

Tonight’s pair of episodes got off to a good start but ended with a strange, frustrating rule change that nobody saw coming. What was the rule change? And did the Scouts continue their winning ways? You’ll have to read on to find out …

Spoiler alert:This recap will include details that reveal who won the competitions in this week’s episode. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen Episodes 5 and 6 and want to be surprised by the results.

Continue reading


Twice as tough: ‘Are You Tougher?’ ends season with back-to-back new episodes

What’s better than a new episode of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?

Two new episodes, of course. And that’s just what we’re getting as the Tougher season comes to a close Monday night, starting at 8 p.m. (7 Central) on the National Geographic Channel.

So far we’ve been given almost all the canoe-jousting, victim-rescuing, snake-identifying, bridge-rappelling, river-rafting, Scout Spirit-demonstrating, rope-lashing, and orienteering action viewers can handle. I said almost.

Continue reading


Snakes for the memories (‘Are You Tougher?’ Episode 4 Recap)

What one tool could help the adults end their losing ways?

If anything can, it’s The Boy Scout Handbook.

For the first time this season, the adult challengers on Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? were shown with copies of the preeminent Scouting text before embarking on their first challenge against the Scouts.

In case you’re just joining us, Tougher pits current Eagle Scouts against men who didn’t earn the award as youth or are looking to recapture their teenage glory. But when you’re matching 30-somethings against in-shape teenagers, as we’ve found out in the first three episodes, it’s kinda like sending the Miami Heat to play a team of fifth-graders.

But in Episode 4 of Tougher, titled “Where Eagles Fly,” the adults have a secret weapon. Can the Handbook level the playing field? You’ll have to read my recap and review to find out …

Spoiler alert: This recap will include details that reveal who won the competitions in this week’s episode. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen Episode 4 and want to be surprised by the results.

Continue reading


Snakes, ropes, and a race: It’s adults vs. Scouts in Round 4 of ‘Are You Tougher?

We’ve seen nine Scouts-vs.-adults challenges this season on Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?, and the adults have lost all but two of them.

You could say it’s been one lashing after another.

But in Monday’s new episode, we’re in for a different kind of lashing — the diagonal, square, and round kind familiar to any Scout who’s earned Pioneering merit badge.

The Scouts should know the ropes, but how much will adults know about joining two poles together? Let’s find out together in the new episode, airing at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central on Monday on the National Geographic Channel.

We’ll see a fresh group of adults go toe-to-toe against three of the best-and-brightest Boy Scouts around. And, as the promo photo above indicates, we’ll see snakes. (Why did it have to be snakes?) Continue reading


Something new under the sun (‘Are You Tougher?’ Episode 3 Recap)

Did we finally have a fair fight on our hands?

After two weeks of pitting adults who didn’t make Eagle against teenagers who did, Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? turned up the heat last night.

Forget excuses like “I came three merit badges short” or “my troop folded.” This time, two of the adult competitors made it all the way to Eagle. Surely that would mean an end to the adults’ dismal run, right? I mean, one win for the adults in six challenges so far? That’s below the Are You Tougher? Mendoza Line

Just how did these 30-somethings fare against fellow Eagles half their age? You’ll have to read my recap and review of Episode 3, “Buoy Scouts,” to find out …

Spoiler alert: This recap will include details that reveal who won the competitions in this week’s episode. Don’t read on if you haven’t seen Episode 3 and want to be surprised by the results.  Continue reading