‘Are You Tougher?’ turns up the heat on the adults and Scouts

What could possibly bring Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? to a screeching halt?

See for yourself—no spoiler alerts, here—tonight at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central when the next episode of the National Geographic Channel’s exciting new reality show returns, pitting adult former Scouts against current Scouts.

This third installment, featuring the pun-worthy title “Buoy Scouts,” features two adult Eagle Scouts and one adult who didn’t make it to the top, as well as popular Scouts from the past two episodes: Trent and Rob.

As expected, the adults have something to prove. Also as expected, they find the going a little, er, tougher than they expected. Continue reading


Voice of the Scout membership-policy survey questions give Scouters, parents a chance to be heard

It’s mid-March. That means Phase 2 of the Boy Scouts of America’s three-month family discussion has shifted into high gear.

The BSA calls this phase “Listening,” and that’s exactly what the organization is doing. Scheduled to last from March 1 to April 5, the phase includes, in addition to a lot of conversations with a lot of people, a 13-question Voice of the Scout survey, recently sent to about 1.1 million registered volunteers and Scout parents.

The questions, which you can read below, were designed to help committees review the beliefs and concerns of two groups of stakeholders critical to this process: Scouters and the parents of registered Scouts.

The BSA is also sending the survey to approximately 325,000 Scouting alumni, former members who aren’t necessarily currently active but have previously joined the National Eagle Scout Association or the Scouting Alumni Association.

Refresh your memory about the remaining phases in a blog post I wrote last month. But, briefly, they include evaluating the results of the surveys and other committee reports, the executive officers preparing a resolution to present to the group of National Council voting members, educating the Scouting family about the findings, holding a vote on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May, and taking whatever steps are needed to carry out the decision.

First, though, the survey will collect feedback from our key stakeholders, asking parents and volunteers to carefully consider the current membership policy and potential affects on the program should the BSA change its policy or keep it the same.

If you are a current member and you have not received a survey, you may visit this link to register your member ID number and receive a link for the survey after your information has been verified. Parents of Scouts can also use this link to get a survey. You should use your child’s ID and indicate you are a parent and input your own demographic information.

As is common in any family discussion, the survey touches on some personal issues. But it’s a conversation we must have now to ensure the continued success of our organization for the future.

The leadership of the BSA is firmly committed to making sure every voice gets heard and is dedicated to the integrity of this process. So, if you receive the survey, speak up—for yourself and for the Boy Scouts of America.

View the survey now:

Continue reading


A paddle of wills to prove they belong (‘Are You Tougher?’ Episode 2 Recap)

Whoever said “less is more” apparently hasn’t watched Episode 2 of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?

Tonight’s episode of the new National Geographic Channel show was, to me, superior to Episode 1 because it gave us more of what we Scouters and Scouts love about the Boy Scouts of America.

We got more Handbook-inspired Scout skills, more fast-paced adventure, and more unscripted examples of Scouts living the Scout Law. 

We also saw challenges that were generally more competitive than in the first episode, with the adults holding their own against the Scouts. But which side came out on top? Did any of the adults prove they were tougher than a Boy Scout? Keep reading 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 2 and want to be surprised by the results.  Continue reading


Viewership numbers in on ‘Are You Tougher?’ as date for next episode nears

More than 439,000 households tuned in to the premiere of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? on Monday, meaning 439,000 homes got a firsthand look at the excitement Scouting offers boys and girls.

(Read my recap and review of the first episode.)

Tougher represents positive marketing you can’t pay for, and it’s a great start for the show. I’m told the numbers are better than the National Geographic Channel usually gets for that timeslot. But with five new episodes still to come, now’s no time to celebrate.

Tell everyone you know to tune in for an all-new episode at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on Monday (March 11), and let’s keep those viewership numbers strong.

The episode, called “Ninja Scouts,” will introduce us to Lee, a former Marine; Paul, who feels guilty for dropping out as a teen; and David, who left Scouts three badges shy of Eagle. The first challenge will have Scouts and adults rappelling off a bridge before rafting down Class III rapids.

Which of these adults, if any, will be Tougher Than a Boy Scout? I can’t wait to find out.

Related links

“We’ve only joust begun”: My Episode 1 recap/review, the BSA’s official page about the show

National Geographic Channel’s official page about the show


What the … beep?! Silly rule detected and reversed at Michigan Crossroads Council

Common sense. We see it so rarely in politics these days that it’s big news whenever it shows up.

Take the recent news that the Michigan Department of Human Services told the Michigan Crossroads Council that it would be required to have smoke detectors in all 1,000 of its summer camp tents across nine camps.

Yes, you read that right. A thousand small, beeping, blinking, battery-draining smoke detectors for all the two-person, council-owned tents in the Lower Peninsula.

But here comes common sense. Fortunately, we got word yesterday that the state agency has reversed its decision and will not require the detectors. 

The impractical — not to mention costly — detectors fired up state Rep. Phil Potvin, a board member of the President Ford Field Service Council. He told the Detroit Free Press that the Continue reading


We’ve only joust begun (‘Are You Tougher?’ Episode 1 Recap)

Who’d win in a Boy Scout Handbook-inspired battle between current Scouts and adults who didn’t quite make Eagle as boys?

Tonight, we finally discovered the winner — well, of Round One, at least. The season premiere of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? on the National Geographic Channel was my first time seeing the show I’ve been hearing about since January 2012, so my expectations were high.

How was the show? What was the format? And did the Scouts or adults prevail in the first episode? 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 Episode 1 and want to be surprised by the results.  Continue reading


The Boy Scouts of America’s ‘family discussion’ on our membership policy

When the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its long-held membership policy last June after months of media coverage and national attention to the issue, some leaders thought that signaled an end to the conversation.

Not so, as you no doubt know. As BSA President Wayne Perry recently said, many unit-level volunteers weren’t aware of the policy before the reaffirmation. “What we discovered as your Key 3 was that it started a very intense conversation,” he said.

In that eight-month conversation, Perry emphasized that he didn’t speak with outside special-interest groups with no affiliation to Scouting. Instead, he said, “I heard only from Scouters, people with different views than my personal views.

“It was hard, because people told me their Scouting commitment, and it touched you, it touched your soul. These are good people. They are people of faith that have a different view than I do.”

That’s why Perry, Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock, and National Commissioner Tico Perez — the National Key 3 — have launched what they call a “family discussion” that’s set to take place over the next three months.

Who’s invited? Continue reading


What you need to know if you’re visiting the 2013 national jamboree

2013jamboreelogo-200x326(Updated, May 13) First, you can give up your seat on the sidelines and get into the game.

Paying visitors this summer can sample some of the same high-adrenaline activities that the Scouts experience.

At past jamborees, a lot of the fun stuff — BMX, climbing, shooting sports — was off-limits to visitors. Not this time. But just like an amusement park, all that fun comes at a cost. 

So brush up now on the 2013 National Scout Jamboree Visitor PolicyContinue reading


Boy Scouts to continue review of membership policy, take action at May meeting

The Boy Scouts of America’s executive board has directed committees to continue an exhaustive review of the BSA’s policy barring gays and lesbians from the program. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013 in Grapevine, Texas.

Please read the full text of the BSA’s release:

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it’s youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.   In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns.  This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

View the PDF of the release at this link.


Don’t miss the ‘Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?’ website, new trailer

Waiting just gets tougher and tougher.

But with less than four weeks until the premiere of Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? on the National Geographic Channel, news about the series is coming faster than you can say “Be Prepared.”

We already know the series debuts at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central) on Monday, March 4.

Today’s scoop: A new website for the show,, just launched. The site channels excitement surrounding the show into a recruiting pitch for boys and girls who get inspired to sign up for Scouting. It encourages current Scouts to share their Scouting adventures on Instagram and Twitter. And it’s mobile-optimized to make sure no Scout or potential Scout misses the fun because he’s miles from a desktop computer.

Once the show debuts, will provide series updates and links to Web-only content from National Geographic Channel. If you’re like me and you’ve gotta be among the first to get news about Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout?, be sure to sign up for email updates right on the site.

Watch the new trailer

In other news today, a new 30-second promo was released. It’s got a different feel from the one I shared on Friday, but I like it.

It’s my understanding that this trailer will be shown on National Geographic Channel some time in the next few weeks. Take a look:  Continue reading