If you’re not meant to hike, sweat and get dirty in your field uniform, then what’s with all the pockets for storing stuff? Why do the shirts come in an option made from breathable fabric? And have Scouts who hike in “Class A’s” been doing it wrong for decades?
Though you’ll see fewer Scouts wearing the field uniform (unofficially called the “Class A”) while hiking or doing muddy service projects these days, that wasn’t always the case, I recently discovered.
Hal Daumé, a member of the National Advancement Advisory Panel and a former Scouting magazine What I’ve Learned subject, did a little bit of research and found that not only have Scouts hiked in their field uniforms throughout history, the BSA at one point did everything short of requiring them to do so through its official handbooks. Lines like “the uniform [is] the clothing of the outdoorsman” made it pretty clear.
You won’t find an official declaration of when to wear the field uniform these days, but Hal’s research gives us an interesting look into the BSA’s past. And it makes an interesting case for wearing field uniforms any time you’re involved in Scouting activities. Take a look after the jump, and weigh in with your own unit’s policy in the comments section. Continue reading
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
Before Saturday’s race, Justin received an award from the BSA to thank him for such a great season.
Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 19 Boy Scouts of America IndyCar, fractured his pelvis and suffered a small pulmonary contusion in a crash during Saturday’s race in California.
He was on Lap 111 of the MAVTV 500 at the oval-shaped Auto Club Speedway near Los Angeles when his car “got caught on a seam in the track that pitched the car into the wall,” according to this USA Today story. The race put a tragic punctuation mark on an otherwise successful 2013 season for Wilson. He finished the season an impressive sixth out of 38 drivers.
Wilson, who drives for the BSA-friendly Dale Coyne Racing team, will now return home to Colorado to recover. The injuries are inoperable, so what he really needs is a lot of rest and some support from the Scouting community.
And that’s where you come in.
Justin has represented the BSA admirably all year — both on and off the track. In races from California to Florida and many places in between, Justin has visited with Scouts and Scouters, signed autographs, taken photos and shared how much he loves driving the No. 19 car. Everywhere he goes, he talks about the value of Scouting and inspires non-Scouts to learn more about our movement.
Now’s our chance to show Justin, and the racing world, how thankful we are and how much we’re wishing for a speedy recovery. Find two ways to get your pack, troop, team or crew involved after the jump. Continue reading
George Clooney and Sandra Bullock weren’t Scouts, but odds are their characters in Gravity would’ve been.
That’s because at least two-thirds of the pilots and scientists selected as astronauts since 1959 were Scouts. This stat comes as no surprise to those of us involved in the program; we know how well Scouting prepares young men and women for life and high-flying careers.
But Kathy, a Scouter who emailed me last week, says that when recruiting new Scouts, statistics like these are worth more than a rock from the surface of Mars. She writes:
Could you get the current info on how many Eagle Scouts are astronauts? I love this info when recruiting new Scouts as it makes such an impact as to the validity of the BSA program and its values.
Great question. The latest numbers I could find say this: Continue reading
Like many who saw the new movie Gravity, I was curious how much of what happens in the big-budget thriller could happen in real life.
Fortunately, astronaut and Eagle Scout Scott Parazynski did the fact-checking for us.
In an article for Vulture, the man who has spent 47 hours on spacewalks answers questions about how the characters moved in space, whether certain scenes were plausible and what reminded him most of his time in space.
Don’t click if you haven’t seen the film, because it does include some spoilers. But it’s worth your time if you saw Gravity and have an interest in space exploration.
By the way, the image above is cropped from the March 1966 cover of Scouting magazine. See the full cover after the jump. Continue reading
What happens when you send the purveyors of insane basketball and football trick shots to the BSA’s newest high-adventure playground?
You won’t believe me until you see for yourself.
Last month the guys at Dude Perfect, with 1.7 million YouTube subscribers to their name, visited the Summit for their latest round of extreme trick shots.
Almost anyone can make a half-court basketball shot with enough tries, but these guys take long-distance accuracy to new extremes. I’m talking swishes off climbing walls, nothing-but-net shots from atop the Sustainability Treehouse, and you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me makes in a moving whitewater raft. And that’s just the beginning.
Now, these guys aren’t Scouts as far as I can tell, but what they’ve done here is raise awareness about Scouting and its newest high-adventure base, officially called the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit (opening summer 2014!). That’s publicity you can’t buy.
As of this writing the video has amassed nearly 800,000 views. That’s more than any BSA video I know of, but it’s the comments that really get me pumped. Like this one: “It is videos like these that make me proud to be a boyscout [sic].” And this: “That place looks sick.” Or this: “Not you [sic] average Boy Scouts video. Check it out!”
What he said. Watch the video for yourself and see a few behind-the-scenes photos after the jump. Continue reading
For your Scouts and Venturers on Facebook, the reminder to “think before you post” just got a lot more important.
Yesterday we learned that Facebook has changed its privacy policies for users age 13 to 17, a move with real implications for the social media users in your troop, post, ship, team or crew.
There are two changes you as a Scout leader should be aware of. Continue reading
The Boy Scouts of America is continually working to remain a leader among youth-serving organizations in the fight against child abuse. And kids who are abused outside of Scouting have a better chance of recovering and thriving by joining youth-serving organizations like Scouting.
Those were two of my big takeaways after attending the two-day National Youth Protection Symposium this week in Grapevine, Texas.
The BSA was one of 24 youth-serving organizations at the event. These organizations, which serve a combined 20 million youth, gathered to listen to the top minds in abuse prevention and share best practices. The common goal: keep kids safe from those who might do them harm.
One of the experts who spoke was Victor Vieth, executive director of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.
He said that the majority of abuse cases happen within the home, and the perpetrator is usually someone the boy or girl knows. In other words, throw out the stereotype of the unknown individual we were warned about in those “Stranger Danger” videos.
This revelation puts Scout leaders in a unique position Continue reading
A select few very motivated boys are now earning the Eagle Scout Award before they can (officially) see a PG-13 movie.
Yes, the latest members of the “youngest Eagle Scouts ever” club are 12 years old.
First, the facts. It is, technically, possible to earn Eagle at 12. To join Boy Scouts, you must be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old.
Reaching First Class comes with no time limit requirements. But once there, a boy must be active four months as a First Class Scout to earn Star, six months as a Star Scout to earn Life and six months as a Life Scout to earn Eagle. Add those numbers together and you get 16 months, or the minimum length of time from joining Boy Scouts to earning Scouting’s highest rank.
Let’s say we have a 10-year-old boy who earns the Arrow of Light and joins Boy Scouts. It’s quite possible he could complete all the requirements for Eagle Scout before he becomes a teenager.
So it’s possible, but should we encourage it?
I asked a similar question more than two years ago, and that post has now generated 190 comments from Scouters like you.
It’s time to have the discussion again. So for today’s Tuesday Talkback, tell me: What are your thoughts on 12-year-old Eagle Scouts? Leave a comment below. Continue reading
At an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, Mom, Dad and other key Scouting mentors get recognized for their role in helping a young man reach the Eagle Scout rank. As they should.
But what about the young man’s troopmates? Didn’t they have a part in helping him get to Boy Scouting’s summit?
That’s just what a soon-to-be Eagle Scout from New Jersey wondered in a conversation with his mom this week. He wants to present the boys of Troop 100 with a little token of his appreciation for their role in his journey, she told me in an email.
There’s a special Eagle Scout Mentor pin, but that isn’t appropriate for this young man’s troopmates who were more teammates than mentors. So what should he give them?
Perhaps the best gift this Eagle Scout could give is his continued involvement with the troop, helping to inspire and guide the next wave of Eagle Scouts behind him. Or maybe he could sponsor a lower-income first-year Scout, offering financial and moral support on his journey to First Class.
But you have to appreciate this Eagle-to-be’s desire to give his troopmates something tangible — a certificate, an award, a plaque or something else that’ll be around when he’s aged out of the troop. And this is where you come in. Read the letter from his mother below, and please share your ideas. Continue reading