When Waite Phillips donated the land that became Philmont Scout Ranch, the total properties were valued in excess of $5 million. Adjusted for inflation, that’s roughly $79.5 million today.
Scouts and Scouters who have visited the beautiful, rugged New Mexico paradise know the real value of Waite’s gift, however: It’s priceless.
Waite Phillips died Jan. 27, 1964, which was 50 years ago last month. He was 81.
Waite’s vision for Philmont was that it would be an opportunity to get young men closer to the great outdoors. He must have realized, even in the late 1930s and early 1940s when he donated the property, that boys needed nature — especially in a world that offered more and more excuses for them to remain inside.
He once said the best contribution Scouting can provide to a young person’s development is “learning to live in the great out-of-doors.” That helps build “initiative, self-reliance, and dependability,” he said.
Philmont specifically, he continued, perpetuates “American idealism and patriotism among boys from all parts of America.”
Waite could never predict a world of iPhones and Xboxes, but he knew the land he donated possessed a magnetism strong enough to rip young people away from other draws on their time, which today are many.
What if Waite could see Philmont today? Continue reading
Ever witnessed a camp-cooking mishap, chaotic den meeting or Scoutmaster slip-up?
In that sense, you’re a lot like Scouters from 50 years ago, as evidenced by the collection of 33 Boy Scouts of America cartoons printed in Scouting magazine during the years of 1964 to 1966.
Some are charmingly old-fashioned and use roles that have been phased out, such as Den Mothers, or well-worn stereotypes, like helping an old lady cross the street.
But others could have been printed in 2014. Take a look and tell me which remind you of your Scouts (or of when you were a Scout!) and which don’t apply today.
My favorite’s probably the “Wild Salutes I Have Known.” What’s yours?
By the way, I found all these in the Scouting magazine online archives, available for anyone’s perusal right now. Enjoy! Continue reading
In 2010, Eagle Scout Steven Holcomb won Team USA’s first medal in four-man bobsled in 62 years, driving the United States to gold.
Yesterday, he ended another 62-year American medal drought, this time in two-man bobsled. He and teammate Steve Langton won bronze in the event at the Sochi Games.
It looks like 62 is this Eagle Scout’s lucky number.
“If anybody else has a 62-year drought you need to break, let me know,” Holcomb (in Team USA hat above) told the New York Times. “I’ll try to help you.”
The good news is Holcomb’s best event — the four-man bobsled — is still to come, and this weekend he’ll have a fellow Eagle Scout helping push Team USA to another medal. As I mentioned last week, USA-1 pusher Chris Fogt is also an Eagle Scout, meaning half of the “Night Train” team are Eagles. Continue reading
This much we know: A unit where Scouts/Venturers do everything without feedback or coaching from adult leaders is taking the “youth-led” concept too far. And a unit where adult leaders plan trips and lead meetings isn’t taking the concept far enough.
So where’s the line?
That’s what Scouter Michael Dulle wondered in an email to me. He writes:
There is a fine line for a good balance of a boy-led Scout unit vs. a hands-on, adult-led unit. I am totally in favor of the boy-led unit. However, there can be too much boy leadership in a unit, especially when the Scoutmaster abdicates his leadership role.
The troop of which I am member of is closer to a good balance than I’ve seen in other units I have witnessed. How do you create and maintain good, balanced unit leadership?
Great question, Michael. Cub Scouting, where adult leaders must take on an active leadership role, doesn’t deal with this problem, of course. But Michael’s question gets at a real dilemma in Boy Scout troops and Venturing crews.
Share how it works in your troop or crew, and consider these questions when responding in the comments below: Continue reading
Feb. 23: Full results below
Team USA’s bobsledders must be born with a superhuman drive to reach their goals.
How else can you explain the fact that 50 percent of USA-1, the four-man Olympic bobsled team with strong medal hopes in Sochi, are Eagle Scouts?
Eagle Scout Steven Holcomb (pictured with a couple of Cub Scouts) will pilot USA-1, nicknamed “Night Train” for its all-black paint job. He helped snap a 62-year American gold medal drought in four-man bobsled with his win in Vancouver.
Don’t miss Eagle Scout Mark Ray’s profile of Holcomb from the Summer 2010 Eagle Scout magazine (PDF).
Holcomb’s push team includes fellow Eagle Scout Chris Fogt (right), an Iraq War veteran who competed in the Vancouver Games as a member of USA-2.
Curt Tomasevicz and Steve Langton round out the four-man team, which has its first heat on Saturday, Feb. 22. Find full schedules and viewing info below.
Follow the jump to learn how and when you can cheer on these Eagle Scout bobsledders.
“Who wouldn’t like to do Exploring in this pleasant fashion,” Scouting editors wrote in describing the April 1959 cover seen at right. “It’s a case where it might be more fun to fail than to succeed!”
It’s a cover that must have been considered risqué in its time, making it unlike any Scouting cover printed before — or since. But the image surely got readers talking, meaning it achieved its goal. I shudder to picture the stack of letters the editors must have received, though.
Because today’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to investigate this Scouting cover a little further. Who are these teens, and what are they up to?
As you might have noticed by the logos on the young men’s jackets, the cover depicts the “new Exploring program,” described in the November 1958 issue of Scouting as the BSA “reaching out to more of these four and a half million high-school age young men where they are, on their own ground, whether or not they have been Scouts.”
Chief Scout Executive Arthur A. Schuck explained in the story that the BSA had no trouble “aiding mid-adolescent boys through that difficult stage of their development.” Reaching older teens, however, wasn’t so easy.
And so beginning Jan. 1, 1959, boys could join Exploring at age 14 and in the ninth grade or higher or at age 15 regardless of grade. Explorers chose Continue reading
On Wednesday I shared 30 creative and mouthwatering Scout-themed cakes I found by searching around online.
At the end of the post, I asked you to share your own Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Eagle Scout and Venturing cakes. Apparently my request did not go unnoticed.
Get ready for 20 more cakes, sent in by blog readers like you. These cakes look almost too good to eat — but I’m more than willing to try a bite (or 10) of each anyway.
Please grab a fresh plate before returning for this second helping of deliciously designed Scout cakes: Continue reading
Love of country and reverence for our nation’s heroes are staples of the Boy Scouts of America.
So it should come as no surprise that BSA Scouts and Scouters are the ones leading efforts to preserve the beaches at Normandy, where allied forces made landfall on D-Day. You’re a vital part of this effort, and you can help without traveling 3,600 miles to France. All you need is your laptop and 60 seconds.
The Transatlantic Council, a traditional Scouting council serving Americans living in Europe, is presenting UNESCO with a petition to request World Heritage Site status to the D-Day beaches. Time is of the essence as commercial developers plan to change the landscape around the D-Day beaches with massive wind farms.
Take a minute to sign the petition right now and do your part.
Transatlantic Council members appreciate your support. In the photo above, you’re looking at 3,000 BSA Scouts, family members and World War II veterans gathered on Omaha Beach to launch their efforts to obtain UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
They’ll gather again at the annual Normandy Camporee on April 25-27 to officially present the petition with your signature and, I hope, thousands of others.
The timing makes sense as we approach the 70th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, Normandy landings. And with your help, we can ensure future Scouts and Scouters can visit the Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold and Sword beaches for the 170th anniversary.
More info from the Transatlantic Council: Continue reading
Unlike most Scouting awards, there are no requirements for the Silver Buffalo Award. It’s not something you work toward or apply for yourself.
But when you consider the recipients, you could say the men and women who earn Scouting’s highest honor for adults have been working toward the Silver Buffalo Award their entire lives. They just didn’t know it.
The award is special because of the people hand-picked by the National Court of Honor to wear the red-and-white medal and square knot. These men and women — just 741 in the 88-year history of the award — have given “noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth.”
The 2014 class consists of eight men and one woman. Among this year’s recipients are Joe Manchin, the junior U.S. senator from West Virginia; David Beck, general president of the LDS church’s Young Men organization; R. Chip Turner, chairman of the BSA Religious Relationships Task Force; and Rosemary Wixom, general president of the Primary of the LDS church.
The full list of recipients follows. The noteworthy nine will get their medals in a special recognition ceremony at the National Annual Meeting in May in Nashville, Tenn. And in doing so they’ll join a prestigious list that includes Jimmy Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Yogi Berra, Bill Gates, Robert Baden-Powell, William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt and many, many more who have kept Scouting strong for more than a century. Continue reading
Any time is a good time for cake.
Blue and gold banquets, courts of honor and Scout birthday parties are obvious times to enjoy a Scouting-themed cake. But I propose celebrating with iced deliciousness on less-obvious occasions such as “First Troop Meeting of the Month” or “Our Cub Scouts Are Hungry” or “Second Troop Meeting of the Month.”
For some cake inspiration, check out this collection of 30 Scouting-themed designs. You’ll find Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts, Venturers and Sea Scouts represented. Some look professionally made (including one made by the “Cake Boss” folks), while others are charmingly homemade.
As someone with a serious sweet tooth, I must admit I had way too much fun putting this collection together. Hungry? Grab a fork and find all the sweetness after the jump. Continue reading