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
To tuck or not to tuck.
That was the question on the minds of hundreds of parents who have called the BSA headquarters over the past several months.
Their query: Does the Boy Scouts of America require uniform shirts to be tucked in? The questions are specifically referring to field uniforms (known to some by the unofficial name “Class A”) and not activity uniforms (“Class B”).
Problem is there hasn’t been an official policy in the past. The requirement was that the uniform-wearer must be “neat in appearance.” Most packs, troops, and crews interpreted that to mean tucking the shirts in, but a few didn’t.
Now we’ve got our final answer. Read the BSA’s official stance after the jump: Continue reading
Randy has tried begging, peer pressure and guilt-tripping, but no matter what the Scoutmaster does, he still can’t get every adult in Troop 339 trained.
“I have a handful of parents in my troop who say they don’t have time to get trained,” he writes. “How do I show them the value of training? I feel like I’ve tried everything.”
The BSA’s training continuum, which begins with mandatory Youth Protection training and continues through high-level courses like Wood Badge, help turn run-of-the-mill parents into Scouting superheroes.
But in training, like anything in life, 95 percent of success comes from just showing up. Continue reading
Looking for a time-tested method for retaining Scouts? Put your faith in religious emblems.
The research is clear: Scouts working on their religious emblems remain in Scouting longer.
And considering that more than two-thirds of our chartered organizations are faith-based, religious emblems represent a way to make your relationship with your unit’s chartered organization more of a two-way street.
I first told you about the Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator position a year ago. The unit-level coordinator, along with the Council Religious Emblems Coordinator and District Religious Emblems Coordinator, will educate, motivate, evaluate and facilitate the religious emblems program.
What I’ve always loved about the religious emblems program is that there’s something for everyone of any faith. That means any Scout (or Scouter) — Baha’i or Baptist, Moravian or Methodist — can team with his faith leaders to earn religious emblems and become closer to his faith.
Find more about these new positions at this Unit Religious Emblems Coordinator orientation page. Continue reading
We’re one big family in Scouting, and that’s true in times of joy and times of sorrow.
When two Tiger Cubs were tragically killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in December, the Scouting family stepped in to comfort the parents of 7-year-old Chase Kowalski and 6-year-old Benjamin Wheeler.
Scouts and Scouters from around the world, some total strangers to the Kowalskis and Wheelers, contributed nearly $65,000 (and counting) to the fund set up by the Connecticut Yankee Council, said Tony Vogl, the council’s development and marketing director.
“This does not include the countless cards, certificates, framed pictures, blankets, and other trinkets from packs and troops around the world,” he continued. “We at the Connecticut Yankee Council share a sense of pride and purpose as the Scouting family truly came together to support our newest members in a time of great sorrow.”
The love came from outside the council, too. In August, the National Capital Area christened its newest 22-foot sailboat the Benjamin Chase.
Steven and Rebecca Kowalski and David and Francine Wheeler have been overwhelmed by the response from the Scouting family, and they wrote this letter, which Vogl asked me to share with you: Continue reading
Think of it as the long-awaited sequel.
Cinematography merit badge is now Moviemaking merit badge, effective immediately. The design of the badge won’t change, and new pamphlets are expected in Scout shops in mid-November.
Why make this change? Well, anyone who sticks around to watch a movie’s credits knows that cinematography is just one specific part of making a movie. So calling a merit badge that covers all of moviemaking “Cinematography” was something of a misnomer.
The BSA’s merit badge team also saw this as a chance to make a few other changes, including:
- Tweaked requirements in light of the title change and focus away from cinematography and more toward moviemaking in general (find the new requirements after the jump)
- Updated text in a number of places to reflect the name change and address newer technology
- New information about intellectual property
Find the new requirements after the jump. Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Have a Scout who’s losing speed as he nears the rank of Eagle Scout? Keep his ride going by sharing with him this guest blog post from Rob Greenfield, an Eagle Scout from Ashland, Wisc., who recently completed a solo bike ride across America.
I think you’ll find in Rob’s writing some great lessons in perseverance and the Scouting spirit. He speaks directly to boys on the path to Eagle, telling them to “keep [their] eye on the prize,” even when others around them might think Scouting isn’t “cool.” Rob did, and look at him now.
Rob also shares thoughts on protecting our earth and how he completed a cross-country bike ride with minimal impact to the planet; he created just two pounds of trash over 104 days! Rob’s writing couldn’t be more timely given the BSA’s new Sustainability merit badge.
I hope you enjoy.
Across America on a Bamboo Bike
The post’s author, Rob Greenfield.
More than 4,700 miles of bike riding through deserts, over mountains, across the Great Plains and in urban America gives you a lot of time to think. It gives you a lot of time to appreciate what you have in life. It gives you a lot of time to be thankful for where you are today. It gave me a lot of time to gain a deeper appreciation for my seven years as a Boy Scout.
This summer I cycled 5,000 miles over 104 days on a bamboo bicycle starting in San Francisco and ending in Waitsfield, Vt. The purpose of the journey was to inspire Americans to start living a more earth-friendly lifestyle for themselves, their community, and the earth. To lead by example, I followed a set of rigorous ground rules: only using electricity I created via my own solar panels, using water harvested from natural sources or that was going to waste, eating local organic unpackaged food or food that was going to waste, creating near zero trash and shopping only at businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible. On top of that if I swore I had to do 10 pushups and donate $10 to charity.
My years in Scouting instilled in me a love for nature and a desire to protect it. Continue reading
For a few lucky Scouters out there, “Scouting family” and “actual family” are synonymous. Their spouse and all their children are actively involved in the program, meaning family time is pretty much all the time.
The rest of us, however, must find a happy balance between those two important commitments.
Pop quiz: Have you ever found yourself shortchanging your family to fulfill a commitment to your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew? Or maybe you’ve shirked something you agreed to do for your Scouting unit because family responsibilities took over?
The goal here isn’t to criticize your life priorities but to share ways you’ve successfully satisfied both commitments.
For today’s Tuesday Talkback, tell me this: How do you balance your real family with your Scouting family? Leave a comment below.
Here are some more questions to consider: Continue reading