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Boy Scouts of America names its next Chief Scout Executive

Like rare patches? How about one only 11 men have ever worn?

Today, we learned the identity of the next man to join the impressive fraternity of Chief Scout Executives that started with Scouting legend James E. West. (See the full list below.)

The Chief Scout Executive Selection Committee announced it has chosen Wayne Brock as the next Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America.

On Sept. 1, 2012, he’ll take office and become just the 12th chief in the BSA’s 102 years.

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PHOTOS: BSA’s IndyCar makes its 2012 debut. And then …

Let me give you the bad news first.

Driver James Jakes and his No. 19 car crashed in Sunday’s race after just 19 laps.

So what’s the good news? That St. Petersburg, Fla., event was the first of 15 races this season. So Jakes and the BSA Racing team have plenty of time to turn it around.

And maybe better news for you fans of Team BSA, I’ve got some exclusive photos from last weekend’s action. More on that later.

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Tethered hot-air ballooning and the BSA

Ready to take your pack, troop, team, or crew to new heights?

Schedule a ride in a tethered hot-air balloon. The activity, which previously wasn’t approved, was officially OK’d this week by the BSA’s Health and Safety team.

Notice I said tethered hot-air ballooning — not the kind where you ride for miles like the Wizard of Oz. Unlike traditional hot-air ballooning, the tethered variety uses at least three lines connected to the ground to keep the balloon from moving horizontally. The BSA has set the maximum permitted height at 70 feet.

Now, don’t go buying a balloon and trying this yourself. The balloon must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, and the pilot must be certified and insured.

Before planning a ride, familiarize yourself with some key requirements:

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Can packs, troops, teams, or crews participate in political rallies?

The Boy Scouts of America might be the most patriotic organization in the U.S.

But don’t take that to mean we endorse any one political party.

The same applies to your pack, troop, team, or crew. You and your Scouts should Do Your Duty to Country but not by endorsing any one candidate.

During election years, though, the line between patriotism and political favoritism becomes thin, making it important to remind you of the BSA’s official policy on Scout participation in political rallies.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions and the BSA’s official answers: Continue reading

Photo by Lewis Jacobs/NBC

WATCH: How did our favorite Eagle Scout singer do on ‘The Voice’?

Pip didn’t just sing last night.

He “absolutely blew the roof off the place,” said host Carson Daly.

Phillip Arnold, known on the show as Pip, gave a powerful rendition of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” during last night’s episode. Continue reading

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The 20 most (and least) earned merit badges of 2011

What were the hottest merit badges last year?

I’ve got the answer. Maybe.

So first, a caveat: The friendly folks at the Supply Division tell me there’s no way to determine exact numbers of merit badges earned. That info is tracked by troops — not the National Council.

That said, by examining sales figures, we can get some idea which badges sold more than others in 2011. I’m thinking that if a Scouter buys a merit badge emblem in a Scout Shop or at ScoutStuff.org, chances are good that a Scout recently earned the badge.

After examining the 2011 sales list, here’s what I’ve come up with for the 20 top-selling merit badges of 2011:

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Major League Soccer and the BSA: A perfect one-two

Teamwork. As important in Scouting as it is in Major League Soccer. And both organizations strive to Be Prepared for the future.

Not a stretch, then, to understand why Scouting and the nation’s top professional soccer league announced today they’re on the same team. By forging a special collaboration with the nation’s top youth organization, MLS will use its network to support the BSA’s “youth-focused program of athleticism, character, and leadership.”

Beginning at the start of the soccer season in March, Scouts will receive special access to MLS games, players, coaches, and executives through unique on- and off-field programming designed specifically for Scout packs, troops, teams, and crews. Continue reading

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Are fireworks an approved Scouting activity?

Thinking of ringing in the New Year or celebrating the Fourth of July by setting off some fireworks with your Boy Scout troop or Venturing crew?

Think again.

Unless you and your Scouts are watching a show conducted by a “certified or licensed fireworks control expert,” these dangerous explosives have no place in Scouting. Continue reading

Redesigned and refocused: The new Bryan on Scouting blog

After 22 months, and nearly 400,000 page views, Cracker Barrel is no more.

Scouting magazine’s official blog is now Bryan on Scouting, written by me, Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout and the associate editor of Scouting magazine.

Like you, I’m passionate about the Scouting program and am always looking for compelling stories, fascinating people, and innovative ways to improve the BSA.

Like you, I want to know about important BSA news as soon as possible, and I want the information to be clear and accurate.

Like you, I know the program is all about our young people but can’t exist without trained and motivated adult leaders.

So I’m bringing you a revamped blog that will have more of what you want presented in a clean, fresh format.

But before we look at where we’re going with Bryan on Scouting, let’s look at where we’ve been.

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Meet the winners of the nationwide geocaching pinewood derby

GITG_logo Geocaching is the perfect mix of outdoors fun and high-tech gadgets. That explains why it's such a hit with today's Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers.

Take the participants of the Race to 2010, for example. The BSA just released the list of winners of that exciting race. But first, here's a reminder of what the race was all about:

"Pinewood Derby cars representing every council will race across America using geocaching. The cars will be Travel Bugs, moving from cache to cache across America. Scouts and Scouters can track their car’s progress, read posted comments, and log the miles it travels on Geocaching.com."

As with most Travel Bugs, there was no official finish line for the cars, because the BSA hopes to see them zooming across the country for many years. But most of the cars' designers were determined to send the cars to the 2010 National Scout Jamboree for a special pit stop. 

The BSA looked at all of the cars that made it to the jamboree and selected five winners. Check them out after the jump. 

But before you do, don't think the Get in the Game! geocaching fun is over just because the Race to 2010 winners have been announced. There's still plenty of time to organize a 100th Anniversary-themed geocaching event.

And by the end of the year, Boy Scouts can begin to earn the all-new Geocaching merit badge

Now, back to the winners…

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