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True colors: Is your pack, troop, or crew website brand-compliant?

brand-id-guideThe color scheme on your troop’s website is red and blue, but is it the right red and blue? Is that the right shade of yellow on your pack page? And what about that Venturing logo you converted to 3D “for effect”?

In other words, are you brand-compliant?

Don’t worry, there’s no “BSA Brand Police” planning to perp walk you in handcuffs if your unit’s website or printed materials don’t match the official specs.

If this all sounds a little like minutiae, it is. But these details are an important part of maintaining the BSA’s iconic brand. And you’re a key player.

So why not do all you can to create a consistent look and feel in all the ways a Scout and his family interact with the organization?

The Boy Scouts of America Brand Identity Guide (pdf) breaks down the basics for you. You can learn the proper and improper ways to use BSA logos, the exact specs on official Scouting colors, and even tips on websites, social media, and photography.

Converting to the official colors can be your first step. Here are the specs:  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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With its new National Outdoor Awards, the BSA honors guys who can’t stand still

UPDATE (1/20/2012): Wear this patch in the temporary patch position — on the right pocket.

Guys join Scouting to experience the outdoors. It’s that simple.

To recognize that passion for adventure, the BSA announces its new National Outdoor Awards. As we told you last year, the awards are available to Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts who meet specific requirements in one of five subject areas: camping, hiking, aquatics, riding, and adventure.

There are two levels of the award. Boys can start with the National Outdoor Badges, seen at left. These are earned by boys who demonstrate “that they are knowledgeable, safe, and comfortable in the outdoor activity covered by the badge.”

Each segment is earned by completing the First Class rank, earning relevant merit badges, and accumulating experience—nights of camping, miles of hiking, hours of swimming, etc.

Once they earn a segment, boys can go the extra mile (in some cases literally) and shoot for gold or silver devices, available for spending extra time on a particular activity.

The badges and devices are impressive, but the highest honor for outdoor lovers is the National Medal for Outdoor Achievement, seen at right.

We originally reported that boys needed all five segments to earn the medal, but the National Camping Task Force has altered those requirements slightly.

The list of requirements is still daunting, though, meaning this medal isn’t for everyone.

Boys must earn the Camping badge with a silver device and two other badges, each with gold devices. They must also earn four outdoor-specific merit badges, plan a unit outing, and take a Wilderness First Aid course and a Leave No Trace course, each 16 hours long.

Ready to introduce these new awards to your guys? You’ll need the full requirements, listed after the jump, and the award applications (link opens PDF).

(Thanks to Brent C. for the tip.)

Follow the jump for the complete requirements.

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