New York Scouts take the Ice Bucket Challenge — is your unit next?

They filled a bucket with ice water, dumped the bucket over their heads and challenged someone else to do the same.

Yes, the Boy Scouts have officially joined the Ice Bucket Challenge craze.

Unlike the Harlem Shake, planking, Gangnam Style or other flash-in-the-pan memes, the Ice Bucket Challenge actually serves a larger purpose.

By dumping ice water over themselves, people like the Scouts of Bronx, N.Y., Troop 102 are raising awareness about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Justin Timberlake, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ethel Kennedy are among the big names who have doused themselves with frigid water so far.

It seems to be working. Between July 29 and Aug. 12, the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received $4 million in donations. That’s almost four times the $1.12 million in donations received during the same period last year.

Early on the morning of Aug. 1, the Scouts and leaders of Troop 102 joined the fun at Camp Aquehonga, part of the Greater New York Councils’ Ten Mile River Scout Camps.

They participated in the challenge before jumping in the pool for the morning’s Polar Bear Swim.

Each Scout and leader challenged a friend or family member to take the challenge before doing so themselves.

Go here to see the video on the Troop 102 Facebook page.

Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Has your pack, troop, team, post, ship or crew taken the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Learn more on the ALS site, and share the link to your video in the comments below this post.


  1. Not to throw cold water on this (irony intended), but this seems like one of a long list of stunts (tying ribbons around trees, wearing ribbons, launching colored baloons, etc.) that supposedly raise awareness of child abuse, autism, breast cancer, etc.- maybe – but really make people feel like they are actually doing something substantive.

    Most people who see this will have to read the whole article to see that it is about ALS, and very few will come out of the experience knowing that ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] is, according to ALS Associatins website,, “…, often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” … a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

    If the time doing these “awareness” stunts was simply donated in service time to victims of this disease, or to the organization, the scouts would become more aware of the disease and what it does, and some might be encouraged to go into medical and research fields to work for a cure, or a mitigative treatment for the symptoms. I’m afraid all the scouts will come out of this is an awareness of what 32 degree water feels like.

    This was apparently good publicity for them, and I’m glad the contributions increased, but let’s not get into feeling that these stunts are substantive contributions.

    • I do agree that the stunts themselves only start the conversation. But it’s hard to argue with the boost in donations the ALS Association has seen because of these acts.

      • I agree – too many times, though, the awareness stunt is the end of the dedication. The scouts who did the cold water stunt perhaps should have gone out, individually (although with a buddy system) raised funds, then performed the stunt to draw attention to the substantive service they did. They should indicate that, though they were all members of Troop whatever, this was an individual effort, because, according to guidelines I believe, troops are not supposed to engage in fundraising for other organizations.

        Bryan, thanks for your continuing work on these blogs. It give the volunteers a chance to contribute to the dialog which we hope, in some small way, influences the powers that be up there in Irving

        • True. Hopefully the message doesn’t get lost and gets turned into action. Wearing a ribbon, attaching a bumper sticker or dousing yourself with cold water are all worthless acts if they don’t lead to something substantive.

          And thanks for your kind words about the blog, Carey!

      • As a survivor of a two-generation ALS family, having lost both my father (Eagle Scout from Newark OH Post #5, January 1959) and his mother to this awful disease, I am glad for the extra attention the ice bucket challenge is bringing to the fight. While being slightly more than the “share a picture on Facebook” movement type of #slacktivism, it raises awareness and money and both are good.

        Being adopted, I’ve said the one good thing is that I don’t have to worry about those genes. But that’s for me and my kids. Truth is, I still worry for my Aunt and all my cousins, and eventually their children.

        No single fundraiser has ever caused a cure for a disease – the oversaturation of pink ribbons proves that. But the awareness caused by those pink ribbons and all the walks, bake sales and other fundraisers has drastically increased both the prevention, detection and survival from breast cancer. Proof that awareness does help. It’s all good press.

        Grab some yankee pinstripe ribbon, a bucket of water and a bag of ice. Toss some ice water on yourself and a few bucks towards the fight against ALS, and challenge your friends, family and fellow Scouts and Scouters to do the same. It’s all good press.

        And while you’re at it, take a moment to educate your Scouts about what ALS is, how it affects the body, and the impact it has on the victims and their families.

  2. But the boost is short-termed and non sustainable. Often, they result in fewer donations overall because they boost the “feel good” factor without really doing anything and people get the feeling that they’ve contributed. My feeling is they often stop the conversation almost as fast as they start them. I’ll join with Carey in suggesting that actual service done in support of the disease (or any other) create meaningful understanding.
    I’d also be interested in seeing what other PR was happening in conjunction. It may be that Justin Timberlake, Tim Cook and Ethel Kennedy just talking about it provides the same boost.
    Don’t get me wrong, the short term boost is good, but what happens next year. Or the next year. And regardless of the gallons of ice water I dump on myself, ALS (or name the other cause) gets little benefit.

  3. Extra 4 mllion bucks is Non substantive, Really? Glad your not on my awareness fundraising committee! Nobody talked about ALS a month ago! And now they are! Get on board or not, but don’t throw cold water on a great idea that raised a ton a money for research that otherwise would never if happened!.

    • Rick Chappell’s comment is germane to this – his says “But the boost is short-termed and non sustainable. Often, they result in fewer donations overall because they boost the “feel good” factor without really doing anything and people get the feeling that they’ve contributed. ” Raised awareness that does not result in continued action is just a stunt that gets more attention for the people doing the stunt than for the cause, at least in the long run. I woud rather see a story that said Troop ___ donated x hours to a family of a person with ALS by painting their house, building a wheelchair ramp, or some other help the family needed., or donated time stuffing envelopes, read to a patient suffering from ALS, or whatever – something that was an ACTUAL contribution.

  4. Is there any issue with doing the ice bucket challenge in a scout uniform? Don’t want to violate any rules regarding “participating in any demonstration not authorized by BSA”.

    • The ONLY way I could see this as justified is if the scounting unit were chartered by the ALS Association, and even then, I would think it an “iffy” situation. The question is not if it is a good idea (and despite its success, I see this ice bucket thing as a stunt that is more for personal attention and joining a fad than sunstantive work on a problem), but if it is viewed as an endorsing position by BSA

      Bryan, how about an “Ask the Experts” response on this? And not just this but the larger question raised by it of uniformed support (or for that matter non-uniformed but attributed support) for any onther organization.

      Worms are often hard to get back into the can, aren’t they?

  5. Looking for an answer to Chris J. Question above … My Troop wishes to participate, but we don’t want to get in trouble with BSA either.

  6. It seems to be a waste of perfect good, clean water.

    I have been aware of ALS since I first heard of Stephen Hawking when I was a teen. Seeing “celebrities” get doused with a bucket of ice hasn’t made me more aware of ALS.

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