‘There Is No App for This’ T-shirt shows off what’s right about Scouting

Sure, smartphone apps can enhance the Scouting experience in some ways. But one thing’s clear: those little apps for your phone or tablet will never replace the Scouting experience the way they’ve replaced things like GPS devices, cameras and MP3 players.

I’m a big gadget guy, but I know the essence of Scouting, including outdoor experiences a young person can’t get anywhere else, will never be usurped by something with a battery.

This thought occurred to me the other day when I was browsing around ScoutStuff.org — as one does — and came across this T-shirt. Its message, “There Is No App for This,” is too great not to share. 

OK, so the $17 T-shirt does contain a little technology of the moisture-wicking variety. But everything else — especially its message — is blissfully analog.

What about you? What does Scouting offer you and your Scout or Venturer that’s not available in app form? Let me know in the comments.

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA Supply Team’s Donna Ryan and Alicia Reese for the info.


  1. I would love to buy that shirt, unfortunately national has decided to close our scout shop in Staten Island, New York. Another stab in the back to the Scouting program!

    • While I’m unaware of your particular situation, Tom, I can tell you that the T-shirt is available for anyone to purchase online.

      • Well I just told you what the situation is. Why don’t you post something about it. Like maybe do you like shopping at a Scout Shop or ordering on line. And why would you give me an answer that I could buy it on line? Pretty lame.

        • Sounds like an opportunity for you to act. I am pretty sure they still allow in certain areas independent Scout shops not affiliated with National/Council. Maybe you can look into it with BSA Supply and start a business servicing the needs. Sorry they closed your store, but when one door shuts…open another for the boys! Good luck!

        • Tom –

          The Staten Island Scout Shop (managed by the National Supply Division) is being restructured and turned into a Council Scout Shop (managed by Greater New York Councils). The store will remain a resource to Scouts and Scouters in New York and you will still be able to continue to purchase all the Scouting items you need (including this shirt and other items from ScoutStuff.org).

          For more information, read the FAQs here:

        • Tom –

          I have identified myself. My name is Kyp Goodman. I am a Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor, OA member, Eagle Scout, father, husband, and active Scouter.

        • Thanks. Are you in GNYC?

          I am Eagle Scout, Vigil Youth inducted, Scout Parent of Eagle Scout, Scout Parent of First Class Scout, Husband, Church member and so on.

          But most important a customer who belongs to a service organization. We pay to belong, we donate money, we raise money-al for them. Yet they forget that we are the customers and they provide a service to us.

          Thank you, moving on with my day

  2. Why would a volunteer look to make money off of Scouting Mr. Don?

    How does one door shut another opens? National who is to serve the customer which is us the volunteers screwed us. Are you in the program?

  3. They closed our Council Scout Shop, and brought in National. From what I hear it has a much better variety of merchandise. I go to the neighboring Councils Scout Shop(its national too) only because it’s 5 minutes from work…whereas my Councils shop is over an hour away.
    I don’t order online….but I browse there.

    • First of all, the shirt, while it has a great message, it could be a bit more colorful to make it more readable.
      Second, shopping online from national supply is a last resort for me, as they have a minimum shipping fee of $7.50, regardless of cost or size of item.
      I usually have my local scout shop order it for me instead.
      As for National vs Council owned shops, each has it’s own pros and cons.
      “Your mileage may vary” with each.

      • I agree, they have no free shipping. They ship the slowest of any mail order I have ever encountered. What are your cons list for a National shop?

  4. Back to the shirt, I’ve always loved the implication behind these words!!! I’m sure we all have moments when a Scout experiences this very concept and communicates his joy via facial expression or happy utterance. These pithy words on a T-shirt hit a very meaningful nail right on the head!

  5. To answer Bryan’s question, the joy of getting a fire going and sustainable and enjoying the heat, light, and fellowship off of it. Not easily replicated in an app.

  6. Tom, Don, Kyp, Buck, more power to you and your respective positions on merchandising and tech. But nobody’s being asked to buy the shirt. (Or the uniform, for that matter.) Just buy into the sentiment.

    The point is that the pinnacle scouting experience, hiking and camping independently with your mates is not something that can be programmed for a boy.

    He has to learn and practice what it takes to respect his environment (for his own safety and for the sake of conservation) and to command the respect of property owners, law enforcement, and the community at large.

    That comes from a track record of meetings, training weekends, fundraisers, service, worship, and ultimately that level of discipline trust that we call a first class scout.

  7. On Sunday, June 28, 1959, Scott Carder, an 18 year-old Eagle Scout and lifeguard at Winwood Lake, in Gladstone, Missouri (a suburb of Kansas City), assisted by two other lifeguards, one of which was Larry LeVota, 18, also an Eagle Scout (both of Troop #125), pulled my father from the 12-foot bottom of the muddy watered lake, where he had sank, after getting a leg cramp. My father, who was 15, was not a Scout, but fortunately was using the “buddy system,” and one of his companions called out to the guards, once they realized my father was not joking in his cries for help. Though I am not an Eagle, I am a tech savvy, app-lovin’ scoutmaster, with one son that is an Eagle, a 14 year-old son who is just two merit badges and a project away, and a 6 year-old, who has never known a life without Scouting.

    There is no app for that!

    Thank you Scott Carder and Larry LeVota, wherever you may be!

    • I just got off the phone with Doctor Scott Carder of Pasadena, California. I guessed he would be about 74, and was able to match him by name and age. We had a short, but nice chat. He told me that Larry “Sam” LeVota had a heart attack, and passed away in December, 2014. He said that he had seen the article some time ago, and that what he found humorous was that it was Sam who was manning the guard chair, on the floating dock, in the deep end, and it was Sam who went in after my dad, sensing something was the matter. He (Dr Carder) was on the shore, flirting with some girls, when he noticed Sam wasn’t in the chair, or on the dock. So, he swam out to the deep end. “The water was muddy,” he said, “and your dad kicked me in the head with his knee. So I grabbed his leg, and pulled him up. We got him onto the dock, and resuscitated him. Sam was the one who noticed him, and I’m the one that got all the glory.” He asked me about my dad, and me, and my boys. I thanked him again, and wished him well.

  8. In the late 1990’s I was on a business trip to Columbus, Ohio. Across the street from my hotel was a mall, and in the mall was a National Scout Store. At 9:00 am on a Monday morning there were 6 full time employees working there, all in uniform. The store was two levels and had anything you would need. I believe every Scout publication was for sale there (it looked like a library); uniforms and apparel; awards and patches; camping equipment, etc. It must be profitable, not only to support the staff but also to pay rent to be located in a mall, which isn’t cheap; they were not in a council office.

  9. This reminds me of a Scouting t-shirt I once saw made by a unit. It proudly proclaimed:

    I DO IT!

    Unfortunately the spacing between letters and words was not as well defined on the screen print which left a much different interpretation of that phrase…

  10. I truly appreciate the sentiment, Bryan.

    To support your position, and the Outdoor Method, how about we get the Journey to “Excellence” FAQ reformed to eliminate the express approval of indoor “lockins” as constituting a “short-term overnight campout”? That explanation conflicts with all other Scouting literature on what constitutes a “campout.”

    • At last check, there are no apps to replace lock-ins (or cabins, or dorms, or boats, or other fun places a boy may sleep that don’t involve open sky or a structure he built himself).

      Such events may not apply the outdoor method and still achieve the aims of character, fitness, and citizenship. Even though it may not apply to nights for camping merit badge, the occasional indoor overnight might be part of the formula for a troop’s excellence.

      That said, “weekend campouts” is undefined on the JTE score-card. So I don’t see lock-ins as getting “express approval.” The average key-three might dig no further and not be count their non-tent overnights toward standard #6.

      • One of our problems is the lack of someone(s) to insure consistency in statements.

        In fact, the current BSA “FAQ” on Journey to Excellence (updated 10/11/14) says: “Do YMCA lock-ins to work on swimming requirements, lock-ins at indoor climbing facilities, etc. count as short-term camping for JTE purposes? Yes, these activities do count as long as they’re troop outings. ”

        When I queried the JTE team (Office of Mission Impact) about lockins to play electronic games or watch moves, I was told that they all qualified as “weekend campouts” since they were “troop outings.”

        I recognize that other methods have value. I simply question promoting the Outdoor Method with lockins.

        The “team” might also wish to understand that a patrol is the context in which Scouts are to primarily experience Scouting. Their standard (“troop outing”) seems to preclude even thinking of patrol activities.

        I do not believe all of this reflects a deliberate change in policy. More a matter of things being misplaced rather than discarded.

        • A statement buried in a 4 page FAQ that most key-3s will never read does not constitute an “express” approval, IMHO. Nor does it imply in the least that a patrol campout is excluded from the definition of short or long term camping. A a straightforward read of the scorecard would rate gold to a troop with three patrols who each go on three campouts at different locations or on different dates.

          I guess maybe that’s where JTE goes off the rails. Under “patrol method”, a PLC that meets less, but it’s patrols hike and camp independently, might very well rate bronze. Then again such a troop is unlikely to be bothered with JTE because their boys in the rarified air of the pinnacle scouting experience.

        • Dear Scouter,

          Approval may be implied or express, or, of course, it may not exist at all.

          Here, an official publication of the corporation, updated recently, says what it says in so many words. So the approval of indoor “campouts” is “express.”

          That the language may not be seen by many is, I think, quite fortunate but does not change the nature of the approval or its revelation into the thinking of some.

          Surely, that express approval of indoor “camp outs” does not preclude actual “camping,” as that word is used elsewhere by the corporation and as that word has been understood for the almost 107 years of Scouting in this country.

          As the Patrol Method, and therefore Boy Scouting, is based on the patrol, one would hope that a patrol campout would count as a campout for purposes of rating the health of the troop. However, the official FAQ expressly states that an outing counts as a “Weekend Campout” for Scout JTE purposes only if it is a “troop outing,” so one can only hope. Is a patrol outing a “troop outing”? Not in ordinary English.

          And yet, we know that there is no Troop Method in Scouting, even as lately defined by BSA.

          Rather than deal with these issues – or pretend they do not exist, I suggest that it would be better to eliminate them by integrating JTE with actual Scouting, inclusive of the Patrol Method.

          Given the challenges that confront us, a better “product” would be helpful, and that product should be Scouting.

    • “Is a patrol outing a “troop outing”? Not in ordinary English.”

      I believe you are setting up a false dichotomy with this.

      The word “troop” is not in the title or description of JTE item #6. Nor is it in any of the items under “PROGRAM” scorecord. On the other hand “patrol” is used 5 times in that section. Any scouter who reads the scorecard plainly would count patrol overnights proudly.

      Only scouters whose boys opted for lock-ins for that 9th weekend would need a FAQ to tell them it was okay to count it towards gold. And a straightforward understanding of the intent of “as long as it was a troop outing” was to count only events that were planned as part of the troop’s program (either via the PLC or a single patrol’s design) as opposed to a couple of boys venturing to something on their own without involving their patrol, at the very least.

      • We can reason our way around BSA’s FAQ statements, and I obviously think you come out in the right place. On the other hand, it is hardly sophistry to note that when “troop” modifies “outing” (or meeting) one can conclude that the outing (or meeting) is one by the troop, and not a patrol.

        To me, it would be better to eliminate statements that show a lack of understanding of or support for the Outdoor Method.

Join the conversation