Late December brings a spate of year-in-review lists. While overused, they are a handy way to recap the year that was.
One way to look back on 2016 in Scouting is by seeing which Bryan on Scouting blog posts were most popular.
We write the posts, but you read them. So a page-view ranking is an effective way to understand your interests — and help us write even more useful posts in the future.
But first, a quick thank you. On behalf of the entire Scouting magazine team, we appreciate your loyalty, questions, story ideas and comments.
Enough stalling. These are our 16 most-read posts of 2016.
Note: These were the most-read posts that actually were published in 2016. For older posts still getting big numbers in 2016, see the honorable mention section at the end.
Top 16 of ’16
16. Scouts experience the best and worst of humanity in a single weekend
On a recent camping trip to the California coast, the Scouts of Troop 57 stepped out to see the ocean. A while later, they returned to the Suburban and felt their stomachs sink. The SUV had been broken into. All of the boys’ bags were gone. What happened next is a minor miracle. Read the post.
15. Why dancer Derek Hough and his dad, Bruce, are big believers in Scouting
Derek Hough (Dancing With the Stars, Hairspray Live) attended an Emmys reception dinner wearing his Cub Scout uniform shirt. Derek told his dad, Bruce, that wearing the shirt “was a reminder to him that he needs to live these things each day of his life,” Bruce says. Read the post.
14. Lions, a new pilot program for kindergarten boys, debuts fall 2016
Lions, a new Boy Scouts of America pilot program for kindergarten boys, began in participating councils this fall. Why go younger? Research shows that a child’s development accelerates at age 4 and 5 — about the time these youngsters begin their formal education in kindergarten. Read the post.
13. Matt Paradis, starting center for the Broncos, is an Eagle Scout in Super Bowl 50
When Peyton Manning took his snaps in Super Bowl 50, he received the football from an Eagle Scout. Matt Paradis, starting center for Denver Broncos, earned Scouting’s highest honor as a member of Troop 319 of the Ore-Ida Council. Read the post.
12. 2015 merit badge rankings: The most and least popular
The First Aid merit badge, dethroned by the Cooking merit badge in 2014, reclaimed the crown in 2015. Put another way: More Scouts earned the First Aid merit badge in 2015 than any other merit badge. And it wasn’t really close. Read the post.
11. Eagle Scout Class of 2015, by the numbers
If you were to put the 2015 Eagle Scout class inside Yankee Stadium, you’d still have more than 4,000 Eagle Scouts without seats. That gives you some idea how large the 2015 Eagle Scout class is — 54,366 members strong, representing an increase of 4.9 percent over 2014. This was the fourth-biggest Eagle Scout class in history. Read the post.
10. What was the average age of 2015 Eagle Scouts?
Eagle Scouts are getting older. In 1949, the average age of Eagle Scouts was 14.6 years. In 2015, that number was 17.34 years old. Young men are staying in Scouting longer, meaning they’re enjoying the program for a longer amount of time and not feeling the rush to earn Eagle until they see their 18th birthday on the horizon. Read the post.
9. Things I Did Because I Was a Boy Scout: An impressive list
Ray Capp asked some former Scouts — ages 30 to 80 — a simple question: What’s something you absolutely would never have done if you hadn’t been a Scout? The result is an impressive list of “Things I Did Because I Was a Boy Scout.” It’s a powerful recruiting tool. Read the post.
8. Fur real: Boy Scouts of America to introduce Puppy Scouts program
On April 1, the BSA announced a new program called Puppy Scouts. These very good boys will be part of existing packs, troops, teams and crews. They’ll be invited on select campouts, as long as they carry their own gear and are current on their rabies vaccine. Oh, and … April Fools! Read the post.
7. New Boy Scout requirements for 2016 now in effect
A new year brought new Boy Scout rank requirements. These included an increase in the number of required camping nights, more emphasis on physical fitness and a requirement that Boy Scouts tell about their duty to God at each rank. While 2016 was a transition year, the requirements become mandatory in 2017. Read the post.
6. Why is the Scout handshake done with the left hand?
Shaking hands using your left hand can feel a bit awkward at first, but it becomes second nature after a while. And why shouldn’t it? It’s the Scouting way. The left-handed handshake unites two Scouts from anywhere on the planet. But why is this nonverbal greeting done with the left hand? Read the post.
5. How the seven Eagle Scouts fared at the 2016 Olympics
Before they wore red, white and blue uniforms for Team USA, these men — two swimmers, a race walker, a marathoner, a triathlete, a rower and a beach volleyball player — wore the red, white and blue Eagle Scout badge on their Scout uniforms. Here’s how they fared in the Rio Olympics. Read the post.
4. Modifications to Cub Scout program give den leaders more flexibility
The BSA announced modifications to Cub Scouting that make the program more flexible for busy parents, den leaders and Cubmasters. Some adventure requirements that previously were mandatory will become optional, in a move intended to give Cub Scouters more control over their den program. Read the post.
3. Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2015?
No state produced more Eagle Scouts in 2015 than Utah. Thanks in large part to the strong support Scouting receives from the LDS church there, 5,765 young men became Eagle Scouts in Utah in 2015. Utah is No. 1 on the list for at least the seventh year in a row. For the rest of the list, read the post.
2. Boy Scout finds and returns actor Chris Hemsworth’s wallet
Illinois Eagle Scout Tristin Budzyn-Barker found a lost wallet while on a trip to California. Inside, he learned the owner’s not-so-secret identity: actor Chris Hemsworth. “Mom, do you know who this is?” Tristin remembers saying. “We found Thor’s wallet.” Read the post.
1. Read Stephen Colbert’s letter to an Eagle Scout
Earning the Eagle Scout award is “quite an achievement,” says Stephen Colbert. But more than that, writes The Late Show host, earning Eagle is “the first steppingstone toward having your own TV show.” That’s how Colbert begins a hilariously awesome congratulatory letter to a newly minted Eagle Scout. Read the post.
Some posts were published before 2016 but still had you clicking this past year. Here’s the top 5:
- Four options for retiring worn-out American flags (2014)
- How to request congratulatory letters for your Eagle Scout (2012)
- Everything you need to know about merit badge sashes (2014)
- 40 questions to ask at your next Eagle Board of Review (2012)
- Eagle Scout court of honor gifts: Are they appropriate? If so, what should you give? (2013)