As we count down the final days, hours and minutes of 2017, I wanted to share a little countdown of my own.
Today we’ll look at the 10 Bryan on Scouting stories with the most clicks in 2017. You might call them “the posts with the most.”
I’m proud to say the blog had 6.4 million page views in 2017. That’s about a 30 percent increase over 2016’s total.
Page views offer a nice glimpse at what caught your fellow Scouters’ eyes this year, but they don’t tell the whole story. For posts of high importance but lower popularity, see the “In case you missed it” section at the end.
One final note: these were the most-read posts that actually were published in 2017. For older posts still getting big numbers in 2017, see the “Honorable mentions” section lower down.
10. BSA to open high-adventure base on the moon
On April 1 — aka April Fools’ Day — the BSA “announced” it was building a high-adventure base on the moon.
The post said the BSA would partner with NASA, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to make this sci-fi dream a reality. Thanks to their support, it’ll cost just $24,995 to spend a week at what was to be called Tranquility High Adventure Base. That cost “would not include transportation,” we wrote.
Of course we were only kidding (but check back with us in 50 years just in case!). While our annual April Fools’ Day post didn’t fool very many of you this year, it did prompt some fun daydreaming.
9. Tour and activity plan eliminated — no fooling!
Though it was announced close to April Fools’ Day, this one was 100 percent real.
On March 31, the BSA announced it has eliminated its Tour and Activity Plan, shifting the focus away from paperwork and toward creating a safe space for Scouts to enjoy the program as designed.
The Tour and Activity Plan was a two-page document submitted to your local council for approval at least 21 days before longer trips. As of April 1, 2017, it’s kaput.
8. BSA to welcome girls into Scouting
In October, the BSA’s volunteer-led board of directors unanimously approved a plan to welcome girls and young women into all Scouting programs.
The historic move means boys and girls will soon experience the values-based, life-changing, Instagram-worthy moments offered in all of Scouting’s programs — from Cub Scouting all the way to Scouting’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout.
Cub Scouting will be available to girls beginning in 2018. A program for girls ages 11 to 17 will be announced in 2018 for projected introduction in 2019 and will enable young women to work toward Eagle.
7. Entry window opens for 2017 Eagle Scout scholarships
College isn’t cheap, so it’s no surprise that a post about Eagle Scout scholarships attracted a ton of traffic.
The window to apply for 2018 NESA scholarships — some $700,000 for more than 150 worthy Eagle Scouts — was open from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, 2017. Scholarship recipients will be notified by mail on July 15, 2018, and money will be disbursed to these deserving Eagle Scouts in fall 2018.
Missed the window? Eagle Scouts can apply for the next round of scholarships in August 2018.
6. Revised campout requirements released for First Class, Second Class
BSA volunteers regularly review advancement requirements to ensure they meet the needs of Scouts.
In July, I shared news that the number of overnight campouts required for a young man to earn the Second Class and First Class ranks would be reduced, effective Aug. 1, 2017. The total number of camping nights a Boy Scout experiences in the program as he progresses toward the rank of Eagle Scout did not change.
The change, the BSA said, maintains a focus on life-changing outdoors experiences while recognizing that not all outdoor activities need to include overnight camping.
5. Scouting Service Award combines five awards into one cool new square knot
New square knots are like Star Wars movies. They don’t make many of them, so it’s big news when one is released.
The newest square knot, released in February, is the Scouting Service Award. It recognizes adult volunteers who have earned one of five different awards, each celebrating a leader’s dedication to a special segment of Scouting:
- Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award*
- ¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award*
- Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award*
- American Indian Scouting Association Grey Wolf Award
- Special Needs Scouting Service Award
Each of the awards marked with a * currently has its own square knot. Once supplies of those knots run out, the new Scouting Service Award knot will be used to recognize recipients.
4. Eagle Scouts remake photo taken 10 years earlier as Cub Scouts
In 2007, six Wolf Scouts from Indiana sat at a cafeteria table and took a photo together. In 2017, those same six Scouts — by then all Eagles — gathered at the same table to remake that photo.
“I would guess that there have been many stories of Scouts staying together from Tiger to Eagle,” their assistant Scoutmaster said, “but I thought it was fairly unique in that all six of these young men stayed the course for the past 10 years with the help of their parents and leaders.”
3. New requirements mandatory as of Jan. 1, 2017
As of Jan. 1, 2017, every Boy Scout is required to use a new set of advancement requirements.
This update should not have caught anyone off guard. Scouters got a first look at the Boy Scout requirement changes way back in January 2014; the requirements themselves were released to the public in May 2015.
The BSA established 2016 as a transition year, allowing Boy Scouts to choose whether to use the new requirements or finish up their current rank with the old ones.
2. Changes to how Scouts earn Eagle Palms (and the update)
In July, the BSA announced significant changes to the way Scouts earn Eagle Palms. The modifications took effect Aug. 1, 2017.
The changes bring Eagle Palm requirements in line with the needs of older Scouts. The National Boy Scouting Subcommittee eliminated unnecessary obstacles, such as the Eagle Palm board of review, and expanded the definition of active participation.
But the biggest change affected young men who earned multiple extra merit badges before Eagle. All current Boy Scouts — even those who completed their Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1, 2017 — are entitled to receive Eagle Palms for merit badges earned before their Eagle board of review.
Read the post and then read the important update that came three months later.
1. BSA celebrates total solar eclipse with a special patch
Our post about the BSA’s solar eclipse patch wasn’t just the most-read post of 2017. It’s the most-read Bryan on Scouting post in the entire eight-year history of the blog.
Like the total solar eclipse itself, the patch’s availability didn’t last long. It’s gone from Scout Shops; only memories are left behind.
Honorable mentions: Popular stories not from 2017
Some posts were published before 2017 but still caught your eye this year. Here’s the top 5:
- From 2014: Four options for retiring worn-out American flags
- From 2011: Tips for deducting Scouting expenses on your tax return
- From 2016: Why the Scout handshake is done with the left hand
- From 2012: How to request congratulatory letters for your Eagle Scout
- From 2014: Everything you need to know about merit badge sashes
In case you missed it: 7 essential posts of 2017
These weren’t in the top 10 of 2017, but they’re among my favorites.
- Found! Cub Scout uniform that washed ashore after Hurricane Irma belongs to this officer in U.S. Navy
- 2016 Merit Badge Rankings unveiled: These were the most and least popular
- Sea Base after Hurricane Irma: ‘We’re very fortunate given the severity of the storm’
- Eagle Scout Class of 2016, by the numbers
- 2017 Eagle Project of the Year: He built sensory rooms for kids with autism
- This is how BSA members can participate in the 2019 World Scout Jamboree at SBR
- Eagle Scout praised for bravery, service after London terror attack