Greatest hits: The 10 most-read blog posts of 2018

As 2018 ends, the flood of year-in-review stories begins.

It seems like everyone with a blog is sharing the 10 best movies or 10 best books or 10 best baby strollers of 2018.

Will the madness ever end? Maybe.

Anyway, today I’m sharing the 10 most-read Bryan on Scouting blog posts of 2018. These are the stories you and your fellow volunteers clicked on most in the past year.

2018 was a record year for this blog

I’m excited to share that the blog had 7.2 million page views in 2018. That’s the most ever and a 13 percent increase over 2017’s total.

I want to thank the editors and my fellow blog contributors who helped make this year a success.

But we couldn’t do it without you, the reader. Thanks for your excellent blog post ideas, insightful comments and continued readership in 2018. There’s much more to come in 2019.

On with the countdown …

10. ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ examines past, present, future of BSA

On Feb. 4, 2018 — Scout Sunday — CBS Sunday Morning made the Boy Scouts of America its cover story.

As the nearly eight-minute segment made clear, the BSA is prepared to meet the needs of busy families with programs that appeal to every family member — moms and dads, sons and daughters.

In February, we shared the video and our recap of what this positive story means for the BSA.

9. Scouters told to update Youth Protection training by Oct. 1

This year, the BSA released< an enhanced online Youth Protection training course that all volunteers and professionals must complete.

Even those Scout leaders who took the previous version of Youth Protection training needed to log into My.Scouting.org and complete the updated Youth Protection course. We were given until Oct. 1, 2018, to do so.

In March, we gave everyone a six-month heads up to update their training. In September, we told you how to log in and verify that your training is up to date.

8. Readers asked to settle over/under neckerchief debate

The BSA’s Guide to Awards and Insignia says, on page 13, that “the unit has a choice of wearing the neckerchief over the collar (with the collar tucked in) or under the collar.”

It’s recommended that units pick one style — over or under — for the entire unit. That way everyone’s uniform looks, well, uniform.

In May, we asked readers which style their units prefer — over or under.

7. Lions moves from pilot program to full-time part of Cub Scouting

On the heels of a successful pilot that introduced new families to Scouting and raised retention rates, Lions, the BSA’s Cub Scout program for kindergarten-age youth, became an official part of Cub Scouting this year.

The BSA used feedback from families participating in the pilot to add a rectangular rank patch, rank cards, an advancement chart and Lion adventure loops.

In February, we detailed all the excitement surrounding this news about Lions.

6. Major university cites Scouting in acceptance letter

We’ve all heard that Scouting experience will give a young person a leg up at a college, university or trade school.

But it’s always nice to see tangible proof that this is still the case.

In November, we shared a college acceptance letter sent to Andrew, an Eagle Scout from Texas. You’ll see that the time Andrew spent in Scouting mattered a great deal.

5. Georgia Eagle Scout completes Project of the Year

There are more than 50,000 Eagle Scout service projects completed each year, but only one is deemed the Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year.

For 2018, that one was the work of Nathan Fain. Nathan, an Eagle Scout in Troop 326 of LaGrange, Ga., won the 2018 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award.

In June, we shared the inspiring story of Nathan’s efforts to build an innovative musical playground that’s fully accessible for students with physical or mental challenges.

4. Fires at Philmont force backcountry to close

Photo by Thomas Mejia.

Extremely dry conditions and the continuing risk of fire forced Philmont to close its backcountry for the entire 2018 summer season. This meant all treks scheduled for summer 2018 were canceled.

In July, we shared the bad news. In August, we wrote about displaced crews that pivoted to alternate adventures. And in September, we discussed how you can help Philmont recover.

What’s the latest on Philmont’s recovery? I’ll share more in a full post soon, but the headline is that the Philmont Recovery Corps is working hard to prepare for 2019 crews. Philmont will be back!

3. Eagle Scouts should apply for these eight scholarships

Each year, higher education seems to come with a higher price tag.

Fortunately, some groups reward Eagle Scouts with scholarships that make college or a trade school a little more affordable.

We scoured the internet to find Eagle Scout scholarships and shared our findings in January. (We also updated the post in December, so the info’s still fresh.)

2. Scouts can earn these merit badges while doing schoolwork

Turns out several merit badge requirements align perfectly with schoolwork. Oh, and bonus points: There’s no BSA rule against going for double credit.

Makes that English essay seem a little more palatable, huh?

In August, we educated readers about five merit badges Scouts can earn while working on school assignments.

1. This was the least-earned merit badge in BSA history

One look at the requirements, and you’ll see why this was the least-earned merit badge in the history of the BSA.

To earn it, Scouts had to “invent and patent some useful article” and “show a working drawing or model of the same.”

In September, we looked back at why the badge was discontinued and what we know about the 10 Scouts who earned it.

Honorable mentions: Five popular stories not from 2018

Some posts were published before 2018 but still caught your eye this year. Here are the top 5, based on number of clicks:

  1. From 2014: Four options for retiring worn-out American flags
  2. From 2011: Tips for deducting Scouting expenses on your tax return
  3. From 2016: Can packs, troops or crews participate in political rallies?
  4. From 2012: 40 questions to ask at your next Eagle Board of Review
  5. From 2016: A parent helped build that Pinewood Derby car? Yes, that’s the point

In case you missed it: 8 essential posts of 2018

These weren’t in the top 10 of 2018, but they were close and I feel they’re worth revisiting:

  1. These 8 often-overlooked words in every merit badge pamphlet mean a lot
  2. Mr. T shows off his Scouting knowledge, donates to Cub Scouts selling popcorn
  3. Southwest Airlines pilot does a Good Turn for Scout
  4. The most important piece of summer camp gear for Scout leaders
  5. Square knot rankings: What are the most- and least-awarded?
  6. What Dick Van Dyke said about the BSA in 1971 still rings true
  7. Leaders invent homemade inflatable gaga ball pit
  8. Photo of Cub Scout keeping flag off ground goes viral

What were the most-read posts in previous years?

Check out the lists from: