Scouting News from the Internet

How to help the Scouting family recover after recent natural disasters

Bryan On Scouting -

In the past few months, the Scouting family has been hit with a one-two punch of natural disasters. In the spirit of doing a Good Turn, many of you have reached out asking how you can help.

In July, wildfires in New Mexico damaged 27,000 acres at Philmont Scout Ranch, forcing the ranch to cancel all of its backcountry programs.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Florence brought widespread flooding to North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The effects of both of these natural disasters are still being felt. Recovery efforts continue.

Here’s the latest on how these disasters have affected our Scouting family — and how, if you’re able, you can help Scouting bounce back stronger than ever.

Hurricane Florence: What you need to know, how to help

Five councils — four in North Carolina and one in South Carolina — were hit hardest by Hurricane Florence.

They are:

  • Occoneechee Council — Raleigh, N.C.
  • Tuscarora Council — Goldsboro, N.C.
  • East Carolina Council — Kinston, N.C.
  • Cape Fear Council — Wilmington, N.C.
  • Pee Dee Area Council — Florence, S.C.

Combined, these councils serve nearly 30,000 young people. And they need our help.

The BSA National Foundation’s Emergency Assistance Fund offers a powerful way to help people left in the wake of this devastating hurricane. Specifically, the fund helps provide families with temporary housing, transportation and food replacement needs.

It also exists to give councils support for disrupted operational items such as school night recruiting materials, temporary office space, camp staff housing and transportation needs.

In short, your gift will rebuild Scouting in these five councils. Learn more at this link.

Philmont Scout Ranch: What you need to know, how to help

The Ute Park Fire damaged 27,000 acres of Philmont property — nearly one-fifth of the entire ranch. The fire affected 57 miles of backcountry trails, 21 trail camps and five staffed camps.

The human impact was profound, too. The fire danger forced Philmont to close its backcountry for the whole summer. Scouts who had been training and preparing for their treks for more than a year had to quickly pivot to other trips. Many Philmont staffers offered to stick around and work jobs drastically different from those they expected.

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, many Philmont Staff Association members generously gave to quickly fund on-the-ground recovery efforts. This money went to the work of the Philmont Recovery Corps, helping them purchase chain saws and complete timber stand improvement work.

Now, the fundraising effort has shifted to support protecting the land so future fires and floods aren’t as devastating.

Philmont will open with a full program in 2019. In the meantime, the Philmont Recovery Corps needs your support for several projects. These include reseeding, erosion control, sediment retention, road maintenance, irrigation and tree planting.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit Philmont, myself included, knows it’s a true Scouting paradise. No fire will change that or char our memories.

But now’s the time to help restore and protect this magical place. We’ll do that so the next generation, and the one after that, can experience that same magic.

Your entire contribution — 100 percent — will go to the Philmont Recovery Corps. Learn more at this link.

How to make sure you’ve taken updated Youth Protection and print your certificate

Bryan On Scouting -

By now you’ve heard that everyone must take the updated, online Youth Protection training course by Oct. 1, 2018.

This includes anyone who took Youth Protection training — online or in person — before Feb. 1, 2018.

If you still need to take your training, follow the instructions in this PDF.

If you’ve already taken the updated course but have a few questions, keep reading. We’ll answer:

  • How do I know when I took Youth Protection training?
  • When does my training expire?
  • How do I print a completion certificate to give to a fellow Scout leader who requests one?

I’ve got you covered.

How to check your Youth Protection training date and expiration
  1. Log in to My.Scouting.org.
  2. Click “Menu” at the top left.
  3. Click “My Dashboard.”
  4. Make sure you’re under “My Training” and “YPT.”
  5. Note the date next to “Youth Protection Training Certification.” You’ll see the date you completed the course right there. Below that, you’ll find the date your certification expires — two years after completion.
  6. If your completion date is on or after 02/01/18, you have taken the updated training.
  7. Congrats! Thanks for your efforts to help keep Scouts safe.
How to print your Youth Protection training certificate
  1. Log in to My.Scouting.org.
  2. Click “Menu” at the top left.
  3. Click “My Dashboard.”
  4. Make sure you’re under “My Training” and “YPT.”
  5. Next to “YPT Status,” look for a small blue printer icon. Click this.
  6. Your browser will open a PDF that you can print or save to your computer.
Still have questions?

Check this PDF for potential answers.

See inside the new National Scouting Museum at Philmont Scout Ranch

Bryan On Scouting -

More than 600 people, including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh, helped formally dedicate the National Scouting Museum – Philmont Scout Ranch on Saturday in Cimarron, N.M.

In attendance were BSA volunteers and professionals, families from nearby towns, members of the media, and donors whose generosity made the museum possible in the first place.

The 19,500-square-foot museum holds a library, a gift shop, books, mementos, two large exhibit halls and an 88-person conference room.

It’s open all year long but will see its heaviest traffic during Philmont’s popular summer season, when Scouts and Scouters traverse Philmont’s trails and expand their Scouting knowledge at the Philmont Training Center.

BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez were two of the big-name guests at the dedication ceremony on Sept. 15. What to expect inside

The National Scouting Museum – Philmont Scout Ranch will help preserve and showcase more than a century of BSA memories. Current and future generations of young people will be inspired by those who paved the way. The collection includes 600,000 artifacts that document Scouting’s unique influence on American culture.

In Exhibit Hall A, see how camping gear has evolved through the years. Marvel at classic BSA uniforms. Learn how Scouting has served communities for more than a century.

In Exhibit Hall B, explore the rich history of Philmont and the Great Southwest. Study a giant topographical map of Philmont. Watch an old mud wagon be restored. View priceless pieces of pottery. See the artwork of Ernest Thompson Seton.

For a look at the new museum — inside and out — keep scrolling for BSA photographer Michael Roytek’s photos from the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The National Scouting Museum – Philmont Scout Ranch offers a fascinating journey through the story of Scouting. Hours and more information

Nearly all of Philmont’s 32,000 annual visitors will want to visit the museum. Admission is free.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2018, the National Scouting Museum will be open to the public seven days a week, except on noted holidays.

June 1 to Aug. 22:

  • 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week

Aug. 23 to May 31:

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week

Visit this site for more information.

Photos from the ceremony

Photos by Michael Roytek/BSA and Shane Mrozek/Philmont

Photo of quick-thinking Cub Scout keeping flag from touching ground goes viral

Bryan On Scouting -

It’s one of the first thing Cub Scouts learn about flag etiquette: Don’t ever let the flag touch the ground.

Jack LeBreck, a Cub Scout from Hayden, Idaho, took that responsibility very seriously on an especially windy day last week.

It all started when Jack was performing a flag-lowering ceremony at his elementary school with two other Cub Scouts.

As his classmates folded the flag, Jack became worried that the strong wind would cause the flag to touch the ground. He acted quickly to protect the flag in a clever way.

“We’ve had a bunch of close calls from dropping it,” Jack told KREM-TV in Spokane, Wash. “But I thought it would happen because it was kind of a windy day. So I just thought of laying down and seeing what would happen.”

Yes, Jack chose to lie down — essentially sacrificing himself (and his clean clothes) to make sure the flag wouldn’t graze the ground. That’s what I call taking the Cub Scout motto — “Do Your Best” — to heart.

Honoring a veteran

What was the inspiration behind Jack’s quick-thinking act of ingenuity?

“It was all because of our custodian, Mr. Mac,” Jack told KREM-TV.

Mr. Mac is Mac McCarty. He’s a veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. By honoring the flag, Jack and his fellow Cub Scouts are honoring Mr. Mac’s service to our country.

In addition to serving as custodian, Mr. Mac selects students to serve on the flag team.

Not surprisingly, he chose three Cub Scouts for this important task. And these three young men did not disappoint.

“What they did yesterday was obviously all them … laying on the ground and all that,” McCarty told the TV station. “And I’m very proud.”

A photo goes viral

A mom who was there to pick up her kids from school saw it all. Amanda Reallan took a photo of Jack’s patriotic deed and shared it on Facebook.

Reallan’s photo went viral, appearing on news stations in Colorado, Texas, California, Missouri and Georgia.

Nalan Tuttle, one of the Cub Scouts in the photo, joked that the fame might lead to an unexpected career path.

“I was gonna be like, ‘hey, Mom, I should be an actor some day,'” he said.

Inspiring others

Some might say that Jack could’ve remained standing and held the flag in the middle.

That’s easy to say in hindsight. But with the wind whipping wildly and no time to spare, Jack’s clever moves worked. The flag didn’t touch the ground.

And now, because of that unique method, Jack has inspired others across the nation.

Great job, Jack!

How do you counsel a youth leader struggling to gain respect?

Bryan On Scouting -

It’s the third day of summer camp, and everything has been going swimmingly. That is, until Patrol Leader Xavier notices a few of the younger Scouts tossing trash into the fire pit. He looks around the campsite and notices their gear has been carelessly strewn around, too.

He approaches them and instructs the Scouts not to throw trash into the fire pit and that they need to pick up their stuff and put it back in their tents. Defiantly, one of the younger Scouts continues to throw trash, which emboldens the others to follow suit and laugh off Xavier’s instructions.

Xavier reminds the youth about the 11th point of the Scout Law: “A Scout is Clean.” But the younger Scouts ignore him.

Xavier then goes to Senior Patrol Leader Craig, informing him of the problem. Craig orders the younger Scouts to stop what they’re doing and to pick up the site, which they do begrudgingly.

The next day, though, the campsite is back in disarray and Xavier catches the younger Scouts throwing trash into the fire pit again.

This scenario stemmed from a similar experience one Scout had. He wrote us, saying:

Some of our younger Scouts have been using the fire pit as a trash can and leaving litter, gear and personal possessions scattered across the campsite.

Although I have spoken with the troop several times, I have yet to get any reaction or change in behavior. I don’t know how I can get Scouts to care about something they don’t want to do.

What would you do?

Suppose Xavier approaches you, an adult leader, with that question: “How do I get the Scouts to care about something they don’t want to do?” What would you say to him?

Chess set Scout made for Metalwork merit badge is now in World Chess Hall of Fame

Bryan On Scouting -

A steel-and-wood chess set crafted at summer camp by a Scout working on his Metalwork merit badge is now in the World Chess Hall of Fame.

The one-of-a-kind creation is the work of Boy Scout Chandler Francis, who crafted the piece this summer at Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation in Gravois Mills, Mo., part of the BSA’s Great Rivers Council.

“We congratulate Chandler on being featured at the World Chess Hall of Fame,” says Doug Callahan, Scout Executive of the Great Rivers Council. Callahan says the camp and council are “proud to have helped him in this endeavor, and we hope his creativity inspires other Scouts.”

To earn the Metalwork merit badge — No. 40 on the list of last year’s most popular merit badges — Scouts learn how to safely work with metal. They choose from one of four tracks: sheet metal mechanic/tinsmith, silversmith, founder or blacksmith.

Chandler selected the blacksmithing option and worked with camp counselor Justin Tattich on his project. The requirements state that Scouts must forge two objects — one with a decorative twist and one with a hammer-riveted joint.

That means Chandler could’ve stopped after making, say, one queen and one rook. But he kept going, creating all 32 pieces using a variety of forging techniques.

But Chandler wasn’t done. He paired the pieces with a wooden board he created with a laser engraving machine.

The result is a blend of old-world techniques and new technology that’s worthy of Hall of Fame status.

A fitting home for chess

There’s a place at Lake of the Ozarks Scout Reservation called the Sinquefield Invention Lab. It’s where Scouts can earn merit badges like Metalwork using state-of-the-art equipment — much of it donated by generous members of the community.

Its connection to chess goes beyond Chandler’s work of art. The lab’s founder, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, helped the BSA create the popular Chess merit badge.

She’s a co-founder of the Saint Louis Chess Club and, along with her husband, Rex, provided the seed funding to move the World Chess Hall of Fame to St. Louis in 2011.

All these forces aligned perfectly for Chandler to explore his passion for metalwork, chess and Scouting. And now his work is part of chess history.

Thanks to the Thomas Yang of the Great Rivers Council for the post idea.

Photos by Michael DeFilippo, courtesy of World Chess Hall of Fame.

For his Eagle project, this Scout and Fire Explorer restored a 1956 Chevrolet truck

Bryan On Scouting -

Ever since he was 5 and served as a mock victim in rescue drills, Koren Ernst has been passionate about the fire service.

That interest continued into Scouting when Ernst, now 20, joined Troop 1188 and Fire Explorer Post 1.

It was during training exercises with Post 1 that Ernst first noticed the General — a faded, rusting truck parked behind Fire Station No. 1 in Rowlett, Texas.

In its glory days, this 1956 Chevrolet was a sight to see. The gleaming red vehicle was the first truck ever purchased by the Rowlett Fire Department. After its retirement from active service, the General began a second life as a showpiece for the department. It puttered along in parades and ceremonies for years.

About 14 years ago, the General received an honorable discharge. It sat behind the station in hopes it would some day be restored.

That’s when an Eagle Scout candidate named Koren came along.

For his Eagle Scout service project, Ernst completed a full external restoration of the historic truck.

The truck in its “before” phase. Considering the scope

At first, Ernst wanted to complete a full restoration, inside and out. That would mean both restoring the truck’s external beauty and getting it running again.

Once he grasped the magnitude of that undertaking, Ernst decided to focus on the body restoration alone.

He hoped completing that arduous task would inspire someone else to complete the mechanical work. As you’ll see later, that’s exactly what happened.

Koren purchased a portable garage to keep his work safe from sun and rain. Recruiting help

Ernst didn’t complete this project alone. The entire community chipped in.

He raised $2,800 through a GoFundMe site and individual contributions. (Read about crowdfunding for Eagle projects here.) A Valspar retailer donated paint supplies, a nearby Herb’s Paint & Body shop offered technical expertise and spray equipment, and a Rowlett firefighter provided lettering for the side of the truck.

Some 20 volunteers spent more than 900 hours working on the project over a span of 13 months.

A professional applies the red coat of paint. A local body shop donated the supplies and labor. Completing the work

The first step was to clean out the junk that had accumulated in the truck’s cab and bed.

Next, Ernst purchased a portable garage so he could work on the General without worrying about rain or extreme sun slowing him down.

Then came the tedious step of sanding the truck down to bare metal. By the time they were done sanding, Ernst and his helpers had gone through six electric sanders and thousands of sheets of sandpaper and blocks.

After applying the primer, a local towing company (Cathey Towing and Recovery) transported the truck — for free — to Herb’s.

Volunteers taped and prepped the truck for its final coat of bright red paint. The actual painting was done by a team of professionals at Herb’s.

Back at the portable garage, Ernst and his helpers reassembled the truck and carefully applied the graphics. They added a bed liner and gave the entire truck a final polish.

The finished truck, as you can see in the photo below, looks beautiful. It took a ton of work, but Ernst and his team did an awesome job.

Koren Ernst gives the truck a final polish. Epilogue
  • Ernst’s wish that others would be encouraged by the external restoration paid off. A pair of Rowlett firefighters, Brett Grant and Tony Boroughs, are working to get the truck running again. They plan to have it ready to appear at this year’s Christmas parade, driven under its own power.
  • Rowlett is scheduled to start construction on a new fire station within the next two years. Part of the plans include an enclosed display area for the fully restored General.

5 ways Notre Dame’s Band of the Fighting Irish uses Scouting principles every day

Bryan On Scouting -

In this group, young people occupy all the top leadership roles, teach skills to newer members, and give back to their community. They wear uniforms and live by a code.

When Eagle Scout Andrew Jarocki discovered these facts about Notre Dame’s Band of the Fighting Irish, his reaction was immediate.

“Whoa, this is just like Scouting!” he remembers thinking.

Eagle Scouts make up 15 percent of the Band of the Fighting Irish, Jarocki says. But each member, even those without a Scouting background, lives by a code that closely resembles what Jarocki learned as a member of Troop 9 out of Duluth, Minn.

Jarocki, a trombone player, recently reached out to BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh to explain this fascinating parallel. Surbaugh was kind enough to share Jarocki’s story with me.

Andrew Jarocki (right, holding trombone) is an Eagle Scout and member of the Band of the Fighting Irish. 1. Employing the patrol method

A Scout troop is divided into patrols, led by Scout-elected patrol leaders. The Band of the Fighting Irish is divided into sections by instrument, led by student-elected section leaders.

Drum majors are like senior patrol leaders. They’re elected by their peers to lead meetings/practices and run events.

“Some students even work in a role very similar to quartermasters,” Jarocki says. They oversee equipment distribution and uniform standards for the whole band.

2. Teaching with the EDGE method

During band camp, new members learn skills from a group of returning members selected to serve as mentors.

These marching band veterans divide the newcomers into groups and use the EDGE method — explain, demonstrate, guide, enable — to teach good performance skills.

3. Expecting more from older members

As members of the band gain experience, they are expected to leave a legacy by helping newer members.

This is similar to how older Scouts take the mantle of leadership with new Scouts.

Older band members sign up for positions of responsibility, just like in Scouting. They might serve as band librarian, secretary, social chair and more.

4. Preparing for events

In larger Scout troops, the senior patrol leader must determine how to get dozens of teenagers, plus all their gear, from point A to point B.

In the Band of the Fighting Irish, student leaders coordinate the move of 400 people, plus all their gear, to road games and bowl games.

“That’s where the patrol method and everyone helping is crucial,” Jarocki says.

5. Living by high moral standards

“Ask any Scout in the Notre Dame band, and they’ll tell you that the standards of the band ensure every member acts in a trustworthy, loyal and helpful manner — even if they’ve never heard of the Oath or Law,” Jarocki says.

Band members know their actions reflect on the entire band and the university as a whole. The same is true in Scouting.

“Wearing the uniform comes with responsibilities to represent the organization well,” Jarocki says.

Band members give back to the community. They volunteer to teach kids at local high schools, perform at community events and assist in university projects.

“Just like how in Scouting we constantly give back,” Jarocki says.

After his dad’s death, he felt a ‘void of pain and loneliness.’ Then Scouting rushed in.

Bryan On Scouting -

Chuck Eaton was a 17-year-old camp staffer when he got news no teenager should face.

It was the summer of 1987 at T.L. Storer Scout Reservation in New Hampshire. It was a Wednesday.

Eaton had changed out of his Scout uniform and was waiting for his mom to pick him up.

“My dad was sick, and the doctors thought he would die soon,” Eaton says. “By Thursday morning, he was gone.”

What happened next is something Eaton will never forget. It illustrates the power of Scouting to unite strangers and make the world better.

And it’s a big reason that Eaton has devoted his career to Scouting. He’s now the Scout Executive of the BSA’s Spirit of Adventure Council, which serves the Boston area. Now he’s helping a new generation of Scouts discover their Scout Spirit.

‘It all happened so quick’

It was the fifth week of summer camp, 1987.

On Tuesday, Eaton was wearing a Scout uniform teaching Scouts how to rappel. On Friday, he was wearing a suit and tie shaking hands with distant relatives and people he didn’t recognize.

“It all happened so quick,” Eaton says.

Eaton’s sisters were popular and had friends who would hug them and cry with them.

“I had no such break,” Eaton says. “I was not popular in high school. All my friends were Scouts, and they were at camp.”

‘I was in a daze’

The day of the funeral arrived, and Eaton and his family were seated in the front row.

Still stunned from the week’s events, Eaton found his mind wandering to Storer Scout Reservation. The camp was just 80 miles from Boston, but that felt like 800.

“I was in a daze, and honestly, I just wanted to get back to the wilderness and the culture of camp,” Eaton says. “It broke my heart not to be able to share any of this with my friends.

“The physical distance between camp and Boston never seemed so far away. I felt so alone.”

After the funeral service, Eaton, his mom and two sisters followed the casket out of the church.

“We clung to each other,” Eaton says. “I tried to walk bravely and hold back tears.”

The 1987 staff at Storer Scout Reservation. ‘I was overwhelmed’

Eaton looked up, expecting to see a bunch of his dad’s friends. Instead, he saw pretty much the entire camp staff — the reservation director, camp directors, program directors, waterfront directors, ropes course director.

He saw dozens of his fellow youth staffers, too.

“I almost didn’t recognize them at first, because everyone was wearing a suit and tie instead of our omnipresent uniform,” he says. “As my eyes scanned and I recognized just how many camp staff had come back to be with me, I was overwhelmed. It meant so much to me.”

The tears began to flow as Eaton realized what kind of support system Scouting had provided.

After the burial at Saint Joe’s Cemetery, everyone arrived at Eaton’s grandmother’s house. That’s when Eaton had a realization. If all of his fellow staff members are here, he wondered, who is running camp?

Eaton walked over to camp director Rick Martin and asked the question.

“Thirty years later, Rick’s answer still brings tears to my eyes,” Eaton says.

‘Love, generosity and Scout Spirit’

Martin told Eaton that the staff made a phone tree and called all the Scoutmasters who weren’t in camp that week. Martin asked them whether they’d be willing to come out and help run the camp so the regular staff could attend the funeral.

“That meant 40 men from all over greater Boston took two extra days off from work and drove up to New Hampshire, so all my friends and mentors could come back to Boston to be with me,” Eaton says.

The Scoutmasters, plus a few camp staffers who stayed behind, ran the camp for 12 hours. They taught swimming, outdoor cooking and rock climbing. They made it work, because it was the right thing to do.

“Many of these men had hourly jobs. Many, probably all, of them already committed a week of vacation for the Scouts in their troop,” Eaton says. “Now they took another day or two for a 17-year-old staff member they probably barely knew.

“To me, there has never been a better example of community, love, generosity and Scout Spirit.”

Extreme Makeovers, Round 24: Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos

Bryan On Scouting -

Note: This is the 24th in an occasional series where I share Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos. See the complete collection here.

To fully understand the impact Eagle Scout projects have on communities, you need to see to believe. That’s why I asked to see Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos — the same photos prospective Eagles are asked to include with their post-project report.

This week’s batch of 15 projects includes a moving memorial to fallen firefighters, a sturdy stand to hold kayaks and paddleboards, and an outstanding outdoor water station for high school athletes.

What’s great is that you can multiply each individual act of stupendous service by more than 50,000. That’s how many Eagle Scout projects get completed every single year.

TIP: Click or tap and drag the slider below each image to see the change.

Austin from South Carolina

Who: Austin, Troop 402, Florence, S.C.

What: Austin and his helpers designed, built and installed new kayak and paddleboard racks for Poinsett State Park in Wedgefield, S.C.

Aidan from Texas

Who: Aidan, Troop 1174, Humble, Texas

What: Aidan and his helpers removed an old sink and counter and built shelves to replace them in a middle school orchestra room.

Nick from Minnesota

Who: Nick, Troop 440, Evansville, Minn.

What: Nick and his helpers built an outdoor classroom at Brandon-Evansville High School.

Joseph from New York

Who: Joseph, Troop 79, Painted Post, N.Y.

What: Joseph and his helpers researched past members of the volunteer fire department, repainted the flag pole and designed, procured and installed a new firefighter memorial in front of fire station. The project cost approximately $35,000.

Hank from North Carolina

Who: Hank, Troop 11, Charlotte, N.C.

What: Hank and his helpers rehabilitated the flood-prone portion of a nature trail by adding 7.5 tons of gravel and new landscape timbers at a trail which will soon connect the James K. Polk State Historic Site to a citywide greenway to help increase visitor traffic at the state historic site.

James from Florida

Who: James, Troop 46, Tampa, Fla.

What: James and his helpers created a new outdoor gathering and worship space by building a base and relocating a beloved parish statue.

Dawson from Missouri

Who: Dawson, Troop 513, Warrensburg, Mo.

What: Dawson and his helpers built and installed six raised garden beds for a shelter for women recovering from addictions.

Christopher from Texas

Who: Christopher, Troop 500, San Antonio, Texas

What: Christopher and his helpers replaced, widened and stabilized a 36-foot paving stone walkway at the Animal Defense League in San Antonio.

Thomas from Massachusetts

Who: Thomas, Troop 64, Middleborough, Mass.

What: Thomas and his helpers installed a raised garden planter, pavers and benches for vegetable garden at the Middleborough Council on Aging.

Chris from North Carolina

Who: Chris, Troop 55, High Point, N.C.

What: Chris and his helpers installed an outdoor water station for Chris’s high school for all the outdoor sports teams that practice near the track, including the football, track and baseball teams.

Chris from Georgia

Who: Chris, Troop 615, Evans, Ga.

What: Chris and his helpers built a gaga ball pit at the Girl Scout’s Camp Tanglewood in Augusta, Ga.

Thomas from Washington

Who: Thomas, Troop 39, Snohomish, Wash.

What: Thomas and his helpers restored the garden area, rebuilt the stone wall, and installed a new arbor at Maltby Community Club in Snohomish.

Matthew from Florida

Who: Matthew, Troop 475, Palm Harbor, Fla.

What: Matthew and his friends installed 10 StoryWalk boxes at a local library to hold a pages of a children’s book for children to walk along a trail to read the book.

Warren from California

Who: Warren, Troop 59, Lagunitas, Calif.

What: Warren and his helpers removed, partially relocated and rebuilt 250 feet of old unsafe railing overlooking Lagunitas Creek at Samuel P. Taylor State Park to create a safe barrier for observers of the salmon-spawning creek 15 feet below.

Matthew from Oregon

Who: Matthew, Troop 530, Tualatin, Ore.

What: Matthew and his helpers designed and built two racks for cellos and stand-up basses, created storage racks for violins and percussion harnesses, and painted the Tualatin High School drum-kit stand. The Tualatin High School’s band and orchestra program doubled in size in two years, and classroom space was needed for all the student musicians. The additional need for storage of the expensive instruments and equipment was needed.

About the Eagle Before and After series

Like these? See more here.

Have before-and-after Eagle photos I can use in future posts? Go here to learn how to send them to me.

About the Adams award for outstanding Eagle projects

The Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award honors outstanding Eagle projects like those included above.

An Eagle Scout, his parents, or any registered BSA volunteer (with the Eagle Scout’s permission) may submit his Eagle Scout service project for consideration by filling out the nomination form found here.

Congrats to the third winner of our Scouting Safety Quiz

Bryan On Scouting -

Did you take our May-June Scouting Safety Quiz on aquatic safety? More than 340 people did, and we selected one entrant at random to win a $100 Scout Shop gift card.

And that winner is Lisa Hemmingson, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 60 in Canton, S.D.

“The quizzes are a fun way to refresh your knowledge on safety issues within Scouting,” Hemmingson says. “The ‘Water ways’ quiz was a great refresher on making sure that all water activities are not only fun, but also safe for all participants.”

The “Water ways” quiz went over which aquatic activities are appropriate for Scouts, how to qualify as a “swimmer” and how deep water should be for diving.

Hemmingson plans to use her gift card to purchase new merit badge pamphlets and supplies for the troop trailer. Congratulations, Lisa!

How did you do?

You can still take the “Water ways” quiz, but if you want to be entered in our next Scouting Safety Quiz contest, take our September-October quiz: “Back to basics.” These are frequently asked questions we receive, so we thought we’d ask them to you.

Each issue of Scouting magazine will focus on a different BSA health and safety topic and offer an online version of the quiz where you can enter to win a prize.

At the end of the questions, you can submit your name and email address to be entered in the contest, which ends October 31, 2018. A few people took the last quiz more than once. If it bothers you that you didn’t get a 100, you’re more than welcome to take the quiz again. Just know that submitting your information multiple times does not increase your chances of winning.

You don’t have to get a perfect quiz score to be entered in the contest. We will draw one winner at random and will notify them via email. Good luck!

Mr. T shows off his Scouting knowledge, donates to Cub Scouts selling popcorn

Bryan On Scouting -

He may be famous for his tough-guy TV and movie characters, but Mr. T has a heart of gold.

The star of The A-Team and Rocky III was shopping for groceries on Saturday in Sherman Oaks, Calif., when he encountered some Cub Scouts from Pack 311.

Mr. T stopped to talk to the Cub Scouts for several minutes.

He offered sage advice, gave each of the Cub Scouts a signed Mr. T toy and donated $100 to the pack’s popcorn fundraiser.

“As a Boy Scout, you’ve got to do a good deed every day,” he told the Cub Scouts. “A good Boy Scout will grow up to be a good person.”

Mr. T said he was a Boy Scout in the Bear Patrol. He demonstrated the three-finger Scout Sign and Scout Salute and listed three types of poison to avoid when camping: poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. He said Scouting taught him character values, too.

“I was a Boy Scout,” he said. “So I always loved my mother, helped other people and stuff like that. Even though I play a tough guy on TV, deep inside, I’m a nice guy.”

‘A kind and gracious person’

Members of Pack 311 of Valley Village, Calif., were selling popcorn at a Ralphs grocery store when they spotted the famous actor.

Aimee Stern was there with her Cub Scout son Max. Wisely, she took out her phone and starting recording.

“Mr. T was wonderful with the boys,” Stern told me. “He embodied the spirit of a Scout.”

Kara Redmon, another Pack 311 volunteer, was there with her son Kieren.

She said Mr. T “was such a kind and gracious person.”

Watch the video

Thanks to the Western Los Angeles County Council’s Andrew Sisolak for the tip.

Scouts help American Legion celebrate at its 100th national convention

Bryan On Scouting -

On Nov. 11, 1919, 500 Boy Scouts in uniform served as greeters and runners during the first national convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis.

On Aug. 26, 2018, 100 Scouts and Scouters in uniform did pretty much the same at the American Legion’s 100th national convention, also in Minneapolis.

The two acts of Scouting service — nearly a century apart — symbolize the longstanding partnership between the BSA and this chartered organization that serves wartime veterans.

“Scouting is responsive to the marketplace, owned and operated by the families we serve, but some things do not change, even in a century,” says John Andrews, Scout Executive of the Minneapolis-based Northern Star Council. “How wonderful it is to have the American Legion as a Scouting partner for 100 years.”

Today, local American Legion posts charter more than 2,400 units, serving 63,000 youth and supported by 24,000 volunteers. Lee Shaw, who addressed the convention as the BSA’s director of National Alliances, said this support is felt in communities nationwide.

“We consider the American Legion a strong partner and we want to make sure we continue that,” Shaw told the convention.

For 2018, Andrews commissioned a replica of the “Official Scout” pins Scouts wore at the 1919 convention. Rain plan

The threat of storms forced last month’s parade inside the Minneapolis Convention Center.

While that meant no motorized vehicles, it didn’t affect the Scouts’ plans. They marched in neat lines, waving flags and showing their support for the American Legion posts they represented.

Two of the troops — 283 and 33 — have met continuously for more than 100 years. Each troop had representatives at the 1919 convention who served as baggage carriers and helpers.

During the 2018 convention, Shaw took the opportunity to share details about the BSA’s move to welcome girls into the program.

This change, Shaw said, means the BSA will “provide an opportunity for girls and young women to share in some of the same benefits as boys have done for years in term of leadership development.”

Thanks to Geoff Forbes for the post idea.

Scouts, Venturers can submit Out of Eden Walk essays for shot at trip of a lifetime

Bryan On Scouting -

Scouts and Venturers who participated in summer 2018 programs at the Summit Bechtel Reserve or Northern Tier, plus young people who had their 2018 Philmont program canceled because of backcountry fires, are invited to enter the 2018 Out of Eden Walk Essay Competition.

Two worthy winners from the three participating Passport Journal locations will be selected to join National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek for a few days of his 21,000-mile walk around the world some time next year.

Salopek is telling stories through words, photos and video of the people he meets — “villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers and artists who rarely make the news.” You can follow his fascinating journey online, in near-real time, at this link.

The 2017 winners, Miciah Thacker and Christopher Sherman, spent two days reporting with Salopek on important conservation issues affecting people and animals in northwestern India. You can read about their journey in this post from the Pulitzer Center and in their essays, which were recently published online by National Geographic.

Will you or a Scout or Venturer you know be the next to join this incredible journey?

Miciah Thacker (left) and Christopher Sherman (right) joined Paul Salopek earlier this year on his Out of Eden Walk. Each penned thoughtful essays reflecting on their Scouting experiences. Photo by Chris Sawyer. How to enter

To be eligible, Scouts (under 18) and Venturers (under 21) must have attended a high-adventure program or VenturingFest at SBR, participated in a program at Northern Tier or have been scheduled to take a Philmont expedition.

Eligible young people must write a one-page essay about their Scouting experiences this year. To write these 400 to 500 words, Scouts or Venturers will practice what Salopek calls “slow journalism.”

That means they’ll be encouraged to pause and reflect intentionally on how the skills learned in Scouting will impact their lives and communities in the future. They’ll reflect on the new experiences and adventures they enjoyed at Northern Tier or SBR. Scouts or Venturers who would have attended Philmont will write about the Scouting adventures they experienced in place of their Philmont trek.

Though better appreciating our world through slow journalism is the goal, interested Scouts and Venturers shouldn’t slow down too much. The essay contest deadline is Sept. 30, 2018.

Here are the steps to follow:

First, watch the introductory video below to see how slow journalism can enhance your Scouting experiences.

Then, visit pulitzercenter.org/scouting. At the bottom of page, you’ll find links to the essay instructions and submission details for each location. These links are also listed below:

Finally, watch the 2018 BSA next steps video below.

Stay tuned as this story develops

Scouts, Venturers or Sea Scouts interested in walking with Salopek in the future should consider introducing his slow journalism concepts at local unit meetings and on camping trips.

Those intentional moments can be used to begin planning their next local Scouting activities or future outdoor adventures to SBR, Northern Tier, Philmont and Sea Base.

Updates for how to introduce the Pulitzer Center and Out of Eden Walk programming at local council camps will be available in spring 2019.

Law Enforcement Explorer saves coworkers stabbed at Target store in Georgia

Bryan On Scouting -

A Law Enforcement Explorer from Georgia is credited with saving the lives of two Target coworkers who were stabbed during a robbery at the store.

The young man, 17-year-old Mario Alexander, says he knew exactly what to do because of the first-aid training he received in Exploring, the BSA’s career-development program for young men and young women.

Cobb County police Sgt. Wayne Delk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the department thanks Mario for his quick thinking and for “putting to use the knowledge he has gained from the Cobb County Police Explorer program. His actions more than exemplify our commitment and dedication to public safety.”

How it happened

On Sept. 9, Mario was working his shift at a Target in Marietta, Ga., when he learned that two of his coworkers had been stabbed by an escaped robber.

He rushed over and saw one employee bleeding profusely from a cut in his arm. Mario used his Target shirt to create a tourniquet and stem the flow of blood.

Mario then moved to the other victim and applied gauze and pressure to that person’s neck wound.

“He continued to check on both of his fellow employees until medical personnel and police officers arrived on scene to take over,” Delk told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

His training as an Explorer

Mario’s training as a Law Enforcement Explorer involves more than learning about policework. Law Enforcement Explorers learn first aid techniques, including how to apply a tourniquet to wounds that might otherwise be fatal.

Most first responders have a field tourniquet, but Mario was on the scene as a Target employee, not an Explorer.

So he used what he had: his red Target shirt. He improvised a tourniquet until a proper one was applied by the first Marietta police officer to arrive.

Both stabbing victims survived. Police later arrested and charged the alleged robber.

You’ve seen the delightful video — now use it to help recruit more Cub Scouts

Bryan On Scouting -

Nobody recruits Cub Scouts better than other Cub Scouts.

It’s in that spirit the BSA released a refreshing new recruiting video featuring boys and girls talking about why they love Cub Scouting so much.

“You get to go to parks, you get to ride your bike, you get to pet a bug,” one Tiger Scout says.

Find priceless comments like these throughout the video, which has the clever name “Welcome to the Cub.”

After you watch the video, share it! If your pack hasn’t yet held its join Scouting night, this is a great way to promote the event on social media.

If your join Scouting night already happened, use the video to encourage people to call you, e-mail you, find you on beascout.org or send you a Facebook message.

After all, recruiting season never really ends. A pack’s doors remain open all year long.

Step 1. Watch the video. Step 2. Share the video.

However you use “Welcome to the Cub” in your recruiting efforts, be sure to include the hashtag #ScoutMeIn.

A behind-the-scenes shot during the making of the “Welcome to the Cub” video, filmed with Cub Scouts from the Pathway to Adventure Council in Illinois. Step 3. Make it your own.

When sharing the “Welcome to the Cub” video, customize the text of your post to meet your pack’s recruiting needs. Offer details about your pack’s join night, if applicable, or the time and place of your next meeting.

You don’t need to write a dissertation. Something simple like this will work well: “There’s still time to join Pack 123! We meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Main Street Church. Please email or call if you’d like more information. [Include contact info.]”

Step 4. See how others are sharing the video.

Here’s how a council and pack have used the video. If you have other ideas, shout ’em out in the comments.

What Scouts are saying about ‘The Nebula Secret,’ a new book inspired by real-life National Geographic explorers

Bryan On Scouting -

J.J. Abrams calls The Nebula Secret “a fun, exciting and action-packed ride that kids will love.”

But as much as I trust Abrams’ opinion — especially as a Lost superfan — I’m even more interested in hearing what Scouts said about the book.

Scouts like 13-year-old Riley.

“This book was one of the best books I have ever read!” Riley writes. “With the suspense keeping me up all night trying to figure out the answers. The characters were very funny and all around great!”

I first told you about Explorer Academy, National Geographic’s new fiction series for middle graders, in a blog post in May.

Nat Geo sent out a call for Explorer Academy ambassadors, and the first 100 who responded were invited to read and review an advance copy of the first book in the series, The Nebula Secret.

The response was so overwhelming — more than 1,500 entries in all — that Nat Geo doubled the number of ambassadors to 200 lucky Scouts.

Those reviews have been pouring in, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites below.

Bottom line: This series is perfect for thrill-seeking Scouts who enjoy exploring and learning about the world around them. It’s inspired by the adventures of real-life National Geographic explorers.

To enhance the story’s educational value, each book includes a section called “The Truth Behind the Fiction,” which explains the science concepts and profiles of real explorers doing work relevant to each book’s theme.

Reviews from Scouts

“I thought the book was an amazing story that felt like a roller coaster.” – Ruben, age 11

“I couldn’t wait to finish the book. The mysteries will leave readers racing to finish the story.” – Yadiana, age 10

“I would gladly recommend this to all my friends because they also like adventure, meeting new friends and technology.” – Bryce, age 8

“This novel is jam-packed full of action, plus tons of cool code-breaking!” – Conner, age 9

“This book is wonderful! With breathtaking twists and turns, this book must get a sequel.” – Noah, age 10

Read more reviews here and buy your copy of The Nebula Secret on Amazon.

Still not convinced?

If your Scouts missed the excerpt in the August issue of Boys’ Life, you can read the first chapter for free at this link.

Or watch the book trailer by visiting exploreracademy.com.

And finally, here’s one for parents: One lucky family of four will experience a thrilling ship-based expedition, just like the students in Explorer Academy! The sweepstakes prize trip is courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions, and you can enter here. (You must be 18 or older to enter.)

West Virginia University wants to educate the next generation of BSA professionals

Bryan On Scouting -

West Virginia University, which has demonstrated its commitment to Scouting through its partnership with the nearby Summit Bechtel Reserve, will offer two new degree programs to train future leaders of organizations like the BSA.

WVU’s bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, set to debut in Spring 2019, will prepare students for careers leading nonprofit organizations.

That means WVU could produce the next great council Scout executive or even a future Chief Scout Executive. The degree program also would benefit students interested in careers with the 4-H, youth sports organizations, the United Way, the American Red Cross and many more.

“We see our program as the next step in development for what could become a lifelong career in the BSA leadership,” said Jeff Houghton, an associate professor at WVU and the program’s coordinator. “The program will be highly experiential and provide opportunities to do internships and be engaged with the BSA and other nonprofits.”

Meanwhile, WVU Tech’s bachelor’s degree in adventure recreation management, which debuts this fall, is an ideal fit for Scouts or Venturers with a love for outdoor recreation activities and an interest in leading camps or BSA high-adventure bases.

“Those two programs, I think, will be unique in this country,” said WVU President Gordon Gee, a Distinguished Eagle Scout and BSA National Executive Board member. “And more important, they’ll be very focused on Scouting.”

Strong ties to West Virginia

BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh was born in Charleston, W.Va., about 150 miles from WVU.

In 1984, Surbaugh graduated from Salem College in Salem, W.Va., with a degree in youth agency administration. (The institution has since changed its name to Salem University.)

Two assistant Chief Scout Executives are graduates from the same program at Salem: Al Lambert, national director of outdoor adventures, and Mark Logemann, national director of support services.

Salem no longer offers that degree, so the BSA approached WVU about starting a similar program.

“They made us aware that there is a need for an organizational leadership program, with an emphasis on nonprofit leadership, that wasn’t being met,” Houghton said.

Why West Virginia University? A big factor was the university’s support of the 2013 and 2017 National Jamborees held at SBR. WVU recruited students to work at the Jamboree, paid their way and gave them a $500 scholarship for their effort. But there’s one more big reason: WVU President Gee, a lifelong advocate for Scouting.

Gee earned every merit badge as a Scout. He has been a college president for more than half his life, serving at the University of Colorado, Brown University, Vanderbilt University and The Ohio State University. His signature is on more diplomas than any other president in higher education.

At a meeting of BSA Scout executives last month, Gee introduced the degree programs and called for the BSA’s help in filling it.

“We need to think about how we’re going to replace all of you, eventually,” Gee told the crowd. “We want you to identify those young people who really want to dedicate themselves to Scouting.”

Lambert responded by calling for Scouting’s support.

“I want to commend WVU for their vision in doing this,” he said, “and we pledge to work with you.”

What’s unique about the Organizational Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations program?

It’s hands-on. Students who learn by doing, not just reading and listening, will be right at home. They’ll gain real-world experience from a hands-on curriculum. Plus, WVU offers internships at locations that span 25 different states and 10 different countries.

It’s focused on youth leadership development. Scouts and Venturers know the impact the Scouting program can have on a young person. The program at WVU features a strong focus on youth leadership development that helps students channel their passion. They’ll be equipped make a difference right after graduating.

It teaches skills vital to the BSA’s success. Students will gain skills in managing budgets, ethical leadership, leading change, financial management, fundraising, developing volunteers, recruiting members and more.

It makes the most of its location. WVU is just three hours from SBR, and the university takes full advantage. SBR becomes a student’s laboratory for experiential learning. In addition, WVU foresees using SBR for programming related to its courses and having program-related annual leadership summits and conferences. Finally, students will start the program with an orientation experience at SBR.

At its heart, it’s a business program. Other universities offer leadership programs with a nonprofit focus. But WVU’s organizational leadership program is offered by the College of Business and Economics. That means it imparts the business skills essential to managing nonprofit organizations.

You can learn more about the curriculum here.

Bachelor’s in Adventure Recreation Management at WVU Tech

If the organizational leadership program at WVU will train the next wave of Scout executives, a second new degree program will train the next wave of camping directors.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology, located 12 miles south of SBR in Beckley, W.Va., has introduced a bachelor’s degree in adventure recreation management.

“Through professional field experiences and senior projects emphasizing problem-solving, Tech’s program is well suited for meeting the needs of the BSA,” says Dave Bernier, the program’s acting director. “Few regions in America are able to bring together so many natural resources and educational opportunities as student may experience in Southern West Virginia.”

This program isn’t meant to roll out the next rafting or climbing guide — though students can get certified in those types of activities. It’s designed to train people who manage camps and adventure facilities, like BSA council camps or high-adventure bases.

Graduates will be leaders in the Scouting community. They’ll help connect Scouts and others with the outdoors in the safest and most ecologically responsible manner possible. They’ll also get experience in the operations of whitewater, rock climbing, mountain biking and aerial sport programs.

With SBR a short drive away, WVU Tech students can use the high-adventure base as their classroom. SBR’s world-class adventure venues, climbing sites, trails and facilities are at their disposal. They can gain insight into what it takes to operate a high-adventure base by talking to the men and women who do just that.

You can learn more about the curriculum here.

‘Come one, come all’: Councils open camps as shelter for Hurricane Florence evacuees

Bryan On Scouting -

A pair of Boy Scouts of America camps in Tennessee and Georgia will open their doors to Hurricane Florence evacuees who need a place to stay during the storm.

Camp Davy Crockett, operated by the Sequoyah Council in eastern Tennessee, has space for families in tents, cabins and RVs who are fleeing the expected catastrophic flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Camp Frank G. Lumpkin, operated by the Chattahoochee Council in western Georgia, also is prepared to welcome Scouting members and families that need shelter.

For people wanting to put distance between themselves and the hurricane, these camps are two safe, free options.

Ronald Cameron, Sequoyah Council program director, says his council’s offer applies to all families — even those not involved in Scouting.

“We’re just saying, come one, come all,” he told me by phone. “We need to help — Scouts or non-Scouts. That’s what Scouting teaches us. Be a good community partner and help any way you can.”

How to get help

If you’re an evacuee in need of a place to go, here’s whom to contact:

Camp Davy Crockett in Whitesburg, Tenn.: Call 423-306-7051 or email Ronald.Cameron@scouting.org.

Camp Frank G. Lumpkin in LaGrange, Ga.Fill out this form or call 706-327-2634 during normal business hours. 

A council steps up

This all started when the Sequoyah Council’s Cameron got a call from a mom who lives near the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune on the coast of North Carolina.

The woman said she, her husband and their two Cub Scouts were packing up and heading inland.

“She said, ‘we’re coming to Tennessee’ and said ‘would it be possible for us to come stay at your camp?'” Cameron says. “I said, ‘of course.'”

They arrived Tuesday. That night, Cameron was watching the local news when he learned that nearby Bristol Motor Speedway had offered its camping area for evacuees.

“And I said, ‘we need to open up camp,'” Cameron says.

The timing is favorable. Camp Davy Crockett just finished building 50 eight-person cabins and a staff village.

The Scouting family pitches in

Once word got out that Camp Davy Crockett would open its doors, calls starting coming in. And they weren’t just from evacuees needing a place to stay.

Cameron heard from the local Order of the Arrow lodge. A group of Arrowmen will be onsite this weekend to help the camp ranger with logistics.

Cameron heard from local Scout leaders. They will bring water, toiletries and anything else the camp might need.

“It’s amazing how the thing spreads,” Cameron says.

If enough people show up, Cameron will open the dining hall and call in the camp cooks.

“We’re just waiting to see what the response is,” he says. “We’ll call in camp staff as needed.”

All that effort to help other people will cost the council money and time. But that’s the last thing on Cameron’s mind.

“It’s going to cost us resources, but we’re not even thinking about it,” he says. “Do a Good Turn. Help your neighbors.”

‘Ready to serve’

Camp Frank G. Lumpkin in western Georgia is “open and ready to serve you,” according to a Facebook post from the council.

The camp’s Fort Bradshaw is an air-conditioned bunkhouse that can sleep up to 102 people.

During the evacuation of Hurricane Irma in 2017, the council housed friends, family members and Scouters from the South Florida area. Some stayed several days as they waited for word they could return to assess the damage.

I tip my hat to Scout Executive Juan F. Osorio of the Chattahoochee Council, and Scout Executive David Page and Program Director Ronald Cameron of the Sequoyah Council for stepping up to help others.

Should Scoutmasters limit their availability for conferences with Scouts?

Bryan On Scouting -

On a recent campout, Scoutmaster Tim sat down to talk with Second Class Scout Jacob for a Scoutmaster conference. After he scribbled his initials in Jacob’s handbook, the Scoutmaster looked around and realized something: almost all of the campers were below the First Class rank.

It had been a problem for months as fewer older youth opted not to attend the troop’s monthly outdoor outings. Since there aren’t any specific camping requirements to advance to the Star, Life or Eagle ranks, their motivation to camp at the troop’s regular close-to-home campouts had definitely disappeared.

How can he encourage the older Scouts to participate and lead the younger Scouts at these campouts? Perhaps, he thinks, he should provide some type of rank advancement incentive for the older Scouts to attend.

The question

Should Scoutmaster Tim adopt a personal policy to see Scouts for Scoutmaster conferences for Star and above only during campouts?

The expert’s response

We asked Mike LoVecchio, BSA advancement specialist, who pointed to Section 4.2.3.5 of the Guide to Advancement. Tacking on extra requirements, like forcing Scouts to attend a campout so they can meet with the Scoutmaster, is unfair to the Scouts and is contrary to BSA’s policy on unauthorized changes to advancement. Per the Guide to Advancement:

No council, committee, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs.

Furthermore, the Guide to Advancement states that Scoutmasters cannot deny meeting with a Scout, thus hindering their advancement:

Unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a conference that is necessary for him to meet the requirements for his rank.

Good intentions

Scoutmaster Tim was only trying to get the older Scouts to step up and be stronger leaders in the troop, especially during campouts.

Well, it’s a common conundrum — keeping older Scouts engaged — but there are much more appropriate means of addressing it, and perhaps the best way is to actually have a Scoutmaster conference.

What it should be

A Scoutmaster conference (Advisor conference in Venturing and Skipper’s conference in Sea Scouting) is not a bargaining chip, nor is it a retest of knowledge. Don’t look at it as a final task that calls for a leader’s stamp of approval. In fact, a Scoutmaster conference can be done at any time. Per the Guide to Advancement:

While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review.

You can also have more than one conference before an advancement in rank. It’s simply an informal, positive meeting with the adult unit leader and a Scout, still it has incredible value. It’s an opportunity to get to know the Scout, learn about the Scout’s struggles, offer guidance and help set life goals. It’s a chance to reinforce Scouting’s ideals on a one-on-one setting.

In the case of a disinterested older youth, it can turn into a brainstorming session on what can be done to reenergize the Scout’s interest. Perhaps that Scout and their peers can plan a horseback riding or mountain biking trek, explore a merit badge or special award that interests them, or conduct a fun, themed campout for younger Scouts that combines Scouting skills and a little friendly competition, like say a Star Wars camporee?

Remember…

All conferences should be done with the knowledge and full view of others, according to BSA’s Youth Protection policy. They should also not be held online.

For more frequently asked questions about Scoutmaster conferences, check out this article.

Pages

Subscribe to Cub Scout Pack 634 aggregator - Scouting News from the Internet