Scouting News from the Internet

David Lynch talks Scouting, Kennedy’s inauguration and whether Agent Cooper is an Eagle Scout

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David Lynch’s bio — the one he uses on Twitter and sends to members of the press — is rather sparse.

“Born Missoula, Mont. Eagle Scout.”

But as you might expect with Lynch, the surrealist director of films like The Elephant Man and creator of the murder mystery TV series Twin Peaks, there are a lot more pieces to this puzzle.

I talked with Lynch by phone last week to hear his thoughts on Scouting. We discussed the time he got to stand with other Boy Scouts at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, why some of his characters aren’t exactly Scout-friendly, and whether he thinks Agent Dale Cooper, the fastidious and focused FBI agent on Twin Peaks, would be an Eagle Scout.

Man on the move

David Lynch was born Jan. 20, 1946, in Missoula, Mont.

His father, Donald, was a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service. The job meant the Lynch family’s home address was constantly changing — Idaho, Washington state, North Carolina and Virginia.

Through it all, two things stayed constant: Scouting and camping.

Whenever the family traveled with Donald Lynch for his job, they avoided hotels and motels. They camped.

“I grew up like that,” Lynch says. “The Boy Scouts was pretty much a continuation of that.”

Lynch was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. He attended summer camp at Camp Tapawingo near Payette Lake, Idaho. He was a member of the Order of the Arrow.

“I liked working on my merit badges,” he says. “You know, it was all great.”

An extra push

Lynch’s younger brother, John, became an Eagle Scout before David.

This was kind of the last straw. David Lynch, then a Life Scout, began to lose interest and considered dropping out.

“I didn’t really think Scouts was cool anymore,” he says. “I just reached that age where I was a total rebel, but my dear father really wanted me to become an Eagle Scout.”

At that time, the Lynch family lived in Alexandria, Va., and David Lynch was a member of Troop 113.

With his dad’s encouragement, Lynch “finished things up, and by golly, became an Eagle Scout,” he says.

Was he grateful for the extra push?

“For sure,” Lynch says. “And that’s why I say, ‘my bio is: David Lynch. Born Missoula, Mont. Eagle Scout.’ That’s in honor of my father.”

Lynch became an Eagle Scout on Nov. 13, 1962. More than a half-century later, Lynch still has positive feelings about the Scouting program.

“I think the Scouts is a great thing,” he says. “I had a great time living during those years, but I had a great time in the Scouts as well.”

Waiting for JFK

Jan. 20, 1961, was significant for two reasons. It was Lynch’s 15th birthday and it was the date of Kennedy’s inauguration.

As with inaugurations throughout history, Scouts were involved.

The plan: Lynch and his fellow Scouts would seat dignitaries in bleachers next to the White House.

The reality: Lynch, wearing his thin Scout uniform, was trying not to freeze to death.

It had snowed eight inches the night before. The temperature at noon was just 22 degrees, but the 19 mph wind made it feel like 7.

“We were escorting VIPs, but it was so cold there weren’t very many VIPs,” Lynch says.

With some time on their hands, Lynch and his fellow Scouts climbed the bleachers to get a better view of their surroundings. They were looking for the car carrying Kennedy.

At last, they saw something: a pair of gleaming black limousines driving toward them.

“We went running up, and the Secret Service said ‘No, no, no. Go back, go back.’ And they pushed us away,” Lynch says. “But I heard a voice say, ‘you.’ And I turned around, and a Secret Service man was beckoning me back to him.”

The agent placed Lynch squarely in the official line.

“So there’s 20 or 30 Secret Service guys on either side of the drive and me, standing right shoulder to shoulder with them,” Lynch says. “The gates opened, and out came the two limos. In the first limousine, when it passed by me, the glass was about 10 inches in front of my face. Inside there I saw President Eisenhower and soon-to-be President Kennedy. And they were talking. Then that car glided by, and the next one came. And in that car was Nixon and Johnson, and they weren’t talking. And they glided by.”

Years later, Lynch appreciates the historical significance of that moment.

“I realized I saw four consecutive presidents in that short amount of time — 10 inches from my face,” he says. “It was a great, great experience.”

Scouting’s values and Lynch’s work

Lynch has three Academy Award nominations for best director: for The Elephant Man (1980), Blue Velvet (1987) and Mulholland Drive (2002).

The Elephant Man is rated PG-13, but the other two films earn their R ratings with troubled characters and disturbing images.

The TV show Twin Peaks aired on ABC in 1990 and 1991 — before TV ratings were used. The show has been retroactively classified as TV-PG. But when new episodes begin this month on Showtime, Twin Peaks will be rated TV-MA.

I asked Lynch how he feels about creating characters that don’t exactly follow Scouting values.

“Films reflect our world. Ideas come from our world,” he says. “Our world is filled with characters that don’t reflect Scouting values, for sure. And stories are not all just shiny little pleasant tales. They involve all kinds of different characters, all different kinds of thinking. That’s what makes a story.”

Furthermore, Lynch cautions against assuming that someone who creates unstable characters is an unstable person.

“I always say the artist doesn’t have to suffer to show suffering,” he says. “You want to be happy in your work, but you can tell stories that have darkness swimming along with light. Have the suffering on the screen or in the books — not in your life.”

Agent Dale Cooper, Eagle Scout?

FBI Agent Dale Cooper, the main character on Twin Peaks, is known for being meticulous, prepared, courteous and focused.

Just as I’m about to ask Lynch the inevitable question, he cuts me off.

“He was probably an Eagle Scout,” Lynch says, “and maybe Sheriff Truman didn’t quite make it, but he became a Life Scout.”

Lynch’s Good Turn

The David Lynch Foundation is the director’s way of giving back to the community. Its mission: use Transcendental Meditation to help at-risk populations.

Lynch says Scouting long ago gave him a desire to help other people at all times.

“It does something for one’s character,” he says. “It feeds the future, for sure. In a good way.”

Lynch is a major proponent of Transcendental Meditation, which he considers the ticket to eliminating negativity, stress, anxiety and fear. When you perfect the technique, those bad feelings leave — “just like darkness goes when you turn on the light,” he says.

He even suggests Scouts begin practicing Transcendental Meditation, which he emphasizes is “not a religion and is not against any religion.”

If we had what Lynch calls “Yogi Scouts,” “Boy Scouts could change collective consciousness from a stressed black cloud to a beautiful, bright and shiny, peaceful collective consciousness.”

That’s not unlike, as I pointed out to him, the mission of Messengers of Peace, a global movement of which the BSA is a proud member.

Whether you and your Scouts become “Yogi Scouts” or Messengers of Peace, Lynch has a message all Scouts should consider.

“Remember, true happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within. It always has; it always will,” Lynch says. “And then they can just fall back on their motto: Be Prepared.”

At 2017 Visual Storytelling Workshop, the focus is on growing Scouting

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Consider for a moment how many images you come across in a single day. Add up each post on Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram and Pinterest and …

That’s the cluttered online landscape into which those of us who want to grow Scouting must venture.

How do we capture and share the story of Scouting in a way that busts through the noise and catches people’s attention? How do we use those social media platforms to recruit new Scouts and retain the ones we have?

The Visual Storytelling Workshop has the answers. You’ll learn from experienced professional photographers in a hands-on setting. The next workshop will be Aug. 6 to 12, 2017, at the Philmont Training Center in Cimarron, N.M.

You don’t need to be a pro with a $3,000 camera to attend. Anyone with at least some experience with still photography and/or video is welcome. If you have a passion for Scouting and love to take photographs and share them online, make plans to attend.

More about what to expect

Scouting magazine covered one of these Visual Storytelling Workshops in our January-February 2016 issue. Here’s an excerpt:

Developing your story

The first step is to understand what makes an effective story. “A good story has to be authentic (it has ‘real’ action), compelling (it should grab the viewer’s attention) and the right length (with widespread digital media, viewers’ attention spans are generally short),” says Randy Piland, senior lecturer at Elon University in North Carolina and one of the coaches at Philmont’s Visual Storytelling Workshop.

Once you’ve found a compelling story, capture a “decisive moment”; identify key elements; record sound, photos and video; edit the sound and images; and then share your story.

The best part? You don’t have to be a professional or have an expensive camera to create a visual story. “Amateurs can shoot pictures and video, edit them and immediately share their stories online,” says Jim Brown, Ph.D. The professor and executive dean emeritus at Indiana University School of Journalism says smartphones have matured to the point that they are serious reporting tools.

You can create Scouting stories through three specific methods: photographs, photo essays and video stories.

How to register

Register at this link. Scroll to Week 9 and look for “Visual Storytelling.”

Fees for all 2017 conferences at the Philmont Training Center are the same: $540. That includes lodging, meals and your conference fee.

Philmont is best enjoyed with others, so be sure to look into Philmont Training Center‘s programs for everyone in your family. There’s something for infants, spouses, grandparents and everyone in between.

Steven Holcomb, Eagle Scout and gold medal Olympic bobsledder, dies at 37

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Steven Holcomb, the Eagle Scout who piloted the U.S. four-man bobsled team to Olympic gold in 2010, has died. He was 37.

The U.S. Bobsled & Skeleton Federation said Holcomb died in his sleep on Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Holcomb was a three-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist and five-time world champion. But before that, there was a time when he dropped out of the sport completely.

In a summer 2010 interview with Eagle Scout Magazine (now called Eagles’ Call magazine), writer Mark Ray talked with Holcomb about being diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition that seriously affects a person’s vision.

He was slowly but surely going blind. Amazingly, as Holcomb’s vision got worse, his driving got better. Rather than rely on his eyes, he began to rely on his instincts, feeling a course’s curves instead of looking at them. Sports Illustrated called him “America’s sledi knight,” recalling the scene from Star Wars in which Luke Skywalker learns to use his lightsaber while wearing an opaque visor.

“Bobsledding’s not reaction,” Holcomb explained. “A lot of people think you’re reacting to what’s going on, but it’s actually more anticipation and correction. Once you see something, you’re past it and it’s over and you’re going to have some issues.”

By 2007, it was so bad that Holcomb left bobsledding entirely. His coach, however, wasn’t going to give up that easily.

He told Holcomb about a radical surgery that involved implanting polymer lenses behind the irises. Holcomb took the chance. The surgery immediately restored his 20/20 vision.

Sliding into victory

In Vancouver in 2010, Holcomb helped Team USA win its first Olympic medal in four-man bobsled in 62 years, driving the United States to gold.

That victory led to an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman, where Holcomb and his teammates shared the “Top Ten things you don’t want to hear from a guy in your bobsled.”

Among the highlights: “We’re lost” and “Stop breathing down my neck.”

“We were able to put bobsledding back on the map,” Holcomb told Eagle Scout Magazine. “It’s really going to help us get back in the spotlight and get our sport rolling again.”

Despite his newfound fame, Holcomb still made time for Scouting. In March 2010, less than a month after winning gold, he gave some Atlanta-area Cub Scouts the thrill of meeting an Olympic champ.


In May 2010, Holcomb shared his Scouting and Olympic stories with volunteers and professionals at the BSA’s National Annual Meeting in Dallas (pictured at the top of this post).

In Sochi in 2014, Holcomb was back for another shot at the medal stand. The Eagle Scout earned bronze medals in both the two- and four-man bobsled.

Holcomb and Scouting

From the Eagle Scout Magazine piece:

Scouting didn’t introduce Steve Holcomb to winter sports, but it certainly gave him plenty of time in the outdoors.

“Growing up here [in Utah], we did a lot of outdoor stuff,” he recalled. “Every weekend, we were out with Scouts doing something.”

Beyond the outings, Holcomb credits Scouting with broadening his horizons.

“Earning all the merit badges really opens your eyes to more than just one thing in life. There’s so much to learn, so much you have to do,” he said.

The advancement program also whetted his appetite for achievement.

“You always have to do your best; you really do have to perform,” he said. “It’s not like you just show up and automatically get your merit badges. You actually have to learn and use your skills.”

Be Prepared: The origin story behind the Scout motto

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Upon hearing the Scout motto, someone asked Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell the inevitable follow-up question.

“Prepared for what?”

“Why, for any old thing,” he replied.

In 1907, Baden-Powell, an English soldier, devised the Scout motto: Be Prepared. He published it in Scouting for Boys in 1908. (Two years later, in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was founded.)

In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”

More than a century later, preparedness is still a cornerstone of Scouting. Through its fun, values-based program, Scouting prepares young people for life.

B-P and B.P.

Notice how the initials for Be Prepared and Baden-Powell are the same? That’s no coincidence; it’s just the way Baden-Powell planned it.

In the late 1900s, Baden-Powell wanted young people equipped to react quickly to an emergency. The Great War loomed, and soon the Boy Scouts — not a military organization but a service-minded one — would be called upon to play their part.

“Their keen eyes were added to the watchers along the coasts,” Winston Churchill wrote in a piece published in Scouting magazine in 1955. “In the air raids we saw the spectacle of children of 12 and 14 performing with perfect coolness and composure the useful function assigned to them in the streets and public offices.”

But Baden-Powell wasn’t just thinking about first aid and wartime emergencies when he coined the motto. This is from the 13th/latest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook:

His idea was that Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and strong leaders and to bring joy to other people. He wanted each Scout to be ready in mind and body and to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges await him.

Siempre Listo

As Scouting has spread to include 164 National Scout Organizations around the world, the motto has been adapted and translated into dozens of languages.

French-speaking Scouts strive to be Toujours Prêt, “always ready.” That’s also the English translation of the motto used in many Spanish-speaking countries: Siempre Listo.

Be Prepared becomes Budi Pripravan in Croatian, Sii Preparato in Italian and Wees Geréed in Afrikaans, spoken in South Africa and Namibia.

In any language, Baden-Powell’s original intent survives. By spending time as Scouts, young people learn to handle anything life puts in front of them. They learn to Be Prepared.

Two powerful words

Need one more reminder of the importance of the Scout motto? Consider the Eagle Scout medal, which represents the highest honor in Scouting.

Notice that the medal includes just two words.

The Teaching EDGE: The best way to teach someone a new skill

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First, you Explain how it’s done.

“I’m going to roast this marshmallow over the fire until it’s golden brown. Then I’m going to sandwich it between two graham crackers and a piece of chocolate.”

Then, you Demonstrate the steps you just explained.

Narrate your actions to reinforce the first step.

Next, you Guide the learners as they practice.

Give the Scouts their own materials and let them try. Offer help when needed, and let the learner repeat until they’ve got it down.

Finally, you Enable them to succeed.

This is when you step back, sit down and watch. (Eating the demonstration materials is highly recommended.)

When teaching someone a new skill — be it splinting a broken arm or something equally important like making s’mores — the Teaching EDGE method is the best method.

The Teaching EDGE in Boy Scouting

In Cub Scouting, adults use the Teaching EDGE to help Cub Scouts learn something new.

By Boy Scouting, you should find opportunities for the Scouts to become the teachers. In fact, it’s required.

To earn Tenderfoot, a Scout must “Describe the steps in Scouting’s Teaching EDGE method. Use the Teaching EDGE method to teach another person how to tie the square knot.”

To earn Life, a Star Scout must “Use the Teaching EDGE method to teach another Scout (preferably younger than you) the skills from ONE of the following choices, so that he is prepared to pass those requirements to his Scoutmaster’s satisfaction.”

The Teaching EDGE is so important that it even appears in the Boy Scout Handbook (page 38 of the 13th/newest edition):

The first step is explain. The teacher carefully explains the skill, showing all the steps and keeping in mind that the learner is probably seeing this for the first time. Go slowly, make your actions deliberate, and use descriptive language, but don’t stop to show the intricacies in detail yet.

After explaining the skill, you will demonstrate it. Break down each element, showing the step-by-step process and explaining the details of how each step is done and why. Here is where you allow the learner to ask questions, but not yet where he takes the reins for himself.

Now, guide the learner as he makes his first few attempts at the skill. Be sure to let him be completely hands-on, and don’t worry if he makes mistakes. Just tell him how to fix it, or start again from the beginning. Keep at it, and be careful not to lose patience. Remember how you were when you were learning!

Lastly, the teacher enables the learner by allowing him to see that he can do it himself — and has! The Teaching EDGE method can be applied to teaching and learning any skill.

Teaching EDGE in action

Matt Nichols understands that Scouters can use the Teaching EDGE method anywhere at any time.

For my story in the May-June 2017 edition of Scouting magazine, I wrote how Nichols even used the EDGE method before the trip officially began.

Nichols can turn anything into a teachable moment — even something simple like unloading canoes from a trailer.

Before placing a finger on the canoe’s scuffed aluminum sides, he tells the Scouts how he’ll lift, flip and carry the 70-pound boat to the water. Then he and Wheless take opposite sides and demonstrate.

With his boat in the water, Nichols doesn’t touch another canoe. His role has shifted to coach as he watches Scouts Michael Cully, 14; Jack Nichols, 13; and Ryan Wheless, 12, give it a try.

Hear more of the story

For more, listen to the May 2017 episode of ScoutCast, the monthly podcast for Scout leaders. Take ScoutCast everywhere you go by downloading the latest episodes in your favorite podcasting app. Just search “ScoutCast.” Please go listen.

Scouts Then and Now, Chapter 11

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Welcome to Scouts Then and Now, a Bryan on Scouting blog series. The premise is simple. I share two photos of the same Scout or Venturer: once in his or her early Scouting years (Cub Scout, younger Boy Scout, younger Venturer) and again in his or her later Scouting years (Life Scout, Eagle Scout, older Venturer).

Find Chapter 11 below. And click here to learn how to submit your photos.

Justin from Florida

Carter and Nathan from North Carolina

Sam from Utah

Matthew and Ian from California

Preston from Missouri

Gabe from Kentucky

Kenny from Massachusetts

DJ, Christian and Trey from Texas

Chase and Jeremy

Jonathan and Robert from Indiana

Send in your photos and see more

Click here to send in your photos. Click here to see more in this series.

Fundraising lessons learned from the four councils who did it best in 2016

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That means Scouts must be enjoying some epic adventures in and around Bartlesville, Okla.; Spokane, Wash.; Hagerstown, Md.; and Zanesville, Ohio.

Councils based in those four cities earned the top spots as Camp Masters 2016 Fundraisers of the Year. The awards recognize the four top councils based on 2016 overall sales growth.

The winners:

  • Cherokee Area Council — Bartlesville, Okla.
  • Inland Northwest Council — Spokane, Wash.
  • Mason-Dixon Council — Hagerstown, Md.
  • Muskingum Valley Council — Zanesville, Ohio

What did these councils do so well?

Doug Dent, director of marketing for Camp Masters, got the scoop from the four winning councils to learn their secrets. Find the four biggest takeaways below.

1. Learn from successful units

When you’re planning a Scout outing to a new place, you don’t just show up. You (and your Scouts) read the guidebooks, consult the maps, and talk to other packs, troops and crews who have been there.

The same is true in fundraising. Ask your council to identify those units that are regular top performers in your council.

See what they do to sell more than anyone else around, and do that.

But what if you’re the one in a top-selling unit? Don’t worry about losing your competitive edge; this isn’t football where you need to guard your playbook from the other team.

Sharing “trade secrets” benefits Scouting in your local community and helps your council serve more Scouts. Everybody wins.

2. Empower volunteers

You may have heard about a job called “Popcorn Kernel.” It’s more than just a clever pun.

Volunteers hold this position at the unit, district and council level. Kernels set sales goals, launch the sale, promote popcorn at other Scouting events, serve as a resource for Scouts and Scouters, send regular progress reports throughout popcorn season, and prepare a summary once the sale ends.

Professionals at each of the four winning councils agreed on one big thing: they wouldn’t have won without the help of a Popcorn Kernel.

What makes a good Popcorn Kernel? Two things: a year-round plan and the ability to delegate.

Viewing fundraising season as a 12-month journey yields more sales, and delegating tasks to one or more Assistant Popcorn Kernels yields less stress.

3. Host (and attend) a popcorn kickoff event

This one’s not just for council-level volunteers and professionals; there’s a unit-level message here, too.

Each of the four successful councils above hosts an annual sales kickoff event.

This should be a fun, friendly atmosphere — with plenty of product to sample. Everyone, including Popcorn Kernels, Scouts and families should be welcome.

But units can hold their own popcorn kickoff event, too. Those that do will sell more popcorn. Camp Masters even offers a contest for the best unit-level kickoff event.

4. Accept credit cards

There’s a quick way to eliminate a common excuse given by a potential customer: “I don’t have any cash.”

Units who set up outside a local supermarket or hardware store must have a way to accept credit cards.

Your council might have some suggestions on recommended card readers.

Camp Masters has partnered with PayAnywhere, which offers a free app and card reader. The reader plugs into a smartphone or tablet to let customers swipe their credit card with ease. Be Prepared to pay a small fee to the card reader company — something true of any card reader.

More tips for fundraising success

Want some recipes for fundraising success? Camp Masters has tons of great resources for leaders here.

For even more, see my conversation with Doug about fundraising:

The big difference between Cub Scout advancement and Boy Scout advancement

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Rank advancement in Cub Scouting is not like rank advancement in Boy Scouting. And that’s by design.

In Cub Scouting, advancement is grade- or age-based. It’s a rank-per-year system designed to offer age-appropriate fun and challenges as Cub Scouts progress through the program.

Cub Scouts don’t go back and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels. They also can’t move ahead to the next rank if they finish requirements early.

In Boy Scouting, though, Scouts hold the reins. Boy Scouts advance at their own pace — independent of grade, age or the progress of their fellow Scouts.

While there’s a recommended speed at which ranks are completed, a Boy Scout can advance at his own pace. The only real deadline: age 18, when a Boy Scout is no longer a youth member of the BSA.

Cub Scout advancement

The first badge all Cub Scouts (except those in the Lion Pilot program) earn, regardless of age, is the Bobcat badge. After earning Bobcat, Cub Scouts work on advancement for their grade or age level.

  • Bobcat. Earned first by all Cub Scouts, no matter what age they join.
  • Tiger. For boys who have completed kindergarten or are 7 years old.
  • Wolf. For boys who have completed first grade or are 8 years old.
  • Bear. For boys who have completed second grade or are 9 years old.
  • Webelos. For boys who have completed third grade or are 10 years old.
  • Arrow of Light. For boys who have completed fourth grade.

Cub Scouts do not go back and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed because of their time of joining. Likewise, Cub Scouts do not move ahead to the next rank until the completion of the current school year.

The highest rank, Arrow of Light, is earned as the Cub Scout leaves Cub Scouting and enters Boy Scouting.

Boy Scout advancement

Boy Scout advancement isn’t age- or grade-based. The Scout, with support and guidance from his parents and Scout leaders, progresses at his own pace.

The most current (13th) edition of the Boy Scout Handbook suggests that Boy Scouts earn the Scout rank “soon after joining.” It goes on to say that earning Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class should happen within the first 12 to 18 months of being a Boy Scout.

At Star, Life and Eagle, Boy Scouts tend to spread out a little bit. Some Scouts advance through those ranks quickly while others take their time. There’s no right approach — every Boy Scout is different.

Beginning at the Star rank, the BSA adds time-based requirements:

Star: Active as a First Class Scout for at least four months; serve in a position of responsibility for at least four months.

Life: Active as a Star Scout for at least six months; serve in a position of responsibility for at least six months.

Eagle: Active as a Life Scout for at least six months; serve in a position of responsibility for at least six months.

Add those requirements up, and you’ll get a minimum of 16 months between becoming First Class and earning Eagle. That’s a minimum. I have argued in the past that Boy Scout advancement is a wonderful journey, not a race.

Clearing up misconceptions

The mechanics of Cub Scout advancement could leave Scouts and parents with a mistaken belief that Boy Scout advancement works the same way.

There are seven ranks in Boy Scouting, and an 11-year-old Boy Scout has seven years before he turns 18. Seven ranks, seven years? Some families assume that a Boy Scout must earn Eagle just before turning 18.

Of course that’s not the case, but it could be part of the reason why the average age of Eagle Scouts in 2016 was 17 years and 127.75 days.

That’s why the BSA recommends discussing Boy Scout advancement during new Scout and parent orientation. Some points to make:

  • Advancement in Boy Scouting is based on individual initiative with guidance and encouragement from the patrol leader, Scoutmaster, and other youth and adult leaders.
  • Boy Scouting has seven ranks: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. Requirements are found in the Boy Scout Handbook and online.
  • Advancement has four steps: Learn, Test, Review and Recognize.
  • Some of the requirements for each rank have a time element, so Scouts will want to plan ahead so they don’t run out of time.
  • Alternative advancement paths are available for Scouts with permanent physical or developmental challenges.

Earn the National Summertime Pack Award, because summer’s not the time to hibernate

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Just because school classrooms go dark in the summer doesn’t mean Cub Scouting has to.

Extend the fun of Cub Scouting into the year’s hottest season by earning the National Summertime Pack Award.

To be eligible, your pack must hold one activity per month in June, July and August. Do that, and you’ll get a streamer for your pack flag and a certificate suitable for framing.

Youth and adults who participate in all three events earn a nifty pin that can be worn on the right pocket flap of the uniform shirt.

Dens that have at least 50 percent of their youth members at the three summertime events get a den participation ribbon.

Why you should earn this award

I can think of three reasons:

  • Summer is the best time to enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Kids often have more free time — and fewer scheduled activities — in the summer.
  • Packs that offer a year-round program see higher retention numbers.
Things to keep in mind

Many families take long vacations in the summer. Some kids even spend a week or more at grandma’s house in another state.

That’s why attendance at your summertime events shouldn’t be mandatory. And the summer isn’t a great time to get a jump start on the next program year’s adventures. Best not to start the fall with Cub Scouts who have fallen behind.

Instead, plan activities that are optional but exciting. For example, this is a great time to earn a Nova Award.

How to earn the award

Learn more and find an application for the National Summertime Pack Award here. Return the completed form to your council office. Some councils provide recognition at no cost, while others charge a nominal fee for the items.

See the recognition items at

Further reading

In the May-June 2017 issue of Scouting magazine, Mark Ray has an excellent piece on avoiding those summertime Cub Scout blues.

Can Cub Scouts get extra time to finish requirements after school year ends?

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In many packs, Cub Scouts finish their rank advancement just in time for the blue and gold banquet in February.

This approach lets families gather to celebrate the Cub Scouts’ accomplishments well before the end of the school year. It also signals that it’s time for Webelos Scouts to begin their transition to Boy Scouting and troop involvement.

June 1 is the traditional date when records change and each Cub Scout advances in rank. Tigers move to Wolf, Wolves move to Bear, etc.

But what happens if a Cub Scout isn’t quite there yet? What if he isn’t done with his requirements by the end of the school year?

All is not lost.

For more, see the Guide To Advancement, topic It says the pack committee can allow a few extra weeks at the end of the school year for a Cub Scout to finish up requirements. In other words, the Cub Scout doesn’t need to stop cold.

Remember the Cub Scout motto, “Do Your Best”? Apply that here.

What you can do

The pack committee should meet in early May to get input from den leaders and parents. Those adults can identify Cub Scouts who are finished, close to being finished or farther behind in their requirements.

Then a decision can be made that encourages the successful completion of each Cub Scout’s rank. The underlying goal: Give the Cub Scout a sense of accomplishment and pride. Give Cub Scouts extra time to finish requirements, but never present Cub Scouts with ranks they didn’t earn simply so they don’t feel left out.

After that, it’s on to the next Cub Scout rank and a new batch of fun, exciting adventures.

Excerpt: Guide to Advancement, “Do Your Best”

From the Guide to Advancement

Cub Scouts — even those of the same age — may have very different developmental timetables. For this reason, advancement performance in Cub Scouting is centered on its motto: “Do Your Best.” When a boy has done this — his very best — then regardless of the requirements for any rank or award, it is enough; accomplishment is noted. This is why den leaders, assistants, and parents or guardians are involved in approvals. Generally they know if effort put forth is really the Cub Scout’s best.

In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a boy is close to earning a badge of rank when the school year ends, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow him a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give him added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank.

What about a boy who must repeat a grade in school?

Generally, repeating a grade does not mean being kept back in Cub Scouting, but it depends on the circumstances and what is best for the boy. The decision is up to the parent or guardian.

Kicking & Screaming Episode 8 recap: ‘Survival of the Fittest’

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The Kicking & Screaming premise was tantalizingly simple: Pair 10 of America’s most hardcore survivalists with 10 “total divas.” Toss that tumultuous 20 into the wild and see what happens.

Well, what happened was the one Scoutmaster in the group made it all the way to the end, besting seven other survivalists, many of whom are seasoned military veterans.

I initially planned to cover Eagle Scout Terry Fossum and his partner Natalie, a pink-and-blue-haired professional gamer, until the two were off the show. That day never came. Natalie and Terry, using skills of leadership and teamwork he learned in Scouting, coalesced into a team and reached the season finale.

They enter the final episode as one of three remaining teams. That means a 33.3 percent shot at the big prize: $500,000.

Start a fire and get ready for your complete recap of Kicking & Screaming Episode 8: “Survival of the Fittest.”

Note: The show is rated TV-14, so parents are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended.

Spoilers follow. 

A three-for-all

Let’s reintroduce you to the final three:

  • Terry, an Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster, and Natalie, a professional gamer
  • Brady, a former Marine, and Claire, a former Miss Wyoming
  • Ben, an Air Force specialist, and Juliana, a model

Host Hannah Simone congratulates the remaining teams. “You must be so proud of yourselves right now,” she says.

“I’m proud of my partner,” Terry says, deflecting credit.

“Aww,” Natalie says.

Today’s challenge has the highest stakes yet. The winner doesn’t get to gorge themselves at a buffet or select a team to send to an elimination challenge. The two winners move on to a head-to-head battle. The loser goes home — a whisper short of the finish line.

You could forgive Terry for feeling like he’s on a high school basketball team playing against the Golden State Warriors.

“We’re the underdog,” he says. “Going up against Ben, the Air Force survival instructor, and Brady, the special ops Marine sniper. But that’s all right, you know, underdogs are known for fighting. And we’ll keep on fighting.”

The challenge goes like this: Crack some coconuts, and use the water inside to fill a tube that will float a key to the surface. That key will unlock a two-man saw the pairs will use to cut down a coconut tree stump.

As the tree falls, it will raise a flag. First two teams to raise the flag advance to the final showdown.

Claire says she’s never touched a saw in her life, meaning there’s going to be a learning curve here. Later, she goes one step further in her confession.

“I’ve never even seen a saw in my life,” she says. “Yeah, so, the struggle is real.”

Brady and Claire find a very efficient system for draining the coconuts. They crack them right above the tube so no water is wasted. Consequently, their tube fills up quickly. They’re the first to get their key and can begin sawing.

Terry and Natalie are next.

Any Scout knows you need a rhythm to use a two-handed saw. You might say there’s a push and a pull to it.

“We’ve got this,” Terry says, “because we use two-handed saws in the Boy Scouts.”

While the saws for the other two teams keep bending and becoming dislodged from their grooves, Terry and Natalie continue a smooth, steady cutting motion.

And then: timber! Terry and Natalie are first to topple their tree. They’re moving to the final two.

Brady and Claire finish second. Ben and Juliana, who had become close friends with Terry and Natalie during the show, are gone.

Actually, it is a picnic

Hannah tells the two remaining teams that they’ll be going separate directions for the day, with each team given a picnic and time to reflect on their journey.

After a stop at a stunning waterfall, Terry and Natalie dine on sandwiches, cheese, grapes and extra sandwiches. Food has been scarce throughout the competition, so this is necessary fuel.

With full bellies, Terry and Natalie look back.

Natalie, who hadn’t spent much time outdoors before the show, has learned a lot from the man she calls her “jungle dad.”

“Being here I’ve gotten sad, but you’ve always been there to back me up and make me feel happy again,” she says.

“You know I’m giving you a hug, right?” Terry says. “I’m so proud of you.”

This is for $500,000

“Going into this final challenge, which team can bring it back together?” Terry asks. “Focus what little remaining energy they have and be ready to go.”

Cold and exhausted, Terry and Natalie have little left in their tanks. He asks if she wants to practice making fire in case that’s part of the final challenge.

Maybe later, Natalie says.

Their opponents, meanwhile, have successfully started a fire mere feet away. They’re ready.

At the challenge, Hannah asks the competitors whom they’d help with their share of the $500,000.

“It’s been my life goal to be able to inspire more people,” Terry says. “This would give me the opportunity to be able to reach out to more people, and that means the world to me.”

Here’s how the final challenge will work: The survival experts, Terry and Brady, have been teaching outdoor skills to their partners throughout. Now those one-time novices will put those skills to the test.

“So, this challenge will begin with your survivalists stranded on a raft and depending on you,” Hannah says.

The challenge involves a rather complicated obstacle course, but I’ll do my best to explain.

The novice must dig up a handle and reel in her partner who’s sitting on the raft. Together they will use part of that raft to knock down a bunch of spears. The survivalist will use those spears to hit a target, releasing a piece of flint. Next, the novice must start a fire using that flint. The fire will light a torch that’s used to set a cauldron ablaze. First team to light its cauldron wins $500,000.

Did you follow all that? Ready … go!

Frantic digging. Frenzied cranking. Rapid raft disassembling.

Spears are knocked from their perches high above. Knots are untied. Spears are aimed and thrown.

Through each step of the way, Terry and Natalie are a step behind.

But then the two novices reach the fire-building portion and are neck and neck. At this point, it’s looking like whichever team can create fire first will win.

Terry can’t help with his hands, but he does use his voice to encourage Natalie and offer helpful tips.

“On the dry part,” he says. “Use the blade, use the blade!”

“And we. Have. Fire,” Hannah says. “Terry and Natalie running to the cauldron. … Can they keep their flame alight?”

And then:

“We have fire, and we have a winner!” Hannah says. “Terry and Natalie, the comeback kids!”

Terry, now $250,000 richer, is stunned.

“There’s no way in the world this was gonna happen,” Terry says. “And it just happened.”

Stray observations
  • Terry, the fashion icon: This is the first time I noticed that Terry wears a World Crest patch on his green pants. Nice detail.
  • Terry, the meteorologist: When the clouds portended a storm, it was Terry who warned the rest of the group (and the film crew) that it was probably time to take shelter.
  • Terry, the hero: When the storm caused the days-old shelter to collapse, Terry and Brady held it up so that Natalie and Claire could crawl out. Then all four rebuilt the roof so they could sleep.
  • Terry, the champion: Seriously, a big congrats to Terry and Natalie on their win. Terry, you represented Scouting well. Kudos!
Bonus: Boy Scout interviews Terry, his Scoutmaster

Joshua is from Troop 400 in Washington state, and Terry was his Scoutmaster. The young man got to interview Terry at the beginning of the season. Here’s that two-part interview below.

Inner-city Scout troop forms three Special Olympics basketball teams

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The best way to break down stereotypes about a person is to spend as much time with them as you can.

In the case of Troop 4 of Worcester, Mass., that meant forming not one but three Special Olympics Unified Sports basketball teams.

What started as another big Troop 4 service project has grown into something inspiring and magical.

Unified Sports teams are unique because they include both people with and without intellectual disabilities. Through on-the-court teamwork, these Scouts have developed a better understanding of individuals different from themselves.

“It’s a way to spend time with people that I normally wouldn’t get to spend time with,” says Rosend, a Star Scout. “All the stereotypes that I believed in are gone. Now I believe that my teammates with disabilities are awesome, and I want to thank Special Olympics for giving me this special opportunity to change my perception.”

A tradition of service

Troop 4, part of the Mohegan Council., has completed a service project every month for the past two years.

They have cleaned an ocean beach, helped collect and make maple syrup for a nonprofit, and built shelves for their chartered organization. The Special Olympics Unified Sports team is the troop’s biggest project yet.

But in the beginning, Troop 4 wasn’t sure whether the Scouts could find enough athletes to start a single team. The Scouts created and distributed fliers around the community and realized those worries were unfounded.

More than 25 individuals with disabilities showed up to the information session. That was enough for three teams, each with a mix of individuals with disabilities and Scout partners.

Darrell, a Second Class Scout, is one of those partners. He says it’s a role that “really shows what being a Scout is all about.”

“You get to show leadership, be a team player, and serve the community,” he says. “It really makes me happy to see the Special Olympics athletes so happy. It lights my heart.”

Triple the impact

Troop 4’s three Special Olympics Unified Sports teams are organized by the ability level of the Special Olympics athletes. The chartered organization lets the troop use its gym, and the teams hold 10 practices and eight to 10 games per season.

Each team exemplifies a new term called “diversability,” a repositioning of disabilities as something empowering, not limiting.

There’s a team of 7- to 14-year-olds with more pronounced disabilities like Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. On this team, younger Scouts serve as one-on-one, on-the-court coaches. Each Scout gets paired with an athlete during practices and games.

There’s a mid-level unified team of athletes who have disabilities like autism or traumatic brain injuries. Here, the Scouts encourage the athletes, facilitate the flow of the game, and pass, shoot and score right alongside them.

And there’s a high-level team of teens and young adult males with diagnoses like ADHD or mood disorders. The competition at this level is high, and the Scouts on the team are on their high school’s basketball team as well. Here, the unified partners are completely equal to the athletes.

Through his time on the team, Ronald, a Life Scout, has had his eyes opened.

“It’s a beautiful experience,” he says. “Before joining Special Olympics, I had an image in my mind of who people with disabilities were, and now I see that it’s completely different. It really bothers me to see that people still think the way I did, because, in reality, the athletes are just like us.”

Ronald says one of his teammates even donated $200 worth of cans to a bottle drive to help fund his Eagle Scout service project.

“This made me realize that we are all connected, even outside of the basketball court, and that people with different backgrounds can come together for the good of society,” Ronald says.

Success at the highest level

The troop’s high-level team is, fittingly, called the Eagles.

After an undefeated season — 10 wins, no losses — the Eagles were picked to represent the hundreds of Special Olympics basketball teams across Massachusetts at a Boston Celtics game in March.

Scouts of every rank were represented — Scout all the way to Eagle. They were on the court before the game and played in an exhibition game at halftime.

During the Celtics’ game, some of the Scouts were shown dancing on the big screen.

Special Olympics and Scouting

Lauren Hopper, a Troop 4 assistant Scoutmaster, says more Scout troops should volunteer time with a Special Olympics Unified Sports team.

The Scouts who participate, she says, put their leadership skills to use.

“Unified Sports facilities tolerance and inclusion, and we have found that our Scouts who participate have developed a broader understanding of their role in the community,” Hopper says. “Currently, our entire patrol leaders’ council are unified partners. Based on our experience, serving as a unified partner perfectly complements National Youth Leadership Training and other youth trainings offered through Boy Scouts.”

How to replicate the Troop 4 Special Olympics Unified Sports experience in your community

Do your Scouts have a passion for sports and service? Learn more about Special Olympics Unified Sports teams at their official site.

This isn’t just basketball. There are dozens of sports available, and volunteers are always in need.

Troop 4’s inspiring story

Troop 4 was founded in 2009 in an inner-city neighborhood of Worcester. Of the troop’s 28 registered Scouts, 27 are from low-income families.

“Because of this, every Scouting activity or trip we participate in is funded almost solely by fundraisers that the Scouts plan,” Hopper says.

That isn’t easy in a troop that has only three adult leaders and four active committee members — all of whom work other full-time jobs.

“The role of an adult leader can seem difficult at times,” Hopper says. “However, we have never allowed lack of money or adult volunteers to get in the way of trips or activities.”

Troop 4 has traveled to nine states over the past three years. They have kayaked and surfed, hiked and gone deep-sea fishing, snowboarded and mountain biked.

“Most of our Scouts reside in areas of the city where gang activity is rampant, so we feel it is important to offer trips outside of the city as often as possible,” Hopper says. “My first year as an assistant Scoutmaster, I asked a Scout during his board of review to describe one thing he learned in Scouting that he uses in his everyday life. He proceeded to talk about the different type of gun misfires, how to react when they happen and how to apply first aid to a bullet wound.

“This Scout was 12 years old.”

In spite of — or perhaps because of — their difficult surroundings, the Scouts want to give back to their communities.

Says Hopper: “This, along with a shared love of basketball, is what prompted our troop to start a Special Olympics team.”

This is how you organize the inside of a troop trailer

Bryan On Scouting -

In Troop 101, even the layout of the troop trailer follows the patrol method.

Everything in the 6-foot-by-12-foot trailer is organized by patrol. That means each group of Scouts is responsible for its own stuff.

Patrol gear goes on the right side. Every patrol box, tent and cooler bears its patrol’s name: Ninja, Cobra, Jaguar or Shark.

Troop gear goes on the left side. Labels indicate exactly what belongs: spices, paper towels, garbage bags and more.


The troop is part of New Jersey’s Monmouth Council. Troop 101 Scoutmaster Peter Grasso has read my other blog posts about troop trailers and thought it was time to share what he and his Scouts had come up with.

“Over the years I’ve seen your articles highlighting various trailer designs and always said that we had to send you pics of our trailer,” he writes. “Well, I finally got around to doing it.”

The facts
  • The trailer is 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. It was designed to support a four-patrol troop.
  • Everything is easily accessible, labeled and laid out to support the patrol method.
  • Each patrol has a patrol kit contained in a 24-gallon Rubbermaid ActionPacker container, as well as four tents and a lantern.
  • Troop equipment includes Dutch ovens, water jugs, frying pans, etc. and a kit for the adult patrol.
  • The front of the trailer has a two-burner and a three-burner Camp Chef stove.
  • There is plenty of room for fire buckets, axe yard equipment, staves, flags, coolers and dry boxes.
  • The patrols’ shelves are not flush against the wall. Hidden between the shelves and wall are six folding tables, one for each patrol and two for the adults. These tables, when unfolded, have a metal extension for the Coleman stoves which are part of the patrol kits.
  • The Troop 101 budget contains a provision to update each patrol’s equipment every four years. That means Troop 101 can update a single patrol every year.
The photos


The challenge

Think your troop’s trailer is as good as this one? Prove it! Send photos and the story behind them to

More than a quarter of members of Congress have some connection to BSA

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Scouts reach some high places. They summit Mount Everest, walk on the moon, become CEOs and win Super Bowls.

Some even make their way to the highest political offices, like the U.S. Congress.

Of the 535 members of the 115th U.S. Congress, 147 have some sort of connection to the BSA. That’s 27.5 percent.

I’m defining “connection” as one or more of the following:

  • They were in Scouting as a youth (Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturer, Sea Scout, Explorer)
  • They earned the Eagle Scout rank
  • They served (or are still serving) as a BSA adult volunteer

These Scouting alumni come from nearly every state and represent both major political parties. The list includes an impressive 32 Eagle Scouts.

The 115th Congress meets from Jan. 3, 2017, to Jan. 3, 2019. Below, a state-by-state breakdown.

One quick note

Eagle Scout status was confirmed against National Eagle Scout Association records.

Youth member or adult volunteer status was self-reported by the office of the member of Congress. If you know of a representative or senator with Scouting ties who isn’t included, please leave a comment.

Scouting alumni in the 115th Congress Alabama

Youth members

  • Sen. Richard Shelby
  • Sen. Luther Strange — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Robert Aderholt
  • Rep. Mo Brooks
  • Rep. Mike Rogers

Youth member

  • Rep. Don Young

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Youth members

  • Sen. John McCain
  • Rep. David Schweikert

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. John McCain

Youth member and adult volunteer

  • Rep. French Hill — Eagle Scout

Youth members

  • Rep. Ken Calvert
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal
  • Rep. Jeff Denham
  • Rep. John Garamendi — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Darrell Issa
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney
  • Rep. Dana Rohrabacher — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Ed Royce
  • Rep. Adam Schiff
  • Rep. Mike Thompson

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Julia Brownley
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney
  • Rep. Adam Schiff



Youth member

  • Rep. John B. Larson

Youth member and adult volunteer

  • Sen. Tom Carper

Youth members

  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis
  • Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart
  • Rep. Neal Dunn — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Dennis A. Ross
  • Rep. Darren Soto

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Dennis A. Ross

Youth members

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jody Hice
  • Rep. Barry Loudermilk

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop



Youth member

  • Sen. Mike Crapo — Eagle Scout

Youth members

  • Sen. Dick Durbin
  • Rep. John Shimkus

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Danny Davis

Youth members

  • Sen. Todd Young
  • Rep. Larry Bucshon
  • Rep. Luke Messer

Youth members

  • Rep. Steve King
  • Rep. David Young

Youth members

  • Sen. Jerry Moran
  • Sen. Pat Roberts

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Jerry Moran

Youth members

  • Sen. Rand Paul
  • Rep. Andy Barr

Youth member

  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy



Youth members

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings
  • Rep. John Sarbanes

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin

Youth member

  • Rep. Jim McGovern

Youth members

  • Sen. Gary Peters — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Mike Bishop
  • Rep. Dan Kildee
  • Rep. Fred Upton

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Debbie Dingell

Youth members

  • Rep. Rick Nolan
  • Rep. Tim Walz

Youth members

  • Sen. Thad Cochran — Eagle Scout
  • Sen. Roger Wicker
  • Rep. Trent Kelly — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Steven Palazzo
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Thad Cochran
  • Sen. Roger Wicker

Youth members

  • Rep. Lacy Clay
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
  • Rep. Sam Graves — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Roy Blunt



Youth members

  • Rep. Don Bacon
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Don Bacon


New Hampshire


New Jersey

Youth members

  • Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen
  • Rep. Chris Smith — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Leonard Lance
New Mexico

Youth members

  • Sen. Tom Udall
  • Rep. Steve Pearce

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Pearce
New York

Youth members

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer
  • Rep. Chris Collins — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Joseph Crowley
  • Rep. Brian Higgins
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Chris Collins
North Carolina

Youth members

  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield
  • Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr.
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry
  • Rep. Mark Meadows
  • Rep. David Price

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr.
North Dakota



Youth members

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown — Eagle Scout
  • Sen. Rob Portman
  • Rep. Steve Chabot
  • Rep. Bob Gibbs
  • Rep. Bob Latta
  • Rep. Steve Stivers — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Stivers

Youth members

  • Sen. James Lankford
  • Rep. Jim Bridenstine — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Frank Lucas

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Steve Russell

Youth members

  • Sen. Jeff Merkley — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio
  • Rep. Greg Walden — Eagle Scout

Youth members

  • Sen. Pat Toomey — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Lou Barletta — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Charlie Dent
  • Rep. Mike Kelly
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson
Rhode Island

Youth members

  • Sen. Jack Reed
  • Rep. James Langevin
South Carolina

Youth members

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan
  • Rep. Mark Sanford — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Rep. Joe Wilson
South Dakota


  • Sen. Lamar Alexander — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jim Cooper — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Phil Roe — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander
  • Rep. Jim Cooper
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Youth members

  • Sen. John Cornyn
  • Rep. Joe Barton
  • Rep. Kevin Brady
  • Rep. John Culberson
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Sam Johnson
  • Rep. Michael McCaul
  • Rep. Ted Poe
  • Rep. Pete Sessions — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Joe Barton
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert
  • Rep. Kay Granger
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
  • Rep. Pete Sessions
  • Rep. Mac Thornberry

Youth members

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch
  • Sen. Mike Lee — Eagle Scout

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch

Youth members

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

Adult volunteer

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy

Youth members

  • Sen. Mark Warner
  • Rep. Don Beyer
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly
  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte
  • Rep. Donald McEachin — Eagle Scout
  • Rep. Bobby Scott
  • Rep. Scott Taylor
  • Rep. Rob Wittman

Adult volunteers

  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte
  • Rep. Rob Wittman

Youth members

  • Rep. Rick Larsen
  • Rep. Adam Smith
West Virginia

Youth members

  • Sen. Joe Manchin
  • Rep. David McKinley — Eagle Scout

Youth members

  • Rep. Sean Duffy
  • Rep. Paul Ryan

Youth members

  • Sen. John Barrasso
  • Sen. Mike Enzi — Eagle Scout
How to contact these individuals with Scouting ties

I’m betting these Scouting alumni in the House and Senate would enjoy hearing from fellow Scouts and Eagle Scouts.

You can learn how to contact the senators here and the representatives here.

Thanks to the BSA’s Scott Olson for the info.

It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week, so time to #ThankAScouter you know

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A year ago, Troop 443 of North Carolina was on a weekend campout when the Scouts made a daunting discovery: They didn’t bring enough food.

“We realized that our patrol members failed to plan for all our food needs,” writes Star Scout Miles L.

One of the Troop 443 adults, DeeAnn Vincent, quietly left camp, went to a grocery store and purchased additional supplies. She did this without fanfare and with her own money. She never asked for reimbursement from the Scouts or their parents.

Miles admits he and his fellow Scouts probably deserved to survive on scant supplies that weekend. That would’ve taught them an important lesson about being prepared.

But instead, they learned a bigger lesson about doing a Good Turn when nobody is watching. About compassion. And, yes, they still learned that other lesson anyway.

“Without her kindness, we would have gone hungry. And we deserved that,” Miles says. “But we never failed to plan for enough food at any camp after that.”

Miles’ story about DeeAnn — a leader who went above and beyond in the service of Scouts — is repeated again and again in packs, troops, teams, crews, ships and posts across the country.

For Volunteer Appreciation Week, we’re encouraging everyone to #ThankAScouter they know, using that hashtag on social media. To get you started, here are more great stories of terrific Scouters.

Grisell Rodríguez, who maintains a ‘super standard of excellence’ in the Puerto Rico Council

Pack 831 had been closed for business for four years. There weren’t enough Scouts or leaders.

Enter Grisell Rodríguez. She started with seven Cub Scouts and now has 14. All of the pack’s leaders are Youth Protection trained and taking additional training for their jobs.

Pack 831 is thriving and will add four Lions this fall.

“With a program packed with adventure, service projects and camping, the Cubmaster has maintained a super standard of excellence,” writes Lizzette Quinones. “All the Cub Scouts thanked her. Hooray for Grisell!”

Linda Veach, a ‘Scout’s best friend’ in the Middle Tennessee Council

Linda Veach does a little of everything for her district in the Middle Tennessee Council.

She’s been the Popcorn Kernel, day camp director, Cub Scout-level trainer, and has led multiple campouts and family weekends.

That’s why Joyce Wheaton calls Linda a “Scouts’ best friend.”

“She can always be counted on to do whatever is needed for Scouting, especially for the Cub Scouts,” Joyce writes.

Tim Williams, who brings a ‘strong belief in the value of Scouting’ to the Twin Rivers Council (N.Y.)

Tim Williams became an Eagle Scout in the 1970s in Florida. When he moved to New York in 2001, he figured it was time to give back to the program that had given him so much.

So he contacted Beth VanSchaick and asked how he could become involved.

He became an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 56. Since then, he has served as committee chairman, Eagle Board of review member and district commissioner.

“I think it’s important to mention, in all this, that Tim has no children of his own,” Beth writes, “merely a strong belief in the value of Scouting.”

The leaders of Troop 4, who helped the Allohak Council (W.Va.) troop turn 100

You don’t get to 100 without doing something right.

That something, in the case of Parkersburg, W.Va., Troop 4, has involved dedicated leaders making sure Scouts get everything they want out of the program.

The troop turned 100 on April 7, 2017, and the Scouts above emailed me to publicly thank “our leaders who volunteered for our troop throughout the years that made us reach a century.”

This includes, they write, Scoutmaster Rachel and Assistant Scoutmasters Al, Brandon, Doc Whitaker and Mr. C.

“Without you all, we would be nothing,” the Scouts write.

Another thank you goes to the leaders of Troop 4’s affiliated Cub Scout pack, Pack 4. The Cub Scout program at St. Andrew’s Methodist Church had become dormant but is back and better than ever.

Now, the Cub Scouts below told me, “we have lots of fun in Scouting because of their caring.”

The Ninja Scout’s Scoutmaster in the Cascade Pacific Council

Jackson Meyer, the Eagle Scout who competed on the NBC reality competition show American Ninja Warrior, is joining the #ThankAScouter fun.

His appreciation goes to the Scoutmaster of Troop 642 of Seaside, Ore.

Without him, Jackson says, “I never would’ve achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I probably wouldn’t have made it past Tenderfoot.”

Watch Jackson’s video below:

More #ThankAScouter fun

The #ThankAScouter movement is a way to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week by thanking an adult leader you know.

Join the excitement by using that hashtag on social media, leaving some remarks below or emailing me your story.

Even more #ThankAScouter posts

Here are some more great comments from Facebook:

#ThankAScouter images to use and share

Feel free to use these Scouting magazine images on social media to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Bring your family to experience the 2017 National Jamboree as visitors

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Want to experience the fun of the 2017 National Jamboree but can’t be there for the whole 10 days?

Become a Jamboree visitor.

Bring your family or friends and live the adventure for a day or two — or more.

The Jamboree is July 19 to 28 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia; visitors are welcome July 21 to 27. The per-day visitor price? Less than half the cost of a day at Disney.

Learn more and buy your visitor passes today. Read on for additional details.

What can visitors do?

This year there are two types of visitors: observers and participants. It’s helpful to go over each separately.

What can observers do?

“Observer” visitors get to enjoy to the Summit Center, the hub of Jamboree activity. That means access to:

  • Stadium shows
  • Military exhibits
  • Conservation trail
  • Disabilities Awareness Area
  • Sustainability Treehouse
  • Merit badge areas
  • Retail shops
  • Food stores
  • Brownsea Island
  • A wide variety of other exhibits and displays

Visitor access to activities is based on availability. Activities may be closed because of unsafe weather conditions. Jamboree visitors can visit with participants, but visitors do not have access to the base camps or participant-only activity areas.

What can participants do?

For an additional cost, “participant” visitors can enjoy everything listed under observers, plus:

  • Boulder Cove (a bouldering area)
  • Challenge course
  • Skateboard plaza
  • Mountain biking
  • Climbing
  • BMX bike riding
When can I visit?

Visitor hours are:

Friday, July 21: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 22: 9 a.m. to end of show Sunday, July 23: 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, July 24: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 25: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 26: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (note the early closing time) How much does it cost?

What can I bring?

Do bring water bottles and a small daypack. Wearing sunscreen and a hat is a good idea, too.

Don’t bring a backpack, picnic basket or cooler.

Where do I park, and how do I get there?

You’ll park in a visitor lot and hop on the visitor shuttle to get to the entrance. Visitor shuttles run regularly, and the cost is included in your Jamboree pass.

Is there a video about Jamboree visitors that will get me really excited?

Yes! Here you go:

OK, I’m in. Where do I buy my tickets?

Learn more and buy your passes here. See you at the Jamboree!

What if I still have questions?

Email or call 972-580-2489.

Kicking & Screaming Episode 7 recap: ‘Fear Pong’

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The Fox reality show Kicking & Screaming pairs hardcore survivalists with people who have little experience in the outdoors. Now that Eagle Scout Terry Fossum has made it deep into the show, I’ll recap every episode until he’s eliminated … or wins?

New episodes air at 9/8 CT Thursdays on Fox. Note: The show is rated TV-14, so parents are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended.

Scouts will eat some weird things. Blueberry-chocolate pancakes, potato-chip hamburgers and spaghetti with ranch-dressing sauce. (I’ve seen — and tried — all three while on assignment for Boys’ Life and Scouting magazines.)

But even Scouts with the strongest stomachs might balk at eating worms, grubs and bat wings.

When $500,000 is on the line, though? Almost anything becomes edible. That appetizing decision faces the four remaining teams on Kicking & Screaming.

The Final Four includes the team that’s become the favorite of the entire Scouting community: Scoutmaster Terry and his partner Natalie, a pink-and-blue-haired professional gamer.

In six episodes, Terry has helped transform Natalie from someone who avoids the outdoors into a confident, happy camper.

“I play videogames for a living, so Day One coming here, I had not been outside in a long time,” she says. “But now I love this place called ‘outside.'”

Let’s find out how Terry and Natalie did in the penultimate episode. Set your dirty clothes by the campfire as I serve up your complete recap of Kicking & Screaming Episode 7: “Fear Pong.”

Spoilers follow.

Call him ‘mer-man’

For no reason at all, the contestants decide to turn Terry into a mermaid. They bury him under the sand and shape the sand into mermaid form.

They even carve a scaly pattern into Terry’s new tail, and Terry can’t help but think of Troop 400 back home.

“The boys in my troop are gonna laugh their butts off at this,” he says.

Exercising their ultimate power

Previously on Kicking & Screaming, Terry and Natalie won the elimination challenge against Jason and Elaine. But there was a twist in Episode 6: Nobody was eliminated.

Before the prize challenge begins in Episode 7, Terry and Natalie must send one team straight to the elimination challenge. It’s their reward after winning last week.

“You earned ultimate power,” says host Hannah Simone. “The decision you make could be the most important one of the game.”

“There is one team we believe to be the strongest among them all,” Terry says. “And if we have a chance not to go up against them, we’d like to take that chance not to.”

They choose Brady, a former Marine, and Claire, a former Miss Wyoming.

Let’s eat

Brady and Claire must sit out the prize challenge. The three other teams — Terry and Natalie, Ben and Juliana and Jason and Elaine — will compete for the prize: a few hours exploring Fiji’s coral reefs on a luxury yacht.

Five-star dining with a private chef on a yacht in Fiji?

Hey, just like a Scout trip!

Next, Hannah welcomes the teams and sets the stage.

“Survival in the jungle often comes down to eating things you would never normally eat,” she says.

So they’ll dine on stuff like grubs, worms and roasted bat wings.

Hey, just like a Scout trip!

Here’s how it will work: teams throw a softball-size pineapple toward another team’s bucket. Make the shot, and that bucket is gone. The team whose bucket is hit has to eat whatever’s under their bucket. Refuse to eat, and you lose. Lose all your buckets, and you lose.

Terry and Natalie pick Jason and Elaine first. Natalie sinks her shot in Jason and Elaine’s bucket, meaning Jason and Elaine get to eat … bat wings! Somewhere, Bruce Wayne is glowering.

Several rounds later, Hannah opens a tray to reveal 10 worms. Terry and Natalie must eat five each.

“The funky thing about these worms is, man, these suckers are active,” Terry says. “They’re jumping around, they’re trying to crawl off.”

They finish their 10 worms quickly. Later, it’s live grubs the size of rolls of quarters. After much squirming (from the contestants and the bugs), Terry and Natalie eat those as well.

“The body was squishy and gross,” Natalie says, “and I will never eat cream of corn again.”

Second place is just fine

Jason and Elaine are the first to lose all their buckets, so they’re off to the elimination challenge. Ben and Juliana win, so they’re off to enjoy the yacht.

For Terry and Natalie, a second-place finish is just fine. No five-star feast, but no elimination challenge either. They’re safe, and guaranteed a spot in the final three in next week’s season finale.

Translation: Scoutmaster Terry and professional gamer Natalie now have a 33.3 percent shot at a half-million bucks.

Jason and Elaine lose in a tough elimination challenge, meaning Terry and Natalie will face Brady and Claire and Ben and Juliana in the finale.

It’s been an entertaining, and strange, journey. I can’t wait to see how it all ends next Thursday night.

Stray observations
  • Loved this quote from Terry: “The most important factor in all of survival is attitude. Attitude is everything.”
  • Terry tells the group that smoke from a campfire is “great for killing the nasty smell in your clothes. Kills the bacteria.” Is that true?
Missed an episode?

Watch full episodes and learn more about Kicking and Screaming here.

At U.S. military academies, Eagle Scouts and former Scouts are everywhere

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Scouts who enter our nation’s military academies find themselves with a leg up on their classmates.

Leadership, patriotism and service? Those are characteristics Scouts are known for.

No surprise, then, that student applications from cadets and midshipmen at U.S. military academies reveal an impressive number of Eagle Scouts and former Scouts.

Here’s a look, academy by academy.

U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

There are 4,200 total cadets in the 2016/2017 class.

That includes:

  • 716 Scouts (17.0 percent)
  • 425 Eagle Scouts (10.1 percent)

Also worth noting:

  • The academy provides camping facilities to Scout groups. Learn more here.
  • The academy will send congratulatory letters to new Eagle Scouts. Go here for more.
U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.)

In April 2017, West Point released a class profile that averages data about cadets since 2012.

The academy admits an average of 1,183 cadets per class.

That includes:

  • 239 Eagle Scouts (20.2 percent)

Also worth noting:

  • The West Point Camporee, an invitation-only event sponsored by the U.S. Military Academy, is happening at the end of April. Activities include knot tying, a leadership reaction course, RB-15 (Zodiac) paddle, fire building, fitness challenge, Commander’s Challenge, land navigation, wilderness survival, first aid and more. Find more on the West Point Scoutmasters’ Council Facebook page and see this Boys’ Life video from the event.
U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.)

The Naval Academy keeps robust statistics on Scouting participation among its midshipmen.

In the Class of 2016, there were 918 male midshipmen.

That includes:

  • 186 Scouts (20.3 percent)
  • 109 Eagle Scouts (11.9 percent)

Also worth noting:

Detailed statistics on male midshipmen:

Class of… Class size Scouts Scouts % Eagle Scouts Eagle % 1988 1236 355 28.7% 87 7.0% 1989 1237 349 28.2% 97 7.8% 1990 1227 349 28.4% 85 6.9% 1991 1199 308 25.7% 104 8.7% 1992 1204 244 20.3% 84 7.0% 1993 1264 356 28.2% 119 9.4% 1994 1092 221 20.2% 83 7.6% 1995 990 279 28.2% 84 8.5% 1996 1069 314 29.4% 106 9.9% 1997 1015 276 27.2% 101 10.0% 1998 1018 250 24.6% 98 9.6% 1999 962 292 30.4% 138 14.3% 2000 1011 268 26.5% 114 11.3% 2001 961 252 26.2% 129 13.4% 2002 1036 228 22.0% 95 9.2% 2003 1029 278 27.0% 114 11.1% 2004 1021 257 25.2% 126 12.3% 2005 1040 267 25.7% 130 12.5% 2006 1025 264 25.8% 128 12.5% 2007 1019 248 24.3% 139 13.6% 2008 988 238 24.1% 140 14.2% 2009 990 230 23.2% 147 14.8% 2010 960 246 25.6% 129 13.4% 2011 948 239 25.2% 131 13.8% 2012 1005 232 23.1% 125 12.4% 2013 995 243 24.4% 133 13.4% 2014 988 208 21.1% 110 11.1% 2015 989 193 19.5% 95 9.6% 2016 918 186 20.3% 109 11.9% 2017 931 182 19.5% 100 10.7% 2018 896 184 20.5% 116 12.9% 2019 866 173 20.0% 118 13.6% 2020 852 147 17.3% 104 12.2% U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, N.Y.)

We have reached out to the Merchant Marine Academy and will update this post once we hear back.

In the meantime, here are the stats from the Class of 2014: 225 graduates, of whom 25 are Eagle Scouts. That’s 11.1 percent.

Worth noting:

  • The Merchant Marine Academy hosts the Kings Point Camporee this month, where some 300 Boy Scouts will participate in tours, hands-on demonstrations and simulations.
U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London, Conn.)

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not ask about Scouting participation on its applications.

Worth noting:

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Scott Olson for the data.

Before cancer took him, Scout wrote a powerful poem reminding us to live every day to its fullest

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Evan Mario Macrone never let cancer hold him back from enjoying Scouting.

And in a poem he wrote three months before he died, he encouraged all of us to let nothing hold us back from enjoying life.

The poem is at the bottom of this post, but I first wanted you to learn more about this incredible young man.

Evan’s remarkable life

Evan was just 11 when he got the diagnosis: an aggressive soft-tissue sarcoma. He endured 17 rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and several surgeries.

Through it all, he kept going to Scout meetings and attending campouts with Troop 22 of Tampa, Fla. He completed as many rank and merit badge requirements as he could, making it up to First Class. Even when a relapse forced Evan to use a wheelchair, that didn’t slow him down. He continued to show up at meetings, wearing his Scout uniform with pride.

Evan went to his final troop meeting on March 6. He died nine days later, at age 13. His family and his best Scout friend were by his side during those final moments.

On April 10, Troop 22 presented Evan’s family with the Spirit of the Eagle Award. The award recognizes the contributions of a Scout who died because of an illness or accident.

Evan’s second home

Evan’s favorite part of being a Boy Scout was camping. And his favorite place to camp was Camp Woodruff in northern Georgia.

Whether at camp or at a Scout meeting or in school, Evan was kind and friendly to all.

“He reached out to others who needed a friend when they may not have had one,” says his mom, Katherine.

It’s in that spirit that Evan’s mom, dad and two brothers established a campership in Evan’s name. It means that every summer, one Scout who might otherwise be unable to attend camp will get to go.

It’s what Evan would have wanted.

Evan’s parting thoughts

Evan wrote the poem below in early December. The message is powerfully clear: Squeeze as much as you can out of each and every day.

School Days: A Poem
by Evan Macrone

Throughout life I have learned
That you can’t stay clean on a camping trip
Even if you shower every day
That you can’t enjoy delectable doughnuts from Dough
Or pizza hot out of the oven
That you can’t avoid bites by bugs
From pesky gnats, ticks, and no-see-ums
And you can’t get a thick sanctuary from the weather
Just a stuffy, flimsy tent.

But you also can’t hike mountain trails
Go canoeing, kayaking, small-boat sailing,
Tubing, skiing, sightseeing, fishing,
Pioneering, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving
Cook meals for friends
Sleep under a night sky full of stars
If you are cooped up at home, hunched over,
Playing a video game
Or at school,
Taking an arbitrary test that will uniquely decide your future
Of being cooped up in an office till you croak.

So go and get out there
And maybe live a little
Cause God knows,
You could get cancer any day
Or get caught in a car accident
And how many days before that
Will you regret?

Unicorn Frappuccino? After that, Starbucks needs to introduce these 5 Scouting-themed Frappuccino flavors

Bryan On Scouting -

The fabled Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino is, apparently, a real thing.

Even a Scout or Scouter with the most pronounced sweet tooth might think twice. Starbucks says it’s “made with a sweet dusting of pink powder, blended into a crème Frappuccino with mango syrup and layered with a pleasantly sour blue drizzle.”

A sour mango drink? Yikes!

But of course I’ll try it once. Maybe four times.

This hullabaloo over the Unicorn Frappuccino got me thinking that Starbucks needs more Scouting-themed Frappuccino flavors.

The coffee chain offers a seasonal drink called the S’mores Frappuccino, which blends marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce and a graham cracker crumble.

It’s a campfire in a cup, and it’s quite tasty. That’s a good start, but here are five other flavors Starbucks must add to its menu immediately.

Peach Cobbler Frappuccino

This staple of Dutch oven cooking blends peaches, cinnamon, brown sugar and other ingredients into a gooey, delicious dessert.

A version of this you can enjoy through a straw? I’d buy one.

If the decision-makers at Starbucks need a recipe to convince them this is a good idea, here’s this beloved one from Scouting magazine.

Trail Mix Frappuccino

Dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and anything else you can munch on while hiking. That’s what makes a good trail mix.

To make a good Trail Mix Frappuccino? Just throw all that stuff in the blender and see what happens.

For ideas on what to put in the trail mix, check out this essential Boys’ Life guide.

Monkey Bread Frappuccino

Another Dutch oven favorite among Scouts is monkey bread — a mouthwatering breakfast concoction of baked, bite-size cinnamon dough.

For the drinkable version, Starbucks could take the best elements of monkey bread (cinnamon and brown sugar) and blend them with coffee. The twist would be the topping: monkey bread crumbles.

Maple Pancake Frappuccino

As a Scout, I loved making pancakes with my patrol. If it was Saturday morning, we were flipping flapjacks.

Maple-flavored coffee is already a thing, and this Frappuccino would add little bits of actual pancake to that pleasant pairing.

The only downside: Starbucks would need to supply extra-wide straws for maximum pancake enjoyment.

Caramel Popcorn Frappuccino

A little salty and a little sweet, a caramel popcorn drink could be a lot good.

The Scouts are known for selling popcorn, so this one’s a great fit.

Oh, and idea: a portion of every purchase benefits local Scouting? (It doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Now it’s your turn

What Scouting-themed Frappuccino flavors would you add to this list? Make your case in the comments.


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