Scouting News from the Internet

West Virginian meets ‘nice, polite kids’ who ‘do the BSA and Utah proud!’

Bryan On Scouting -

It could’ve been a diner’s worst nightmare.

All Becky Bush of West Virginia wanted to do was enjoy a nice meal at the Golden Corral in Parkersburg, W.Va.

Then 350 hungry, Jamboree-bound Boy Scouts and leaders started flooding in, with at least 30 already in line in front of Bush. So much for a relaxing dining experience, she must have thought. And then something unexpected happened.

“I was willing to wait my turn,” Bush writes. “One of your leaders motioned me to go ahead. They’d already allowed an elderly lady on a walker ahead. I spoke to a leader and a couple of Scouts. I learned they were all the way from Utah. They’d also gotten to visit D.C.”

As the meal continued, Bush noticed these weren’t typical teens. They were friendly, courteous and kind. They were Scouts.

Bush was so impressed that she sought out the Utah National Parks Council Facebook page to praise the Scouts and leaders. She left a public comment saying how the Scouts were “all very quiet. Happy with anticipation, but not running or thrashing around.”

“Those sweet Boy Scouts of all ages were delightful,” Bush continues. “As a West Virginian I welcomed them. I hope they have a ‘Wild, Wonderful West Virginia’ Scouting experience! Those nice, polite kids do the BSA and Utah proud!”

With the 2017 National Jamboree beginning today, Bush’s story is a nice reminder that the 31,000 staffers and participants are guests here in West Virginia. It’s nice to see that we’re making a good impression on the locals.

 

10 ways to Leave No Trace when climbing

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Scouts always leave a place better than they found it.

Whenever departing a campground, park or hiking trail, Scouts try to erase any trace they were there.

This is friendly, courteous and kind to others. And it maintains Scouting’s century-old reputation as responsible users of public lands.

But what about when climbing outdoors? How do you Leave No Trace doing this popular activity with your Scout troop or Venturing crew?

The answer will help Boy Scouts meet requirement 2 of the Climbing merit badge. It comes from our friends at the Jeep brand and the Access Fund.

A big hand for climbers

As the Jeep brand’s conservation partner, the Access Fund is committed to protecting and supporting America’s outdoor climbing areas. The Access Fund says one in five climbing areas in the U.S. is threatened, which is bad news for any Scout or Venturer who loves to spend time outside.

The Access Fund is doing more than talking. They’re hitting the road in a fleet of Jeep Cherokees, traveling the country from climbing area to climbing area to preserve and protect what’s there.

They call it the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team. The group has visited 32 states so far, working with volunteers and paid crews at each stop.

Speaking of, you’re invited to volunteer at an Access Fund event. It’s a fun, meaningful way to record service hours. Just check this calendar to find out when the Conservation Team will be near you.

Future generations of climbers will thank you.

10 ways to Leave No Trace when climbing

You can have an immediate impact on the climbing community by following this advice from the Access Fund.

1. Learn the local climbing culture.

No two climbing cultures are exactly alike. Before you head out on a climbing trip, contact a local climbing organization or visit a local climbing gym or gear shop. They can tell you about any special considerations newbies might not know.

2. Keep a low profile when climbing as a group.

Climbing with fellow Scouts or Venturers is fun, but large groups can create a larger impact on a site. Break into smaller groups of no more than six or eight people. Keep gear confined to the smallest possible area.

3. Place your gear in the right place.

Your gear, including backpacks, water bottles and more, should be placed close to the cliff — not at the edge of the staging area. Avoid placing gear on vegetation; instead stow it on durable surfaces like rocks or hard-packed dirt.

4. Leave your music in the car.

While it may not leave a permanent physical impact, playing music while climbing (or hiking, for that matter) diminishes the experience for other climbers. Instead, tune in to Mother Nature’s natural sounds.

5. Do not touch or climb on pictograms or petroglyphs.

Take only pictures. Leave only footprints. Don’t mess up any culturally significant artifacts you come across. This means never touching or climbing on pictograms or petroglyphs.

6. Clean up and brush off chalk.

Climbers use chalk to improve their grip on the rock. When doing so, it’s important to clean up any chalk spills and brush away any tick marks with a soft toothbrush. This keeps the rock looking nice for future climbers — or for anyone who happens to walk by and give the crag a glance.

7. Pack out trash.

No trash can at your climbing spot? That just means it’s the right kind of remote. Pack out everything, including fruit peels and food waste.

8. Know where (and how) to go No. 2.

Use toilets when you can — even if that means hiking a little farther. In remote and heavily forested areas, a cathole is a great option. But once you’re out in the desert, where the soils lack the microorganisms to break down human waste, get yourself used to using a waste disposal bag and carrying your waste out.

9. Be considerate of other climbers.

When climbing, you represent two tight-knit communities: Scouts and climbers. That’s a big responsibility. Respecting others means sharing the space and being friendly.

10. Camp in an established campsite.

Done climbing for the day? Look for sites that have already been established. Creating a new campsite widens your impact on the land.

Visit Jeep and the Access Fund at the 2017 Jamboree

If you’ll be at the 2017 National Jamboree this month, don’t miss the interactive Jeep trailer and new Jeep vehicles in the Boulder Cove area.

Climb in the vehicles and take a photo to share your Jamboree experience with friends.

Reps from Jeep brand and the Access Fund will talk about their climbing access and trail work.

The 2017 National Jamboree is finally here, and the staff and site are ready

Bryan On Scouting -

On Wednesday, some 25,000 Jamboree participants will join the 6,000 staffers already onsite at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.

Volunteer staff members, who expended their own money and vacation time to be here, have spent the past weeks, months and years preparing for this quadrennial event.

It’s all about to pay off.

When that first youth participant arrives, the 2017 National Jamboree will have officially begun. The 31,000 Scouts and Scouters here will become West Virginia’s third-largest city, behind only Charleston and Huntington.

A Jamboree campsite sits ready for Scouts to arrive. A trail of buses

As the sun comes up on Wednesday, the buses will arrive. A fleet of 600 buses will deliver Scouts and Venturers to their mountain home for the next nine nights. They’ll unload gear, assemble tents and begin to make new friends.

“Those kids are going to have a great time,” says Jamboree Director Matt Myers. “Kids from Alaska are going to get to know kids from Alabama, and kids from New Mexico are going to get to know kids from New York. And they’re going to realize that we are one group.”

BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh says Jamboree participants are in for 10 days of give-it-everything-you-have fun. These are memories Scouts will be retelling to classmates, friends, and, yes, even their grandkids some day.

“Parents made a wise decision in sending their kids to us,” he says. “We’re going to make sure they have a great time.”

The Jamboree Band perfects its sound. A changed young man or young woman

While the Scouts and Venturers enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, moms and dads back home can follow the fun through blog posts here, a number of other social media channels and, hopefully, a few text messages from their kids.

Dr. Glenn Ault, a volunteer who serves as administration chairman for the National Jamboree, discussed how a Jamboree changes a Scout.

“It’s about meeting other people. It’s about opening your mind to other ways and other experiences,” Ault says. “Parents will be surprised when their kids get back home. And I hope parents engage with their child and ask them, ‘What changed? What experiences did you have? What are you going to take away from this?'”

Surbaugh adds that parents will be shocked when they suddenly don’t have to tell their kids to clean up their room or take out the trash or help with the dishes.

“These are things that just start to happen because they had a growth experience here,” he says. “They will experience literally thousands of little acts of kindness that happen with each other.”

The Aerial Sports staff attends training. A Scouting tradition

This is the 20th National Jamboree, continuing a tradition of holding this celebration of Scouting’s adventures that has taken place about every four years since 1937. At that first Jamboree, Scouts set up tents on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and were visited by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Jamborees between 1937 and 2010 were held at various sites in Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, Idaho and Virginia.

The 2013 National Jamboree was the first held here at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, the BSA’s fourth and newest national high-adventure base.

Surbaugh says the BSA has made improvements across SBR’s 10,600 acres. That’s one benefit of having a permanent Jamboree home — you don’t have to start from scratch every time.

“The plan was to have a site that we could have continuous improvement,” he says. “Every Jamboree gets a little better.”

I hadn’t visited SBR since 2013, and I noticed the changes right away. The new permanent structures are gorgeous. The AT&T Wi-Fi is speedy. The shuttles take you where you need to go. And the temperature of the staff showers? Quite pleasant indeed.

“You’ll see a lot of differences. The site itself and the facilities have improved,” Surbaugh says. “We learned a lot, and we’re able to make the experience better for Scouts, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Scuba Team takes organization to new heights (depths?).

Photos via Al Drago and other members of BSA photo team. See more here.

All the ways to follow the 2017 National Jamboree from your phone or laptop

Bryan On Scouting -

The 2017 National Jamboree will be the most-shared Jamboree in history.

Scouts, Venturers, staffers and visitors will write blog updates, stream live video and post to a number of social networks, including some that were relatively unknown four years ago at the 2013 National Jamboree.

Those lucky enough to experience the Jamboree in person are in for an unforgettable 10 days. Those who use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and more to follow along from home or the office? They’re getting the next best thing.

Here, the full list of the sites, hashtags and social network accounts you need to follow.

Blogs and websites
  • Bryan on Scouting blog: You’re in the right place to find my coverage of the 2017 Jamboree. This will be my sixth National Jamboree (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2017), but the experience never gets old. I’ll share interesting stories about what I see as I explore the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
  • Boys’ Life Hometown Media: At the Boys’ Life Media Experience within the Scott Summit Center, Scouts and Venturers can share their first-person Jamboree experience with local news organizations back home. We’ll post those and other stories — all written by Scouts and Venturers — at the BL Jamboree page linked here.
  • BSA Flickr: Experience the 2017 National Jamboree in photos on the BSA’s official Flickr page. A fleet of volunteer photographers will update the page regularly with their favorite shots.
Facebook

Official hashtag: #2017Jambo

Accounts to like:

Twitter

Official hashtag: #2017Jambo

Accounts to follow:

Instagram

Official hashtag: #2017Jambo

Accounts to follow:

Snapchat

Accounts to follow:

Tap “Add Friends” then “Username” to add the accounts below.

  • Bryan on Scouting: bryanonscouting
  • Boy Scouts of America: theboyscouts
  • Order of the Arrow: oa-bsa

To quickly add the Boy Scouts as a friend on Snapchat, use the Snapcode below:

Live streaming video
  • Boys’ Life Live From the Jamboree
    • A half-hour recap of the day’s Jamboree fun, hosted by Maggie McCulloch and Sean Foy, two youth Jamboree staffers. We’ll share in-depth interviews, fascinating stories and a unique perspective on the 2017 Jamboree.
    • When: 6 p.m. ET daily, beginning July 19
    • Where: The Boys’ Life Facebook page
  • Jamboree Tonight
    • 2017 Order of the Arrow National Chief Forrest Gertin and National Venturing President Michelle Merritt will host a livestream that will recap the day, feature interviews with Scouts and Scouters, and highlight important parts of the next day.
    • When: 9:30 p.m. ET daily
    • Where: At this link and on the main 2017 Jamboree social media channels.

In ‘Chasing Coral’ on Netflix, Eagle Scout filmmaker documents coral reef decline

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Eagle Scout Jeff Orlowski will travel to the ends of the earth to document the ways our planet is transforming.

For his award-winning 2012 documentary Chasing Ice, he visited disappearing glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Alaska.

For his 2017 follow-up, Chasing Coral, Orlowski traveled somewhere completely different: underwater. The documentary debuts on Netflix today.

Orlowski talked to experts who say that a two-degree rise in global water temperatures is causing coral to die.

But seeing is believing, and so Orlowski and his team spent more than three years visiting 30 different countries to document changes in coral. They spent more than 650 hours underwater.

Along the way, Orlowski met the inventors of a special time-lapse camera that can show stressed-out coral turning white over time — a process known as coral bleaching that typically kills the coral.

Stressed-out coral? Yes, that’s a real thing. It’s worth remembering that corals aren’t plants. They’re animals.

In Chasing Coral, Orlowski uses a macro lens to give us extreme close-ups of these fascinating creatures. Coral looks like something from outer space, but it’s from our world.

When these marine invertebrates experience changes in temperature, light or nutrients, they turn white and, if nothing is done to reverse the process, die off completely. In Chasing Coral, Orlowski shows this transformation through stunning photography and startling suspense.

Early reviews of Chasing Coral are very strong.

The Hollywood Reporter said: “Even for those limited to swimming virtually among parrot fish and sea turtles over vast marine ecosystems of astonishing color and complexity, this superbly crafted documentary is likely to wield an unexpected emotional charge.”

Chasing the story

National Eagle Scout Association members might recognize Orlowski’s name. He was featured on the cover of the Winter 2014 issue of Eagles’ Call, NESA’s official magazine.

In that story, which you can read here, Orlowski discusses how he traveled to remote glaciers to document their demise for Chasing Ice.

“We are really shifting people’s opinions,” Orlowski told writer Mark Ray. “They come and see the film, and they leave the theater understanding what’s going on for the first time. We’ve seen very, very profound shifts in audience members after one exposure to the film.”

Orlowski screened Chasing Ice at Sundance as well as for Congress, the White House and the United Nations. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song (“Before My Time,” performed by Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell) and won a 2014 News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Programming.

Chasing Coral trailer

How to make sure your Order of the Arrow lodge’s history isn’t just a thing of the past

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In some Order of the Arrow lodges, the practice of keeping detailed records about lodge events is ancient history. A lack of time or interest has left large holes in these lodges’ historical narratives.

But all is not lost.

A new generation of Arrowmen has realized that studying a lodge’s past can help the OA grow in the future. The OA is Scouting’s national honor society, and when it grows, Scouting does too.

To help Arrowmen gather, preserve and showcase their history, the OA has released its Lodge History Resource Guide. The 73-page guide, available here as a PDF, was written by some of the best lodge historians in OA history.

Among the topics covered:

  • Assembly of lodge collections
  • Preservation of historical donations, memorabilia and materials
  • Considerations for maintenance and succession planning of lodge history work
  • How to write about history
  • How to conduct an oral history
  • Historical presentation and aesthetics
  • Historical exhibit design and construction
  • Steps for developing an engaging lodge history website
  • Using photography in a written history

Kenneth P. Davis, an Arrowman who sits on the National OA Committee, writes the guide’s foreword and includes these thoughts on why time spent preserving OA history is time well spent:

So your commitment to good history at the lodge level helps ensure commitment to success by preserving the local heritage and promoting future success based in part on a valuable and remembered tradition of lodge good works.

In the end, good OA history makes lodges better and more willing to continue the successes of our first century into the future for the good of all our members, our councils and our nation at large. It is an important job and one I hope every Arrowman will want to have some part in.

To get started, check out the Lodge History Resource Guide.

FDR’s radio address before canceled 1935 National Jamboree still resonates today

Bryan On Scouting -

It was supposed to be the largest gathering of Boy Scouts ever.

Some 30,000 Boy Scouts from every point of the compass were to gather in Washington for the first-ever National Scout Jamboree, set to begin Aug. 21, 1935.

“But the best-laid plans,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “sometimes go awry.”

As excitement builds for the 2017 National Jamboree, I thought we’d look back at the very first Jamboree. The Jamboree that wasn’t.

The bad news

The culprit was a serious outbreak of infantile paralysis — now better known as polio. The U.S. Public Health Service, consulting with officials from D.C. and surrounding states, told the BSA that holding a Jamboree might be a bad idea.

The BSA agreed, and the cancellation announcement came Aug. 8.

On Aug. 21, Roosevelt was set to address Scouts in person on the Jamboree’s opening day. Thousands of Scouts would have lined Constitution Avenue for his official review. After that, Roosevelt would’ve hosted Scouts and Scouters for a party on the White House lawn.

But then polio happened. And so instead of an in-person address, Roosevelt made use of “that modern wonder, the radio, to accomplish his purpose,” as the announcer with WABC radio of New York put it.

The ensuing radio address, broadcast from the White House, is now part of the National Archives and can be heard in its entirety here or read at the end of this post.

A president speaks

The listening audience would have included a large percentage of the millions of Scouts and Scouters who were BSA members in 1935. Many gathered at their troop meeting places to listen together.

Millions more non-Scouts no doubt tuned in as well, getting an unexpected earful about Scouting’s awesome power.

The speech, despite being more than 80 years old, includes comments about Scouting that still hold true today.

“Scouting is essentially and clearly a program for the development of that unselfish, cooperative attitude of mind,” Roosevelt said. “Scouting revolves around not the mere theory of service to others but the habit of service to others.”

Scouting instills in young people values of service and citizenship, Roosevelt explained. Those skills weren’t then — and still aren’t — commonly found in under-18 Americans.

“Even before you become of voting age, you actually have a part in civic affairs, and you bear a responsibility in your home communities,” he told the Scouts.

Not holding back

Scouting, the president continued, encourages young people to head outside and become more comfortable in nature.

“Do not ever fall out with nature and her wide-open breathing spaces,” Roosevelt said. “Love them. They will sustain and strengthen you in later years when confining circumstances of life may tend to narrow the spirit or the soul that is in you.”

He also was reminded of a saying in the U.S. Navy: “the speed of a fleet is no greater than the speed of the slowest ship.”

In life, Roosevelt said, there are people who pull you down through negativity or laziness. Don’t be those people, Roosevelt told the Scouts.

“When you go out into life, you have come to understand that the individual in your community who always says ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t’ or ‘I don’t,’ the individual who by inaction or by opposition slows up honest, practical, far-seeing community effort, is the fellow who is holding back civilization and holding back the objectives of the Constitution of the United States,” he said.

Roosevelt ended his remarks with hopes that another Jamboree could be scheduled “for some time in the future.”

Two years later

The president didn’t have to wait long.

At the 1937 National Jamboree, held 80 years ago this summer, Roosevelt watched Scouts build a city of tents in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

I’ll let Scouting magazine (March-April 2003) pick up the story from here:

Scouts were greeted at their campsites with copies of the Jamboree Journal, a photograph of FDR on page one. The president’s message of greeting praised Scouting as a great source of training in the virtues of good citizenship.

FDR gave his personal attention to the huge gathering. After taking 12 Eagle Scouts to baseball’s annual major-league all-star game, he toured the jamboree site. Accompanied by James West and National Scout Commissioner Dan Beard, he stopped at the Sea Scouts’ camp and then visited the Scouts from Duchess County, N.Y., whose construction of a large replica of the Roosevelt family home at Hyde Park, N.Y., attracted his attention.

The president, from his touring car, awarded an Eagle badge, spoke with leaders, examined some handicrafts, and posed for photographs. As his car moved out of the jamboree site, many Scouts swarmed around it, seeking a look at the president.

The jamboree concluded with a “grand national review.” A procession of automobiles reviewed a two-mile assembly of Scouts on both sides of Constitution Avenue.

Full remarks: FDR on canceling the 1935 National Jamboree

Fellow Scouts, for more than a year I have been looking forward to taking part in the great National Scout Jamboree to be held here in Washington, but the best-laid plans sometimes go awry.

A splendid program and a wonderful camp have been prepared for the reception of 30,000 Boy Scouts and Scouters in the national capitol.

You were coming here from every point of the compass, and in addition to the American Scouts, our brother Scouts from 27 other nations had accepted invitations to send delegations.

But, alas, a rather serious epidemic of infantile paralysis arose in the vicinity of Washington, and on Aug. 8, the United States Public Health Service and the health officers of the district and the nearby states concluded that to hold the Jamboree would be a hazard and a danger.

With great reluctance, therefore, we had to call it off.

Except for this unfortunate happening, I would’ve reviewed this day the thousands of Scouts lined up the whole lengths of Constitution Avenue. And later we would’ve had a party on the White House lawn.

I want you in your own hometowns tonight to know how sorry I am that I cannot be with you myself. I am in spirit with each and every one of your gatherings tonight. You boys, old and young, in every part of this broad land, present Scouts and former Scouts, your numbers running into the millions, you constitute a very real part of our American citizenship.

We are bound together — together in a democracy operating under a Constitution whose purpose was and is to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

The success of that Constitution is dependent on the attitude of mind and the degree of the spirit of unselfish cooperation that can be developed in individuals.

Scouting is essentially and clearly a program for the development of that unselfish, cooperative attitude of mind. Scouting revolves around not the mere theory of service to others but the habit of service to others.

Scouting makes the individual boy conscious of his obligation to his patrol, to his troop, to his community, to his state and to his nation.

Even before you become of voting age, you actually have a part in civic affairs, and you bear a responsibility in your home communities. We older citizens are very proud of the many contributions that individual Scouts and Scout organizations have made to the relief of suffering, the relief of the needy, to the maintenance of good order and good health, and to the furtherance of good citizenship and good government.

You who are active Scouts are, in addition, learning many, many useful things. Knowledge that will stay with you all the rest of your lives. You are having opportunities to fall in love with and understand the great outdoors. Do not ever fall out with nature and her wide-open breathing spaces. Love them. They will sustain and strengthen you in later years when confining circumstances of life may tend to narrow the spirit or the soul that is in you.

I do not have to tell you to throw yourselves with all the enthusiasm and energy that you have into your Scout work. Into the programs of your patrols, your troops and your councils.

But I do want to express to you the very deep hope that when you grow older and get out into the stream of life, you will retain that same enthusiasm and energy, and that you will apply it to every day and every year that you live.

Our Scout Motto — Be Prepared — applies just as much to the wider service which is your opportunity when your full civic responsibilities are attained. And just as you are individually a necessary part of your patrol or troop today, so will you become necessary parts of the citizenship of your communities.

I do not have to remind you that one individual who lags behind slows up the whole troop. In the United States Navy, we had an old saying, that the speed of a fleet is no greater than the speed of the slowest ship.

When you go out into life, you have come to understand that the individual in your community who always says “I can’t” or “I won’t” or “I don’t,” the individual who by inaction or by opposition slows up honest, practical, far-seeing community effort, is the fellow who is holding back civilization and holding back the objectives of the Constitution of the United States.

We need more Scouts. The more the better. For the record shows that taking it by and large, boys trained as Scouts make good citizens.

I hope that a Jamboree in place of the one that we missed this year will be planned for some time in the future.

And in the meantime, fellow Scouts, I send you my warm greetings, personally and as the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America.

Good luck to you, each and every one. And carry on.

Whitewater Rafting BSA award just around the bend

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The best part about whitewater rafting with your Scout troop or Venturing crew: every seat is in the splash zone.

The thrill and challenge of whitewater rafting inspired the Whitewater Rafting BSA award. It is the BSA’s eighth and newest aquatics award and will be available later this year for youth and adult members of Boy Scout, Varsity, Venturing or Sea Scout units.

The official requirements, which will be posted online at the BSA Aquatics Program page later this year, will focus on safety and basic paddling skills for whitewater up to Class III.

Note: This isn’t one you can go out and earn on your own. Instruction and skill completion must be supervised by a professionally trained or licensed rafting guide. A qualified raft captain must be in the raft during the trip. To earn the award, you’ll need to help paddle and steer the raft; simply riding in a raft rowed by a guide won’t count.

Scouts and Venturers who participate in whitewater rafting at the 2017 National Jamboree later this month will be among the first who are eligible to earn this award.

Patches and pocket cards are in production and will be available at scoutstuff.org and in local Scout Shops later this season. A support brochure is also planned.

The patch, seen in mock-up form at the top of this post, will be worn on swimming trunks.

BSA aquatics awards

The Whitewater Rafting BSA award is a logical addition to the BSA’s existing aquatics award offerings:

Boardsailing BSA Kayaking BSA BSA Lifeguard Mile Swim BSA Scuba BSA Snorkeling BSA BSA Stand Up
Paddleboarding 

 

Revised campout requirements for Second Class, First Class take effect Aug. 1, 2017

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The number of overnight campouts required for a young man to earn the Second Class and First Class ranks will be reduced under new requirements that take effect Aug. 1, 2017.

But the total number of camping nights a Boy Scout will experience in the program as he progresses toward the rank of Eagle Scout will not change.

In 2016, alongside the release of the 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, the BSA increased the number of campouts required for Second Class to three since joining from two. It increased the number of campouts required for First Class to six since joining from three.

The Aug. 1, 2017, revisions return the number of overnight campouts to pre-2016 levels but preserve the amount of time spent outdoors. The change, the BSA says, maintains a focus on life-changing outdoors experiences while recognizing that not all outdoor activities need to include overnight camping.

Hikes, service projects and outdoor-heavy merit badges like Geocaching and Orienteering add to the adventure of being a first-year Scout.

The changes leave untouched the Eagle-required Camping merit badge, which calls for at least 20 nights of camping. Because all camping nights since becoming a Scout can be used for this requirement — even those that count toward Second Class and First Class — the effect is that the total number of camping nights required to become an Eagle Scout is unchanged.

And of course these are minimum overnight campout requirements. Many Scouts will choose to camp more frequently.

What’s the change?   Rank Current Requirement  New Requirement as of Aug. 1, 2017 Second Class 1a. Since joining, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, three of which include overnight camping.  These five activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On at least two of the three campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee). 1a. Since joining Boy Scouts, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors.  Of the outdoor activities, at least two must include overnight camping.  These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee. First Class 1a. Since joining, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, six of which include overnight camping.  These 10 activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On at least five of the six campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee). 1a. Since joining Boy Scouts, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors.  Of the outdoor activities, at least three must include overnight camping.  These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee. When do the changes take effect?

Aug. 1, 2017.

Can I still use the old requirements?

Generally, yes. Whenever there are requirement changes after the release of the Boy Scout Requirements Book or the Boy Scout Handbook, the Scout has until the following Jan. 1 to decide what to do (see Guide to Advancement topic 4.0.0.1).

It is the Scout’s decision.

In this specific case, a Scout choosing to use the old requirements would, in doing so, fulfill the new requirement.

What about Star, Life and Eagle?

There aren’t camping requirements for those ranks, because to become an Eagle Scout a young man must earn the Camping merit badge, which has its own camping requirements.

Requirement 9a for the Camping merit badge states:

Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement, including those used to fulfill the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class.

The way Scouts earn Eagle Palms is about to change

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Eagle Palms are bronze, gold and silver awards presented to young men who earn five, 10, 15 or more merit badges beyond the 21 required to become an Eagle Scout.

This week, the BSA has announced significant changes to the way Scouts earn Eagle Palms. The modifications take effect Aug. 1, 2017.

The changes bring Eagle Palm requirements in line with the needs of older Scouts. The National Boy Scouting Subcommittee has eliminated unnecessary obstacles, such as the Eagle Palm board of review, and expanded the definition of active participation.

But the biggest change affects young men who haven’t yet earned Eagle. Beginning Aug. 1, all earned Palms may be awarded instantly to new Eagle Scouts at their Eagle court of honor. This abolishes the wait of months or years for these young men to receive all Palms available to them.

Here’s a look at what’s changing. Below that, an in-depth guide to the new Eagle Palm requirements.

What’s changing?
  1. A new Eagle Scout can instantly receive, alongside his Eagle medal, all Eagle Palms he has earned for merit badges completed before he became an Eagle Scout. These Palms recognize additional merit badges earned before completing the Eagle board of review. Previously, an Eagle Scout needed to wait three months between each Palm — even if he earned the extra merit badges before becoming an Eagle. This meant that, under the old rules, a young man who became an Eagle Scout at 17 years and 10 months, was mathematically unable to earn any Eagle Palms.
    • Example: Glenn, a 16-year-old Life Scout, has 36 merit badges at the time of his Eagle Scout board of review — 15 more than required. Previously, he would’ve needed to wait three months after his Eagle board of review to receive his Bronze Palm, another three months for his Gold Palm and another three for his Silver Palm. Under the new rules, he can get that Silver Palm (representing 15 additional merit badges) along with his Eagle medal at his Eagle Scout court of honor. No wait required.
    • Note: After becoming an Eagle Scout and receiving the Palms already earned, additional Palms may be earned by completing the revised requirements, including the three months tenure between awarding each Palm.
  2. The three-month tenure requirement has been expanded to allow active participation in any BSA program — not just the troop and patrol.
    • This recognizes that as some Scouts get older, their Scouting participation shifts to the Order of the Arrow, summer camp staff or elsewhere.
  3. The leadership requirement has been broadened to include “accepting responsibility” as well as “demonstrating leadership.”
  4. The Eagle Palm board of review has been eliminated.
    • Eagle Palms are not ranks, so the Eagle Palm board of review was seen as an unnecessary step. A unit leader conference is deemed to be sufficient and may be conducted at any time during the tenure requirement.
Eagle Palms: the official requirements

These are effective Aug. 1, 2017.

After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional 5 merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review. For these Palms only, it will not be necessary for you to complete any of the requirements stated below.

After becoming an Eagle Scout, you may earn additional Palms by completing the following requirements.

  1. Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the last Palm was earned. **
  2. Since earning the Eagle Scout rank or your last Eagle Palm, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life.
  3. Continue to set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability.
  4. Earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle or last Palm. ***
  5. While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference. *

Notes

*For Varsity Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “Varsity Scout Coach.” For Venturers working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “crew Advisor.”  For Sea Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements, replace “Scoutmaster” with “Skipper.”

**Eagle Palms must be earned in sequence, and the three-month tenure requirement must be observed for each Palm.

***Merit badges earned any time since becoming a Boy Scout may be used to meet this requirement.

Eagle Palms: the official requirements, annotated

Here are those same requirements annotated.

  • The new requirements are in green. Remember, these take effect Aug. 1, 2017.
  • The old requirements are in red.
  • Notes in orange explain why each change was made. The text comes from the National Boy Scouting Subcommittee.

After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional 5 merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review. For these Palms only, it will not be necessary for you to complete any of the requirements stated below.

By implementing this proposal, a Scout can be recognized with an Eagle Palm(s) for the extra work he has put into earning merit badges and acquiring additional education prior to earning the rank of Eagle Scout regardless of his age at the time he earns the rank of Eagle Scout. If the Eagle Scout has sufficient time remaining before his 18th birthday, he can then continue to earn additional Eagle Palms by completing the following proposed requirements.

After becoming an Eagle Scout, you may earn additional Palms by completing the following requirements.

1. Be active in the Boy Scouts of America for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the last Palm was earned. 

1. Be active in your troop and patrol for at least three months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after award of last Palm

Requirement 1 has been changed to include being active in the “Boy Scouts of America” instead of just “troop and patrol.” This allows a Scout to receive active participation time credit for programs such as the OA, Venturing, serving on camp staff, NYLT and NAYLE staff etc. In addition, participation in positive non-Scouting activities can be given consideration, as explained in topic 4.2.3.1 of the Guide to Advancement. This significantly broadens the opportunity for Scouts to stay involved in Scouting or other character-building activities and receive consideration toward earning additional Palms after earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

2. Since earning the Eagle Scout rank or your last Eagle Palm, demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God and how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life.

Requirement 2 is unchanged.

3. Continue to set a satisfactory example of accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability.

3. Make a satisfactory effort to develop and demonstrate leadership ability.

Requirement 3 has been updated to include accepting responsibility as well as demonstrating leadership ability. This is not as restrictive as the current requirement, which focuses only on leadership. It is reasonable to make this change because Scouts can achieve Eagle Scout rank by serving in a position of responsibility rather than just serving in a leadership position. Accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership should be sufficient. If a young man demonstrates leadership, we can assume that at some point he developed it.

4. Earn five additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle or last Palm.

Requirement 4 is unchanged.

5. While an Eagle Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

Requirement 5 is unchanged, expect for the addition of this footnote: For Varsity Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “Varsity Scout Coach.” For Venturers working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “crew Advisor.” For Sea Scouts working on Boy Scout requirements replace “Scoutmaster” with “Skipper.”

6. There isn’t a No. 6 under the new requirements.

6. Successfully complete your board of review for the Eagle Palm.

Requirement 6 has been eliminated. A Palm is an award to recognize achievement beyond the rank of Eagle Scout. It is not a rank itself, so it is not necessary to have a board of review. It also generates confusion, becomes a barrier to recognition because delays can result in a Scout being short of time to earn another Palm, and is one more duty for a unit advancement committee which should be devoting more attention to building advancement throughout the unit. These are Eagle Scouts; they’ve already reached the pinnacle. They represent youth with whom we have most likely already achieved our aims. Approval of the unit leader is sufficient.

The right way to wear a combination of palms

The Bronze Palm represents the first five merit badges beyond the 21 required for Eagle. The Gold Palm represents the next five (10 total), and the Silver Palm the third five (15 total).

After that, you’ll combine multiple Palms. While qualifying Eagle Scouts can wear multiple Silver Palms, they should never wear more than 1 Bronze or 1 Gold Palm. You’ll see why in this handy chart that shows the proper Palm combinations.

Total number of merit badges Number beyond minimum Palm combination 21 0 None 26 5 1 Bronze 31 10 1 Gold 36 15 1 Silver 41 20 1 Bronze, 1 Silver 46 25 1 Gold, 1 Silver 51 30 2 Silver 56 35 1 Bronze, 2 Silver 61 40 1 Gold, 2 Silver 66 45 3 Silver 71 50 1 Bronze, 3 Silver 76 55 1 Gold, 3 Silver 81 60 4 Silver 86 65 1 Bronze, 4 Silver 91 70 1 Gold, 4 Silver 96 75 5 Silver 101 80 1 Bronze, 5 Silver 106 85 1 Gold, 5 Silver 111 90 6 Silver 116 95 1 Bronze, 6 Silver 121 100 1 Gold, 6 Silver 126 105 7 Silver 131 110 1 Bronze, 7 Silver 136 115 1 Gold, 7 Silver Answers to your questions about the changes

Following are some questions and answers regarding the new requirements. These were provided by the National Boy Scouting Subcommittee.

Q: Why were these changes made at this time?

A: The BSA has a longstanding policy and tradition of quickly recognizing Scouts for their achievements. In the case of Eagle Palms, many Scouts were not receiving any recognition for the extra work they were doing by earning additional merit badges.

Q: Why are these requirement changes being implemented immediately instead of waiting until the Boy Scout Requirements book is published in 2018?

A: This is consistent with any other requirement change introduced mid-year. The intent is to allow the greater flexibility of the new requirements to be used as soon as possible so more Scouts can take advantage of them.

Q: Can a Scout who completed his Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1 go back and receive Palms for merit badges he has already completed?

A: No, the change to allow awarding Palms as described above is not retroactive. If the Scout still has eligibility remaining, he may continue to earn Palms by completing the new requirements.

Q: Other than having completed at least five additional merit badges before his Eagle board of review, does a Scout have to complete any additional requirements for a Palm to be awarded immediately after he is validated as an Eagle Scout?

A: No, there are no additional requirements to complete if a Scout is to receive Eagle Palms based on the merit badges he earned before his Eagle Scout Board of Review.

Q: After becoming an Eagle Scout and receiving any Eagle Palms he might be entitled to, how does a Scout earn additional Palms?

A: By completing the revised requirements.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of Eagle Palms a Scout can immediately qualify for following his Eagle Scout board of review and verification by the National Service Center?

A: No limit. So long as the Scout has completed the required number of merit badges, he may apply to receive the equivalent number of Palms.

Q: How does the Scout apply to obtain any Palms he might be entitled to receive?

A: Eagle Palms may be reported by the unit leader submitting an Advancement Report No. 34403, making the appropriate entry via Internet Advancement, or via Scoutbook once the option is available. The Eagle Scout Palm Application, form # 58-709, was previously discontinued since it is not necessary for Eagle Palms to be processed or approved at the council level.

Q: Why was “… be active in your troop and patrol” replaced with “… be active in the Boy Scouts of America…”?

A: This requirement was broadened to recognize that Eagle Scouts have many positive character-building activities that they can participate in both in and out of Scouting. Those activities should be considered when reviewing this requirement. See Guide to Advancement topic 4.2.3.1 “Active Participation” for an in-depth explanation of active participation.

Q: What does the phrase “accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership ability” mean?

A: A Scout can meet this requirement by accepting responsibility or demonstrating leadership in many ways in or out of Scouting. For example, he could perform a Scoutmaster-assigned project or be an active leader in district or council activities, serve as a lodge officer in the Order of the Arrow, or even serve on camp staff. A Scout could also meet this requirement by accepting responsibility or serving in a leadership position on their sports team, as a student council officer, accepting responsibilities in other youth or church organizations, or in a myriad of other positive activities outside of Scouting.

Q: If a Scout has earned a total of 25 merit badges but doesn’t complete one more merit badge before his Eagle Scout board of review, will he have to wait until three months after his board of review to earn an Eagle Palm?

A: Yes, he must wait. Only the required number of merit badges earned prior to his Eagle Scout board of review may be considered when awarding Palms immediately following the board of review.

Q: A 17 year old Scout, who has earned 24 merit badges, has completed all his Eagle rank requirements but has not yet had his Eagle Scout board of review. If he earns two more merit badge before his Eagle board of review can he receive a Palm at that time or does he have to wait?

A: So long as he completes the two additional merit badges before his Eagle Scout board of review, the Scout can immediately receive a Bronze Palm.

Q: Four months before his 18th birthday a Scout successfully completed his Eagle board of review with a total of only 21 merit badges although he had numerous partials he was working on. After his board of review he completed 10 additional merit badges. Can he receive a Bronze and a Gold Palm at the end of the three months?

A: After the Eagle board of review, the Scout must meet all the requirements, including three months tenure between each Palm. In this case he is only eligible to receive a Bronze Palm.

Q: If a Scout who has earned 25 merit badges has passed his 18th birthday but has not yet had his Eagle Scout board of review, can he complete one more merit badge before his board of review to receive a Palm.

A: All merit badge work must be completed before the Scout’s 18th birthday.

Q: Why was the board of review requirement for Eagle Palms eliminated?

A: Eagle Palms are not a rank and thus don’t need a formal board of review. Also, in some cases, scheduling boards of review had become a barrier to earning additional Eagle Palms. The Scoutmaster’s conference is deemed sufficient since it can be conducted anytime during the three-month tenure period.

Q: Palms can be an important part of keeping a Scout involved in Scouting after they have earned Eagle Scout rank. Do the new requirements eliminate any incentive for them to stay in the program?

A: The new requirements provide recognition for the work a Scout has already done while providing the opportunity for Scouts who have time before their 18th birthday to earn additional Palms. Eagle Palms are only one small part of an exciting and engaging program which is what really keeps Eagle Scouts motivated to stay active in Scouting.

Where to buy and wear Eagle Palms

Buy them at your local Scout Shop. Eagle Palms are restricted items, meaning you must submit the required paperwork.

As for wearing them, you have three options:

  1. On the Eagle Scout square knot, which is worn by adult Scouters.
  2. Attached to the ribbon of the Eagle Scout medal, which is worn on special occasions by youth and adults.
  3. On the Eagle Scout rank emblem (patch), which is sewn on the youth field uniform.

Best of the best race at 2017 Pinewood Derby World Championship in New York

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Cub Scouts don’t let a little rain ruin the day. They adapt.

Same goes for the Greater New York Councils, organizers of the 2017 Pinewood Derby World Championship last month in New York City.

Even though morning thunderstorms forced the competition to change locations at the last minute, GNYC put on another successful event.

The 276 Cub Scouts came from 26 different states and represented 60 different BSA local councils. The racers qualified by finishing in the top three at their district or council races.

The epic Pinewood Derby event, now in its third year, was scheduled for the heart of Times Square — mere feet away from those iconic red steps atop the TKTS ticket booth.

But Mother Nature had different plans, and so did the Greater New York Councils.

They moved to their rain location: inside the Marriott Marquis hotel a block away.

“The Marriott was amazing to us, letting us use the room for free and bending over backwards to accommodate the more than 2,000 people in attendance,” says Dave Swartz, the councils’ program director.

Race day fun

When they weren’t cheering on Pinewood Derby cars, the Cub Scouts and other spectators got to build and race Lego Pinewood Derby cars on an exhibition track.

During breaks between races, hosts interviewed Cub Scouts to learn about their stories. Songs from a pop-heavy playlist got the crowd dancing and singing.

Cub Scouts from Maine to California and from Washington state to Florida entered one of two divisions: Stock Car or Pro Stock. The Pro Stock division allowed entrants to modify their wheels and axles; the Stock Car division did not.

Why two divisions? Because not every district or council has the same rules. This allowed Cub Scouts to race on a level playing field.

In the early rounds, Cub Scouts of similar rank raced against one another. Tigers vs. Tigers, Wolves vs. Wolves, etc.

The top three finishers in each of the five ranks — 15 in all — got trophies. These 15 became the “Fast 15” and competed in a final mini-tournament for their division’s Champions Cup.

This yielded two overall winners — Stock Car and Pro Stock — whose names and pictures I have included at the end of this post.

Naturally, there were design trophies, too. Some ultra-creative Cub Scouts went home with awards for Most Patriotic, Best Paint Job, Best Scout Theme, Most Creative and Most Realistic.

Bonus photos!

2017 Pro Stock Champions Cup Winner

Michael Olsey, Webelos I, Westchester-Putnam Council (based in Hawthorne, N.Y.)

2017 Stock Car Champions Cup Winner

Gregory Merkel, Webelos II, Suffolk County Council (based in Medford, N.Y.)

Photos by Jose Galletti. Thanks to Dave Swartz of the Greater New York Councils for the info.

Scouter uncovers fascinating new details about BSA’s first Eagle Scout

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When Boys’ Life announced in its May 1912 issue that Arthur R. Eldred had become the first Eagle Scout in history, the magazine piled on praise.

“He is a sturdy, well-built, keen-eyed little fellow, and his Scoutmaster commends him highly,” BL wrote. “Among the activities in which Eldred has shown himself proficient are handicraft, poultry farming, horsemanship, dairying, bicycling, cooking, chemistry, electricity, gardening, pathfinding and swimming.”

Much is known about Eldred’s Scouting success. We know, for example, that when Eldred became an Eagle Scout he was one of just 50 boys to have earned at least a single merit badge. (He earned 21 to get Eagle.)

But we don’t know much about Eldred’s board of review — that final step to Eagle. We don’t know who else was in the room where it happened. Or where that room was. Or the date Eldred officially earned Scouting’s highest honor.

Actually, that’s no longer true. We didn’t know those details, but we do now, thanks to some super sleuthing from David C. Scott, author and longtime Scouting volunteer.

Scott shares more in this guest post, below.

Newly uncovered details shine light on Eldred’s Eagle

By David C. Scott, author of The Scouting Party and My Fellow Americans.

Some mysteries take more than a century to solve.

This one began in April 1912 when newspapers across the country announced that Arthur Rose Eldred of Rockville Centre, N.Y., had become America’s first Eagle Scout.

To get there, Eldred, a 17-year-old member of Troop 1, had to pass a board of review for the ages. The adults on his board included Chief Scout Ernest Thompson Seton, National Scout Commissioner Daniel Carter Beard, Chief Scout Executive James E. West and Red Cross lifesaving pioneer Wilbert E. Longfellow. They made up the National Court of Honor.

Since Eldred’s rise to Scouting’s top honor was so swift, had to wait for his Eagle Scout medal to be manufactured. He received it five months later — September 1912.

So, what’s the mystery?

For decades, some details and dates surrounding Eldred’s Eagle board of review have been unknown or merely assumed.

That changed in June 2017 when I published some newly uncovered findings in the International Scouting Collectors Association’s Journal.

In it, I provide the long-lost details behind the Eldred Eagle story that I culled from an obscure Burlington, Vt., newspaper article. It provides his official board of review date (Jan. 31, 1912) and confirms its location (BSA headquarters, which was then in New York City).

Furthermore, it provides a list of attendees that we now know includes the worldwide founder of Scouting himself: Robert Baden-Powell.

We also know that B-P was “delighted” when Eldred successfully made fire without matches. But why was this Scouting legend there at all?

Baden-Powell had arrived in New York harbor only hours before to begin the North America sector of his round-the-world Scouting inspection tour. He was greeted aboard his ship by Chief Scout Executive West and a young Scout, William Waller, who presented the general with a letter of welcome from U.S. President William H. Taft.

Afterward, Baden-Powell headed down the gangplank toward a line of sharply dressed Scouts and their leaders that included Eldred and his troop. Baden-Powell’s personal diary, currently held in the National Scouting Museum, reveals that he spent time at Boy Scout headquarters that day.

Additional details in the news item confirm that the vote to present Eldred with the Eagle award was not made that day. Eldred would have to wait.

This was the first significant rank advancement decision the National Court of Honor would ever make, so they deliberated for a month before they voted. Courtesy of an obscure letter discovered in the Minnesota Historical Archive by Scout Executive John Andrews and forwarded to noted Eagle Scout historian Terry Grove, we now know the date of that vote.

This letter, authored by BSA Field Secretary H.E. Schaffer, states for the official record that Arthur Eldred was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout on March 29, 1912. Now we have a clear picture behind the awarding of Scouting’s first Eagle.

Dates to know
  • Jan. 31, 1912: Eldred sits for his board of review, which included key founders of American Scouting plus worldwide Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell.
  • March 29, 1912: The National Court of Honor votes to award Eldred the rank of Eagle Scout.
  • April 1912: Scouting officials issue a news release to the national wire services announcing Eldred’s landmark achievement.
  • Sept. 2 1912: Eldred receives the nation’s first Eagle Scout medal at a local ceremony.

One inspiring photo from summer camp shows what it means to be a Scout

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Scouts are brave, helpful and kind. All three qualities are symbolized in a single photo that comes to us from Boy Scout summer camp.

This is a true story that happened last month at Woodruff Scout Reservation, part of the Atlanta Area Council.

It was Wednesday, and Matthew S. was about halfway through his five-mile hike — a requirement for the Second Class rank. Suddenly, Matthew tripped over some tree roots and hurt his ankle.

He tried to walk, but the pain was too great.

Matthew wanted desperately to finish the hike, but the camp medics told him he needed to get checked out at the first-aid station. His fellow Scouts from Troop 870 of Miami noticed their friend’s dejected look. They said, “don’t worry, Matthew, we are going to finish this for you.”

They chanted Matthew’s name several times throughout the hike — knowing he probably couldn’t hear them but not caring.

The medics bandaged Matthew’s ankle, gave him some pain medicine and told him it’s either a deep bruise or a sprain. They wouldn’t know for sure until the next day.

When Matthew awoke on Thursday, the pain was still there, but Matthew was not going to let that stop him from going to his classes. Not with that First Class badge in sight.

“I have to go to classes because I want to advance,” Matthew told his mom that day.

That’s when the rest of the guys stepped up again. The boys all grouped up together and walked at Matthew’s pace to their morning classes. The photo at the top of this post shows a Scout named Danny helping Matthew by letting him lean on him.

The walk should’ve taken 10 minutes but ended up taking more than 20. The Troop 870 guys didn’t mind; they were all in this together.

By Friday, Matthew learned there was no sprain — just a bad bruise. He could even walk without assistance.

Matthew’s mom, Maddy, sent me the story and photos because she’s justifiably proud of her son and his troopmates.

“This photo speaks volumes,” she says. “My son fell and had a bruised ankle and wasn’t able to walk alone. Not only was he determined to finish his classes for his requirements to advance, but his Scout brothers helped him get to his classes.”

They didn’t just help Matthew get to class. All of the Scouts finished their first-year camper program — known at Woodruff as the Mountain Man program. The Scouts, including Matthew, received their Mountain Man patches at the end of the week.

That moment also was depicted in a photo — a nice reminder that in Scouting as in life, we’re stronger when we help each other reach the finish line.

7 reasons why Ship 100 of Virginia was named the best Sea Scout ship of 2017

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How do you get to be the best Sea Scout ship in the country?

Follow in the wake of ships like the SSS Dominion of Manassas, Va.

The Sea Scout ship, officially called Ship 100 of the National Capital Area Council, received the 2017 National Flagship Award.

That award, presented by the Boat Owners Association of the United States and Sea Scouts BSA, recognizes a Sea Scout ship that boasts exceptional programming, top-class youth achievement and dedicated adult volunteers. The ship receives a trophy and has its name permanently inscribed on a separate trophy that remains at BSA headquarters.

SSS Dominion has more than 20 youth members and maintains a very active and diverse program. It also might be the only Sea Scout ship that holds its meetings at an airport. Manassas Regional Airport is Ship 100’s home base.

What else makes Ship 100 so great? Let’s count the reasons.

1. They have a great nickname.

Ship 100 is chartered by the Freedom Museum in Manassas, Va. The ship was formed in 2012 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the BSA’s Sea Scout program.

Members chose the name Dominion to salute Virginia’s nickname: “Old Dominion.”

2. Their fleet is first-rate.

SSS Dominion maintains a fleet of seven boats.

There’s the SSTV [Sea Scout Training Vessel] Benjamin Chase, a 22-foot Catalina kept on the Potomac River across from George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The ship’s name honors Benjamin Wheeler and Chase Kowalski, the two Cub Scouts killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.

For longer events, Ship 100 uses its SSTV Der Pelikan, a 46-foot Morgan ketch sailboat.

3. They take epic trips …

Last year, 16 members of Ship 100 traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they sailed a pair of 41-foot sloops around St. John. Of course, they did more than sail.

They stopped to swim, explore the reefs and take hikes to historic sites. They saw turtles, rays, dolphins and thousands of brilliant Caribbean reef fish.

Next year, Ship 100 is planning a long cruise in the British Virgin Islands.

4. … and their ‘other’ trips aren’t so bad either.

Every other week, Ship 100 heads out on the waters of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.

They love night sailing and anchoring overnight in secluded coves around Maryland.

And, as you might expect from a bunch of teenagers, the Sea Scouts of Ship 100 are conducting ongoing field research to find the best pizza and ice cream shops around Chesapeake Bay.

5. They do all their own boat maintenance.

Being a Sea Scout means putting in some work on dry land. For the Sea Scouts of Ship 100, that’s no problem.

When the SSTV Blue November took on significant water last year, the Sea Scouts disassembled the engine, refinished the flywheel, flushed the transmission and reassembled everything. Now the boat runs perfectly.

How’d they learn the process? YouTube, of course.

6. They’re lifesavers. Literally.

Two Sea Scouts from Ship 100 were featured in Boys’ Life magazine’s popular “Scouts in Action” feature.

The Sea Scouts, Aidan Wiecki and Jacob Skiles, helped save the victims of a car accident. Each received an Honor Medal for his actions.

7. They give back to the community.

Ship 100 works with the St. Lucy Project, which serves as the food bank of food banks for Northern Virginia.

This means the Sea Scouts inspect, sort and package food for distribution to various centers across the area.

2017 National Flagship Fleet 

Ship 100 was named 2017’s top ship, but congratulations also are in order for the entire 2017 National Flagship Fleet.

These ships offer some great programs for young people:

  • SSS Charles N. Curtis, Ship 110, Pacific Harbors Council, Tacoma, Wash.
  • SSS Response, Ship 911, Capitol Area Council, Austin, Texas
  • SSS Dragonlady, Ship 1942, National Capital Area Council, Arlington, Va.
  • SSS Decisive, Ship 5011, Aloha Council, Kauai, Hawaii

This is how to check your urine color to tell if you’re dehydrated

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Looking for a way to tell if you’re drinking enough water during this summer’s Scouting adventures?

Urine luck.

Monitoring the color of your pee is a great way to tell if you’re getting enough fluids. And getting enough fluids is a great way to stave off dehydration.

What is dehydration?

As the summer days get long and hot, you risk losing more water than you’re taking in. When you sweat or breathe out more fluid than you take in, that’s dehydration.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst (It’s said that if you’re thirsty, it’s already too late. You’re already dehydrated.)
  • Headaches or muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Dark urine and/or decreased urine production
What’s the ‘proper’ urine color?

We know that a “happy mountaineer always pees clear” and “an unhappy fellow always pees yellow.”

But yellow comes in many shades, so which should concern you?

Your best bet is to consult the urine color chart below. It’s also found on page 138 of the Boy Scout Handbook or page 237 of the Fieldbook.

What to do if you’re dehydrated

Other than the obvious — drinking plenty of fluids — a dehydrated person should rest in a shady place or air-conditioned vehicle or building.

Of course, food is fuel, too, so make sure you’re eating plenty of energy-dense food throughout your adventures.

Faith in Scouting: Meet your 2017 National Duty to God Award recipients

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Some Scout volunteers make the last point of the Scout Law their first priority.

The four individuals who received the 2017 National Duty to God Award are perfect examples.

The National Duty to God Award, first presented in 2016, recognizes adults who help young people better connect with their faith. In short, these Scouters make it easier and more fulfilling for a Scout to be reverent.

I blogged about the National Duty to God Award in February when the BSA’s National Religious Relationships Support Committee was looking for nominations. The committee received nearly 20 nominations, each describing the work of a deserving Scouting volunteer who has served for 10 years or more.

The award can be presented to up to four individuals per year. Here are the 2017 recipients.

Ronald L. Adolphi, Ph.D

Dr. Adolphi’s unwavering dedication to faith and Scouting has enriched the lives of thousands of Scouts and Scouters for many years. He continues to make a difference in the lives of others, setting the example and remaining loyal and committed to God through his church, community and numerous youth and civic organizations.

  • Founding member of the National Lutheran Association on Scouting in 1980 and served as its first president.
  • Appointed by the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) to serve on the President’s Task Force on Scouting.
  • Received the Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, and Silver Antelope awards.
  • Bestowed Syracuse University’s Leonard F. Keenan Alumni Award for Distinguished Service to Young People.
The Rev. Robert J. Thornton

The Rev. Thornton’s life and ministry has been devoted to building positive relationships between individuals and groups in communities where he has served as pastor. His exemplary service and leadership has transcended race, ethnicities, genders and religious affiliation. He stands as a reminder and inspiration that, as Scouts, we are all God’s creatures united in one brotherhood to seek a worthy, purposeful life.

  • Served for three decades as the director of Scout ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  • Served as the interfaith chairman for two councils and has been a religious instructor at the Philmont Scout Ranch.
  • Has been the church’s primary representative to several other youth agencies, including the Girl Scouts, Campfire Boys and Girls, 4-H Clubs and American Heritage Girls.
  • Served as the national endorsing agent for all Disciples of Christ chaplains in Scouting, as well led the religious awards program for over 25 years.
  • Received the Silver Beaver Award, the Christian Church God and Service Award, the Roman Catholic Bronze Pelican Award, and the Jewish Shofar Award.
Syed E. Naqvi

Naqvi has been passionately involved with Scouting since joining the BSA in 1979. He places a strong emphasis on community service, tolerance and world friendship. He inspires a spirit of sturdiness, self-reliance and the need for cooperation among all people.

  • Established the National Islamic Committee on Scouting in 1980, as well the religious awards for youth and adults, bridging the gap between the program and the Muslim community.
  • Has significantly grown the number of Scouts and units at mosques and Islamic community centers for the Monmouth Council in New Jersey.
  • Serves as chairman of the National Islamic Committee and has been the Islamic chaplain at six National Scout Jamborees.
  • Received the Silver Beaver Award, Greater New York Youth Council’s Professional Excellence Award, the Silver Medal Award bestowed at the World Jamboree in 2015 and the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from the Asian American Outreach organization.
  • Co-founder of the World Islamic Movement of Islamic Scouting and, in 2016, founded the first Islamic National Scout Jamboree, serving as its Deputy Jamboree Chief.
The Rev. Donald K. Hummel

The Rev. Donald Hummel is a faithful servant to God and Scouting. He has been the heartbeat of the Northern New Jersey Council for almost 60 years. His long and distinguished career as a servant of God and numerous service and leadership honors and recognitions have demonstrated his passion for faith, community, education, and outreach to youth since 1964.

  • Assisted the Philmont Scout Ranch as chaplain every summer since 1992, as well serving as chaplain at many National and World Jamborees.
  • Recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Buffalo, Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver, Silver Sage, and Bronze Pelican awards.
  • Holds leadership positions on many Scout executive boards and councils, including the Northeast Executive Board and International Catholic Scouting Foundation.

 

Eagle Scout’s Appalachian Trail thru-hike is about more than testing Scouting skills

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They say becoming an Eagle Scout isn’t the end of a young person’s journey — it’s the beginning.

Few go as far to prove that adage as Matthew Warrick. This summer, the 17-year-old from Troop 505 of Austin, Texas, is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.

His journey, which began May 12, is known as thru-hiking. That’s when someone attempts to hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail in one trip.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says that thousands of hikers each year attempt a thru-hike. But only about one in four will complete the quest.

Matthew is sharing daily updates from the trail on his blog. That’s where visitors also learn that, for Matthew, the Appalachian Trail hike is about more than just putting Scouting skills to the test.

With each mile Matthew hikes, he’s raising money and awareness to build drinking wells in a remote village in Tanzania.

“For Matthew, the idea of earning Eagle Scout is a jumping-off point to do more challenging things and to do good for others — rather than an end or completion,” says Matthew’s dad, Mark.

Time with family and friends old and new

Nobody really hikes the Appalachian Trail alone. Along the way, you meet fascinating people — students and doctors and retirees and schoolteachers. You could spend a night camped near a new friend hiking the opposite direction or spend days leap-frogging those traveling the same way.

For the first 13 days on the Appalachian Trail, Matthew hiked with his sister, Kate.

She left to begin her summer job as a Ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, N.M. Pretty good excuse, if you ask me.

On June 5, Matthew’s friend David — a fellow Scout since Tigers — joined Matthew for the rest of the journey.

Earning his name

You don’t get to pick your Appalachian Trail name; it must be given to you while on the trail.

Matthew got his trail name on Day 10.

After a 12.5-mile hiking day, Matthew and Kate were chatting with a group of college guys with the trail names Dirty Trever, Lawman and Hobble.

Dirty Trever gave Matthew his trail name: “The Kid.”

“I like it a lot,” Matthew says. “When he said ‘The Kid,’ I immediately thought of Billy The Kid, the famous outlaw, and I liked that.”

Learning and growing

One of Matthew’s goals for the trip was to learn from others and meet new people. So far, so good.

A guy named Dice told him about the Snickers Test: When you are deciding what gear you want to bring, if you would rather have its weight in Snickers bars, then you probably don’t need it.

A woman named Allie gave Matthew and David a ride to the post office. They made it just before the place closed and were able to pick up a delivery of essential supplies: shoes, socks and freeze-dried food.

Ever since Day 19, Matthew has found a solid routine.

He wakes up before his alarm and hikes a bunch of miles, seeing amazing sights along the way. He arrives at that day’s stopping point and makes dinner. He talks to some interesting people and gets into his sleeping bag. He types that day’s blog post and goes to sleep.

For Matthew, this is the rhythm of the Appalachian Trail. A routine that is anything but. A journey that started in Scouting and will end, if all goes well, at Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Here’s how to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch

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A total solar eclipse is a rare event. A total solar eclipse whose path crosses right over the heart of the United States? Even rarer.

On Aug. 21, 2017, the solar system serves up a special treat. Aug. 21 is a Monday, but those Scouts and Venturers who are still on summer break should plan a big celebration. Like all the best celebrations, this one comes with its own patch.

There won’t be another total solar eclipse over the United States until 2024. After that, you must wait until 2045. In other words, when Aug. 21 arrives, make sure you’re ready.

How to earn the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch
  1. Locate a site suitable for viewing the eclipse. Search Google for “eclipse viewing” and the name of your city or town to find events near you.
  2. Describe how to safely view the eclipse.
    • Never look directly at the sun. Instead, look directly at these tips from NASA on how to view the eclipse safely.
  3. Discuss with your group what you saw and felt during the eclipse.
    • Post your comments and eclipse photos on social media using the hashtag #BSAEclipse2017.
  4. Do the following:
    • Cub Scouts: Discuss what a solar eclipse is with your leaders.
    • Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts: Draw a diagram of the positions of the moon, earth, and sun to show how the solar eclipse occurs.
    • Venturers: Research Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington’s 1919 experiment and discuss how it confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
  5. Ask your unit leader to buy the 2017 Solar Eclipse patch.
    • You’ll find it at your local council service center.

More ideas

Find more ways to make the most of this STEM-heavy celestial event at scouting.org/eclipse2017.

Eagle Scout graduate’s custom mortarboard is a tip of his cap to Scouting

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Click for a closer look.

In a sea of matching commencement robes, it’s no wonder graduates try to find a way to stand out so friends and family can find them.

Their canvas for expressing individuality: the square graduation cap.

When Eagle Scout Kevin McCarthy was deciding how to customize his cap, he wanted to find a way to show off his Scouting pride to his classmates and family.

That’s because Scouting shaped Kevin’s time as a student at Cranford High School in Cranford, N.J.

“My Scouting career has been a guiding light throughout my high school experience,” Kevin told me.

So when graduation time arrived earlier this month, the young man from Troop 80 of the Patriots’ Path Council added BSA logos and the clever phrase “fly like an Eagle Scout.”

“I have been able to make so many friends through Scouts, especially in my troop, and at Rodney Scout Reservation where I work as a Scoutcraft instructor,” Kevin said. “I was able to grow into the man I am today through work on my Eagle project and different high-adventure trips I have taken with my troop.”

What’s next for Kevin?

This fall, Kevin will attend Rowan University in New Jersey where he’ll major in disaster preparedness and emergency management.

Kevin calls this especially fitting because he only partially finished the Emergency Preparedness merit badge.

How did his classmates feel about the cap customization?

They “felt that the cap embodied me — it was something Boy Scout-related, but also a pun,” Kevin said.

How’d he make it?

Kevin bought an Eagle Scout badge and scrapbook stickers from his local Scout Shop. He added some letter stickers and a yellow border and voila!

Let’s see your Scouting-themed graduation caps

Have you or a graduate you know done something similar with a mortarboard? Email me a photo.

Jeep Prepared: Feast your eyes on this volunteer’s Boy Scout Expedition Vehicle

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Upgraded suspension, reinforced bumpers, bigger tires, an armor-plated underside, a rear-mounted lift jack, eight headlights and a roof-top tent.

If Matt Janchar’s Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon seems like it was custom built for Scouting adventures, that’s because it was.

Add a khaki paint scheme and some oversize BSA logos, and you’ve got the BEV. That’s Boy Scout Expedition Vehicle.

As a Cubmaster (Pack 157 in Weston, Mass.), Janchar is always looking for new ways to capture the attention of both current and future Scouting families.

His pack’s calendar is full of outdoor events where a Scouting vehicle could serve as a billboard for the BSA. Places like local festivals and car shows, open-house recruiting events in the fall, overnight campouts, and, naturally, parades.

The Jeep is the ultimate icebreaker that gets people interested in Scouting.

“BEV made its debut at a spring festival in our town, and we had a constant line of kids that were excited to climb into the tent and ask when the next Cub Scout campout was happening.” Janchar says. “It was about 10 months of planning and building to get the BEV project from an idea to reality, but now comes the fun part: getting outside and off the asphalt with the Scouts!”

An idea is born

“Every inch of the design took a lot of research,” Janchar says. “I wanted to create a very rugged and old-school safari look, so I couldn’t use a lot of modern product designs, like LED lights and chrome.”

Jeep fans and gearheads can find Janchar’s full build sheet at the end of this post.

My favorite feature seems simple but is actually quite genius. It’s a pair of red lights that illuminate a campsite at night. White lights will ruin a Scout’s night vision for stargazing; red lights will not.

That’s something only a Scouter would’ve thought of.

The finishing touch

Functionally, the BEV serves its purpose as the ultimate Scouting SUV. Visually, the Boy Scout fleur-de-lis on each side serves another purpose.

It reminds people that Scouting is alive and well in Massachusetts and beyond.

“I spent hours trying to come up with a way to integrate the BSA logo into the vehicle,” Janchar says “And of course I needed a license plate that was a bit of an insider reference to Scouting: ONMYHR.”

Janchar says a few Scouting veterans have noticed one particular quirk of the BSA logo decals.

On one side of the vehicle, the eagle is facing its left wing instead of its right. This is the reverse of the BSA logo. Janchar wanted the eagle to face the direction the vehicle will be traveling.

“I am always impressed when veteran Scouters notice this detail,” he says.

BEV build details (for gearheads only!)

The BEV is a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon in color Mojave Sand.

Mechanical upgrades installed by Elias 4WD in Townsend, Mass. Custom logo decals installed by Add-A-Sign in Leominster, Mass.

The BEV includes:

  • AEV 3.5-inch DualSport SC Suspension with frequency-tuned, progressive rate springs and Bilstein 5100 and AEV high steer kit
  • AEV premium front bumper with skid plate and Warn 9.5CTI winch
  • AEV rear bumper and tire carrier with backup light, rear vision system, shovel and hi-lift jack
  • Metalcloak UnderCloak Integrated Armor System
  • Rock Star III wheels with Mojave Sand painted inserts and 35-inch Toyo Open Country AT II Extreme tires
  • SPOD JK 6-switch SPOD and Source System with green LED lights controlled by dashboard dimmer
  • Maxximus 3 roof rack with side rails and dual ladders
  • N-Fab wheel-to-wheel Nerf step bar
  • Rugged Ridge light bar with lowering kit and Warn SDB-160 lights
  • Red Rock wrap-around tail light guards
  • Tepui Autana Sky roof top tent with custom low-profile direct mount system
  • Dinuba Water stainless steel jerry cans mounted in MORryde side trays

Photos: By Brad Killam, taken at the beautiful Camp Resolute in Bolton, Mass.

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