Scouting News from the Internet

This is the best way to show your Cub Scouting pride on Facebook

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Share your Cub Scouting pride with friends, family members and that classmate from high school you’ve been meaning to get back in touch with.

With these new Facebook profile picture frames, you can show that you’re a proud Cub Scout mom or Cub Scout dad or part of a proud Cub Scout family.

The fine folks on the BSA’s Cub Scouts team created these frames, and you can add them to your Facebook profile photo in seconds.

The frames serve two equally awesome purposes: one, they tell the world that you’re a big part of this incredible movement called Scouting, and two, they invite your Facebook friends to ask you for more information about joining your Cub Scout pack.

First, see what the frames look like. Then read how to add one to your photo.

Cub Scout profile picture frames: three options

I’m already starting to see these frames pop up on Facebook, which is awesome.

How to add a Cub Scout profile picture frame on Facebook
  1. Head to
  2. Search for one of the following depending on the type of frame you’d like to add:
    • “Scout Fam Profile Picture Frame”
    • “Scout Mom Profile Picture Frame”
    • “Scout Dad Profile Picture Frame”
  3. Select your desired frame and scale your profile photo as needed. This way you can avoid blocking key parts of your photo with the additional graphics. You also have the option to swap in another photo by selecting “Change Picture.”
  4. Select “Use as Profile Picture,” at the bottom of the page to make your changes final. You can set a timeline for how long you’d like to keep this frame on your profile, as well.
  5. Be Prepared for your friends and family to be in awe of your photo’s cool, new look.

On opposite sides of barbed-wire fence, an enduring friendship formed in Scouting

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Norman Mineta was a proud 10-year-old Cub Scout in 1942 when the U.S. government began imprisoning Japanese-Americans. Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor months earlier, and Mineta and his family became six of the 120,000 people of Japanese descent interned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Mineta and his parents, two sisters and brother were moved from San Jose, Calif., to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Cody, Wyo.

The camp opened 75 years ago this month.

There were no schools for the children at Heart Mountain, so the adults decided to form Boy Scout troops to occupy and educate the kids. Mineta told Boys’ Life in 2002 that the young people played games, read the Boy Scout Handbook and worked on merit badges. (Read the BL story in its entirety at the end of this post.)

As a member of the Heart Mountain Boy Scout troop, Mineta met Alan Simpson, a Boy Scout who lived in Cody. The Cody Scouts traveled to Heart Mountain for a jamboree held inside the camp’s barbed-wire fencing.

Mineta and Simpson became fast friends, bonding over their shared love of comics, silly stories and Scouting.

A year later, when the Minetas were allowed to leave Heart Mountain, Mineta and Simpson remained friends.

Thirty years later, when Mineta was a Democratic representative from California and Simpson a Republican senator from Wyoming, the two remained friends. (Simpson served as a senator for 18 years, and Mineta later became secretary of transportation under President George W. Bush.)

Seven decades after they met, Mineta and Simpson — now both 85 — remain friends. As reported in The Washington Post, the pair returned to Heart Mountain this month to speak out against the racism that led to the camp’s opening.

In his Cub Scout uniform

Long before the days of internment camps, Scouting had deep roots in the Japanese-American community. These families saw Scouting as an American tradition that would teach their children values like citizenship, loyalty and service.

Mineta told Boys’ Life that he wore his Cub Scout uniform when his family boarded that first train headed for the internment camps.

“I was wearing my uniform because the government told all Scouts riding the train to do so,” he told BL. “Only Scouts could move from one car to another. Some families were in separate cars, so we ran notes back and forth as messengers.”

At Heart Mountain, Scout leaders inside the camp wanted to offer the young people some new Scouting experiences. So they contacted Boy Scout troops in the surrounding towns, inviting these local Scouts to join them for a jamboree — a weekend of fellowship and fun we now would call a camporee.

Almost all of them refused, fearful of the unfamiliar faces inside. But Simpson’s leader — “a Scoutmaster ahead of his time,” Simpson said — said yes.

The Scoutmaster, Glenn Livingston, told his guys that the young men inside Heart Mountain camp were just like them. They were Scouts. Simpson, a tad reluctant at first, quickly realized Mr. Livingston was right.

“You knew these were Americans, especially when you met the Scouts,” Simpson told The Washington Post. “They didn’t even know where Japan was.”

As told to Boys’ Life

Read the February 2002 story about Norman Mineta and Alan Simpson below.

And find more content from the Boys’ Life archives in the BL app. Download it by searching “Boys’ Life magazine” in your device’s app store.


Home once owned by BSA founder William D. Boyce can be yours for just $700,000

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The home was built in 1860 and sits on 7.78 acres of perfectly manicured grass. It includes eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and a full-size tennis court.

But what makes this piece of real estate, now on the market for $699,900, so special isn’t its new roof and windows, or its 12-foot ceilings and two elegant parlors. It’s the fact it was once owned by William D. Boyce, one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America.

Boyce purchased the 5,300-square-foot home and 60 surrounding acres in 1894. The Chicago publisher used the property as his summer home.

The property in Marshall, Mich., is now called The Butler-Boyce House, and it’s a registered Michigan historic site.

Who was William D. Boyce?

Members of the W. D. Boyce Council in central Illinois certainly know his name. As do Scouters who receive the William D. Boyce New-Unit Organizer Award and matching square knot.

But who was William D. Boyce?

As told in Scouting magazine’s 2010 coverage of the BSA’s 100th anniversary, Boyce was in London in 1909 “when he got lost in a pea-soup fog — or perhaps simply turned around (accounts differ). In any event, a ‘little lad of 12’ appeared and guided him safely across the street. When Boyce offered a tip, the boy declined, explaining that he was just doing his Good Turn as a Scout.”

Impressed, Boyce returned home with pamphlets, badges and a uniform. Six months later, on Feb. 8, 1910, he incorporated the Boy Scouts of America.

Thanks to Axel Anderson for the story idea.

Build this Pinewood Derby display case with your Cub Scouts

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When the Pinewood Derby race is done, the cars remain as priceless artifacts of history.

Like all those irreplaceable items from childhood, these shouldn’t be relegated to a dusty drawer.

Those cars belong in something like this handsome homemade Pinewood Derby display case. Build it, and preserve those memories forever.

The case includes five shelves for five cars — one for each year of Cub Scouting.

The plans are courtesy of Neil Fern, a Scouter in the Northeast Illinois Council. He made them as part of his Wood Badge ticket and agreed to let me post the plans here.

Neil designed the kit and cut several unassembled versions. He gave those unassembled kits to the boys in his Webelos den, leaving the sanding, assembling and painting to the boys.

Pinewood Derby display case plans

Click here for Neil’s plans, courtesy of the Cub Hub blog, which is where Neil’s story was first posted.

Top 10 links to share with new Cub Scout families to get them up to speed

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New Cub Scout families might not know a den leader from a den chief or a Wolf from a Webelos.

And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

But you can help them get them acquainted with this life-changing program for boys by sending them some or all of the links below.

Post them on your pack’s Facebook page, email them to your pack parents (one a week or all at once), or repost them to your pack website.

The point is this: there are some great resources out there, and seasoned Scouters like you can share the wealth. The links may have you thinking, “I wish I had access to these resources when I was a newbie Cub Scout leader.”

And you know what? That’s perfectly fine, too. Expert Scouters like you can help others learn what you’ve known for years — or, in some cases, decades. Why not share the wealth?

1. What are the basics to know before starting Cub Scouts this fall?

If a new Cub Scout parents reads just one post, make it this one that shares three Cub Scout must-knows.

2. Why do Cub Scouts meet with their packs and dens each week?

This post covers why Cub Scouts have meetings and what they do at them.

3. What is a blue and gold banquet?

At some point this fall, the Cubmaster is going to start talking about the blue and gold banquet. Here’s what that is.

4. Are Cub Scouts part of Boy Scouts?

Yes, Cub Scouts are part of the Boy Scouts of America, but they have their own awesome program. Read more about the difference.

5. What is the order of Cub Scout ranks?

Informed Cub Scout parents will want to know the definitive order of Cub Scout ranks.

6. What is the Arrow of Light?

Short answer: the Arrow of Light is the pinnacle of Cub Scouting. For the longer answer, go here.

7. What is Boys’ Life magazine?

Short answer: If it’s in a boy’s life, it’s in Boys’ Life magazine. Slightly longer answer: Boys’ Life is a monthly magazine for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers. It includes Scouting stories, science facts, fun jokes and games, stories of Scouting heroism, previews of the latest books and movies for guys, and much more. For Scouts, the cost is just $12 a year ($1 an issue).

Contact your local council or unit leader for details.

8. What is the Pinewood Derby?

The Pinewood Derby, a racing event using cars Cub Scouts build with their parents or guardians, is a Cub Scouting tradition. Read tips for planning the best Pinewood Derby ever, and tips for helping your Cub Scout build a faster car.

9. How do I help my Cub Scout get ready to camp?

Read these four suggestions for getting your pack’s camping program into high gear.

10. How can I support a Scout with special needs?

There’s room for everyone in a Cub Scout pack or den, especially Cub Scouts with special needs. Here’s how to help them feel welcome.

Don’t forget the hashtag

When sharing one or more of these links via social media, why not use the #ShareScouting hashtag? It’ll help new Scouting families find other content applicable to them.

Expert Scouters, what would you add?

What other links do you share with new Cub Scout families? Leave a comment below.

Philmont staffer acted quickly when Scout arrived at cabin with serious cut on arm

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Guest post: This story of an Eagle Scout’s heroism at Philmont Scout Ranch was written by Jane Parikh, public relations manager for the Michigan Crossroads Council.

Josiah Bakker isn’t a doctor, but the Eagle Scout from Suttons Bay, Mich., knew exactly what to do when a Philmont hiker showed up on the front porch of his cabin with a life-threatening cut to his arm.

Bakker was at the staff cabin at Clark’s Fork, one of Philmont’s backcountry camps, when two Scouts came running up to say they needed help. One of the Scouts was peeling bark off a branch when his knife slipped, cutting two inches into his arm and slicing his radial artery.

“The injured Scout came up to the porch with one arm covered in blood,” Bakker said. “As he sat down, I took his hand off of his arm and blood squirted out. So it was pretty obvious to me that it was an artery that had been cut.

“I stuck my hand on his elbow to put pressure on the artery and directed other people to apply gauze and pressure on the wound, until the medics from base camp arrived.”

(Note from Bryan: In an ideal scenario, Bakker would have worn protective gloves. But medical emergencies rarely present ideal scenarios.)

A successful resolution

Bakker spent 15 minutes with the Scout while the medics made their way from base camp 9 miles away. That 15 minutes turned a potential tragedy into “just” a scary story.

“I honestly just kind of did it,” Bakker said. “I just kind of did what we had practiced.”

The injured Scout went to a local hospital. After a successful reconstructive surgery, he made a full recovery.

A proud mom

Lynn Bakker, Josiah’s mother, said her son did what he learned to do as a Scout. That started in Cub Scouts and continued through the Wilderness First Aid training he took in the spring.

Beyond that, Lynn Bakker said, it was just about being in the right place at the right time.

“He kept that pressure on the boy’s arm and kept talking to him and encouraging his friend to continue praying with him for more than 15 minutes until base camp medics got there,” Lynn Bakker said.

The days that followed

After his life-saving efforts, Josiah Bakker went back to being a Philmont staffer. He said he enjoyed helping younger Scouts grow and advance as they spent time at the New Mexico hiking destination.

Back home, the 20-year-old is an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 131 and attends Northwestern Michigan College, majoring in engineering technology. He joined Scouting at age 7 and earned Eagle in 2010.

“I learned quite a bit about leadership. I was the senior patrol leader for Troop 131 back home and was the crew leader for my trek at Philmont,” Josiah Bakker said. “In Scouting you are with people you don’t know, and you learn how to make it work. A lot of it is overcoming barriers, and if you don’t think you can do something, you do it anyway and succeed.”

How many young men with the last name Eagle have become Eagle Scouts?

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The news this month that an Ohio 17-year-old with the last name Eagle became an Eagle Scout got us at the BSA thinking.

How many Eagle Scouts in history have had that auspicious surname?

So we queried the Eagle Scout database. It should be noted that the database includes most of the 2 million-plus Eagle Scouts in history. But because we’re talking about records going back to 1912, it’s not 100 percent perfect.

With that little caveat out of the way, let’s go.

How many Eagle Scouts have the last name Eagle?

There are 63 Eagle Scouts with the last name Eagle — from Alan to Zachary.

Not counted in that 63 are those whose last names merely start with Eagle.

This longer list includes men with family names like Eagleman, Eagles, Eagleson and — my favorite — Eagleburger.

Add in that group, and the total becomes 141.

Are there any Eagle Scouts with the first name Eagle?

Awesomely, yes. There are three Eagle Scouts whose given name is Eagle.

That means their parents basically predestined them to earn Scouting’s highest honor, and they delivered.

Two are recent Eagle Scouts — 2002 and 2011 — but one, a Mr. Eagle Wilson of Dearborn, Mich., became an Eagle Scout on Dec. 13, 1930.

What about other Scouting ranks as last names?

I’m glad you asked! There are nine Eagle Scouts whose last name is Life. Life, of course, is the Boy Scout rank right before Eagle.

What about the rank before Life? There are eight Eagle Scouts with the last name Star (and 375 more who spell it with an additional r: Starr).

As for Eagle Scouts with the last name Tenderfoot, Second Class or First Class, my search for those turned up empty. But there were five with the last name Scout.

And finally, how’s this for overachieving? Sixty-one Eagle Scouts have the last name Palm.

In ‘SOS: How to Survive’ on The Weather Channel, Eagle Scout shares camp hacks that could save your life

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It started with the Wilderness Survival merit badge, earned at Maumee Scout Reservation in Indiana.

Then there was the 2-inch ad in the back of Boys’ Life magazine promising “amazing hidden secrets about rugged wilderness survival” to anyone who sent $1 for postage and handling.

Beginning Sunday, Eagle Scout Creek Stewart’s quest to become the ultimate survivalist takes him back to prime-time television.

In SOS: How to Survive on The Weather Channel, Creek recaps real-life survival situations and gives his take on what the individuals did right or wrong when fighting for their lives.

Some of his coolest tips include ways to repurpose everyday objects — using a camera lens to start a fire, for example — when survival is at stake.

“There’s so much to learn, not only from what they went through but also, maybe, what they could’ve done,” Creek says in a promo for the show.

Set your DVR now because SOS: How to Survive premieres at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on The Weather Channel.

Creek is back

Fans of Creek (or this blog) know that SOS: How to Survive isn’t Creek’s first foray into television.

In 2014 and 2015, Creek hosted Fat Guys in the Woods, also on The Weather Channel.

Each week on Fat Guys in the Woods, Creek joined three average Joes on a trip into the wilderness with limited supplies. Creek helped them work through challenges and learn the art and science of outdoor survival while battling the threats of Mother Nature.

SOS: How to Survive takes the stakes even higher. This time, the survival scenarios are completely real. Creek, with the benefit of hindsight, tells what the potential victims could’ve done better.

In the premiere, a young couple leaves the trail for a photo and can’t find their way back. This begins a three-day attempt to hike down extreme mountainous terrain that leads them into a dead-end canyon.

I got a sneak peek at the premiere, and I’m in. In the hourlong episode, Creek offers actual tips that may save your life. He even discusses the mental survival skills needed to keep your head right when the going gets tough.

Future episodes will deal with surviving extreme cold, extreme heat, injuries in the wilderness and hurricanes.

A true friend of Scouting

Creek, a recipient of the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, has been a supporter of Scouting all his life.

He addressed 15,000 Arrowmen at the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference and more than twice that many Boy Scouts, Venturers and adults at the 2017 National Jamboree.

His message to Jamboree participants: Do what you love — even if it doesn’t pay the most money.

Creek’s ad in Boys’ Life

Creek’s survival prowess has only grown since the ad below appeared in the February 1998 issue of Boys’ Life.

Out of Eden walk essay contest deadline for Jamboree, Philmont participants is Sept. 1

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National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile walk around the world is about slowing down to appreciate what’s around you.

But if you want to join Salopek, don’t slow down just yet. Any Scouts or Venturers who want to walk alongside Salopek in Asia for a few days of his journey have until Sept. 1 to enter the 2017 Out of Eden Walk essay contest.

All Boy Scouts or Venturers who attended the 2017 National Jamboree or a 2017 summer program at Philmont Scout Ranch are eligible to write an essay and be considered for the top prize. Remember those cool Passport Journals Scouts and Venturers received at Philmont or the Jamboree? These essays will incorporate observations recorded there.

The big prize: Two lucky winners will join Salopek in Asia for a leg of his trip. (And, yes, Youth Protection rules of two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact will be followed each step of the way.)

This Out of Eden walk is the same opportunity I first told you about back in December.

Hurry to this site for 2017 National Jamboree participants or this site for 2017 Philmont Scout Ranch participants to learn more.

A young person’s passport to intentionality

Scouts or Venturers who attended the Jamboree or Philmont received Passport Journals. The journals, covered in this National Geographic story, encourage young people to reflect on these once-in-a-lifetime experiences through a practice Salopek calls “slow journalism.”

Slow journalism is about taking time to observe what’s around you. It’s about paying attention to the little details of life. It’s about appreciating everyday interactions.

Salopek is looking for Scouts or Venturers who have become familiar with the concept of “slow journalism.” He invites them to write a 500-word essay (about one page) that reflects on their National Jamboree, Philmont and/or Scouting experiences.

Here’s a little more, from the Jamboree opening show:

And the video shown to Philmont participants at the opening campfire:

Last year’s winner

In 2016, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting held its first Out of Eden Walk essay contest.

The winner: Nick Fahy of Milton, Mass., who joined Salopek in Uzbekistan in September.

In his winning essay, Fahy made a comparison between the affluent neighborhood of Milton and the less prosperous Mattapan just to its north. He discussed the atmosphere of the neighborhood, which has seen growth in past years but is still struggling economically.

“[My essay] presented this image of two different Mattapans: one that is growing and one that is stuck in the past,” Fahy said.

His experience in Mattapan carried him to Uzbekistan, where he observed a culture vastly different from his own.

Here is Fahy’s winning essay.

The Old Man and the Seafood

By Nick Fahy

In the trash pail by the side of the road two lottery tickets and a pair of cigarettes slowly disintegrate. The strip to its side seems a wasteland in shades of black and gray, and but for the heat, nothing in the street would tell the season. In the half hour walk down the strip I count five barber shops but not a supermarket in sight, and the only general store is a Dollar Store, graffiti staining the glass windows.

The trash pail itself is a rusting three gallon module of the community of Mattapan in which it lies. The community has in recent years fought a protracted battle against its problems with addiction and dependence, and it manifests itself here, in the twin lottery tickets the consumer who purchased them doubtless could not afford. Across the way, observing the sparse nutritional options, another conclusion comes to mind: this is a community whose children will struggle to grow up healthy if their parents shop for dinner from a drugstore.

It is important — critically important — that slow journalism be active here and in other impoverished communities. Rather than sensationalize, as oftentimes is the goal of the 24-hour news cycle, the goal of slow journalism is to create awareness of the problems in our society, and as such inspire change. When slow journalists report on their findings, the public, informed and inspired by this demographic of journalists, can act to solve society’s biggest problems.

An hour’s walk from the trash pail, a man sits on the ledge of a building twenty years condemned smoking a cigarette. He goes only by his last name, Bay, and he’s just finished the rehab workout his doctor prescribed to recover from his recent knee-replacement surgery. I sit, and we talk, and he tells me he doesn’t know whether Mattapan is changing for the better. “For Mattapan to change, the people have to want to change,” he tells me. Do they want to change? “That’s the thing. I don’t think so.”

The situation looked bleak from the condemned building that afternoon. But as I walked home later that day, I smelled something different from the gasoline and pot smoke common to the strip : seafood. A new restaurant with a small paper sign in the window reading Mattapan Fish Market had just opened across from the new health center. A young child in a red vest stood outside, inhaling the smell of fresh fish. So perhaps, amidst all this desolation, there was hope.

The biggest hope for towns like Mattapan caught in the vicious cycle of poverty is simple : opportunities for children. It means investing in education in impoverished areas, providing healthy food for kids, and ensuring Mattapan’s newest generation has the resources necessary to resist gang violence and addiction. Perhaps that is the core lesson of slow journalism – that to break the patterns of a place that doesn’t want to change, we should invest in our future.

Read some of the runners-up here.

Update your BeAScout pin today, so future Scouting families can find you tomorrow

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Today’s parents can do it all online. With a few taps on their tablet, they can buy school supplies, sign up for soccer or hire a babysitter.

And, more and more these days, they’re finding out about Scouting online, too. Today’s parents want, and expect, to learn more about the BSA through a simple-to-use, nicely designed website. is that website. It is the first thing many prospective Scouting families see about the BSA, and it tells them what Scouting is, why it’s a good fit for their family and where they can find a pack, troop, crew or ship near them.

That last part — the where — is where you come in. It’s time to update your unit’s listing on, and I’ll tell you why.

You see, when moms and dads visit, they can enter their ZIP code to find all the Scout units near them.

These results show up as pins, with each representing a pack, troop or crew nearby.

If your unit is one of those pins, you want that prospective Scout parent to have a direct line of communication to you. That way you can tell them all about how awesome Pack 123 is or what makes Troop 456 so great.

There’s just one problem: some units haven’t updated their pins, meaning there’s an extra obstacle between you and a new member of your unit.

But don’t worry. Updating your pin is easy, and it’s well worth your time.

Two types of pins

There are two types of pins: council-owned and unit-owned.

Council-owned pins give parents the council’s website or phone number. Unit-owned pins allow parents to communicate their interest directly to the unit leader.

Here’s what the difference looks like on

You can see that updating your pin is the way to go. But how’s it done?

How to update your pin and who can do it

This Scouting Wire post outlines the steps for updating your pin.

It’s simple, and it’s a good way to make sure your information is current — that it doesn’t list last year’s Cubmaster or meeting time, for example.

Not all adult volunteers can manage the unit’s pin. The capability is restricted to the primary unit leader, unit committee chair and chartered organization representative.

Parents incoming

Last year, there were more than 600,000 visits to This year, that number could be even higher.

That’s because the BSA will put some money into paid search results and boosted posts on Facebook — both directing traffic to That will ensure that prospective Scouting families come out in full force to the site this fall.

Once there, they’ll learn about Scouting, find units and access the lead form and membership application in the BSA’s new online registration system.

10 ways to maximize your solar eclipse viewing experience with your Scouts

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You might have heard there’s a total solar eclipse coming on Monday, Aug. 21.

In the contiguous United States, the eclipse begins at about 9 a.m. PDT on the Oregon coast. It will then dash across the middle of the country before ending around 4 p.m. EDT off the coast of South Carolina.

Scouts, Venturers, parents and Scout leaders who live along the 168-mile-wide path of totality are in for the biggest treat. But everyone in the lower 48 will see at least a partial eclipse, which is still really cool.

Speaking of really cool, the team at Boys’ Life will host the “Boys’ Life Eclipse Extravaganza” live on Facebook, beginning around 10 a.m. Central on Monday. Be sure to tune in.

With the eclipse now less than a week away, here are some last-minute suggestions for maximizing your viewing experience.

1. See what you’ll see.

This site, from the folks at Google and the University of California, Berkeley, lets you type in your ZIP code or city to see what the eclipse will look like wherever you’ll be on Aug. 21.

It provides exact times, so you can set your alarm accordingly.

2. Plan for the patch.

In June, I told you about the BSA 2017 Solar Eclipse patch, available to Scouts and Venturers who make the most of this awesome opportunity.

Learn more at the official BSA eclipse website.

3. Find an event near you.

If you’re in the path of totality, chances are there’s a Scouting event hosted by your council. That’s the plan at these BSA camps, plus others not listed:

If you aren’t near one of these camps, check this NASA page to find a viewing location near you. Options abound both in and out of the path of totality.

4. Be Prepared for traffic and poor cell service.

If you live or plan to drive to somewhere within the path of totality, expect heavy traffic and overloaded cell towers.

Plan ahead by bringing a standalone GPS device (instead of relying solely on your phone). Print out maps and reservation info for hotels or campsites.

Pack extra water and snacks in your car, too, in case you’re stuck on the road for a while.

5. Teach your Scouts and Venturers what they’ll see.

Use a flashlight and some sports balls to show your Scouts how an eclipse works. Have the tennis ball moon blocking out the flashlight sun, casting a shadow on the basketball earth.

You can also show them this Crash Course Astronomy video from PBS.

6. Stay cool in the shades.

By now I hope you have your eclipse-ready glasses. Look for ones that say they’re ISO 12312-2 compliant. Your local Scout camp, science museum, school or astronomy club might have extras for people to borrow.

Watch out, though, because some companies are selling eclipse viewers and glasses that aren’t safe.

The American Astronomical Society has put together this list of reputable vendors, which includes retail chains and online vendors.

7. Make your own eclipse viewer.

Looking for a hands-on activity that will also help Scouts view the eclipse in a safe way?

Look no further than this solar eclipse viewer from Boys’ Life magazine. Find instructions here, or watch the video below.

8. Prepare to be outside for hours.

Don’t let the eclipse distract you from your typical preparations for being outside in the summer heat.

That means you bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and find a shady spot with camp chairs to wait for the big moment in the sun.

Sunscreen? Yes, even in an eclipse you can get a sunburn.

9. Figure out a foul-weather plan.

Clouds can spoil even the best eclipse-watching plan. So even as you cross your fingers for clear skies, you should still plan for the worst.

If you’re watching at home, bookmark NASA’s Eclipse Live page, where viewers can see the eclipse from a number of unique vantage points, including NASA aircraft and high-altitude balloons.

If you’re watching with a group, bring a laptop and projector so you can share these live videos for all to see.

10. Start planning for 2024.

There will be another eclipse in the United States on April 8, 2024. That one will cut across Texas, through Ohio and into Maine.

In other words, even if you miss out on the 2017 eclipse because of bad weather or other factors, all is not completely lost.

Lion pilot program for kindergarteners off to a roaring start, with exciting changes coming for 2017-2018

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“It’s fun, hands-on and active.” “It’s simple and easy to implement.” “It’s age-appropriate, builds character and develops new skills.”

That’s just a glimpse of what parents and youth across the country are saying about Lions, the BSA’s pilot program for kindergarten-age boys.

Lions answers the call for fun, character-building after-school adventures for boys 5 or 6 years old or in kindergarten. Lions begins its second season as a nationwide pilot program in the 2017-2018 Scouting year.

Pilot is the operative word here. It means this program is evolving based on feedback from parents and BSA professionals. Based on that feedback, as well as surveys and focus groups, the BSA has some changes to announce for this fall.

I’ll share those changes a little later in the post. First, let’s take a quick look at what people are saying about Lions so far.

What did families think of Lions in 2016-2017?

Lion Guides, parents, and youth agreed that the program content was enjoyable, effective and engaging.

“Overall, the Lion program was a big hit with our pack,” one survey respondent wrote. “In my opinion, this is the best idea the BSA has come up with, next to allowing girls to join Venturing.”

Many said they got the training and support from council and district volunteers to help make their Lion experience a success.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • 61 percent of Lion parents indicated they have no other child in Scouting. This means Lions is both recruiting new families to Scouting as well as serving siblings of existing Scouts.
  • 90 percent of parents said they liked the uniform T-shirt, shared-leadership model, age-appropriate activities, youth Adventure book and immediate recognition stickers. They’re also pleased with the meeting duration, frequency and content. They said the Leader Guidebook was simple and easy to follow and that the Adventures were engaging for the boys.
  • 91 percent of parents say their Lion will be moving to Tigers. This is probably the best indicator of all that the pilot program is success.

What’s new in Lions for 2017-2018?
  • Pack meetings and activities will be open to Lion families who want to participate. Lion families said they wanted more pack involvement, and now they have the option of being included in program, skits, and more.
  • Pinewood Derby open to Lions. Packs have three recommended options for implementing this:
    1. Integrate into the pack Derby with other Cub Scouts.
    2. Use the wedge car from the Scout Shop to eliminate cutting.
    3. Have Lions participate in a Veggie Car Derby, where potatoes and cucumbers replace wood blocks.
  • Fundraising will be allowed as a family option. Although they don’t want mandatory levels of funds to raise, Lion families indicated they do want to have the option to raise funds. Spring fundraising is encouraged. If popcorn is sold by Lions, a show-and-sell approach where older boys and parents are also present is preferred. Door-to-door selling would only be appropriate if the parent is by the youth’s side.
  • Uniform T-shirt won’t change, but families can buy button-down if they want. Parents and boys love the required Lion T-shirt and optional cap. But this change allows families to buy official blue Cub Scout button-down shirts and blue pants as desired for special occasions and pack ceremonies.
  • A Lion-specific page in Boys’ Life. Parents can use this great resource to help unlock the world of reading for their child.

Find tons of great Lion content on this site.

Winning formula: Eagle Scout wins world championship in Microsoft Excel

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On the list of unlikely global competitions for teenagers, this one sits on Row 1 of Column A: a Microsoft Excel world championship.

But sure enough, it’s a thing. Each year, students from around the world compete to see who has the sweetest spreadsheet skills.

This year, for the first time ever, an American won the Excel trophy at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Anaheim, Calif.

And it wasn’t just any American.

It was Eagle Scout John Dumoulin of Troop 1390 from Woodbridge, Va.

Prepared for the pressure

John, a 17-year-old rising senior, became an Eagle Scout in March 2015, conquering the tough list of requirements completed by the 6 percent of Scouts who earn Scouting’s highest honor.

Two years later, to win the Excel championship, John had to best 560,000 candidates from 122 countries who had entered the competition. At the finals in Anaheim, John and 150 others were given 50 minutes to re-create completed spreadsheets.

John told me that Scouting helped him Be Prepared for that kind of pressure.

“Scouting has given me the mentality that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to, no matter how challenging the feat may be,” he said. “This helped me in the competition.”

Excelling at an early age

John started getting into Excel in middle school, where he loved tracking baseball stats using the software. When he got to Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, John channeled that hobby into something that will serve him well in a future career. Through the school he earned several Microsoft certifications, including one for Excel.

At first, John’s passion for a seemingly mundane program bewildered his friends. But they quickly understood.

“Being a baseball player, my friends were confused when I told them I was competing in an Excel competition, but after I told them what it was they were really supportive and proud of me,” John says.

Surely their support will grow further once they learn of John’s prize for winning the world title: a $7,000 scholarship, a big trophy and an Xbox.

Scouting spreadsheets

John used his skills to help his troop, too. He created a troop calendar in Excel and used it when tracking his progress toward merit badges like Family Life and Personal Fitness.

Of course, John’s hobbies and Scouting experience extend beyond the borders of his laptop screen.

His Eagle project was entirely analog: he preserved trees at a park in Lake Ridge, Va.

“They had an issue with beavers damaging the trees and creating debris on the walkways,” John said. “My volunteers wrapped wire fencing around trees to help preserve them for the park, and we finished with an area cleanup.”

John’s favorite Scouting memories — so far — include learning to ski with his troop, whitewater rafting and his Eagle Scout ceremony.

“Scouting has taught me to strive for excellence and go for high achievement in everything I do,” John said. “I’m glad to bring the Microsoft competition into the world of Scouting and hope for the growth of technology and STEM work in Boy Scouts continues.”

Does the National Jamboree count toward a National Outdoor Award?

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The National Outdoor Awards, which debuted in 2010, are how the BSA recognizes Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts or Venturers who demonstrate knowledge and experience in high-level outdoor activities.

Young people can earn badges in one or more of these six areas: Camping, Aquatics, Conservation, Hiking, Riding and Adventure.

Once earned, the patch and segments can be worn in the temporary patch position — on the right pocket.

Go here for the full list of requirements for each of the six National Outdoor Awards.

Now that you’re up to speed on the basics, let’s discuss one very specific detail.

Question from a Scouter

A Scouter named Tony emailed me with this question:

Hi Bryan,

Thank you very much for running your column. It is my go-to place to begin looking for a Scouting-related question.

Also, I hope that the Jamboree was as fun for you as it looked to me as an offsite observer.

Anyway, the question that I anticipate will be: Does attendance and participation at the 2017 National Jamboree meet requirement 3G of the National Outdoor Award for Adventure? That requirement says: “Attend any national high-adventure base or any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program.”

Yours in Scouting,


Thanks for the question, Tony. For the answer, I went to Rob Kolb, outdoor programs specialist at the BSA’s National Service Center.

Does the National Jamboree count toward the National Outdoor Award?

Yes, attendance at the Jamboree can count toward requirement 3G of the National Outdoor Award for Adventure. The requirement states that Scouts or Venturers must “attend any national high-adventure base or any nationally recognized local high-adventure or specialty-adventure program.” The Jamboree qualifies.

Bottom line: The Adventure segment of the National Outdoor Awards asks Scouts or Venturers to complete 10 adventure activities. The Jamboree can count as one of those 10.

If a Scout or Venturer is lucky enough to attend two or more Jamborees — perhaps the 2017 National Jamboree and 2019 World Scout Jamboree — he or she may count both toward the 10. That’s confirmed by this sentence in the Adventure award requirements: “Items 3a–g may be repeated as desired.”

BSA photo by Al Drago.

The history of Scouting and s’mores

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The Girl Scouts are widely credited with inventing the concept of sandwiching a fire-roasted marshmallow between graham crackers and chocolate and calling it a s’more.

So before we go any further, let me just say one thing on behalf of the millions of Boy Scouts and Venturers who have enjoyed these campfire treats over the past nine decades: Thanks, Girl Scouts!

But did you know that the tradition of Scouts browning marshmallows (or blackening them, if you’re weird and prefer them burnt) over a fire began well before s’mores blazed onto the scene in 1927?

It’s true.

In The Official Handbook for Boys, the first Scout handbook published in 1911, Scouts are introduced to the deliciousness of toasting marshmallows. Perfectly preparing a marshmallow is, of course, the first and most important step in making s’mores.

Campfire Marshmallows finds its customer

By putting marshmallow roasting in the Scout handbook, the BSA was essentially recommending the practice to boys all over the country.

The company that made Campfire Marshmallows, introduced in 1917, saw a natural customer base.

They started buying ads like the one below, seen in the June 1920 issue of Boys’ Life. The ad reminds Scouts that they’ll “want delicious toasted marshmallows” at summer camp again this year.

Later ads told Scouts to carry marshmallows as snacks on hikes because they’re “high in food value, pure and wholesome” or to pack them as a “healthful” lunch.

Marshmallows always catching fire? Try this

In later years, Boys’ Life started publishing s’mores hacks. This was well before “hack” became a word for a simple tip that makes your life easier.

In BL‘s February 1986 issue, reader Kevin Gerber of Austin, Minn., shared his method for keeping the outside of marshmallows from burning while roasting them.

“The answer is simple,” Kevin wrote. “Just dip the marshmallow in water before holding it over the flame.”

Another s’mores hack, published in the December 2009 BL, came from Jarod Spencer of Troy, Ill.:

“Instead of using graham crackers and chocolate when making s’mores, use fudge-striped cookies,” Jarod wrote. “Your s’more will be easier to handle, and you won’t drop your chocolate on the ground.”

There’s s’more where that came from. (Sorry.)

BL published this list of 10 Tasty S’mores Variations, including one I have to try: Ritz Crackers S’mores, where the salty Ritz replaces the graham cracker.

Enjoying s’mores safely

And finally, just because nobody wants a flaming marshmallow burning off their eyebrows, please take a second to read these BSA tips for enjoying s’mores safely.

Who invented ga-ga ball? Someone might have solved the mystery for good

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It has become the unofficial sport of Scouting.

It’s ga-ga ball, a friendlier form of dodgeball played in an octagonal pit. And it has swept through the Scouting movement.

Almost every Scout camp has its own ga-ga pit; you’ll see Scouts and Venturers gathered around these enclosures until the last bit of daylight is gone. Same story at the 2013 and 2017 Jamborees, where the Summit Bechtel Reserve’s permanent, high-quality ga-ga pits were constantly full.

The Boys’ Life Eagle Project Showcase has tracked at least four Eagle Scouts whose service projects involved building ga-ga pits at their local schools or parks, ensuring future generations of kids get hooked on ga-ga, too.

So who invented ga-ga ball?

For a while, it was rumored that the game started in the Israeli Defense Forces, but that turned out to be a tall tale.

In truth, the game was probably invented in 1975 by a 17-year-old camp counselor named Steven Steinberg.

A new article posted this month by the online magazine Tablet has the story.

Makeshift walls

Steinberg was a counselor at a Jewish Community Center camp in the Baltimore area in the summer of 1975. His unenviable task: watching over a group of 6-year-old boys.

The boys liked to bounce a ball around, but it kept rolling down a hill. So Steinberg got some benches and laid them on their sides, surrounding the play area. The makeshift walls kept the ball in play.

He developed a form of dodgeball where the boys could hit the ball with their hands and eliminate opponents by hitting them below the knee.

This form of dodgeball was much safer for 6-year-olds, with the rules ensuring that nobody would take a shot to the nose. Plus, the below-the-knee rule — still in place today — kept the ball from escaping the pit as frequently.

What about the name?

The article mentions that Steinberg, in a moment of frustration, “told his campers that they ‘all look like a bunch of babies’ — at which point some of the kids began chanting ‘goo-goo, ga-ga,’ which soon became the name of the game.

“When Steinberg had to fit the name on a written activity schedule, it was shortened to ‘ga-ga.'”

The years since

Seventeen years later, in 1992, Steinberg brought his then-8-year-old son back to orientation at the same camp. A staffer told the pair to go check out the ga-ga courts.

That’s when it hit Steinberg: the game he invented in 1975 had stuck.

From the Tablet article:

Steinberg’s story is backed up by an article in the Baltimore Jewish Times in July of 1992, long before the game became the mini-industry that it is today. Steinberg, now a 61-year-old grandfather and a reflexologist in Owings Mills, Md., says he has never made any effort to trademark or monetize the game.

Some unsourced reports say ga-ga ball has been around since the 1950s — even if it wasn’t first called that. Steinberg’s response: “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with a game like this.” But he’s sure the name “ga-ga” was his creation.

Be sure to read the full story over at the Tablet website.

Ga-ga and Boy Scouts

My first exposure to ga-ga ball was at the 2013 Jamboree, where I chose the far-too-obvious headline “Scouts go ga-ga for the Israeli version of dodgeball” for my blog post.

This is what I love about jamborees. You hear all about rock climbing, zip-lining, and skateboarding going in, but nobody mentions ga-ga. It’s just another jamboree surprise awaiting Scouts and Venturers around each turn.

I’ll bet most of the Scouts in the octagon yesterday didn’t intend to come over and play ga-ga, but now just try to keep them away.

Since then, ga-ga has really taken off in the Scouting community.

Still, I could find no official record on how long Scouts have been playing ga-ga ball. So let me ask you this: When did you or your Scouts first try ga-ga? Leave a comment below.

Photo by Kevin Shaw. Thanks to Baltimore Scouter J.D. Urbach for the tip.

The Cub Scout Six Essentials: A half-dozen items to pack on every campout or hike

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A big part of Cub Scouts involves introducing boys to the fun and adventure of spending time outdoors. And if you’re going to spend time outdoors, you’re going to want the right gear.

The Cub Scout Six Essentials, learned as part of the Wolf Rank, is a list of a half-dozen items every Cub Scout should carry when going on hikes or campouts.

Cub Scout leaders explain the Six Essentials as part of the Wolf required adventure “Call of the Wild.”

Later, when a Cub Scout enters Boy Scouting, he’ll learn about the Scout Basic Essentials, unofficially known as the Ten Essentials.

Whether he’s a Wolf packing six must-have items or a Tenderfoot packing 10, the purpose is the same: ensuring young people have the tools they need before heading out the door.

What are the Cub Scout Six Essentials?

These are items every Cub Scout should carry in his personal gear when going on hikes or campouts

  1. First-aid kit: adhesive bandages, moleskin, gauze, antibiotic ointment, etc.
  2. Water bottle: filled and large enough to last until it can be filled again
  3. Flashlight: for emergency use only
  4. Trail food: can be made as a den activity prior to hike or campout
  5. Sun protection: sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater and a hat
  6. Whistle: also for emergency use only

When should a Cub Scout carry these items?

On any hike or campout with the den or pack. By encouraging Cub Scouts to pack and carry their own personal gear items, you’re preparing them for Boy Scouts.

How should a Cub Scout carry these items?

For convenience — and to make sure no item gets lost — each Cub Scout should carry his Six Essentials in a small fanny pack or backpack.

Cub Scout leaders should emphasize that these are tools, not toys, and should be used only when needed.

How can adults help Cub Scouts prepare and pack?

Den leaders should bring a sample set of the Six Essentials to a den meeting before the pack’s/den’s big hike or campout.

Adults should explain the importance of each item and what qualities a Cub Scout should look for in each.

For example, you might outline the difference between a flashlight and headlamp, discuss what items go into a first-aid kit, and talk about what goes into a healthy trail snack.

The Boy Scout Ten Essentials

Known as the Scout Basic Essentials in the newest (13th) edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (pages 238-239), the Boy Scout Ten Essentials are as follows.

Items in bold are on both the Boy Scout Ten Essentials list and the Cub Scout Six Essentials list.

  1. Pocketknife
  2. Rain gear
  3. Trail food
  4. Flashlight
  5. Extra clothing
  6. First-aid kit
  7. Sun protection
  8. Map and compass
  9. Matches and fire starters
  10. Water bottle

Eagle Scouts can apply for these scholarships until Oct. 31, 2017

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College isn’t cheap, but for more than 150 worthy Eagle Scouts, it’s about to get a lot more affordable.

The National Eagle Scout Association will award nearly $700,000 in scholarships to Eagle Scouts based on their academic performance, Scouting background, college plans and financial need.

The window for the latest round of National Eagle Scout Association scholarships opened Aug. 1, 2017. It will close for good on Oct. 31, 2017. Scholarship recipients will be notified by mail on July 15, 2018, and money will be disbursed to these deserving Eagle Scouts in fall 2018.

The scholarships are highly competitive. Less than 3 percent of the 5,000 expected applicants will receive a scholarship.

But if you are an Eagle Scout between your senior year of high school and junior year of college, you’ll want to apply and give yourself a chance at earning some cash for college.

Read on for more details, and be sure to consult this list of FAQs if you still have questions.

How much does NESA award?

In the 2016-2017 scholarship window, NESA awarded $690,000 to 154 recipients.

That’s a slight increase from the 2015-2016 window, where NESA awarded 150 scholarships worth a total of $670,000.

For the current (2017-2018) window, NESA plans to award at least 150 scholarships with amounts ranging from $2,000 to $50,000 per recipient.

What are the requirements?

You must be a National Eagle Scout Association member to receive a scholarship. However, you can apply for a NESA scholarship before you apply for a NESA membership.

Academic scholarship applicants must apply during their senior year in high school unless the Eagle Scout board of review was held after Oct. 31, 2017. In those cases, the applicant must apply during the Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, 2018, scholarship cycle, even if he is already attending college.

Academic scholarship applicants must have a minimum 1800 SAT (or 1290 if taken after March 2016), or 28 ACT score to apply. A “super score” may be used to meet this requirement.

Eagle Scouts may apply for NESA merit scholarships beginning in their senior year of high school and may continue applying every year until their junior year in college.

Applicants may receive a NESA scholarship one time only.

In the past, NESA scholarships were available only to Scouts attending four-year universities. Now Scouts attending vocational trade schools and other approved programs may apply. NESA scholarships are not payable to any of the U.S. military academies.

How does an Eagle Scout apply?

All NESA scholarship applications must be submitted online. Paper copies from previous years are out of date and will not be accepted.

Applications must be submitted at this site.

In depth: Academic scholarships
  • Academic scholarships are based on school and Scouting participation, academic performance and financial need.
  • Applicants must apply during their senior year in high school unless the Eagle Scout board of review is held after Oct. 31, 2017. In those cases, the applicant must apply between Aug. 1, 2018, and Oct. 31, 2018, even if he is already attending college.
  • Eagle Scouts may apply for an academic scholarship one time only and must apply during the time frame defined above.
  • All academic scholarship applicants must have a minimum 1800 SAT (or 1290 if taken after March 2016), or 28 ACT score to apply. A “super score” may be used to meet this requirement.
  • All applicants must be members of the National Eagle Scout Association to receive a scholarship.
  • Types of academic scholarships:
    • Cooke scholarships ($2,500 to $48,000): Awarded based on school and Scouting participation, academic performance, and financial need. Applicants must meet the minimum SAT or ACT score to apply.
    • NESA STEM scholarship ($50,000): Awarded to one applicant annually who has chosen to pursue a career in a STEM-related field. Applicants for the STEM scholarship who are not selected will automatically be considered for a Cooke scholarship worth $2,500 to $48,000 each.
In depth: Merit scholarships
  • Merit scholarships are awarded based on school and Scouting participation and community service.
  • Eagle Scouts may apply for the NESA merit scholarships beginning in their senior year of high school and may continue applying every year up through their junior year in college.
  • Applicants may win a NESA scholarship one time only. Previous NESA scholarship winners are not eligible to apply again.
  • Types of merit scholarships:
    • Hall/McElwain scholarships ($5,000): Awarded based on school and Scouting participation and community service.
    • Robert and Rebecca Palmer scholarships ($2,500): Awarded based on school and Scouting participation and community service.
    • Bailey merit scholarships ($2,000 to $4,000): Awarded based on school and Scouting participation and community service.
    • Michael S. Malone/Windrush Publishing Journalism scholarship ($2,500): Awarded to one Scout who plans to pursue a degree in journalism.
Learn more

NESA has posted this list of helpful FAQs. Good luck!

Other scholarships for Eagle Scouts

Be sure to consider these scholarships:

2017 National Outdoor Conference: An insider’s guide to the outdoors

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Scouting’s programs and values are best delivered outdoors. It’s been that way since the worldwide youth movement was just a twinkle in Baden-Powell’s eye.

But things have changed since Baden-Powell invented the program that became the Boy Scouts of America. Each year brings new outdoor programs, new outdoor gear and new ways of maximizing time spent outside.

How does a BSA volunteer or professional keep up with those latest trends? By attending the 2017 National Outdoor Conference.

The four-day conference, held in late September at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, gives volunteers and professionals the tools they need to maximize Scouting’s impact on young people.

The information you’ll bring home will empower you for years to come. The fact that you’ll acquire that information at one of the BSA’s signature spots? That’s just icing on the pineapple upside-down cake.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2017 National Outdoor Conference. Be sure to register by Aug. 31 to avoid the $50 late registration fee.

What is the National Outdoor Conference?

It’s Scouting’s largest gathering of volunteers and professionals charged with delivering the world’s greatest outdoor program for youth. It’s four days of elective sessions, outstanding keynote speakers, outdoor vendor exhibits, clean mountain air, backcountry excursions, special program opportunities, great music and fellowship with Scouting’s top outdoor leaders. You’ll join fellow Scouters and outdoor enthusiasts from across the country to learn new methods, share ideas, and check out the latest in outdoor gear and programs.

When is it?

Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2017.

Onsite registration opens at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27. There’s a barbecue and opening session that evening.

Sessions take place all day Thursday and Friday, as well as Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon is spent enjoying backcountry activities at Philmont.

Everyone leaves after breakfast on Sunday.

Where is it?

Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M.

Who should attend?

Anyone involved in outdoor program delivery at the national, regional, area, council, district and/or unit level.

That means Scout executives, directors of support services, program directors, rangers, camp directors, council presidents, and council program vice-presidents. Anyone who chairs a committee on council and district camping, conservation, aquatics, COPE/climbing, or shooting sports should also plan to be there, as should properties chairpersons and other volunteers or professionals responsible for delivery of outdoor programs.

What will participants do?

For a complete look, check out the official conference brochure (PDF). There are separate tracks — or “trails” — on different aspects of outdoor programming:

  • Enterprise risk management
  • Facility management
  • Human resources
  • Management and administration
  • Marketing and promotions
  • National council
  • Program administration

On Saturday afternoon, participants get to kick back and enjoy their choice of Philmont adventures, including:

  • Backcountry tours
  • Climbing
  • Fly-fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Shooting sports
How much does it cost?

There are three different costs for attendees, and they depend on where you’d like to sleep. You can choose from a roofed dorm/duplex, a large wall tent with a cot or offsite housing in town.

Conference fee plus roofed housing at Philmont: $350

  • Includes four nights lodging in a dormitory or duplex with up to four people per room, meals, conference gift, and supplies. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are provided.

Conference fee plus tent housing at Philmont: $275

  • Includes four nights lodging in a large two-person wall tent with electricity and camp-style bed and mattress plus meals, conference gift, and supplies. Sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels are available. Modern shower houses are located nearby. You may also bring your own sleeping bag.

Conference fee with no housing (meaning you’re staying offsite at your own expense): $250

  • Includes all meals, conference gift, and supplies. Visit this website for lodging options in Cimarron.

Note: A late fee of $50 will be added in each category for those registering after Aug. 31, 2017. A $100 cancellation fee will apply if conference reservations are cancelled after Sept. 15, 2017.


Turn it up: 2017 Jamboree-on-the-Air, Jamboree-on-the-Internet dates set

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For this October’s Jamboree, you don’t need to travel by plane, train or bus to join the fun.

All you really need is a ham radio or a connection to the internet.

This Oct. 20 to 22, Scouts from down the street, across the country and around the world will gather for the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air and Jamboree-on-the-Internet.

The two events, held concurrently the third full weekend of October, use amateur radio and Internet-connected devices to unite Scouts from all over the Earth.

And I do mean all over the Earth. The 2016 Jamboree-on-the-Air had nearly 1.3 million Scout participants from more than 30,000 locations and reached 156 different countries.

Will your Scouts or Venturers be a part of the fun — and earn the patch to prove it? Here’s what you need to know.

Requirements completed

In addition to being incredibly fun, JOTA and JOTI count toward Scouting requirements:

2017 Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA)

What: Annual Scouting event that uses amateur radio to link Scouts around the world, across the country and in your own community.

When: Third full weekend of October (this year it’s Oct. 20-22, 2017). There are no official hours, so you have the whole weekend to make JOTA contacts. The event officially starts Friday evening during the JOTA Jump Start and runs through Sunday evening.

Who: Scouts and Venturers of any age, plus their families.

How: Once at the ham radio station, the communication typically requires speaking into a microphone and listening on the station speakers. However, many forms of specialized communication can also take place, such as video communication, digital communication using typed words on the computer screen transmitted by radio, communication through a satellite relay or an earth-based relay (called a repeater), and many others.

Where to find help: Contact your local council. They may already have an event set up that your Scouts can attend. Otherwise, find a local American Radio Relay League club here.

Learn more: Get resources, quick-start guides, patch order forms and lots more at the JOTA website.

Just for fun: Check out this archive of JOTA patches through the years.

2017 Jamboree-on-the-Internet (JOTI)

What: JOTA’s younger brother, JOTI is an annual Scouting event that uses the Internet and the numerous devices that are used to get online — laptops, iPads and more — to link Scouts from around the world. In 2016, JOTI had more than 47,000 Scouts and leaders registered in the worldwide JOTI database.

When: JOTI begins at 00:00 hours local time on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, and will end at 24:00 hours local time on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.

Who: Scouts and Venturers of any age, plus their families.

How: Scouts can participate at home with the help of an adult (remember two-deep leadership!), or they can participate in a Scout group at a councilwide event. JOTI is an economical way of communicating with people from other corners of the globe. The event allows Scouts to “meet” other Scouts from around the world through the Internet and share more information than just “hi.”

Where to find help: Contact your local council. They may already have an event set up that your Scouts can attend.

Learn more: Get resources, quick-start guides, patch order forms and lots more at the JOTI website.

Just for fun: Check out this archive of JOTI patches through the years.



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