Scouting News from the Internet

BSA to open out-of-this-world high-adventure base in 2019

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Fifty years, to the day, after an Eagle Scout was the first human to set foot on the moon, the Boy Scouts of America will create a permanent high-adventure base there.

Tranquility High Adventure Base — the fifth jewel in BSA’s high-adventure crown — will open July 20, 2019.

The BSA is partnering with NASA, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to make this sci-fi dream a reality. Thanks to their support, it’ll cost just $24,995 to spend a week at Tranquility. That cost does not include transportation.

True, it’ll be tough to top the BSA’s four earthly high-adventure bases. (Everyone should try to visit Northern Tier, Philmont, Sea Base or the Summit Bechtel Reserve at least once in their lives.)

But I’ve seen the artist renderings released to the public today, and I’m stunned.

Here’s what we know so far about Tranquility High Adventure Base.

Where you’ll stay

Tranquility High Adventure Base comprises 12 solar-powered, pressurized domes, each named after one of the 12 men who have walked on the moon — 11 of whom were Scouts, including two Eagle Scouts.

The domes are “oxygenated and gravitated,” according to the designers’ schematics. In English, that means Scouts and Venturers can walk around inside without wearing a space suit. In Spanish, that means los visitantes pueden caminar por dentro sin usar un traje espacial.

Each of the nine residential domes sleeps about 150 people, meaning when Tranquility is running at max capacity it can house 1,200 participants and 150 staffers.

Fun fact: Tranquility will have a minimum capacity, too. In the offseason, it can be maintained by just a single crewmember, as long as that crewmember is Matt Damon.

What you’ll do

Scouts choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.

Take the orienteering course, for example. Earth compasses won’t work on the moon because the moon has no consistent magnetic field. So imagine the fun Scouts will have trying to navigate to the Descartes Crater with a worthless compass.

Other highlights:

  • A low-gravity park outside of the domes for biking, moonwalking and pogo-sticking
  • A weekly Swiss cheese-eating competition
  • Skipping moon rocks across John Glenn Lake
  • The chance to earn Space Exploration merit badge simply by showing up
  • Day trips to study the moon’s surface

On that last point, Olaf Sprilo, the BSA’s staff astronaut, says he won’t be surprised if Scouts make some major scientific discoveries while visiting Tranquility.

“Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface has been explored by humans,” Sprilo says. “And all but one of those humans was a Scout. It only makes sense for Scouts to get to work on the other 95 percent.”

What you’ll eat

Included in the trip’s cost will be three pre-packed, freeze-dried meals per day plus three snacks. The menu includes dehydrated fruit, space ice cream and Tang. Lots and lots of Tang.

Everything on the menu at Tranquility must survive the journey to space. So it’s small, nutritious and has an approximate expiration date of March 1, 2145.

In many ways, it’s a lot like the food at Philmont: compact fuel for fun. After a long day of hiking at Philmont or crater exploring at Tranquility, it’ll taste delicious.

How you’ll get there

Tranquility’s geographic coordinates are 00°41′15″ N, 23°26′00″ E.

Important note: These are lunar coordinates — not Earth coordinates.

Visitors will be responsible for their own transportation, but there will be group rates available through SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.

Once in space, the following detailed map will help you find your way to Tranquility.

When it’ll open

If you can’t spend a full week at Tranquility, I encourage you to at least make it to the dedication ceremony on July 20, 2019.

The festivities begin at 3 p.m. Parking is limited, so please plan to arrive early.

Tranquility visual renderings by Marcie Rodriguez. Tranquility patch design by Kevin Hurley.

BSA’s Tour and Activity Plan eliminated

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Be prepared to spend less time filling out forms and more time having fun.

The Boy Scouts of America has eliminated its Tour and Activity Plan, shifting the focus away from paperwork and toward creating a safe space for Scouts to enjoy the program as designed.

The Tour and Activity Plan was a two-page document submitted to your local council for approval at least 21 days before longer trips. As of April 1, 2017, it is no more.

Richard Bourlon, team leader for Health and Safety, encourages unit leaders to instead use a “flexible risk-assessment strategy” when planning outings.

“We looked at how the old plan was being used, how many people were using it, how many calls we received about it, and how much time this took staff and volunteers, versus the return – did it create a safer environment?” Bourlon says. “There wasn’t a correlation, so we’re giving them that time back.”

What’s replacing the Tour and Activity Plan?

The old method: One adult leader filled out the form and submitted it to his or her council.

The new method: Have a plan. Get everyone on the same page. For Cub Scouts, that means the pack leadership. For other units, that means adult leaders work with Scouts/Venturers to plan a trip that’s safe, fun and engaging. No forms required.

“Getting everyone on the same page is a beautiful thing,” Bourlon says. “And then we also know you are using a handbook or other program literature consistent with BSA rules, regulations and policies.”

Going to do an activity that supports Scouting’s values but isn’t in any book? Consult the flexible risk-assessment tools in the Guide to Safe Scouting and the Enterprise Risk Management Guidebook when planning.

This change has added significance in Boy Scouting, Sea Scouting, Varsity and Venturing, where older youth should be doing most of the planning anyway.

“Before, this was only available to adults,” Bourlon says. “Our materials are now publicly accessible and appropriate for youth to use.”

What about Tour Permits?

Though you might find some still floating around, tour permits (local and national) were eliminated in March 2011 and were superseded by tour plans — and then by the Tour and Activity Plan in 2012.

All have now been eliminated.

How does insurance work in the post-Tour and Activity Plan world?

The Tour and Activity Plan wasn’t a determining factor in insurance coverage. (Neither, by the way, is wearing a uniform. You’re covered whether in or out of uniform.)

Registered volunteers have primary coverage for official Scouting activities, and nonregistered volunteers are provided excess coverage for official activities.

If an automobile or watercraft is used, the BSA provides additional excess auto coverage.

To be official, the activity should be consistent with the values, Charter and Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, the operations manuals, and applicable literature of the Boy Scouts of America.

Do I need to file any forms or notify the council of any trip we take?

No. But you should use the BSA planning tools available here. In most cases, this doesn’t include forms to complete and submit. These tools are meant to prompt discussions and conversations about risks.

What about Exploring?

The manual process Learning for Life and Exploring used in the past for outing permits is discontinued, too.

How does this change affect the safety of BSA outings?

It doesn’t. The Scouting program, as contained in our handbooks and literature, integrates many safety features. But no policy or form will replace the review and vigilance of trusted adults and leaders at the point of program execution.

Moreover, the program hasn’t changed. For example, parents still must give permission for leaders to take youth on a trip. Cub Scouts should only camp at council-approved locations. Etc.

Where can I find more information about BSA Health and Safety?

As always, this page is your best source.

Kicking & Screaming Episode 4 recap: ‘Jungle Love’

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The Fox reality show Kicking & Screaming pairs hardcore survivalists with people who have, let’s say, far less experience in the outdoors.

Now that Eagle Scout and Washington Scout leader Terry Fossum is in the Top 6, I’ll recap every episode until he’s eliminated or the finale airs — whichever comes first. 

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

Every team — even the forced-to-work-together kind on Kicking & Screaming — must go through a little “storming” before they can begin “performing.”

That’s certainly the case for Eagle Scout Terry Fossum, an active Scouter from Washington who competes wearing his field uniform, and his partner Natalie Casanova, a 29-year-old professional gamer with pink hair.

The two fought in Episode 3 and barely survived the elimination challenge. Can they weather the storming to make it through another episode?

Grab a plate of corncobs and get ready for your complete recap of Kicking & Screaming Episode 4: “Jungle Love.”

Spoilers follow.

A tough call

Having won the final challenge at the end of Episode 3, Terry and Natalie have the power in Episode 4 to send a fellow team to the elimination challenge. That team will be sent to a one-on-one, win-or-go-home matchup.

But, you know, a Scout is kind. So this decision isn’t easy for Terry.

“We love everybody out here,” he says. “To have to pick one of them to go to the elimination challenge — it is not power, it is a curse.”

Terry and Natalie choose Tamra, a wilderness survival instructor, and Maxwell, a fashion student.

That elimination challenge will come later. First, it’s time to eat. Sorta.

Prize challenge: Moveable feast

By this point in Kicking & Screaming, the contestants are in need of a decent meal.

This isn’t the kind of feast they’re expecting.

Partners stand on opposite sides of a spiderweb of rope that resembles the kind used at a COPE (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience) low-ropes course.

One partner runs to a giant buffet table packed with meat, veggies, pastries and — for reasons never explained — a giant chocolate fountain.

The novices must pick up the food using only their mouths and pass it, mouth to mouth, through the net to their survivalist partners. The first team to transfer 10 pounds of food wins.

Germaphobes, look away now.

The process looks “like a mama bird to a baby bird,” observes Hannah, the show’s host.

While others struggle, Terry and Natalie figure out the trick right away.

Natalie starts with corncobs — one of the heavier items on the buffet and pretty easy to carry between your teeth. The partners even find a method for making sure they don’t drop any food to the mud below.

“On the transfer, when I have it, so she doesn’t let go ahead of time, I’m just gonna grunt,” Terry says.

Ten pounds of corn and half-chewed meat later, Terry and Natalie win. It’s the second win in a row for Team Purple, and it’s safe to say they’re officially “performing” now.

“After our big fight,” Terry says, “I’m just freaking out, man. This is fantastic.”

The prize is more food, and Terry and Natalie face another choice.

They can go alone or take everyone. They choose to share the wealth.

It’s the courteous and friendly thing to do, but I must point out this behavior would never fly on Survivor. Apparently this Eagle Scout prioritizes being kind to others over keeping his opponents weakened so he has a better chance of winning.

We’ll see if that strategy pays off.

Elimination challenge: Feeling crabby

Joining Tamra and Maxwell in the elimination challenge are John and Nakeisha, who finished last in the prize challenge. Terry and Natalie get to sit this one out.

The challenge involves reeling in crab traps and catching crabs bare-handed.

The winners: John, a mercenary, and Nakeisha, a cheerleader with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

That means Tamra and Maxwell are eliminated, and we’re down to five teams. America’s favorite Eagle Scout reality show star and his partner now have a one-in-five shot at the half-million bucks. Stay tuned.

Stray observations
  • I couldn’t help but notice that when other guys on the show took turns mocking their partners, Terry didn’t participate. Bravo.
  • That moment when Nakeisha lost her spoon somewhere in camp was completely relatable. Even the most seasoned campers among us are known to lose items right under our noses. Unrelated: If anyone finds a gray plastic spork at Yellowstone National Park, please return it to me.
  • Less relatable was the moment when one contestant, Brady, had a bathroom emergency. He didn’t take toilet paper when he ran off, and he returned with half a sleeve missing. “There’s no question where the other half went,” said his partner, Claire. Uh, gross.
  • There was a cool moment where Terry asked Maxwell, the camp’s “worm whisperer,” to find him a worm. “If you find me an earthworm, I’ll do everything in my power to catch a fish,” Terry said. We never got to see that fishing trip, but maybe in a future episode. I’d love to see how good of an angler this Eagle Scout is.
Missed an episode?

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

Boy Scout leaders can now get trained anywhere at any time

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It’s midnight, you’re in pajamas and you’re sitting on the couch scrolling Facebook on your tablet.

Sounds like the perfect time to get trained.

With the launch of Scouting U’s eLearning content for Boy Scout leaders, Scouters now can get trained on their own schedule — anywhere, any time.

The courses are conveniently organized by role — Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, Varsity coach, assistant Varsity coach, leader of 11-year-old Scouts, troop/team committee chairman, troop/team committee member and merit badge counselor — meaning you’ll know exactly which training courses you need to be “Trained.”

Modules range from five to 15 minutes in length. They’re designed to be completed at your own pace — all at once or one at a time.

The modules are grouped into three learning plans:

  • Complete before the first meeting
  • Complete within the first 30 days in your volunteer role
  • Complete to become “position trained”

The modules stay put once you’re done, so you can return to review any section at any time.

Ready to get started? Log in to and click on “BSA Learn Center.”

Read on for more details.

What training must I complete to be ‘Trained’?

Want to wear that Trained patch? This chart gives you an overview of the eLearning modules you should complete.

Unit leaders and assistant unit leaders, you’ll need to complete:

  • The required eLearning modules for your role
  • The Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS) face-to-face course

Committee chairmen/chairwomen and committee members, you’ll need to complete:

  • The required eLearning modules for your role

Merit badge counselors, you’ll need to complete:

  • The required eLearning modules for your role
What about Youth Protection training?

That’s the one training that every leader in every program must complete. Good news: it’s now mobile-device compatible.

Log in to to get Youth Protection trained today.

How were these eLearning courses created?

A team of Boy Scout program experts and experienced volunteers wanted to provide a high-quality learning experience while creating an additional training option for leaders and volunteers who need to complete their position-specific training requirements for the Boy Scout program.

What if I don’t want to take the training online?

Learners who prefer to complete their courses in a face-to-face classroom environment can find course dates by contacting their local district or council.

The three-pot method: This is how to wash dishes at a campsite

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Wash, sanitize, rinse.

With the three-step dishwashing system, you can finish camp dishes in no time. That means you’re back to having fun faster.

Here’s how to wash dishes at a campsite, courtesy of the BSA Fieldbook (pages 91-92) and the 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (page 308).

What you’ll need
  • A dishwashing spot that’s at least 200 feet from any sources of water
  • Hot water (Pro tip: start heating your wash water before you sit down to eat)
  • Three plastic tubs
  • Biodegradable dish soap
  • A dish brush/scrubber or two
  • Hot tongs for dipping plates and spoons into the hot rinse
  • Bleach or sanitizing tablets
  • Ground cloth, towel, mesh bag or lightweight hammock for air-drying
Before you begin

Get your dishes as clean as you can before placing them into the wash pot. That way you won’t overwhelm Pot 1 with food particles.

Note: This may involve scraping and literally licking your plate clean. At Scout camp, this is perfectly acceptable behavior.

Pot 1: Wash pot

Add a few drops of biodegradable soap to hot water. Your instinct will be to use more soap than you actually need, so use sparingly.

Pot 2: Cold-rinse pot

Place a few drops of bleach or a sanitizing tablet (like Steramine) into cold water.

Pot 3: Hot-rinse pot

Fill the final pot with clear, hot water.

After you’re done
  1. Hang or place utensils and dishes to dry
  2. Dispose of soapy wash water 200 feet from any water sources. Filter out food particles, and put those in a plastic bag to throw away. Then spread the water over a wide area.
Also worth noting
  • Though the Fieldbook recommends the three-pot order above, other Scouters (and, indeed, my own Troop 1776 growing up) believe in a different order:
    • Pot 1: Soapy wash pot
    • Pot 2: Hot-rinse pot
    • Pot 3: Cold-rinse sanitizing pot
  • Minimizing dishwashing time starts with menu planning. Meals that use one pot and few food-prep utensils will leave less mess afterward.
  • Scouts should use as few dishes and utensils as possible. One bowl, one mug and one spork will be all you’ll need for most meals.
  • Here’s a look at the Boy Scout Handbook guidance on the subject:

Now it’s your turn

So that’s how to wash dishes at a campsite. What tips or advice can you offer for campsite dishwashing?

Photo via this site, where you can learn to make a holder for your dish tubs.

Mercedes Matlock named 2017-2018 National Sea Scout Boatswain

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In the nautical world, a boatswain (pronounced “bosun”) is the officer in charge of the ship, equipment and crew.

In the Sea Scouts world, the National Boatswain is the youth leader in the charge of the whole Sea Scouting program.

Last week, the National Sea Scout Support Committee selected Mercedes Matlock of Frederick, Md., as the 2017-2018 National Sea Scout Boatswain.

Mercedes is a member of Ship 59, SSS Sea Dogs, chartered by the YMCA of Frederick County and part of the National Capital Area Council.

As National Boatswain, Mercedes will represent Sea Scouts on ships from sea to shining sea. She’ll report to National Commodore Charles Wurster and National Director Keith Christopher.

Her term will begin June 1, 2017, at which point she’ll take the helm from 2016-2017 National Sea Scout Boatswain Rachel West. (That’s Mercedes and Rachel in the photo at the top of this post.)

Sea Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14 to 21. Founded in 1912, Sea Scouting has promoted citizenship and improved young people’s boating skills through instruction and practice in water safety, boating skills, outdoor fun, social activities, service experiences, and knowledge of maritime heritage.

More about Mercedes

Mercedes is an Able Scout, and she has completed her Quartermaster project and is waiting upon approval from council to have her bridge of review.

During her time as a Sea Scout, she has served as her ship’s Boatswain Mate of Program, Boatswain and Purser. She has also been the Northeast Region Boatswain Mate and Boatswain.

She worked as a camp counselor for three years at Boy Scout Camp Airy in Maryland.

As a Girl Scout, Mercedes earned the Bronze and Silver awards.

As a Sea Scout, she graduated from NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training) and SEAL (Sea Scout Advanced Leadership) courses.

She participated in the 2014 and 2016 William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup and the 2013 and 2015 Northeast Regional Sailing Championships, earning 2nd- and 3rd-place finishes.

Mercedes attends Hampton University in Virginia where she’s a pre-med biology major who hopes to become a pediatric cardiologist and complete medical research.

She’s off to a good start, having been placed on the dean’s list.

When she isn’t studying, Mercedes spends time on the Hampton University Varsity Sailing Team, Biology Club, Chemistry Club, Pre-Medical Club, and MAPS (Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students).

More about Mercedes’ vision for Sea Scouting

Mercedes’ overall goal is to expand awareness and recognition of Sea Scouting and represent Sea Scouts across the nation in the best possible manner.

Her goals are to broaden the program by increasing the number of Sea Scouts, connecting youth leaders from all regions and increasing awareness of the program using social media by developing content for a Sea Scout YouTube channel.

Fellow Scouters, please join me in wishing Mercedes fair winds and following seas throughout her term in office.

Summer camp season’s almost here, so it’s time for that annual physical

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We’re mere months away from the summer, aka the Greatest Scouting Season. And while it’s too early to pack your bags and load the trailer, the time is right for one essential step in summer Scouting preparation.

It’s time to get your physical.

As noted on the Annual Health and Medial Record website, a pre-participation physical is needed for resident campers (at summer or winter camps) and for Scouts and adult leaders attending events that last 72 hours or more.

That means it’s required for every participant at Boy Scout summer camp, any of the four BSA high-adventure bases and the 2017 National Jamboree.

Why is an Annual Health and Medical Record required?

Since at least the 1930s, the BSA has required the use of standardized health and medical information. The Annual Health and Medical Record …

  • Promotes health awareness
  • Collects necessary data
  • Provides medical professionals with critical information needed to treat a patient in the event of an illness or injury
  • Supplies emergency contact information
  • Prepares participants for high-adventure activities and increased physical activity
  • Reviews participants’ readiness for gatherings like the national Scout jamboree and other specialized activities
  • Enables councils to operate day and resident camps in a way that adheres to state and BSA requirements
  • Standardizes medical records in a way that can be used by members in all 50 states
Which are the different parts of the Annual Health and Medical Record?

The Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR) comes in three parts:

  • Part A is an informed consent, release agreement and authorization that needs to be signed by every participant (or a parent and/or legal guardian for all youth under 18).
  • Part B is general information and a health history.
  • Part C is your pre-participation physical certification completed by a certified and licensed physician.
Which part of the AHMR must I (or my Scout) complete?
  • For all Scouting events: Part A and B. Give the completed forms to your unit leader. This applies to all activities, day camps, local tours and weekend camping trips less than 72 hours.
  • For camp: Part A, B and C. A pre-participation physical is needed for resident, tour, or trek camps or for a Scouting event of more than 72 hours, such as Wood Badge and NYLT. The exam needs to be completed by a certified and licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. If your camp has provided you with any supplemental risk information, or if your plans include attending one of the four national high-adventure bases, share the venue’s risk advisory with your medical provider when you are having your physical exam.
  • For high-adventure trips: Part A, B and C. Plus, each of the four national high-adventure bases (Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier, Philmont and the Summit Bechtel Reserve) has provided a supplemental risk advisory that explains in greater detail some of the risks inherent in that program. Some Scouts arrive at a high-adventure base without discussing that base’s risk factors with their health care provider, meaning they have missing info at check-in that can slow down the process.
  • For the 2017 National Jamboree: Part A, B and C. Read this page for additional jamboree-specific instructions.
What is meant by “annual”?

Your AHMR is valid through the end of the 12th month after the date it was administered by your medical provider.

For example, if you got your physical on April 3, 2016, it’s valid until April 30, 2017.

Where can I find the proper, most up-to-date form?

Right here.

What about digitizing records?

Please don’t, the BSA says. These records must be secure, and so “records are NOT to be digitized, scanned, sent by email, or stored electronically by unit leaders.”

What if I have more questions?

Consult these FAQs.

Wood Badge participant reflects on her ‘life-changing experience’

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Estrella-Wells (middle) shared plenty of laughs with her fellow Buffaloes.

After her first day of Wood Badge, Renee Estrella-Wells was tired and more than a little overwhelmed.

“It felt like not just one fire hose of information drowning you, but three,” she said. “I questioned who told me this was fun and if I should show them the definition of fun.”

By the second day, though, things started to change. The magic of Wood Badge started to appear.

Wood Badge, a national-level course hosted and staffed by local councils, is the BSA’s advanced leadership training for adults. After six days (one week or two three-day weekends), Scouters leave recharged and ready to tackle any problem Scouts throw their way.

And, as Estrella-Wells began to realize during her course with the Minnesota-based Northern Star Council, Wood Badge isn’t always easy, but it’s always a lot of fun.

A team forms

By Day 2, Estrella-Wells realized she and her fellow members of the Buffalo Patrol were becoming a team and starting to lean on and encourage one another.

They were “laughing through situations and keeping each other on track and moving forward,” she said.

Having a great troop guide helped. Each Wood Badge patrol is assigned a staff member who serves as their guide through the course. As the course progresses, the participants rely on the troop guide less and each other more.

“By the end of the first weekend we went home with a list of things we had to accomplish — project, patrol flag, menus, supplies, tickets, etc.,” Estrella-Wells said. “We all realized that we missed each other, and we were excited to see each other and tackle our list.”

They met twice in the time between the first and second weekend. They were “busy Buffaloes,” Estrella-Wells said, trading phone calls and emails and texts to make sure they were prepared for the second half of the course.

A team performs

Friday morning came, and the Buffaloes returned to camp for the second weekend. They soon realized their preparation and bonding time had paid off.

“The second weekend we had all prepared ourselves to be drowned, but we realized that we were actually floating — heck, we were swimming,” Estrella-Wells said. “We found ourselves bonding, laughing and relaxed.”

Just a few days into the course, Scouters who had wondered how they’d make it through were already dreading its end.

“As we came to the closing ceremony and sang our song for the last time as a troop, there were many misty eyes,” Estrella-Wells said.

Experiencing is believing

My policy when blogging about Wood Badge is to omit specifics about activities you’ll encounter at the course. You might call these posts spoiler-free.

Reading about Wood Badge only takes you so far. You must experience the course to understand how it will strengthen your Scout unit.

Estrella-Wells is a believer, and that’s why she contacted me with her story.

“If you ever thought about Wood Badge, I would suggest don’t wait. Take it as soon as you can,” she said. “I have made friends that I am sure I will be lifelong friendships. I have learned many new tools that I can apply in my life, family, work and Scouts. The staff made an impact on so many of us; I am not sure they truly realize the huge effect that they had. It truly is a life-changing experience.”

Learn more

To find a Wood Badge course near you, contact your local council.

Eagle Scout praised for bravery, service after London terror attack

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Tobias Ellwood, the politician gaining praise for his heroism after a fatal stabbing outside the U.K. Parliament in London, is an Eagle Scout.

Ellwood, born in New York City to British parents, was a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s Transatlantic Council, which serves American Scouts living overseas. He earned Scouting’s highest honor on May 25, 1982, as a member of Troop 427 of Vienna, Austria.

On March 22, a terrorist drove a vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing three. He then fatally stabbed a police officer with a knife outside the Parliament complex.

Ellwood, who served five years in the British army, was photographed kneeling over the policeman’s body. He performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tried to apply pressure to the officer’s chest wounds, according to this report in The Guardian.

Ellwood was surrounded by paramedics, police officers and doctors as he tried to treat the injuries, and remained with the victim until an air ambulance arrived. The officer was later confirmed dead.

The minister was later pictured with bloodied hands and forehead, being comforted by officers in New Palace Yard, the green space adjacent to Big Ben.

Praised for heroism

Later, Ellwood garnered praise for his quick-thinking efforts to attempt to save the life of another. Frank Gardner, a reporter for the BBC, tweeted:

Huge respect for my friend @Tobias_Ellwood MP who tried to save the stabbed policeman, and staunch blood from multiple stab wounds. In vain.

— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) March 22, 2017

Fellow U.K. politicians called Ellwood “an absolute hero” and “utterly heroic, pure and simple.”

Wisconsin police Explorer saves fellow student from choking

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Emergencies happen when and where you least expect them.

Like on March 22 in the high school cafeteria of Central High School in La Crosse, Wis. Freshman Ian Brown was enjoying lunch when his classmate began to choke.

Other students thought Will Olson was being funny, but Ian spotted a change in the color of Will’s neck.

As a Law Enforcement Explorer with the La Crosse Police Department, Ian had been trained on what to do next.

He jumped up and began to administer abdominal thrusts — upward motions meant to dislodge foreign objects stuck in the airway.

Thankfully, the object was expelled, and Ian escorted Will to the nurse’s office.

School nurse Kim Mahlum later said Brown’s training as a Law Enforcement Explorer had been critical during a “very dangerous situation.”

Law Enforcement Exploring trains young men and young women in first aid, community policing, investigations, conducting a traffic stop and more. Explorers experience firsthand what it’s like to be an officer of the law, preparing them for a career in law enforcement.

Learn more about Law Enforcement Exploring and Exploring’s 11 other career fields at

Watch what happened

The whole thing was captured on the school’s security cameras:

Wisconsin high school student trained in first aid by local police saves choking classmate in cafeteria.

— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2017

Scouts Then and Now, Chapter 10

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

Find Chapter 10 below. And click here to learn how to submit your photos.

Kasey from Louisiana

Joshua from North Carolina

Will from Texas

Brennen, Paul and Kevin from Pennsylvania

Jacob from Washington


Michael from New Jersey

Brian from Illinois

Kevin from Illinois

Aidan from Texas

Jacob from Georgia

Send in your photos and see more

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

Canyon Barry, Florida’s underhand free-throw shooter, is an Eagle Scout

Bryan On Scouting -

The description of Canyon Barry the basketball player looks exactly like the description of Canyon Barry the Eagle Scout.

“He’s a quiet contributor, good teammate, happy for others’ success and he has a good heart,” said Brian Burnett, Canyon’s former Scoutmaster.

Burnett has watched Canyon and the University of Florida reach the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. Canyon is the Gators’ first player off the bench and was named his conference’s Sixth Man of the Year.

He’s also the son of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry. And though Canyon is too humble to brag that he has a famous father, Canyon’s cover is blown the minute he steps up to the free-throw line.

That’s because Canyon, just like his dad, shoots free throws underhanded.

Scouting or sports? Try both

Canyon’s athletic prowess was expanding just as he was crossing over from Cub Scouting into Boy Scouting.

He found the perfect troop willing to accommodate Scouting and sports simultaneously: Burnett’s Troop 110 of Colorado Springs, Colo., where 80 percent of the Scouts played competitive sports.

“I remember asking the Scout Executive, ‘Is there a requirement that a Boy Scout troop has to meet every week?’ And he said, ‘It’s up to you.'” Burnett said.

And so Troop 110 met every other week for 90 minutes instead of every week for 60. They still went on an outing each month and attended national jamborees and council camporees.

The schedule allowed Canyon time to compete in basketball, volleyball, track and even badminton. He led the Cheyenne Mountain High School basketball team in scoring and was the school’s valedictorian.

“We went with an every-other-week cadence, and that’s how Canyon could make the commitment with a schedule that fit their schedules,” Burnett said. “I think that’s actually a lesson for Scout leaders.”

Troop 110 grew from zero members to 60 in just four years. New assistant Scoutmasters signed up in droves. Cub Scouts from other packs — not just feeder Pack 110 — heard about the troop’s schedule and joined.

“Canyon came into a troop that was built around the idea that you could be a Scout and a successful athlete,” Burnett said. “You just need leaders willing to break the mold.”

Modest and charismatic

Speaking of breaking molds, Canyon never acted entitled just because of his famous parents. (His mom, Lynn Norenberg Barry, is considered the best women’s basketball player in the history of the College of William & Mary in Virginia.)

Jack McBride, one of Canyon’s former assistant Scoutmasters, called Canyon modest and charismatic.

“Some kids are prima donnas,” McBride said. “He was not one of those. I wish I had 100 Canyons.”

McBride said Canyon’s Eagle project involved refinishing a basketball court at a school in Canyon’s district. But the young man wasn’t done there. He also went to a less-affluent neighboring district and refinished the basketball courts at one of the elementary schools there.

“We have a tendency to take care of our own schools and churches in our district,” McBride said, “but Canyon projected outside of our district to underserved individuals.”

At Canyon’s 2008 Eagle Scout court of honor, he showed off yet another talent. Canyon, who was first chair for his instrument in band, wowed the crowd with a rendition of the national anthem on the euphonium.

Unconventional, even at the foul line

Canyon shoots free throws “Granny style” — something that never really surprised his former Scoutmaster.

“He’s not afraid to be himself,” Burnett said. “He not only wears his dad’s number, he also shoots free throws underhanded.”

Take a look:

Canyon Barry busting out the free throw his father made famous

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 16, 2017

This is no gimmick; Canyon is really good at shooting free throws this way. At one point this season, Canyon made 39 in a row, breaking a University of Florida record.

Speaking of Florida, Canyon is proud of his Scouting background and even lists “earned the rank of Eagle Scout” right there on his official Florida Gators bio.

McBride has one more thing to add to Canyon’s résumé.

“He’s a natural leader,” McBride said. “Canyon is a natural leader with natural charisma and talent that is unbelievable.”

What’s next for Canyon?

That talent has led Canyon and No. 4 Florida to the Sweet 16. Florida plays No. 8 Wisconsin at 9:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday (March 24). The game airs on TBS.

After the March Madness ends, Canyon’s playing career at the University of Florida will be over. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in physics from College of Charleston before transferring to Florida as a grad student. He is studying nuclear engineering.

McBride said Canyon’s future is full of possibilities.

“He could play ball professionally or overseas — or run some nuclear power plant?” McBride said. “The good news with Canyon is he can do whatever he wants.”

Evan Roe, who plays the son on CBS’ ‘Madam Secretary,’ is an Eagle Scout

Bryan On Scouting -

Evan Roe was a Life Scout when Madam Secretary tapped him to join the family. Producers of the CBS drama wanted to cast Evan as Jason McCord, son of the title character played by Téa Leoni.

Slight problem, though. The show films in New York, so accepting the job would require Evan to leave San Diego and Troop 750 behind.

Rather than making a choice between Scouting and stardom, Evan chose option C: all of the above.

Lacking only his Eagle Scout service project, Evan planned it from afar. He identified a project site, recruited volunteers and crafted a plan — all three time zones away. When he needed materials from the hardware store near his project site, he sent his dad, Chris, who was still out west.

Evan flew to San Diego to complete the actual project: constructing a shade structure at Batiquitos Lagoon. All that planning paid off; Evan and his volunteers finished in half the time budgeted.

Back in New York at board of review time, Evan completed this final step by Skype — which is a BSA-approved practice as long as the council gives the OK.

“I think Scouting is a more flexible program than a lot of people realize,” Evan says. “I was a Life Scout, and I’d worked on it for seven years. I was so close to the finish line; it seemed pointless to give up.”

Watch: Evan Roe talks Scouting, showbiz

Eagles’ Call magazine traveled to New York City in November to meet Evan Roe. He gave us a tour of the set, let us watch a scene being filmed and spent a morning chatting with us at Central Park.

He told us that being a member of a patrol is a lot like being a member of a TV cast.

“You can’t survive in Scouting without cooperation, and you can’t survive in acting without cooperation,” he says.

Watch the video below.

Read: Evan Roe in Eagles’ Call

Read the rest of our story about Evan Roe in the Spring 2017 issue of Eagles’ Call, the official magazine of the National Eagle Scout Association.

Each quarterly issue spotlights Eagle Scouts using skills they learned in Scouting to do interesting things in life.

The magazine is available to anyone — not just Eagles. Use promo code EGCBLG17 to save 50 percent on your subscription.

See: Behind-the-scenes photos

Here, some scenes from our visit to the set of Madam Secretary, the CBS drama that airs Sundays at 9/8c.

Evan’s dressing room includes chairs, a couch, a private bathroom and a rack that holds his wardrobe for that day’s scenes.

Evan and members of the Madam Secretary cast and crew watched a video of the “mannequin challenge” they had just completed on set.

A hair cut a day: Evan gets a trim before each shooting day.

The McCord family house looks like a real home, but this one has rows of lights instead of a ceiling and walls that can be removed.

Between takes, Evan and his fellow cast members keep things light while makeup gets retouched and props get reset.

Evan checks the stove to see if anything’s cooking.

Evan gestures to his fellow cast members, including the show’s title character, played by Téa Leoni.

The afternoon shoot on the day we visited included a breakfast scene, and the orange juice “prop” was very real.

During filming, Evan gives a hug to his on-screen dad, played by Tim Daly.

Photos by W. Garth Dowling.

2016 Merit Badge Rankings unveiled: These were the most and least popular

Bryan On Scouting -

Scouts and Scouters, meet your repeat champion: the First Aid merit badge.

After losing its top spot to the Cooking merit badge in 2014, First Aid retook the crown in 2015 and defended its title in 2016.

That means more Scouts earned the First Aid merit badge in 2016 than any other badge.

It was something of a runaway victory. The badge outranked second place by nearly 8,000 merit badges earned.

First Aid: 2016’s king of merit badges

Exactly 1,919,912 merit badges were earned in 2016; First Aid accounted for 75,256 — nearly 4 percent.

That’s a lot of young men trained to assist someone in an emergency.

Swimming was second, third place went to Environmental Science, and Citizenship in the World and Citizenship in the Nation rounded out the top five.

Citizenship in the Nation is a newcomer in the top five, taking a spot previously held by Cooking, which dropped to sixth.

Here’s the complete top 10. Notice any commonality? All are Eagle-required.

  1. First Aid
  2. Swimming
  3. Environmental Science
  4. Citizenship in the World
  5. Citizenship in the Nation
  6. Cooking
  7. Camping
  8. Communication
  9. Personal Fitness
  10. Citizenship in the Community
OK, but what about non-Eagle-required badges?

Good point. Of course the rankings will be top-heavy with Eagle-required badges. Scouts who want to advance toward Eagle must earn most of the badges from this required list. The remaining merit badges are electives, and the choices are as diverse as the interests of modern Scouts.

The top 10 elective badges were:

  1. Rifle Shooting
  2. Fingerprinting
  3. Archery
  4. Leatherwork
  5. Wilderness Survival
  6. Wood Carving
  7. Kayaking
  8. Canoeing
  9. Chess
  10. Fishing

Many of those merit badges are summer camp staples, meaning Scouts can have fun completing them at one of the awesome local council camps across the country.

I’m always pleased to see Chess so high on the list. It was No. 22 overall last year and this year, which is a strong showing for a badge that’s been around only since 2011. There are many physical merit badges available, but Chess is a reminder that there mental ones as well.

Which were the least popular?

The 10 rarest, starting with the least earned, were:

  • Computers
  • Bugling
  • American Business
  • Stamp Collecting
  • American Labor
  • Cinematography
  • Journalism
  • Surveying
  • Drafting
  • Gardening

The Computers phase-out began in 2014, and Cinematography was changed to Moviemaking in 2013. Scouts who started work before those badges’ official end dates are allowed to finish their work.

Both discontinued merit badges will continue to fall until they disappear from the list.

Which merit badges are gaining or falling in popularity?

Which merit badges saw the biggest jumps? Which saw the biggest falls? Here goes …

Top 5 gains:

  1. Animation, 322 percent increase
  2. Signs, Signals and Codes, 132 percent increase
  3. Whitewater, 20 increase
  4. Surveying, 17 percent increase
  5. Fly Fishing, 15 percent increase

The top two on this list — Animation and Signs, Signals and Codes — were released in 2015. So it makes sense that, when given a full year to shine, they’d do so.

As for the other three, your guess is as good as mine. Normal fluctuations in popularity? An abnormally strong year for surveying the country’s rivers and streams? Nobody could know.

Top 5 falls:

  1. Computers, 79 percent decrease
  2. Insect Study, 34 percent decrease
  3. Cinematography, 33 percent decrease
  4. Composite Materials, 27 percent decrease
  5. American Labor, 27 percent decrease

Computers and Cinematography have been discontinued, so their presence is no surprise. I have no theory for why Insect Study, Composite Materials or American Labor fell in popularity last year.

Where did I get these numbers?

As with my 2016 analysis of the 2015 data, these figures come from Local Council Charter Applications. That means they’re based on the actual number earned, not on sales of the badges. Some troops purchase extra emblems in anticipation of future badge earnings, so sales numbers can mislead.

Special thanks to the BSA’s Lynn Adcock for providing these numbers.

The raw numbers

OK, here are the full lists. Get ready to do a lot of scrolling.

You’ll find

  • 2016 rankings
  • Merit badge popularity in last five years
  • Lifetime rankings, 1911 to 2016
  • Rise and fall: percent change from 2015 to 2016
2016 rankings

Blue signifies Eagle-required. Green means the merit badge is new (introduced in 2011 or later). Orange means the badge is both new and Eagle-required.

Rank Merit Badge 2016 earned 1 First Aid 75,256 2 Swimming 67,446 3 Environmental Science 60,026 4 Citizenship in the World 59,363 5 Citizenship in the Nation 57,919 6 Cooking 55,841 7 Camping 53,534 8 Communication 53,367 9 Personal Fitness 52,079 10 Citizenship in the Community 51,975 11 Personal Management 50,251 12 Family Life 50,177 13 Emergency Preparedness 47,004 14 Rifle Shooting 41,444 15 Fingerprinting 40,700 16 Archery 39,419 17 Leatherwork 37,920 18 Wilderness Survival 35,221 19 Wood Carving 34,938 20 Kayaking 33,137 21 Canoeing 28,288 22 Chess 27,416 23 Fishing 25,256 24 Art 22,990 25 Lifesaving 22,382 26 Mammal Study 21,303 27 Climbing 21,171 28 Shotgun Shooting 20,912 29 Space Exploration 20,137 30 Geology 18,516 31 Indian Lore 18,234 32 Astronomy 16,355 33 Pioneering 15,959 34 Basketry 15,282 35 Geocaching 15,210 36 Photography 15,142 37 Aviation 14,477 38 Robotics 14,264 39 Small Boat Sailing 14,108 40 Orienteering 13,753 41 Game Design 13,689 42 Nature 13,635 43 Weather 12,665 44 Fish & Wildlife Management 12,647 45 Metalwork 12,639 46 Forestry 12,519 47 Fire Safety 12,257 48 Music 11,689 49 Engineering 11,429 50 Chemistry 10,865 51 Moviemaking 10,851 52 Automotive Maintenance 10,748 53 Welding 10,737 54 Search and Rescue 10,361 55 Soil and Water Conservation 10,341 56 Electricity 9,762 57 Motor Boating 9,515 58 Horsemanship 9,457 59 Rowing 9,408 60 Digital Technology 9,344 61 Sculpture 8,900 62 Oceanography 8,499 63 Pottery 8,230 64 Signs, Signals and Codes 8,025 65 Electronics 7,814 66 Sports 7,626 67 Public Speaking 7,497 68 Hiking 7,485 69 Archaeology 7,388 70 Snow Sports 7,177 71 Nuclear Science 7,005 72 Sustainability 6,813 73 Railroading 6,599 74 Radio 6,442 75 Reptile and Amphibian Study 6,411 76 Cycling 6,334 77 Crime Prevention 6,178 78 Pulp and Paper 6,081 79 Traffic Safety 6,072 80 Salesmanship 6,031 81 Disabilities Awareness 5,833 82 Scouting Heritage 5,266 83 Law 5,226 84 Bird Study 5,199 85 Woodwork 4,975 86 American Heritage 4,952 87 Animation 4,637 88 Fly Fishing 4,577 89 Genealogy 4,570 90 Plumbing 4,510 91 Scholarship 4,316 92 Pets 4,278 93 Safety 4,267 94 Mining in Society 4,224 95 Coin Collecting 4,135 96 Programming 4,085 97 Backpacking 3,963 98 Animal Science 3,852 99 Painting 3,829 100 Medicine 3,767 101 Collections 3,753 102 Golf 3,605 103 Reading 3,574 104 Whitewater 3,476 105 Entrepreneurship 3,365 106 Home Repairs 3,325 107 Graphic Arts 3,251 108 Architecture 3,230 109 Athletics 3,125 110 Water Sports 3,123 111 Energy 2,955 112 Dentistry 2,910 113 Inventing 2,834 114 Model Design and Building 2,770 115 Veterinary Medicine 2,580 116 Theater 2,543 117 Textile 2,480 118 Dog Care 2,414 119 Truck Transportation 2,391 120 Farm Mechanics 2,368 121 Plant Science 2,363 122 Insect Study 2,341 123 American Cultures 2,218 124 Skating 1,953 125 Public Health 1,837 126 Scuba Diving 1,792 127 Composite Materials 1,597 128 Landscape Architecture 1,494 129 Gardening 1,375 130 Drafting 1,168 131 Surveying 1,028 132 Journalism 970 133 Cinematography* 841 134 American Labor 812 135 Stamp Collecting 793 136 American Business 627 137 Bugling 479 138 Computers** 354

*Cinematography became Moviemaking merit badge in 2013, but Scouts who began work on the older version were still able to earn it in 2016.

**Computers was discontinued on Dec. 31, 2014, but Scouts who began work on or before that date were still able to earn it in 2016.

Merit badge popularity in last five years Merit Badge 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 American Business 679 805 650 587 627 American Cultures 2,883 2,649 2,174 2,233 2,218 American Heritage 6,626 6,195 5,333 5,599 4,952 American Labor 811 1,090 992 1,106 812 Animal Science 4,503 4,174 4,042 4,414 3,852 Animation 0 0 0 1,099 4,637 Archaeology 10,316 8,913 8,652 7,590 7,388 Archery 48,229 43,879 43,238 41,879 39,419 Architecture 3,631 3,956 4,019 3,362 3,230 Art 29,273 28,031 25,438 24,374 22,990 Astronomy 17,308 16,332 15,758 16,706 16,355 Athletics 3,465 3,709 3,241 3,604 3,125 Automotive Maintenance 10,784 10,084 9,763 9,961 10,748 Aviation 20,751 18,330 17,522 15,170 14,477 Backpacking 4,878 4,114 4,169 3,973 3,963 Basketry 22,073 19,364 17,531 17,158 15,282 Bird Study 6,952 6,405 5,641 5,587 5,199 Bugling 613 515 606 492 479 Camping* 60,772 58,982 54,265 54,342 53,534 Canoeing 39,042 33,409 31,833 29,461 28,288 Chemistry 9,692 10,731 10,594 10,560 10,865 Chess 29,298 27,315 25,266 27,235 27,416 Cinematography 8,308 8,465 4,026 1,260 841 Citizenship in the Community* 57,951 56,928 51,728 52,071 51,975 Citizenship in the Nation* 64,120 61,272 56,490 57,161 57,919 Citizenship in the World* 67,486 64,452 61,303 60,171 59,363 Climbing 24,609 22,861 23,200 21,574 21,171 Coin Collecting 6,043 5,667 5,303 4,715 4,135 Collections 5,077 4,966 4,295 4,004 3,753 Communication* 59,345 57,111 54,081 55,738 53,367 Composite Materials 1,610 1,817 1,614 2,183 1,597 Computers 14,474 15,149 12,973 1,686 354 Cooking* 23,384 44,903 99,908 67,691 55,841 Crime Prevention 8,331 7,274 6,917 6,581 6,178 Cycling** 7,053 6,551 6,268 6,626 6,334 Dentistry 4,403 4,213 3,416 3,485 2,910 Digital Technology 0 0 3,014 9,383 9,344 Disabilities Awareness 7,230 6,690 6,204 6,153 5,833 Dog Care 3,330 3,351 2,955 2,666 2,414 Drafting 1,377 1,440 1,318 1,339 1,168 Electricity 11,350 10,968 10,460 10,035 9,762 Electronics 8,060 8,753 8,860 8,352 7,814 Emergency Preparedness*** 51,035 50,153 46,069 47,879 47,004 Energy 3,907 3,989 3,669 3,190 2,955 Engineering 9,682 10,445 11,624 11,735 11,429 Entrepreneurship 1,932 1,900 2,496 2,927 3,365 Environmental Science**** 76,238 71,609 67,218 63,783 60,026 Family Life* 56,210 55,080 49,516 51,008 50,177 Farm Mechanics 2,457 2,421 2,486 2,244 2,368 Fingerprinting 46,594 45,140 43,820 43,743 40,700 Fire Safety 14,517 12,988 12,395 12,782 12,257 First Aid* 92,312 87,477 80,917 80,716 75,256 Fish & Wildlife Management 15,528 13,411 13,749 13,164 12,647 Fishing 31,932 29,788 28,119 26,050 25,256 Fly Fishing 4,291 4,690 4,537 3,981 4,577 Forestry 16,309 14,874 14,465 12,905 12,519 Game Design 0 2,657 11,853 12,313 13,689 Gardening 2,258 1,972 1,641 1,582 1,375 Genealogy 5,641 5,740 5,474 5,316 4,570 Geocaching 18,711 17,031 16,785 15,582 15,210 Geology 24,015 22,103 21,282 22,180 18,516 Golf 5,128 4,921 3,955 3,826 3,605 Graphic Arts 3,505 3,140 3,189 3,356 3,251 Hiking** 8,132 7,856 7,344 6,967 7,485 Home Repairs 4,413 3,790 3,866 3,288 3,325 Horsemanship 12,670 10,977 11,905 10,878 9,457 Indian Lore 26,705 24,535 22,997 22,241 18,234 Insect Study 4,120 3,613 3,164 3,550 2,341 Inventing 2,592 2,704 2,902 3,369 2,834 Journalism 1,184 945 955 1,037 970 Kayaking 21,765 36,217 35,533 34,054 33,137 Landscape Architecture 1,618 1,872 1,496 1,434 1,494 Law 7,274 6,946 5,463 5,633 5,226 Leatherwork 48,674 44,344 42,565 40,805 37,920 Lifesaving*** 28,228 25,945 24,474 23,983 22,382 Mammal Study 28,309 24,064 24,060 23,427 21,303 Medicine 4,507 3,990 3,725 3,807 3,767 Metalwork 13,674 13,259 12,949 12,340 12,639 Mining in Society 0 0 3,519 4,613 4,224 Model Design and Building 3,120 3,628 2,612 2,795 2,770 Motor Boating 12,004 11,012 10,748 9,880 9,515 Moviemaking 0 0 6,195 10,064 10,851 Music 15,088 14,223 12,903 12,369 11,689 Nature 18,114 16,164 15,046 14,679 13,635 Nuclear Science 7,114 7,666 6,657 6,728 7,005 Oceanography 10,636 10,769 9,991 9,892 8,499 Orienteering 18,989 16,909 16,871 15,642 13,753 Painting 5,412 4,911 4,346 4,245 3,829 Personal Fitness* 56,908 56,295 50,693 52,499 52,079 Personal Management* 54,529 53,273 48,299 51,105 50,251 Pets 5,904 5,659 4,821 4,645 4,278 Photography 18,879 17,800 17,804 16,931 15,142 Pioneering 21,550 19,525 18,117 17,341 15,959 Plant Science 2,593 2,712 2,680 2,922 2,363 Plumbing 5,785 5,178 4,982 4,960 4,510 Pottery 10,157 9,869 9,050 8,384 8,230 Programming 0 480 2,970 3,577 4,085 Public Health 1,783 2,006 1,821 1,780 1,837 Public Speaking 6,987 7,289 7,091 7,793 7,497 Pulp and Paper 7,495 7,034 6,250 7,379 6,081 Radio 6,957 7,208 6,665 6,709 6,442 Railroading 8,681 7,191 6,694 7,651 6,599 Reading 5,676 5,216 4,712 4,179 3,574 Reptile and Amphibian Study 9,772 8,483 7,547 6,700 6,411 Rifle Shooting 50,435 47,054 45,839 43,196 41,444 Robotics 13,262 13,401 13,708 13,700 14,264 Rowing 13,769 10,944 10,557 9,995 9,408 Safety 3,824 4,349 3,778 3,937 4,267 Salesmanship 6,425 6,438 6,648 6,412 6,031 Scholarship 6,310 5,956 5,362 4,911 4,316 Scouting Heritage 5,394 5,660 5,572 5,558 5,266 Scuba Diving 2,594 2,370 1,989 2,135 1,792 Sculpture 12,829 11,493 9,887 10,042 8,900 Search and Rescue 725 10,552 12,359 11,725 10,361 Shotgun Shooting 26,173 24,603 23,970 21,895 20,912 Signs, Signals and Codes 0 0 0 3,453 8,025 Skating 2,220 2,406 2,010 1,972 1,953 Small Boat Sailing 18,740 16,857 16,511 15,092 14,108 Snow Sports 8,636 9,134 8,227 7,251 7,177 Soil and Water Conservation 14,553 11,697 11,296 10,437 10,341 Space Exploration 23,557 23,290 22,625 21,607 20,137 Sports 9,112 8,950 8,032 8,272 7,626 Stamp Collecting 1,045 1,131 863 996 793 Surveying 1,235 1,307 1,065 879 1,028 Sustainability **** 0 590 5,428 6,625 6,813 Swimming** 80,376 72,946 72,503 71,821 67,446 Textile 4,681 4,673 3,694 3,225 2,480 Theater 2,776 2,320 2,273 2,665 2,543 Traffic Safety 7,450 7,582 7,088 5,604 6,072 Truck Transportation 2,928 2,847 2,182 2,157 2,391 Veterinary Medicine 3,460 3,455 2,875 2,764 2,580 Water Sports 4,291 3,935 3,594 3,389 3,123 Weather 17,869 15,958 15,846 14,622 12,665 Welding 4,022 10,919 11,061 11,019 10,737 Whitewater 4,149 3,252 3,565 2,888 3,476 Wilderness Survival 46,829 43,158 40,395 37,581 35,221 Wood Carving 44,927 41,120 38,749 36,890 34,938 Woodwork 4,962 5,602 5,198 5,242 4,975 Total 2,175,878 2,110,848 2,077,550 2,011,860 1,919,912

* On required list for Eagle Rank

** Required for Eagle (must complete Cycling, Hiking or Swimming)

*** Required for Eagle (must complete Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving)

**** Required for Eagle (must complete Environmental Science or Sustainability)

Merit badge lifetime rankings

Note: This list includes only merit badges that could be earned in 2016.

Also, the rankings are interesting but don’t tell the whole story. That’s because a merit badge released more recently will have been earned less than one of the original 1911 merit badges.

For example, Wood Carving is No. 18 lifetime, but it was released in 1923. Rifle Shooting, No. 30 lifetime, is more popular than Wood Carving today, but its 1988 release hurts its historic popularity.

Rank Merit Badge 1911 to 2016 1 First Aid* 7,137,872 2 Swimming** 6,454,034 3 Camping* 4,770,588 4 Cooking* 4,461,893 5 Citizenship in the Community* 3,565,802 6 Citizenship in the Nation* 3,319,817 7 Lifesaving*** 3,083,773 8 Canoeing 3,081,383 9 Safety 2,943,218 10 Environmental Science**** 2,836,396 11 Fire Safety 2,632,691 12 Personal Fitness* 2,603,805 13 Leatherwork 2,525,804 14 Basketry 2,472,315 15 Pioneering 2,446,508 16 Home Repairs 2,421,783 17 Citizenship in the World* 2,388,293 18 Wood Carving 2,359,486 19 Communication* 2,165,233 20 Fishing 2,040,255 21 Emergency Preparedness*** 1,932,212 22 Personal Management* 1,913,342 23 Fingerprinting 1,758,841 24 Rowing 1,737,241 25 Wilderness Survival 1,708,130 26 Nature 1,693,756 27 Archery 1,685,142 28 Public Health 1,521,262 29 Reading 1,490,797 30 Rifle Shooting 1,412,619 31 Art 1,356,174 32 Hiking** 1,344,669 33 Music 1,342,815 34 Scholarship 1,285,941 35 Family Life* 1,261,530 36 Mammal Study 1,240,078 37 Indian Lore 1,238,343 38 Forestry 1,176,369 39 Sports 1,161,287 40 Metalwork 1,159,618 41 Soil and Water Conservation 1,143,023 42 Athletics 1,071,734 43 Woodwork 982,143 44 Orienteering 846,536 45 Electricity 824,602 46 Geology 687,818 47 Small Boat Sailing 681,509 48 Fish & Wildlife Management 679,019 49 Astronomy 672,315 50 Pets 667,586 51 Horsemanship 662,054 52 Reptile and Amphibian Study 661,213 53 Public Speaking 657,793 54 Aviation 634,144 55 Motor Boating 605,733 56 Weather 605,245 57 Space Exploration 601,615 58 Bird Study 592,971 59 Cycling** 588,138 60 Painting 570,198 61 Shotgun Shooting 563,087 62 Photography 537,582 63 Computers 520,848 64 Coin Collecting 505,994 65 Snow Sports 465,646 66 Climbing 459,255 67 Dog Care 436,542 68 Plumbing 400,848 69 Pottery 400,565 70 Stamp Collecting 391,296 71 Gardening 390,470 72 Chemistry 371,888 73 Salesmanship 337,273 74 Sculpture 321,350 75 Oceanography 306,737 76 Water Sports 256,566 77 Railroading 251,605 78 Genealogy 241,524 79 Electronics 232,671 80 Drafting 227,165 81 Model Design and Building 225,741 82 Farm Mechanics 225,414 83 Architecture 223,037 84 Backpacking 222,212 85 Law 195,624 86 Automotive Maintenance 187,794 87 Nuclear Science 187,469 88 Radio 185,633 89 Skating 177,285 90 Golf 174,201 91 Bugling 171,045 92 Insect Study 170,974 93 Archaeology 170,968 94 Engineering 169,700 95 American Heritage 169,372 96 Traffic Safety 169,247 97 Kayaking 160,706 98 Surveying 153,555 99 Collections 149,615 100 Crime Prevention 149,427 101 Textile 148,715 102 Chess 142,532 103 Truck Transportation 142,125 104 Dentistry 141,779 105 Disabilities Awareness 133,462 106 Pulp and Paper 128,067 107 Journalism 108,389 108 Geocaching 107,271 109 Cinematography 106,216 110 Whitewater 94,816 111 Theater 88,870 112 Energy 86,538 113 Landscape Architecture 84,639 114 Veterinary Medicine 81,429 115 Medicine 80,122 116 Robotics 73,742 117 American Cultures 72,220 118 Animal Science 69,343 119 Graphic Arts 57,550 120 American Business 54,354 121 Plant Science 50,086 122 Welding 47,758 123 Search and Rescue 45,722 124 Game Design 40,512 125 Scouting Heritage 37,671 126 Fly Fishing 35,737 127 Entrepreneurship 28,734 128 Moviemaking 27,110 129 American Labor 24,726 130 Digital Technology 21,741 131 Sustainability **** 19,456 132 Inventing 17,296 133 Composite Materials 17,025 134 Scuba Diving 16,987 135 Mining in Society 12,356 136 Signs, Signals and Codes 11,478 137 Programming 11,112 138 Animation 5,736

* On required list for Eagle Rank

** Required for Eagle (must complete Cycling, Hiking or Swimming)

*** Required for Eagle (must complete Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving)

**** Required for Eagle (must complete Environmental Science or Sustainability)

Ranked by rise or fall from 2015 to 2016 Merit Badge 2015 2016 Rise/Fall Animation 1,099 4,637 322% Signs, Signals and Codes 3,453 8,025 132% Whitewater 2,888 3,476 20% Surveying 879 1,028 17% Fly Fishing 3,981 4,577 15% Entrepreneurship 2,927 3,365 15% Programming 3,577 4,085 14% Game Design 12,313 13,689 11% Truck Transportation 2,157 2,391 11% Safety 3,937 4,267 8% Traffic Safety 5,604 6,072 8% Automotive Maintenance 9,961 10,748 8% Moviemaking 10,064 10,851 8% Hiking** 6,967 7,485 7% American Business 587 627 7% Farm Mechanics 2,244 2,368 6% Landscape Architecture 1,434 1,494 4% Nuclear Science 6,728 7,005 4% Robotics 13,700 14,264 4% Public Health 1,780 1,837 3% Chemistry 10,560 10,865 3% Sustainability **** 6,625 6,813 3% Metalwork 12,340 12,639 2% Citizenship in the Nation* 57,161 57,919 1% Home Repairs 3,288 3,325 1% Chess 27,235 27,416 1% Citizenship in the Community* 52,071 51,975 0% Backpacking 3,973 3,963 0% Digital Technology 9,383 9,344 0% American Cultures 2,233 2,218 -1% Personal Fitness* 52,499 52,079 -1% Model Design and Building 2,795 2,770 -1% Soil and Water Conservation 10,437 10,341 -1% Skating 1,972 1,953 -1% Snow Sports 7,251 7,177 -1% Medicine 3,807 3,767 -1% Citizenship in the World* 60,171 59,363 -1% Camping* 54,342 53,534 -1% Family Life* 51,008 50,177 -2% Personal Management* 51,105 50,251 -2% Emergency Preparedness*** 47,879 47,004 -2% Pottery 8,384 8,230 -2% Climbing 21,574 21,171 -2% Astronomy 16,706 16,355 -2% Geocaching 15,582 15,210 -2% Welding 11,019 10,737 -3% Engineering 11,735 11,429 -3% Bugling 492 479 -3% Archaeology 7,590 7,388 -3% Kayaking 34,054 33,137 -3% Electricity 10,035 9,762 -3% Forestry 12,905 12,519 -3% Fishing 26,050 25,256 -3% Graphic Arts 3,356 3,251 -3% Motor Boating 9,880 9,515 -4% Public Speaking 7,793 7,497 -4% Architecture 3,362 3,230 -4% Fish & Wildlife Management 13,164 12,647 -4% Radio 6,709 6,442 -4% Canoeing 29,461 28,288 -4% Rifle Shooting 43,196 41,444 -4% Fire Safety 12,782 12,257 -4% Communication* 55,738 53,367 -4% Reptile and Amphibian Study 6,700 6,411 -4% Cycling** 6,626 6,334 -4% Shotgun Shooting 21,895 20,912 -4% Aviation 15,170 14,477 -5% Theater 2,665 2,543 -5% Woodwork 5,242 4,975 -5% Disabilities Awareness 6,153 5,833 -5% Scouting Heritage 5,558 5,266 -5% Wood Carving 36,890 34,938 -5% Music 12,369 11,689 -5% Art 24,374 22,990 -6% Golf 3,826 3,605 -6% Rowing 9,995 9,408 -6% Archery 41,879 39,419 -6% Environmental Science**** 63,783 60,026 -6% Salesmanship 6,412 6,031 -6% Swimming** 71,821 67,446 -6% Crime Prevention 6,581 6,178 -6% Collections 4,004 3,753 -6% Wilderness Survival 37,581 35,221 -6% Electronics 8,352 7,814 -6% Journalism 1,037 970 -6% Small Boat Sailing 15,092 14,108 -7% Veterinary Medicine 2,764 2,580 -7% Lifesaving*** 23,983 22,382 -7% First Aid* 80,716 75,256 -7% Space Exploration 21,607 20,137 -7% Bird Study 5,587 5,199 -7% Fingerprinting 43,743 40,700 -7% Leatherwork 40,805 37,920 -7% Nature 14,679 13,635 -7% Law 5,633 5,226 -7% Energy 3,190 2,955 -7% Sports 8,272 7,626 -8% Water Sports 3,389 3,123 -8% Pets 4,645 4,278 -8% Pioneering 17,341 15,959 -8% Mining in Society 4,613 4,224 -8% Mammal Study 23,427 21,303 -9% Plumbing 4,960 4,510 -9% Dog Care 2,666 2,414 -9% Painting 4,245 3,829 -10% Photography 16,931 15,142 -11% Basketry 17,158 15,282 -11% Sculpture 10,042 8,900 -11% American Heritage 5,599 4,952 -12% Search and Rescue 11,725 10,361 -12% Orienteering 15,642 13,753 -12% Scholarship 4,911 4,316 -12% Coin Collecting 4,715 4,135 -12% Animal Science 4,414 3,852 -13% Drafting 1,339 1,168 -13% Horsemanship 10,878 9,457 -13% Gardening 1,582 1,375 -13% Athletics 3,604 3,125 -13% Weather 14,622 12,665 -13% Railroading 7,651 6,599 -14% Genealogy 5,316 4,570 -14% Oceanography 9,892 8,499 -14% Reading 4,179 3,574 -14% Inventing 3,369 2,834 -16% Scuba Diving 2,135 1,792 -16% Dentistry 3,485 2,910 -16% Geology 22,180 18,516 -17% Cooking* 67,691 55,841 -18% Pulp and Paper 7,379 6,081 -18% Indian Lore 22,241 18,234 -18% Plant Science 2,922 2,363 -19% Stamp Collecting 996 793 -20% Textile 3,225 2,480 -23% American Labor 1,106 812 -27% Composite Materials 2,183 1,597 -27% Cinematography 1,260 841 -33% Insect Study 3,550 2,341 -34% Computers 1,686 354 -79% Your takeaways?

To those of you who made it down this far: Congrats! What surprised you about this list? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.

She’s helped 1,000 young men become Eagle Scouts

Bryan On Scouting -

It happened a few minutes after 7 p.m. on March 14.

Inside Room 126 of the Peachtree City (Ga.) United Methodist Church, Preston A. passed his board of review and became an Eagle Scout.

The moment wasn’t just monumental for Preston and his family. It was also historic for Ute Whatley, the Eagle Scout Coordinator in Preston’s district (the Fayette District of the Griffin, Ga.-based Flint River Council).

Preston was the 1,000th young man to become an Eagle Scout under Whatley’s mentorship.

You read that right. Whatley has helped a thousand young men become Eagle Scouts.

The BSA doesn’t compile data about district Eagle board coordinators, so we can’t know whether Whatley holds any sort of national records. But if there were an Eagle Board Coordinator Hall of Fame, Whatley would certainly be a member.

Best part is, she isn’t planning to stop any time soon.

13 years and counting

Whatley became her district’s Eagle Scout Coordinator in January 2004. The Eagle Scout Coordinator is a volunteer who handles the behind-the-scenes work required to help a young man along the journey to Boy Scouting’s highest honor.

Whatley didn’t know then — couldn’t have, really — that she’d still hold that position more than 13 years later.

Think of the passion it takes to mentor one Eagle candidate, let alone 1,000.

At least three adults must sit on each Eagle board, and the Fayette District schedules roughly 75 boards per year.

That’s a lot of moving parts, but Whatley manages it all brilliantly.

Meet Eagle Scout No. 1,000

When Preston arrived at the church that night, he didn’t know he would become the 1,000th Eagle Scout under Whatley. It just so happened that his was the fourth board of review completed that night, so he was lucky No. 1,000.

Preston, from Troop 176 of Fayetteville, Ga., was told he had successfully completed his board of review after 7 p.m. His mom was by his side when he got the good news.

The new Eagle Scouts were invited upstairs for a reception honoring Whatley. Whatley wasn’t told what was going on, and when she entered the room she was surprised at what she saw.

Gathered there were fellow Scouters, friends and family members. Among those in attendance were Flint River Council Scout Executive Kelvin Williams, Fayette District Chairman David Worley, Senior District Executive Danny McCranie and friend and fellow Scouter Carl Lowry.

Lowry presented Whatley with a citation of appreciation, and Jeff Shafer honored her with a Henry Repeating Arms Golden Boy Eagle Scout Tribute Edition Rifle.

Thanks to Carl Lowry for the info and blog post idea.

Sea Base crew reunites 36 years after trek to re-create photo

Bryan On Scouting -

The Scouts of Troop 251 — now full-grown adults with Scouts of their own — wanted to host a reunion of their 1981 Sea Base crew.

They read the Bryan on Scouting post about the Philmont crew from Tennessee that re-created a photo taken 34 years earlier, and they wanted to do the same.

But there was one problem.

The guys from Woodward, Okla., couldn’t track down Mike Gill, the Scoutmaster from that trip.

It turns out they wouldn’t need to. The Scoutmaster’s wife, who is something of a social media expert, was separately searching for members of Troop 251 online.

Once they connected, the former Scouts and the Scoutmaster’s wife had an idea: plan a surprise reunion for Gill.

And so they did, reuniting the group nearly 36 years after that life-changing trip.

The trip of their lifetimes

The year was 1981, and the Florida Sea Base was just a year old when Troop 251 made the journey 1,700 miles southeast.

The Scouts had worked for more than two years earning money to fund the trip, primarily by manning concession stands at youth sporting events.

Their efforts paid off — literally. They earned enough to go to Sea Base and to purchase the new bus that got them there. (That bus would continue transporting Scouts to campouts for years to come.)

As for the trip itself, that was a mountaintop experience — albeit one at sea level.

“Scouting offers opportunities we often call mountaintop experiences,” said Doug Cook, one of the Scouts on the trip. “High-adventure memories last a lifetime.”

Derek Ford, another Scout from the trip, shared how the journey had special meaning for a bunch of kids from Oklahoma.

“An adventure like this gave us an experience that would have never been available for ‘latchkey’ children,” he said.

Who’s who

Left to right: Dan Hamilton (deceased), Joe Goodballet, Kenneth Hamilton, Chris Evans, James Hicks, Derek Ford, Doug Cook and Scoutmaster Mike Gill


At this military base’s Pinewood Derby garage, they’re making more than cars

Bryan On Scouting -

Guest post by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Reprinted with permission

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The smell of sawdust wafts through the air. Power tools whine.

It’s mid-February, and inside the Scout Hut on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the boys and parents of Pack 462 are preparing for the annual Pinewood Derby in late March.

The Pinewood Derby, a Cub Scouting tradition dating back to the 1950s, invites boys to build gravity-powered drag racers. With the help of mom or dad, the Cub Scouts build cars from kits that include a pinewood block, four plastic wheels and four small nails to be used as axles.

The first step in building a car is to carve and shape that wood block, but some adults don’t have the proper tools to facilitate this transformation from plain wood into a highly stylized, aerodynamic racing machine.

That’s where Pack 462 steps up. At the pack’s two Pinewood Derby garages, Cub Scouts and their families gather at the Scout Hut and create their vehicles.

“These garages help build bonds between the Scouts and their families,” said Pack 462’s Assistant Cubmaster Sean Fitzgibbon. “As the Scouts work with their parents to come up with designs and mold cars, we see their faces light up.”

Labor of love

The leaders of Pack 462 have donated their time, tools and equipment to give the boys and their families an opportunity they otherwise might not have.

The result: Cub Scouts have more fun and build better cars. And the parents? They benefit as well.

“I am not mechanically inclined, so his derby cars may have suffered from my ineptitude in the past,” Fitzgibbon said. “But I was able to learn new tips and tricks to create the car better this year.”

While some Cub Scouts show up because they don’t have access to power tools, others are there for the camaraderie. Like Cub Scout Richard S.

“Even though my dad has the tools I needed to build my car, I wanted to come to the garage and build my car with my friends,” he said. “I traced the design I wanted and had help cutting it out so I could sand and paint it.”

Growing up fast

The Pinewood Derby car-making process allows Cub Scouts to use hand tools but not power tools. As the Cub Scouts get older, they get more control over making the car.

“Scouting really helps the boys mature. They start with parent participation and gradually move on to fully independent, hands-on work,” Fitzgibbon said. “Scouting assists boys along the path to adulthood by gradually adding responsibility and more advanced skills.”

Richard, the Cub Scout, says Scouting has offered father-son opportunities he couldn’t get elsewhere.

“I have gone camping with my family and worked on science projects with my dad because of Cub Scouts,” he said. “Every time we do a Scouting event, my dad and I have a lot of fun together.”

Scouts Then and Now, Chapter 9

Bryan On Scouting -

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

Find Chapter 9 below. And click here to learn how to submit your photos.

Jack from Tennessee

William from Oklahoma

Joshua, Colby, Tyler and Jacob from Mississippi

Cameron and Mason from North Carolina

Adam from West Virginia

Sam, Jack and Ben, triplets from Texas

Michael from Illinois

Benjamin from Virginia

Josh from New Jersey

Nathan from Texas

Kit, former Sea Scout and current Sea Scout leader

Send in your photos and see more

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

Top tips for making the most of a merit badge day

Bryan On Scouting -

As a Scout, my favorite merit badges were earned as a byproduct of Scouting fun.

We’d go camping or visit the Texas Capitol or cook a gourmet dinner and — boom! — merit badge done.

But sometimes you have to be more deliberate about merit badge instruction. Perhaps you have Scouts who want to earn specific merit badges that don’t fit into your troop’s upcoming plan. Or maybe you have a subject-matter expert who’s willing to give up a few hours to serve as a counselor, and you don’t want to miss that opportunity.

When merit badge instruction is grouped into a daylong event where Scouts can earn multiple merit badges, we call that a merit badge day.

Merit badge days come in a number of forms. Here’s a look at what the Guide to Advancement says and what a longtime counselor says.

What the Guide to Advancement says

Small-group or individual instruction (while following Youth Protection guidelines) is preferred over large-group classroom instruction.

Read Section 7 of the Guide to Advancement. It says the merit badge process “should be hands-on and interactive, and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting.”

The BSA doesn’t outright outlaw large-group merit badge instruction, but it recommends you avoid it:

This small-scale approach is the recommended best practice for merit badge instruction and requirement fulfillment. Units, districts and councils should focus on providing the most direct merit badge experiences possible. Large group and Web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive association with adults.

What a longtime merit badge counselor says

Carey Snyder is the chartered organization representative for Troop 731 of the Sam Houston Area Council.

He suggests, first off, that a merit badge counselor study the requirements and ask himself or herself this question: “Is this really serving the Scout to streamline this and present in a classroom environment? Would he get more out of it doing it individually?”

He offers these other thoughts on merit badge days:

  1. When applicable, announce to all participants (and parents) that the badge will not be completed during the one-, two- or four-hour class.
  2. Share with Scouts a list of requirements they might complete during the class, if there’s time. These requirements often include those beginning with “discuss” or “demonstrate” or “explain” that involve a direct interaction with the Scout.
  3. Share with the Scouts a list of requirements that may/must be done before class and what evidence the Scout should provide.
  4. On merit badge days, opt for two or three longer sessions (with plenty of breaks) instead of four or five shorter sessions. This means Scouts won’t earn as many merit badges during the day but will get more out of each one.
  5. Emphasize hands-on learning over lectures.
  6. Encourage Scouts to complete additional requirements at home or during family trips. This engages the family in the Scouting experience, perhaps drawing in another adult to the troop.
What can you add?

What suggestions do you have for maximizing merit badge days? The comments are open.

The 10 best patrol name ideas among 2017 March Madness teams

Bryan On Scouting -

Eagles and Tigers and Bearcats? Oh my!

A look at the nicknames of all 68 teams in the 2017 NCAA Tournament reveals some great ideas for patrol names.

Here, the 10 best patrol nicknames taken from this year’s March Madness field.

10. Hurricanes

School: University of Miami

Why it’s cool: Wild, unpredictable and occasionally destructive. Does that describe any Scout patrols you know?

9. Blue Raiders

School: Middle Tennessee State University

Why it’s cool: This one makes me think of Indiana Jones — Raider of the Lost Ark and Life Scout. It’s like that only … bluer.

8. Wolverines

School: University of Michigan

Why it’s cool: One name, two images of awesomeness. There’s the large mammal that’s part of the weasel family and the clawed mutant who’s part of the X-Men family.

7. Golden Eagles

School: Marquette University

Why it’s cool: Three other schools in the tournament are Eagles: Winthrop, North Carolina Central and Florida Gulf Coast. It’s a popular name in Scouting, too, , but are there any Golden Eagle patrols?

6. Mustangs

School: Southern Methodist University

Why it’s cool: It just sounds like the patrol name John Wayne would choose. Bonus: There’s also a popular sports car with this name.

5. Gators

School: University of Florida

Why it’s cool: Gators are clumsy on land but powerful in the water, making them an ideal patrol name for Scouts who feel most at home in the water.

4. Norse

School: Northern Kentucky University

Why it’s cool: Vikings engaged in some questionable practices, but hey, it was the 10th century! Today’s Scouts who choose a Viking-themed patrol name channel the adventurous side of these Nordic people.

3. Catamounts

School: University of Vermont

Why it’s cool: A word derived from the term “cat of the mountain,” catamounts are wild cats. They’ll summit mountains with ease, but don’t try herding them.

2. Privateers

School: University of New Orleans

Why it’s cool: A privateer, according to the Mariners Museum, is “any individual granted license by their government to attack shipping belonging to an enemy government, usually during a war.” While Scouts aren’t the type to break laws, it’s still fun to be a pretend pirate. Side note: Notice the fleur-de-lis in the Privateers’ logo?

1. Mountaineers

Schools: West Virginia University and Mount St. Mary’s University

Why it’s cool: Scouts are modern-day mountaineers, climbing peaks from coast to coast. While others their age vie for videogame victories, Scouts achieve real-world greatness.

What’d I miss?

What team nickname would you add to this list?


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