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Scout Sunday 2018, Scout Sabbath 2018 and Scout Jumuah 2018: Your complete guide

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The calendar says 2018, which means it’s time to start thinking about Scout Sunday, Scout Sabbath and Scout Jumuah.

Scheduled in close proximity to the BSA’s birthday on Feb. 8, these three days celebrate the connection between Scouting and our faith-based chartered partners.

Some Scouts and leaders will honor these days by wearing the full field uniform to worship services. In other units, a worship leader presents religious awards to recipients.

In still others, the pack, troop, crew or ship conducts a service project that benefits the religious organization.

How does your unit participate? Share your ideas in the comments, and read on for a complete guide to Scout Sunday 2018, Scout Sabbath 2018 and Scout Jumuah 2018.

When is Scout Sunday 2018?

Scout Sunday is Feb. 4, 2018.

How did I know that? Scout Sunday is always held on the Sunday before the birthday of the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8.

(The only exception: when Feb. 8 falls on a Sunday, as happened in 2015. In that case, Scout Sunday and the BSA’s birthday were both celebrated on Feb. 8.)

Though Feb. 4 is the official day for Scout Sunday 2018, each chartered organization may adopt any specific Sunday to celebrate. The BSA says a local church may celebrate “on the Sunday most acceptable to the pastor and congregation.”

In the United Methodist Church, for example, the second Sunday in February is set aside for what the church calls Scouting Sunday. This year that’s Feb. 11.

Your best bet is to check with your chartered organization representative or faith leader.

When is Scout Sabbath 2018?

Scout Sabbath is Feb. 9 and 10, 2018.

Scout Sabbath — also called Scout Shabbat — for Jewish Scout units, is always the Saturday after Scout Sunday. This year, it begins at sundown on Friday, Feb. 9, and continues into the next day.

To learn more about this special day and order materials, see this page from the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.

NOTE: Though the National Jewish Committee on Scouting has designated Feb. 9-10 as Scout Sabbath this year, some councils or units will celebrate the occasion on other days. Check with your council or local Jewish Committee on Scouting to verify the date.

When is Scout Jumuah 2018?

Scout Jumuah is Feb. 9, 2018.

Scout Jumuah offers a chance to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting within the Muslim community.

The National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting has designated Feb. 9, 2018, to be Scout Jumuah. Units may adjust this date to best meet their needs.

Find Scout Jumuah program ideas on this page from the National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting.

12 ways to celebrate Scout Sunday, Scout Sabbath and/or Scout Jumuah
  1. Wear your Scout uniform to worship services.
  2. Present religious emblems to Scouts, leaders and Venturers who have earned them in the past year.
  3. Recruit several Scouts or Scouters to read passages from religious text.
  4. Involve uniformed Scouts as greeters, ushers, gift bearers or the color guard.
  5. Invite a Scout or Scouter to serve as a guest speaker or deliver the sermon.
  6. Hold an Eagle Scout court of honor during the worship service.
  7. Host a pancake breakfast before, between or after services.
  8. Collect food for a local food pantry.
  9. Light a series of 12 candles while briefly explaining the points of the Scout Law.
  10. Show a video or photo slideshow of highlights from the pack, troop, crew or ship’s past year.
  11. Bake (or buy) doughnuts to share before services.
  12. Make a soft recruiting play by setting up a table near the entrance to answer questions about your Scout unit.
Where do I wear the Scout Sunday, Scout Sabbath or Scout Jumuah patch?

Wear it in the temporary patch location: centered on the right pocket.

Where can I get Scout Sunday 2018 stuff?

Visit your local Scout Shop or use the the links below:

Jeremy Fogg, Eagle Scout and pastry chef at Emeril’s restaurant in New Orleans, to appear on ‘Beat Bobby Flay’

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Before Eagle Scout Jeremy Fogg tries to Beat Bobby Flay on the popular Food Network series, let’s look back on a similarly tough cooking competition.

I’m referring, of course, to the Dutch Oven Cobbler Cookoff at summer camp.

At the time, Fogg was an adult leader in Troop 787 of Winter Springs, Fla. He had plenty of kitchen experience, but this was years before he was hand-picked by Emergil Lagasse to be pastry chef at his restaurant in New Orleans.

The competition pitted Fogg against some of the best Scouting chefs in Florida.

And guess what? His peach sour cream cobbler took the crown.

Jeremy Fogg cooking at a Scout event. Rising quickly

Fogg was a Cub Scout in Pack 787 and then a Boy Scout in Troop 787. He earned Eagle in 2005.

After that, he attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and fell in love with baking. He graduated in 2008 and made pastries for the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., and later the Hilton Orlando. Emeril hired Fogg in February 2014 and promoted him to pastry chef five months later.

In 2015, the American Culinary Federation named Fogg Louisiana’s Best Pastry Chef in part because of his Banana Coffee Mousse Cake. Yum.

I caught up with Fogg to talk Scouting and his career. He says the BSA taught him leadership and planning skills that help him in the kitchen.

One thing Fogg wouldn’t discuss: details about his appearance on Beat Bobby Flay. For that, I’ll have to tune in just like everyone else.

The episode — called “Who Done It?” — airs at 10 p.m. EST (9 CST) on Jan. 4. Set your DVR now.

Jeremy Fogg and his dad at the opening of Meril restaurant in New Orleans in 2016. Q&A: Jeremy Fogg, award-winning pastry chef for Emeril’s in New Orleans

Bryan Wendell: What’s your favorite Scouting memory?

Jeremy Fogg: “I have so many, honestly, but one of my favorites is definitely when our Venturing crew traveled to Oregon and went whitewater rafting on the Rogue River. It was a five-day, 50 mile trip. We camped overnight on the banks of the river and cooked all our own food on the trip. It was pretty incredible.”

BW: What was your Eagle project?

JF: “We cleaned the cemetery in Oviedo [Fla.] where a large number of my mom’s side of the family is buried. It had become overgrown, headstones were black with mold and dirt. So I got a team together to trim back the overgrowth and pressure-wash the headstones. We found some that had been buried completely and after cleaning realized they were from the late 1800s.”

BW: Wild guess here … Was the Cooking merit badge your favorite merit badge?

JF: “Honestly, I don’t remember much about the Cooking merit badge, but I think that’s because I hadn’t decided to become a chef at that point. I enjoyed cooking, but wasn’t sure if it was my calling at that point. My favorite merit badge was the Cycling merit badge.”

BW: Did you make any decadent desserts on Scout trips?

JF: “The most memorable dessert we ever made camping was the monkey bread. It’s the inspiration for my King Cake Monkey Bread I make at Emeril’s every year for Mardi Gras.”

BW: How does Scouting most help you as a pastry chef?

JF: “The leadership and planning skills are what aid the most. I lead a team of five pastry cooks at Emeril’s, and I’m responsible for all the bread and dessert operations for the restaurant. I’ve also helped Emeril open two restaurants in the past 18 months and had to plan the menus and openings for those as well as train and lead those teams of cooks. Being able to plan properly and lead the teams to get all the work done is a very large component of my position, and I learned a lot of those skills through Scouting. Cooking and eating all the great food on camping trips certainly helped, too.”

BW: What’s the proudest moment of your career?

JF: “There have been so many amazing moments. But I’d have to say that having the respect of Emeril Lagasse and knowing that he relies on me for so many projects is pretty awesome.”

BW: What’s next for Jeremy Fogg, pastry chef?

JF: “I’ll be working with Emeril for the foreseeable future. There are some projects in the works for the next few years, and he says he has plans for me. But ultimately I would like to open my own bakery and restaurant in honor of my mom and grandma, featuring my takes on my grandma’s classic dishes.”

BW: What advice would you give Scouts? 

JF: “Don’t let opportunities pass you by, because you never know if they’ll come to you again. Life is short, and you don’t want to spend it wondering ‘what if?’ So apply for that job, take that trip, tell that person how you feel. It may not always work out, but if you don’t take the chance, it definitely won’t. I didn’t think I was ready for the pastry chef position at Emeril’s when I applied for it, but it’s been four years now, and my career has skyrocketed since then. My life has changed. You never know unless you try.”

Why Eagle Scouts at this college get an automatic $20,000 scholarship

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If you want to see which institutes of higher learning place a high value on the Eagle Scout Award, simply follow the money.

That trail might take you to Hampden–Sydney College in Virginia.

Eagle Scouts who attend Hampden-Sydney, the 10th oldest college in the U.S., receive an automatic scholarship worth $5,000 per year for four years.

That’s $20,000 of free money toward an education at this highly ranked liberal arts school.

The hefty scholarship explains why 12.6 percent of students currently enrolled at Hampden-Sydney are Eagle Scouts. Exactly 132 of the 1,046 students at the college have earned Scouting’s highest honor.

So why does Hampden-Sydney offer such a sizable scholarship to Eagle Scouts? I asked Dr. Larry Stimpert, Hampden-Sydney’s president, for the scoop.

‘A perfect fit for Scouts’

Scouting is about more than learning outdoors skills. It’s about building character.

Similarly, Stimpert says, Hampden-Sydney teaches more than classroom lessons. In fact, students are encouraged to get out and explore the 1,300-acre campus and its many trails.

“The college emphasizes character development just as much as intellectual growth, and the values we believe in here are some of the same as those articulated in the Eagle Scout challenge,” he says. “This makes Hampden-Sydney a perfect fit for Scouts pursuing higher education.”

Living the Oath and Law

Scouts are guided by two codes: the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Hampden-Sydney students are guided by two codes as well.

“Our student code of conduct says that the Hampden-Sydney student ‘will behave as a gentleman at all times and in all places,’ and our honor code declares that the Hampden-Sydney student ‘will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do,'” Stimpert says.

In other words, they’re vowing to be courteous and trustworthy.

Building a network

What you’ve heard is true: Eagle Scouts hire other Eagle Scouts.

Similarly, Hampden-Sydney graduates enter a strong alumni network after college. This means access to a robust group of potential mentors, employers and friends.

“Entering Hampden-Sydney is about more than starting college; it’s about joining a lasting brotherhood,” Stimpert says. “And, one of our time-honored traditions at Hampden-Sydney is the expectation for students to say hello to those they pass on the pathways of our campus.”

In fact, that’s a big reason Mark Keefe’s Eagle Scout son, Duncan, enrolled at Hampden-Sydney.

“It is one of the reasons why my son looked at the college,” Mark says. “The brotherhood there was the deciding factor.”

Serving others first

One final parallel covers serving the community.

“Like the Boy Scouts, we also encourage a commitment to service,” Stimpert says.

On weekends, you’ll often find student groups at Hampden-Sydney participating in community service and raising money for local nonprofit organizations.

Duncan, the Eagle Scout, spends about 50 hours a week in the computer lab, but he still found time to be a counselor at a recent merit badge day for local Scouts

“Ultimately, like the Scouts, a Hampden-Sydney education is about transformation,” Stimpert says. “Just as Scouting gives a young man a wide breadth of skills and abilities, Hampden-Sydney provides the tools necessary for having not just successful careers, but rewarding lives.”

Greatest hits: The 10 most-read blog posts of 2017

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As we count down the final days, hours and minutes of 2017, I wanted to share a little countdown of my own.

Today we’ll look at the 10 Bryan on Scouting stories with the most clicks in 2017. You might call them “the posts with the most.”

I’m proud to say the blog had 6.4 million page views in 2017. That’s about a 30 percent increase over 2016’s total.

Page views offer a nice glimpse at what caught your fellow Scouters’ eyes this year, but they don’t tell the whole story. For posts of high importance but lower popularity, see the “In case you missed it” section at the end.

One final note: these were the most-read posts that actually were published in 2017. For older posts still getting big numbers in 2017, see the “Honorable mentions” section lower down.

10. BSA to open high-adventure base on the moon

On April 1 — aka April Fools’ Day — the BSA “announced” it was building a high-adventure base on the moon.

The post said the BSA would partner 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 what was to be called Tranquility High Adventure Base. That cost “would not include transportation,” we wrote.

Of course we were only kidding (but check back with us in 50 years just in case!). While our annual April Fools’ Day post didn’t fool very many of you this year, it did prompt some fun daydreaming.

Read the post.

9. Tour and activity plan eliminated — no fooling!

Though it was announced close to April Fools’ Day, this one was 100 percent real.

On March 31, the BSA announced it 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’s kaput.

Read the post.

8. BSA to welcome girls into Scouting

In October, the BSA’s volunteer-led board of directors unanimously approved a plan to welcome girls and young women into all Scouting programs.

The historic move means boys and girls will soon experience the values-based, life-changing, Instagram-worthy moments offered in all of Scouting’s programs — from Cub Scouting all the way to Scouting’s highest honor, the rank of Eagle Scout.

Cub Scouting will be available to girls beginning in 2018. A program for girls ages 11 to 17 will be announced in 2018 for projected introduction in 2019 and will enable young women to work toward Eagle.

Read the post.

7. Entry window opens for 2017 Eagle Scout scholarships

College isn’t cheap, so it’s no surprise that a post about Eagle Scout scholarships attracted a ton of traffic.

The window to apply for 2018 NESA scholarships — some $700,000 for more than 150 worthy Eagle Scouts — was open from Aug. 1 to 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.

Missed the window? Eagle Scouts can apply for the next round of scholarships in August 2018.

Read the post.

6. Revised campout requirements released for First Class, Second Class

BSA volunteers regularly review advancement requirements to ensure they meet the needs of Scouts.

In July, I shared news that the number of overnight campouts required for a young man to earn the Second Class and First Class ranks would be reduced, effective Aug. 1, 2017. The total number of camping nights a Boy Scout experiences in the program as he progresses toward the rank of Eagle Scout did not change.

The change, the BSA said, maintains a focus on life-changing outdoors experiences while recognizing that not all outdoor activities need to include overnight camping.

Read the post.

5. Scouting Service Award combines five awards into one cool new square knot

New square knots are like Star Wars movies. They don’t make many of them, so it’s big news when one is released.

The newest square knot, released in February, is the Scouting Service Award. It recognizes adult volunteers who have earned one of five different awards, each celebrating a leader’s dedication to a special segment of Scouting:

  • Asian American Spirit of Scouting Service Award*
  • ¡Scouting…Vale la Pena! Service Award*
  • Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award*
  • American Indian Scouting Association Grey Wolf Award
  • Special Needs Scouting Service Award

Each of the awards marked with a * currently has its own square knot. Once supplies of those knots run out, the new Scouting Service Award knot will be used to recognize recipients.

Read the post.

4. Eagle Scouts remake photo taken 10 years earlier as Cub Scouts

In 2007, six Wolf Scouts from Indiana sat at a cafeteria table and took a photo together. In 2017, those same six Scouts — by then all Eagles — gathered at the same table to remake that photo.

“I would guess that there have been many stories of Scouts staying together from Tiger to Eagle,” their assistant Scoutmaster said, “but I thought it was fairly unique in that all six of these young men stayed the course for the past 10 years with the help of their parents and leaders.”

Read the post.

3. New requirements mandatory as of Jan. 1, 2017

As of Jan. 1, 2017, every Boy Scout is required to use a new set of advancement requirements.

This update should not have caught anyone off guard. Scouters got a first look at the Boy Scout requirement changes way back in January 2014; the requirements themselves were released to the public in May 2015.

The BSA established 2016 as a transition year, allowing Boy Scouts to choose whether to use the new requirements or finish up their current rank with the old ones.

Read the post.

2. Changes to how Scouts earn Eagle Palms (and the update)

In July, the BSA announced significant changes to the way Scouts earn Eagle Palms. The modifications took effect Aug. 1, 2017.

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

But the biggest change affected young men who earned multiple extra merit badges before Eagle. All current Boy Scouts — even those who completed their Eagle Scout board of review before Aug. 1, 2017 — are entitled to receive Eagle Palms for merit badges earned before their Eagle board of review.

Read the post and then read the important update that came three months later.

1. BSA celebrates total solar eclipse with a special patch

Our post about the BSA’s solar eclipse patch wasn’t just the most-read post of 2017. It’s the most-read Bryan on Scouting post in the entire eight-year history of the blog.

Like the total solar eclipse itself, the patch’s availability didn’t last long. It’s gone from Scout Shops; only memories are left behind.

Read the post.

Honorable mentions: Popular stories not from 2017

Some posts were published before 2017 but still caught your eye this year. Here’s the top 5:

  1. From 2014: Four options for retiring worn-out American flags
  2. From 2011: Tips for deducting Scouting expenses on your tax return
  3. From 2016: Why the Scout handshake is done with the left hand
  4. From 2012: How to request congratulatory letters for your Eagle Scout
  5. From 2014: Everything you need to know about merit badge sashes
In case you missed it: 7 essential posts of 2017

These weren’t in the top 10 of 2017, but they’re among my favorites.

What were the most-read posts in previous years?

Check out the lists from 2016, 201520142013 and 2012.

Grab your hiking boots and go trekking — in the city?

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A Scout hike likely conjures up images of journeying by a pristine lake, hiking staff in hand, surrounded by tall trees with a view of snowcapped mountains in the distance.

Or for one Ohio Scout, it could mean touring the streets of downtown Manhattan.

Our eagle-eyed mailburro Pedro spotted this great reminder in a letter from Brendan Hobe, a Boy Scout who wrote him to compliment a backpacking article in our September edition of Boys’ Life. Brendan also pointed out that hikes can be done in the city, and that doing so has its advantages.

He fulfilled his 10-mile hikes requirement for the Hiking merit badge in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and completed his 20-mile hike in Manhattan, New York.

“You don’t really need a backpack for anything unless you don’t want to spend $5 for a small bottle of water, but even then, you could carry a water bottle,” Brendan says.

We’d recommend carrying water with you, but we understand Brendan’s sentiment that you can afford to pack a little lighter in the city because of the nearby resources. The Hiking merit badge pamphlet devotes a page to urban hiking and says to prepare for such a hike as you would for a hike in the wilderness. Take along food, water and rain gear, also carry a cell phone and money for a bus or taxi if you need to get home in a hurry.

Teach Scouts that the principles of Leave No Trace still apply to urban hiking. And always remember to use the buddy system.


The Hiking merit badge, which is a required Eagle Scout rank option, was introduced in 1921. Hiking has been part of rank advancement since 1911. Below are the most recent requirements:

Hiking merit badge

4. Take the five following hikes, each on a different day, and each of continuous miles. These hikes MUST be taken in the following order:

  • One 5-mile hike
  • Three 10-mile hikes
  • One 15-mile hike

You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, during each hike, but not for an extended period (example: overnight). Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee. Include map routes, a clothing and equipment list, and a list of items for a trail lunch.*

*The required hikes for this badge may be used in fulfilling hiking requirements for rank advancement. However, these hikes cannot be used to fulfill requirements of other merit badges. 

5. Take a hike of 20 continuous miles in one day following a hike plan you have prepared. You may stop for as many short rest periods as needed, as well as one meal, but not for an extended period (example: overnight).


5c. Explain the rules of safe hiking, both on the highway and cross-country, during the day and at night.

Second class

3b. Using a compass and map together, take a 5-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian.

3c. Describe some hazards or injuries that you might encounter on your hike and what you can do to help prevent them.

Nominate a Scout or Venturer for the 2018 Inspiration Awards

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The Inspiration Awards are looking to honor a young person age 16 to 21 whose leadership skills and passion for the outdoors inspire us all.

Reading that description, it shouldn’t surprise you that a Boy Scouts of America member has won the Youth category each of the three years of the award’s existence. They are, from left above: Eagle Scout Matt Moniz (2015), Venturer Jackie Timmins (2016) and Venturer Lillian Rose Weihert (2017).

With your help, we’ll make it four for four in 2018.

Nominations are due by 6 p.m. (PST), Dec. 29, 2017, for the 2018 Inspiration Awards, presented at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January in Denver.

You’ll want to nominate someone who:

  • Shows leadership in schools and communities
  • Shares their sport and passion with others
  • Goes above and beyond to protect and preserve the environment

The winner will take the stage at the eighth annual Inspiration Awards, held Jan. 25, 2017, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Though the Boy Scouts of America is one of the presenting sponsors for the Inspiration Awards, that doesn’t give us any advantage. But we do have a natural leg up, because the BSA has been creating outdoors-savvy leaders since 1910.

Time is running out, so nominate a worthy young person today at this link.

Who has won this award in past years?

The award debuted in 2015. A member of the Boy Scouts of America has won each year.

In 2017, Venturer Lillian Rose Weihert from the Chicago-based Pathway to Adventure Council, was recognized for her work in angler education through the BSA’s Certified Angling Instructor Program.

In 2016, Venturer Jackie Timmins took the honor.  She achieved the rank of Silver and was finishing up her last requirement for the Ranger Award at the time of her selection.

In 2015, Eagle Scout Matt Moniz was recognized. You likely remember him as the young man who saved lives on Everest after the deadly earthquake there.

Scouts and Venturers invited to enter the State-Fish Art Contest

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Fishing has been a part of Scouting since the very beginning.

In fact, Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell once said, “every Scout ought to be able to fish in order to get food for himself.”

That longstanding angling tradition — coupled with the sport’s continued popularity today — makes this contest opportunity one I simply had to pass along.

It’s called the State-Fish Art Contest, and it’s open to anyone from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Let’s flood the contest with entries from Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers and Sea Scouts. Let’s show them nobody does fishing better than packs, troops, crews and ships.

Entering is fun, free and involves two basic steps:

  1. Create a 9-by-12-inch art illustration of any state fish (not just the one from an entrant’s own state).
  2. Write a one-page essay related to the chosen fish species.

Each year’s entry deadline is March 31. Mail entires to:

Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art
5350 HWY 61 North, Suite 7
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Winners get prizes (details to be announced) and recognition at a national fishing event. Everyone — win or lose — supports aquatic education through science and the arts.

Any fish you wish

Remember, entrants can select any fish on the state-fish list — not just their own.

That means Arizona Scouts could pick the Kentucky spotted bass, and Scouts in New York could select Hawaii’s humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

Find the official fish list here.

The 2017 Best in Show illustration of an Atlantic sailfish. Part 1: The art

Entrants must create an original, horizontal, 9-by-12-inch art illustration. Essentially any art medium is acceptable.

Again, make them horizontal; vertical entries will be disqualified.

See the official rules and illustrations from past winners here.

A 2017 first-place-winning illustration of a humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Part 2: The writing

The written portion — titled “Fish Make You Smarter” — is a one-page submission in the student’s own words.

It can be an essay, story, poem or any other creative form.

It should show the entrant’s connection to and understanding of their chosen fish. It should demonstrate a knowledge of the fish’s habitat, behavior and conservation status.

See more about the written portion here.

BSA’s Scoutbook Lite, which will replace Internet Advancement, debuts in early 2018

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The BSA announced it will release Scoutbook Lite, a new tool for quickly inputting advancement data, in the second quarter of 2018.

This free solution will replace the current Internet Advancement platform, which will be retired.

Scoutbook Lite will feature a slick new user interface. It will be optimized to whatever device you use: desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Once Scoutbook Lite is released, the Scoutbook database will become the official record of advancement for the BSA.

Scoutbook Lite, as you might guess, comes from the team behind Scoutbook, the BSA’s advancement-tracking web app that has more than 1 million users. The Lite version of Scoutbook will incorporate key elements of the paid version.

Even after Scoutbook Lite is released, the Scoutbook team will continue to work on and improve Scoutbook as the full-featured application. That means you can expect frequent exciting updates.

Scoutbook Lite: What to expect

Scoutbook Lite will offer optimized functions for almost everything found in the current Internet Advancement platform.

I say almost, because one feature won’t be making the leap to Scoutbook Lite. The system will no longer support the CSV data file import.

The BSA found that less than 10 percent of units used this feature in Internet Advancement. The team focused instead on tools that more Scouters need and want.

Are you a programmer?

As Steve Jobs used to say, there’s “one more thing.”

Scouters experienced in the development of apps or web platforms will be excited to learn that the BSA will roll out a number of APIs (application programming interfaces).

The BSA will release a selection of specific, read-only APIs to Scouting volunteers in the first half of 2018. There are no current plans to roll out APIs to third parties.

Eagle Scout who helped passengers after Amtrak derailment credits Scout training

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Daniel Konzelman, a 24-year-old Eagle Scout, was driving to work with his girlfriend when he noticed an Amtrak train zipping past him.

He was cruising along at 60 or 65 mph, so he knew the train was going faster than that.

“I’d never seen a train going that fast in the past,” he told the Seattle Times. “I drive that stretch every day.”

We now know the Amtrak Cascades 501 train was going 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed Monday over Interstate 5 in DuPont, Wash. Three passengers were killed and dozens more were hurt.

Konzelman came upon the scene moments later as everyone started braking in front of him.

“I looked up and saw the train was hanging off,” Konzelman said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this was major.’”

Acting fast

Konzelman and his girlfriend, Alicia Hoverson, were in their work clothes. They hurriedly put on some boots and grabbed a flashlight.

They were among the first on the scene.

“Nobody was there, nobody was leading or responding to the incident,” Konzelman told CBS News. “I did my best to sort of take charge of the situation.”

In all, Konzelman, Hoverson and a police officer helped about 15 people escape the train. Many of the victims had broken ankles and bleeding head wounds. Most were in some state of shock.

Konzelman helped as many people escape the dangerous situation as he could. For those who were pinned, Konzelman was a calming presence, comforting them and praying with them until emergency workers could arrive.

Crediting Scouting

Konzelman says his Scout training taught him what to do in an emergency. He became an Eagle Scout on Feb. 25, 2012, as a member of Troop 604 of Eatonville, Wash., part of the Pacific Harbors Council.

As any Eagle Scout will tell you, you never think you’ll need to use the first aid skills you learn as a Scout. Until you do.

“I think it was all those Boy Scout camps I went to and the First Aid merit badge, the Lifesaving badge, that helped me know what to do,” he told the Seattle Times. “I’m thankful for God who gave me the courage to go in there.”

Konzelman’s heroism involves more than knowing how to treat a bleeding wound. It’s about being helpful, friendly and brave, too.

“What would I want somebody to do for me if I was in that position?” he told CBS News. “Or if one of my brothers was in that position?”

Media attention

In any scary news story, they say to look for the helpers.

That’s exactly what major media outlets did after the derailment. They looked for helpers like Daniel Konzelman.

In addition to CBS News and the Seattle Times, Konzelman’s heroism has been covered by the Associated Press, People magazine, ABC News, the Boston Herald, CNN and many more local and national outlets.

His highest-profile appearance so far was Tuesday’s episode of CBS This Morning. After the two-minute piece, which you can watch below, the hosts briefly discussed Konzelman.

“No surprise, Anthony, that that guy is an Eagle Scout,” Gayle King told Anthony Mason.

“Eagle Scouts should be very proud of him today,” Mason responded.

This may be the Scouty-est Christmas tree we’ve ever seen

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O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how Scouty are thy branches.

Charles Boone, an Eagle Scout from Dormont, Pa., showed off the Scouting-themed Christmas tree he’s rocking around this year.

Instead of traditional ornaments, Charles embellished his tree with patches earned during his years in Scouting. Instead of a star or angel tree-topper, Charles crowned the tree with his staff hat from the 2017 National Jamboree. And instead of a fancy tree skirt, Charles used Scout neckerchiefs and his Order of the Arrow sash.

The tree’s signature element is Charles’ merit badge sash, draped over the tree in a way that ties everything together. Visible from the front are some — but not all — of the 137 merit badges Charles has earned.

Charles’ mom, Monica, sent me the photo of her son and his tree.

She said Scouting memories presented in this way “make the holiday season bright.”

Scouting the holidays

Do you have any Scouting-themed holiday decorations in your home? Let me know in the comments.

More photos of Charles’ tree

Tattoo parlor, community support troop after tree lot theft

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Josh Hughes admits he wasn’t the perfect Boy Scout. He participated in the program for only a couple of months, but his short time in Scouting made a lasting impact.

The owner of Emerald Tattoo and Piercing ensures his three California shops give back through charity drives and donations to the community.

“I wouldn’t give money to something I didn’t believe in,” he says.

He believes in Scouting.

When he saw on social media that a tip jar was stolen from Troop 59’s Christmas tree lot in Elk Grove, Calif., earlier this month, he immediately called his accountant and cut a $200 check for the Scouts (Russ McSwain, Emerald Tattoo operations manager, is pictured delivering the check). The troop shares a parking lot during its annual fundraiser with the tattoo parlor’s Elk Grove location, just south of Sacramento.

“They’re a good group of kids,” Hughes says. “They’re like local celebrities; they’re a pretty active troop.”

Celebrity Scouts

Troop 59, established in 1921, has run a Christmas tree lot for decades, raising money for summer camp and its general fund. Every one of the troop’s 63 boys chips in starting the weekend before Thanksgiving to keep the lot open every day, leading up to the big holiday.

This year, the boys were aiming to sell 670 trees. They essentially sold out. The troop only had 20 trees remaining last week, so the boys donated the rest to the local food bank, which will give the trees to families who can’t afford one this year.

“I think overall the community has been a very supportive of the boys and the program,” Scoutmaster Jonathan J. Schrader says. “The Boy Scouts of America is a legacy in the community.”

One of the oldest units in the Golden Empire Council, Troop 59 has seen 172 of its boys earn Eagle, many of whom have become “pillars in the community,” Schrader says. Some have had parks named after them and have been bestowed with the chamber of commerce’s Citizen of the Year honor.

The troop is not only known for its annual Christmas tree fundraiser and producing outstanding citizens, but the boys are often seen serving their neighbors.

“Our troop has a wonderful group of kind-hearted kids,” Schrader says.

The troop cleans up creeks; participates in Scouting for Food; serves a monthly breakfast with its chartering organization, the Lions Club, and helps out in the city’s Veterans Day parade. But, the Scouts volunteer beyond organized events. During one Veterans Day parade, the troop heard the museum needed a hand setting up decorations, so they pitched in for a half-day of work. When Emerald Tattoo held a charity drive for victims of wildfires, the Scouts (who were running a nearby pumpkin patch) came over to help.

This helpful attitude is one Scoutmaster Schrader hopes to instill in all the boys, so that they look for opportunities to do Good Turns, not to fulfill advancement requirements, but because it’s what Scouts should do.

“You should do something for the community not because you get something in return,” Schrader says. “You don’t go camping just to get the requirement done. You go to wake up and see steam coming off the ground in the morning, to see spectacular sunsets and to hear the owls hooting.”

Building a legacy

Cultivating a beloved, active unit is no small task. Schrader credits the troop’s adult committee with more than 20 members strong. He also thanks parents who stay invested in the troop after their boys have aged out of the program. Former Scoutmaster Nick Garcia, for example, stops by the Christmas tree lot every year to serve hot chocolate and apple cider.

The troop goes on about 10 outings a year, including snow camp, camporee and backpacking trips. Being around for nearly a century, the unit has seen both lean and strong membership years. To help attract new Scouts, Troop 59 hosts a couple of events, aimed at Webelos. The troop invites the older Cubs on a campout and to a gingerbread house recruitment night.

Putting forth such a positive example of what Scouting can be not only influences Cub Scouts, but also those not currently involved in Scouting.

Hughes, a father of three boys and two girls, is considering getting his children involved in Cub and Boy Scouting. He believes boys should be taught good citizenship and basic survival skills.

“The Boy Scouts help push that,” Hughes says.

The recent tip jar incident prompted Hughes to give as well as a Lions Club member and a 9-year-old girl in the community. Troop 59 committee chair Chris Joyce says it’s been “awesome” to witness the outpouring of support for the Scouts.

7 things to know about the blind triplets who earned the Eagle Scout award

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Blind triplets Leo, Nick and Steven Cantos didn’t take any shortcuts on their way to becoming Eagle Scouts. They completed the same rigorous requirements as everyone else who has earned Scouting’s highest honor.

That’s just one of the incredible facts about these impressive young men who have been covered extensively on TV, in print and online.

Here are seven things to know about these incredible Eagle Scouts:

1. They had a tough life growing up

Leo, Nick and Steven were blind since birth. They were born in Colombia three months premature.

They grew up in Arlington, Va., and their single mother had a tough time caring for them. She worked two jobs and tried to shelter them from the chaos of the outside world.

As a result, the three rarely went outside. In 2014, Leo told NPR’s StoryCorps about one of his few highlights growing up. The boys were 7 and went to McDonald’s and the park.

“Every day was like: Wake up, go to school, come back home, and then you stay there for the rest of the day,” Leo said. “There were certain things that I wish I could do, like I wish I could go out and play in the snow like everyone else. ‘Cause I’ve heard kids through the window — we could hear that they were having fun.”

They were bullied, too. At church and at school, other kids would harass them.

2. They met a blind man who changed everything

The triplets were 10 when Ollie Cantos, who is blind, came knocking on their door.

Ollie, a lawyer with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., had heard about the boys through a friend at church.

“He had this feeling like I had to meet them,” Cantos told People magazine. “He also told me that they had never met someone else who was blind.”

Among the many ways Ollie connected with Leo, Nick and Steven: He had been bullied, too.

Ollie remembers being intentionally tripped in the hallway at school. He remembers kids holding their hands in front of his face and asking, “How many fingers am I holding up?” He remembers trying to hide his blindness for years.

3. Ollie adopted the triplets

Ollie began teaching Leo, Nick and Steven how to use their cane, how to cook, how to cross a busy street. He took them to doctors’ appointments and helped them study. He taught them that being blind shouldn’t stop them from reaching their dreams.

Ollie began the adoption process soon after meeting the boys in 2010. With their mother’s blessing, Ollie visited the boys after work and invited them to stay with him on the weekends.

Teachers who had worked with the boys grew curious and did a little investigating into Ollie: “Who was this guy?”

They were satisfied that the boys were safe. They determined that Ollie, who had spent years advocating for people with disabilities and served at the White House under President George W. Bush, was just the father figure the triplets needed.

In 2016, the boys’ mother agreed to name Ollie their legal guardian.

“At first it was just fun to spend time with them,” Ollie told the Washingtonian. “But it became clear very quickly that there was more to this — so much more than I could ever have imagined.”

4. They joined Scouting in 2012

Leo, Nick and Steven became Boy Scouts in 2012, and their troop leaders were welcoming right away.

The leaders made accommodations when necessary, but mostly they challenged the triplets to stretch themselves.

The boys chopped wood with an ax, built fires, and shot bows and arrows. For the Wilderness Survival merit badge, they built a shelter and slept in it. One time, they even visited the shooting range.

“You should have seen the looks on the faces of the employees of the shooting range when we brought Nick, Leo, Ollie and Steven out,” Nathan Graham, one of the troop’s leaders, told the Washingtonian.

Ollie watched firsthand as the boys’ time in Troop 601 helped shape them into strong, independent young men.

“I am so grateful for the Scouting program that enables them to learn these skills and be a part of a great community of other boys,” Ollie told “The troop has done so much to integrate them with their peers. Everyone has been blessed because of it.”

5. Each completed a terrific Eagle Scout project

This article on outlines the Eagle Scout service projects each young man completed.

Steven collected school supplies for low-income schoolchildren. His goal was to collect enough for 90 students, but he ended up collecting enough for 130.

“I decided that education is important, so let’s give them school supplies,” Steven told

Leo collected blood and blankets for the children’s hospital where he spent a month re-learning how to walk. He collected 88 units of blood and 77 blankets.

“I wanted to give back to the kids, because I saw the kids there and I saw how they were not doing too well,” Leo told

Nick collected hygiene supplies for a nonprofit that helps abused women and families. He collected about $2,000 worth of supplies.

“It took a lot of planning, it took a lot of work and papers,” Nick told “The craziest part was seeing all my Scout friends and leaders and brothers helping me to do this, and me managing this thing.”

6. They became Eagle Scouts in 2017

The boys’ Scouting journey reached its triumphant summit on July 26, 2017. That’s the official day the boys earned their Eagle Scout Award.

Although the BSA permits the use of alternative requirements for Scouts with disabilities, Leo, Nick and Steven completed the requirements as written, according to WTTG-TV.

“I’ve always seen myself as the person who just happens to be blind,” Steven told ABC News. “For me, I just happen to have a disability. It’s not the defining factor of my life. I made it the same way as other Eagle Scouts. Everyone has difficulties in their lives. We all have trials. That’s how life is.”

Many news outlets have reported that Leo, Nick and Steven are the first blind triplets to become Eagle Scouts in the history of the award.

7. They use special technology to help them ‘see’ the world

The Washington Post writes about the special technology that helps Steven, Nick and Leo better experienced the world around them.

They wear glasses from a company called Aria. The glasses have a camera that streams live video to a real person hundreds or thousands of miles away. That person serves as the wearer’s eyes, describing everything in the camera’s view.

“It’s like an audio description of life,” Nick told the Post.

Next up for the triplets? They’ll spend six months at the Carroll Center for the Blind near Boston. There they’ll learn the skills needed for independent adult living.

After that, it’s off to college, where anything is possible.

How to nominate someone for the Sea Scout Leadership Award

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Think of a youth or adult in Sea Scouting who has gone above and beyond to support the program. Someone who is the first to volunteer to run special events or take on new responsibilities. Someone who exemplifies the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Have someone in mind? Now nominate him or her for the Sea Scout Leadership Award.

The award, which debuted in 2017, is presented to Sea Scouts and Sea Scouters who have made exceptional contributions to Sea Scouting at the council, area, regional or national level.

Anyone can submit a nomination form by following the guide below. Note that the selection committee gives more weight to nominations submitted by youth.

From left: council, area, regional, national. What are the requirements to be considered?

A qualified nominee must:

  • Have been registered and involved as a Sea Scout or Sea Scouter for at least one year.
  • Hold a leadership position or an office at the unit, district, council, area, region or national level
  • Show exceptional dedication and give outstanding leadership and service to Sea Scouting and to Sea Scouts (at the level appropriate for the award).
What makes a nomination more likely to be successful?

Here are a few tips:

  • In your 200-word-or-less narrative, explain how the nominee went “above and beyond.”
  • Include multiple letters of recommendation (two to four) from different areas of the nominee’s life to give a well-rounded view of the nominee. These could include an instructor, coach Skipper/Commodore/Boatswain, or a church/community leader.
  • List all of the nominee’s Scouting positions along with the year they were held.
  • Outline any involvement outside of the Scouting program (sports, community groups, etc.).
  • Have a youth complete the nomination. Sea Scouting is youth-led, so nominations carry more weight when they come from a youth.
Who selects the award recipients?

The selection committee includes past recipients of the Sea Scout Leadership Award and leaders from the appropriate organizational level. Only youth members of the committee are eligible to vote; adults serve as nonvoting members.

If no past recipients are available, a committee can be formed at the discretion of the respective commodore and staff advisor.

What do recipients receive?
  • A certificate
  • A knot (Supply No. 14220, which is the same knot as the Venturing Leadership Award)
  • A Sea Scout device/pin to go on the knot (Supply No. 931)
  • A medallion with a ribbon in the colors below:
    • Council: Blue and white (No. 636183)
    • Area: Gray and white (No. 636184)
    • Region: Green and white (No. 636185)
    • National: Red and white (No. 636186)

The award should be presented at a special event, such as a council awards banquet, area Sea Scout event, regional bridge of honor, or the BSA’s National Annual Meeting.

What are the deadlines to nominate someone?
  • Council: Check with your local council, which sets its own date.
  • Area: April 1 to the national service center, Office of the Sea Scout Director
  • Region: March 1 to the national service center, Office of the Sea Scout Director
  • National: March 1 to the national service center, Office of the Sea Scout Director
Where can I find the nomination form?

Go here for the nomination form and packet.

Council-level forms are submitted to your local council.

Area, regional and national nomination forms can be emailed to: OR sent via snail mail to:

Boy Scouts of America
Office of the Sea Scout Director, S280
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015-2079

How many can be awarded per year?
  • Council: Two per council in councils with up to five Sea Scout ships; one for each additional five ships or fraction thereof
  • Area: Up to two
  • Regional: Up to two
  • National: Up to two

If more than one award is presented at a given level, at least 50 percent of the awards must be presented to youth. For example, if two awards are presented in an area, at least one must be awarded to a youth.

The National Sea Scout Committee recognizes the importance of recognizing the leadership in the Sea Scout program. In exceptional cases, the National Commodore and Director can review petitions from a selection committee and extend the quota.

Where can I learn more?

Right here.

First all-Muslim Boy Scout troop in northeast Ohio camps, serves and prays

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In one way, Troop 2690 is unique. Incorporating young men from three different Cleveland-area mosques, it’s the first all-Muslim Boy Scout troop in northeast Ohio.

In another way, Troop 2690 is like every other Boy Scout troop in the country.

They set up tents and build campfires. They perform service projects for the community. They pray, never forgetting a Scout’s duty to God.

“These boys are American boys,” Muhammad Samad, Troop 2690’s chartered organization representative, told WKYC-TV in Cleveland. “They bleed American pride. They do what American boys do. One just left to go to a football game.”

Mark Baxter, a district executive with the Lake Erie Council, told WKYC what Scouters already know: the BSA has no official religion. So Muslim Scouts are just as welcome as Scouts from any other faith.

“Scouting is and has always been open to all faiths and religions,” he said. “It’s one of the hallmarks of Scouting. We have a duty to God, but to whose god? What god? That is between the young person, their parents and their faith organization. We support that.”

‘Let us be ourselves’

Isa Abdul Matin is Troop 2690’s Scoutmaster. He told Ideastream that many people think the Boy Scouts are a Christian-based movement.

“So you kind of like feel like, you know, if I do become a Boy Scout, maybe I can’t be myself,” he said. “Then I found out that yes, we can be ourselves, and that was attractive. So here we are: Muslim Boy Scouts!”

Matin said he’ll try to ignore the occasional raised eyebrow from people. He’d rather let them see for themselves that Troop 2690 does what all troops do: it builds future leaders.

“I guess what we have to do is be ourselves and not try to be anything other than who we are,” he said. “People can see us for what we are and what we do, and you’ll see an acceptance. Because, honestly, the best neighbor you could probably ever have is a Muslim.”

Mohammad Zoraiz is a 12-year-old Boy Scout in Troop 2690. He told WKYC that Scouting’s lessons — “to help other people at all times” — mirror the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, who said, “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them.”

“In Islam it’s taught that you should always try to help other people out,” Zoraiz said. “Never one man for himself, and always help the people who are in need.”

Nalgene water bottles have surprising roots in the Boy Scouts of America

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They’re carried on Philmont’s trails and clipped to canoe thwarts at Northern Tier. You’ll find them on every Florida Sea Base trek and Summit Bechtel Reserve adventure, too.

But you might be surprised to learn that Nalgene water bottles were created as lab equipment — not camping gear. It took the vision of the company’s president, and his Boy Scout son, to realize their potential in the outdoors.

In 1949, a chemist named Emanuel Goldberg developed a plastic pipette holder in Rochester, N.Y. The Nalge Co. was founded that year. The company made polyethylene laboratory equipment: centrifuge bottles, filter units, storage tanks and more.

Eventually, it became known that scientists at Nalge were taking small bottles out of the lab to use on weekend hikes and trips. The bottles were easy to carry and, most importantly, durable.

Popular in Scouting

In the 1970s, this unofficial practice caught the eye of Nalge Co. president Marsh Hyman. Hyman had a son in the Boy Scouts, and he started taking some bottles home for his son’s troop.

Hyman’s troop used the bottles to carry drinking water, store pancake mix, keep matches dry and transport all kinds of camping supplies. They were a hit.

Hyman went to the Nalge Specialty Department with a mission: Start selling these products to outdoor aficionados everywhere.

You know the rest of the story. Nalgene still makes labware, but the company is best known within Scouting circles for its outdoor-friendly water bottles.

And we have a Boy Scout troop to thank.

Did you know?

You can buy special Nalgenes for all four high-adventure bases: Florida Sea Base, Northern Tier, Philmont and the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

Editor’s note

In 2008, Nalgene stopped using the chemical bisphenol-a, or BPA, in its products. Studies have linked the chemical to health concerns.

Bottles manufactured by Nalgene before 2008 might contain BPA.

The mystery of the northern lights and its inspiration on Scouting

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Witnessing the mystical, colorful northern lights tops many people’s bucket lists, usually because it’s assumed the only place to see the natural phenomena is near the Arctic Circle. Another assumption is that the time to see them is just during the winter months.

And while it’s true you have a better chance of seeing the aurora borealis the closer you get to the North Pole and that the prime viewing period is in the winter when nights are longer, to quote Maxwell Smart, would you believe…

…that in September 1859, a solar storm so intense hit the earth that it lit up the sky in the Northeast U.S. and the Rocky Mountains so people there could sit outside and read their newspapers after midnight? The celestial lights were also seen as far south as Hawaii and Cuba.

…that a storm of similar power missed us in 2012?

…that the northern lights were seen in the southern states of Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia in October 2011?

…that the aurora borealis could be seen from September through March on a clear, dark night?

…that the northern lights occasionally dance across the skies over the continental U.S. states, like Maine, Idaho, Michigan and Minnesota?

Well, it’s all true.

Here’s an amazing viewing of the northern lights a few years ago from LaTourell’s wilderness trip outfitters on Moose Lake, just down the road from the BSA Northern Tier High Adventure Base in Ely, Minnesota.

Scouting and the lights

The northern lights have inspired the Boy Scouts of America. Of the more than 1,700 BSA districts, four are named after the aurora borealis. Northern Lights districts are in the Northern Star Council in St. Paul, Minn.; the Heart of America Council based in Kansas City, Mo.; the Longhouse Council in Syracuse, N.Y., and the Circle Ten Council in Dallas, Texas.

Northern Star’s Northern Lights district gives out an Aurora Borealis Award to people who have served youth, either in Scouting or other areas.

BSA’s Northern Lights Council encompasses four states: North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Minnesota.

And Alaska’s Midnight Sun Council offers a Northern Lights High Adventure program.

The skinny on the skies

The northern lights’ enchanting trip over our planet isn’t as peaceful as it looks from the ground.

Solar winds and giant eruptions of plasma and charged particles emitted from the Sun clash with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing luminous reactions. The colors depend on which molecules (primarily nitrogen and oxygen) are reacting with the solar particles. Auroras around both the North and South Pole can shine in shades of red, green, blue, yellow and pink. The movement of the northern lights corresponds with the motion of particles and the magnetic field lines.

Like the weather, it’s difficult to determine where and when the northern lights will appear. However, researchers with the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center have developed an hourly forecast map for the lights at both poles.

Scientists also have a good idea which years might produce more sunspot activity, which in turn might result in more solar stuff heading our way. The Sun cycles in about 11 years of increased sunspots; the last major peak was in 2014. Flares usually originate near sunspots and can hurdle solar particles toward Earth.

By the way, if you’re looking skyward this week, be sure to check out the Geminid meteor shower, which is supposed to peak this Wednesday night. As many as 120 meteors can be seen in an hour.

Have you seen the aurora borealis during a Scouting campout? Share your story in the comments below.

Waste not: 2017 National Jamboree was the greenest on record

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Anyone who attended the 2017 National Jamboree already knows it was one of the most successful Jamborees ever.

Now we know it was likely the greenest Jamboree ever, too.

For the first time in recorded National Jamboree history, Scouts, Scouters and staff recycled and reused more than they sent to the landfill.

At the 2017 National Jamboree, held in July at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, some 298 tons — 596,000 pounds — of material was recycled or reused. That exceeds the 280 tons of waste sent to the landfill.

Here’s how that compares to the two previous Jamborees:

Jamboree Tons recycled/reused Tons to landfill 2017 298 280 2013 192 492 2010 64 1,125

What about National Jamborees before 2010? That data isn’t available, as 2010 was the first time recycling numbers were tracked.

We do know the 2017 Jamboree introduced new efforts to increase recycling and decrease food waste. It’s hard to imagine earlier Jamborees beating 2017’s impressive achievement.

Green Team, go!

You can call them the Green Team, or you can call them Recycle Rangers. Either way, these Jamboree volunteers were instrumental in encouraging recycling at the 2017 event.

The Green Team trained Jamboree participants and staffers, telling them what to recycle and reuse and what was OK to toss.

Jim Miles, Green Team leader, said Scouts eagerly accepted the mission.

“This all happened because, as members of the BSA, we have always cared deeply about our environment,” he said. “When given an opportunity at the Jamboree, we proved we will all pitch in to do our part.”

Food savers

For 2017, the Jamboree moved to a grocery store food system where Scouts and Venturers selected a recipe, built a shopping list and checked out — all through a smartphone app.

This grocery store method helped reduce food waste.

Scouts didn’t “buy” anything they didn’t want. And any food that wasn’t “bought” by Scouts, including perishable food, never left the grocery stores’ refrigerators. That made it possible to donate that unexpired food to local food banks — instead of some of it going into trash as it did in 2013.

More than 160 tons of food was donated to local food banks during the 2017 Jamboree. That’s more than double the 63 tons of donated food in 2013.

Miles hopes these habits of wasting less and recycling more weren’t limited to 10 days in July.

“Our greatest hope is participants will take home what they learned and implement it in their homes and communities and local Scout camps,” he said.

More Jamboree coverage

You can read all our coverage from the 2017 National Jamboree right here.

Photo: BSA Photo by Todd Punch

Eagle Scout creates Lego models of historic hotels for his Eagle project — and for fun

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For his Eagle Scout service project, Adam Moore built a hotel.

Brick by brick — and without a drop of glue — Adam’s one-twentieth-scale Lego model of the historic Strater Hotel in Durango, Colo., took shape.

In 2015, Adam and the group of Scouts under his leadership donated the completed model to the landmark hotel. The masterpiece has benefited the entire town and has been viewed by thousands of hotel guests over the past two years.

But Adam wasn’t done building.

Last month, he unveiled his latest masterpiece: a scale model of the Antlers II Hotel in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colo. The completed piece uses more than 7,500 bricks and required almost a year of research, design and construction.

This time, Adam’s Lego project wasn’t meant to fulfill any service requirement. This time, it was just for fun.

Research …

The real Antlers II Hotel was demolished in 1964 to make way for the current Antlers Hotel, a Wyndham property in the heart of Colorado Springs.

Anyone born after 1964 never got to see the beautiful building, constructed in 1901 in the Italian Renaissance style.

Adam wanted to find a way to preserve this piece of history. He met with an archivist at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum to collect photos from every angle and to figure out which Lego pieces he’d need to create his scale rendering.

… and patience

Adam and his dad spent $2,000 on the necessary bricks. And as this fun story in the Colorado Springs Gazette outlines, Adam had to get creative to get everything just right.

He used the legs of Lego skeletons, turned backward, for balconies. Lego unicorn horns are the pointy tops of the building’s spires. And to get the roof to just the right hue, Moore used brown nail polish.

Adam took over the front parlor of his family’s home and got to work building the hotel. The roof turned out to be the trickiest part.

“I’ve had the roof collapse several times during the construction, and it really tested my patience,” he said.

The Antlers II Hotel model is 4 feet wide, 2 feet long and 2 feet tall. Presenting his masterpiece

With every Lego in its place, Adam and his dad loaded the model into their Jeep. And so began the most nerve-wracking drive in Lego history.

Remember, Adam didn’t use any glue in his model. Everything is free-standing, meaning one pesky pothole could be catastrophic.

With the model sitting on a mattress for extra padding, Adam’s dad drove very slowly until they got to the hotel.

Once they arrived safely, they carefully carried the model — 4 feet wide, 2 feet long and 2 feet tall — into the hotel and placed it near the gift shop. That’s where it stands today.

Hotel General Manager Arron Duff told the Gazette that the model “has become part of the hotel. … I’m in love with it. It’s just a neat project and a good story.”

More about Adam

Adam, who just turned 18, was a member of Troop 223 of Colorado Springs, Colo., part of the Pikes Peak Council.

He earned Eagle at age 15 and is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where he’s majoring in mechanical engineering.

He told the Gazette he’d love to work for Lego some day. You could say that his hotel models are quite the résumé-builder.

In the meantime, he’s considering creating a similar model of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., as his next project.

After Hurricane Irma, Sea Base Alumni and Friends members stepped up to help

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Editor’s note: This guest blog post was written by Suzanne Tiernan, communications director for the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association. 

First, there was Hurricane Harvey. The news was full of damage reports and people helping each other.

Then came Hurricane Irma. We followed its track and watched it grow as it headed towards the U.S.

At one point, Irma’s projected track covered all of Florida. The anticipation, preparation and then the destruction flooded the news. Scenes again filled our newscasts about the damage and people helping people.

If you did not live in the affected area, the horror of the stories eventually wore off. You went back to work, slept in a house with electricity and enjoyed running water.

But a special few people came to action. They answered the call to help.

Jumping at the opportunity

FEMA’s search and rescue teams moved their operations into the Sea Base’s Brinton Environmental Center on Summerland Key.

Volunteers sent supplies and made donations.

The Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association (SBAFA) put out a call to all members and friends to come serve again. As an Alumni and Friends association, anyone who loves Sea Base can join. That shared experience of sun, sails, salt water and bubbles gets in your veins and does not easily wash out. The volunteers started arriving with chainsaws, tools, trucks, water and muscle power.

Sea Base and the Keys holds a special place in your heart if you have ever visited. In the case of Michael Hang of Ohio, it appeals to those who have never visited, too.

“I volunteer doing maintenance at our local camp, Seven Ranges [Scout Reservation], every week. Being a huge fan of sand, ocean and warm weather, I always wanted to experience Florida Sea Base,” he said. “When this opportunity came up I jumped at it and had a great time.”

Forever grateful to Sea Base

Jeff Kidd was the same way. An Eagle Scout and now Scoutmaster of Troop 209 in Apex, N.C., Jeff had worked at Sea Base back in 1994.

“I will forever be grateful to the opportunity that was given to me back then,” he said. “Sea Base holds a special place in my heart, so whenever Sea Base needs my help, I will do my best to help it. I experienced so many things when I worked at Sea Base that I had never been able to do before — diving on coral reefs, sailing on a tall ship, great fishing and catching lobsters. I want to make sure all Boy Scouts have the same opportunity to experience what Sea Base offers.”

A similar story is found in each volunteer. The time they spent in the Keys changed them, and they wanted to give back.

“I spent 10 unforgettable weeks at Brinton in the summer of 2017, and I wanted to give back,” said Jose Guzman of Doral, Fla.. “I met more good people and, most of all, felt part of a great team.”

Scouters are a different breed. They run towards the hard work. They see a need and help. It is just what Scouts do.

Sea Base took some licks, and there’s more work to do. But thanks to volunteers and staff, not a single program day was missed at the base.

“The staff worked hard, but we couldn’t have done it without the volunteers who came in,” says Mike Johnson, Sea Base general manager. “They worked hard at a lot of tough, dirty jobs to get the Sea Base ready to go.”

You can still help

Matthew Reineck, operations manager at Sea Base, is coordinating the volunteer efforts. Email him at with your name, contact information, dates of availability, skills, equipment you can bring (it may or may not be needed) and preference for area to work (Sea Base, BEC or Big Munson).

For info on becoming a member of the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association, visit the official website.

Scoutbook now automatically syncs with BSA national advancement database

Bryan On Scouting -

Scoutbook users are about to love Scoutbook even more.

The BSA’s official web app has always been a great tool for tracking a Scout’s advancement. It makes everything — “from the first knot tied to final hours of service performed” — easier and more rewarding for Scouts and their families.

An important update announced this week makes this essential tool even better. It allows all units with active Scoutbook subscriptions to sync their youth advancement with ScoutNet.

This is huge, but heads up: You’ll need to complete a one-time setup to activate the sync.

Once you do, you can approve advancement within Scoutbook and have it automatically sync with MyScouting/Akela and ScoutNet/PAS (the BSA council tools).

Previously, Scouters needed to generate a .csv (comma-separated values) file from Scoutbook, log into Internet Advancement and upload that file. This was a simple but time-consuming task.

Now all that happens automatically. Scoutbook and the BSA’s advancement systems communicate behind the scenes to make sure each is updated with the latest info.

Once you approve advancement records within Scoutbook, that info gets recorded by the BSA and your local council. This means you can print everything from Scoutbook and take that information to your local Scout Shop to purchase the advancement recognition items you need.

How to sync Scoutbook with the advancement database

To get started, you’ll need to complete the one-time Scoutbook youth advancement sync. Note that this process must be performed by a currently registered key 3 member of your unit.

You should complete this process by Dec. 31, 2017.

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, units with active Scoutbook subscriptions will only be able to approve advancements for Scouts who are in the advancement sync. If you have not activated your unit and/or Scouts within your unit, you will not be able to approve advancements for that Scout or Scouts.

Note that as a unit activates the sync, if there are Scouts who have not yet been registered (entered into ScoutNet or My.Scouting) the unit can unapprove those Scouts and continue the sync for the rest of the unit.  Once registration is complete for the outstanding Scouts, the unit can then approve them and they will be included.

The complete steps are outlined in this handy document.

Things to know about the Scoutbook youth advancement sync
  • In this first phase, only youth advancement records will be synced.
  • Because ScoutNet only tracks completed and signed-off advancements, only “approved” advancements will transfer from Scoutbook to ScoutNet. Partial completions, and items only marked “completed” and not “approved” will continue to be tracked only via Scoutbook.
  • When there is an approved change in an advancement in Scoutbook, it will be reflected in the council records. When the council records change, it will be reflected in Scoutbook. The record with the most recent update date will take precedent.
  • Advancements that require district, council or national approval will not be uploaded from Scoutbook. Instead, they will flow from ScoutNet through to Scoutbook.
  • Scout Shop staff will know that the Advancement Report from Scoutbook and the Advancement Report from Internet Advancement are both certified, and either should be accepted. The bottom of the Advancement Report from Scoutbook looks like this:

What to do if you still have questions

If you have any questions about the Scoutbook Youth Advancement Sync or if your Scouting unit has not received the sync instructions, please send an email to


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