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Today is the best day of the year for Astronomy merit badge and worst for Photography. :-)
At 10:28am Central time today, the winter solstice occurs. For the next six months, we'll be getting more and more sunlight each day in the northern hemisphere while our Scouting friends down under are losing it.
Here's an interesting activity to try. Get an 18-inch or so dowel or stick and stand it straight up on end (might need to make a stand for it if the ground is frozen). Mark the tip of its shadow on the ground every 15 minutes from 11am to 1pm, or until the shadow is obvious getting longer. Measure the length of the shortest shadow and write it on the dowel. By the way, from the base of the dowel to that shortest shadow mark is very close to North - check it with your compass.
To find the angle of the sun, go to this page and put 90 as angle C, side b is the height of your stick, and side a is the length of the shadow. Click Calculate and angle B will be the angle of the sun.
Repeat this activity on the spring equinox and summer solstice to see how much difference there really is between summer and winter sun at your location. I'll put my results in a comment below after lunch.
Lots of people have been asking about the Webelos Super Achiever patch. It's never been an official national BSA award, so it fell to individual units or councils to create or adopt the award locally. It was available in a handful of various designs and names, but has become impossible to find.
We are getting a new batch of Super Achiever patches next month to help ensure Webelos that earn all the available adventures can be recognized for their efforts. The patch is a "temporary" patch and includes a loop to hang it from the right pocket button.
You can order Webelos Super Achiever patch now, and they'll be shipped to you as soon as they arrive in January.
If you ever find yourself wondering if it is worth the effort being a BSA volunteer - this should take away any doubt you have. Listening to this young man might be the best way you have to spend 10 minutes today.
This is an interview with someone that jumped in to help out at the train derailment in Washington this morning.
It is sad that it happened, but refreshing to hear an Eagle Scout representing!!! Thanks to Daniel Konzelman and his girlfriend for their actions.
(You can restart it at the beginning if you want)
Our Pen Pals program has about 1700 Scouting units signed up and scouts around the world are exchanging mail and electronic messages.
A new Postcard Exchange has just been started. Scouts across the USA can collect postcards from scouts in every state.
Pen Pals and Postcards can be used to fulfill requirements for Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout achievements, badges, and awards.
Communication, citizenship, and cultural awareness are all improved by interacting with other Scouts outside your local community.
There are girls and boys of all ages ready to swap postcards. We just need groups from more states to sign up.
Please talk with your scouts about getting involved and then sign up to get started.
I just gave away 3 gifts this morning in my Monthly Give-Away and I'm waiting for the winners to claim them.
You could win at the end of this month - if you just enter!
If you're looking for some gift ideas, here's a few to consider:
Reusable Handwarmers - Instead of throwing away hand warmers after one use, these reusable handwarmers can be used hundreds of times. They are inexpensive, easy, safe, and non-toxic. Plus, they are fun to explore the reaction taking place for STEM.
A perfect stocking stuffer.
Dutch Oven Cookbook - 66 favorite recipes used to promote dutch oven cooking in a troop.
Signed by the author and discounted.
Thru-hike Book - a book about hiking the 1,100-mile Ice Age Trail through Wisconsin. One woman's story about her speed hike and the other hikers she met.
A fun read for anyone you know interested in hiking something more involved than a Philmont trek.
Scout Shop Gift Card - Keep it simple and let the scout buy whatever he needs at the local scout shop, or online at scoutstuff.org
Comment about other good Scout gift ideas you've found this year.Scout On!
If you're not sure about the time commitment, these are some of the topics mentioned:
- Why was this decision made?
- What input was there from volunteers?
- When will it take effect?
- Is it co-ed or separate?
- Will the name change?
- What materials updates will there be?
- How will enough adult volunteers be found?
- What camping logistics be needed?
- How will uniforms change?
- Will the eagle scout requirements change?
- What's the future of Venturing?
I hope you have time to listen. I found it worth the view.
Well, that was fast!
Starting next year (2018), girls will be part of the BSA scouting program, not just Venturing, Sea Scouts, Explorers, and STEM. What, you did not realize they were in all that already?
Oh my, it will be a busy year of updates - the organization name, logos, training, uniforms, patches, stickers, books, signs, documents, ... Whew!
After unanimous approval by the BSA board of directors, girls will join Cub Scout Packs in 2018. The plan is to have separate dens for girls and for boys. Then, in 2019, girls will join Boy Scout Troops. See the BSA statement and Bryans blog post.
Will this cause the Girl Scouts of the United States of America to go under? Maybe.
In 1972, BSA had 6.5mil members, 5.1mil in 2012, and 2.3mil in 2016 - maybe this change will raise the numbers now that the entire organization welcomes anyone.
I do not know about the separate dens for girls thing (and a separate program for girls in troops is planned). Whenever I have heard the need discussed, parents were looking for siblings to join scouting "just like the boys". Finding more den leaders just for the girls will be daunting, and I bet most packs will have girls join boy dens no matter what the national organization says.
Best of luck to all you front line volunteers over the next few years. We live (scout) in interesting times! Please just remember to do your best for your scouts and keep adult stuff at adult gatherings to make their scouting experience the best you can.
When do you think the first female Eagle Scout will be awarded? My vote is for November 22, 2019. Whoever posts the closest guess here gets a cookie!
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Check out the July BSA promotional program!
If you are on the net, you could win some very cool prizes including trips to the national high adventure bases down to a $50 ScoutStuff gift card. The contest is only going on through July so click here to start earning points while everyone else is out at Philmont, summer camp, or the beach.
You just post a virtual flag to your state, enter your info, and you get a chance to win.
Today, Jenny in Portland, OR is the lead person, but if you use this link to enter, we might be able to catch her!
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If you have been trying to help scouts cook balanced, healthy, wholesome meals on campouts, you might as well give up on breakfast this year.
General Mills is giving away 10,000 boxes of Marshmallow Only Lucky Charms cereal!
When scouts go shopping for food, they might notice the specially-marked boxes of Lucky Charms on retail stores across the U.S. this month that include a code on the inside back panel. Just enter that 14-digit code at MarshmallowOnly.com to see if you are one of the 10,000 lucky winners.
In 2015, GM gave away 10 boxes, but this year it is 10,000 boxes!
Did you know Lucky Charms has been around for 50 years? 50 years! I have been eating it my entire life, but I think an entire box of marshmallows would make me sick.
Green clovers, yellow moon, orange star, and pink heart were the originals I enjoyed. Then, blue diamond, purple horseshoe, red balloon, and magic rainbow crept in over the years.
Well, at least maybe the scouts will brush after breakfast and they'll have enough energy for the morning!
With a mild winter and warmer spring, vegetation around here is earlier than usual. I found these new growth poison ivy plants just getting started on my hike this morning. In 2013, poison ivy was almost a month later. The garlic mustard and buckthorn are also already green and growing. Sumac and honey suckle are looking strong, too.
When you're out hiking and camping, keep an eye out for these "bad" plants and steer clear.
It looks like it could be a very bad year for invasive species, at least here. This could be a great opportunity for scouts to step up and help out local parks, trails, and public lands groups with beating back some of these invaders. Check around and see how your troop can pitch in and help out.
Last September, Boys Life ran a MacGyver Challenge sweepstakes. Today, I received this photo of the patch from a participant in the contest.
Doing a bit of research on the net, it looks like 1,158 people entered so all of them should have gotten a patch, 10 should have received a swag bag of stuff, and 1 got a trip to the MacGyver set in Atlanta and a pizza party. A scout from Texas Troop 565 won the big prize - Read More (thanks for the heads up, thrifty).
Three things I think are interesting:
- Many online contests like this are easy to enter and often have fewer participants than you would think. I won a nice pair of Keen boots online.
- If only 1,158 of these were given out, I wonder if any scouting memorabilia collectors would be interested in them?
- I could not find a picture of this patch searching online - so, this might be the first and only MacGyver Challenge Scout Edition patch on the entire internet! :-)
Scouts looking for another patch to collect? Read a book and send a short report to Boys Life to enter their reading contest. You will at least get a Pedro patch, and maybe a lot more.
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Following up on my post from yesterday about Boy Scout projects, here is a fun one for Cub Scouts.
There are around 20,000 species of bees worldwide and they are very important for the pollination of plants. Since WWII, bee populations have been declining due to pesticides, disease, parasites, and habitat lose. In 2015, around 40% of the bee colonies in the U.S.A. collapsed. Every year, some colonies collapse, but this was a lot.
To help these pollinators recover, scouts can:
- Learn about bees
- Reduce use of pesticides - video
- Cultivate native plants, of many varieties
- Provide nesting area or materials
Plant Wildflowers - Cheerios is giving away wildflower seeds for you to scatter and grow. They've already given away 80 million seeds and are nearing their 100 million seed goal. So, get yours now! Or, go to your local nursery and buy some that you know will grow locally.
Contact your city, county, or local Dept. of Natural Resources to identify a good spot for scouts to scatter the seeds. Plan to visit the location later in the summer to see what has grown, and maybe collect seeds in late summer to be sewn in other locations this fall.
Contest - Ask a Question - Add Content
Find more Scouting Resources at www.BoyScoutTrail.com