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January Drawing
Boy Scout Contest
Last day to get an entry in for January's random Boy Scout Trail drawing for three prizes.

Hey, it's a lot easier than a Hot Dog Eating contest! All you have to do is type in your email.

Go to Scout Contest page to enter.

Scout On

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Posted: 15:06 01-31-2013 943
Your Opinion on BSA Membership
Opinion on Boy Scout Membership
Influence the decision by sharing your opinion with the national Boy Scouts of America leadership.

There are three ways you can get your opinion to the BSA folks working towards a decision on the national membership policy. As a member of the organization, in this democratic society, it's your responsibility to participate in the decision-making process. The BSA has set up these avenues for you to get your opinion to them - di it in the next couple days if you want it to count.

  1. Email

  2. Phone - call (972) 580-2000

  3. Web Form - complete the form at BSA Contact Us

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Posted: 14:52 01-30-2013 942
BSA Membership Discussion
See BSA Media Statement

Boy Scouts of America
Monday, Jan. 28, 2013
Attributable to: Deron Smith, Director of Public Relations

For more than 100 years, Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.
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Posted: 17:23 01-28-2013 941
Weather Hazard Training
weather hazard training
My biggest concern about bad weather when leading an outing is lightning. Everything else takes time to build, or is avoidable, but lightning is common, unpredicatable, and deadly. So, I keep a thought towards lightning when hiking, choosing a campsite, and scheduling activities.

You should begin to prepare for outdoor adventures by completing the online BSA Weather Hazards training. It takes about 45 minutes to go through the ten sections and print your certificate.
This training is a quick overview of potential weather dangers you may encounter on outings. Extending your knowledge about hazards in your area would be a good next step.
The training starts with a set of questions which is a good way to review what you already know. This is followed by ten sections, each with pictures and narrated text about the weather hazard and then some review questions or activities to check your understanding.

The sections covered are:
  1. Planning
  2. Lightning
  3. Cold Weather
  4. Hot Weather
  5. Hail
  6. Flash Floods
  7. Tornadoes
  8. Windsotrms
  9. Weather Signs
  10. Hurricanes

A complete tour plan requires someone currently certified in Weather Hazard training. Now, before your spring outings, is a great time to have everyone complete this training at It might be a fun training topic at a troop meeting for all the scouts, or a crew meeting for the guys heading out on a High Adventure this summer.

The Weather merit badge pamphlet is another good resource for learning more about reading weather signs and anticipating adverse weather conditions on your treks.
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Posted: 11:21 01-28-2013 940
Top 10 Bandana Uses
101 uses for bandana
I always have a bandana along in the wild. I can't think of a more versatile item to have in my pack. It takes little room, weighs nearly nothing, and can be used over and over for many different tasks.

On my 2nd day hiking through Arizona, I used it to keep my face warm from the blowing snow - that was a surprise! Here's 10 uses, plus a couple dozen more - you may not want to use your bandana for the tasks in the order listed. :-)
Leave a comment if you have more ideas to share!
  1. Keep dust out of your mouth
  2. Warm air before breathing it in
  3. Bind a wound
  4. Filter debris from water
  5. Wipe off sweat
  6. Wash yourself
  7. Soak and wrap around your neck to cool off
  8. Protect your head from the sun
  9. Strain food bits from waste water
  10. Emergency toilet paper
  11. Collect pop-tart or ramen noodle crumbs when you open the package
  12. Blow your nose
  13. Wipe your eyes
  14. Dry your feet after crossing a stream
  15. Signal a rescuing airplane, helicoptor, or boat
  16. Fix broken tent pole
  17. Hold up your pants
  18. Hide your identity
  19. Keep your ears warm
  20. Ultra-light pack
  21. Replacement kite tail
  22. Capture the Flag flag
  23. Parachute for nut-n-bolt soldier (untold hours of fun as a kid)
  24. Plug a leak
  25. Open a tight lid
  26. Hot pot holder
  27. Dish rag
  28. Practice knot tying
  29. Sling for broken arm
  30. Binding for splint
  31. Tourniquet
  32. Hand warmer
  33. Hat band
  34. Leg gaiters
  35. Molotov cocktail fuse
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Posted: 19:24 01-24-2013 939
Scout Sunday - Feb. 3
Scout Sunday
Scout Sunday is sneaking up quick this year. It is the Sunday on or before Feb. 8 and that comes earlier in 2013. If you've not gotten to it yet, you're right down to the last chance to start planning how the Scouts can participate in your church's observance.

Individual congregations can hold their Scout Sunday on some other date in February if the pastor feels that would better fit their schedule.

There is a nice set of Resources for a service on which might be helpful.

Scout Sunday is a great opportunity for your congregation to touch base with the Scouting community. Scouts helping with the service by ushering, reading, or praying are all ways to show the impact of Scouting on the youth of the church.

Scout On
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Posted: 17:21 01-22-2013 938
New Year - New Giveaways
Scouting Contest
Don, John, and Denise won prizes in the monthly Boy Scout Trail giveaway yesterday. You can enter for this month on my Contest page.

Scouting magazine is having a giveaway this month also. One winner will get a two-person REI Cirque ASL 2 tent, a Kelty Mistral Minus-20 sleeping bag, and a Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad.

Click this Scouting Contest link to enter. Bookmark the link and enter every day to increase your entries.

Scout On

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Posted: 10:59 01-03-2013 937
Lost Newton Tiger Scouts
If you're wondering if there's anything you can do to help folks in Newtown, even though you're hundreds or thousands of miles away, there are many opportunities to support them. Here's one...

Two of the slain children were Tiger Cubs in Pack 170. The Connecticut Yankee Council has set up a fund to support their families and your financial contributions, as well as cards and letters, are welcome.

Before you contribute to anyone, please check that your support will be legitimately used. See for the address and instructions for this fund.

Some other funds you might check out, but I have not investigated:

Doing SOMETHING is better than wondering what to do.

Scout On
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Posted: 14:04 12-17-2012 935
Once In a Lifetime
12/12/12 12:12:12
Lots of folks say a trip to Philmont is a once in a lifetime trek. Well, I've been there twice and I hope to go again, so that's a bit of a stretch. But, there are some things that really are once in any lifetime.

For example, tomorrow at a little after noon, there will be six 12s on your digital watch - that won't happen again for 1,000 years. As a matter of fact, the next time a similar time and date will happen is about 100 years away, on 01:01:01 01/01/2101

So what? Well, tons of people are having weddings tomorrow and other special events. Other than that, not much will happen. But, it's pretty cool to notice that you were alive on this special date.

It's a great time for your gang of scouts to make a time capsule to be opened by the guys 100 years from now. Or, just a scoutmaster minute about how every day is a special gift to be used and not squandered, regardless of how interesting the date is.

Scout On
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Posted: 16:24 12-11-2012 933
2013 High Adventure Training
red cross training
Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, the Summit - big places with big adventure for scouts! Whether you're going to a national high adventure base or rolling your own exciting adventure, training in Wilderness and Remote First Aid is either required or highly encouraged. Any troop, crew, or pack that goes into the outdoors would benefit from the skills and knowledge found in the WRFA training - not just wilderness backpacking trips.

Troops going to the 2013 National Jamboree are not required to have certified WRFA leaders, but Philmont, Sea Base, and Northern Tier all require at least one currently certified person per crew. If you haven't gotten the required training taken care of for next summer, don't wait much longer to arrange it. The Red Cross WRFA training covers a wide range of injuries and ailments, and it's pretty fun - just a long weekend.

I just presented WRFA this past weekend yet again. But, this time, it wasn't for Scouting folks. The University of Minnesota has an Engineers Without Borders chapter and they are going to Uganda in January. They will work to set up a clean water system for the people living there. Since it's such a remote location, they wanted to be a bit prepared first. Some of them are also heading to Guatemala in the spring.

I enjoyed spending my weekend with 10 young engineers and helping them prepare to make life a bit better for strangers on the other side of the world.

Scout On
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Posted: 17:34 11-20-2012 932
Scouts Helping Scouts
Scouts Helping Scouts
"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up." - John Holmes

Hurricane Sandy, and the storm that followed, brought severe damage to people, places, and things across the Northeast Region. In an effort to help, the Leadership Team of the Northeast Region OA has set a goal to raise at least $20,000 that will be awarded to OA Lodges in the Northeast to help complete projects at their council camps to clean up and rebuild after the storm.

The NE Region OA Leadership Team would like folks (that's you) to purchase this patch for $10. 100% of the funds raised goes directly towards helping council camps since the OA paid for production of the patches.

Just fill out this form and send it with a check for a patch, or a dozen patches.

I'm not saying they'd make good Christmas gifts, but presenting them to the newest OA members in your troop at a troop meeting while explaining what they mean might be a pretty good object lesson showing what being in the OA is all about. Hey, it might make a good Scoutmaster Minute.

I've sawed trees and fixed up local council camps quite a few times as an OA member. This is a way to virtually do a little arduous labor to help Scouts far away.

Scout On
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Posted: 22:52 11-15-2012 931
10 Winter Service Ideas
scout service projects
Eagle projects tend to be about building things outside, and that tends to be done from April through October when it's warmer outside (around here anyway). Providing service to the community can drop off over the winter, but it doesn't need to be that way. There are many potential service opportunities out there, maybe not for Eagle projects, but certainly for scouts to get out in the community and help others.
Here's 10 ways scouts can pitch in and lend a hand:
  1. Spread the Word - Work with the city council, police, or fire department to distribute flyers, magnetic cards, or pamphlets about fire alarm maintenance, christmas fire safety, home energy conservation, organ donor awareness, community contact info (substance abuse, neglect, depression, ...), or whatever the city would like taken door-to-door.
  2. Ring Dem Bells - Volunteer a few hours ringing Salvation Army bells outside businesses.
  3. Toys 4 Tots - organize a toy drive, volunteer at a collection site, or help in a warehouse. Or, organize a toy/book/clothing drive after Thanksgiving to make room for all that new Christmas stuff that will fill closets again.
  4. Welcome Home - College students often have early January off. Plan your first troop meeting of the year to be an alumni party and invite past scouts.
  5. Shelter Support - Serve meals at community shelters. Draw and color placemats for shelters to use at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Clean shelters after especially busy times.
  6. Serve Seniors - Arrange a visit to a senior citizens home. Play games, sing songs, visit, write letters for them. Assist elderly with their holiday shopping by carrying packages, helping on/off bus, wrapping packages.
  7. Be Thankful - Write letters to soldiers away from home thanking them for their efforts. Write thank you cards to local fire, police, emergency, and mayor departments letting them know they are appreciated. Bake treats for fire and police units in January, the coldest month.
  8. Cheer for Children - Visit children in hospitals. Make simple wooden toys for local shelters to give to children. Set aside a December weekend when parents can drop off their kids for free babysitting while they do their holiday shopping.
  9. Free Fire Hydrants - After snowfalls, dig out fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Ask the resident whose property it is on if it's OK before you start. Many people will want to give money, but don't take it.
  10. Recycle Christmas - Give cards to Christmas tree lots to hand out with each tree that says the date and location to bring the tree for free recycling. Include an email to send request to have the tree picked up instead on that date for a fee. Could sell bags of wood chips or mulch at the recycling spot.

Plus a couple more:

Got any more to add to the list?
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Posted: 9:45 11-15-2012 930
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