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Today, scouts are in the news for quite a range of topics. The most common two reasons for a scout to be in the news are their Eagle rank and their obituary. But, here are a few different news topics regarding Scouting:
- Record Eagles - In Florida's Withlacoochee District, this past year has seen a ton of Eagles. The pandemic has evidently allowed for more advancement work to be done, whoda thunk?
- ARC Kits - This Eagle candidate created kits to help with anxiety and provided them to local rescue squads. The contents are to help calm patients in stress.
- VA Center Games - Scouts fixed up and outdoor basketball court and built game equipment at their local VA Medical Center. A good outdoor project that I hope gets lots of use.
- Native American Concerns - Mic-O-Say, OA, and all use of Native American culture in the BSA continues to be criticized. A OA Notice was issued this year and needs to be followed.
- Scouts Help Lord's Cupboard - another impactful community service program. There's always some way that scouts can step up and help out.
- Community Gardener - Sounds like a great way to be outdoors during a pandemic, raising food for local food pantries.
- YAST - Yet Another Stolen Trailer - but this guy got caught. Stealing a scout trail just seems like a tough way to make some cash.
So, congratulations to those new Eagles, keep doing good deeds, and keep an eye on your trailer.Scout On!
Scouting at Home
Two weeks ago, most people though Zoom was the sound a sports car made. Now, it's the most mentioned remote meeting software around, and being used by thousands of Scouts when they are scouting at home. This strange looking little virus has tipped things over, messed things up, and changed lives for months to come.
With our national guidance to postpone all face-to-face scouting, many adult volunteers have put in a lot of effort to shift how scouting can be done safely from home, in isolation, until the world is a bit less contagious. It's certainly not the prefered scout experience, but we can continue to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
Thanks to these volunteers, new ideas to handle events, camping, advancement, and other scouting topics are popping every day. Here's a few for you to consider...
Some Scouting folks are saying that we're all Lone Scouts now, and advancement should be handled like the Lone Scout program until the "All Clear" is given to resume face-to-face Scouting. That sounds like a good idea, but since the Lone Scout program is NOT a watered down version of the Scouts BSA program, it won't change much.
The BSA has a nice Lone Scout Guidebook for the scout and their guide. This PDF file explains the program thoroughly and mentions three key topics in this discussion.
Trained Leaders: The Lone Scout program expects each adult involved with a scout to know the program and be a trained leader. Since that is not the case in most scouting families, a scout's parent is often not an appropriate person to sign off on advancement. For example, First Class requirement 4a has the scout use a map and compass, and estimate height and width of structures - many adults would have no idea how to do this.
Different Requirements: On page 18 of the Lone Scout Guidebook, a section on Limited Flexibility in Requirements is written. It states "In some instances, family members, neighbors, or friends can be used in place of a den, pack, or troop" - so some requirements, such as cooking for your patrol, could be done for your family.
Also in this section, "Where meeting requirements as written is not possible, a Lone Scout friend and counselor may suggest equal or very similar alternative requirements. These must have council advancement committee preapproval." - there are some requirements that simply can not be done by most scouts right now - without at least a large swimming pool available, First Class requirement 6a is not possible. If you wanted to perform the swim test in a pool at home, approval from your council would be needed first.
Camping: On page 12, in the Safety Rule of Four, it states "...counselor and a Lone Scout who are parent and child may camp alone together in settings where medical services are readily available..." - so a scout and parent could camp overnight in their community.
Leadership: For Star rank and above, Lone Scouts need to demonstrate leadership. Rather than troop leadership, they can lead school, religious, or club groups.
Of all the potential Lone Scout benefits in this time, I think that modifying the Camping guidelines to be available for all scouts is the most useful. The Leadership requirements require a group, just like other scouts, and all other requirements are the same.
Every BSA council has some sort of response to COVID-19 on their website. Many of them are organizing virtual camporees, virtual merit badge clinics, and other virtual events held online.
You might find a more convenient event for your scout at a council across the country. There is a chance that all these efforts now may fundamentally change how merit badges are earned in the future.
I spent a couple hours searching and found this sampling of Councils with Online Virtual Resources and Events. Check them out:
Finally, the spoof Social Distancing Merit Badge has some useful activities for scouting at home.
Missing the "outing" part of Scouting? For those long days of social isolation, there are a bunch of movies that feature Scouting. Some of them are pretty awful, but some are still classics, and some will make you never want to camp again!
Here's a handful that are links to their amazon pages so you can check them out.
This list is in rough order of Most Appropriate to Least Appropriate for scouts to watch - review them before showing scouts.
Are one of these your fav? There are a lot more, so please add any other suggestions you have...
- Adventure Scouts
- Follow Me, Boys!
- Room for One More
- Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout? (1 season)
- Boy Scouts of Harlem
- Down & Derby
- Troop Beverly Hills
- Troop Zero
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Scout Camp
- Troop 491: The Adventures of the Muddy Lions
- Tex Rides with the Boy Scouts
- Scouting for Adventure (5 seasons)
- Scout's Honor
- Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
- The Wrong Guys
- Edge of Honor free (1991)
- Drum Taps free (1936)
While not Scouting specific, here's 101 free videos about outdoor sports and cultures to pass the time. They are of various lengths and quality...
- 7 Stages - skiing - 41:44
- Amo - Easter Island - 7:08
- Ascending Afghanistan - Afghan women issues and mountain climb - 43:33
- Age of Ondra - Part 1 - Adam Ondra - 20:57
- AoO-2 - part 2 - 30:22
- AoO-3 - part 3 - 27:53
- Artifishal - saving wild salmon - 1:19:55
- Aziza - ultra-running - 6:30
- Bawli Booch - Downhill Biking India - 4:30
- Beautiful Idiot - mountain biking - 14:41
- Beneath the Ice - ice climbing and climate change - 16:48
- Blood on the Crack - rock climbing - 9:49
- Blood Road - Ho Chi Minh Trail bike ride - 1:34:59
- Blue Heart - protest European river dams - 43:59
- BMX Nigeria - city BMX riding - 12:12
- Break on Through - rock climbing - 29:03
- Brotherhood of Skiing - black skiers - 10:11
- Brothers of Climbing - rock climbing - 7:18
- Camel Finds Water - building a boat - 8:37
- Carving Landscapes - reenactment of woman researcher - 6:13
- Charge - snowski tricks - 4:37
- Chasing a Trace - searching for wolverines - 20:01
- Chasing the Sublime - cold water swimming - 6:40
- Children of the Columbia - skiing and history - 21:23
- Climb Your Dreams - short poem - 2:29
- Circle of the Sun - skiing Norway - 5:03
- Danny Daycare - bicycling Scotland spoof - 4:10
- Defiance - snowboarding - 12:37
- Dream Job - skiing - 14:41
- Dreamride 3 - mountain biking - 6:00
- Eclipse - freeski - 31:24
- Electric Greg - climate change and mountain sports - 19:14
- Eli - ultrarunning - 5:18
- Emil Johansson's Story - mtb rider's illness - 24:52
- Escape - cross-Canada bike ride - 8:01
- Facing Sunrise - hiking - 8:51
- Fast Horse - bareback horse racing - 13:10
- Fell Runners - trail running - 17:17
- Flip - base jumping - 3:13
- For the Love of Mary - 97yrold runner - 6:17
- Free Flow - trail running, free climbing - 4:15
- Frozen Mind - snowboarding - 33:15
- Frozen Road - bike ride in Canada - 24:30
- Good Morning - red bull snow ski - 4:18
- Grizzly Country - protecting habitat - 11:46
- Holocene - climbing and skiing - 12:14
- Hourya - paragliding - 9:24
- How to Run 100 Miles - mountain ultramarathon - 28:14
- Ice & Palms - bikepacking - 32:00
- Imaginary Line - highline between US and Mexico - 10:38
- Kai Jones - 11yr-old snow skiing - 5:18
- Ladakh Project - whitewater kayaking - 14:11
- La Grave - free skiing - 17:00
- Last Honey Hunter - cliff climbing for honey - 35:51
- Legend of Rafael - bicycling - 6:51
- Lhotse - first ski descent - 23:00
- Life of Glide - snowboarding - 15:45
- Life of Pie - two women bikeriders - 11:47
- Liv Along the Way - mountain climbing - 22:21
- Lorax Project - basejumping - 34:38
- Loved By All - Apa Sherpa - 13:50
- My Mom Vala - fishing Greenland - 9:45
- Mother Earth - mountain biking - 5:43
- Motivator - meet my mom - 4:26
- Narics - snowboarding - 18:21
- Nordic Skater - ice skating - 5:26
- Okpilik - interview with woman - 4:57
- Out on a Limb - prosthetic foot for climber - 21:20
- Over Time - skiing - 7:20
- Par For The Course - Mirnavator hike - 3:39
- Perspectives - mountain biking - 5:20
- Redstone Pack - dog sledding - 5:22
- Refuge - steelhead fishing - 6:04
- Ride of the Dead - Mexico mountain biking - 11:53
- River's Call - whitewater kayaking - 7:45
- RJ Ripper - Mountain Biking in India - 19:00
- Rotpunkt - rock climbing - 50:27
- Running Pastor - trail running - 8:14
- Sacred Strides - running for Bears Ears - 12:20
- Safe Haven - indoor rock climbing- 7:49
- Silence - rock climbing - 17:40
- Ski Photographer - skiing - 8:49
- Skier Vs Drone - drone & skiier race - 4:08
- Sky Piercer - skiing - 43:57
- Solstice - skiing - 3:56
- Speak to Me Softly - rock climbing - 6:14
- Standing Man - FTK MTB attempt - 13:05
- Surface - ocean photography - 7:07
- Surviving the Outback - a month in Australia wilds - 59:49
- Thabang - trail running in Africa - 13:15
- The Botanist - building hydroelectric to survive - 20:04
- The Frenchy - 82yrold ski racer - 14:19
- The Moment - mountain biking - 1:17:05
- The Passage - canoe the Inside Passage - 25:19
- This Land - running - 10:32
- Treeline - forest communities - 40:16
- Up To Speed - speed climbing - 22:30
- Valley of the Moon - climbing - 21:38
- Wallmapu - skiing - 5:50
- We Are Abel - life of caribou hunter - 8:35
- Wolf Pack - trail running - 12:23
While being socially distant and helping to Flatten That Curve, scouts can give these relevant merit badges a look since they pertain to our current environment:
There are also a lot of merit badges that include quite a bit of self-study for the requirements. With extra time on their hands, here's a bunch that any scout can make good progress on individually with no need to leave home:
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Happy Birthday to Lord Robert Baden-Powell!
Little Bobbie was born on February 22, 1857 and would grow up to eventually start the Scouting movement that has encompassed the globe, so today is celebrated as Scouts' Day, Founders' Day, and Guides' Day.
It is called Founders' Day instead of Founder's Day because Robert founded Scouting for boys and girls with his sister, Agnes.
Today is also the birthday of the girl who would grow up to marry Robert and be an integral part of early scouting, Olave St. Clair Baden-Powell. They met in 1912, on the RMSP Arcadian while sailing through the Caribbean to New York. They got married the day before Halloween that same year - quite a whirlwind romance, huh? He was 56 and she was 24 when they married.
Scout-Guide Week is celebrated right now in Canada. It is the week on which February 22 falls.
And, it's World Thinking Day also - a day for scouts to think about and appreciate all their scouting sisters and brothers around the world.
One more thing - if your children are grown and you think you're too old for any more Scouting, consider that Lord Baden-Powell did all of his work with boy and girl Scouts after he turned 50 years old.
Today's letter from the national Boy Scouts of America leadership...
Dear Scouting Family,
Today, the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to achieve two key objectives: equitably compensate victims who were harmed during their time in Scouting and continue to carry out Scouting’s mission for years to come.
While the word “bankruptcy” can be intimidating, it is important to know that Scouting programs will continue. Your regular unit meetings and activities, district and council events, other Scouting adventures and countless service projects will take place as usual.
We took this action today amid increasing financial pressure on the BSA from litigation involving past abuse in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We believe victims, we support them, we provide counseling by a provider of their choice, and we encourage them to come forward. Our plan is to use this Chapter 11 process to create a Trust that would provide equitable compensation to these individuals.
As we go through this process, we want to make certain that all Scouting parents and volunteers know the following:
- Scouting is safer now than ever before. Approximately 90% of the pending and asserted claims against the BSA relate to abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago. As someone close to Scouting, you know the safety of children in our programs is the BSA’s absolute top priority and that one instance of abuse is one too many. That’s precisely why over many years we’ve developed some of the strongest expert-informed youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization.
From mandatory youth protection training and background checks for all volunteers and staff, to policies that prohibit one-on-one interaction between youth and adults and require that any suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement, our volunteers and employees take youth protection extremely seriously and do their part to help keep kids safe. You can read more about the BSA’s multi-layered safeguards and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse at www.scouting.org/youth-safety. In fact, this is a resource that you can share with friends and family who are interested in understanding what the BSA is doing to keep kids safe.
- Scouting continues. Scouting programs will continue to serve youth, families and local communities throughout this process and for many years to come. Just last year, communities across the country benefited from more than 13 million Scouting service hours, and young men and women earned more than 1.7 million merit badges that represent skills that will help them succeed throughout their lives. Studies prove and parents agree that Scouting helps young people become more kind, helpful and prepared for life, and as long as those values remain important to our society, Scouting will continue to be invaluable to our nation’s youth.
- Local councils have not filed for bankruptcy. Local councils – which provide programming, financial, facility and administrative support to Scouting units in their communities – are legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization.
We know you will likely have questions about these issues and things you will see in the news. We have posted information about our restructuring on a dedicated website, www.BSArestructuring.org.
This site includes a helpful Resources page, where you will find a short video explaining what Chapter 11 means for Scouting, as well as a FAQ and a reference document that will help you discuss this announcement with youth in our programs. The site also includes a Milestones page, which will be your best source for the latest updates throughout this process.
If these resources don’t answer your questions, please feel free to reach out to us through Member Care at 972-580-2489 or MyScouting@Scouting.org. We will do everything we can to provide helpful, transparent responses and ensure your Scouting experience continues to be a great one.
Yours in Scouting,
President & CEO
It has been brought to my attention that Valentines has morphed into two alternate celebrations. You can blame the TV show "Parks and Recreation" for the initial drive of these two pseudo-holidays.
Galentines Day started as a satirical bit on the show in 2010, setting Feb. 13 as a day for females to celebrate their female friends, especially those with no significant others. IRL women took and ran with it, keeping the day alive.
Palentines Day is just a natural expansion of that celebration to become gender neutral. Celebrate any and all friends you have with no romantic connotations.
Unfortunately, Scoutentines Day just doesn't have a very good ring to it. But, Hey, here's some candy hearts to celebrate anyway!
What other sayings would you put on hearts to share with your scouts and scouters? (up to 3 lines with 8 chars per line)
You actually can have custom hearts created - for example, here. Kind of expensive, but the fleur-de-lis on a heart might be cool. And, if you don't like those chalky hearts, other candies can be personalized, like M&MsScout On!
How much does a year of Scouting really cost?
With the 81% increase (from $33 to $60) in annual dues imposed by the BSA national organization starting in January 2020, there has been plenty of hand wringing, teeth gnashing, and hair pulling in angst, anguish, and apprehension.
So, I was curious just how much that mandatory fee increase really affects the full cost of being involved in Scouting for a year. I made a poll to collect data from Scouting families.
The data is only what people estimate and share, and won't exactly match your situation, but it gives a rough idea of what others out there are spending to have youth involved in Scouting.
With 182 Cub Scout responses and 247 Scouts BSA responses, as of today, here's how the annual costs look:
- Cub Scouts costs about $550 and Scouts BSA costs about $950 - this does not include uniform costs
- Almost half have a council fee of $27 on average
- About 70% have an additional unit fee of $67 on average
- About 90% of Cub Scouts go to a summer camp costing $164 on average while virtually all Scouts BSA members do summer camp costing $334 on average
A few things that I found surprising:
- Weekend campouts cost around $35 each and the average scout attends almost 10 each year.
- Only a quarter of troops do their own high adventure outings. But, a scout will attend them every year or two and they cost around $425.
- Less than half of troops use the BSA high adventure bases, and a scout will spend about $1625 every 3.5 years to attend.
The bottom line is that the $30 BSA fee increase is around a 5% raise in the average cost of scouting for Cub Scouts and 3% for Scouts BSA. The impact is more significant on Cub Scout families just getting started.
Go ahead and have a look at the results page for more numbers.
I'll modify the survey and ask again next year. If you have some suggestions, feel free to email them (or comment).
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Are you curious what a typical year of Scouting really costs? I am.
There's been quite a bit of chatter about the national BSA membership fee increase that goes into effect in a couple months.
Jumping from $33 to $60 is a huge percentage increase (like 90%!), but I expect it is more of a blip in the grand scheme of Scouting expenses.
I created an anonymous survey that asks for your input. No email or other personal info is needed, just your honest best estimates.
I'll share the results here in a couple weeks - data such as the average council fee, average unit fee, average cost of high adventure treks.
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I believe all Scouting units should support each other with the intent that all youth get the opportunity to experience Scouting. Some troops in a community see other troops as competition and refuse to help the other units improve. By having all units improve, Scouting improves, and more youth will tend to participate - maybe not participate in your unit, but still be in Scouting.
Providing the framework for, and attitude of, Cooperation rather than Competition, the youth leaders of your units can gain more skills and improve Scouting for their fellow Scouts. A periodic gathering of leaders is a fun, easy, and inexpensive way to do that.
Once each quarter, all SPLs and ASPLs are invited to gather and share what they have done, share what they have planned, and ask questions of the group. I call it a Silver and Gold Party because of the SPL and ASPL patches, but call it whatever you think would draw participation.
The Hook: How do you entice youth to participate? Pizza, rootbeer floats, sundaes, 6-foot sub, .. - around $2 per person that each participant should bring. If bling is your thing, maybe a gold star or some such device to pin on their position patch for each party they attend.
The Line: How does knowledge get shared? Each SPL takes only 1-2 minutes to talk about their troop's recent activities and what they have coming up in the next 3 months. The leader lists activity titles on a whiteboard. After all the presentations, anyone can ask questions about activities - how well it worked, planning involved, what to do different next time, and the like.
The Sinker: How do the troops improve? SPLs commit to taking ideas back home. These could be "Gee, it looks like we're doing everything right!" or "Hey, over at Troop 123 they're going to YYY this summer!" The youth learn from each other how their counterparts are doing things and pick up tips, ideas, and enthusiasm.
The Grab Bag: Allow an open time for scouts to ask each other for advice on any Scouting topic - How do you get scouts to be quiet? Are your new scouts as weird as ours? How do you handle electronics? What's a good lights out time? They can ask advice about anything they're finding to be a challenge.
For the first couple parties, someone (probably the adult organizing this) leads the gathering, but having a different troop's SPL lead it each quarter is best. Holding it at each troop's meeting place lets everyone see the "home turf" of other units and get ideas.
If done each quarter, then SPLs in troops that elect every 6 months can attend twice.
With 5 troops, set aside 5-10 minutes for ice breaker and showing off the host troop's meeting area, 5 minutes to get food, 10-15 minutes for SPL reports, 15 minutes of QnA, 10 minutes of discussion, 5 minute wrap-up, and out of there in under an hour.
If your scouts have already earned the Exploration merit badge and are looking for something more interesting, it's your lucky day!
The Tattoo Merit Badge was just announced and the merit badge pamphlet is available in scout shops and as electronic download.
If you email in the results of your requirement #8 project, I'll post it with the others I've received like these:
With all the changes and updates being done for the "Boy Scouts" to "Scouts BSA" migration, this merit badge has not yet been added to the official list on scouting.org but should be there soon. Two other merit badges in that same state of limbo for a few years now are the Walking merit badge and Hunting merit badge. Please ensure your scouts are aware of these additional badges, especially if they are trying to earn them all.Scout On!
Check out Cub Scout Super Achiever patches
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Are you just waking up from your winter hibernation?
Did you put off finding a summer job for too long?
With all your leadership qualities, outdoors skills, and interpersonal communications learned in Scouting, many opportunities are out there for you to work in exciting, adventurous settings.
Whether you are a high school or college student, or looking for full-time work, there are many needs across the country that you can take on. Here are a few...
All the BSA high adventure bases need staff every year. It's getting late, but you still might have time to grab a spot at:
More BSA jobs:
Outside of the BSA program, there are even more jobs that a Scout might find interesting, challenging, and rewarding:
- Boundary Waters Outfitter
- Appalachian Trail Ridge Runners interact with A.T. hikers to improve the trail experience.
- National Park Service has thousands of outdoor jobs.
- Forest Service
- Coolworks lists outdoor jobs
If you don't want to work this summer, you could Hike a Long Trail or Bike across the country.
Or, you could always stock shelves at the local grocery store. I did it, most boring job I ever had.
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Just for Fun: Socializing merit badge
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