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Why this new Scouts BSA member is attending four weeks of camp this summer

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Fri, 07/12/2019 - 8:00am

Call it hitting the ground running, or call it making up for lost time. Call it whatever you want, but I’m officially calling it the Best Summer Ever.

Liz Harder is a First Class Scout in Troop 1885 of Omaha, Neb., part of the Mid-America Council.

And in her first summer as a member of Scouts BSA, the 16-year-old is attending four different summer camps.

“I only have two summers as a Scout,” Liz says. “I wanted to do four camps so I wouldn’t have to worry about having enough merit badges to be able to complete my ranks  — and so I could focus on schoolwork my junior year.”

That’s not to say Liz plans to slack off when fall arrives. She’s merely maximizing her summer as she aims for her goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.

I caught up with Liz — as her mom drove her to camp No. 2 on her list — to learn more about her quest.

Liz was packed and ready to go for her troop’s first campout in March. A dream fulfilled

Growing up, Liz remembers pointing out to her mom a fundamental unfairness between her and her brothers.

“How come Nate and Daniel get to go to all the fun campouts?” Liz remembers asking.

“Because they’re in Boy Scouts,” her mom would say.

That all changed this year when girls like Liz were welcomed into Scouts BSA, the BSA’s program for older youth that was previously known as Boy Scouts.

Now I get to go on campouts and all the fun things that I was always jealous of my brothers for,” Liz says. “I’m really excited about the chance to make Eagle.”

Members of Troop 1885 and their Scoutmaster spent a weekend learning leadership skills, making a plan to recruit more members and having fun. Going for four

Each of the four camps has a special significance for Liz. At three of the four, she’s camping with another troop for the week, giving her the chance to meet girls from across the region.

At the fourth, she’ll join the members of her own troop — a group of girls chartered to a tree-trimming service in Omaha called Arbor Aesthetics.

The camps are:

  • Camp Arrowhead, Marshfield, Mo. (Ozark Trails Council), attending with Troop 10 from Leawood, Kan.
  • Camp Cornhusker, Dubois, Neb. (Cornhusker Council), attending with Troop 25 from Lincoln, Neb.
  • Camp Cedars, Cedar Bluffs, Neb. (Mid-America Council), attending with her Troop 1885
  • Camp Piercing Arrow at H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, Osceola, Mo. (Heart of America Council), attending with Troop 612 of Kansas City, Mo.

She picked Arrowhead because her mom met a Scoutmaster in a BSA Facebook group who raved about the camp. She selected Cornhusker because she lives nearby. Cedars was her troop’s summer camp pick, so that was an easy choice. And H. Roe Bartle was the choice of her mom’s longtime friend who is going as Scoutmaster of a troop for girls and invited Liz to join.

Already planning ahead

Liz wraps up her week at Cedars today.

And even though she still has one more camp remaining this summer, Liz already is thinking ahead to 2020.

“Next summer, I plan on being a staff member — most likely at one of these four camps,” she says. “I intend on talking to staff to see how they feel about their jobs and how stressful it is to work at camp, and the pros and cons of staffing at their camp.”

That means this truly could be Liz’s only summer as a summer camp attendee.

Safe to say she’s making the most of it.

Scouts compete at Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Thu, 07/11/2019 - 5:30pm

Star Scout Skyler Ruth of Troop 27 in Pierre, S.D., credits Scouting and competing on a BB gun shooting team to keeping him focused and disciplined in all aspects of his life. He can now credit both for helping him become a national champion.

Skyler, teammate and Eagle Scout Griffin Gates and fellow members of the Pierre Junior Shooters won the overall team title at the 54th Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match, held in Rogers, Ark., from July 3-6. Sixty-four teams, each with five members and two alternates, from around the country vied for gold, silver and bronze medals.

Several teams included Scouts, like Lawson Looper, a Scout from Troop 4056 in Canton, Ga., who shot with his team, the Cherokee County 4-H BB Team. During one of his shoots from the prone position, he impressively scored a 96 out of 100, including six bulls-eyes. Still, that wasn’t enough to place in the top three in that category. The competition here is tough.

“It’s pretty difficult because the gun is so light; it’s pretty easy to fatigue with it and flinch,” Lawson says. “You mainly have to be steady and make sure you’re in the right position and doing the right things and techniques.”

Teams train starting in the fall, often once a week, in preparation for state contests. The best of the best receive invitations to Daisy’s national competition.

Sharp shooters

Shooters, ages 8 through 15, order Daisy’s Model 499B Champion, billed as the most accurate BB gun in the world. But before they even touch it to start practicing, they must complete nearly 10 hours of instructional training. Safety is imperative, so shooters learn safety rules and how to properly handle the gun. Prior to the national shoot, competitors must complete a 50-question safety test, which counts for 20 percent of their overall score.

After a fun-filled opening ceremony, which featured teams dressed in costumes, a decorative team shirt contest and a painted gun contest, the teams approached the range for two days of shooting.

Each team member fired from four positions: prone, sitting, kneeling and standing. The consensus was that standing and kneeling are pretty difficult, especially when trying to hit 10 different targets in 10 minutes from five meters away. You have to remain calm, positive and disciplined.

Austin Kontisses, a Scout with Troop 358 in Buffalo, Minn., was nervous when he took his first shot — it scored as a 7 out of 10.

“It was an OK shot; I forgot about that and moved on,” Austin says. “All my other shots were 9s and 10s.”

Austin had his coaches, teammates, parents and younger brother Jacob cheering him on. But the support didn’t stop within one’s inner circles. The sportsmanship at the national championship was just as high-level as the marksmanship.

“If one person gets upset, there’s a lot of people who will help you,” says Jace Weaver, Arrow of Light Scout from Pack 280 in Washington Wilkes, Ga.

Benefits in both

Many Scouts cited the positive benefits of being in Scouting and on a shooting team — they have learned how to be more outgoing, more assertive, more confident and more cordial.

“In Scouts and on a Daisy shooting team, you need teamwork,” says Mason Barrick, a Star Scout from Troop 97 in Middletown, Pa. “They both better me as a person because they teach teamwork and cooperation.”

Being part of a shooting team also allows them to pursue that passion for shooting. In Scouting, Cub Scouts handle BB guns, and Scouts BSA members get to shoot rifles and shotguns while Venturers and Sea Scouts can fire pistols and large-bore firearms. Oftentimes, the opportunities to shoot are limited to summer camp. Shooting teams go to the range more often.

Still, both pursuits afford chances to make friends and try something new.

“You’re challenging yourself; you’re having fun and you make new friends,” says Connor Thomas, a Life Scout from Troop 409 in Washington, Mo. “It’s really great.”

Daisy discount

Daisy, the official BB gun of the Boy Scouts of America, is offering a 30 percent discount off of retail prices on any of its products sold online to anyone associated with Scouts. This includes all Scouts and their families as well as BSA employees.

Check out Daisy.com or Gamousa.com to purchase everything from BB guns, accessories, archery products, targets, safety equipment – and even the classic Red Ryder.

When placing your online order, please be sure to use the code BSA302019 to receive the 30 percent discount. The offer expires September 1, 2019.

Ross Perot, longtime supporter of Scouting, passes away at age 89

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Wed, 07/10/2019 - 4:45pm

When Henry Ross Perot passed away Tuesday, media coverage primarily highlighted his business endeavors that made him a billionaire and his two campaigns for the presidency in the 1990s. But Perot’s legacy to the general public was shaped during his childhood, specifically in Scouting.

Growing up in Texarkana, Texas, from the age of 6 through 14, he worked alongside his father, who was a cotton broker, learning his father’s business philosophy of treating others fairly. He had several jobs, including delivering newspapers on horseback.

After advancing through the Cub Scout ranks, he joined Troop 18 with the ambitious goal of reaching the Eagle Scout rank in less than a year and a half. He accomplished that goal, earning Eagle at age 13 in 1943.

“Scouting taught me to set goals and objectives and gave me my first leadership training and experience,” he said in a video congratulating a Dallas-area troop for its 500th Eagle Scout a few years ago. “I keep my old handbook in my office to remind me of the principles of Scouting.”

Perot led the emergence of the information technology industry through his company Electronic Data Systems Corp. in Dallas. While working for IBM, he realized the untapped potential in computer services, so he launched EDS in 1962. In less than a decade, the company was worth almost $2 billion. In 1968, the company’s stock prices started at $16.50 a share, skyrocketing to $160 in the course of a year.

For all the financial successes, it wasn’t solely about the money for Perot.

In Martin Fridson’s book How to Be a Billionaire, Perot is quoted as saying, “The day I made Eagle Scout was more important to me than the day I discovered I was a billionaire.”

Supporting Scouting

Even as Perot built his business, Scouting stayed at the forefront of his mind. In the 1960s, he began pledging funds to help recruit new members in the Circle Ten Council. His annual contributions helped hire council staff who focused on recruiting in underserved and low-income areas. Their efforts evolved into a program that allows about 12,000 Scouts to participate every year at no cost to them.

His gifts also funded more than 26,000 Eagle Scout Award kits and council facility upgrades.

Perot was also heavily involved in the Caddo Area Council in his hometown of Texarkana. The council’s service center is named in his honor.

Perot received a Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1970. He later received the Silver Antelope Award, the Silver Beaver Award and the Silver Buffalo Award.

Perot’s son, son-in-law and five grandsons all earned the Eagle Scout Award as well. A gift from Perot’s son’s foundation established the Perot Family Leadership Wing and Ross Perot Sr. Leadership Hall in the Rex. W. Tillerson Leadership Center at the Summit Bechtel Reserve to honor Ross Perot Sr. and the Scouting tradition in their family.

Unsung Hero: 10-year-old Cub Scout saves life of friend who was choking

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Wed, 07/10/2019 - 8:00am

This is Unsung Heroes, a Bryan on Scouting blog series celebrating under-reported acts of Scouting heroism. These are stories that don’t make national headlines — but should. That’s doubly true in this world that can always use more good news. Read the latest story below, and find instructions for sharing your own Unsung Heroes story at the end of the post. 

Matthew Dewey never expected he’d need to use the lifesaving techniques he learned in Cub Scouting. But then again, who does?

Matthew, a 10-year-old Webelos from the BSA’s San Diego-Imperial Council, was playing outside during recess when a friend came running up.

The friend, Carter (pseudonym), was pale, sweating and holding his throat.

Matthew asked Carter if he was choking and received a thumbs-up in response. (Note: The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat, but not all choking victims know this.)

After giving five unsuccessful back blows, Matthew stood behind Carter and gave him one forceful upward abdominal thrust.

A piece of hard candy shot out of Carter’s mouth, and Carter was then able to talk and say he was OK.

For his quick thinking — and for using the exact method he learned while earning the Webelos First Responder adventure — Matthew was nominated for the Medal of Merit.

Share your Unsung Heroes story

Stories like these brighten my day — especially because I know this kind of thing happens regularly in Scouting.

Here’s how to share the news of an Unsung Hero in your pack, troop or crew:

  1. Send an email to me with the subject line “Unsung Heroes.”
  2. Include a detailed summary of the heroic act.
  3. Include any “supporting documentation” you can. Examples include links to a story in your local newspaper, paperwork for a Scouting heroism award nomination or eyewitness accounts.
  4. Include high-res photos of the Unsung Hero.

Thanks to Doris McCarthy, advancement chairwoman in the San Diego-Imperial Council, for the blog idea.

Eagle Scout, valedictorian, state tennis champ — here’s how he found time for it all

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Mon, 07/08/2019 - 8:00am

There are still only 24 hours in a day, but Sunjay Chawla seemed to defy that fundamental fact about time.

He captured five state tennis titles in Mississippi, holds his high school’s record for most goals in a soccer game (eight) and won several golf tournaments.

His academics aren’t too bad either. Sunjay graduated in May as his school’s valedictorian, scored a 34 on the ACT and will attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas with $188,000 in scholarships.

Sunjay’s accomplishments in the classroom and on the court, field and course are why he was named the 2019 male Wendy’s High School Heisman National Winner, beating more than 42,000 other competitors. He picked up his award in December — and met Kyler Murray, that other Heisman winner — during an event televised by ESPN.

Though he didn’t know it at the time, Sunjay was the last-ever recipient of the High School Heisman award. In March, Wendy’s announced the program was ending after 25 years.

Five paragraphs in, and I haven’t even gotten to my favorite part: Sunjay is an Eagle Scout.

He earned Scouting’s highest honor as a member of Troop 4200 of Greenwood, Miss., part of the BSA’s Chickasaw Council.

Sunjay says that balancing school, sports and Scouts took careful planning. But he never felt like Scouting took time away from practicing his serve or studying for a test. In fact, Sunjay says Scouting made him better at both.

“Scouting taught me the importance of discipline and leadership that helped me be a better athlete,” he tells me. “I worked hard and followed the rules in the games I played, which is a skill I learned from Scouting. I tried to lead by example on the field, which I also learned from Scouts.

“Both of these made me a better athlete and person.”

These comments match what we’ve heard from an NBA player, a basketball player at Eastern Washington, an Olympic champion and countless others who successfully blended Scouts and sports.

Sunjay (right) graduated at the top of his class. Acing time management

Sunjay didn’t want to give up sports or Scouting, so he found time to fit both of these extracurricular activities around his schoolwork.

“The most important thing I did was hone my time management skills from a young age,” he says. “I wasted the least amount of time possible so that I could put a lot of effort into all three areas.”

Still, Sunjay had to make some tough choices. Sometimes that meant missing a troop trip, tennis practice or a meeting of the Spanish Club.

“But it was worth it in the end,” he says. “Being able to balance all three required sacrifice, and once I accepted that, it made it a lot easier to do.”

His advice to other Scouts struggling to find time for everything: Eliminate the excess.

“Cut out all the time you waste,” he says. “Learn how to be as efficient as possible and minimize the dillydallying, because that is a skill that everyone needs for the rest of their lives.”

Hustling, but not hurrying

Sunjay and his troopmates helped keep each other motivated to earn the merit badges required to become an Eagle Scout.

“In order to successfully obtain merit badges, my friends and I had to be organized and show a good work ethic to fulfill the requirements,” Sunjay says.

This skill, like so many learned in Scouting, helped Sunjay become a better student.

“To get all my assignments done, I had to rely on what I learned in Scouts,” he says. “I also learned to have fun while doing stuff I was required to do. Scouts showed me that getting tough merit badges could be fun, so I went into difficult classes with the same mentality.”

Sunjay (seated, left) and other Scouts from his high school pose for a photo. Giving back to others

The most rewarding Eagle Scout service projects are often the ones where the Eagle hopeful has a personal connection to the work.

For Sunjay, that meant finding an Eagle project that involved tennis.

Sunjay’s dad used to practice tennis on a wall in an impoverished part of town, but officials took down the wall after it was vandalized.

Sunjay built a new wall in its place, giving beginners a place to learn the sport he loves so much.

“Walls are free to hit on, so anyone could use it,” he says. “I figured it would be a good idea to put it back up so that kids of the new generation could have an equal chance to play.”

But Sunjay wasn’t done. He helped launch the Love Tennis Club for Beginners and spent more than 100 hours providing free tennis lessons to underprivileged children.

“I had an absolute blast doing the project with my friends,” he says. “I know it is something I will be proud of for the rest of my life.”

Thanks to Holly Cooper of the Chickasaw Council for the blog idea.

Historically young Silver Antelope recipient says Scouting values all voices

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Fri, 07/05/2019 - 8:00am

Scouting is the great equalizer.

That’s true in a Scout unit, where every young person wears the same uniform and has an equal opportunity to advance as far as they want to go.

That’s also true on council and national committees, where the opinion of a 30-something relative newcomer carries as much significance as that of a Fortune 500 CEO.

At age 30, Amanda Vogt often is the youngest member of the many BSA committees of which she is a member.

But as is typical in an organization devoted to welcoming everyone to the table, labels like age are irrelevant.

It’s about passion

“There is only one organization I have ever found where your background doesn’t matter,” Vogt says. “It doesn’t matter your age, gender, career — it matters what passion you can bring to the table. I have always been treated as an equal on the committees I work with at the national level.”

In recognition of her selfless service to Scouting, Vogt earned the Silver Antelope Award last month. After serving as National Venturing President in her youth, Vogt didn’t stop giving back to Scouting as an adult. She helped reinvent Powder Horn Training (a high-adventure skills resource course), brought a youthful perspective to the National Religious Relationships Committee and served on a Millennial Task Force with dozens of her peers.

At just 30 when she received the award, the volunteer from the Greater St. Louis Area Council could be the youngest Silver Antelope Award recipient in BSA history.

In 2014, I reported that Andrew Miller, then 32, was likely one of the youngest Silver Antelope recipients ever. That’s Miller (right) pictured above with Vogt and Kris Zahrobsky, who received the Silver Antelope Award in 2014 at age 33.

So how do we recruit more Vogts, Millers and Zahrobskys? I talked with Vogt to find out.

Making the connections

It’s not an issue of supply or demand. It’s about connecting the two.

Vogt says there are countless millennial adults who want an additional outlet, beyond the unit level, where they can share their skills, knowledge and passion.

“They simply don’t know how to get involved,” she says. “And on the other side of the coin, we have lots of national committees that want to get younger adults involved but don’t know who to reach out to for help.”

Enter Vogt and the members of the Millennial Task Force.

They’re designing a mentorship structure that will connect younger committee members with more experienced ones. The younger members can learn from their elder peers while adding their own fresh perspective. Everybody wins.

But you don’t have to wait to start recruiting younger volunteers to your committees. Start by adopting the approach used at this summer’s World Scout Jamboree.

Each World Scout Jamboree leadership role actually has two people sharing responsibilities: one older and one younger.

Recruiting more women

Diversifying BSA committees means recruiting more women, too.

Again, Vogt says the solution is simple: Ask.

“There are lots of women, some mothers and others youth who never left the program, that are all willing to serve,” she says. “They just don’t know who to contact.”

Council committees looking to recruit members can contact standout packs and troops. National committees can recruit at the council level. This pipeline works, and it benefits everyone.

What is the Silver Antelope Award?

The Silver Antelope Award, presented for distinguished service within a region, is part of the so-called “Silver family” of BSA awards.

It’s joined by the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service within a council and the Silver Buffalo Award for distinguished service on the national level. (Meet the 2019 Silver Buffalo Award recipients.)

2019 Eagle Project of the Year: He built an inspirational American flag display

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Thu, 07/04/2019 - 9:00am

The tradition of the Stations of the Cross reminds Christians of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Garrett Johnson of Troop 81 in Tulsa, Okla., was inspired by that concept for his Eagle Scout project.

He created the “Stations of the Flag” display for the Folds of Honor Foundation, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit that provides scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled military service members.

The Johnson family used to go to church with Dan Rooney, the founder of Folds of Honor. Driving home from a Scout meeting one night, Garrett and his dad discussed doing something for the foundation and remind others of the sacrifice service members have made.

“I liked that idea and kind of ran with it and developed it from there,” Garrett says.

He received this year’s Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award.

Folds of the flag

Garrett built 13 metal boxes outside where the foundation is based at the Patriot Golf Club in Owasso, Okla. Each box would hold an American flag, depicting each fold of a flag-folding ceremony. Each fold has meaning, according to the American Legion. They represent tributes to the country, its armed forces and fallen veterans.

The boxes would also include plaques describing the meaning of each fold. Special care and designing was taken to ensure the boxes would be weather-proof, but still allow air in to prevent condensation from accumulating inside.

Each box was lined with LED lights and solar cells to power them; that way, each flag would be illuminated as described in the U.S. Flag Code.

“We wanted people to come and see the project, day or night,” Garrett says.

Folds of Honor hosts field trips and golfing events, so the project can serve as an educational and inspirational place to visit.

While it only took a little over a week to install the display, it required many hours of planning. In total, Garrett led 18 youth and adults, who helped contribute to the more than 300 work hours that the project demanded.

You can watch the end result of Garrett’s project in the video below:

Unsung Hero: 9-year-old Cub Scout rallies entire class to help bullying victim

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Wed, 07/03/2019 - 8:00am

This is Unsung Heroes, a Bryan on Scouting blog series celebrating under-reported acts of Scouting heroism. These are stories that don’t make national headlines — but should. That’s doubly true in this world that can always use more good news. Read the latest story below, and find instructions for sharing your own Unsung Heroes story at the end of the post. 

When someone bullies another person, all it takes is a single brave and kind person to step and step in.

All it takes is someone like Bryan Fencl.

Bryan, a 9-year-old Bear from the BSA’s San Diego-Imperial Council, was at school when he saw a boy named David (pseudonym) being bullied by other kids.

David has autism and developmental challenges, and even the school’s teachers had been unsuccessful in stopping the students from bullying David. It only seemed to happen when the teachers weren’t watching.

Bryan approached his teachers and suggested establishing a club to watch out for David during recess and lunch breaks.

The friendly, brave and kind members of “David’s Club” would ensure that David always had a buddy with him.

Bryan discussed the problem with his classmates and created a sign-up sheet for others to take turns being David’s buddy.

Nineteen people signed up on the first day alone.

Now David has a buddy everywhere he goes, and Bryan has a lifelong memory of the Scout Law in action.

For bravery beyond his years and his ability to affect real change where others could not, Bryan was nominated for the Medal of Merit.

Share your Unsung Heroes story

Stories like these brighten my day — especially because I know this kind of thing happens regularly in Scouting.

Here’s how to share the news of an Unsung Hero in your pack, troop or crew:

  1. Send an email to me with the subject line “Unsung Heroes.”
  2. Include a detailed summary of the heroic act.
  3. Include any “supporting documentation” you can. Examples include links to a story in your local newspaper, paperwork for a Scouting heroism award nomination or eyewitness accounts.
  4. Include high-res photos of the Unsung Hero.

Thanks to Doris McCarthy, advancement chairwoman in the San Diego-Imperial Council, for the blog idea.

Eagle Scout, BSA professional climbed each state’s highest point with just one arm

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Mon, 07/01/2019 - 8:00am

You can trace Jeff Rand’s quest to become a “highpointer” all the way back to grade school.

In fifth grade, Rand had to prepare a report on the state of his choice. He lived in Michigan but chose Colorado “because of its mountains.”

“When I learned of Mount Elbert as the highest in the state and the Rockies, I wanted to climb it,” he says.

A few years later, Rand did just that, summiting the 14,433-foot peak after attending the 1979 National Order of the Arrow Conference, held on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

And so began Rand’s quest to climb the highest point in each of the 50 states. Fifteen years later, he reached his goal — an astounding feat made even more remarkable by the fact that Rand has only one arm.

Rand, an Eagle Scout, has spent the last 38 years as a BSA professional. He serves as a performance manager, helping units, districts and councils harness the power of Journey to Excellence to better serve Scouts.

But just like many Scouts out there, he’s never stopped exploring. And he’s never let physical challenges stand in his way.

Jeff Rand poses after conquering Denali, the tallest peak in North America. Overcoming challenges

When Rand was 4 years old, he was playing on the sidewalk when he was hit by a car.

He lost his right arm in the accident.

Rand doesn’t try to claim that life was easy with just one arm. It wasn’t.

But, he says, “every person faces challenges. These often represent hidden opportunities. Take advantage of them.”

And so he did. Rand earned 88 merit badges, served as an Order of the Arrow lodge chief and became an Eagle Scout in what was then the Detroit Area Council — now the Michigan Crossroads Council.

Jeff Rand (third from right) stands atop the 13,803-foot Mauna Kea in Hawaii. ‘Because they were there’

After standing on top of Colorado’s highest point in 1979, Rand climbed 10 more states’ high points over the next few years “because they were there,” he says.

And then in 1987, while on a three-week bicycling trip through Alaska and Canada, Rand heard something calling him to Denali — Alaska’s crown jewel.

It was all uphill from there.

Over the next seven years, Rand climbed the highest points in the remaining 38 states. He says his Scouting values were with him each step of the way.

“Scouting taught me to set long-term goals while focusing on the incremental steps,” he says. “One learns this progressing through the ranks and preparing oneself for the next challenge.”

Jeff Rand stands atop Montana’s Granite Peak, which he says was the most difficult to climb of the 50. Highs and lows

The easiest of the 50? Rand says it’s Ebright Azimuth in Delaware, which towers above the First State at 448 feet. It’s marked by a sign just off a residential street, meaning dog-walkers reach the state’s highest point every day.

The most difficult, he says, is Granite Peak in Montana.

“It looks like a giant tombstone and requires trailless hiking and rock climbing,” Rand says of the 12,799-foot mountain.

Still, it was in Rand’s home state of Michigan where he actually needed two tries to reach the highest point.

He first climbed what was believed to be the state’s highest point, the 1,978-foot Mount Curwood.

But a survey later revealed Mount Arvon to be a foot taller. So he climbed that one, too, and even found a sign from a Scout troop identifying the summit.

Never done exploring

Rand’s what I call an “exploration completionist.” He has this insatiable urge to finish what he started.

During his personal and professional travels, Rand has seen a lot of the country. Pretty soon, he realized that he had visited almost every county in the United States.

In 2003, he finished all 3,142 counties and county-equivalents in the 50 states and D.C. Whatever county you or your aunt or your friend from college happen to live in, Rand’s been there.

“I am still working on visiting every national park unit,” Rand says. “I have 25 left to visit.”

Look inside the emails the BSA sends new Cub Scout and Scouts BSA families

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Fri, 06/28/2019 - 8:00am

When welcoming a new family to your pack or troop, nothing beats a personal phone call, email or text message from you.

But when welcoming tens of thousands of new Scouting families into our movement, a series of helpful and cheerful emails from the BSA comes in a close second.

Last year, the BSA launched its “Welcome Series” — a set of customized emails that serves as a friendly hello to Cub Scout volunteers and parents. This year, that series has been expanded to welcome families joining Scouts BSA, too.

Each thoughtfully considered email, sent automatically to new parents and volunteers, gives parents the right information and resources at the right time. It’s all designed to help families get the most out of Scouting.

The emails are sent to all newly joining families and volunteers, whether they registered online or offline.

So far, the numbers are encouraging. Nearly 60,000 people have received at least one of the welcome series emails in the past six months.

Let’s take a closer look at the Welcome Series — what it is, what it isn’t and what’s inside those emails the BSA is sending your pack or troop’s new families.

What it is — and isn’t

The email series is …

  • intended to welcome new parents and volunteers once they register in the Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA program.
  • a helpful source of some of the information parents will need to know to get started in a pack or troop.
  • a place to build excitement about the program and reinforce a parent’s decision to sign up.
  • designed to set the tone for future communication at both the national and council level.

The email series is not … 

  • intended to take the place of an email series sent by a local council. At a national level, the BSA can share general information about subjects like uniforms and handbooks but can’t share what makes Scouting unique in your community or information about local events, council camps or service opportunities.
  • a replacement for the support you and your fellow volunteers provide to new families through personal interaction.
Welcome Series schedules

Here’s a look at the schedule of when each email gets sent to parents and volunteers.

Note: Though the schedule is current as of this writing, the BSA plans to continually monitor and improve the series to meet the needs of our parents and volunteers.

Note: The email about the Eagle Scout extension will only be a part of the series in 2019.

What if someone hasn’t received the emails?

If they’ve made sure the email wasn’t flagged as spam/junk, the next step is to have them update their email address in their My.Scouting.org account. Go to “My Dashboard” and then ‘My Profile.”

They won’t get the emails they missed, but they will stay in the know with all future emails from the BSA.

What do the emails look like?

Here’s what the templates look like. Each one gets automatically personalized with the Scout’s name and other information.

For Cub Scouts … 

For Scouts BSA … 

Scouts Then and Now, Chapter 16

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Thu, 06/27/2019 - 9:00am

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

Find Chapter 16 below. And click here to learn how to submit your photos.

Grady from Kansas Steven from Michigan Michael from South Carolina Dylan and Cooper from Georgia Wesley from New York Nick and Griffin from Indiana Fred from California Benji and Geoff from South Carolina Benz from Washington Andrew and Matthew from Ohio Hunter from Virginia Aidan from Tennessee Corey and Nicholas from North Carolina Send in your photos and see more

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

Eagle Scout hero from Amtrak derailment appears on Fox’s ‘Spin the Wheel’

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Wed, 06/26/2019 - 8:00am

Fox needed a hero, and so the TV network took the most logical action. It called on an Eagle Scout.

For the premiere of the new game show Spin the Wheel, Fox selected a contestant they knew home viewers would root for. Someone with a story so compelling that you couldn’t help but want that person to win heaps of cash.

They selected Daniel Konzelman, an Eagle Scout from Troop 604 of Eatonville, Wash., part of the Pacific Harbors Council.

Daniel appeared in the June 20 pilot episode of Spin the Wheel, and his status as an Eagle Scout was announced right from the start.

“Who better to get a shot at $23 million than this selfless Eagle Scout hero?” the host Dax Shepard asked.

Bryan on Scouting readers might recognize Daniel’s name. He was one of the first people on the scene of a December 2017 train derailment in Washington state. Without hesitation, he jumped into action, making his way through the mangled cars of the train and saving at least 15 people.

We covered the incident right after it happened, and my colleague Michael Freeman wrote about the entire Konzelman family in this excellent piece posted a couple of weeks after the derailment.

“I didn’t see anybody there helping,” Daniel told Freeman. “In a lot of ways, it was instinctual.”

You can watch Daniel’s Spin the Wheel episode online, through the Fox app or through Hulu (subscription required).

Spoilers below … 

So, how did Daniel do?

Daniel correctly answered several trivia questions throughout the episode. For example:

A spoonful of sugar — specifically, common table sugar — goes by which of these names?

  • A: Sucrose
  • B: Cellulose
  • C. Dextrose
  • D. Ribose

Daniel knew the correct answer was A, sucrose.

Throughout the show, Daniel was paired with his younger brother Darien, also an Eagle Scout. Darien sat in an isolation booth and secretly decided how much money to risk on each question or spin of the wheel.

Daniel answered the questions, but Darien decided whether to play it safe or go for more cash.

A little over halfway through the episode, Daniel had amassed an incredible sum of $2,070,434.

At that point, Daniel had to spin the wheel four more times. Each spin came with a chance to add to or subtract from that total. But each spin also came with a 13% chance of landing on what was basically the “bankrupt” wedge in Wheel of Fortune. Had he landed on bankrupt at any point, Daniel would’ve gone home with nothing.

After each of Daniel’s spins, Darien had the chance to accept an offer to walk away (kind of like the banker’s offer in Deal or No Deal). Daniel wouldn’t know whether Darien accepted one of the offers until the very end.

Daniel didn’t have great luck with the wheel, landing on several spaces that subtracted from his total. After the four spins, Daniel’s bank had dropped to $1,370,434.

But then it was time for the big reveal. Did Darien accept any one of the four walk-away offers, or did he reject each one? If Darien chose to refuse all four offers, Daniel was leaving a millionaire.

With dramatic music pulsing, Darien told Daniel that he “bailed out at $195,318.”

Darien had taken the second offer. Despite learning he had lost more than $1 million, Daniel gave his brother a big smile.

“Dude, I’m so proud of you,” Daniel said. “I think you made the right decision.”

Sure, a Scout is brave. But a Scout is thrifty, too.

Go online for new Cub Scout Preview Adventures

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 9:00am

Adventures await Cub Scouts — not only can they find them in their handbooks, but now they can find adventures online.

You can find brand-new, online-only Cub Scout adventures, called Preview Adventures, on the Cub Scouting program page. You won’t find these adventures in a handbook, at least, not yet. Preview Adventures are limited-time, experimental adventures your Scouts can earn. They will count toward advancement, just like any other elective adventures. Based on feedback from Scouts and Scouters, these adventures could be considered to be part of the next edition of Cub Scout handbooks.

Until then, requirements, den meeting plans and other resources can be found online. Adventure loops and pins can also only be purchased online at ScoutShop.org. The recognition items for all ranks will be colored purple, signifying they’re in preview mode. Ordering the loops and pins and recording advancement in Scoutbook is available.

The ideas for Preview Adventures will come from the BSA, corporate sponsors and you. You can send ideas for possible future adventures to previewadventures@scouting.org.

Hear Lisa Wylie, the new chair for the National Cub Scouting Committee, explain more about the Preview Adventures on the latest CubCast podcast.

The Protect Yourself Rules Adventure

One of the two Preview Adventures now available is the Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure. The BSA is committed to creating safe environments for Scouts and Scouters, so the BSA partnered with the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center Foundation for the development of this adventure. For more than 30 years, the foundation has provided counseling for victims of physical, sexual and emotional child abuse.

This youth protection adventure uses curriculum that will help children recognize, respond to and report abuse. It’s available for Cub Scouts, from Lion through Arrow of Light.

It may be used as an elective or it can be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for various ranks. This adventure will become required.

Before working on this adventure, the den leader should review Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse.

The Yo-Yo Adventure

Your Scouts can learn physics while having fun with the Yo-Yo Preview Adventure, sponsored by Duncan Toys. In this adventure, Scouts — from Wolf through Arrow of Light — can learn how to do a science experiment using a yo-yo, how to do basic tricks and safety rules.

Instructional videos are available, so your Scouts can see how to do the experiment and tricks.

This adventure will be an elective with the possibility of becoming a new adventure in the handbook later. Any corporate-sponsored adventure that is approved for the handbook will have the corporate branding removed.

BSA Parents spread the good word of Scouting, and you can join the effort

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 8:00am

The Boy Scouts of America is so synonymous with positive values and good deeds that people call a person of high character a “Boy Scout” even if they never were one.

And yet, there’s a lot that American families don’t know — or don’t fully understand — about this transformative movement called the BSA.

That was the inspiration for BSA Parents, a new not-for-profit group launched by parents of Scouts and friends of the BSA.

“Scouting, to me, often seems like the ‘best-kept secret.’ It shouldn’t be!” says Leigh Anne LeBlanc, a volunteer from the Dallas-based Circle Ten Council. “Every community benefits by having a strong Scouting presence. The best way to offset misinformation is to have those who are deeply involved with the program tell their stories.”

Here’s where you come in. BSA Parents is asking for moms and dads like you to share your Scouting story with the world.

“As parents, we have the advantage of seeing firsthand how valuable and enriching Scouts is for our children,” LeBlanc says. “There is power in our storytelling.”

To learn more about BSA Parents, I talked with LeBlanc, a member of the group’s board.

It should be noted that even though BSA Parents and the Boy Scouts of America have a common underlying goal — serve as many youth as possible through Scouting — the two are not affiliated. The Boy Scouts of America has no control over BSA Parents or the content the group shares.

“We act as an independent voice that can talk about Boy Scouts of America in a way that BSA cannot and serve as a rallying point for the pro-BSA community,” LeBlanc says.

Why now?

The BSA has been around for more than 100 years, so why is now the time for a group like BSA Parents to step up?

LeBlanc says it’s a result of the time in which we live. These days, anyone with a Twitter account or Facebook profile can share information — or even misinformation — about Scouting. A few taps on glass, and that message gets beamed to dozens, hundreds or thousands of people.

LeBlanc sees BSA Parents as a chance to respond in the way Scouts know best: by being friendly, courteous and kind.

“It’s important that people hear from those who have youth in the program and who volunteer as leaders,” she says. “Parents who have seen the growth in skill level, leadership ability, physical fitness and citizenship of their Scout already know what Scouts can do. They know how the program supports the family, the community and our country at large.”

LeBlanc says she is involved with BSA Parents because she wants more young people to experience the life-changing memories enjoyed by her sons, Daniel and James. Why she got involved

You bet this is personal for LeBlanc. She encourages other BSA Parents to share their story because she knows the power of her own.

“I am grateful for what Scouting has given me, as a mother and a volunteer,” she says. “As a full-time BSA volunteer, I work with some of the greatest people in the world, in some of the most beautiful country, using both natural gifts and leadership skills honed through volunteering with Scouts.”

She’s camped alongside her sons and watched them conquer their fears and become Eagle Scouts.

She’s seen young men and young women practice leadership, discover new hobbies and learn how to save someone’s life.

As a Wood Badge course director, she’s helped volunteers leave a legacy on Scouts she may never meet.

Along the way, something else happened, too. Something people don’t often talk about when discussing Scouting’s benefits.

“Many parents don’t understand that while our focus is always on the youth in the program, adult volunteers benefit and grow in many of the same ways as their child,” LeBlanc says. “Sports are great, but parents don’t really get a chance to learn and participate with their kids in sports. With Scouts, you can be involved at several levels. And you will have fun while making friendships that will last a lifetime.”

LeBlanc participated in a service project with Troop 890. Another way Scouting is special

LeBlanc likes to share with parents another essential but lesser-reported aspect of Scouting: The BSA is committed to safety.

Before taking Scouts on a campout, adult leaders are trained in how to keep Scouts safe. Expertly crafted training courses cover the specific situations Scouts will face.

“For instance, if it is a climbing and rappelling campout, several leaders must be trained and have passed a Climb on Safely course,” she says. “Assistant Scoutmasters attending campouts and summer camp will have taken Hazardous Weather Training.”

But before any of that happens, all parents and leaders who have contact with Scouts are required to take Youth Protection Training.

“We are taught what to look for, how to engage and how to report anything suspicious that we see,” LeBlanc says. “It protects the Scouts, and it protects the leaders. Every Scout leader’s first priority is the safety of our youth.”

This commitment to safety is about preventing young people from harm. But there’s another benefit. Making Scouting safe ensures that young people have a place where they can try new things without fear.

“It’s the only place I know where youth can fail at something and still succeed, because they learned from the experience and had adult mentors to guide and teach them,” LeBlanc says.

LeBlanc is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s honor society. How you can help

There are three ways to get involved:

  • Visit the BSA Parents website at bsaparents.com.
  • Recruit your friends and family to join the effort.
  • Share your Scouting story with the world.
An endorsement from Eagle Scout Rex Tillerson

Eagle Scout Rex Tillerson, the former Secretary of State and CEO of ExxonMobil, took time to share his thoughts about Scouting with the team from BSA Parents.

Watch his comments, and then visit bsaparents.com to add your own.

Here’s definitive visual proof that Andy from ‘Toy Story’ was a Scout

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Mon, 06/17/2019 - 8:00am

When he wasn’t helping Sheriff Woody corral bad guys or annihilating aliens alongside Buzz Lightyear, Andy Davis was a normal kid.

He went to school, helped his mom with chores — and was a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed Scout from the Northeast Illinois Council, we have conclusive visual evidence that the owner of all those playthings in the Toy Story movies was in Scouting.

Exhibit A: In the first Toy Story, released in 1995, a Boy Scout Handbook appears on Andy’s bookshelf.

Woody, Bo-Peep, Buzz — and Andy — are back this summer in Toy Story 4, which makes now the perfect time to rewatch the original Toy Story for this excellent Easter egg.

Guide to spotting the Handbook in Toy Story

To see the animated prop in question, you’ll basically need to watch the entire movie. (There are far worse ways to spend 81 minutes.)

Once you’re 1 hour and 16 minutes in, keep your eyes out for a red book on Andy’s shelf.

A Scouting volunteer named Cheri Blenniss of the Northeast Illinois Council was watching Toy Story with her son Nolan when Nolan spotted the book.

Cheri shared the cool find with her Scouting friends on Facebook.

Not since we confirmed that Ferris Bueller’s dad earned the BSA’s Silver Beaver Award have I been so excited about a Scouting-movie connection.

A way-too-deep analysis of Andy’s Handbook

Let’s assume Toy Story was set in present day, meaning Andy had the Boy Scout Handbook on his shelf in 1995, when the movie was released.

But there’s one problem: the Boy Scout Handbook didn’t have a red cover in 1995.

I know this firsthand. Like Andy, I was a Scout in 1995. I was a proud owner of the 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, in circulation from 1990 to 1998.

It looked like this:

And I don’t know who Greg Block is, but I do know that the 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook was written by Robert Birkby. (Birkby now writes Scouting magazine’s popular Ground Rules column.)

But wait, you say. Perhaps Andy was a Scouting collector, and that actually was the second edition, which did come with a red cover (and featured some classic art from J. C. Leyendecker).

To that I say: “OK, sure. Andy does like collecting cool things!”

Help solve these mysteries

Many questions remain:

  • Which version of the Scout Handbook do you think Andy owned?
  • Who is Greg Block?
  • Is Bonnie, the girl to whom Andy donated his toys at the end of Toy Story 3, now a Cub Scout?
  • Will Andy’s time in Scouting be referenced in Toy Story 4?

These are important questions, and I need your help tracking down the answers. I implore you to leave your comments below.

Thanks to John Duncan for the blog post idea.

10 reasons why you simply won’t want to miss the 2019 National Outdoor Conference

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Fri, 06/14/2019 - 8:00am

Boy Scouts of America volunteers and professionals are relentless in their pursuit of outdoor programs that are exhilarating, enriching and safe.

That explains the popularity of the National Outdoor Conference, held every other year at Philmont Scout Ranch. This September, volunteers and professionals from across the country will travel to the mountains of New Mexico to discover the latest methods for delivering unforgettable outdoor experiences.

They’ll select from more than 100 elective sessions, hear inspiring keynote speakers, check out the latest outdoor gear, connect with fellow Scouters, and return home equipped and energized.

And they’ll do it all at an ideal location. Philmont Scout Ranch, the legendary Scouting paradise in New Mexico, proudly calls itself the “world’s largest camp.”

So why consider attending the 2019 National Outdoor Conference? I’ve narrowed the list of compelling reasons down to 10.

But before the “why,” let’s quickly cover the “what,” “when,” “where” and “who’s invited.”

What: 2019 National Outdoor Conference

When: The conference opens at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and ends after breakfast on Sunday, Sept. 29. That’s three-and-a-half days and four nights.

Where: Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, which proudly calls itself the “world’s largest camp.”

Who’s invited: Anyone involved in outdoor program delivery at any level of the program. That means Scout executives, directors of support services, program directors, rangers, camp directors, council presidents and council program vice presidents. Anyone who chairs a committee on council and district camping, conservation, aquatics, COPE/climbing, or shooting sports should also plan to be there, as should properties chairpersons and other volunteers or professionals responsible for delivery of outdoor programs.

1. You can customize everything.

Attendees will select up to 12 workshop sessions from a list of more than 100 options — all taught by subject matter experts.

You won’t need to preregister for individual sessions. Simply show up and get the knowledge you crave.

See the list of options in this conference flyer.

2. There’s something for everyone.

No matter which “Scouting hats” you’ll wear this year, you’ll find dozens of sessions that directly apply to you.

Sessions are divided into one of seven “trails.” (Note: You can mix and match, selecting sessions from more than one trail.)

  • Enterprise Risk Management Trail
  • Facility Management Trail
  • Human Resources Trail
  • Management and Administration Trail
  • Marketing and Promotions Trail
  • National Adventures Trail
  • Program Administration Trail
3. You can geek out on the details.

Don’t expect a superficial overview of outdoor programs. Each workshop session will dive deep to give you practical tips for solving your council’s toughest challenges.

Learn how to better manage the paperwork for your seasonal staff. Discover why zero-impact hammock camping could be right for your camp. See how a better fishing program could help you recruit and retain more Scouts.

In the outdoors, the details matter.

4. You’ll learn from experts.

National- and council-level experts teach the elective workshops, with many bringing decades of experience to their sessions.

At the three general sessions, all attendees will be inspired and enlightened by the 2019 National Outdoor Conference keynote speakers:

  • Michael Surbaugh: Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America
  • Dr. Deborah Gilboa: Parenting expert who will deliver a talk called “Why Camp Makes People Stressed and How Camp Can Help”
  • Tom Rosenberg: CEO of the American Camp Association
5. You’ll learn from other Scouters.

At conferences I’ve attended, I find myself learning as much from my fellow attendees as I do from the sessions themselves.

High-quality presenters attract high-quality attendees.

The same will be true at the National Outdoor Conference, where your fellow volunteers and professionals will be eager to listen to your ideas and share their own.

Additionally, the conference will offer an area for councils to share literature and materials with others. You can show off your council’s best program ideas and pick up something new from another council.

6. There’s an app.

A conference app, new for 2019, will help attendees keep track of their schedule and find their way around using their smartphones.

Now that’s smart.

7. You’ll get to enjoy Philmont’s backcountry.

No trip to Philmont is complete without some time in Philmont’s backcountry.

That’s why organizers cleared the schedule after lunch on Saturday to give attendees an afternoon of fun.

More than a dozen options are available. Explore Philmont’s trails on a mountain bike, hike to Lover’s Leap or take a driving tour of Philmont’s backcountry camps.

As with everything else at the conference, the choice is yours.

8. You can test the latest gear.

Exhibits are open Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning for attendees to check out the latest products and services from some of the world’s best outdoor companies.

Test the latest gear before making purchase recommendations to your council.

9. You can add on preconference courses.

Maximize your time at Philmont by adding on a preconference course. Add on a course like advanced photography, chain saw training or the marketing boot camp.

This extra time is certain to be time well spent.

10. It’s at Philmont.

This cannot be emphasized enough. You should take any excuse you can get to spend time at Philmont, a signature Scouting destination.

September’s a great time to be there, with crisp nights and warm days expected.

Register for the 2019 National Outdoor Conference today

Use this link to learn more, and follow this link to register.

If you’re planning to attend, consider registering soon. Thanks to the National Outdoor Conference’s “daybreaker” deal, any attendee who signs up by June 30 will receive a special vest.

This incentive ends at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

Keep illness from ruining camp this summer

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Thu, 06/13/2019 - 9:00am

As you prepare to go camping this summer, you’ll likely write a checklist of what to bring. One thing you should have on that list that will help ensure a good time for not only you, but for your fellow campers is a clean bill of health.

Healthy Scouts and Scouters enjoy camp, so if you or your Scout is not feeling well, the best course of action could be working with the camp director and council to reschedule your trip. Check with the camp leader’s guide or the camp’s social media prior to going, too, especially in the case of a disease outbreak. Those resources can have valuable information of what to do or expect.

The BSA recommends taking appropriate precautions so not only you, but everybody can have fun this summer. Communicable diseases can infect others on the way to camp, at camp and after you leave camp.

Although you might have been planning a summer trip for months, it’s better to stay home than go if you have any of the following symptoms 24 hours prior to the trip.

  • Fever (100.4 F or greater)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you’ve had any two or more of the following symptoms 24 hours prior to camp, you should also stay home.

  • Unexplained extreme fatigue or muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Open sore

If you’ve experienced only one of the above symptoms or if you’ve been in contact with someone who has been sick, especially with a communicable disease, consider staying home as well.

Better safe than sorry

Health policies are meant to ensure the safety of you and your Scouts. Incoming health checks at camp do the same by scanning for symptoms of contagious illnesses. If you become ill while camping, it’s recommended you don’t return to any activities until you are cleared by a healthcare provider.

As part of being prepared for summer camp, make sure you and your Scout are up to date on medical forms and recommended health precautions. Talk with your healthcare provider about immunization records as well. Check these articles for guidelines on forms, medications and more:

Let’s analyze these five important words in Eagle Scout rank requirement 5

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Wed, 06/12/2019 - 8:00am

Five words — that’s all that fundamentally separates an Eagle Scout service project from a standard Scouting service project.

Five words make all the difference. I’m referring to these: “plan, develop and give leadership …”

All service projects fulfill a Scout’s oath to “help other people at all times” and “Do a Good Turn Daily.”

But an Eagle Scout service project — considered by many to be the toughest of all the Eagle Scout rank requirements — takes things up a few levels.

And it all hinges on those five words.

The five words in context

Requirement 5 of the Eagle Scout rank reads as follows, with the bold added by me:

While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement.

Why these words matter

For an Eagle project, the Scout is responsible for every step from start to finish. Planning the project, recruiting volunteers, gathering materials, leading the project, documenting the work, and more — it’s all on that single Scout’s shoulders.

It’s tough work. And, to be frank, it’s not for everyone.

Those who complete an Eagle Scout service project are rewarded with more than just a tricolor medal and badge. They gain an experience that remains with them for life.

For proof, just ask anyone who became an Eagle Scout in the last 50-plus years. The Eagle Scout project in its current form became required in 1965, and if you ask any Eagle Scout from that year or later to describe their project, they’ll do so without hesitation.

Memories from those teenage years will fade over time, but that one will not.

What the Guide to Advancement says

Sections 9.0.2.3 and 9.0.2.4 of the BSA’s Guide to Advancement cover this topic in detail.

9.0.2.3 “Plan, Develop …”

Planning and development require forethought, effort, and time—sometimes more than for execution. Thus, for the most part, they are considered part of the project and are detailed further once a proposal is approved. It is inappropriate to expect a Scout to invest the time required for detailed planning, only to face the prospect of rejection. See “Proposal Must Be Approved … Before You Start,” 9.0.2.7.

It is important not to categorically reject projects that, on the surface, may not seem to require enough planning and development. Consider, for example, a blood drive. Often rejected out of hand, this project, if done properly, could be acceptable. Few would question the beneficiary. Blood banks save lives—thousands of them: maybe yours, maybe that of a loved one. If the candidate proposes to use a set of “canned” instructions from the bank, implemented with no further planning, the planning effort would not meet the test.

On the other hand, there are councils in which Scouts and advancement committees have met with blood bank officials and worked out approaches that can comply. Typically these involve developing marketing plans and considering logistics. People successful in business know how important these skills are. Some blood banks will also set a minimum for blood collected as a measure of a successful plan. To provide another valuable lesson, they may require the candidate to keep at it until the goal has been met.

A good test of any project is to evaluate its complexity. In the case of a blood drive, for example, elements
of challenge and complexity can be added so there is a clear demonstration of planning, development, and leadership.

9.0.2.4 “Give Leadership to Others …”

“Others” means at least two people besides the Scout. Helpers may be involved in Scouting or not, and of any age appropriate for the work. In cases where just three people are not able to conduct a project to the satisfaction of a beneficiary, then more would be advisable. It may be, however, that a well-chosen project conducted by only three provides an impact not achievable with those involving more.

One of the purposes for the project is to demonstrate leadership, but this could be considered a more important element, perhaps, for Scouts who have not yet established themselves as leaders. It is for reasons like these that every project must be evaluated, case-by-case, on its merits, and on lessons that will advance the candidate’s growth. Councils, districts, and units shall not establish requirements for the number of people led, or their makeup, or for time worked on a project. Nor shall they expect Scouts from different backgrounds, with different experiences and different needs, all to work toward a particular standard. The Eagle Scout service project is an individualized experience.

What two longtime Scouting volunteers say

For an even deeper dive into this meaningful phrase, I talked with Jim and Sandy Rogers, two longtime Scouting volunteers who have three Eagle Scout sons.

Jim is the former CEO of KOA and a Distinguished Eagle Scout. Sandy is a past president of the BSA’s Nevada Area Council. Together, the couple served as the host couple for the BSA’s Report to the Nation trip earlier this year.

“Plan, Develop …”

“Advance planning is essential to the success of any endeavor,” Sandy says. “Planning gives you the map and helps you find the best trail for your journey — whether it be alone or with others.”

“Give Leadership …”

“Great leaders lead by example and possess personal attributes essential to leadership success: optimism, ambition, civility, persistence and a sense of humor,” Jim says. “In Scouting terms, it means instead of lighting a fire under someone, help to light the fire within. Enthusiasm is given. Not taught.”

Further listening

To hear more about the trail to Eagle, don’t miss the March 2019 episode of Scouting magazine’s ScoutCast, the BSA’s monthly podcast for adult leaders.

After listening to that episode, be sure to subscribe to ScoutCast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Student with autism inspires with Eagle Scout achievement

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Tue, 06/11/2019 - 9:00am

Timmy Hargate was diagnosed at an early age with autism and an extreme speech delay.

Thanks to years of hard work and the help of dedicated professionals, he is now an Eagle Scout.

At age 7, Timmy enrolled at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Lerner School for Autism. The school uses treatment based on applied behavioral analysis in an educational setting to serve students from the age of earliest diagnosis through 21.

He gradually learned how to communicate with a speech-generating device that allows him to type in words or pre-programmed responses on an iPad.

Timmy’s father, Ed, says Timmy is “very smart and he understands what people are saying to him. He’s just not able to verbally communicate very well without a speech-generating device.”

At age 11, he joined Troop 461. Over the years, he moved up the ranks, culminating with the completion of his Eagle Scout service project earlier this year.

Timmy is 20 and earned the highest rank in Scouting through the BSA’s rules concerning advancement for members with special needs.

“The school and Scouts are his two principal activities, and they keep him busy,” says Ed. “Lerner School has really helped him learn how to communicate with his peers and adults, and being in Troop 461 has done a lot for his socialization skills.”

Timmy’s project

The project Timmy chose was certainly not an easy one. He planned, organized and managed the annual summer field day event for the students at the Lerner School.

Timmy, front and center, standing with other members of Troop 261, hopes to eventually become an adult leader in his troop. Photo courtesy of Ed Hargate.

Timmy worked with his teachers over a period of several weeks to select activities and games that would be appropriate for his fellow students. He recruited fellow Scouts to be responsible for each activity. He marketed the event by creating posters, supervised the setup process on the day of the event, oversaw the management of all activities on the big day and supervised tear-down when it was over.

In short, it was everything you would expect of an Eagle Scout service project.

“I am so proud of Timmy and happy to be a part of his accomplishments,” says Phoebe Mason, a speech language pathologist at the Lerner School. “He’s made so much progress over the years, and has become a real leader at the school and in Scouting.”

These nine young women joined Venturing 17 years ago; here’s where they are now

Bryan on Scouting (Scouting Magazine) - Mon, 06/10/2019 - 8:00am

A Lutheran pastor in Virginia, a land development engineer in North Carolina and a fitness-focused Instagram influencer based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

One common thread connects each of these three women — and six others with similar success stories.

All of them got their start in Venturing as members of Crew 1886 of the Washington, D.C.-based National Capital Area Council. The crew formed in 2002, when the Venturing program was just 4 years old.

Distinguished Eagle Scout Michael Pocalyko and Catherine Pressler created the all-girl crew. Pocalyko’s daughter had an older brother who had just become an Eagle Scout. Pressler’s daughter had two brothers about to make Eagle.

Seventeen years before the BSA began welcoming girls into all of its programs, Pocalyko and Pressler chose Venturing as a way for their 14-year-old girls to experience Scouting.

“Catherine and I started this unit with an experiment in mind,” Pocalyko says. “It was absolutely a conceptual precursor to Scouts BSA, although we didn’t have any way of knowing that at the time.”

Pocalyko helped me track down each of the nine members of Crew 1886 to find out what they’ve done since their time in Venturing. Learn a little about each of these women — now 30 or 31 — below.

Then …

That’s Crew 1886 pictured above at the BSA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in 2006. The young women were 18 at the time and were volunteering at the Venturing booth to explain the program’s benefits to attendees.

The man pictured with them has found his own success since that photo was taken. It’s Al Lambert, then the Scout Executive of the National Capital Area Council and now the BSA’s Assistant Chief Scout Executive and National Director of Outdoor Adventures.

Crew 1886 developed an impressive reputation in the Washington and northern Virginia areas. They worked at camporees, volunteered at day camps and sold truckloads of Scout popcorn.

All nine of them earned the Venturing Ranger Award and Venturing Silver Award — then the highest award in Venturing. (Today, it’s the Summit Award.)

In 2004, the members of Crew 1886 participated in a Philmont Cavalcade trek — similar to a traditional Philmont trek but on horses instead of on foot.

It’s believed that this was the first all-female expedition in Philmont history.

All members of the crew — participants, adult leaders and Philmont staff — were women. They even made their own patch to commemorate the occasion.

… and now

Seeing what these women accomplished after their time in Scouting is inspiring. It’s also a reminder to anyone who volunteers their time to Scouting that what you do matters.

You’re helping shape the future leaders of tomorrow with every minute of time you spend with a pack, troop, ship or crew. Here’s proof.

Diana Brown Howell, P.E. earned two degrees at Virginia Tech: a bachelor’s in civil engineering and a master’s in environmental and water resources engineering. She then got licensed as a professional engineer and is now a land development engineer and project manager at Kimley-Horn. That’s the national planning and design engineering consulting firm, in Raleigh, N.C.

Melissa Duvall Lukas graduated from Florida State with a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship and small business management. She worked in sales, account management, public school administration, real estate and financial services. She now lives in Sarasota, Fla., where she is a residential appraisal coordinator at IBERIABANK, the major Southern regional bank and financial holding company.

Nichole Graff Thomas earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at Christopher Newport University. She returned to northern Virginia as technology resource teacher at Liberty Elementary School in Loudoun County. A passionate advocate for STEM education, she was named 2017 Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Society for Technology in Education. She tweets about tech as @MrsThomasTRT.

Lauren Jones Cleaver earned her bachelor’s in computer science at James Madison University. She worked in information systems design, health care systems administration, and information technology for the Department of Health and Human Services. She lives in northern Virginia and is now a consultant in the IT practice of Deloitte, the multinational professional services firm.

Leigh Lotocki graduated from Ohio State and the Bates Dance Festival Professional Training Program. She trained and performed as a modern and experimental dancer, became a choreographer and performance artist, and now lives in Queens, N.Y., where she is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in event production and performing arts management.

Elissa Marshall earned her bachelor’s degree in dance and photojournalism at the University of Texas in Austin. She was a ballet dancer and professional photographer in New York, lived and taught in Cartagena, Colombia, and is now based in Brooklyn as an educator in lululemon’s studio space. She is a famous Instagram Influencer in Vinyasa yoga and women’s fitness fashion. Follow her @Gesticulate.

Erica Lee Notarangelo Reichard received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the State University of New York at Cortland. She now teaches second grade in rural Chenango County, N.Y.

The Rev. Kathryn Pocalyko was a U.S. Senate page, graduated from Princeton and earned her Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School. She was ordained a pastor and called to the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in North Chesterfield, Va. She is now Dean of the Richmond Conference, Virginia Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Her podcast on iTunes is “Lutherans Uncut.”

Lindsay Ward earned a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia, where she trained in the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Program. She joined Outward Bound, where she taught and guided from Florida to the Blue Ridge Mountains to Patagonia, became a lead instructor, and is now program director for the North Carolina Outward Bound School at Cedar Rock Base Camp in Asheville.

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