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Play challenging online games, laugh at funny jokes, build amazing projects and find lots of fun at the online home of Boys\' Life, the official youth magazine for the Boy Scouts of America.
Updated: 15 min 6 sec ago

Write a Funny Caption For This Photo

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 5:47pm

What’s going on in this picture? What are those potatoes doing or thinking?

If you can think of a funny caption for this photo, just post it in the comment form at the bottom of this page. After we approve it, your funny caption will be on this page for everyone to read.

Click here to write captions for more funny photos.

Watch This Moving Scout Thank-You Video for Essential Workers

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 12:30pm

We asked you to send in videos thanking essential workers, and, in true Scout fashion, you blew us away!

Check out the full lineup of gratitude in the video below.

Scouts Step Up During COVID-19

We are so impressed Scouts from all around the world put on their uniforms and recorded memorable appreciation videos for people who are keeping our world running. The end result is truly an encouraging and energizing watch.

But this video is only one way Scouts have stepped up the Good Turns during the ongoing pandemic.

Check out these four amazing stories of Scout gratitude, ingenuity and selflessness:

  1. Three Eagle Scout brothers are working to make ventilators! These guys are incredibly accomplished and busy with demanding careers. But that doesn’t stop Scouts. Read their incredible story.
  2. These Scouts let in-person meeting restrictions inspire a brilliant idea for virtual meetings. They were able to talk with a fellow girls’ troop from Afghanistan! They found differences and similarities in their Scouting experiences. And most importantly, they demonstrated how social distancing can be unifying, instead of isolating. Here’s the full story.
  3. When this troop found out they weren’t going to be able to do an in-person send off for their outgoing Scoutmaster, they got creative. Check out this story for another uplifting video.
  4. These Scouts and Scouters are teaming up to make 41,000 face coverings. Check out how they’re making it happen and what inspired the project by reading the story here.

Want to get in on the feel-good efforts of Scouts? Check out these five good turns you can do from home!

Best Water Bottle for a Long Camping Trip

Mon, 05/25/2020 - 2:02pm

Q: I am going on a long camping trip. What is the best water bottle to bring?
— Andrew, Yorktown, Virginia

A: If you’re car camping with a dayhike or two on the schedule, take a look at CamelBak Chute Mag bottles ($15, holds 32 oz., scoutshop.org) or Nalgene bottles ($12, holds 32 oz., scoutshop.org). Both are durable and available in different colors and Scout designs at the Scout Shop.

If you’re venturing into the backcountry with no access to potable water, these bottles will still work fine, but you’ll want to use a filter or purification tablets to avoid getting sick from microscopic contaminants in the water you find. One top option — which is also available at the Scout Shop — is the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System ($25, scoutshop.org).

You can invest in bottles with convenient built-in filtration systems, like LifeStraw Go ($40, lifestraw.com) or the GRAYL GEOPRESS Purifier ($90, grayl.com). LifeStraw uses a straw filter, while GRAYL uses a cartridge filter that you press water through.

Stuff We Like: SansBug Mosquito Nets

Sun, 05/24/2020 - 12:15pm

Nothing is quite as annoying as trying to sleep while little biting bugs buzz around your face. If you’re sleeping under the stars or in a canvas wall tent, you might want to consider getting a mosquito net.

SansBug ($50, sansbug.com) makes a pop-up bug barrier that sets up in seconds. At 6 feet long and nearly 3 feet of headroom, it has plenty of space to spread out. It zips up so you’re fully enclosed, and the fine mesh netting keeps the bugs out.

It folds away into a 26-inch disc, weighing 2 ½ pounds. Visit the company website to watch how to properly fold it up or to find larger models.

Live! Learn How to Draw at Next Week’s Virtual Art-O-Ree

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 4:07pm

Imagine getting free art lessons from the most accomplished illustrators from around the country.

Maybe you want to ask them questions about their techniques. Maybe you’re looking for tips for your next art project. Maybe you’re bored and just want to draw along with the pros. And maybe you’re even looking to jumpstart the Art merit badge.

May 25-29, we’re making all that happen. Each day at 2 p.m. Central, hop onto go.boyslife.org/fblive for live-drawing demonstrations and Q&As with the incredible illustrators of Boys’ Life magazine. Every lesson will cover different art media and how to render awesome art using a variety of tools.

Anyone is invited to join. It’ll be fun, even if you’re not old enough to earn merit badges.

Come prepared to draw along with the pros. Or just watch to get inspired for your own drawings. Some days you’ll probably have everything you need to follow along. Other tutorials require specific tools you can order ahead of time.

WHAT’S THE SCHEDULE FOR ART-O-REE?

Monday, May 25, at 2 p.m. Central:

The Boys’ Life team kicks off the week with a look at the Art merit badge requirements and art appreciation with art teacher and expert Luc Travers. And then the illustration magic begins when Joey Ellis joins live to demo computer-sketched art with Photoshop. He’ll also show how to sketch with pencil and paper.

Supplies to have on hand for the pencil sketch:

  • A few pieces of tracing paper or regular computer paper
  • A pencil
  • An eraser
  • A marker (or a permanent marker)

Tuesday, May 26, at 2 p.m. Central:

Eric Ottinger shows how to make a work of art with acrylics.

Supplies to have on hand:

  • Acrylic paints
  • Synthetic bristle brushes
  • A wax- and oil-free canvas or heavy watercolor paper (or even a blank piece cardboard)
  • Water in a disposable or painting cup
  • Paper towels or clean junk rags
  • A workspace you can get messy (protect surfaces you want to avoid staining with paint)

Wednesday, May 27, at 2 p.m. Central: Daryll Collins demonstrates a pencil-and-paper sketch and takes your questions live.

Supplies to have on hand:

  • A few pieces of tracing paper or regular computer paper
  • A colored pencil (Darryll likes a Prismacolor Col-Erase Erasable Colored Pencil – carmine red)

Thursday, May 28, at 2 p.m. Central: Kevin Hurley is live for a watercolor demonstration. He’ll stick around to answer questions, too.

Supplies to have on hand:

  • Basic tray of watercolors
  • Set of watercolor brushes
  • Textured watercolor paper (140 lb. weight recommended)
  • Water in a disposable or painting cup
  • Paper towels or clean junk rags
  • A workspace you can get messy (protect surfaces you want to avoid staining with paint)

Friday, May 29, at 2 p.m. Central:

Mike Moran shows how to create art with pen and ink.

Supplies to have on hand:

  • A pen with plenty of ink (fountain, rollerball or felt-tipped)
  • A few pieces of heavyweight paper
DRAWING FROM THE ART MERIT BADGE

Check out requirement 4 from the Art merit badge:

4. Render a subject of your choice in FOUR of these ways:

  1. Pen and ink,
  2. Watercolors,
  3. Pencil,
  4. Pastels,
  5. Oil paints,
  6. Tempera,
  7. Acrylics,
  8. Charcoal
  9. Computer drawing or painting

If you tune in all week and draw along with the experts, you may have four (or more) great pieces of art to show your merit badge counselor. This could help you complete a key, challenging requirement. Ultimately, only your merit badge counselor can give you the final sign-off. Either way, you’ll be working toward developing the skills you need to earn this badge.

And if you need a hard copy of the merit badge pamphlet, you can order it online here. If you’re looking for the Kindle Edition, you can find it here.

ADD IT TO YOUR CALENDAR NOW

Set a reminder. Tell your troop. Share with your Scout and Scouter friends.

What: The Ultimate Art-O-Ree

When: May 25-29, 2 p.m. Central

Where: go.boyslife.org/fblive

See you there!

Inside the June-July 2020 Issue

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 5:05pm

Here’s what you’ll find inside the June-July 2020 issue of Boys’ Life magazine. Remember, many articles are only available to subscribers and are not available online.

Please visit boyslife.org/subscribe to subscribe to the print or digital editions of Boys’ Life magazine.

JUNE-JULY 2020 FEATURES

NOT JUST HORSIN’ AROUND

This troop fits plenty into one weekend, including a beachside ride.

GEAR GUY: A SCOUT IS CLEAN, EVEN IN CAMP

Remember these hygiene tips so you can stay healthy in the outdoors.

MAKE A SPLASH

Cool off this summer at some of the coolest water parks in the U.S.

HOW TO MAKE IT: MOCCASINS

This footwear is comfortable and easy to make.

ONLY IN OUR BOY SCOUT EDITION

SCOUTING AROUND: ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

As a Scout, your Duty to Country calls on you to learn how to be a good citizen. However, that doesn’t mean your troop should campaign for a specific candidate.

Visit the Scouting Around blog

HIKE! PADDLE! BIKE!

Troop 141 did it all on one epic adventure.

AHOY!

Deep-sea fishing is not just great fun: Its results can be delicious.

ONLY IN OUR CUB SCOUT EDITION

LET’S LOOK AT THE FOURTH OF JULY

Read it! Color it! Get it all in this special Cub Scout section.

AND MORE!


Look for the regular score of comics, jokes, games, Scouts in Action, Tradin’ Post and more! Only in the June-July 2020 issue of Boys’ Life!

The Wacky Adventures of Pedro
Pee Wee Harris
Scouts in Action
More S.I.A.

Hike! Paddle! Bike! Troop 141 Did It All on One Epic Adventure

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:50pm

At first, Parker Island did not look like an ideal place to camp.

After four days of backpacking and a day of canoeing, the members of Troop 141 from Christiansburg, Virginia, were hoping for a flat, clean place to hunker down for the night on this deserted island in the middle of the Shenandoah River.

Instead, all they found were downed trees and debris from the river. Not a great place to get a good night’s sleep. It had already been a challenging few days. And now this?

“That was kind of my mental breaking point, where I wondered if I could do much more of this,” says Dallas Wells, a 13 year-old who served as a patrol leader on the trip. “We had no latrine or anything; we had to make everything.”

The troop was just halfway through a marathon trip that would include another day of canoeing, two days of cycling on the C&O Canal Towpath and — ultimately — two days of touring in Washington, D.C. So that night, most of the Scouts just wanted to go to bed as soon as they found a place to pitch their tents.

But senior patrol leader Reagan Young, 15, rallied the group together. His first task: Get dinner cooked.

“I volunteered to cook,” he says. “Once everyone figured out that we were going to be able to do it, people started pitching in.”

THAT’S MORE LIKE IT

After a tasty hot meal, spirits began to rise, and the campsite didn’t seem so bad after all. After dinner, they were lulled to sleep by the sound of the river.

“Going to bed with the flowing river, it was just really peaceful,” Reagan says. “That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Troop 141 completed its “115-Mile Challenge” last summer, but the whole thing really started two years ago, when members of the troop did two separate programs — kayaking and cycling — at the East Carolina Council’s Pamlico Sea Base. When they couldn’t choose between those activities for the following summer, they decided to do both, and to add some backpacking on the Appalachian Trail for good measure.

An older Scout took charge of planning each leg of the trip, serving as senior patrol leader for those days. Three patrol leaders worked on menus and duty rosters, and on keeping everybody’s spirits high despite the physical and mental challenges they faced.

“When it was really hot, I had to make sure everyone was drinking water and not passing out or anything,” says Cody Bruce, 17, a patrol leader on the trip.

With three very different types of activities, everybody found something they liked, as well as something that pushed them to the limit.

For example, Jeremiah Garretson, 13, who led the backpacking leg, loved that part, even when the troop faced a 1,000-foot climb in 98-degree weather.

“I think it’s awesome that you can carry a 25-pound bag with everything you’re going to need for a couple of days,” he says.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

For Evan Cline, 14, a patrol leader on the trip, backpacking was the biggest challenge. He’d never gone backpacking before, so he wasn’t used to carrying around a heavy backpack. But he’s also glad he met the challenge.

“You might be thinking while you’re on the trail, ‘I don’t want to be here; I don’t want to do this.’ But then when we got to D.C., we were all so happy that we did it,” he says.

One of the biggest challenges everybody faced was the weather. Their first day of cycling had to be cut short because of torrential rain. Rather than pitch tents in a monsoon, they spent the night in a picnic shelter.

“The next morning, we were all soaking wet, and we were also about 10 miles behind where we needed to be to make it to D.C.,” says Sam Sheppard, 17, who led the cycling leg. “So we got up early and started riding.

“We saw a lot of animals on the trail. It was super cool because we were like 5 or 10 feet from some deer and stuff.”

So what was the best part of the trip? The bonding that happened along the way, Sam says.

“Even though we were tired and in pain and everything,” he says, “it was a really good bonding experience for all of us.”

GO BIG OR GO HOME

Three years before the trip, Troop 141 Scoutmaster Mike Abbott asked his Scouts to draw pictures of what they wanted the troop to do.

“I drew a picture of a Boys’ Life magazine,” Sam Sheppard says. “I wanted to do something cool enough to get us in Boys’ Life.”

Sam is glad that his wish came true — and that he and his fellow Scouts made it happen.

“I think it’s really cool how we’re a Scout-led troop,” he says. “The adults are here for the BSA standards and our protection and stuff, but other than that, everything gets handed off to the youth in the troop and we plan pretty much everything.”

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

An epic adventure like the one Troop 141 completed is not to be taken lightly. You’ll definitely need to Be Prepared, both physically and mentally. Due to the strenuous nature of this trip, the Scouts themselves decided that Second Class rank and the First Aid merit badge were prerequisites. Every adult who went had to be certified in first aid and CPR.

Troop 220 Fits Plenty into a Weekend, Including a Beachside Horseback Ride

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 4:21pm

Astride her horse, Tenderfoot Scout Ritika Putta, 13, took a moment to enjoy the scenery as she rode along the beach.

It had been a long, busy weekend at California’s Half Moon Bay State Beach, just south of San Francisco, where she and her troop worked on orienteering skills, knots, knife and ax safety, native plant identification, first aid and cooking. A 90-minute ride was a relaxing way to end an intense campout.

“There were some beautiful views while riding, and it was quiet out in the morning,” Ritika says. “It was a peaceful, calm ride that let me have some fresh air.”

GIDDY-UP

The weekend campout last year served primarily as a skills workshop for girls Troop 220 of Fremont, Calif. The majority of the troop is younger, so most Scouts are focused on learning the necessary skills to earn the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t schedule some horseback riding, an activity appropriate for Scouts as young as Wolf.

Horsemanship has been a Scout skill since the BSA’s inception more than 100 years ago. It was one of the original merit badges in the 1911 handbook, and equestrian knowledge was essential for other early badges like Blacksmithing (make a horseshoe and know how to shoe a horse correctly) and First Aid to Animals (be able to treat a horse for colic).

At this campout, though, Scouts were learning the basics. The troop booked with Sea Horse Ranch, a guided horseback riding company located near the campgrounds. A company guide led the girls on a 1-mile ride.

“I loved the horses, and it was beautiful on the beach,” 11-year-old Scout Meaghan Lovato says.

FROM STUDENT TO TEACHER

The equestrian excursion capped off a campout designed to build leadership and confidence. Grabbing their handbooks, younger Scouts looked to the older ones to show them how to tie lashings, use an ax safely and administer first aid.

“The students this year will be the teachers next year,” Scoutmaster Lee Amon says.

That makes proper instruction especially important. Each skill builds upon itself. If you don’t grasp how to tie basic knots as a Tenderfoot, you might have a tough time creating a camp gadget using lashings to earn the First Class rank.

“My favorite part was watching the girls bond, grow and advance as Scouts,” says Melody Fewx, 16, a First Class Scout and senior patrol leader.

Some skills require plenty of practice to master.

“It’s easy to untie lashings but not tie them. I overcame these challenges by practicing the techniques over and over again and asking questions,” says Athira Biju, a 12-year-old Tenderfoot Scout. “Now that I practiced the techniques, I feel more confident, and I am not scared to make mistakes.”

PUSHING THROUGH TO FUN

You can grow as a leader and a friend through any Scouting experience, even challenging ones.

The first night, Troop 220 set up camp in a storm. Tents were battered by the wind all night, and some flooded. The second night, patrols made monkey bread, chocolate lava cake, marble cake and cheesecake during a Dutch oven dessert contest.

“We bonded as a patrol during cooking,” 13-year-old Tenderfoot Scout Srihita Ponnam says. “That helped us forget the hardships we faced.”

Remember, a Scout is cheerful. When you have fun activities, good food and Scouting skills planned, it’s easy to overcome a rough start to an outing.

“I learned that while things may not always go smoothly on trips, it is important to push through and just to have a good time,” says Felicia Lim, a 16-year-old Tenderfoot Scout.

AN EXTRA ADVENTURE

Troop 220 didn’t settle for an outing just on basic Scout skills. They added another activity — a horse ride on the beach — to make the campout even more memorable. You can do the same on your unit’s next trip.

Look for fun opportunities near where you’ll be. Is there a neat museum to stop by on your drive back home? Maybe there’s a paddleboat company at the lake where you’ll be camping?

Try to fit extra activities into the original schedule and budget. If it’s a late addition, consult with adult leaders and fellow Scouts as soon as you can to see if making changes is possible. You can also plan fundraisers to cover any extra costs.

LET’S RIDE

Before you hit the trail, let’s review some rules.

Wolf, Bear, Webelos and younger Scouts can ride horses in controlled areas. Only older Scouts — ages 14 and up (or 13 and have completed eighth grade) — should go on treks, which usually cover many miles over multiple nights and can be a physically demanding adventure.

Wear sturdy boots with 1-inch heels when riding. If stirrups are equipped with leather coverings (called tapaderos), wearing tennis shoes can be allowed. Without the coverings, you could get seriously hurt if your shoelaces or shoe tongues get caught in the stirrups. Don’t wear sandals.

Wearing gloves is recommended; wearing long pants and an ASTM-SEI-approved riding helmet is required. Your helmet should be fitted correctly and have chinstraps.

How to Customize a Coffee Mug for Father’s Day

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 2:23pm

Give dad a cup full of love and warmth by customizing a coffee mug for him.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Buy a solid-color ceramic coffee mug. Get Dad’s favorite color to make it more special.
  • Get his favorite coffee, hot chocolate or tea to put inside.
  • Have an adult help you clean the mug with rubbing alcohol.
  • Decorate the mug by using craft paint such as acrylic or enamels, or use paint pens.
  • Let it sit for 24 hours to dry.
  • Have an adult help you put the mug on a cooking sheet and place it in the oven. Check the back of the paint bottle for temperature and time directions.
  • Let the mug cool for an hour before gift wrapping.

Find more fun Father’s Day ideas at boyslife.org/tag/fathers-day/.

How to Whittle Your Own Tent Stakes

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 1:46pm

Q: My troop is going camping, and we lost our tent stakes. Can we use whittled sticks?
— Nigel, Monroe, Georgia

A:Sure you can. Look for downed branches that aren’t rotten and brittle. After finding a strong piece of wood that is about a foot long and an inch in diameter, whittle one end into a point.

On the other end, carve a notch a couple of inches from the end of the stake. To create the notch, make a cut across the branch at least a third of the way into the wood. Below that cut, carve up into the cut until you make a wedge-shaped cutout. You’ll tie your tent’s guyline around this notch.

Whittle the edges around the top of the stake. This will prevent the stake from splintering when you hammer it into the ground. Stakes perform best when you drive them straight into the soil instead of angling them.

If you’d rather buy tent stakes, you can find a plastic or metal set for only a few dollars. Make sure you look at their shape. The longer the stake and the greater its surface area, the stronger it will likely be.

Instead of short J-shaped stakes, which can bend easily, consider metal Y-shaped stakes, which work well in most soils. A couple of great-performing Y-shaped stakes are MSR Ground Hog Stake (six for $25, msrgear.com) and Nemo Sweepstake Tent Stakes (six for $25, nemoequipment.com). The Sweepstake also has a polymer piece that can slide to clean dirt off the stake and glow-in-the-dark components to help you avoid tripping over guylines at night.

Stay Clean and Healthy in the Outdoors With These Hygiene Tips

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 12:44pm

Camping and backpacking are all about getting dirty guilt-free, right? Well, yes, but with an important reminder: The same hands we use for building campfires, exploring the wilderness and relieving ourselves outside will also — several times a day — handle food that goes into our mouths.

Hands are a primary route for transmitting bacteria, viruses and other little nasties that can wreak serious havoc. Follow these tips to make sure you stay healthy and clean.

FOOD SAFETY

• Always wash your hands before eating or preparing food. Whenever soap isn’t appropriate (for instance, to avoid contaminating water sources), scrub and rinse your hands in water to remove dirt, and then use hand sanitizer to kill germs and bacteria.

• Instruct everyone to not stick their hands into a shared food bowl or bag. Use a serving spoon or pour food into a personal bowl.

DON’T FORGET

• Must-haves on any trip include a toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste and dental floss. And don’t forget toilet paper!

• Girls, don’t forget feminine hygiene products. Follow Leave No Trace principles in the backcountry by packing out any used items.

• A small plastic bottle of unscented alcohol-based hand sanitizer — or a large bottle for a group — should be standard equipment on any trip. Keep it where everyone can see and use it, like on a picnic table in camp. Don’t wait to learn this lesson until you suffer a miserable day of vomiting from a bacterial infection.

CLEAN GEAR

Camping wipes, like Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes ($10 for a pack of 32, surviveware.com) or Combat Wipes ($7 for a pack of 25, combatwipes.com), provide a quick, convenient way for washing. Taking a “bath” with camping or baby wipes to remove dirt and sweat prevents infections, helps you sleep better, and keeps your sleeping bag from getting dirty and smelly. Pack out any used wipes, even those sold as biodegradable.

If you prefer soap, use biodegradable products like Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap ($7 for an 8-ounce bottle, shop.drbronner.com) or Campsuds ($6 for 4 oz., sierradawn.com). A bandanna or quick-drying microfiber pack towel doubles as a washcloth that can be easily rinsed and dried after each use.

Like hands, your feet are also a cleanliness priority. They spend hours a day in shoes or boots getting sweaty, which can promote blisters and fungus growth. At least once a day, remove your footwear and socks, and rinse your feet. Dry them thoroughly before putting your boots back on.

At the end of the day, a solar camp shower left sitting in the sun provides a hot, albeit brief, shower. The Sea To Summit Pocket Shower ($35, 5 oz., seatosummitusa.com) is light enough for backpacking and holds about 2 ½ gallons. Don’t bathe with soap in a stream or lake; phosphates in standard soap can pollute water and cause harmful algal blooms. Instead, bathe at least 200 feet from bodies of water.

With a limited wardrobe, use the same layers when hiking, and keep a clean change of base layers to wear around camp or when sleeping. Carry enough underwear to change every day. You can wash your clothes if necessary. Again, remember to not wash them in or near bodies of water so you don’t contaminate the aquatic environment.

How to Make Your Own Leather Moccasins

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 12:03pm

The Lenape, also known as the Delaware, are a Native American tribe originally from the eastern woodlands. Throughout their history, the pucker-toe moccasin has been a popular style. The footwear is comfortable and easy to make.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE MOCCASINS
  • Permanent pen or marker
  • Large sheet of paper or four 8 ½-by-11-inch sheets taped together
  • Ruler
  • Rubber mallet
  • Scrap wood
  • Flexible tape measure (or string that can be measured with a ruler)
  • Scissors
MATERIALS TO SEW MOCCASINS
  • Deer-hide leather (Available online at stores such as eBay and Tandy Leather. You can also buy a Moccasin Leather Craft Kit at scoutshop.org. Only lacing is required.)
  • Leather needles
  • Extra strong upholstery thread
  • Needle-nose pliers
WHAT YOU’LL DO TO MAKE MOCCASINS

STEP 1. Trace your foot on a large sheet of paper following the steps on the template. (The same template is used for both moccasins.) Your template should match the example after you finish. (See diagram below)

Template Instructions:

  • Make two parallel lines (A) apart by the circumference of your foot minus one inch. These lines should extend well beyond your toe and heal by three or four inches. The outline of your foot should be roughly centered between the lines.
  • Make two more lines (B) 1.25 to 2 inches outside and parallel to the lines you just made. These will be the downturned flaps on the sides of the moccasins.
  • At the ball of your foot outline, draw a straight line at right angles to the other lines you have drawn (Ball of foot line).
  • On each side, draw a line at 90 degrees from the intersection of the ball of foot line at A and B. This marks the front of the flap.
  • From the ball of foot line place a mark about 2 inches up toward the toe on both A lines. These are points 1 and 3.
  • Place a mark (point 2) 3.5 inches above the longest toe and centered between the A lines.
  • From both sides, draw a curved line between points 1, the center mark point 2and point 3. This forms a rounded dome over the toes.

STEP 2. Cut out your template and place it on the deer hide. Avoid any holes or thin spots in the hide.

Trace the outside of your template onto the hide and cut just inside your marked lines. Mark a dot on the inside (rough) side of the hide at all three points.

STEP 3. Start a gather stitch at either Point 1 or 3 and work to the other point.

Loop through the hide and tie a square knot to anchor the gather at point 1 or 3. Use the pliers to weave the needle from inside to outside about 1⁄4″ apart and about 1⁄8″ from the edge. When the thread is pulled tight, the hide gathers in hills and valleys. Continue weaving until you get to the other point.

STEP 4. When you reach the gather finish point, draw up the thread to pucker the toe and tie it off by looping the thread through a previous stitch using several half hitches. (Caution: Keep the needle perpendicular to the hide, and be aware of where your fingers are as you use a hard surface to help you push the needle through).

STEP 5. Place a piece of wood under the finished gather and pound flat. Cut a 1″ wide tongue, round off one end and place a mark in the center of the rough side.

STEP 6. With the moccasin and tongue rough side out, match the center of the tongue and the center of the toe, and begin a stitch at point 2, and sew to either point 1 or 3. Keep the edges even. Pass the needle through and over in a simple overhand stitch. When you reach the flap, mark the tongue opposite where the flap begins and where the gather stitch stopped. Use these as guides as you stitch the other side of the tongue.

STEP 7. Turn the moccasin good side out and put your foot in the toe tightly. Holding the top edges with a clothespin, pinch the hide at the heel and mark it.

STEP 8. Turn the moccasin back to rough side out. Starting from the top, place a mark going down at a depth of the flap (the distance between A and B lines). Stitch a line just inside the marks you made for the heel. Stop at the flap, mark it and tie it.

STEP 9. Try on the moccasin, inserting toes tightly. If needed, use a finger to pull the moccasin over your heel. If it’s too loose or tight, remove the stitching and try again. Once the heel fits, continue stitching the heel line until complete.

STEP 10. You can decorate your moccasins with beads and satin, which the Lenape people used.

Make a Splash at 5 of the Coolest Water Parks in the U.S.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 1:09pm

Even if you can’t get wet, these exciting ride videos can help you experience the thrill of visiting some of the nation’s best water parks.

WATER COUNTRY USA

Williamsburg, Virginia

Water Country USA is one of the highest-rated water parks in the U.S. It has dozens of tubes, racers, drop slides and play areas just waiting for you to jump into.

The new Cutback Water Coaster jet-propels you through a maze of slides, tubes, hills and saucers to a splashdown 850 feet away.

The Colossal Curl mega-slide delivers a unique mix of high-adrenaline fun. It kicks off with a monster funnel full of spins and splashes. Then it shoots you down its blue-and-yellow tunnels to rocket high above the park. You’ll end up 550 feet away from your starting point.

RAGING WATERS LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles, California

Your heart pounds as you stand on the starting deck. You face an open-air drop to a seven-story vertical slide. Do you dare take that next step? You’d better. Your friends are right behind you. You step forward and sit down, then free-fall at 26 feet per second. That’s the famous Bombs Away ride, scheduled to open this year.

It’s just one of 18 big attractions at Raging Waters Los Angeles. There are speed slides, a head-first Ragin’ Racer and Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror (pitch-black 40-foot drop, anyone?). You can also test your skill and balance on the Lily Pads.

HURRICANE HARBOR

Agawam, Massachusetts

This 40-acre water park is bursting with big pools, lazy rivers and luge-type rides that drop you through a trapdoor into 257 feet of pipe.

Launch into the 40 mph Bonzai Pipelines, brave the Big Kahuna or body-slide down Hurricane Falls.

And who doesn’t want to ride in a Tornado? Climb seven stories up, board your raft and take off down a 132-foot tunnel. Next, drop into a 60-foot-wide funnel. Go full speed ahead as 5,000 gallons of water blast you up and around the walls to finish laughing in the landing pool. Then thrill to over a dozen other wild and wet adventures.

WATER WORLD

Denver, Colorado

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Try the Double Dare tandem racer, Mile-High Flyer water coaster or the Screamin’ Mimi — a dry slide into a pool-skimming finish. Water World has a thundering 33 attractions, with the most wide, natural-style whitewater river rides of any park.

You might even spot a roaring T. rex robot on the Voyage to the Center of the Earth.

Ride your own raft down twists and turns amid a wooded wonderland in the wide-tracked Eagle River. It’s a super-long trip above the park with lots of bank turns and surprises. The park also has standard slides, tube rides and the popular six-story Skyline Speed Slides.

HOLIDAY WORLD & SPLASHIN’ SAFARI

Santa Claus, Indiana

This is the Midwest’s go-to park for water fun.

The wet ’n’ wild Cheetah Chase is the world’s first “launched” water coaster — a liquid-powered toboggan that boosts you up a monster hill — then tosses you down again at 30 feet per second.

There are 19 wet attractions, from the 10-lane Jungle Racer slide to a huge Bahari Wave Pool. Brave the eight-story Zinga half-pipe ride or shoot the rapids in the fan-favorite Bakuli rafting adventure with its dizzying spiral finale.

Download a Printable Paper Chess Set That You Can Make at Home

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:16pm

Play chess anywhere with this downloadable paper chess set. Just print out the template, cut out the pieces and start playing!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Download 884 KB PDF

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Print out the paper chess template in color or black-and-white. Use normal settings with the smallest possible margins for best results.

2. Use scissors to cut out the pieces by following the dotted lines.

3. Assemble each piece with stands.

4. Play a game of chess! Visit go.boyslife.org/chess for tips, or check out the Chess merit badge.

Paper chess template and instructions courtesy of Matt Murray and Chess and Co.

Write a Funny Caption For This Photo

Thu, 05/07/2020 - 5:50pm

What’s going on in this picture? What are those bears doing or thinking?

If you can think of a funny caption for this photo, just post it in the comment form at the bottom of this page. After we approve it, your funny caption will be on this page for everyone to read.

Click here to write captions for more funny photos.

Stuff We Like: NanoTorch Twist

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 4:06pm

Ever try to find something in a cluttered troop trailer after dark? You’d probably wish you had a powerful flashlight, like the NanoTorch Twist from KeySmart ($60, getkeysmart.com). It has a magnet on one end, so you can stick it to a piece of metal and free up your hands.

The LED flashlight’s head swivels up to 90 degrees and shines at an impressive 600 lumens, brighter than a lot of headlamps and AA battery flashlights on the market.

The NanoTorch Twist’s battery is rechargeable and lasts up to seven hours. This compact flashlight has five modes, including a strobe and SOS setting.

Join Us for a Day of Fun at the BSA’s National Camp-In

Wed, 04/29/2020 - 5:36pm

You’re missing going on campouts since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the shutdowns of many places. What can you do instead?

How about “camping in”?

The Boy Scouts of America is inviting you to a National Camp-In, starting at 11 a.m. EDT on May 2. You don’t have to be in Scouting now to enjoy this free virtual event. Just log on with your parents to the BSA’s Facebook page that day for a full schedule of fun — and invite your friends; this is a great way to show them all the cool activities Scouts can do.

Some activities planned for the Camp-In include camping hacks, a cooking demonstration, at-home exercises, skits and songs. Special guests include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.; Francis Lawrence, a film director/producer who directed three of the four Hunger Games movies; and Golden Globe Award-winning film producer Shannon McIntosh.

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the National Good Turn virtual 5K hike to benefit Feeding America to help replenish food bank supplies across the country. Here’s how to donate and download a bib. Paralympian gold medalist and Eagle Scout David Blair will lead everyone in warmups and kick off the hike.

You can tune in all day or follow the activities off and on throughout the event. Set up a tent in your backyard during the Camp-In’s campsite building contest — or set it up beforehand. Prepare songs to sing at the virtual campfire. Grab pen and paper to create a movie storyboard for the Moviemaking merit badge before seeing a behind-the-scenes virtual movie-set tour from Hollywood costume supervisor Jessica Pazdernik, who worked on Pirates of the Caribbean films and Captain Marvel.

Check the National Camp-In page later this week for a full list of events and share how you’re participating via social media using the #CampIn and #ScoutingAtHome hashtags. And yes — there will be a patch for this event; stay tuned!

When you register for updates on the National Camp-In here, you will be entered to win one of two $200 gift certificate prizes, provided by Polaris Industries, a leading manufacturer of off-road vehicles, for its online store. The deadline to enter is Sunday, May 3, at 11:59 CDT.

Online guidelines

If after the Camp-In you’re inspired to have a virtual campfire or other fun online activity, remember that all Youth Protection policies still apply. Use online platforms built for business, rather than other purposes, like gaming. They have better safety and privacy features. Check more online guidelines here. If you have questions regarding advancement, meetings or camping this summer, check the BSA’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions page.

Inside the May 2020 Issue

Mon, 04/20/2020 - 6:00pm

Here’s what you’ll find inside the May 2020 issue of Boys’ Life magazine. Remember, many articles are only available to subscribers and are not available online.

Please visit boyslife.org/subscribe to subscribe to the print or digital editions of Boys’ Life magazine.

MAY 2020 FEATURES

ON ANOTHER PLANET

Lava caves, rare plants and stark scenery — did this troop backpack into a whole new world?

See photos and video from Troop 425’s trek.

GEAR GUY: NO MESS WITH THESE MESS KITS

New camping cookware makes eating outdoors clean and easy.

How to buy a mess kit and camp cooking gear.

THE NATURE CREW: SALAMANDERS: AMAZING AMPHIBIANS

Secretive and seldom seen, salamanders are some of the most interesting creatures around.

BE TICK AWARE

Ticks are tiny, but they can cause a lot of trouble.

How to prevent and treat tick bites.

FICTION: BRAIN-ZOMBIES FROM BEYOND CYPERSPACE

Everybody’s being turned into brain-zombies! How can Jake avoid the same fate?

Read Brain-Zombies From Beyond Cyberspace

HOW TO MAKE IT: MONARCH BUTTERFLY HABITAT

To help out these beautiful creatures that pollinate wildflowers, build this protective habitat.

How to make monarch butterfly habitat

ONLY IN OUR BOY SCOUT EDITION

SCOUTING AROUND: MAKE KNOWING YOUR KNOTS FUN

Repeatedly working on knots might not sound like fun. At your next meeting, try making the exercise into a relay game.

Visit the Scouting Around blog

9 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT OUTDOOR ETHICS

When you’re outside, it’s your duty to make good decisions.

Learn more about outdoor ethics

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

Scouts come face to face with space exploration, astronomy and wonder.

ONLY IN OUR CUB SCOUT EDITION

LET’S LOOK AT BUTTERFLIES

Read it! Color it! Get it all in this special Cub Scout section.

AND MORE!


Look for the regular score of comics, jokes, games, Scouts in Action, Tradin’ Post and more! Only in the May 2020 issue of Boys’ Life!

The Wacky Adventures of Pedro
Pee Wee Harris
Scouts in Action
More S.I.A.

How to Make a Homemade Photo Album for Mother’s Day

Mon, 04/20/2020 - 11:53am

Highlight your favorite moments together by making mom a photo album for Mother’s Day.

Here are a few tips on how to make one out of construction or cardboard paper:

  • Gather or print some favorite photos. The number of photos is up to you.
  • Use a handheld hole puncher to punch three holes into the side of each piece of paper (number of pages varies depending on how many pictures you use).
  • Bring the sheets together by using three pieces of string or ribbon or three book rings.
  • Print out and glue the photos into the book and write special notes on the pages.
  • Decorate the pages and cover by using markers, stickers and glitter.

You can also buy a photo album and place pictures and decorations inside, or make one online with an adult’s help at sites like shutterfly.com and collage.com.

5 Animals With the Weirdest Tongues

Thu, 04/16/2020 - 6:33pm

Although tongues are important and useful, let’s admit it: They are a little weird. Here are some of the weirdest tongues out there:

Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers’ tongues attach near the front of their head and travel through the nose cavity, across the skull and then out of their mouths.

Blue Whales

A blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant and is big enough to hold an entire football team.

Salamanders

Lungless salamanders have the quickest of all vertebrate tongues, moving many times faster than an eye blink. Their tongue is uniquely powered, like a ballistic missile.

Snakes

When a snake flicks its tongue, the tongue collects chemicals in the air, which are then examined by a specialized organ inside their mouth. Their split tongue locates prey by sensing which fork of the tongue receives the chemical information first.

Fish

Some fish have tongues that aren’t real. The blood supply to their original tongue gets cut off by a parasite called Cymothoa extingua, also known as a tongue-eating louse. The parasite then attaches itself to the tongue’s stump and enjoys free food that the fish catches.

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