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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: 54 min 10 sec ago

The Super Bowl Quiz

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 12:11pm

25 Funny Valentine’s Day Jokes and Comics

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 1:10am

Everyone loves a joke. Even if you’re not into love, romance and all that kissy stuff, you’ll still love to laugh at these funny Valentine’s Day jokes and comics.

Do you know a funny Valentine’s Day joke? Click here to send your joke to us.

DOWNLOAD A FREE POCKET JOKE BOOK!

Print and fold your own pocket joke book, filled with great Valentine’s Day jokes!
Download the joke book (PDF)
Folding instructions

A book never written: “Guide to Love” by Val N. Tines.

Joke by Grant W., Pittsburgh, Pa.

A prince was put under a spell so that he could speak only one word each year. If he didn’t speak for two years, the following year he could speak two words and so on.

One day, he fell in love with a beautiful lady. He refrained from speaking for two whole years so he could call her “my darling.” But then he wanted to tell her he loved her, so he waited three more years.  At the end of these five years, he wanted to ask her to marry him, so he waited another four years.  Finally, as the ninth year of silence ended, he led the lady to the most romantic place in the kingdom and said, “My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?”  And the lady said, “Pardon?”

Joke by Vincent F., Manchester, Mo.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Zach: What did one flame say to the other on Valentine’s Day?
Scott: Tell me.
Zach: “We’re a perfect match.”

Joke by Zachery S., Washington, Ill.

Two antennae met on a roof, fell in love and got married. Their wedding ceremony wasn’t fancy. The reception, however, was excellent.

Joke by Travis R. G.

Comic by Scott Nickel

“If you step on a purple mushroom, you’ll be forced to marry the ugliest person in the world,” warned the old gnome, so the man continued carefully through the woods. He didn’t step on any purple mushrooms.

Suddenly a beautiful woman walked up and said: “We have to marry.”

“Why?” asked the man, smiling.

“I just stepped on one of those pesky purple mushrooms!” she replied.

Joke by Matthew D., Andover, Mass.

A book never written: “Avoiding Valentine’s Day” by I.M.N. Love.

Joke by Josh G., Portland, Ore.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Tom Swiftie: “Let’s make our own Valentines,” Tom said craftily.

Joke by Kevin A., Winston-Salem, N.C.

Tom Swiftie: “She tore my valentine in half!” said Tom half-heartedly.

Joke by Alexander V., Hamden, Conn.

Comic by Scott Nickel

A woman was taking a nap on Valentine’s Day afternoon. After she awoke, she told her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a gorgeous and expensive diamond necklace for Valentine’s Day! What do you think it means?”

“You’ll know tonight,” he said.

That evening, her husband came home with a small package for her. Thrilled, she opened it and found a book titled “The Meaning of Dreams.”

Joke by Michael J., West Simsbury, Conn.

Will: Why do oars fall in love?
Eric: Why?
Will: Because they’re row-mantic.

Joke by Will A., Nashville, Tenn.

Comic by Scott Nickel

A Cub Scout found a frog that said, “Kiss me and I will become a beautiful princess.”

The boy studied the frog, then put it in his pocket.

“Hey,” the frog croaked, “how come you didn’t kiss me?”

“I’d rather have a talking frog than a princess any day!”

Joke by Brad S., San Antonio, Tex.

Comic by Scott Nickel

I just got a text from my girlfriend that said, “I bought you an awesome Valentine’s Day gift! xox”

I really hope she spelled “Xbox” wrong.

Joke by Kyle W., Farmington, N.M.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Craig: Why do melons have to get married in churches?
Joe: Why?
Craig: Because they cantaloupe!

Joke by August R., Bridgeville, Pa.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Justin: What did the boy candy say to the girl candy?
John: I haven’t a clue.
Justin: “It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re mint for each other.”

Joke by Justin R., Hampton Falls, N.H.

Dawson: What do pigs give on Feb. 14?
Brad: I don’t know.
Dawson: Valen-swines!

Joke by Dawson M., Detroit, Mich.
Comic by Daryll Collins

Comic by Thomas Toons

Tobin: What happened to your leg?
Matt: I went to a seafood dance on Valentine’s Day.
Tobin: And?
Matt: I pulled a mussel!

Joke by Matt K., Omaha, Neb.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Ben: What did one magnet say to the other magnet on Valentine’s Day?
Finn: I have no idea. What?
Ben: “I find you very attractive!”

Joke by Ben M., Doylestown, Pa.

DOWNLOAD A FREE POCKET JOKE BOOK!

Print and fold your own pocket joke book, filled with great Valentine’s Day jokes!
Download the joke book (PDF)
Folding instructions

Do you know a funny Valentine’s Day joke? Click here to send your joke to us.

How to Fold Your Own Pocket-Sized Joke Books

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 3:28pm

Never be without your favorite jokes again. Download, print and fold these fun pocket-sized joke books and you’ll always Be Prepared to laugh.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Printed joke book template (see below)
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT A JOKE BOOK TEMPLATE

Download one of these PDFs and print it on 8.5 x 11-inch paper.


Pocket Joke Book

Pinewood Derby Joke Book

Valentine’s Day Joke Book

Holiday Joke Book
HOW TO MAKE YOUR JOKE BOOK

Here’s how to fold, cut and glue your template to turn it into a pocket-sized joke book.

Step 1: With the printed side of the paper facing down, fold the top half of the paper down over the bottom half.

Step 2: Fold the paper in half horizontally again.

Step 3: Flip the paper over and fold it in half horizontally one more time.

Step 4: Unfold and open the paper.

Step 5: Fold the right half of the paper over the left half.

Step 6: Fold the paper in half vertically again.

Step 7: Flip the paper over and fold it in half vertically one more time.

Step 8: Unfold and open the paper.

Step 9: Make three horizontal cuts as shown in the diagram. Each cut should only extend 3/4 of the way across the paper.

Step 10: Orient the paper so the covers are at the top. Begin folding from the bottom left as shown in the diagram. Add a swipe of glue on the blank side between the folds indicated with the blue arrows.

The Countdown Is On for the 2021 National Scout Jamboree

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 11:36am

Summer 2021 might seem a long way off, but preparations for the 2021 National Scout Jamboree have already begun. You can Be Prepared by grabbing a parent or guardian and visiting the official Jamboree website at jamboree.scouting.org for information on the event, plus instructions on how to register.

The theme of the 2021 Jamboree is Face the Challenge. Activities will include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, zip lining, scuba instruction, kayaking, shooting sports, skateboarding and BMX biking.

As part of a unique leadership-focused experience, Scouts will embark on a journey to discover and apply their own leadership styles in a variety of fun activities, enabling them to serve as leaders in their units, communities, nation and world. Participants must have completed sixth grade or be at least 12 years old by July 1, 2021.

Ouch! 10 Animals With Incredibly Strong Bites

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:42am

These 10 animals have strong bites to help them eat, defend themselves and survive in the wild. To compare, the average adult human’s bite is only 150 pounds per square inch (PSI).

1. SALTWATER CROCODILE

Bite strength: 3,700 pounds per square inch (PSI)

2. AMERICAN ALLIGATOR

Bite strength: 2,125 PSI

3. HIPPOPOTAMUS

Bite strength: 1,800 PSI, strong enough to bite a croc in half.

4. JAGUAR

Bite strength: 1,500 PSI, sufficient to crack a turtle shell.

5. GORILLA

Bite strength: 1,300 PSI. Strong neck muscles help gorillas chew tough plants.

6. POLAR BEAR

Bite strength: 1,200 PSI

7. SPOTTED HYENA

Bite strength: 1,100 PSI, necessary to crush large bones.

8. BENGAL TIGER

Bite strength: 1,050 PSI

9. GRIZZLY BEAR

Bite strength: 975 PSI, strong enough to crush a bowling ball.

10. LION

Bite strength: 650 PSI

Awesome Pinewood Derby Car Designs of 2020

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 11:53am

Need design inspiration. Check out this photo gallery of creative Pinewood Derby car designs sent to us by Boys’ Life readers, and then send us a photo of your 2020 Pinewood Derby car.

Do you have a photo of your Pinewood Derby car? Send us a photo!

Pinewood Derby Car Design Photo Gallery

Click on images to see cars in a photo gallery.

SEND US A PHOTO OF YOUR CAR
Name of your car
Describe your car
Photo

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your car. Because of privacy rules, we can’t post any photos that show people’s faces. Always ask for your parent’s permission before uploading anything to a website.

Write a Funny Caption For This Photo

Thu, 01/09/2020 - 1:21pm

What’s going on in this picture? What are those cats and duck 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.

15 Community Service Projects Perfect for Kids and Cub Scouts

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 11:21am

You can make a BIG difference in the world, no matter your age!

And while there are definitely service projects that await you in Scouts BSA, if you’re a Cub Scout or just a kid in elementary school who really wants to do great work for the community, we’ve got your back.

That’s why we put together this list of 15 service project ideas for kids like you!

Make sure to talk to your parents about how to safely accomplish these projects.

Here’s How Kids Like You Can Help Change the World
  1. Pick up litter at a park. This is twice as cool if it’s a park you already enjoy. That way, you can give back to a place that gives you so much!
  2. Put together a book drive for a local children’s shelter. Help kids like you have access to books you love.
  3. Write thank you notes to local fire and police stations. You can thank them for keeping your city safe!
  4. Plant trees or wildflowers. For this one, make sure you work with an adult to get your town’s OK to plant anything on public grounds.
  5. Perform magic tricks at a retirement center. You can show off sleight of hand like this surefire card trick.
  6. Collect old eyeglasses and donate them to an organization that recycles them. You can help make sure people who really need glasses can afford them.
  7. Write letters to servicemen and women thanking them for their service. You’ll brighten their days and show your gratitude.
  8. Collect nonperishable food items. You can participate in a drive like Scouting for Food.
  9. Collect items like old towels, blankets and unopened pet food to donate to animal shelters. The kitties and pups will thank you!
  10. Collect items for a time capsule. You can work with an adult or older Scout to make one.
  11. Write greeting cards for a local nursing home. You can even write birthday cards and ask someone who works at the nursing home to distribute the cards on the seniors’ birthdays.
  12. Spend time with seniors at a nursing home. Instead of performing for the residents, you can sit and talk with them. They have lots of great stories, and you can share your own stories, too!
  13. Develop and maintain a recycling program at school. This is a great way to be a leader at school, meet new teachers and make new friends who can help you.
  14. Donate clothing and toys to the needy. A lot of shelters for people in need rely on year-round donations. Work with an adult to find the right place to share the things you’ve hardly used and no longer need.
  15. Write holiday cards, birthday cards, and notes for assisted living facilities, children’s hospital wards or Meals on Wheels. Some people don’t hear from anyone on holidays. You can change that. Think critically and consider holidays you don’t always think about. For instance, you can send Passover cards to a Jewish assisted-living facility. Or you can send a thank you card to a veteran who receives Meal on Wheels on Veterans’ Day.
Inspired to Volunteer?

Your next step is to talk with your parents or pack leader about what project you want to tackle!

What other great community service projects have you participated in? Is there one you haven’t done yet but would like to? Share in the comments below!

Amazing Pinewood Derby Car Designs of 2019

Tue, 12/31/2019 - 1:01am

Take a look at these photos of awesome Pinewood Derby car designs sent to us by Boys’ Life readers, and then send us a photo of your 2019 Pinewood Derby car.

Do you have a photo of your Pinewood Derby car? Send us a photo!

Pinewood Derby Car Design Photo Gallery

Click on images to see cars in a photo gallery.

SEND US A PHOTO OF YOUR CAR
Name of your car
Describe your car
Photo

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your car. Because of privacy rules, we can’t post any photos that show people’s faces. Always ask for your parent’s permission before uploading anything to a website.

Camping Blanket Instead of Sleeping Bag?

Thu, 12/26/2019 - 1:01am

Q: What is the best camping blanket? Have you ever used a Rumpl? They look cool.
— Jimmy, Walla Walla, Washington

Why, yes, I have used Rumpl camping blankets, and they are pretty cool — or, rather, warm.

The Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket ($99, rumpl.com) and Rumpl NanoLoft Puffy Blanket ($149) feel like the outside of a sleeping bag or down jacket, so they effectively repel liquid, sand and dirt. They are made from recycled water bottles — a minimum of 50 per blanket! The NanoLoft is a synthetic down blanket. Rumpl also makes duck down-filled blankets as well as fleece blankets.

The “best” blanket really depends on what you find most comfortable. You might not like most Rumpl blankets’ slippery feel; once I got used to the sensation, though, I felt comfy in them. A wool or fleece blanket, however, might feel cozier to you.

Camping blankets allow for more range of motion while you sleep. They’re also handy for huddling up by a campfire. They probably won’t be ideal for winter camping, but they’re great for the rest of the year. Rumpl and others come with water-resistant stuff sacks, making packing them away easy.

Visit go.boyslife.org/rumpl and get 10% off a Rumpl blanket with promo code BOYSLIFE. Valid through March 31, 2020.

These Pinewood Derby Cars Are Glowing (Yours Can, Too)!

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 3:57pm

Ever seen Pinewood Derby cars like these?

The new, amped up cars glow in the dark and sport some sweet headlights and underbody lights.

It’s the latest way Scout Shop is making it easier than ever to seriously glo-up your traditional Pinewood Derby cars!

How to Install the New Pinewood Derby Kits

Installation is a snap. Here’s how to install the under-glow lights:

And here’s how to install the head and taillights:

What’s Your Pinewood Derby Car Look Like?

Are you planning to try the new lights? How about the glow-in-the-dark wheels and decals? Are you sticking to a more traditional car style?

We want to see it all! Share photos of your cars with us. We just may feature them on the site.

Note: Always check with your local pack, district or council to find the design and race rules for your area. 

100 Photos of Star Wars Pinewood Derby Cars

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 1:01am

Jump into hyperspace with these 100 awesome Star Wars Pinewood Derby cars designed and built by Boys’ Life readers.

Do you have a Star Wars Pinewood Derby car? Send us a photo!

Stars Wars Pinewood Derby Photo Gallery SEND US A PHOTO OF YOUR STAR WARS CAR
Name of your car
Describe your car
Photo

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your car. Because of privacy rules, we can’t post any photos that show people’s faces. Always ask for your parent’s permission before uploading anything to a website.

How to Keep Patrol Cooking Gear Clean?

Thu, 12/19/2019 - 1:01am

Q: How can my patrol keep our cooking gear clean?
— Griffen, Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania

A: You might not feel like doing it, but right after a meal, clean up.

Use a biodegradable, unscented soap in a three-pot washing process. Wash your gear in a pot of hot water with soap, and then rinse in another pot of clear, hot water. Finally, sanitize your stuff in a pot of cold water with a few drops of bleach. Remember to do all your washing and disposing of dishwater at least 200 feet from any water source — that’s 70 big steps.

Top biodegradable soaps include Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap ($19 for a 32-ounce bottle, drbronner.com) and Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash ($8 for an 8-oz. bottle, seatosummitusa.com). They might not froth up like some traditional dish soaps, but both do a great job at cleaning dishes. A few drops of soap go a long way.

After your gear is clean and dry, put it away. Many patrols build wooden chuck boxes or buy plastic totes to store their kitchen supplies. Storing your gear keeps it organized and clean.

Inside the January-February 2020 Issue

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 1:14pm

Here’s what you’ll find inside the January-February 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.

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2020 FEATURES

BLIZZARD CAMP

Earn merit badges, learn how to handle the cold and bond with friends during a week at winter camp.

Move Over Summer Camp: Scouts Have a Blast at Winter Camp

THE SPIRIT OF PHILMONT

Philmont Scout Ranch is the pinnacle of Scouting. A Rayado trek is the icing on the cake.

Discover the Spirit of Philmont With a 21-Day Adventure Like This One!

THE NATURE CREW: PURPLE MARTINS ARE SUPER BUG ZAPPERS

Few bird species are so reliant on humans as the purple martin.

GEAR GUY: BRIGHT SPOTS

Light up your campsite with these great gadgets.

7 Great Gadgets for Lighting Up Your Campsite

TALK TO THE ANIMALS

Meet some real-life Doctor Dolittles.

BL HOW TO BUILD IT: PURPLE MARTIN HOUSE

Here’s how you can build a two-family house and attract these bug-eating birds to your yard to help make your summer pest-free.

How to Build a Purple Martin House

ONLY IN OUR BOY SCOUT EDITION

SCOUTING AROUND: THE GOLDEN RULE

Variations on the Golden Rule are found in many world religions.

Visit the Scouting Around blog

FROZEN FUN

Snowshoeing isn’t the only way to get around in winter. But it might be the most fun.

COOL JOBS: SURGEON

This Eagle Scout helps keep star athletes on the field.

ONLY IN OUR CUB SCOUT EDITION

LET’S LOOK AT NEW YEAR’S

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 January-February 2020 issue of Boys’ Life!

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

Big Game Kicks

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 11:37am

Use your kicking skills to put the football through the uprights.


Use your kicking skills to put the football through the uprights.

7 Great Gadgets for Lighting Up Your Campsite

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 1:28pm

Keep your campsite bright at night with these great camping lanterns and lighting devices.

BIOLITE BASE LANTERN XL

Described by its maker as the world’s first flatpack lantern, the ultra-packable BIOLITE BASE LANTERN XL ($130) produces 500 lumens, enough light to brighten a spacious campsite. It pairs with a Bluetooth app to open up a host of features like proximity activation, dimming and sleep timers. The two collapsible stainless steel legs give it stability in a variety of situations. Its powerful battery recharges via USB at home or with BioLite solar panels (sold separately), and it will charge four smartphones. And it’s just a bit larger than a deck of cards.

STREAMLIGHT’S THE SIEGE LANTERN

Any chance your light will land in water? Check out STREAMLIGHT’S THE SIEGE LANTERN ($65). It’s waterproof in up to a meter of water — and it floats, thanks to a polymer housing. The rubberized base keeps it from sliding on slippery surfaces. A powerful 540 lumens at the highest of three white LED brightness levels, it lights up a large campsite area and runs for up to 30 hours on high power using three D batteries. The red LED mode includes a flashing SOS signal that will last for 430 hours. It hangs from a D-ring or stands on its flat base. Plus, its USB output charges up to four standard smartphones.

POWER PRACTICAL LUMINOODLE LIGHT ROPE

The POWER PRACTICAL LUMINOODLE LIGHT ROPE shows that camp lighting can be fun. The waterproof, flexible LED strip can be hung, strung, wrapped around or attached to virtually anything, and it simply plugs into a USB battery pack. The 5-foot-long model ($20) emits 180 lumens and the 10-foot version ($30) emits a bright 360 lumens. Hang it from an awning or around a tent like holiday lights. Stuff it inside its white stuff sack, and it functions like a lantern.

BLACK DIAMOND APOLLO LANTERN

For its versatile design, ease of use, durability and brightness, it’s hard to beat the rechargeable BLACK DIAMOND APOLLO LANTERN ($65). Projecting 250 lumens, it illuminates a campsite well enough for nearly any task. It also has a diffuser to soften the light, plus dimming and strobe functions. It will hang from dual metal hooks on its top end or stand on three collapsible legs with rubberized tips that won’t scratch surfaces. Its USB port charges a smartphone, and it can also run on three AA alkaline batteries.

PRINCETON TEC VIZZ

The waterproof, hands-free PRINCETON TEC VIZZ ($53) offers a maximum brightness of 420 lumens, unusually powerful for an ultralight headlamp. It has three dimmable modes, is simple to operate and is compatible with lithium batteries. Its lockout feature prevents you from accidentally turning it on. A good choice for backpackers, climbers, trail runners and backcountry skiers, the Vizz delivers good value if you’re seeking versatility, low weight, less bulk and supreme brightness.

BLACK DIAMOND ZIP LANTERN

Smaller than a smartphone, the BLACK DIAMOND ZIP LANTERN ($30) emits 150 lumens as a lantern or 100 lumens as a focused flashlight. That’s bright enough to light up a tent or an entire camp dining area, and light and compact enough for backpacking. Powered by four AAA batteries, it stands upright or hangs from a rubberized metal hook.

GOAL ZERO LIGHTHOUSE 400 LANTERN AND POWER HUB

Stop throwing away batteries while using an inferior light — step up to the GOAL ZERO LIGHTHOUSE 400 LANTERN AND POWER HUB ($70, scoutshop.org). This LED lantern recharges from a USB outlet in five hours, using solar panels (sold separately) or even using its hand crank, which delivers 10 minutes of power for every minute of cranking. The USB output will charge a smartphone or boost the charge on a tablet. The smart design features two collapsible legs that fold up, while a built-in handle lets you easily carry or hang it.

Episode 19: Who Closes the Bus Door After The Driver Exits?

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 11:24am

Ever wondered who closes the bus door for the man or woman who closes it for you?

It’s not magic, but it’s basically just as cool. Solve this mystery by listening to our latest episode of PodAsk!

Plus, you asked: How does sugar go from plant to candy? We trekked far and wide for the sweetest answer (and we got it!).

Listen here:

https://boyslifeorg.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/bus_door_sugar_full.mp3 PodAsk Will Return in 2020!

This is the last episode of the year so listen to it, and then check out all our previous episodes.

We’ve covered it all, from the delicious story of pizza to what Godzilla eats to the dynamic between dogs and cats.

Inspired to leave your own question for the show? Get your parents’ permission and leave us a voicemail at 214-659-1251!

Discover the Spirit of Philmont With a 21-Day Adventure Like This One!

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 9:55am

Cassidy Lathrom remembers all four times she has been to Philmont Scout Ranch.

The first was in 2015. It was five days, and it was her first time backpacking of any kind.

“It was one of the most difficult things I had ever done,” she says. “It was also one of the most rewarding. I wanted to go back.”

Yep, Philmont does that to you. It changes you. Then it calls you back. In 2016, she went again. In 2017, she attended Philmont’s National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience program.

Then, this past summer, it was Rayado, a 21-day backcountry adventure with the motto, “Expect the unexpected.”

It’s the ultimate experience at Scouting’s ultimate location, 140,177 acres of fun in northern New Mexico.

“It’s a journey of learning about yourself and others,” says Cassidy, now an 18-year-old member of Venturing Crew 2052 in Lawrence, Kansas. “It’s a journey of excellence and bettering yourself. It’s definitely difficult, but that’s what makes it worth it.

“That’s where the lessons come from.”

Yep. That’s Philmont for you.

The Ultimate Test

Daniel Alli remembers the first time he went to Philmont. It was a 12-day trek in 2017. His ranger suggested he come back and try Rayado.

Two years later, he did just that. “For me, it was the pinnacle of Scouting,” he says.

Rayado will test you. Daniel’s trek was scheduled to be 186 miles. “It ended up being a lot more, because we took some wrong turns here and there,” says Daniel, 17, from Troop 307 in Catonville, Maryland.

Rayado participants sign up as individuals, not as troops or crews. Groups meet each other for the first time and then hit the trail not long after.

They’re accompanied by two rangers, who are there to make sure no one does anything that could get them hurt. Other than that, you’re on your own. Make a wrong turn? That’s on you, and it’s up to you to get back on track.

“It’s a very unique experience,” Daniel says. “It’s a great way to focus on what makes you you. … The things we take for granted … you can focus on those things at Philmont. It’s a true escape.

“I haven’t really experienced that anywhere else.”

Yep. That’s Philmont.

It’s Not Supposed to Be Easy

Gwei Strong-Allen remembers the first time she went to Philmont. It was a Roving Outdoor Conservation School trek. Similar to Rayado, it’s 21 days in the wilderness. But the focus is more on building and maintaining trails and learning about wildlife management than it is on covering ground.

Like all the others, she came back for Rayado.

Expect the unexpected, they say. On the very first day, the all-girl crew tackled one of the most challenging hikes the land has to offer. (Boys’ Life has been asked not to reveal too many spoilers about the itinerary. It’s different for each crew, and it’s supposed to be a surprise.)

Rayado crew members rotate leadership roles each day. There’s a crew leader, who’s basically in charge; a wilderness guide, who makes sure the group follows all Leave No Trace principles; a chaplain, who oversees religious activities; and a navigator, who’s in charge of the map and compass for the day.

But what Gwei remembers the most about her trek is the moment her group was reunited with a hiker who had to miss a couple of days due to tendinitis in her foot.

“We didn’t know when she was coming back,” says Gwei, 20, from Crew 56 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “When we got to the campsite, she was there, and everyone ran over and hugged her. That’s how sad we were to have not had her.”

Yep. Sounds just like Philmont.

Becoming a Family

Carson Johnson of Troop 705 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, remembers the first time he went to Philmont. It was back in 2016. It was a spectacular and challenging 90-mile adventure.

It was nothing like Rayado.

On Rayado, you can climb many peaks, like Baldy Mountain, Little Costilla or the Tooth of Time, one of Philmont’s most popular spots. Rayado crews are also special because they can hike in both the north and the south parts of Philmont instead of just one or the other.

You’ll hike many miles, but there are shorter days when you have more time to relax and recoup, and there are days reserved for activities that we won’t name here because — remember — it’s a surprise, and we don’t do spoilers. And you’re doing all this with a group of people you’ve never met before.

“As the days went on, we grew closer and closer,” Carson says. “By the end, we were one big family.”

Of course. That’s Philmont.

Where Will You Go?

Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico is one of the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases. In addition to the Rayado program, it offers backpacking treks of different lengths with varying degrees of difficulty. There’s also horseback riding, rock climbing, shooting sports and training for both youth and adults.  go.boyslife.org/philmont

Florida National High Adventure Sea Base features aquatics programs, including deep-sea fishing, sailing, scuba diving and trips to the Florida Keys, Bahamas and U.S. Virgin Islands. go.boyslife.org/seabase

Northern Tier National High Adventure Program serves up epic lake-hopping canoe treks and winter camping experiences from its bases in northern Minnesota and Canada. go.boyslife.org/northerntier

The Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia offers treks on kayaks, rafts, ATVs and bikes, or you can try The Summit Experience, which includes BMX, skateboarding, mountain biking, zip lines, climbing and more  go.boyslife.org/summit

Who May Participate?

The Rayado Trek program is open to young men and women alike. Participants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Be 15 years of age before participation but not yet 21.
  • Be in excellent physical condition and able to hike 10 or more miles with a 40- to 50-pound backpack. (Philmont height and weight guidelines will be strictly enforced.)
  • Have mastered the skills of Leave No Trace camping and backpacking.
  • Previous Philmont experience is not mandatory but is strongly recommended.Learn more at  go.boyslife.org/rayado

Move Over Summer Camp: Scouts Have a Blast a Blizzard Camp

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 9:45am

Think about the things that make summer camp great: the opportunity to earn merit badges, spend time with your friends and get away from it all for one week out of the year.

Now think about all those things, but take away the sunburn, bugs and heat.

Congratulations. You just discovered winter camp.

While it’s true that you won’t go swimming and you’ll have to take more layers of clothing than you did for your summer adventure, winter camp has lots of awesomeness to offer. And if you know how to Be Prepared, you’ll find the cold weather can actually be quite refreshing.

“Not at a single point did I feel cold,” says Jordan Hoating, a 13-year-old from Troop 5 in Harlem, a neighborhood in New York City.

And that’s saying a lot considering Jordan was attending Blizzard Adventure Camp at the Leatherstocking Council’s Kingsley Scout Reservation up near the Canadian border in New York.

Blizzard camp, indeed: 3 feet of snowfall in one night alone. Temperatures as low as 20 below zero.

Welcome to winter camp.

Embracing the Cold

The list of merit badges available at Blizzard Adventure Camp sounds familiar: First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, Cooking and so on.

Many of the requirements are earned in a nice, heated cabin. It’s the outdoor program areas where things get really cool (literally). Cross-country skiing. Sledding. Snow-shelter building. Orienteering … in the snow! Gaga ball … in the snow!

Try that at summer camp.

At the cross-country skiing area, campers got a brief orientation on the equipment before heading out on a short trail.

A steep hill at the beginning was a problem for the first-timers, but the rest of the journey was nice and smooth.

“Being on skis is something I was never sure I’d do at all,” Jordan says. “I fell over several times, but it was really fun. Lots of people got up the hill in one try. I was like, ‘How? How is this possible?!?’ But I eventually made it.”

Snow Men

After that one particularly snowy night, the gaga ball pit was buried. That didn’t stop these campers.

“We all shoveled it out so we could play in there,” says Harry Hausser, 13, from Troop 18 in Cazenovia, N.Y. “It was all fluffy snow, and there was a lot of us, so it wasn’t too bad.”

Too cold for gaga ball, you might think? Cold is a state of mind, according to these winter campers.

“During the day it warmed up to 30, so you could run around pretty easy,” Harry says.

When possible, the campers got a wintry twist on some of their merit badges.

For Astronomy, they trudged through the snow at night to get to just the right spot for some stargazing.

And can you think of a better way to practice your sculpture skills than on a snowman?

“Mine wasn’t the prettiest snowman of them all,” Harry says. “He had arms, and I threw an old scarf on him that I found in the lost and found, and we got carrots from the kitchen for noses and pebbles from the driveway for eyes.”

Warming Up

Devin Cantarano, an 11-year-old from Troop 11 in Rome, N.Y., earned one requirement for his Game Design merit badge by teaming up with other Scouts to invent their own game.

“We made a game that was like chess and cards in one,” Devin says. “You’d take a random card from the deck, and that was how many times you’d move.”

Another good thing about Blizzard Camp: There’s always somewhere warm nearby.

Most of the campers slept inside the cabins. A brave few chose to sleep outdoors. Several members of Venturing Crew 210 from Kirkville, N.Y., built a fort of mattresses to block the wind while they slept on the porch.

“We tried to build quinzees, but the snow was frozen through,” 16-year-old Kayla Dendy says. “So we ended up building small fortresses out of mattresses. We had to be pretty adaptive to come up with a plan that would keep us warm.”Clothing is critical during winter camp. Noncotton middle layers go a long way in keeping you warm.

But sometimes, it’s OK to have fun with your clothing, too. That’s where Blizzard Camp’s ugly sweater contest comes in. Last year’s winner: Jordan.

“I had a very ugly sweater,” he says. “I would not recommend it. It was a green and red sweater with three cats on it and a little button. When you push the button, the sweater would start meowing and singing ‘Jingle Bells’ while meowing.”

Know Before You Go

Winter camp in Florida is likely to be very different from winter camp in New York. Grab a trusted adult and search the internet for the historical average temperatures for the time of year and location of your camp.

No matter where you go, one of the most important things to remember is to stay dry. Wear noncotton clothing and bring extra clothes so you can change into a dry set in case you get wet.

50 Funny Star Wars Jokes and Comics

Mon, 12/16/2019 - 1:01am

May the farce be with you! Laugh at funny Star Wars jokes, puns and comics by Boys’ Life readers that would even make Darth Vader chuckle. Do you know a funny Star Wars joke or pun? Click here to send in your joke.

Greg: Which Star Wars character travels around the world?
Craig: Who?
Greg: Globi-wan Kenobi!

Joke submitted by Greg A., Aromas, Calif.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Hayden: What kind of car does a Jedi drive?
Jake: I don’t know.
Hayden: A Toy Yoda.

Joke submitted by Hayden S., Eugene, Ore.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Wesley: What did Obi-Wan say at the rodeo?
Ethan: Tell me.
Wesley: “Use the horse, Luke!”

Joke submitted by Wesley L., Miami, Ariz.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Before going away on another adventure, Goldilocks first stopped at Yoda’s house.

Goldilocks said to Yoda, “I’m leaving on my new adventure.”

Yoda said, “Wherever you go, may the porridge be with you.”

Joke submitted by Jason Z., Nassau, N.Y.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Matthew: What does a Star Destroyer wear to a wedding?
Daniel: What?
Matthew: Bow ties, of course!

Joke submitted by Matthew C., Farmington, N.M.

A book never written: “How to Swing a Lightsaber” by Jed Eye.

Joke submitted by Keegan B., Marathon, Wis.

Comic by Jon Carter

Savannah: What’s the most popular Star Wars movie in Italy?
Serena: Which one?
Savannah: The Phantom Venice.

Joke submitted by Nathaniel C., Manhattan, Kan.

John: Did you hear about the Star Mars movie with an invisible droid?
Josh: No. What did they call it?
John: C-through-PO!

Joke submitted by John A., Jackson, Miss.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Tom Swiftie: “Let’s watch ‘Star Wars’!” Tom said forcefully.

Joke submitted by Stephen C., Alexandria, Va.

Luke: Which program do Jedi use to open PDF files in Star Wars?
Han: Which one?
Luke: Adobe-Wan Kenobi!

Joke submitted by Luke C., Elm Grove, Wis.

Comic by Jon Carter

Luke: Why did Anakin Skywalker cross the road?
Leia: Not sure.
Luke: To get to the Dark Side.

Joke submitted by Luke C., Elm Grove, Wis.

Bill: What do you call a bird of prey with a thousand lives?
Bob: Tell me.
Bill: A millennium falcon!

Joke submitted by Kolbi R., Atascadero, Calif.

Deena: Why was the droid angry?
Mark: Why?
Deena: People kept pushing its buttons.

Joke submitted by Deena L., Provo, Utah
Comic by Daryll Collins

Matthew: Why did the movies come out 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3?
Kyle: I don’t know.
Matthew: In charge of scheduling Yoda was.

Joke submitted by Matthew W., Eagle, Colo.

Comic by Nathan Cooper

Daffynition: Lukewarm— A Jedi who can’t find the thermostat.

Joke submitted by Jess C., Mason, Ohio

Sean: Do you know the internal temperature of a Tauntaun?
Ryan: No idea.
Sean: Lukewarm.

Joke submitted by Sean E., Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Darth Vader: I know what you’re getting for Christmas.
Luke: How do you know?
Darth Vader: I can feel your presents.

Joke submitted by Mark R., Barrington, R.I.

Luke: What’s for dinner tonight, dad?
Anakin: Wookiee steak.
Luke: Is it any good?
Anakin: It’s a little chewy.

Joke submitted by Stephanie P., Hartford, Conn.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Zach: What do you get when you cross Darth Vader with an elephant?
Jack: What?
Zach: An elevator!

Joke submitted by Zach W., Orleans, Ind.

Jon: What is Jabba the Hutt’s middle name?
Emily: I don’t remember.
Jon: The.

Joke submitted by Jon C., Las Vegas, Nev.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Pedro: What did Darth Vader say to the emperor at the Star Wars auction?
Chasen: What?
Pedro: “What is thy bidding, my master?

Joke submitted by Chasen T., Pearblossom, Calif.

Zach: What do you get if you mix a bounty hunter with a tropical fruit?
Eric: You tell me.
Zach: Mango Fett!

Joke submitted by Zach E., Omaha, Neb.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Zach: What do you call Chewbacca when he gets chocolate in his fur?
Connor: Tell me.
Zach: A chocolate chip Wookie!

Joke submitted by Zach F., Greeley, Colo.

David: What is a Jedi’s favorite toy?
Simon: I dunno.
David: A yo-yoda!

Joke submitted by David B., Quaker Hill, Conn.
Comic by Daryll Collins

Bob: What do you call an evil procrastinator?
Rob: Beats me.
Bob: Darth Later!

Joke submitted by Adam P., Palo Alto, Calif.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi walk into a Chinese restaurant. Ten minutes into the meal, Luke still can’t figure out the chopsticks, dropping food everywhere.

Obi-Wan finally snaps, “Use the forks, Luke.”

Joke submitted by Alexis R., Margate, Fla.

Comic by Derrick Wood

Travis: Where is the best place to shop for lightsabers?
James: Where?
Travis: The Darth Maul.

Joke submitted by Travis B., Eveleth, Minn.

Comic by Scott Nickel

Parker: What do Jedis order at Chinese restaurants?
Scotty: That’s a tough one.
Parker: Pada-wonton soup!

Joke submitted by Parker B., West Seneca, N.Y.

Peter: What’s a baseball player’s least favorite Star Wars movie?
Sammy: I have no idea.
Peter: The Umpire Strikes Back.

Joke submitted by Peter S., Greenwich, Conn.
Comic by Daryll Collins

Hayes: What do you call a potato that’s gone bad?
Ben: Not sure.
Hayes: Vader Tots.

Joke submitted by Hayes T., Yonkers, N.Y.

Comic by Scott Nickel

A book never written: “How to Talk Like Yoda” by Ajedi I. Am.

Joke submitted by Charlie B., Culpeper, Va.

Dane: What kind of money do they use in space?
Louis: Tell me.
Dane: Starbucks.

Joke submitted by Dane M, Pomona, N.Y.
Comic by Daryll Collins

A book never written: “The Force” by Jed I. Knight.

Joke submitted by Vincent O., Springfield, Va.

Do you know a funny Star Wars joke or pun? Click here to send in your joke.

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